A Deleted Scene from Cloaked!

As promised to my patrons, here’s the first of the deleted scenes from Cloaked.  I have to post a disclaimer here–these scenes are how they appear from my free write.  What that means to you is this: I may have changed direction in the course of creating the actual book. The change of course may have rendered the scenes unusable in the book or just simply not a fit any longer.  When you read these scenes, keep in mind it may or may not have anything to do with what is coming next. If someone appears to be a “bad guy”, he may actually be a “good guy” in that actual book because of a twist or turn I made in the published material.  

So, bottom line, read these for enjoyment, but don’t try to figure out where I’m going with or without these deleted scenes.  Does it add a bit more mystery? Absolutely–because I don’t plan on telling you if I changed my mind or not on a specific character or an action being taken. 

With that said, here’s is the part of the scene I deleted from Cloaked.  This takes place after Sean has met with Baranov to present his credentials.  Remember to just enjoy these scenes!!

  

Moscow, USSR – United Kingdom Embassy

Sean had returned to the embassy shortly before lunch. He found the whole conversation with Baranov strange and couldn’t help replaying it in his mind. He wondered if he missed some hidden clue or if his finely honed instincts were on high alert. Why was Baranov so chummy with him? Knowing he would ponder on the meeting even more in the coming hours, he walked into his office followed closely by Stewart. 

“There are a few pressing matters that I need to discuss with you,” Stewart began. “First, it is—”

“STEW!” Sean snapped at his assistant. “I know we have a lot to cover, but I need a few moments.” Sean felt smothered, and he didn’t like it. He turned to see Stewart’s anguished look. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to shout like that. I just need a few minutes to collect my thoughts, and then we can begin.”

“Yes sir,” Stewart replied, coldly as if hurt by Sean’s actions. “I should have realized.”

“Not to worry,” Sean added, trying to reassure Stewart. “I think we need to discuss some ground rules first—how we want to work together.” 

“I think that would be appropriate,” Stewart said as he headed toward the door. As he opened it, Nicole was just about to knock on it. 

“Hello, Mr. Stewart,” Nicole said as she started to walk into the room.

“The ambassador asked for a few—”

“It’s all right, Stew,” Sean said. “I was going to call her.”

“I see,” Stewart replied. His tone revealed the offense he felt. He stood aside and let Nicole pass. He continued out of the office closing the door behind him. 

Nicole walked into Sean’s arms and kissed him. “How did it go?”

“It was,” Sean paused, trying to find the right words. “Almost too casual and yet strangely odd.”

“OK, now you have me intrigued.”

“He wasn’t happy about the letter from the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany. He viewed it as a veiled threat, I think.” 

Nicole smirked. “Of course he did. That’s because it was.”

“You haven’t seen the letter.”

“I don’t need to see it. I can guess at what it said. It asked Baranov to stay out of Poland. But they weren’t asking. It was more of a don’t think about it, with an ever so slight mention of the word ‘sanctions.’”

Sean nodded. “The weird thing was he asked me for advice. I told him that he could look on from the border but don’t enter. It was a conversation full of metaphors.”

“Welcome to Diplomacy 101,” Nicole said with a smile as she walked from Sean’s arms to a chair across from the desk. “I heard something interesting from the guards about Colin Stewart,” Nicole said in a low voice as she sat down.

Sean walked to the front of his desk, leaning on the edge of it. “Already listening to gossip, are we?”

Nicole gave Sean a sly grin. “Absolutely. Do you want to hear it?”

“Only if you think it is relevant,” Sean replied, knowing that she already thought it was. Sean placed his index finger to his lips. He patted the desk next to him. Nicole moved alongside him. He leaned into her and said, “In a whisper, my office is most assuredly bugged.”

Nicole sat next to him giving him a confused look. She whispered, “Then why did you talk about the Baranov meeting?”

“Because they already knew about that. I didn’t say anything out of the ordinary.”

“But you—”

“Nicole,” Sean whispered, but his exasperation was showing. “Please tell me what you’ve discovered.”

“It seems our Mr. Stewart was having an affair with the previous ambassador’s wife,” Nicole reported. Sean looked at Nicole, who could tell what he was thinking. Nicole shook her head. “They weren’t in love. I mean that there didn’t seem to be a commitment between them.”

“There had to be something,” Sean replied. 

“The guards can’t put their finger on it, but there is something about Stewart that they feel isn’t quite right. Why would you risk your job with an affair with your boss’s wife?”

“It’s gossip, Nicole,” Sean responded. “It hasn’t been proven.”

“They were pretty sure,” Nicole countered. “Duncan, who is going to be my bodyguard,” she added with a disparaging look on her face. “I’ll come back to that. Duncan said that Stewart wasn’t the only one she was bedding. She was involved with a Soviet whose last name is Valesky.”

“Vladimir Valesky?”

“You know him?”

“Everyone knows him,” Sean replied. “He is Baranov’s enforcer for lack of a better title.” Sean’s eyes drifted off of Nicole as he tried to make the connection between the ambassador’s wife and Valesky. “If that is true, this embassy is more compromised than anyone in the home office suspects.”

“Now I have your attention,” Nicole responded. “Duncan told me that Alistair reported the affair with Valesky to his superiors and the home office, as you call it, a few months before Stewart arrived. That was a couple of years ago. It seems our security detail doesn’t trust Stewart. They think he’s in the back pocket of Valesky. It seems he accompanied the ambassador’s wife on more than one occasion on her rendezvous with Valesky.”

Sean’s eyes moved back to Nicole as she finished her last words. “Did Duncan say if guards escorted them?”

“They were none,” Nicole replied. “They both left the embassy numerous times without protection. Valesky would have a car waiting for them outside the gate.” Nicole paused for a moment, noticing Sean was deep in thought. “Are you going to say something to Mr. Stewart?” 

“Stew,” Sean corrected her. “He told us to call him Stew.” Nicole rolled her eyes at Sean’s implied request. “I’m not planning on it. I want to do some checking first.”

“They weren’t making it up,” Nicole insisted. 

“I didn’t say that they were,” Sean countered. “I just don’t want to accuse someone of something without having more facts.”

“So, you’re OK with your assistant supplying information to a Soviet officer and close confidante of Baranov working in this embassy,” Nicole prodded.

Sean wanted to laugh. “Did I say I was? Besides, I believe this office is bugged, remember.”

She raised her hands in a “hands-off” manner. “I’m just sayin’,” Nicole started with no intention of finishing her sentence. 

“Nicole, I’m going to make a few phone calls,” Sean reassured her. “I may even call Elliot to see what he can dig up on both Stewart and Valaskey. Right now, I need Stew’s help in keeping the embassy up and running smoothly.” Nicole didn’t answer. “He is more experienced—” The buzzer on his phone went off. Sean turned and depressed the speaker button and in a normal voice asked, “Yes?”

“President-elect Jenkins is on line one,” Stewart announced. 

“Patch him through,” Sean requested looking at Nicole with a confused look on his face. He heard Stewart clear his throat. 

“You just press the light that is blinking on the phone, sir,” Stewart informed Sean. Sean heard Nicole’s short, suppressed chuckles and ignored them. “And he is calling for Ms. Charbonneau.” Nicole’s eyebrows scrunched together as Stewart’s last words caught her attention.

“Ms. Charbonneau?” Sean questioned. 

To be continued….

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