Below is a deleted scene from chapter seven of my current Christmas novel, Name The Day.
“I won’t leave you. Ever.” Rafael promised.
“Don’t be absurd, I haven’t even agreed to go along with this bogus engagement.”
“There’ll be nothing bogus about it” It was his turn to snap. “I’ve fallen in love with you and want to marry you.”
“No!” This time she yanked until he released her hand. “I told you ‘no,’ I’ll never marry.”
“How can you know for sure? You won’t let another man near you?”
“How much nearer can you get.” Her hand lifted to her lips without conscious intention.
“I intend for you to find out.” When she drew back, he caught her hand in his and pressed soft kisses in her palm. “Don’t be frightened, I’ll never ask you to do anything you don’t want.” His kisses trailed up to her wrist. “But you need to know how I feel and that after we’ve dealt with your father I want you to be my wife.”
Her blood pounded in her ears and her throat closed over.
Samantha had vowed not to love again and yet, without her knowing how he managed it, Rafe had captured her heart. Grateful as she’d been to have Claire’s company all day, it was Rafe she missed, Rafe’s arms that offered her safety. Afraid her legs were about to give way, Samantha clung to his arm and wondered whether she’d ever be able to walk on her own again. When Rafe eased her down onto a bench beside the duck pond she couldn’t remember how they got there.
He still held her hand and rested it on his knee. “Tell me about your ex.”
With her mind still on his avowal of love and marriage it took her a couple of minutes to snap back to reality.
Several ducks made a beeline for their seat and settled at their feet.
“What? You want to know about Harold? Why?”
“I know your friend didn’t intend to tell me anything, but somehow it slipped out and I’m not sorry. I could, should have stopped her but I needed to know and didn’t think you’d tell me.”
“What’s changed your mind?” She reached for her cloak of anger and discovered it had vanished.
“I can wait for your love.” Rafe touched her face, let his finger trail over her cheeks and caress her lips. “I have enough for both of us, but your trust…?” His hand stilled. “I find I need your trust.”
“Yesterday, when I agreed to let my solicitor share information with your legal team, was a measure of trust I’ve never given to another person.” Until she felt him relax, Samantha had no idea how tense he’d been. “It was one of the biggest surprises to me when I worked it out during the night.”
“That is good. What is not so good is that I cannot kiss you in such a public place.”
A mother rushed past them chasing her toddler who’d spied the ducks.
“There’s not much to tell.” Remembered humiliation painted her cheeks a dark rose. “I’d been at the church for half-an-hour before Harold arrived. He marched me outside and on the steps told me he didn’t want a virgin for a bride. As if that wasn’t bad enough several of the guests had followed us and heard every word. Needless to say the men laughed whether from embarrassment or understanding didn’t matter. They laughed at me.” She remembered than number of hands covering mouths, and the sound of sniggers from both the men and some of the women. A few women were indignant for me.
“I am sure not all the men laughed.”
“It seemed like it at the time, and of course Harold lapped it up until Adrian took him aside and reminded him how much he’d paid the man to marry me. Not only did he demand repayment in full but he sacked Harold from his job with the company before he’d left the church grounds.”
“Harold worked for him?”
“Oh yes! It was the classic case of groom your successor and marry him off to the daughter. Of course now we know it was even more than that. It all revolved around Adrian’s need to hide the stolen money. No wonder Adrian demanded repayment.”
Renowned portrait artist, Samantha Brown is through with men. After dealing with an overbearing father and cheating ex-fiance, Samantha is not in the market for romance, of any kind. Give her a blank canvas, some paints and brushes and she’s in charge of her life. There was no room in her life for love, so why did she find herself giving in to Rafael Santini’s outrageous demand that she paint his portrait?
Satisfied with his upcoming marriage of convenience Rafael Santini isn’t in the market for love. So, how come he finds the pint-sized artist stirring up emotions he didn’t have time for?
An accident forces Rafael to re-evaluate his life and wonder whether he can teach Samantha the art of love.
Why couldn’t the stubborn man get it? She wasn’t giving him any favours at the expense of her other clients. In his case, money would not talk. Almost all her clients were well-heeled, but most understood the time restraints. After all, as she told each person, including Rafael Santini, who contracted a commission they wouldn’t want her to rush their painting and offer them a sub-standard product, would they?
“Give me the names of your clients and I will arrange to exchange places in your queue.” His unequivocal belief pulsed across the airwaves. Did the stupid man expect her to break the confidences of her clients?
“Tell me, Mr. Santini,” she asked in her most dulcet tone, “if I asked for a list of your clients would you hand them over, simply because I wanted something?”
“Don’t be stupid woman. It’s not the same thing at all. I’m a businessman.”
Would someone please save me from stupid arrogant men, Samantha offered in silent plea to the ether without expecting any response.
“I may not deal in electronics and communications systems, or equipment for the world of espionage, secret agents, and private investigators, Mr. Santini, but I do maintain a strict code of integrity and honour and customer confidentiality.”
“Why would you need confidentiality to daub a few colours on a piece of paper?”
Is this guy for real? Does he think insults and condemnation will get him what he wants?
“Let me get this straight. You want my agreement to let you queue jump the rest of my clients, who, incidentally have all signed contracts to be here on specified dates at specific times, and then you will be quite happy for me to go around publicising the fact you are not only having your portrait done, but that you bullied, harassed and threatened me into agreeing to your terms? I don’t think so. Not to mention that in many cases the commission is usually a gift for someone special and total secrecy is not only expected it is essential.”
The silence at the other end of the phone was almost deafening.
To Buy Links ~ Name The Day
*GIVEAWAY: One lucky commenter will win a pdf copy of Name the Day! Contest ends December 15th at 11:59PM EST.