As someone who loves deleted scenes on DVDs, I’m pleased to offer you a collection of deleted scenes from my novels. Here you will find unedited, unpublished scenes that were deleted for a reason. (Largely because I needed to do better.)
Note: deleted scenes can and will contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.
Draft 1 of Chapter 1
Spies have hideouts and safe houses; deep hidden vaults filled with cash and passports in almost every major city in the world. We have places we can go to sleep, to think, to disappear. My friends call me the Chameleon, because, believe it or not, I have more of those places than most. But there are some places where even the most seasoned operatives can’t hide.
“Cammie,” a voice carried on the wind and found me and I made a mental note that most counter-intelligence professionals have nothing on grandmothers when it comes to tracking someone down.
“Cameron Ann, I know you’re out here.”
“Hi Grandma,” I said, swinging from the rafters of the barn and dropping to the dusty floor beside her.
“Ooh!” she snapped, bringing her hand to her chest as if I’d just scared the breath out of her. “Don’t do that!”
“Sorry,” I told her.
“What are you doing out here?”
She looked at me, her eyes asking a hundred questions ranging from “what sixteen-year-old girl voluntarily does homework in the middle of summer vacation” to “why would you do your homework in a barn rather than an air-conditioned house?” But her lips didn’t utter a single word. (Which was a very good thing because I didn’t want to say that this particular homework was for Dr. Fibs’s science class and even I couldn’t lie well enough to explain the aromas that even massive amounts of cow manure might not disguise.)
“Well, come on inside,” Grandma said, turning and starting toward the barn doors that stood open, framing a scene of the Sandhills that rose and fell behind her.
“In a minute,” I said, already starting for the ladder to the hayloft above.
But Grandma turned and snapped, “Now.” She rubbed her hands on her apron, and I knew it wasn’t a request. “You have a call. Long distance.”
As I trailed behind her my thoughts flew on the dry wind.
I thought about my classmates who seemed to scatter to the far corners of the world whenever school wasn’t in session. I thought about my mother who had put me on a plane the first day of summer break and hadn’t sent so much as a postcard since.
And finally I thought of two boys: one who probably wouldn’t have a clue how to call me; and one who didn’t really strike me as the telephone type. Performing a classic single-operative surveillance operation while tracking me through the local Wal-Mart, sure. Calling a girl up like a normal person, not so much.
“Which one of us is the old woman?” Grandma asked, walking faster, but still I lagged behind, searching the wide horizon because even though two semesters of Covert Operations training had taught me that the Morgan homestead would be a surveillance nightmare, I still looked around for eyes I could always feel but never quite see.
To our right, sheets hung on a line, flapping in the strong wind. In the west, a storm clouds grew, so I called, “I’ll come back and get the laundry before it rains.”
“It’s not gonna rain,” my grandmother told me as she started up the steps.
“But—” I pointed toward the dark clouds.
“That rain isn’t for us,” she said in the manner of someone who has learned long ago that the Sandhills can play tricks on you. A dry patch of highway can catch the sun and look knee-deep in water. A grain elevator can seem like it’s just down the road, when in truth it’s forty miles away. Clouds can bellow and brew, but then three plump drops of rain might land in the front yard, sending plumes of dust up in their wake, and that will be all of the storm.
“Things, Cammie,” Grandma said, pulling open the screen door, “are not always what they seem.”
My grandmother is wiser than all the geniuses I know put together sometimes. She knew what my school has spent more than a hundred years teaching—what every spy has to know in her soul. But I didn’t appreciate it then like I do now. I heard the sound of the ranch around us—a gate swinging free inside the corrals; newly weaned calves pacing fences, bawling for their mothers; and the noise of an old, boxy television blaring the sounds of the six o’clock news.
I listened to all that, but I didn’t I didn’t truly hear my grandmother’s words until much, much later.
If I had, I probably wouldn’t have picked up the phone.