When I virtually met Ella Quinn, she wasn’t published. I knew she was a fast writer and dedicated to her task. The first book of her The Marriage Game series released last September, The Seduction of Lady Phoebe. Book 2, The Secret Life of Anna Marsh came out in November. The third book, The Temptation of Lady Serena, appeared in January. And the forth just released this week, Desiring Lady Caro.
Is that quite an output or what? Ella is a focused writer and she has my admiration. And my jealousy. If you follow her on social medias, you know she lives in paradise. I’ll stop gushing now and leave you in her good hands.
By Ella Quinn
When I was asked by Carole and Sharon, my lovely hosts today, if I’d write a post on deleted scenes, this one from The Seduction ofLady Phoebe immediately came to mind. My only problem was finding it.
Phoebe is the first book I wrote. Suffice it to say that I knew nothing about writing when I did it. Consequently, it required major editing and a steep learning curve for me. Many scenes were cut, changed and rearranged; however the scene that comes next was a hard call. Everyone loved it. But that was the problem with the book. Everyone loved it, but it was just not compelling enough, and with the way we were changing the ending, we being my agent’s assistant, who was helping me learn to edit, and me, it had to go.
There is still a similar scene in the book, but Phoebe is not abducted. Since I wrote The Seduction of Lady Phoebe I’ve learned to be much more discerning and can usually tell when a scene isn’t working, or needs to be moved.
Here is the scene. There are many craft errors which were fixed in later versions that I no longer have, such as the major head hopping. I get scenes as video and frequently have to parse out what can be where. Nevertheless, I still like the scene, and sometimes wish I could have kept it, but needs must.
They were leaving in two days for Charteries. Phoebe would not, she told them calmly, be inured in the country, from which place she could still be abducted, or be constantly on her guard in London or anywhere else she happened to be. She’d been furious at Marcus for having Covey following her without discussing it with her first. His highhanded way of protecting her did not bode well for the future.
Sensing, rather than seeing, a movement to her side, Phoebe steeled herself not to fight as the burly man grabbed her.
Rose looked around sharply to locate the carriage they knew would be nearby. The plain black town carriage pulled up in front of Phoebe as the thug hurried her to the carriage. Another man leaned forward; in the few seconds she had, Rose memorized his features. The man in the carriage looked up, saw Rose staring at him, and pulled Phoebe quickly into the carriage, giving the order to drive off. From across the street, Covey gave her an audacious wink and followed the carriage on foot.
Lady Hester, the closest to her, came quickly up as the thug ran off. “Were you able to see him?”
Rose nodded and gave her the description.
Lady Hester gasped. “That sounds like Lord Travenor.”
Rose’s eyes widened. “My lady, he’s the same man that held us up.”
Lady Hester nodded tensely. “We must tell them. This is worse than we thought.”
Marcus sat waiting in one of St. Eth’s plain black town coaches. Once Phoebe was taken, he banged on the coach roof. “After that black coach, but not too closely. You are under no circumstances to lose it.”
“No, my lord,” Joe Coachman mumbled. “As if I would lose that coach which held my mistress.”
Marcus’s face had become harder than it already was as he watched Phoebe pushed and pulled into the coach. Knowing he couldn’t act, he clenched his hands and shook with cold rage. He’d kill Travenor. If he could just get the blackguard alone, there’d be no mercy.
A footman hurried up to Ester. “My lady, Lady Phoebe is in that black town coach.”
“Quickly, hand me up.” She called to her coachman. “Higgins, follow that black town coach.”
Phoebe waited to feel for the dip of Covey climbing onto the back of the coach. When it came, the movement was so slight she almost failed to recognize it. Able to breathe again, she arranged herself on the seat opposite Lord Travenor and straightened her back. Marcus had been right; it was Travenor. She was thankful he’d not decided to sit next to her. Just being this close to him made her skin crawl. Phoebe suppressed a shudder. She had a role to play and she’d better get on with it.
Assuming a nonchalant demeanor, she glanced down at her half-fastened glove and continued fastening it. Her heart pounded, but she kept her movements calm and unhurried. When Phoebe finished, she raised a brow and met Lord Travenor’s eyes. He’d want her to show fear; all bullies did and she resolved that he’d be disappointed.
Phoebe pitched her tone a little lower and calmed herself. “Now, Lord Travenor, why don’t you tell me what this is all about? Why was I dragged into your coach?”
Startled, Travenor’s mouth fell open. He huffed. “Now that I have you, Lady Phoebe, I mean to marry you.”
She raised a brow. “Indeed? I, however, do not wish to marry you.” She lightly shrugged her shoulders. “I suppose you must have not only missed the announcement in the Morning Post, but failed to understand my betrothed as well. I am to marry Lord Marcus.”
Travenor’s mask drop and a cruel smile appeared on his lips. “Lord Marcus won’t want you once I’m done with you, my lady.”
Phoebe raised both brows and widened her eyes. “I would be astonished if there was anything you could do to me, short of killing me, that is, that would make Lord Marcus not wish to marry me.”
Travenor could not understand why this conversation was not going the way he’d planned. In fact, he could not believe he was having this conversation at all. She was supposed to be prostrate, in tears, begging him. Not willing to give up trying to shake her calm he leered “I am sure Lord Marcus will want a virgin in his bed on his wedding night.”
Phoebe regarded him as calmly as before. “Then he is doomed to be disappointed.”
She turned her head to gaze out the coach window that, for some reason, did not have the curtain drawn across it, and took note of their direction. They were traveling along the road to Richmond. Her thudding heart was making her feel ill. She’d have to figure out a way to make him stop the coach. Phoebe clung to the almost certain knowledge that they were being followed and Covey was on the back of the coach. She’d had her pistol, but in her reticule was wrenched from her hand when she’d been bundled into the coach. She still had her dagger.
Lord Travenor, at a loss as to what more to say, watched her as she looked calmly out the window. A bully all his life, he couldn’t understand why she was unafraid of him. He didn’t believe what she’d said about Lord Marcus not caring if he raped her. Not for a moment did he believe the man would marry her if she was no longer a virgin. His cousin had gone on and on about how important it was. Travenor had not liked his cousin, but always believed everything he said about the ton. He thought briefly of grabbing her in the carriage just to make her fear him then decided he’d wait. Her composure wouldn’t last once he had her in his house.
They had been traveling for close to an hour, by Phoebe’s reckoning, when she thought she could ask him to stop without arousing his suspicions.
She raised a brow. “Where are we going, and will we arrive soon?”
He’s eyes swung to her and he leer. “Are you that ready to service me, my lady?”
Phoebe ruthlessly suppressed a shudder; her other brow rose slowly, and she assumed the most supremely haughty expression she could. “Don’t be ridiculous. I have to use the accommodations, and I’m hungry. You made me miss my tea, and I am become quite peckish.”
Travenor decided that the sooner he got her out of the carriage and under his control, the sooner he’d be able to wipe that haughty look from her face, and destroy her statue-like repose. He called for the coachman to stop at the next inn. “I will allow a stop on the following conditions. You must agree that you will not scream or try to escape.”
Phoebe pretended to consider the offer. “Yes, well, screaming would only cause a scandal, which would not do. Lord Marcus is exceedingly adverse to scandals,” she said, quite untruthfully, although, she thought, he might not like them now. She’d have to ask him. “My brother, Cranbourne, and my uncle, St. Eth, are as well adverse to scandal, and my trying to escape would have a similar effect. It just would not do.”
Phoebe resumed her contemplation of the scenery.
They soon pulled up to a small hostelry. Lord Travenor assisted her from the carriage. She’d burn those gloves as soon as she could. Two coaches were a little way down the road, making ready to pull up behind Travenor’s. From the corner of her eye, she saw Covey jump down. She suspected Travenor would follow her closely. Her head held high, Phoebe swept swiftly past him into the inn so that Travenor would not have time to notice her rescuers.
With a smile Phoebe greeted the landlord, who’d hurried forward and asked for a private parlor, tea, and a nuncheon to be served as soon as possible. She also asked for either his wife or a maid to attend her. The landlord called to his wife. After landlady left, Travenor entered the private parlor where Phoebe waited.
Marcus sprung down from the coach and the landlord came out to greet him. “I’m sorry, sir, if you want a private room, I only have the one and I’ve just given it to a gentleman and lady.”
He scowled. “I want entrance to that room.”
The landlord fidgeted with this apron. “But sir, I can’t. He paid me good money for it. I can’t just let you use it as well. There’s no one in the tap. I’m sure you’ll be fine there.
Marcus’s jaw set and he ground his teeth. “Take me to that parlor or I’ll search for them myself!”
Ester swept in and with a brow raised looked around and demanded that the landlord describe the lady he had mentioned to his lordship.
After he’d described Phoebe, Ester nodded. “Ah, they are here. My good man, my niece is in your parlor. Please be so kind as to escort me to her.”
Phoebe entered the parlor just as the other carriages pulled into the inn’s yard. The room ran along the front and side of the inn. She stood by a window overlooking a meadow on the side when Lord Travenor entered and ambled towards her, breathing heavily. She kept her eyes on the view of the meadow and didn’t move.
As if finally noticing he was in the room, she said, “Do not take another step towards me. I promised not to scream or try to escape. I did not, however, promise not to hurt you.”
Travenor reached out for her. “You don’t have your pistol this time, my lady.”
Her hours of practice with her dagger came to bear. In one smooth movement she swiftly brought the blade out from her skirts and moved into the couching position Marcus taught her to use.
But, by the look on Travenor’s face, he didn’t believe she could hurt him. He lunged for her.
She quickly stepped to the side, thankful that he was neither fast nor graceful. “I told you. Stay where you are or I’ll hurt you.”
He roared and came at her again. Bringing the dagger up, she stuck her blade into Travenor’s stomach as Marcus opened the door. Travenor gave a grunt and went into a faint.
Marcus rushed forward and grabbed Travenor before he could fall. He laid Travenor on the floor, the blade still sticking out of him. The minute the blade was removed the wound would begin to bleed. He unwound Travenor’s cravat, folded it and slowly removed the dagger’s blade while pressing down on the wound with the pad to minimize the bleeding. Marcus handed the dagger to Phoebe.
Ester and Edwin hurried in to the room on Marcus’s heels. Ester closed the door, and Edwin helped Marcus carry Travenor to the sofa.
“Is he…?” Phoebe paled.
Marcus glanced at her and smiled grimly. “No, but we’ll need a doctor. That was well done of you, my love. Tell the landlord that his lordship is ill and ask for a doctor to be sent for immediately. I’ll need a bowl of water and some linens as well.”
Edwin led her to a chair. “I’ll do it. Phoebe, you sit down.”
He left the room and returned with the water and linens. A knock came almost immediately. Edwin opened it to the maid with a tray of beverages and small sandwiches. Taking the tray and thanking her he shut the door.
Marcus had the wound bound by the time Edwin placed the tray on the table.
Edwin poured wine into a glass and gave it to her. “Drink it.”
He also gave a glass to Marcus and had one himself. Ester poured tea.
Marcus gathered her into his arms and stroked her back, making calming noises. Phoebe, slumped against him, was finally able to compose herself.
He handed her a sandwich and gave her another glass of wine before he allowed her to tell them what happened in the coach and how she came to stab Travenor. Maybe sometimes it wasn’t so bad being taken care of.
After she related the events leading up to the stabbing, she told them he’d been the one to hold her up a year and a half ago.
Marcus held Phoebe close, keeping his own anger and anxiety under control. “He’s a glutton for punishment, my love. I now know what your family means when they say you’re equal to anything.”
She shuddered. “Will he live?”
He frowned and wished for a moment Travenor was dead.
Have you ever had to cut a complete scene to save your book?