A simple truth about writing is that not everything makes the final cut. In fact, some of your favorite parts of a novel, might never have been in the original. Likewise, there may be some stuff the author loved that editors or critique partners didn't feel was all that strong. Maybe it didn't move the story forward. Maybe it took away from another part of the story or a character's development.
For me, it's kind of like when I used to take exams in college. Those ones that I felt awesome about and thought I'd aced...not so much. The ones I was positive I'd bombed, I did better than I thought. There have been times where I was certain a line was perfect, only to have a critique partner be like, "Um...I'm sorry, but no." There has also been times (thankfully) that I've been completely uncertain about a line and readers have said, "I love this."
Sometimes, as authors, we get so far into the story that even when we're re reading, we're not separated enough to make a final decision. So we seek help and outside eyes (that sounded creepier than I meant for it to).
When I wrote Falling for Kate, I had a different ending than the one you've all read. In fact, very few people have read the ending as I originally intended it. My editor pointed out some very valid reasons for changing it and so I did. When I was chatting with my Romance Chicks pal, Christina Hovland, she suggested I put the original ending aside for bonus material on my blog. AND GUESS WHAT? That's what I'm going to do. I wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American pals, readers, friends, and acquaintances. I'm grateful for all of you.
We Canadians have already had our Thanksgiving, but that doesn't mean I would say no to pie this weekend. Or cookies. Or turkey, actually. Whatever feast you'll be enjoying, here's the original epilogue that I wrote for Falling for Kate. Enjoy.
Kate stared into the full length mirror, turned sideways. The dress she’d designed for the opening of her store tonight had subtle ruching around the waist, so even if anyone other than Elliot knew she was two months pregnant, it wasn’t visible. But they knew. And knowing their baby was growing inside of her overwhelmed Kate with a kind of happiness she hadn’t ever known.
Elliot came into their bedroom, looking extremely sexy in his dark suit with a deep burgundy tie that matched the little buttons trailing the slit of her dress.
“You look beautiful,” he said, slipping his arms around her from behind.
Kate stared at him in the mirror. Loving someone the way she loved him was nearly painful. It stole her breath if she thought too hard about it. “So do you.”
Elliot chuckled. “Beautiful describes women. Not men.”
“Since I’m looking at you and seeing what I see, I’d say you’re wrong.”
His hands covered her belly and he spread his fingers wide. His voice went lower when he spoke again. “I can’t believe you haven’t even told your sisters. It must be killing you.”
It was. But she wanted to wait until they were past the twelve week mark. Besides, Lucy had given birth to a baby boy only a month ago. Nathaniel was born June eighth and the family was still riding high from that. The girls had just started their summer vacation and tonight was the grand opening of “Details”, Kate’s very own dress shop. There was enough going on and she wanted this news to be just for her and Elliot for a bit longer.
“I like sharing a secret with just my husband,” she said, meeting his eyes in the mirror.
Elliot’s eyes darkened. “God, I love hearing you say that.”
One of his hands went to her hip while the other slid down to the gap in the dress where her thigh peeked out. His fingers trailed down as far as they could then back up. Shivers stampeded straight up her spine and through her stomach.
“Secret?” she teased.
With her hair pulled into a loose bun, he had easy access to her neck. He took full advantage, kissing a trail over her shoulder and back again, right up to the spot below her ear.
Kate’s eyes drifted closed as Elliot’s fingers continued to travel over her body. “Hmm. I like it, too.”
Turning her, Elliot cupped the back of her neck and tilted her face up. “I didn’t think the words would matter so much. But I love introducing you as my wife. I love being your husband. I love you, Kate. More than I knew was possible.”
Emotions burst like fireworks in her chest. How could anyone feel so much for one person? “I love you. It’s impossible to tell you how much.”
They’d married in April and every morning, Kate woke up with the need to pinch herself. She had all of the things she wanted and some she hadn’t known she needed.
Elliot walked her backwards until her knees hit the bed. “You could show me,” he said, grinning in a way that made her insides twirl.
Kate laughed. “I just got dressed. Did you drop the girls off with Gina?”
Elliot slid the strap of her gown off her shoulder and let his lips linger on her collarbone. “I did. I told her we’d pick them up in the morning.”
Kate froze. “What?”
He smoothed his thumb over her cheek. “We talked about this, baby. She’s ready. She’s been working at Cal’s since the end of January. That’s six months of solid employment. She bought plants for her apartment. Real ones that she has to take care of. She’s ready. And so are they. One night. I want one night alone with my wife.”
Elliot’s hands went back to wandering, which didn’t help to slow the steady beat of Kate’s pulse.
“Ok. You’re right. But by one night alone with your wife, do you mean in a crowd of people who are attending the opening tonight?”
Elliot groaned. “Let’s be late.”
She laughed. “I can’t be late to my own opening.”
His lips quirked. “Sure you can. That’s the beauty of being the boss.”
“It’s only a couple of hours. And then we have the rest of the night.”
Elliot kissed her, pulled her tighter against him. “Sounds promising. So far, you’ve proven yourself worth the wait.”
Kate threw her arms around his neck. “Good to know. I love you, Elliot.”
“I love you.”
She kissed his cheek. “You’re a very accommodating and supportive husband.”
He winked at her. “Whole package, right?”
Linking her hand with his, she nodded. “Absolutely.” And he was all hers.
~ The End ~
Happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there. The story I'm working on now, features Elliot Peters, a dad of twin daughters. He's determined to get his girls settled and maybe find a little bit of happiness for himself. For all of them. Want another sneak peek?
As you may or may not know, Kate is the sister of Lucy, who was the main character in Falling For Home. You also might not know that My Slanted Bookish Ramblings asked me some questions about Falling for Home over on her Sunday Spotlight. You can win a copy of this book and of Damaged.
“Do you really think that? I mean I’m turning twenty-five and I don’t even have a job.”
Elliot gave a low, rough chuckle. “Twenty-five is tipping the scales toward over the hill. But I think you’re good. You’ve got a degree, a plan, and a family who’ll back you no matter what.” He squeezed her hand. “And you have friends who’ll do the same.”
She nodded into the blackness. She did have all of that. “How about you? You think all of the things that led you to where you are right now were worth it?”
Elliot let go of her hand and settled both of his on his chest. Kate scrunched her pillow a bit under her neck, hoping he’d answer.
“Gina’s a mess. I need to get my girls settled into a real life. They’re in grade one now. They need to be at school, the same school, every day. They need to come home, do homework, have dinner and go to bed at the same time each night. They need routine.”
“They need you.”
He turned his head. She was already looking at him but now their eyes found each other.
“They do. I was unsure of that before. I mean, I work full time which includes odd hours and overtime. And I’m not the mom. I know I’m a good parent. I’d die for them. I would do anything I had to for them. And I thought letting them be with their mom was what I was supposed to do. But I was wrong. She hasn’t changed. She won’t change. Gina has always been one hundred percent about herself. But even knowing that, I can’t regret it because of them.”