This piece was originally the second to last chapter in the novel. I had to hold back a few tears when I cut it. It’s definitely my favorite of the deleted scenes. My editor thought it slowed the momentum of the story down, and as I often do, I bowed to her wisdom. *Contains SPOILERS if you haven’t read the book yet.*
Kate rubbed her thumb over gloveless fingertips.
She’d grown used to not wearing gloves in Lucas’s room. Had rapidly acclimated to the feel of his skin underneath her hands and mouth.
But, here? In the sitting room or whatever Martha called it—the Grand Room. Without Lucas. And another Behn, practically a stranger, in front of her, holding out a small, gold and silver, weirdly shaped object asking her to touch it. Without gloves!
Not just no, but a hell, no.
She took a step back. Rubbed a hand over her stomach, well actually the cotton T-shirt covering her stomach. Damn, she was nauseous. “I’m not ready.”
“Kate.” Drew’s eyes were uncharacteristically serious.
The first thing she noticed about Drew when Lucas introduced the psychometric Behn from Alaska was his distinctive blue eyes. A dark, almost black, ring circled the outside of his irises, a pale light blue colored the inside.
The second thing, his devilish smile. He laughed often, smiled more than that. His expression, on that day, said he took nothing serious.
Kate wanted to hang out with that guy. This one looked way too determined.
“What’s the worst that can happen?” he asked.
“Duh. I get a vision.” She shuddered. The ones from Lucas’s room played too often in her mind.
“And . . .”
Kate’s eyes narrowed. “It sucks.”
He studied her for a moment. “How many visions have you had in your life? Ballpark it,” he added.
“Hundreds probably. I try to avoid them as much as possible.”
“And what’s the worse that happened?”
Randy’s image flashed in her head followed by Sarid. “Death.” The word escaped before she could stop it. Her gaze flicked to Drew’s.
“But what about when you touched an object?” He lifted the item in his hand and she finally recognized it. A dolphin riding a wave. Not as bad as the OB’s Hummels. .
“I lose time. Worry people will see me and learn what I can do. Sometimes I see disgusting, frightening images I can never un-see. Oh, yeah, and my eyes turn yellow.” Something she still had a hard time believing. Maybe she should have Lucas take a picture one time. Just to see.
Although, maybe not. She was still dealing with finding out she was the key. Yellow eyes might push her over into completely freaked out mode.
“So nothing too bad, yeah?”
Wasn’t he listening?
He held up the dolphin.
Kate wrapped her arms behind her back, fingers lacing tight. “I thought you were supposed to help me? I want to control my powers. Stop them from happening. How do I do that?”
“Control begins with no fear. You have to not fear what will happen before you can learn to control it. After that we’ll move on to you being aware of the outside world during the vision.”
Dammit. He actually made sense.
Damn. That meant she was going to have to touch it.
“No fear,” she said. Her gaze locked onto the stupid statue. What would she see?
Probably Martha dusting it or something. Her hand shook when she brought it from behind her back.
It wasn’t a big deal.
Kate’s fingertips grazed the top of the dolphin’s head. It was smooth. Cold to the touch. Then the room and Drew disappeared.
The dolphin sat on a wooden shelf with three other like it. She was at an outdoor market. The crowd was heavy. A man wearing a black and white priest collar walked up to the stall. He strangely resembled Gabe. But the Gabe Kate knew wasn’t remotely priest-like.
The priest-Gabe picked up the dolphin. Studied it.
“One of a kind,” said the older man who was running the stand.
Priest-Gabe raised an eyebrow, his gaze running over the three others next to it.
“Those are the only ones ever created,” the man said hastily. “All hand-made. It’s real gold in there.” He pointed to the glinting yellow strip that ran along the back of the dolphin.
Priest-Gabe was skeptical, but he continued to examine the piece. Flipped it from side to side. Ran his fingers over the body of the dolphin, the waves. “How much?” he finally asked.
The man smiled. “For you, Father. I give you a discount.”
Kate snapped to the present. She stumbled back.
“Could you hear me? In the vision?” Drew asked.
“What? Was Gabe ever a priest?”
“Seems like it, doesn’t it?”
“You had the same vision, too?”
He nodded. “Yes, but I chose to see it. Now back to you, did you hear me calling you?”
Her forehead furrowed. “No. I heard the wind blowing, the crowd of people, various conversations, Gabe and the seller discussing the dolphin.”
“Okay. It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.”
Was she supposed to worry? She didn’t even know he was going to try to talk to her.
Drew set down the dolphin, picked up a glass filled with water. “Let’s try it again.”
With a sigh, Kate wiped her hands on her jeans before running her finger in the condensation building on the outside of the glass.
She tried object after object. A hairbrush. Spoon. One of Martha’s decorative pillows. An old book.
During the last one she’d thought she heard Drew’s voice. When she came out of the vision, Lucas caught her as she swayed. Sweat dripped down her back. Her stomach rolled in a now-familiar, utterly unpleasant way.
“I told you not to push her, Drew.”
Kate didn’t have to look to know her bahshrett’s eyes were flaring. She placed a hand on his forearm. Squeezed. “I’m fine, Lucas. We’ve only been at this for a little while.”
“A little while? Try more like three hours.” He handed her a pair of gloves. “And you’re not fine. You’re pale and shaking.” He led her to the couch. “It was too much too soon.”
She linked hands with Lucas. “I just need to eat something then I can try again.” She glanced to Drew. “I think I heard your voice in this last one.”
Drew smiled. “Good. I knew you could do it.” He glanced at Lucas. “But let’s not push it, yeah? We can try it again tomorrow.”
Kate opened her mouth, ready to protest, when voices reached her. Emma and Cade were on the staircase. Cade was carrying Emma.
“Seriously, Caveman, put me down. I’m not fragile.” Emma’s cheeks grew red when she spied her audience. She lifted her head and whispered in Cade’s ear.
Lucas chuckled. Kate glanced at him then back at the couple on the stairs. Cade was setting Emma on her feet.
“Are you hurt?” Kate asked.
Emma shook her head, opened her mouth to speak, but Martha and Jeeves walked in the room. Followed soon by the rest of the new Behns. Gabe was the last to arrive. Kate studied him as her first vision played in her head.
“I—We have an announcement.” Emma’s voice rang over the room, loud and clear. Kate could totally see her running a classroom.
Cade carried a chair to her side and was urging her into it. Emma shook her head fiercely before wrapping her arm around his waist, leaning her head against him. “Do you want to say it, honey?”
Cade’s shoulders pulled back. His smile the biggest Kate had ever seen.
Gasps erupted from Kate and the ebheds. A few of the new Behns nodded as if they already knew. Lucas was smiling, as was Gabe. Kate looked for Sarid. She found him standing next to the stairs. He wasn’t smiling.
Kate stood. Lucas rose, too, lacing their fingers together.
“Congratulations,” she said to Emma when they neared.
Emma clasped her gloved hands. Kate, used to Emma’s frequent need to touch, didn’t startle.
“It’s your fault.”
“Uh, I don’t think so. That would be impossible.”
Lucas and Cade laughed. Emma smiled, shaking her head. “No. I mean, you made me realize why I’ve been so emotional lately. Remember that conversation we had in my bedroom?”
Kate nodded. “Glad I can help. You’re going to be an awesome mom.”
Worry flashed across her friend’s face. “I hope so.”
“You’ll be the best mother.” Cade squeezed her to his side.
“And you, a wonderful father. I can’t wait to see you holding our baby.”
“Some champagne,” Jeeves announced. “To celebrate.”
Shouts of agreement rang out.
Kate glanced around the room. She was surrounded by people she knew and cared about. Was touching the man she loved. Her first friend stood close by.
She’d finally found her family.