Today we have a guest post for you from Alyne Roberts, author of SHAKEN - available now! She's sharing a deleted scene with us. OHHH FUN!!
“After an earthquake wreaks havoc, the earth is left disturbed and altered. Whatever remains in ruin is left shaken and in need of rebuilding.” Scarlett Brooks doesn't need love. The only men she can trust in her life are her twin brother and his two best friends, Logan and Caleb. Every other guy has only let her down, and she promises herself to never to experience heartbreak again. Logan King can't stand back and watch his best friend's twin sister continue to spiral out of control. With random hookups, drunken nights, and reckless decisions, she is on the path to self-destruction. He sets out to slow her down and prove that she isn't happy with her one-night stands. The two come dangerously close to crossing lines. Is Scarlett capable of trusting and opening up to love again? Will it ruin their friendship if Logan is the one to teach her how? This is part of a series but can be read as a standalone. Characters are introduced in Jolted and Impacted.
Shaken Deleted Scene. [Unedited]
When I came home, the TV was still on, Kallie’s laptop was open on the coffee table and the door was unlocked. It wasn’t even ten at night so I knew Kallie and Ry wouldn’t be asleep already on a Friday night. Neither had to work in the morning. The sounds coming from the bedroom proved me right, they were up. I rolled my eyes and tossed my keys on the counter near the door. I was getting sick of hearing those two.
After Ryder moved out on his own, it only took another month for me to pack my things and join him. I was worried about him all alone here, with no one to look out for him. He was wilder at that time of his life. Before Kallie, he was reckless and always in trouble. I quickly moved in to keep an eye on him and to feel complete. I never felt right without my other half near by.
Kallie ended up here by mistake and wound up waking up in our apartment after drinking too much at Hank’s. I took her under my wing the moment she stumbled out of my brother’s room. I assumed she was another one his victims and helped her try to escape with some dignity.
Fate had other plans and Kallie was stuck with us for a while after that morning. Another example that everything happens for a reason. Kallie eventually became the one to heal my brother. She was the one person he would fall in love with and turn his life around. Too bad there wasn’t a Kallie out there for everyone.
I was happy for my brother, I really was. I loved Kallie like a sister and no one in the world would be better for my brother than she was. After a rather disturbing breakup, the sounds of them going at it aggravated me. Granted, they probably didn’t expect me to even come home tonight. I usually don’t.
With my nerves on edge, I sat on the couch to turn up the volume on the TV to drown out the moans. I bumped Kalle’s laptop with my knee as I did and the screen came to life. I reached to close the lid when something caught my eye on the desktop. A folder labeled “Jacob”. I swallowed the bile that threatened to come up with the memories.
Jacob was my biggest mistake. I broke my own rules and let myself love someone other than the short list of pre-approved people I had set in stone. Jacob was a con artist and a criminal that left me broken hearted the day before our destination wedding.
I ran my finger over the smooth touchpad, bring the mouse cursor over the folder. Did I really want to read what was inside? I knew Kallie hired a private investigator to look up on him before the wedding. It was a shame the FBI stepped and I didn’t find out until it was too late. The investigator couldn’t tell Kallie what he found until Jacob was in custody. I never thought to ask if he later provided her with details.
I tightly closed my eyes and clicked the folder. A neat list of subfolders, documents and photos popped up. I glanced at the bedroom door to make sure I wouldn’t get busted and then started to click like a mad woman. I sent some particularly long documents to the wireless printer. Court documents didn’t hold my interest. I wanted to know what he did before me and while he was with me. Most of all, I needed to know: why me?
I used to think I was pretty cynical for being a girl in her early twenties. I may go out of my way to help others, but they need to earn my loyalty. Trust wasn’t something I gave easily. So how Jacob weaseled his way into my safe zone and completely blindsided me is beyond me. Never once did I think he was lying to me. I never thought that he wasn’t honestly in love with me.
My breath caught when I saw his face on the screen. I quickly clicked through the photos. Most were of him leaving different businesses. We came to learn that Jacob would take various jobs at different businesses as an accountant. He would then launder money and disappear. Photos of him with other women started showing up. He would find a woman and they would move in together. On the outside, he looked like a normal guy with a house and wife. No one suspected he was cooking the books.
The other women, like me, had no idea what he was really up to. We thought he was a wealthy business owner. We didn’t know about his meager salary and his illegal transferring of funds. We had no clue of his gambling problem of his multiple personalities.
The bedroom to my left went quiet so I clicked the folder closed and snapped the laptop shut. On my way to hide in my room, I grabbed the papers I printed. Spreading them out on the bed, I started to shift through it all. There was a lot of documentation on past cases. Names such Eric, Nate, Brian and Victor graced the pages. He really got around.
A photo of a pretty woman caught my eye. She had long dark hair, blazing blue eyes and perfect porcelain skin. She looked around my age as she smiled wide for the camera. Reading the notes below the image, I learned the woman was one of the many victims that Jacob conned. She was his wife for a several months before she turned up missing.
My stomach clenched and the contents rolled while my eyes ran across the words, soaking up every detail I could. Her name was Nancy and she owned a gift shop in Chicago. She left for the store, and according to Jacob, who was Jason at the time, she never came home. As her husband, he would be the beneficiary of her life insurance policy. If a body was found, he would have been granted over half a million dollars.
A body was not found and identified as Nancy. “Jason” disappeared shorty after selling their home and belongings when the police started to question him. Flipping through my stack, I found four other missing women with similar stories. Another story of a woman who came forward, claiming she suspected her husband of slowly poisoning her. When she returned from the police station, “Daniel” was gone, along with their savings account.
I violently flung the papers across the bedroom and buried my face in my hands. I sucked in deep breaths, trying to calm myself. How could I have been so utterly stupid? How did I not see the lies? Why didn’t I ask how he could afford the large home he bought us on the river? Why didn’t I ask more questions about his childhood or past?
He fed me lie after lie. His parents passed away when he was young. He had no other family and very little friends. I was so swept up in him that I was blind to the terrifying truth underneath. I could have ended up missing, or dead. All because I wanted to find a love that only exists in moving and books.
My spin straightened and I exhaled a gust of air. Never again will I make that mistake. Everyone makes mistakes, no one is perfect. But I always learn from my mistakes. After my father and my high school boyfriend, I should have never opened my heart again. Well, now I will close the doors and throw away the key.
I picked up the papers and shoved them in a desk drawer. If I ever thought I was slipping into that dark place again, I would bring these out to read again. I would remind myself of why I didn’t fall in love.
People wanted you to believe that there is someone out there for everyone. Fairy tales and Disney movies lead us to believe that one day you will find the love of your life and live happily ever after. Soulmates is a fucked up myth. There is no such thing as love at first sight and not everyone is meant to fall in love.
My life could be lived moving from one bed to another. I could concentrate on my art and family without the distraction of a needy boyfriend. I had the best friends a girl could ask for. I had Logan and Caleb to protect me. I had my brother and mother to love me till the end of time. Kallie was the girl I could always count on. I didn’t need anything else in life.
Saturday morning, I woke up cranky. It was almost noon and I was off work today. The only thing on my to-do list was the bonfire tonight at Logan’s. We never missed a bonfire. My brother and I met Logan in the second grade. Logan pulled my hair and I said I looked like a witch. Ryder beat him up and ended up in the principal’s office for it. My brother forced him to apologize and they have been BFFs ever since.
Logan was as much as my family as Ryder was. Every fond memory I had from growing up included our best friend. He never teased me after that day in the playground and took up the role as big brother to me. Between the two of them, later joined by Caleb, I was never messed with. Until junior year of high school.
Logan was the one I could always go to talk to. He was a quiet and thoughtful guy, always locked away in his head. He would reward me with something deep and meaningful to make any problem better. Logan was also loyal and never told my brother anything I wanted kept secret.
I stomped into the kitchen, startling Kallie in the process. Her tiny body jumped and her hands dropped the solder gun she was holding. I grabbed the coffee pot, lacking any grace, and clumsily started another pot.
“Morning, sunshine,” Kallie greeted while I leaned against the counter.
“Yeah,” I grumbled. I hated mornings, or afternoons in this case.
“You okay?” she asked me with her pretty concerned eyes on me.
She shrugged. “You just seem a little off, that’s all.”
“Well, I’m good. Fire tonight?” I changed subjects.
I nodded and turned to the coffee maker to pour a cup. I liked my coffee black so in no time, I was lounging in the recliner and digesting the caffeine. Kallie continued her work on a some kind of masterpiece. She could take random garbage, and I’m not exaggerating: most is garbage, and she could turn in to something of beauty. Our apartment now smelled like burnt metal most of the time.
After getting my caffeine mix, I agreed to do Kallie a favor. I told her I would deliver a box of new pieces to the consignment store on Main Street. Yes, we had a Main Street. We also had a water tower that teens spray painted, loved our high school football and everyone knew everyone.
I waved to Hank when he came out of Minnie’s diner as I walked down the walk to Marie’s shop. She’s been selling some of Kallie’s “up-cycled” jewelry for a few months now. They were a huge hit with the teens and Kallie was constantly stressed about keeping the store stocked.
I dropped off the box after I bought a choicer made of a bike chain out for myself. I usually looked through the pieces before they went to sell, but it was a busy week. I hit the new bar built on the river a few times a this week and attended the college party as well. I wasn’t on the same sleeping partner as my roommates, so I didn’t get to see what Kallie was working on.
I strolled down the sidewalk in my tiny hometown to my car. Benches flanked with flower pots lined the skinny road that ran through the center of the town. Brick buildings lined the road filled with shops and apartments or offices on the top floors. We took price in our historical heritage around here. We didn’t have a Wal-Mart or a mall, but we had small town charm.
I ducked into my car when I saw Kristen down the road. She was once a good a friend of mine in middle school and high school. Times have changed though, and we were no longer close. There was nothing I hated more than running into old classmates. I hated the fake smiles and phony voice you were expected to use when you asked how they have been.
I dreaded the questions she would undoubtedly ask. How have you been? What have you been doing with yourself? I didn’t have a good answer to the questions. I didn’t finish school, I was single and I have been doing pretty shitty lately. Avoiding telling the former cheerleader and student council member all that would be fantastic.
Kristen would no doubt see me driving away, but there was nothing she could do at that point. My car was a flashy red with a high spoiler. Ryder and Logan found the car for sale online and we drove to Michigan to pick it up when were seventeen.
It was a Mustang from the nineties with a high aftermarket spoiler on the back. It looked faster than it actually was. The car became a trademark of Scarlett Brooks. The loud exhaust and bright color didn’t blend in well around here, so I was always easy to spot when driving around.
Adam/Jacob wasn’t my first and only relationship. After my parent’s divorce, I tried to keep away from boys. But in high school, when boys are the center of every teenage girl’s world, that’s not so easy. Derek Wells was captain of the football team and asked me to go to homecoming dance with him. We soon became the school’s power-couple.
As the cheerleading team captain, we made the perfect and most cliched couple in the history of time. Really, it was straight out of a terrible teen movie, it was that typical. Holding hands at every football game, me wearing his jacket, making out in the backseat of his car; it was disgusting how adorable we were.
It all went terribly off the hinges at practice one day. Derek must not have read the damn script for our cheesy movie called life and was caught making out with Tara White under the bleachers. Yes, the bleachers, because we actually do that here. I had been heartbroken and embarrassed beyond belief. Everyone saw him and I suddenly became the butt of all the jokes.
Tara wasn’t one the popular girls. She was the girl who worked in library during her lunch period and barely spoke to anyone unless absolutely necessary. I was never one to bully and never teased her, or anyone else for that matter, but Tara was often the victim of teasing in the cruel society we called high school.
It took less than twenty-four hours for the people who were once my best friends and teammates to turn on me. Apparently, I was at the bottom of the social ladder because my boyfriend of nine months decided Tara White deserved the top and I no longer did.
The status never bothered me. I could live with going through the days not being recognized. What hurt the most was losing the people I thought were true friends to me. Kristen was one of those people. She walked the halls with Tara on her elbow and pretended I didn’t exist. Derek told me he loved me and I thought we could beat the odds. We could the high school sweethearts that made it real life. It was embarrassing, eye-opening and unforgettable.
I didn’t date again in high school after that. Derek showed up mysteriously with a black eye and broken nose the day after. No doubt it was courtesy of my brother and his friends. I swore off getting emotionally involved with anyone. I never wanted to be made a fool of again. I could live the rest of my life avoiding the pain and rejection the experience gave me.
I turned up the radio to the highest volume to drown out the memories. Once I returned to the apartment, I showered and spent an ungodly amount of time straightening my long hair. I was blessed with think dark hair, but it was difficult to tame. Although the bonfires were usually filled with the same people I’ve known my whole life, I always got primped for them. Who knows, maybe someone would bring a cousin or a friend from out of town that I could befriend for the night.
Alyne Roberts Bio: Alyne lives in Ohio with her husband, dog and cat. Working full time in an office all day, she spends her nights reading, writing or watching an entire TV series in a night. She refuses to grow up, loves Disney movies and anything with owls. She couldn't live without her coffee or her furry "children". Alyne is the author of "Light to the Darkness" and the "Conflicted Encounters" Series. To stay up to date on what Alyne is working on, teasers and more: Sign up for the newsletter. She loves to connect with readers so feel free to stalk her!