Brandyn Blaze

Life Between The Scenes

Category: Short Works Of Fiction

“Snared” Outtake: Missing Maggie (Aries POV)

***Disclaimer: Material may be inappropriate for some readers. May contain spoilers.***

When I started this series, I had intended on writing from multiple points of view. Over time, I made the decision to stick to one character per book, resulting in tons of leftover material.  This is great news for my Danni fans, as he will undoubtedly get a minimum of two novellas from his perspective, as well as a book from Miranda’s point of view.  I’ve even kicked around a book about Strut and Arielle, but that’s a ways down the line.

Somehow, Aries and Logan just didn’t wind up with the same about of material. As I dig through all these story fragments, I’ve found I still the pieces I have written from their points of view.  Rather than letting them collect dust, I’ve decided to give them a home on this blog.

If you’re familiar with this series, this piece will give you a little insight into Aries’ mind as he copes with life without Maggie. If you’re new here, you can look at this outtake as a little taste of what you can find in my “Instruments of Life” series, which you can find in the “Books” tab at the top of the screen. You can also check out a deleted scene from the first book here.

Instruments of Life Snared Book 3 Deleted Scene Outtake

I watched the woman dancing before me with nothing more than mild amusement. By all accounts, this should turn me on, but my mind is elsewhere, comparing her to someone she’ll never be.

I sipped at my beer, not caring if she could sense my boredom. At least she took direction well. Maggie had, too.

When it came to sex anyway, I recalled with a smile. In all other instances, Maggie Hawke had been insanely stubborn and driven.

God, I hate that she has his name.

I frowned and refocused my attention on the brunette gyrating in front of my bed, removing the last of her clothing. She gave me a seductive smile as she closed the gap between us, sinking to her knees and running her hands up my thighs.

I sighed and grabbed her hands, pushing her away. “You should go.”

Confusion showed on her perfectly made up face. “What?”

“Go,” I repeated.

Hurt flashed through her icy blue eyes that held none of the warmth that Maggie’s brown ones had held. She remained on the floor, sitting back on her heels as she continued to search my face. “I don’t understand.”

I shook my head and rose to my feet, reaching into my back pocket for my wallet. “Here, call yourself a cab,” I offered, handing her a few crumpled bills.

She wrinkled her nose in disgust. “I don’t need your money.”

I shrugged and tossed it on the nightstand, the grabbed my cigarettes and strode out of the room. I didn’t have time for this shit. I walked through the house and opened the back door, hoping she’d leave without a fuss. The cool air was a relief as it caressed my skin, carrying the scent of cherry blossoms from the trees I’d planted just for her.

I took a seat and lit up a smoke. I’d picked out this patio set for her as well. There had been a similar set at a restaurant we’d been to on the road, and she’d wanted to ask the owners where they’d bought them. I’d ordered them almost immediately and had a friend put them in storage. I’d wanted to surprise her when we got home. Truth be told, nearly everything in this house had been chosen with her in mind.

My thoughts turned to the girl in my bedroom. She was certainly beautiful, but she had nothing on Maggie. Like all the other girls I’d dragged home, this one seemed shallow and vacant. None of them seemed to have anything worthwhile to say, not that I wanted to keep any of them around long enough to hear it if they did. Unlike Maggie, they were all blinded by my fame. They didn’t want to get to know me, as a person. They were simply in love with an image.

I blew a cloud of smoke towards the sky. Eventually she’d come home.

I heard the door open and close and breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe I should just go inside and call Danni up and ask for his sister’s number again. He’d have to crack eventually.

I shook my head. If he hadn’t told me he’d sent her that tape, I’d have had that girl and sent her on her way. My night would have been spent wrestling with unearned guilt. It was probably better that I’d avoided that mess all together.

I let out a soft chuckle. The guilt was a fairly new phenomenon. Before I’d met Mags, I’d never given a second thought to the random women I hooked up with, even if I had a woman waiting for me at home. Now here I was, a year after she’d left and still feeling like I was somehow being unfaithful to her and relying on a veritable cocktail of mind-numbing substances to keep her out of my thoughts.

If she ever came home she’d be disgusted with what I’d become. That should be enough to force me to change, but it’s not. Knowing I’m letting her down only pushes me deeper into the hole I’ve dug for myself. All told, I deserved every ounce of this. All I could do was pray that I could one day atone for my sins.

I flicked my cigarette into the yard and rose to my feet. I’d run through these thoughts millions of times since she’d gone, sitting here ruminating on all that had gone wrong wasn’t going to change a God damn thing.

I let myself into the house and stopped at the fridge, grabbing a fresh beer before heading to my room. A quick glance at the nightstand revealed that the girl had stolen my watch. I shook my head, a wry smile creeping onto my lips. If she thought it would prompt me to call her, she was shit out of luck. I didn’t do repeats.

I sank onto the edge of the bed, where I’d been sitting just moments before. I felt just as lonely now as I did before I kicked her out. Just as lonely as I did when I was practicing with the band. I just wished it would fucking stop.

I took a large swig of my beer and sighed. Hopefully that tape had gotten through to her.

I kicked off my boots and fell back against the pillows and squeezed my eyes closed. It was still fairly early. Surely there was something I could be doing with my time. But all I wanted to do was escape.

The phone rang, jarring me out of my thoughts. I looked towards the source of interruption, not really wanting to speak to anybody. I let out a sigh and reached over, grabbing the phone off the nightstand.

“Talk to me.”

“Hey…it’s Maggie…”

I sat upright, my heart skipping a beat at the sound of her voice. “Maggie who?” I teased, suddenly feeling lighter than I had in god knows how long.

“Shut up,” she replied. The laughter in her voice brought a sense of relief.

I chuckled. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“Well..,” she answered slowly. “I just listened to the tapes you did with Danni…”

Fuck. I knew this was too good to be true.

“So this is a business call?” I asked, chastising myself for getting my hopes up.

“Air…” she sighed.

“It’s okay,” I assured her. Talking business was better than not talking at all. “What did you think?”

“I love it all…I made some notes and I was thinking…”

Thank fuck!

“You’re going to do the album,” I cut in, feeling like the weight had been lifted once more.

“Actually…” I heard her take a deep breath. “I was wondering how much more material you guys have?”

“Enough for a couple albums. I’ve been writing up a fuckin’ storm lately.” Mostly about you. If nothing else, you leaving gave me something to write about.

“Awesome. Here’s what I was thinking, I made a ton of notes and I think you should narrow down like, I don’t know, 8 or 9 songs and I’ll send the notes and have Danni do an EP real quick, just get something out there and get you back on the road.”

Pain shot through me as she spoke. How much worse could one night get?

“So you just called to blow me off? Fuck, Mags…first you fucking run off and now…”

“Whoa!” She cut in. “Listen, please. Just for a minute…get something out there to hold over the masses and I’ll figure some things out on my end and we can work on the next real album.”

I heaved a sigh of relief. I’d gotten myself worked up for nothing. Of course, she was coming back. I’d always known she would. “I won’t do a full album until you’re here.”

“But you’ll do an EP? Please, Air. Think of your career…I don’t want it fucked up and neither do you. Just throw together some acoustic tracks or something. Don’t spend too long on it, just put something out.”

“How do I know you’re not pulling some scheme?” I asked only, partially teasing. I wouldn’t put it past her to build me up just to get me back to work, with no intentions of giving me another chance.

She sighed. “I’ll be out there in a couple weeks to do a dress fitting for M and Danni’s wedding. We’ll get together then.”

My smile returned. “I’m holding you to that.”

“But we’re not…”

I chuckled. We’d been down this road before. “I know, babe.”

“I’m serious this time, Aries,” she protested.

“You always are.” I hung up the phone, knowing it would drive her crazy. Her heart was just as guarded as mine, but I always managed to get through. I doubted it would be as easy this time, but then again, I’d thought that before.

You can’t run forever, Mags…

 

Deleted Scene: Aries Meets Maggie (Broken Strings Outtake)

***Disclaimer: May contain spoilers and material not suitable for all readers.***

Ever wondered what was going through Aries’ mind the first time he really met Maggie?

At one point, I had intended to write from multiple points of view throughout the “Instruments of Life” series, but somewhere along the way I stuck with just Maggie. However, I have tons of stuff written from the other character’s perspectives that didn’t make it into the books.

The other day I ran across this piece I had written from Aries’ POV and I just had to share it here! This outtake is from the first book, “Broken Strings” and gives us a look at the effect Maggie had on Aries from the start.

For those of you who are not familiar with this series, here’s a little taste of what you can expect. If you like what you read, head on over to my “Books” tab and grab your copy of “Broken Strings” for just 99 cents!

 

broken strings deleted scene, book outtake Aries meets Maggie

 

Maggie Hawke. Of course, I knew who she was. Everyone around here did. She was quickly growing to be one of the most coveted producers around, and with good reason. Between her reputation in the field and the astronomical success of her brother and her husband, she was damn near bullet-proof.

I had assumed she’d be a bitch. Or a druggie. To be honest, in this town, I had anticipated both. If what I had seen tonight was any indication, neither of those things were true.

She was also drop-dead gorgeous.

And she’s not wearing a wedding ring.

I chuckled at the thought. It wouldn’t have made a difference if she was.

I have to have her.

I’d seen Logan a few weeks ago. He was with some trashy little blonde and wondered if they had separated or if he’s just as big of an asshole as I am. Either way, he traded down.

If she was mine I wouldn’t need anybody else.

The thought took me aback. Monogamy had never been my strong suit. Hell, relationships in general had never been my strong suit. I kept trying with Vanessa, though. When things were good, they were great. When they were bad…

I sighed. I didn’t even know this girl, but there was something about her I couldn’t resist. The conversation we’d had earlier sparked something within me that I’d never experienced before. The party was dying down and Danni was still nowhere in sight as his sister and I sat on the couch. The longer we talked the more it felt like we were the only ones who existed. It took everything in me not to drag her into my room right now.

For all intents and purposes, she’s your boss now. Don’t fuck this up, Steele.

I’d have to take it slow with this one.

Or stay away from her entirely. This could be the one to break your heart.

I pushed the thought away. I’d have to have a heart first.

Still, the way her eyes sparkled when she laughed, the way she tilted her head when she was listening to what I had to say, the way she fired back sarcasm as if it were her native language…in a few short hours I’d already come to love these things. There was something so pure about her, and I felt an overwhelming urge to keep her away from the ugliness of this world.

The sun was beginning to come up when her brother finally reappeared. I regarded him with something akin to amusement as he swayed before us.

So much for getting clean.

“Let’s go, sis,” he mumbled.

“Can you get us home?” she asked, clearly evaluating his state. The look of sadness in her eyes was enough to make me want to deck the guy.

“Fuckin’ right I can get us home!” He boasted.

She shook her head slightly, resigning to her fate. She finished what was left of her beer and rose to her feet, turning to me with a smile. “Well, it was nice talking to you, Aries.”

I smiled back. “The pleasure was all mine.”

She waved and turned to walk away.

Tell them to stay here. He doesn’t need to be on the road…

“Hey, Maggie,” I called as she neared the door.

She pivoted to face me. “Yeah?”

Damn it, I can’t ask her to stay…

“Tomorrow at 3, right?”

“Yeah,” she replied, a smile creeping onto her lips.

That smile warmed me through and I couldn’t wait to see it again. She didn’t know it yet, but she’d signed on to do more than make an album. By the time this thing was over, she’d be mine.

 

Want more deleted scenes from this series? Check out another one here ! Be sure to subscribe to the blog or follow me on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date!

Exclusive: Deleted Scene From “Broken Strings”

 ***Warning: The deleted scene included in this post contains content that may not be suitable for young readers. Proceed with caution.***

I know, I know, you came here for the bonus scene. Before I get to that, I’d like to take a quick moment to explain how it came to be.

I think I mentioned before that I recently moved my hoard of old junk from my Papa’s house to my own dwelling. An entire truckload of boxes and totes, most of which contained binders, folders, notebooks, and a veritable buttload of loose papers.

Among these potential story ideas, one shots,  and forgotten drafts, I found some early versions of what would become my “Instruments of Life” series. Some of these I had actually convinced myself didn’t exist. When I couldn’t find these hand-written scenes, I assumed I had only though about writing them. Turns out, they were just buried.

A few of these pieces were damn good. In fact, I found an entire manuscript that I absolutely adore. Although the names of the characters are the same, the story line was so vastly different that I just may refashion it at some point. Interestingly, a few of the key scenes did wind up in the finished project.

Of course, for every piece I found that I still loved, there was a handful of pure garbage. After jotting down a few savable themes from some of them, I had a nice bonfire. It was incredibly freeing to let go of so much dead weight!

Of the treasures I kept, I fully intend to work as many of them into this series as I can. However, a few of them really belonged in the first two books. Instead of letting them rot in my desk drawer, I thought it would be fun to share a few of these outtakes here for those of you who have been following the saga of Miss Maggie Hawke.

You can be sure to expect many of these hidden scenes as we gear up for new releases. Today, I would like to share a forgotten moment from the recording sessions for Pretty Deadly’s first album.

broken strings deleted scene instruments of life

***

The rest of the band filed out of the studio, leaving Aries and I alone. The air was charged with the unpredictable magic that set my soul on fire. Looking in his sparkling green eyes, I knew he felt it, too.

He grinned at me, holding up one hand as he cocked his head towards the door, listening for the fading footsteps of his band mates.

I chuckled softly and shook my head as I turned away from him. I shifted my weight from foot to foot as I stood at the console,  busying myself with the sheaf of papers before me.

The last bits of laughter faded into silence and I cut my gaze to the man across the room. His smile grew wider as he began to walk towards me.

“I thought they’d never leave,” he said, a mixture of relief and impish laughter in his voice.

I let out a laugh as he came to a stop behind me, sliding an arm around my waist and pulling me to him. He kissed my neck and I leaned into him, hugging his arm to my waist.

“Why can’t I get enough of you, Mags?” He murmured, is breath hot against my ear. He pressed a kiss just behind my ear. “I want to take you against this board.”

My knees grew weak as desire spread through me.

No. You can’t keep giving in so easily, I chided myself. I chuckled softly.

“What have I told you about leaning on the controls?” I teased. “It’s not good for the equipment.”

He laughed and held me tighter. “That didn’t matter the other day.”

I felt my face grow red as the memory gripped me. I let out another laugh and pulled away. “We have to get some work done first.”

He reached out and grabbed my hand, stepping towards me as he spoke. “It can wait.”

His lips met mine as he wrapped me in his arms. I hugged him back, returning the kiss.

Another soft laugh issued from my lips. “If we don’t get this part recorded now we’ll never get to it.”

He smiled. “Always so focused.”

I rolled my eyes. “One of us has to be.”

He kissed me once more before letting me go. “Do you remember the part Jesse showed you?”

I nodded. “I think so. You remember what I showed you back here?”

He smiled. “I remember everything you’ve shown me.”

I felt the color begin to rise in my cheeks and turned my gaze to the floor. “Just start the tape when I get out there. I want to run through it a time or two before we record.”

He chuckled. “Can do.”

I smiled back at him, feeling like a nervous teenager. I was both amazed and embarrassed at the effect he had on me. The giddiness he inspired within me was beyond intoxicating, and yet there was something calming about his presence. A comfortable madness.

“It should be queued up,” I said.

He nodded and took a seat at the controls. “Let’s do this thing.”

I smiled and made my way into the recording space. My nerves escalated as I pulled up a stool and adjusted the mic. Somehow playing for him made me feel more vulnerable and exposed than all the times we had been together, and I hoped he couldn’t see it on my face.

I took a deep breath and picked up Jesse’s guitar, then took a seat and began tuning it up.

Aries’ voice cut through the monitors. “He’s gonna kill you for that, you know.”

I laughed and met his gaze through the window. “He should have expected it.”

He shook his head, laughing as he leaned towards the microphone. “Let me know when you’re ready.”

I nodded and continued tuning the guitar. Once I was satisfied with the sound I pulled one the headphones and moved the microphone closer to my face. “Okay, let’s give it a try.”

“Rock it, babe.”

I smiled and took another deep breath. The music began and I played along. I glanced towards the booth and my heart gave a little leap as Aries smiled back, the unexpected jolt of emotion causing me to miss a chord change. He laughed and stopped the tape.

“I thought you said you knew the part?” He teased.

I rolled my eyes. “I do. You’re just distracting me. Don’t watch me.”

He laughed. “Now you know how I feel.”

I blushed. “Just start the tape.”

He did as he was told and I played through the song once more. My nerves began to dissipate and I found my groove, then found myself struggling as I came out of the bridge into the final chorus.

“Damn!” I shouted. “Back it up, just to the bridge.”

He gave me the thumbs up and rewound the tape. “Ready?”

“Ready.”

I played it again, getting stuck in the same spot once more.

“Hold on a minute,” he said.

I watched as he rose to his feet and walked to the door. Great, way to make yourself look like an idiot.

 “Don’t say a word,” I warned, bracing myself for humiliation as he appeared before me.

He chuckled as he grabbed another guitar and pulled up another stool in front of me. “We changed it a bit, remember?”

I watched intently as he played the part, fighting the urge to touch him. His eyes met mine with a knowing smile.

I blushed once more and turned my attention to the guitar in my own hands. “Like this?”

I played the part back to him, once again struggling with the same chord change. I sighed.

He scooted closer. “Watch my hands. It’s just here,” he strummed the guitar, “to here.”

I nodded. “I can do it at that pace, I just  can’t get it to speed.”

He laughed and rose to his feet, setting the guitar back on it’s stand. “Here, let me help.” He picked up the stool and set it behind me, sitting as close as he could. He slid his arms under mine, grabbing the guitar and demonstrating the change.

The warmth of his body as he leaned into me made it difficult to focus. I should have just gotten that out of the way first, I thought with a smile.

He removed his hands and I instantly missed the closeness. I played it back, missing the same cue.

“I give up,” I groaned.

He chuckled and leaned into me once more. “Come on babe, I’ve seen you play much more complicated shit than this,”he encouraged, grabbing my hands and positioning them for me. “Just start here,” he instructed, still guiding me. “And then move this finger here…and this one here…”

Good lord, I can’t take this anymore…

I turned my head and brought my lips to his. He kissed me back, snaking his arms around my waist and holding me close. I wrapped an arm around his neck, twining my fingers in his long, red locks.

He reached between us and tugged at the guitar, backing away long enough to help me lift it over my head. I slipped out of the strap and set it down gently, then turned to face him, wrapping my legs around him.

“The song can wait,” I breathed.

***

I think we all know what happened next!

I hope you loved this deleted scene as much as I do. Feel free to share with your friends so they can get to know and love these characters as much as you do!

If you’re new here and need more Maggie and Aries, head on over to my “Books” tab and grab yourself a copy of “Broken Strings” for just 99 cents in all eBook formats. Also available in paperback.

As always, thank you for reading and helping me turn this dream of mine into a reality!

 

 

And That’s Why I Won’t Be In To Work Today {Fun With Prompts}

The other day I ran across an old folder filled with random bits of writing that I have amassed over the years. Some of them were outlines for stories or one off scenes, some of them were completed short stories. Still more were merely writing exercises that I’d held onto for whatever reason.

As I read through them, I found more than a few that were worth sharing. This particular piece was the result of a writing prompt, but for the life of me I can’t remember what the challenge was or when I wrote it. Nevertheless, it made me chuckle and I thought I’d give it a moment in the spotlight.

And That's Why I Won't Be In To Work Today, writing prompt short story

I was on the phone to my mother when it happened. The hash browns that I had been cooking on the stove began to smoke, but I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. The smoke detector started its obnoxious beeping, which in turn caused my dog to howl.

With all the commotion, I could barely hear my mom’s tale of workplace drama. For this I was grateful.

“Karen, what on Earth is all that racket?” She demanded.

“Fire alarm,” I said quickly. “I’ve got to go.”

“Let me know if…”

I hung up before she could finish. I pulled the battery out of the detector and pulled the skillet off the burner. The dog fell silent.

“Much better, eh Rex?”

The canine tilted his head, giving me a curious look, then promptly exploded. Or at least, I think he did. There was a loud pop, more smoke, and then there was nothing but a black scorch mark on the floor  beneath his tattered red collar.

“Oh my god! Rex?”

I looked around frantically. “Rex?” I called.

I turned my gaze to the floor once more. The scene was the same.

I meandered around my house in a daze, hoping something would pop up that explained what had just happened. Finding nothing, I went outside and circled the house. Still, I found no clues as to why my beloved pooch had gone up in smoke.

“I must be going nuts,” I muttered. “I just need to take a walk and clear my head. When I get back, he’ll surely be here and everything will be fine.”

I had made it about three blocks down the road when I spotted an elderly woman sitting on a bench alone, tears streaming down her face. Concerned, I stopped at her feet.

“What’s wrong, ma’am?” I asked, hoping it was something I could easily fix.

“I’ve lost my purse,” she explained.

I nodded. “Where’s the last place you remember seeing it?”

“At the zoo,” she recalled. “An elephant got very close and grabbed it with his trunk!”

“Surely it’s still there,” I assured her. “I’ll head on over and see if I can find it.”

“Oh! That would be wonderful, dear! Thank you!”

“No problem at all,” I replied with a smile. “I’ll be back in no time!”

With a new mission, I walked back home, got in my car, and headed to the zoo, where I was informed that they had sold the elephant to a traveling circus–along with the old woman’s purse! The zookeeper then told me that the circus was setting up in the next county.

So, off I went in my little red car.

Finding the circus was no problem at all. However, getting the purse was a different story.

“It came with the elephant,” the ring leader protested.

Annoyed, I rolled my eyes. “Listen, there seems to be a misunderstanding. That purse belongs to a very nice old lady and she is completely distraught over its disappearance.”

The small man contemplated this for a moment. “I’ll let you have it for 50 bucks.”

“50 bucks!” I exclaimed in disgust.

“It came with the elephant,” he repeated stubbornly. “I require compensation for my property.”

I sighed. “How about 20?”

“30,” he rebutted.

I sighed again. “Fine.”

I dug through my purse and found that I had no cash, only my bank card. “Sir, I’m sorry, but I have no money. If you could–”

“No money, no purse,” he interjected. The man began to walk away and I chased after him.

“Wait!” I called. “What if I work it off?”

The ringleader’s eyes lit up as he turned around to face me. “That might work!”

It took four hours of cleaning animal cages and affixing fake unicorn horns to the foreheads of horses, but eventually I returned to my car with the old lady’s purse.

I drove back to the bench, hoping she was still there. Of course, she was already gone. I decided to take my car home and search for her on foot. Along the way, I spotted a police car idling at the curb. The front seat was empty, but I could see movement in the back window. Upon closer inspection, it was a little dog scratching frantically at the window.

Rex!

I ran over and talked to him, promising to get him out. I was beyond relieved to see my canine friend, but I was more confused than ever. I walked around the car, checking all the doors in case it was unlocked. That’s when the officer appeared.

“Step away from the car, ma’am,” he boomed.

I did as he’d requested, feeling my face turn crimson. “I’m sorry officer, but you have my dog in your car,” I explained.

“Of course I do,” he responded. “He was stealing sausages from a street vendor.”

“Bad Rex!” I scolded, pointing at him through the window. The dog pulled his ears back and whimpered. I turned my attention back to the cop beside me. “I’m so sorry, sir.”

He looked at me skeptically. “Holding that for a friend?”

He nodded towards the blue purse in my hand. Of course it must have looked suspicious with my own bag hanging off of my shoulder.

“Oh, no. I retrieved it for an old lady who had lost it this morning, and I’m trying to return it to her.”

His face hardened. “Mind if I take a look?”

I handed it over and looked on anxiously as he rummaged through it.

“This purse has been reported stolen,” he said, the gravity of his voice sending a shiver down my spine.

The next thing I knew, I was in the squad car with Rex and the two of us were taken to the station and thrown in a cell. Rex began to dig at the floor with amazing strength and speed. I watched in astonishment as he dug a tunnel to the outside and crawled into it.

I followed him out and snatched him up in my arms. “Thank you boy!”

He licked my face and we ran as far as we could before I had to stop for air. I quickly hailed a cab.

“To the airport,” I ordered.

Once we arrived, I apologized for not having cash and ran inside as quick as could be. Someone’s pet monkey was unattended, so I let him out and put Rex in his cage. I then rushed to an ATM, withdrew all my cash, and bought a plane ticket.

Rex and I are now on a beautiful island, soaking up the sun and enjoying a nice drink served in a coconut.

As you can see, due to extenuating circumstances, I will not be into work today, Mr. Stevens.

 

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