Deleted Scenes

Steadfast Will I Be - Deleted Scene

Robin had listened to their taunts for weeks, ever since he arrived at Makgullane with Bretane. The name calling – Bloody Sassenach, bampot or boggin or yer a riddy stood in place of his name. He refused to speak the Scottish dialect, so he didn’t know what most of them meant, but he knew they were intended to tear him down. He’d watched the other lads on the estate walk wide circles to avoid him, and he’d seen them crush straw or bark and drop it into his food. He ate what he could and chewed very carefully, never spitting it out, much to the lads frustration. The worst of the torture came when Laird Bretane was away in Edinburgh, and none of the adults stood up for him. They watched his mistreatment silently or they joined in. Robin was completely alone in a strange land.

Still he accepted the name calling and the isolation without a word of complaint. He’d live through much worse in England. At least now he was in a place with plenty of food and a soft bed. But things changed when the lads started whipping at him with sticks. No one would ever beat him the way his father had, never again!

Robin grabbed the first stick just after it crossed his back and swung, the user still holding onto it, off his feet and into the nearest tree. When the second and third sticks whipped toward him, he ducked his head and charged at the lads, knocking both of them flat on their backs. With his fists clenched, he faced the last one.

Here stood an older lad, bigger than Robin and broader across the shoulders, a near grown man, too old to be teasing the English lad. The tormentor raised his arm and just before he brought it down, a rock thrown from behind Robin hit this attacker in the middle of the forehead. He stumbled, clutching the cut on his head, which bled down his nose and into his mouth. With a stunned look on his face, he dropped the stick and took off running down the path. The other three tormentors quickly regained their senses and followed him as fast as their feet could take them.

Robin scanned the trees and bushes to see who had defended him by throwing the rock. He saw a face between the leaves, the face of that odd little girl with the strange name whose mother lived down the road, the one they called a witch.

“What are ye doing here?” he called to her. She smiled right before she ran through the brush and out of sight.

By Promise Made - Deleted Scene

Katherine Payne slowly pushed on the door to the vast training hall and cautiously peeked in. The room was bare except for two thick mats on the floor and an array of weapons hanging on every wall.

“May I come in?” she said. Her words echoed in the empty room. She stepped inside and waited dutifully until the shiny swords and knives on one wall drew her curiosity. Admiring the weapons, she reached out and ran her finger along the smooth edge of a dagger with a white stone in the handle. The weapon next to it was a larger dirk with a black handle and no decoration, but the blade had a sharp deadly point.

“What are ye doing?” bellowed a voice from the back of the room. “Those weapons are for defending yerself and others, not for admiring.”

Katherine turned quickly to see a tall, broad-shouldered man with graying hair standing at the back of the room. She recognized him as Captain Rand, the Captain of Queen Mary’s Guard. “They are really quite beautiful, especially the one with stones embedded in the handles.”

The man stomped toward her, and she backed against the wall at his approach. “These are weapons, not art!” His black eyes narrowed, and he grimaced as he leaned over her. “That will be yer first lesson. Now step onto that mat and let me look at ye.”

Mustering her courage, she spoke up, “Lady Juliana sent me here, but I dinna ken why. Will ye tell me?”

He turned his back on her and strode to the center of the mat. “Ye are here to determine if ye are qualified to be young Queen Mary’s guardian. She is in constant danger, and she needs someone capable to protect her, someone who will defend her at all costs. Ye are here to see if ye are that guardian.”

“But why me? I’ve had no training as a guard.”

“Do ye have anywhere else to be? Anywhere else to go?”

She ducked her head. “Nay, sir. I am a widow with no pension, and I work in the kitchen for my keep.”

“No more questions. Step onto the mat!”

Six weeks later, Rand’s rigorous and unrelenting training had made her body strong until she could outdo several of the male guards in contests of strength and speed. The next six weeks Rand drilled her on the use of all types of weapons to determine which ones were best for her size and agility. Over the final six weeks she ran mile after mile carrying a heavy pack. She scaled walls and cliffs, and she survived surprise attacks by the trained soldiers.

“Now for yer hardest lessons of all,” said Rand. “Ye must learn to lead the Queen’s Guard. These are men who bristle against a man’s leadership and will ignore a woman’s altogether, but ye must teach them to follow yer orders and yer leadership without hesitation. The queen’s life depends on it.”

The men, despite their large size and arrogant attitude, were humbled as she bested them one-by-one in hand-to-hand combat. She pushed men to their backs with her dexterity with weapons of every kind, and she stood up to them when they disobeyed or made cutting remarks. She jutted out her chin and held her dirk to their throats until they followed her orders. They dreaded how easily she turned the tables on them, but they came to respect her strength, agility, and most of all her fairness. She never threatened to use Captain Rand’s wrath against them. She accepted the occasional defeat with grace and never boasted of her victories, never shaming them. One by one they learned to respect and obey her orders without question.

“Ye are ready,” Captain Rand said to a bruised and battered Kit six months into her training. “Now to meet the queen.”

Keeper of My Dreams - Deleted Scene

“Wait! Wait!” shouted twelve-year-old Taran. “Leena, wait, I didna mean it. I’m sorry. Please, Leena!”

Ten-year-old Leena Cullane stopped running and turned to face her brother. “That is what I wanted to hear, how sorry ye are. Are ye going to let me go fishing with ye and Dillon?”

Taran came close to Leena with his twin brother, Dillon, right behind him. “It took us all morning to dig those worms. We dinna have time to dig more.”

“Come on, Leena,” said Dillon, “Ye can sit with us. We’ll even cut ye a stick ye can use as a pole. Just give us back the worms.”

Pursing her lips, Leena said, “I dinna want a stick. I want yer pole. The one Da gave ye for yer birthdays. No pole, no worms.” She tucked the jar with the fishing worms under her arm.

“Let her have the worms,” said Dillon. “It willna take long to dig more.”

“Nay, I want to go now!” shouted Taran. “She always ruins everything. Kicking in the water and scaring the fish away, and if I do catch one, she grabs it before I can get it on my string. The worms are ours! Now give them over!”

“Nay!” said Leena.

“I’ll push ye in the mud!” said Taran, lurching toward her, but Dillon held him back. “’Tis no worth the trouble she’ll make for us with Da.”

Taran sighed. They started to walk away when they heard Leena scream. And there she was, face down by the side of the road, screaming and slapping her hands on the mud, splattering it everywhere, especially on herself. Taran ran to help her up, but she lifted her muddy hands and smeared the dirt over his breeches before pushing him away.

“Ye’ll be sorry ye didna take me fishing!” Leena screeched. “Ye’ll be sorry!” She ran

toward the house.

Taran started after her, but Dillon tugged him back by his arm. “Will do ye no good. She’ll tell her tale, and Da will come find ye.”

“But I didna push her in the mud!” said Taran.

“But the mud on yer breeches will say that ye did. ’Tis no use. Our sister has won again. Da will blame us.”

The twins waited for the worst. Minutes that seemed like hours later, their father walked toward them with Leena in tow, her kirtle still covered with mud.

Robin stopped in front of his sons, but he didn’t give them the usual scolding and punishment. Instead, he gave Leena a gentle push forward. She pouted and bit her lip. Finally, she said in a soft voice, “Give me yer breeches and I’ll wash them. Here are some clean ones.” She held out a pair of dry breeches.

“And what else?” said Robin.

Scraping her toe in the dirt, she said, “I am sorry. I put myself in the mud, no’ ye, Taran.”


“I am sorry I lied about it. Yer worms are in the jar over there.” She pointed toward the edge of the mud puddle. “The next two times ye want to go fishing, I’ll dig the worms for ye.”

Robin touched her on the head. “And?”

“And I willna ask to go fishing with ye. Ye can go by yerselves.”

Taran and Dillon stood there with awe-struck looks on their faces.

Robin said, “Now back to the house, Leena. Ye mum has chores for ye. I’ll bring Taran’s muddy breeches to ye to wash afore ye eat.”

To his twin sons, he said, “She finally confessed the truth about how she got in the mud. I’m sorry for any other times I blamed ye when it was Leena’s doing. She does love ye, but she hates being left out. Will ye forgive her?”

Dillon spoke up. “We will, mayhap afore we go to bed.” He gave Taran a gentle shove before Taran said slowly, “Me, too. She’s no’ all that terrible. I just dinna like it when she tells me what to do. I’m older. She should do what I say.”

“ ’Tis the way of women, lads,” said Robin. “Now take off the muddy breeches and put these on.”

Desperate Hope - Deleted Scene

At the sound of wagon wheels coming down the road toward the house, Tansy Johansen stopped stirring the soup and rushed to the window. “Company!” she said.

She didn’t recognize the driver, but he was handsome with blond hair and broad shoulders. But none of that mattered because he was someone new, and she could hardly wait to meet him.

Her brother, Ash, came out of the barn and shook the man’s hand after he jumped down from the wagon seat. At the same time Tansy opened the front door and stepped out onto the porch.

Ash said, “Tansy, you remember Alden Carter, the one we met when we went to Pennsylvania to his dairy where we bought our bull, Obed.”

Now Tansy remembered the man. He had the most delightful smile she had ever seen, and he shared it often, to her delight.

“So glad to see you again, Miss,” said Alden as he slipped off his wide-brimmed felt slouch hat and made a sweeping bow. “Ash told me I could come to New Jersey anytime I wanted. I can look at cows any old time, but seeing someone as pretty as you doesn’t happen that often. So here I am.”

“You flatter me, Mr. Carter.”

“I meant to,” he said with a wink. “If it is all right with you, Ash, could I sit here on the porch with your sister for a time before you and I start to talk dairy?”

Ash said, “We can check the herd later. It will be all right as long as you stay on the porch. Tansy, you may sit on the porch swing, and Mr. Carter can sit on the rocker in the corner.”

Tansy straightened her shoulders and put her hands on her hips. “Don’t I get any say in this? Maybe I have chores to do instead of listening to whatever Mr. Carter wants to talk about.”

Ash said to Alden, “Didn’t I tell you she can be as stubborn as a mule? Are you sure you want to waste your time with her?”

“It won’t be a waste of time, even if she sends me packing before sunset.”

“Sunset!” said Tansy. “What makes you think I’ll talk with you until sunset? My brothers will be moaning for their supper long before that.”

“Mr. Carter will be here for a week,” said Ash. “We’re going to get his advice on how to improve our output. He has a way to get half-again as much milk from his cows as we do.”

Tansy’s eyes flickered from one man to the other. “I am not interested in milk output, but if Mr. Carter wants to spend an hour with me on the porch, I guess I can allow it.”

“Thank you,” said Alden. “You won’t regret it. I’ve already convinced your brother of how charming I am. Now it’s time to convince you.”

“We’ll see about that, but first I have to take the soup off the fire.” He didn’t see her smiling at the prospect of sitting on the porch with a handsome man.

When she came back outside, Alden Carter was sitting on the rocker in the corner of the porch. “I want to sit there,” she said. “You can sit on the swing.”

Alden immediately stood and walked past her to the swing.

After she’d settle into the rocker, she said, “Now tell me why you came all this way.”

He smiled, and she didn’t care why he’d come, just glad that he did.