–Editor’s Comments

Since I outline a fair amount before I write, dismissing ideas that won’t work before writing the scenes, I couldn’t find any deleted scenes to share for this novel. Likewise, because my critiquers are great at helping me polish my manuscript before submitting it to my editor, my editor made only a few minor comments on specific details, such as her gun fitting into her purse in one scene and not in next, and whether she would have her finger hovering over the trigger when confronting an intruder.

She wouldn’t, by the way, she would have it on the trigger guard–a cat’s whisker away. 😉 

Now I did make a fair number of changes to my first draft based on my critiquers’s comments, but for the most part, the changes were so incremental that I don’t have a significant before and after scene to share.

The scene that proved the most challenging to fix to make it believable, was when Serena babysits little Jed, after all, people are trying to kill her what sane father is going to leave his child in her care?

In my original version, Matt is desperate to get his expecting wife to the hospital without their toddler, but I neglected to mention that part, and it seems he’s merely desperate for an evening alone with his wife before baby #2 arrives. 

One of the early versions

My cell phone rang. Matt Speers. “I thought you might appreciate an update on the hit and run investigation.”

“You caught the driver?”

“No, but thanks to the traffic cam at the intersection near the accident, we got the license plate of the guy who flicked the cigarette. He claims he didn’t do it deliberately.”

“Did you believe him?”

“Yeah, I did. He doesn’t have a record. And no known ties to XYZ Import/Export or any of its employees.”

“That’s good. Thanks, I appreci—”

“Yeah, I was kind of hoping I could take you up on your babysitting offer.”

“When?”

“Tonight.”

“Uh, you sure you want me anywhere near your child so soon after someone tried to make a bus sandwich out of my car?”

Silence.

“Matt?”

“I’m desperate, Serena.” He sounded desperate too. Really desperate.

A smart woman would take that as a major clue. That and the muted crying in the background.

“I’ve asked a buddy on duty tonight to drive by every half hour to make sure no one’s lurking around.”

“Okay, I need call and cancel some plans and can be at your place in about half an hour.”

“Um, I was hoping I could bring him to your place.”

“Uh.” I glanced around my living room. I only had a few breakables that I’d have to put up. Maybe the change of scenery would distract the poor guy from whatever was bothering him. “Sure, I guess that would be okay. How soon?”

“Two minutes.”

“Two minutes? Where are you?”

A knock sounded at my kitchen door.

By the time Matt and his wife left, their 23-month old son, Jed, was happily pushing his toy truck around my living room floor as Harold watched suspiciously from under the sofa and occasionally took a swat at the trucks wheels when it got too close.

Final Version

Pounding erupted on my door.

“Hold your horses,” I called out, then checked the peephole because it wasn’t like Nate to hammer my door, and he wasn’t due for half an hour.

Matt Speers stood in the hall, looking haggard, his two-year-old son on his hip.

I yanked open the door. “What’s wrong?”

“Good, you’re home.” Matt shoved a diaper bag at my chest. “I need you to take care of Jed until my mother-in-law can get here to pick him up.”

“What? Uh, Matt, someone tried to make a bus sandwich out of my car last night. You don’t want me anywhere near your child right now.”

Matt’s face went pasty, but he shook his head. “It can’t be helped. I’ve got no one else close enough. I’ve got to get Tracey to the hospital. There’s something wrong, but she refuses to go in with Jed along. She doesn’t want him to be frightened. She almost died with the last—” His voice faltered.

I scooped Jed into my arms. “Okay, go. Go.”

“Thank you. And pray. Please.” He raced off without any further instructions.

Jed looked at me as if he might burst into tears at any second, and my heart did a nervous flutter.

“Hey, buddy,” I said, bouncing him in my arms. “We’ll have fun. Wait until you meet Harold.”

Harold took one look at the little guy and darted under the couch.

“Chicken,” I said. I shut the door behind us and glanced around my living room. I only had a few breakables that I’d have to put up. Hopefully the new surroundings to explore would distract him from his parents’ panic.

“Uh!” Jed pointed to the replica of my grandfather’s old Ford pickup I had sitting on the bookshelf.

“You want to play with the truck?” I asked.

He eagerly reached for it.

“Okay.” I set him and the truck on the floor and then grabbed a box to collect up everything potentially dangerous that looked too enticing to a twenty-month-old.

Jed happily pushed his toy truck around my living room floor as Harold watched suspiciously from under the sofa and occasionally took a swat at the truck’s wheels when it got too close.

©2016 Sandra Orchard

 

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