Welcome to the first Scene-Snippet Sunday for 2016! Tomorrow, I return to the EDJ and the challenges of working two full-time stress-filled jobs. My goal is to actually get through a year of this without ending up sick, something at which I failed in 2014 and 2015. Boo-ya. Gonna do it this time.
Anyone want to place bets?
Anyhow, it’s Sunday and I thought I’d dig waaaaay back into the files for a snippet today with a deleted scene from RIVER ROAD. Or, rather, a pre-revision scene from RIVER ROAD. This is the original version of what ended up being Chapter 3 in the final book, where DJ and Alex are jogging in Audubon Park….
I groaned and propped my right foot on the concrete base of the water fountain at Audubon Park. Sunlight barely filtered through the trees lining Magazine Street, and across the road the zoo was still bathed in darkness. The sun didn’t like being up at 5 a.m. any more than I did.
Leaning over, I stretched my hamstring, readying my muscles for torture. I’d beat Alex here for a change, but only because I’d slept in my shorts and Café du Monde T-shirt. Why get up and dress for running, only to go back home and shower and change again? Practical, that’s me.
I switched legs, willing the tight muscles to loosen, and said hello to a lanky, middle-aged man jogging past with a black standard poodle in poofy show trim.
There were quite a few joggers scattered around the park, even at this hour. Rebuilding after Katrina hadn’t made New Orleans a modern, efficient city like the locals hoped it would. Instead, recovery had been a stumbling, lurching journey full of setbacks, scandal, and drama that somehow fit the city’s dysfunctional charm. Lots of neighborhoods still sat empty, but new people kept moving in. Both the human and the not-so-human.
Gravel crunched off to my left and I turned to see a shiny black Mercedes convertible pulling into the parking lot. Alex Warin unfolded all six-foot-three inches of chiseled hotness out of the seat and gave an awe-shucks duck of his head at a couple of scantily clad redheads who wolf-whistled at him as they ran past.
I rolled my eyes. My partner only had to raise one dark eyebrow and women flocked to him like drunken tourists begging for beads off a Mardi Gras float. He did nothing to discourage them.
“If you’d rather run with the redheads, I’m sure they’d be thrilled,” I told him as he walked up.
He shook his head from side to side like a dog, and splattered me with water. Just out of the shower, obviously, and full of charm. “Ready to run?”
I wiped a bead of water off my chin. “You practice that head-shaking thing when you’re in your Gandalf mode, don’t you?” Alex was a true shapeshifter, not a were tied to the cycles of the moon. He could shift at will into a chow-retriever mix the size of a small mountain. I called his doggie version Gandalf.
I sighed. Alex had a tendency to be monosyllabic until he warmed up.
We set out at a steady lope. Okay, he set out at a steady lope and I huffed to keep up. There’s a lot of leg length between five-four and six-three. He only ran with me because he thought I wouldn’t do it otherwise. He was probably right.
No one spoke till we reached the pond a quarter of the way around the jogging trail, and I tripped as an oversized duck chased a squirrel across my path, quacking furiously. The Audubon ducks were huge but the squirrels were faster.
I had to stop and laugh. Besides, it was an excuse to sit on the bench and catch my breath.
“Sucking wind already?” Alex jogged back and sat on the bench beside me. “Of course last year this was as far as you could go. At least you can make it around the track now without me having to throw you over my shoulder and carry you back to the car.”
I tried scowling at him, but then had to laugh. “You only had to do that once. Jerk.”
He narrowed chocolate brown eyes at me in mock sternness and ran his hands through his hair. It was dark brown, curly, a little too long, and mostly dry. He wasn’t even breathing hard. “I carried you out of here twice, at least.”
Well, nothing much happens, which is why it got the ax, but I still like DJ and Alex’s banter 🙂
Only one winner this week, from Readers Choice, but we’ll be back to our regular schedule next week, which means more giveaways! This time, FOX won the RC giveaway and chose Gail Z. Martin’s new book Vendetta (Deadly Curiosities #2). Please contact me via the contact tab at the top of this page or at email@example.com with your mailing info and, if you’re in the U.S., your choice of format.
See you guys tomorrow for the year’s first Readers Choice Giveaway!