November 19, 2019

'let it be me' chapter 18 - the original version

Blogger's Note: Warning! Things are about to get super spoilery if you haven't already read Let It Be Me. Proceed with caution.

Sometimes, as a writer, I make pretty big mistakes. I'm sure other authors share this pain, but I don't want to speak for everyone when I'm making such a big confession.

While editing Let It Be Me, I ended up cutting a whole scene and re-writing it entirely. I wasn't getting enough of Ali's perspective, and--well--this just wasn't super necessary. That said, if you've read the book and wonder what *could* have happened at this point in the story, read on.

Here's the original first scene of Let It Be Me Chapter 18:

Well, he’d done it. He’d kissed Ali again. He’d kissed her good. Really good. And she’d kissed him back. Even better.

He’d done the very thing he’d sworn he wouldn’t and if that wasn’t enough, he’d done it in front of an audience of his peers and strangers. In front of her mother and his ex. Altogether, it likely made him a prize idiot of the highest order.

If universities gave doctorates in repeated stupidity, he’d have so many initials after his name Daniel Keller would never be able to scoff at him again.

Yet he couldn’t regret it. Once they’d parted, lips swollen, he’d been too happy to worry about any of the repercussions.

There was only one true explanation for his behavior that day. James really was going good and truly mad. Good and truly mad for a woman who understood him better than anyone ever had.

That had to be the reason he’d stayed in his ridiculous costume—and the wreath of laurels that had been draped over his shoulders—and squired Ali around the fair for the rest of the afternoon. Like he was actually a decorated knight, and she was his fair maiden.

Somehow he’d managed to escape the tournament without a lecture. Dr. Ferguson merely glared at him, but that was only after he’d kissed the living daylights out of her daughter. Becca had been in tears, but she’d turned away. For his part, Daniel had only stared at him in bewilderment. And, if James wasn’t mistaken, a hint of respect.

He was sure the reprieve from a tongue-lashing would only last through the weekend, so he had better make the best of it.

So he’d grabbed a flyer with a hand-drawn map printed on it, taken Ali by the hand, and explored the whole fair. They’d watched a wildly abridged version of the “Taming of the Shrew” performed by students from the university’s theater program. They’d shopped the market, sampling locally sourced honey, jams, and breads. They’d even tried their hand at a number of games.

Before each game they’d place a bet, with the loser having to treat the winner to the fair’s bounty. Unsurprisingly, Ali bested him at most. Which is how he’d ended up buying her a glass of mead. And a fresh floral wreath for her hair. And a plate of cheese.

After she’d soundly defeated him at the archery booth, he’d given up any hope of winning again.

“Come on.” He squeezed her hand, enjoying how well it fit within his own. “We should probably get you a turkey leg so you can have the full fair experience.”

“And turkey legs were common at the time?” she asked drolly.

“Not for common servants like us. But it is necessary if you want to have an authentic renaissance fair experience.”

She scoffed. “You might have to answer to a master’s bidding, but there’s nothing common about me.”

No, there wasn’t. But he couldn’t very well tell her that, could he?
“Don’t forget,” she lifted her skirt to curtsy deep and full, “I was promoted from wench to lady for the day.”

“You’re every inch the princess.” Every inch wonderful. ”All you’re missing is your crown.”

“It’s in my suitcase along with my scepter and robes.”

It must be strange to live out a suitcase for so long. Then again, she was probably used to it. While he’d lived in the same house from birth until he went to university, she had moved from place to place. If he did some real, serious soul-searching, it was probably why he’d thought of little else but going home while she didn’t seem to care where she ended up or for how long.

That was a little too serious of a subject to delve into when a jester was dancing a few yards away from them.

“I see you settled on wearing comfortable footwear.” He pointed to her tennis shoes, hoping he was pulling off the snobby, posh expression he was attempting. “I suppose you didn’t want to be overdressed.”

“Certainly not. I’m a relatable monarch. I want my subjects to believe we’re on the same level.” A grin played at her lips. “Of course the moment they cross me, it’s off to the guillotine.”

He chuckled. “Remind me to review medieval weaponry and capital punishment with you before you pitch any more program ideas to your friend Kyle. We should probably go over period attire, too.”

“And here I thought the leather jacket you wore today was a tribute to your British forefathers.”

He spotted the turkey leg stand and tugged her toward it. “Trust me, these tights and tunics aren’t any more authentic than my T-shirt and jeans. Plus, they’re ridiculous.”

Ali stepped back to inspect his ensemble. “I don’t know about that. It’s kind of working for me.”

“Working for you?” he repeated, the words stirring that something he was trying to keep controlled.

She nodded. “I’m thinking it might make the perfect on-camera ensemble for our new show.”

“Careful, princess. I still haven’t officially come aboard this mad idea of yours.”

She only laughed as he dug into the only pocket in his tunic to draw out money to pay for their turkey legs. She probably assumed it was an idle threat. In fairness, she was correct in all likelihood.

She’d already proven herself a superior foe. If she wanted him to do something, it was only a matter of time before she brought him around.
They took their turkey legs and resumed their walk through the fairgrounds. Though the days were growing longer with the arrival of spring, the sun had begun its descent behind a row of trees showing their first buds of growth. The smell of woodsmoke rose in the distance from the bonfire being kindled around him. The world around him was alive and blossoming. Just like the woman still holding his hand.

Stealing a sidelong glance her way, he took advantage of her preoccupation with a troupe of dancing dogs to carefully study her. When they’d met a month earlier, he’d found her manipulative and controlling.

That wasn’t quite true though. That night at Amarillo Sour, he’d thought she was the most intriguing woman he’d ever seen. The next morning he’d found her manipulative and controlling.

Now, dressed in a flowing gown with flowers and ribbons in her hair, a grin seemed to permanently play on her lips. Her hazel eyes sparkling with enjoyment and mirth. There weren’t enough words to describe her or the way she made him feel.

As they finished their turkey legs, they followed the sound of music flowing from the field that had held the tournament hours earlier. Flickering light from torches placed at strategic intervals in the clearing lit their path. Around the field, people of all ages danced about as the music rang through the air.

There was really only one thing to do next.

“Fancy a dance?” he asked.

The smile brightened on her face and she practically raced to the field, dragging him with her. They danced and laughed and danced and laughed some more until James thought he might collapse from it all. If anyone would have told him a month ago he’d be all but done with his book and dancing at a renaissance festival with a fascinating woman, he would have thought them mad. If they’d even hinted that he might find himself at peace, enjoying himself, well, he never would have believed it.

Yet there he was. It was all because of one woman. This woman. It was for her, and only her, that he was making a complete spectacle of himself. And he was having fun to boot. Who could have imagined?
Which was why, when the music slowed—granting them a reprieve—James pulled Ali close in his arms. When her cheek came to rest against his shoulder, he wrapped his arms around her waist, savoring the way she fit against him.

Ali fit. In his arms and in his life. Seth was right. It was time to quit fighting the inevitable.

Lowering his head, so his lips were an inch away from her ear, he mustered up the courage to ask, “Will you come home with me tonight?”

She pulled back a fraction to gaze up at him, eyes twinkling with the light from the fire around them and stars above. “I thought you’d never ask.”

About the Book

Who says history is boring?

Professor James Mitchell has a rock star reputation. With a waitlist for all his classes, a bestselling book, and the requisite leather jacket, the university and publisher are eager to capitalize on this British sensation. But after his girlfriend leaves him for another man, James goes from rising scholar to spiraling bad boy. Forget contracts and tenure, James wants out—of his job, book deal, and, better still, the country. He’s well on his way when his boss’s daughter walks into his favorite bar . . .

Aspiring filmmaker Ali Ferguson-Day doesn't scare easily. She’s been given the means to make a film of her own—on the condition she tames the professor. As the daughter of a famed documentarian and a renowned historian, she’s more than ready to step out of her parents’ shadows and shine on her own. She won’t let anyone—not even an unexpected charmer—get in her way.
James and Ali butt heads from the start, but it isn’t long before their sparring gives way to attraction. There’s the promise of even more, if they can get past the fear of history repeating itself to let love in . . .

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