Below is the unedited ending to a horribly boring scene I deleted long before the manuscript went to my editor. It starts out showing Kate and Tom enjoying a romantic day at the beach and I wrote it, because I wanted to give them a reprieve from their troubles to give them a chance to develop a little romance. In the end, I decided there was no romantic tension or conflict of any kind in the scene and it did nothing to advance the plot, so I cut it.
This is the end of the scene in which Tom’s dad and his new friend, Lorna, take Kate and Tom for a spin in a boat.
As Tom’s Dad gunned the motor, he pointed out how Tom pushed his legs toward the boat and pulled back on the rope to get drawn to a stand. She watched in fascination as he zigzagged over the boat’s wake. His muscular arms and legs gleamed in the sun. A crazy sensation she’d never felt before thrummed through her. She couldn’t take her eyes off of him. Off the laughter beaming from his face. She’d seen the same look when he romped with his nephews. He knew how to let loose and have fun and she suddenly realized that she didn’t do that easily. She liked that about him.
“I used to love to do this after a hard week’s work,” Tom’s dad shouted over the roar of the engine. “If you don’t shed the stress now and again, it’ll kill you.”
Kate could so identify. These past few weeks her insides had felt coiled tighter than a root-bound potted plant.
“Ready to give it a try?” he asked.
She perched forward on her seat, eagerly watching Tom’s movements, the sway of his back, the tilt of his arms, the movements of his legs, to try to glean what she’d need to know. “I think so.”
He slowed the boat and Tom sunk into the water.
“Kate’s ready to give it a try,” Keith shouted out to him.
“Come on in,” Tom called to her.
She gasped as she slipped over the side of the boat. “The water’s cold.”
“You’ll soon warm up.” He swam over and gave her a kiss as if to speed the process, which it did.
She smiled beneath his lips. “We don’t have all day,” his dad grumbled, amusement coloring his tone.
Lorna swatted the man’s arm. “He was just helping her warm up.”
Kate’s cheeks heated. Oh, yeah. He was good at it, too.
Tom helped her fit her feet into the board, then showed her how to hold the rope and brace herself so the boat would lift her to her feet.
“You’ll do great.” He planted another kiss on her cheek, then climbed back into the boat. “If you need to stop, just let go of the rope. We’ll come back around to pick you up.”
“Okay.” Her voice wobbled, but hopefully not so much that he’d noticed.
Within seconds she was skimming across the water. The wind tangling her hair, water splashing her body and Tom beaming at her. They crisscrossed a large area and she soon got the hang of leaning into the turns. After what seemed like mere minutes, the boat slowed and she sunk into the water. “Why’d you stop?”
Tom’s laughter filled her chest and pleasantly rumbled around inside. “You’ve been at it for more than ten minutes, your muscles will be sore tomorrow if you don’t take a break.”
As she tried to climb into the boat, she felt what he meant.”
Tom reached out and gave her a hand up. “You did great.”
“It was so much fun.” She scrubbed her face dry with the towel Lorna handed her, but when she drew it from in front of her face, Tom’s expression had morphed from cheerleader to warrior.
“That way,” he motioned to his dad, slanting a furtive glance toward the shore.
“What’s going on?” she said.
“Nothing to worry about,” his dad said jovially as Tom hauled in the towline. “Just have to watch for hidden danger when we head for shore.”
Lorna patted her arm. “I think they mean rocks, dear. Don’t worry, Keith’s taken me out a few times and we haven’t bumped into anything yet,”
Tom spared her what was probably meant to be a concurring smile, then squinted back toward shore.
Clearly, Tom wasn’t taking any chances.
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