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 and Nicole met with Natasha. Remember to just enjoy these scenes!!
When Natasha was out of the room, Sean said to Stewart, “If you have some time, I think now would be a good time for you to catch me up on things.”
“Yes sir,” Stewart agreed. “I need to get my planner.” He looked at Nicole. “It’s a rather long list.” He was intimating that Nicole might prefer to leave.
“I bet it is,” Nicole quipped, with no intention of leaving.
“And when we are through if you could tell Alistair that I’d like some time for target practice,” Sean called as Stewart left the room.
“I don’t think he is happy I’m staying,” Nicole quietly remarked as she moved to one of the chairs in front of Sean’s desk.
“Well, he will just have to get used to it,” Sean responded. “We said no secrets.” Nicole smiled at his comments as Stewart walked back in the room with his planner.
“I think there are two pressing issues—three actually,” Stewart corrected himself. “First, it is customary for a new ambassador to host a party, if you will. The invitation goes to the other ambassadors here in the Soviet Union, typically the host country’s head of state, and our NATO allies. We tend to work together here when needed, so it is an opportunity to get to know everyone. We haven’t had a formal affair in a while.”
“Is it really necessary?” Sean asked.
“The situation in Poland and Baranov’s recent decision to move troops in that direction places some pressure on the embassy party. It would be an opportune time to extend hospitality to our NATO allies here. The ability to share intelligence and our messages to our governments would be consistent.” Stewart glanced down at his planner. “Since you are considering going to Baranov’s New Year’s Eve party—”
“What?” Nicole interjected.
Sean smiled. “What can I say? He likes me. You’re invited too.”
“Oh goodie,” Nicole remarked underwhelmed.
“I’m sorry. Please continue.” Sean was still smiling at Nicole’s lack of enthusiasm.
“I was thinking of a party perhaps in early January.”
Sean looked at Nicole who shrugged her indifference at the suggestion. Sean, however, was not ready for such an affair this early in his ambassadorship. He was already nervous about Baranov’s party. “Let’s push it to March or April, and invite more than just our NATO allies.”
“Why?” Stewart asked, surprised. Sean cocked his head and looked at him. “I mean, why would we invite our enemies into our embassy?”
Sean smiled. “For the same reason Baranov invited me to his party on New Year’s Eve. It extends a cordial hand that will assist us in difficult times between our countries, and it also keeps our enemies close. We are in their country after all.”
“It does present an air of diplomacy,” Nicole added. “It says we are approachable.”
“Yes, almost too approachable, just like the former ambassador,” Stewart responded.
“I’m not inviting all of Russia,” Sean countered. He found Stewart’s resistance to the idea fascinating given Nicole’s shared information earlier. “Just the diplomats of all the embassies here, Baranov and certain members of Baranov’s cabinet. It will provide us with some much-needed intelligence.” Sean added the last sentence as he stared at Stewart to gauge his reaction. Stewart gave a frown, disappointed that Sean had not accepted yet another of his recommendations. “It’s settled, Stew. Get a preliminary list together, and we’ll look it over.”
“Yes, sir.” Stewart made a note in his planner. When he was finished, he looked at Nicole. “I think it would be a good idea to establish an office for you. Perhaps a secretary and staff would be in order as well.”
“A staff?” Nicole asked. “Is that really necessary?”
“I believe so,” Stewart responded. “It provides more validity to your attaché persona and you will, I assume, be acting as the ambassador’s…” he hesitated while he searched for the appropriate word. “Confidante, for lack of a better word.”
Nicole wanted to laugh. “Confidante makes me sound like his whore. Significant other I think is the proper term now.”
“That brings up another shall we say uncomfortable situation,” Stewart began. “At formal social gatherings, guests are announced. How would you like to be announced and how should the invitations read for the party?”
“I’m not one for titles, but understand that is the custom. Lord Sean Adkins, Earl of Guilford, is my title as you know. Nicole will be addressed as Ms. Nicole Charbonneau, as per the custom for however long these things have been established. I don’t see that as a problem.” Sean responded. The tone in his voice indicated that Sean was growing tired of Stewart’s inability to accept Nicole as his equal even though they were not formally married.
“I understand, sir,” Stewart replied. Standing, he added, “I better get started on that list.” Stewart excused himself and left Sean’s office closing the door behind him.
When he was gone, Nicole stood, walked over to Sean and whispered, “I’m not sure I trust him.”
“You made that abundantly clear,” Sean quipped.