Since I released my debut novel Dream Date, I can hardly believe I’ve finished and self-published two more books. That would almost have been a trilogy. I wanted to release a third Dream Date novel focused on the character of Kayla Moran. The project had to be put on hold because the series still isn’t popular enough to make writing another entry worth it. Don’t get me wrong, I will write Kayla her book eventually. At the moment, I have other priorities, though. I’ve made my foray into sci-fi, which is a more time-sensitive genre (the stuff one writes about that doesn’t exist yet may be a reality in a decade or two)
Over the course of editing a book, you almost always end up having to cut stuff. It’s just an unavoidable part of the process. As it’s been over a year since I published Devoted to Her, the time is fitting to post that book’s deleted scenes. Some of these make the early drafts of Devoted to Her considerably different from the finished work. I’m quite proud of it. The book turned out just as great as I wanted it to be. Here are the deleted scenes. They’re not in any particular order, but they really aren’t meant to be. Enjoy:
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JUDITH’S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
The following afternoon, Amanda drove to a nearby park after picking up Nathan. They’d already bought birthday gifts for Judith.
“Tell me, is Judith still single?” Nathan asked.
“So things didn’t work out with this Barton.”
Amanda shook her head.
“I’m trying to set her up with Christopher, though.”
Nathan found that interesting.
“You’re playing Cupid, huh?”
“I just want to make Judith happy. The poor girl hasn’t had the best luck in love.”
Nathan thought about that.
“Neither has Emmy, you know.”
“If Emmy is alone, it’s because she wants to. She’s a bit masochistic. I’m almost certain that Emmy aches for Brad, but he hasn’t noticed her.”
“Isn’t he lusting after this actress, Lynette or whatever her name is?”
“Lizzy Conley. They’re just co-stars. As far as I know, they’re not in any sort of romantic relationship.”
Amanda and Nathan arrived at Cass Park. They met up with the rest of their friends. Judith, Emmy, and a few of their classmates were already there. Ashton, Grecia, and Kayla would be coming, too. Oswald and Claire wouldn’t be able to show up.
“Congratulations, Judith,” Nathan said when he walked up to her.
“Congratulations, friend,” said Amanda. She and Judith hugged each other.
“Twenty,” Judith commented. “In only a year, I’ll be able to drink.” She winked.
“Don’t remind me. It’ll be a little longer than that for me,” Amanda said with a pout.
Ashton, Grecia, and Kayla arrived shortly afterward. They congratulated the birthday girl, and then helped the others set up a blanket. The party would be picnic-style.
Emmy grabbed a pointed party hat and put it on Judith’s head.
“Hey! This is not a kiddie party, missus. Did you happen to bring a piñata, too?” she teased.
The others laughed.
Ashton brought out his portable charcoal grill to cook the sandwiches. A friend of Judith’s also brought another small grill. Those were set on a large wooden table near where the group set up the blanket.
Everyone sat on the blanket while Ashton and Nathan tended to the sandwiches. Judith and Emmy started a conversation with their friends.
“There’s no party without music,” said Grecia at one point. She had returned to Ashton’s car to pick up her iPod and a dock with speakers. Kayla walked toward her to help set up the music.
Amanda received a text just then. She read it and then showed her phone screen to Judith.
“Brad says congratulations, and that he’s already mailed you a gift.”
“Really? Oh, give him my thanks.”
Amanda’s phone beeped again.
“He also says that he wants a slice of cake.”
The group laughed at that.
“Does a photo count?” Emmy asked.
“I guess he’ll have to make do,” Judith replied.
When the sandwiches were ready, the group stood up to get their own. Then they sat down on the blanket again. They all enjoyed the food and the music.
“Have you seen your new friend lately?” Emmy asked Amanda. The latter raised an eyebrow. “Christopher?”
“The last time I saw him was in class.”
“Isn’t he coming today?”
“I didn’t have a chance to let him know.”
“Bummer. Judith would have liked it.”
Judith turned to look at Emmy, and then scoffed.
“Please. Are you talking about that pretty boy from the other time? I have better taste than that.”
“Christopher’s a nice guy!” Amanda said. Judith wasn’t able to hide her blush.
“He’s a little too cocky for my tastes.”
“Maybe he’s just what you need,” Emmy remarked.
Nathan and Amanda exchanged glances. The former raised his eyebrows, smiling.
The afternoon turned dark as time progressed. Emmy declared it was time for cake. She and Amanda went to the latter’s car. They opened the back door and carried the cake to the table. Ashton brought a lighter for the candles.
“Make your wish now,” Amanda told Judith. Emmy finished lighting the last candle, and Judith sat down. Everyone else stood around the table.
“Can’t I wait for the night to get a little darker? I want to see if I can chance a shooting star.”
Emmy laughed, and Judith took a deep breath. She then blew out the candles. The group congratulated her. Judith closed her eyes and made a wish.
“Everyone, sing with me,” Amanda said. “Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Judith. Happy birthday to you!”
Judith looked at the group surrounding her as they all clapped. She stood up and hugged her best friends. Emmy then held up a butter knife.
“I think you should do the honors,” she told Judith. The girl nodded, and then cut the first slice. Amanda handed Judith a Styrofoam plate. She helped her friend cut more slices for the rest of the group.