Today it is my pleasure to Welcome romance author Regina Kyle to HJ!
“Edits Unleashed” gives authors an opportunity to share with readers deleted scenes that did not make it through the final edits into publication.
Today, Regina Kyle will be unleashing edits from her book Triple Threat
Holly Nelson’s fresh off a disastrous marriage and divorce, and she’s looking for success on the Broadway stage as a playwright. But she doesn’t count on Nick Damone, her high school crush turned action film star, as the leading man in her play – and maybe her life, if she’ll let him in.
Nick’s looking for a fresh start on Broadway, too, in a serious role that’s far removed from the mindless film roles he’s been playing. He’s happy to be reunited with Holly and anxious to explore the lust blazing between them. But their chance at a future is threatened when life-threatening accidents plague the production.
Nick Damone’s a mega hot mega movie star who wants to get back to his theatrical roots and some serious, dramatic roles (think Joe Manganiello). Little does he know that his high school crush, sweet brainiac Holly Nelson, is waiting for him in the wings. The playwright of Nick’s new stage vehicle, she harbored feelings for him way back then, too. But they’re both hiding secrets that they’ll have to reveal – and overcome – if they’re going to be together.
As originally written, Triple Threat had a prologue that flashed back 15 years to Nick and Holly’s first kiss as high school students. While it was a painful decision, my editor and I ultimately agreed that the information in the flashback could be conveyed as effectively by sprinkling it throughout the manuscript, making the prologue unnecessary. But I think this little snippet of Nick and Holly as high schoolers is a ton of fun, so I kept it lurking in my Triple Threat folder, hoping I’d get the chance to trot it out some day.
Fifteen years earlier
The party sucked. Big time.
Holly Nelson had the oh-so-fabulous choice of playing beer pong with the other techies in the kitchen, smoking pot with the orchestra in the basement, or watching Jessie Pagano rub all up on Nick Damone in the living room, where the cast was dancing.
So not her scene.
Which was why she’d wandered outside, down the Pagano’s perfectly manicured lawn to the dock where she could be alone, away from the pounding music, the heavy smoke and the sticky-sweet smell of booze. Away from Nick, who didn’t know or care if she was alive, so long as he had Jessie crawling all over him.
“Okay if I sit here?”
Holly’s breath caught. Her palms started to sweat. And she was pretty sure her heart stopped beating altogether.
Ohmigod! He knew her name! Nicholas Damone, the hottest guy in Ashland Falls, Connecticut – heck, the hottest guy in the entire western hemisphere – knew her name!
“Uh, yeah, sure,” she squeaked. “Sit down.”
He lowered his long, lean frame onto the dock beside her. “Great party, huh?” The sounds of laughter and the Red Hot Chili Peppers mixed together and floated toward them across the lawn.
“Uh, yeah.” Some conversationalist she was turning out to be. But it was hard to think with those dark, chocolate eyes boring into her and his thick, muscled thigh so close to hers.
“What are you doing out here?” He reached down and dragged his hand through the water. Even that simple movement made his bicep ripple, and she bit back a sigh. “Lake’s too cold for swimming.”
“Yeah.” Dammit! Seriously, what was the matter with her? She wasn’t exactly shy. She talked to boys all the time.
Not this boy, she reminded herself. Not the captain of the football, basketball and baseball teams. Not the student body president. Not the boy she’d been dreaming about since like the dawn of time.
No, the only boys she talked to were the brainiacs. Or the band and drama geeks. She and golden boy Nick Damone most definitely did not travel in the same high school circles.
“To be honest, it’s not really my thing,” she said, only just remembering to answer his question. “The party scene, I mean.”
“I kinda figured. You always seemed more the studious type to me.”
He figured? She seemed? She didn’t think she was even a blip on his radar.
“What about you?” she asked. “Shouldn’t you be back there with Jessie?” She tried to keep her voice light, as if she couldn’t care less whether he and Jessie were an item.
A slow grin spread across his oh-so-kissable lips. “Not exactly my scene.”
They sat in silence for a few minutes, the only sounds the distant party noise, the lapping of the water against the dock and the beating of her heart, which she was sure he could hear hammering like a machine gun against her rib cage. She was surprised it didn’t leap out of her chest, like when the guy gives birth to the extraterrestrial in Alien.
“What made you audition this year?” she finally got up the nerve to ask. “You never have before.”
He shrugged. “The guys dared me,” he admitted. “They heard me singing in the shower.”
“So this was all a big joke to you?” Holly hopped up, hands on her hips, and glared down at him.
“No!” His hand shot out and grabbed her wrist. If her heart hadn’t stopped before it sure as heck did now. His fingers were rough and warm against her skin, causing a strange, tingling sensation that ran up her arm, into her chest and down to the pit of her stomach.
“Well, maybe at first.” He drew her back down beside him. How could she resist that voice, deep and smooth as silk? “But once I got on stage it was pretty awesome, pretending to be someone else. No parents pressuring me. No girls chasing me. No recruiters harassing me.”
Wait, what? The golden boy wasn’t happy? Or maybe his life wasn’t so golden after all . . .
“You were really good, you know.” Her voice was soft, almost pleading. “Maybe in college you can . . .”
“No.” He released her wrist. “I can’t.”
“Why not?” She rubbed her arm, already missing his touch.
He turned to her, his mouth firm and those chocolate eyes soulful. “You wouldn’t get it. It’s easy for you. Your parents are cool. They let you do your own thing.”
Cool? He thought her parents were cool? Everyone else in Ashland Falls thought they were a few fries short of a Happy Meal. Not that she blamed them. They were a few fries short of a Happy Meal.
“And yours don’t? They let you be in the play, didn’t they?”
“Only because I agreed to go to Dad’s alma mater. Rutgers.” He looked down and fiddled with the zipper on his sweatshirt. “I got this football scholarship . . .” His voice trailed off.
“And you don’t want to play football?” Holly asked, starting to understand.
Nick shook his head.
He shook his head again.
He gave her a wry smile. “You catch on quick.”
Without thinking, she reached out her hand. To her surprise, he took it and moved closer, so close that even through their jeans she could feel the heat of his thigh pressing against hers.
“I don’t know why I’m dumping all this on you.” His thumb rubbed the back of her hand, starting that tingling sensation all over again.
“Uh, yeah.” Great. She was back to the “uh, yeahs.” But it was impossible to think when he touched her like that.
Other boys had touched her. A few had even kissed her. But none of them made her feel all hot and fluttery inside like Nick Damone did.
She took a deep, shaky breath and started again. “I don’t mind. I’m a good listener.”
“Yeah.” His breath tickled her cheek. He smelled of soap and shampoo and pine trees, all clean and fresh. “You are.” He let go of her hand and started to get up. “Thanks, Holly.”
“Nick, wait.” She stopped him with a hand on his arm. “I meant what I said. You were really, really good. Like you-could-act-professionally good.”
“You think so?”
“I do.” Her voice sounded husky even to her ears. Her hand was still on his forearm, his soft, crisp hairs tickling her palm. She wanted to run it up past his shoulder and into the mess of black curls at the base of his neck.
“But my Dad . . .”
“You can’t let him make your choices for you. The rest of your life’s a long time to be miserable.”
They sat quietly, her words hanging over them like the damp fog that rolled across the lake in the early morning. Their legs swung in tandem off the edge of the dock, sneaker-clad feet just clearing the water below. Holly shivered, the thin cotton of her t-shirt suddenly not enough to stave off the chilly night air.
“Here.” He unzipped his sweatshirt and put it around her shoulders. His face was so close to hers, if she turned their lips would be mere inches apart.
“You’re pretty smart for a sophomore.” He pulled the sweatshirt tighter around her, drawing her even closer, their lips only a hair’s breadth away from each other now. “Pretty pretty, too.”
Pretty? He thought she was pretty? With her poker straight, mousy brown hair, the darned zit on her nose that wouldn’t go away no matter how much Clearasil she used, the pathetic bumps on her chest that masqueraded as breasts, the . . .
Her ability to think left her as he closed the almost nonexistent distance between them and touched his lips to hers. He was kissing her! Nick Damone was honest to god, really and truly kissing her!
And boy, could he kiss! His lips were full and soft but at the same time firm. Not pushy like that jerk Colin O’Keefe, who rammed his tongue down her throat with no finesse whatsoever. Nick’s kiss was sweet and gentle, his lips light and teasing, the tip of his tongue playfully flicking the seam of her mouth, his hands moving over her shoulders.
She sighed and opened to him, ready to give him what he so clearly wanted but wouldn’t ask for, when a voice cut through her passion-filled haze.
“Nicky, are you out there? We’re waiting for you to play seven minutes in heaven.”
Nick sprang away from Holly like she’d been infected by flesh-eating bacteria. “Be right there.”
“You’d better.” The sharp tapping of Jessie’s stilettos on the patio and the slamming of the screen door signaled her return into the house.
For one brief, shining moment Holly had indulged in a fantasy. One kiss and she’d been transported into an alternate reality, one where an awkward dweeb like her could ride off into the sunset with a shining star like Nick Damone.
She turned away from him, willing the tears clouding her vision to clear. “You’d better hurry. Jessie’s waiting.”
He stood and brushed off his jeans. “Holly . . .”
“Just go.” She drew her knees to her chest and buried her head, listening to the grass crunch under Nick’s sneakers as he walked up the lawn.
Popular guys like Nick didn’t give a rat’s patootie about insignificant peons like her. She’d been a fool to forget that even for a second. But she couldn’t stop her stupid, girlish heart from caring what happened to him, and she called out to him one last time.
“Be bold, Nick. Be brave.”
Only when she heard the screen door bang shut did she realize she was still wearing his sweatshirt. And only then, with her nose buried in the sleeve and his scent surrounding her, did she finally let her tears flow freely.
The Theater of Temptation presents Sabotage…and Seduction!
The Playwright: It’s emerging playwright Holly Nelson’s big break. Broadway. Having survived her traumatic marriage and divorce, Holly is now aiming for success, not love. And any naughty dreams about Nick Damone—the gorgeously dishy star who was her crush back in high school—must remain a fantasy.
The Star: For Nick, Broadway is a chance to go from big-screen-eye-candy to serious actor, and to explore the lust blazing between him and Holly. But life-threatening accidents will force a chain of events that could bring down the curtain on the whole production…or give Nick and Holly a chance to finish the sexy something that started fifteen years ago!
Regina Kyle knew she was destined to be an author when she won a writing contest at age ten with a touching tale about a squirrel and a nut pie. By day, she writes dry legal briefs, representing the state in criminal appeals. At night, she writes steamy romance with heart and humor.
A lover of all things theatrical, Regina lives on the Connecticut coast with her husband, teenaged daughter and two melodramatic cats. When she’s not writing, she’s most likely singing, reading, cooking or watching bad reality television. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and published author liason for her local RWA chapter.
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Giveaway: One commenter will receive their choice of an e-book of Triple Threat from their preferred on line retailed or a signed paperback. (US only for the paperback, please).
To enter Giveaway: Please post a comment to this Q: Do you remember your first kiss? What one word would you use to describe it?
Please note: This contest will close on Friday Jan 30th, 2015 at 8:59 PM (PT) and the winner(s) will be notified via email and on this Post. Winner(s) will have 48 hours to respond to the e-mail before a new winner is selected. All entrants must adhere to HJ’s official giveaway policy.