I thought I'd share one such scene I had to delete from The Troublemaker Next Door. There's nothing wrong with the scene. It totally works by itself and shows that Abby and Brody, the couple who are front and center in the next book, How to Handle a Heartbreaker, have real spark. But leaving it in book one messed with the flow, slowed down the story, and frankly took away a little from Maddie and Flynn's romance.
But I still love that scene, so here it is. Enjoy!
Setup: Abby and Brody are at a dance club with their friends, watching Maddie and Flynn on the dancefloor.
Abby chewed her lower lip.“Doesn’t that hurt?” Brody’s deep voice broke her out of her musings.“What?”“Biting your lip like that.” He brushed a thumb over her lower lip, and her entire body locked up.Whoa. “No. I’m good.” She took a large swallow of beer that cost a bundle but tasted like watered down piss. Or at least what she imagined watered down piss might taste like. The club looked like a scene out of one of her books. Glammed up women, stoned or drunk, dancing and gyrating against guys with fat wallets and expensive haircuts.Guys who looked like Brody, the golden haired golden boy whose eyes seemed to miss nothing. Maddie couldn’t see beyond Flynn, but Abby clearly thought Brody the more attractive of the two men. He had a toughness to him, a sense of darkness that flashed every now and then, that made Abby’s entire body tingle.As if a guy that hot would like someone like me. Kevin’s voice resounded in her mind, hurling insults that made her cringe.Brody frowned and stepped closer. “You okay?”She forced a brittle smile. “Fine, great.” Vanessa danced with Dave, or was that Gary? She hadn’t seen the other two guys for a while. She’d also lost track of Flynn and Maddie, but before she could really worry, she spotted them again on the dance floor. They looked like a couple, dancing together, not touching, yet an intimacy clung to the pair she hadn’t seen earlier.“You like this place?”Nice of Brody to make small talk. He’d declined several offers to dance and one humdinger of an option for a blowjob from some pretty but tipsy blond. With everyone else protected or watched over, Abby remained alone. Typical.“It’s a club like any other, I guess.” She sighed. “I’ll be okay if you want to mingle.”“Nah. I’m good. It’s been a long day.”“Yeah.” She’d gotten another chapter written, but it had been like pulling teeth to set her characters on the right path when they kept taking wrong turns. And then two of her web clients, who knew just enough about coding to be dangerous, had tried to improve their sites and had fiddled with files strictly labeled do not touch, rendering their websites unreadable. She’d spent half her day fixing mistakes she shouldn’t have had to fix.“What do you do, anyway?” He looked interested. Probably because her roommates seemed so capable, while she didn’t.“I design and maintain websites.”“Really?” Brody nodded. “I don’t know jack about computers, except that certain video games are allowed and others banned from the McCauley house. Mike’s,” he explained. “I like to bring over a variety to see what Colin likes. What he doesn’t I play.” He grinned.His smile brought out the gold in his eyes, smothering the darkness there. Brody was a man with secrets. To her chagrin, the idea for her newest hero had begun to take on more and more of his traits, to include hair and eye color.“So the websites,” he continued. “How much do you charge to set them up? I’ve been thinking Flynn and I should have one.”She gaped at him. “Are you kidding me? In this day and age, you don’t have a website for your business?”“No. Why?”“How do people contact you? How do they schedule appointments?” The guys must have been incredible tradesmen not to hurt for work without a website for advertising. Honestly, how many people really used the Yellow Pages anymore? She had heart palpitations just thinking about what business Brody might have lost going without.“Word of mouth. We get a lot of calls. I take our appointments. Flynn’s great with a wrench, but he’s not so good with messages.”Abby had heard Mike complain about that very same thing at one of the guys’ poker nights.“So what else is Flynn good at?” The minute she asked, she knew she’d made a mistake.Brody zeroed in on her like a hungry wolf. “Why? You interested?” He leaned closer, his brows drawn, his mouth a thin slash of anger.She laughed, and he blinked. “Me? Are you kidding?”He looked confused. “No. Why? Isn’t he your type?”“He’s every woman’s type. But I doubt I’m his.”Brody blinked. “Huh?”“Let’s lay it on the line, Brody. Flynn is so into Maddie it’s not funny. Look at him.” She gripped Brody’s smooth chin in her hand, ignored the heat building between her legs, and forced him to see his best friend. “Now look at Maddie. They’re all but starting a small brush fire out there.”Abby couldn’t look away. Maddie was wrapped around Flynn like a vine, and his smile took up his entire face. She didn’t want to believe it, but she’d swear the pair seemed almost in love. “If your buddy is screwing around with my best friend, I’ll string him up by his toes.”Brody turned to look down at her from his towering height, and she realized she still had a hold of his chin.She dropped her hand in a hurry and hoped she didn’t look as red as she felt.“Okay.”“Okay?” She frowned. “Ah, so does that mean he’s messing with her, or what?”“Look at them. Does it look like he’s screwing around? My boy’s got it bad.” He groaned as they watched the pair moving so in step they seemed like they’d been together forever.Not a good sign. Maddie was falling for him, big time.“I have a feeling your roommate is going to break his heart. Flynn’s not used to digging in with a woman. But Maddie’s different.” Brody leaned closer to her, meeting her nose to nose. “So you keep an eye on sweet pea out there. I like her, but I don’t want my man clinging to country music and drowning his lonely heart in crappy beer when she dumps all over him. If she’s not into him, get her to ease off him now, before it’s too late.”“Too late for what?”Brody’s face closed of all expression. He didn’t say any more. He drank his beer, but he didn’t move away. Close yet so far, they might as well have been on two different planets.