Week #4--Last Deleted Scene and Free Book!

It's the final week of my month long Pre-Evie celebration! Before I get to the featured deleted scene, I'd like to announce last week's randomly chosen winner of a free copy of EVIE EVER AFTER. Congratulations, Cyndi L Please provide me with a mailing address by emailing me at beth@bethciotta.com

My heartfelt thanks to everyone who 'entered' via comment. This has been a fantastic expeience. For those who didn't win, please try one more time!

Here's the scoop... (as most of you already know.) To celebrate the March release of the third book in The Chameleon Chronicles, I shared a deleted scene from
EVIE EVER AFTER and gave away one of my author’s copies of this book, every Tuesday in February! (Past winners... the books are on their way!)

Please note these deleted scenes are unedited. I wrote them and then cut them from the story for various reasons. The fun thing about these deleted scenes is that they’ll give you an idea of my process. They’re not polished. It’s true seat-of-the-pants writing.

The first two weeks, I shared scenes that I wrote to open the story then ditched. Last week I shared a sexy deleted scene from the middle of the book. This week, I'm sharing and yet another 'opening' scene. I think I wrote maybe five different openings before one really 'clicked'. In various openings certain thoughts or phrases stuck, so you may read a couple of familiar passages.

This particular scene takes place in the middle of an important con that I set up at the end of EVERYBODY LOVES EVIE. It was so clear in my head, but I finally realized that it was the wrong place to start. It happens, but off page. You, dear blog readers, are getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse. The scene was quite long, so I'm only sharing a portion. Here goes!

*******************DELETED SCENE #4*******************
The concept of destiny is hooey.

I thought I was destined to become a musical movie star, a modern day Doris Day. I thought I was destined to spend my life married to Michael Stone, a handsome charmer who doubled as my agent.

Then I turned forty and life as I thought it was meant to be took a fantastic detour. The entertainment industry and my husband shunned me in favor of women half my age. Okay. That part was depressing. But then a bizarre twist of circumstances landed me in the arms of delicious bad boy Arch Duvall and a multitude of fantasies came true.

Call me reborn.

Or lucky.

Or, horrors, cursed.

I’m living proof that even the most farfetched dreams come true. But instead of happy dancing, I’m sitting in a surveillance van, watching instead of participating in this episode of my life gone wonky.

I’ve never been a behind-the-scenes kind of gal. I crave the spotlight. Call me shallow. I’ve always believed I was born to make a difference.

When I was a kid I fantasized about being a kick-butt crime fighter. You know, like Emma Peel of The Avengers or Agent 99 of Get Smart. Later, like most teenaged girls growing up in the seventies, I wanted to be one of Charlie’s Angels. Specifically, Jill Monroe, but only because I wanted Farrah’s hair.

Several decades and a career in the performance arts later, I’m still pining for the perfect hairstyle. The kick-butt crime-fighter fantasy, however, recently became reality. No one (except maybe my ex-husband) was more surprised than me.

My name is Evie Parish and I’m the newest member of Chameleon—a specialized branch of the AIA—which is something like the CIA only smaller and sneakier. Comprised of ex-grifters, former bunko cops, and now me, Chameleon creates illusions to expose despicable frauds. I used to sing, dance and act on the stages of the Atlantic City casinos. Now the world is my stage and my idea of applause is the sound of a cell door slamming shut on the amoral keister of a scam-artist. No, I don’t have a background in law enforcement (or a criminal record), but my acting and sleight-of-hand skills (compliments of a stint as a magician’s assistant) along with my scary-good memory make me perfect for this job.

Unfortunately, not everyone on the team agrees. Most notably, Gina (“Hot Legs”) Valente, a former cop and Chameleon’s top femme fatale shill and—more bothersome—the man I’m sleeping with, Arch (“Ace”) Duvall, a charismatic bad-boy with a Scottish accent and a soft spot good-girl me (another fantasy come true). Don’t get me wrong, Arch has faith in my acting skills. What he questions is my goody-two-shoes mentality. Apparently having morals is a liability when dealing with grifters. Okay. Truth told, I did crack out of turn (grifter-speak for messed up) during our first mission. A botched sting that ended in a deadly altercation with a heartless villain. A tussle that still haunts my dreams.

But that’s another story. One Arch keeps telling me to forget.

That he’s able to dismiss the shooting so easily is troubling, although not surprising. Born into family of bamboozlers, his concept of right and wrong is skewed. A career con-artist, Arch is one of two alpha dogs at Chameleon. The other being his partner, my boss, Special Agent Milo “Jazzman” Beckett. Beckett—also sexy, but in a quiet, straight arrow way—hired me against Arch’s wishes. He also kissed me which resulted in fireworks, only not the good kind. I’m one of those people who can’t jaywalk without getting busted, so naturally Arch witnessed the unexpected liplock. I was mortified. Arch was pissed. And Beckett was no help whatsoever. But that’s neither here nor there. Well, it’s somewhere, just not a place I want to visit right now. I have enough angst, thank you very much.

Where was I?

Ah, yes. The perils of fantasies come true.

Once a fantasy’s out of your head, you no longer have complete control. Which can be thrilling or frustrating or even frightening, depending on the circumstances. Just now I’m a nervous wreck, and okay, a little ticked.

Operating within the parameters of our current sting, Arch ditched me as his shill the moment the opportunity arose. Our mark, Frank ‘Mad Dog’ Turner—a former pro-athlete turned restaurateur—proclaimed his private high stakes game ‘for players only’. Since I was posing as Arch’s fiancĂ©e and since he can talk anyone into anything, he could’ve declared me his good luck charm or something. Ha! Instead, he (posing as a Scottish noble) kissed me on the forehead and instructed Beckett (posing as his personal aide and bodyguard) to escort me back to our deluxe hotel suite.

Which is why I’m currently huddled in a high tech surveillance van along with Tabasco, Chameleon’s transportation specialist and location scout, and the “Kid”, a gadget and gizmo wiz, instead of actively participating in the sting. Being on the outside looking in was not my idea of fun, but it’s not like I had a choice. At least I wasn’t completely in the dark. Due to strategically hidden cameras, Tabasco, Woody and I had a prime view of every player and their cards via multiple viewing monitors.

“Oh, shit.”

“What?” I asked, peering over Tabasco’s shoulder.

“Did you see that?” he asked the Kid.

“Yeah,” he answered. “Damn.”

“What?” I asked a second time only more forcefully.

“Arch motioned that he lost audio feed,” Tabasco said.

I gripped the man’s shoulder, tried to ground my imagination. Believe you me, I can imagine some pretty ugly scenarios. Though I had a million questions and concerns, I kept my lips buttoned because I knew Tabasco and the Kid were concentrating. Their job was to report each player’s hand to Arch and Gina, both of whom had been fitted with virtually invisible earpieces. Yes, I know. That’s dishonest. But, hey. We were fighting fire with fire.

Arch (posing as the wealthy Scottish noble) and Gina (posing as a gambler with money to burn) were inside that salon ensconced in a crooked poker game. Beckett was lurking in the restaurant’s bar with a couple of Turner’s goons. Our orders, per the Director of the AIA: to burn the card cheat who’d had the bad judgment to burn a U.S Senator’s wife. I wouldn’t be so nervous if so much weren’t at stake—namely the future of Chameleon.
That's all she wrote folks... Or rather that's all I have to share deleted scene wise. I hope you enjoyed the past month of random offerings. Chime in if you'd like a copy of EVIE EVER AFTER I'll announce the winner on March 1--Evie's official release day. Until then, happy reading!


NIchole L said…
I loved this scene! I am so looking forward to next week when the book is released and I can read what you kept. Beth, you are a pleasure to read!
cas2ajs said…
I love the word *hooey*. :)
Another great scene that should have been in the book. Looking forward to reading it.

Cheryl S.
Meljprincess said…
I'd love to have a copy of EVIE EVER AFTER. Sometimes I wonder why such good scenes hit the cutting room floor. Beth, I met you in Daytona. Blonde with a lot of piercings. Remember?

Mel K.
Raven99 said…
Great scene! I am really looking forward to reading Evie Ever After.
Tori Lennox said…
You're such a tease! *g*
Olga said…
Beth, like Nichole said, you're a pleasure to read. I totally loved Evie Ever After - once I've started reading, I couldn't stop!
clynsg said…
Doing this made for a good tease to get into the wish to read the entire finished story!

clynsg at yahoo.com
Ellory said…
Oh.. I'd love a copy. I can't wait for it to be released. :)
flchen1 said…
Another great scene, Beth--it must be so hard to decide what stays and what goes! (I'm terrible at that whenever I write anything, and it's definitely why I can't edit myself!) Only one more week! ;)
Beth Ciotta said…
I can't believe so many days have gone by without me commenting. So sorry! It's been a whirlwind week and I'm still caught up in it! Thank you so much for all of your thoughts and support. You can't imagine how wonderful it makes me feel. :)

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!
Beth Ciotta said…
Mel, I have the world's worst memory, but blonde with lots of piercings definitely rings a bell. LOL Will you be at RT in Orlando?

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