Some background on this deleted scene. When I first wrote Dare to Kiss, the plot had always been focused on Lacey and making the baseball team, but I'd want to sprinkle a few scenes in Dare to Kiss to set up the story line for Dare to Dream. But my editor and I felt that Dare to Kiss was already good without the 3 or 4 scenes that were initially intended for Dare to Kiss (the one you're about to read is one scene), and adding this scene and the other ones I'd taken out would have been too confusing. However, if you've read Dare to Dream, you will find that this scene isn't in Dare to Dream either. The plot for Dare to Dream took on a whole new vision, and I'll post some of those scenes at a later date.
The scene is unedited and may contain errors.
Lacey's POVPeople milled around, prattled, and scoured Gray Hall for their seats. Becca and I had arrived early so we could get our tickets. We had a girls’ night planned since Kade, his brothers and Hunt had gone to check out a boxing match. Afterwards, Becca and I intended to visit my dad. His club was located two blocks from Gray Hall in the heart of Boston.
“So you know anything about roller derby?” I asked Becca.
She sipped her drink. “A little. But the program explains the rules and who’s who.”
I opened the thick booklet, leafing through the pages until I found the rules. I quickly read the basics of play. Roller derby consisted of two teams each with five players. They skated around a track with one player designated as the jammer or the scorer. The other four were the blockers. Points were scored when a jammer lapped members of the opposing team.
“Wow. Glory is the jammer,” Becca’s voice hitched.
“Why is that surprising?” I asked.
“I guess I figured one of the larger girls like Renee would be the jammer.”
Fans were still filling the hall, wearing their fan favorite T-shirts. The Knockers were battling the Calistogas, and both teams were unbeaten so far this season.
“What did Kross want?” I asked, passing the time until the festivities began.
I’d been wondering about Kross and Becca. He’d asked her to leave with him at lunch. I didn’t know if he was going to scold her for her announcement about Tyler asking me out or he had other intentions.
Her face turned dark red. “He asked me out.”
“Seriously? I thought you were sweet on Kelton?”
“Kelton just wants to be friends. I pity any girl who wants a serious relationship with him. He’s going to be a tough guy to tie down.”
“Yeah, tying him down in the sexual sense won’t be that hard, but a long term relationship.” I snickered, remembering how he struggled to deliver Kade’s message to me. I still needed to ask him what his hang up was with love. “So, how do you know Tyler wants to ask me out? Did he tell you?”
“No. But have you noticed the way he looks at you?” Becca said.
“Why would I? Kade is the only one I see. Forget me, what’s the story between you and Tyler, anyway?” The question was long overdue.
She absently flipped through the program. “There is none. We dated two years ago. He dumped me and that’s it.”
“There’s more to it,” I said. “I saw how you acted when Hallie came to the emergency room. So dish.”
“First, Hallie irritates me. She doesn’t love Tyler. She’s just using him. She thinks he’s her ticket out of town with a football scholarship then maybe the pros. He’s clueless. Anyway, I thought I loved him. I wanted more he didn’t. End of story.”
I hiked my feet up to rest on the back of the empty seat in front of me. “So do you love him?”
She lifted a small shoulder. “I always saw Tyler in my future. Part of me still wants to try and see if we could work, but part of me screams to move on and stop wondering if he’ll drop Hallie and come to his senses.”
Becca’s phone dinged. She read the text, her cheeks turning a deep shade of red.
I would bet Kross had texted her.
The referees skated around the track. The crowd began chanting their impatience. The announcer introduced the Calistogas first. Fans went wild, whistling, screaming and shouting. After the crowd settled, the announcer rattled off each member of the Knockers. The hall erupted, louder than before. Renee, Glory, Nat, Paula and Dee waved to the crowd as they circled the track as a team. Vanessa sat next to a short guy on the bench below the track. Several whistles pierced my ears when Glory skated a lap by herself. All the girls wore red shorts, blue tops, red helmets, and kneepads. However, Glory’s helmet had a large white star on it, indicating her position as the jammer. Both teams huddled amongst themselves before play began.
The whistle blew, and the noise rose to a deafening level. The venue, the fans, and the energy reminded me of a professional hockey game. My brother Rob and I used to go to the Los Angeles Kings’ games. He’d always been a big fan of the game. Anyway, much like hockey, girls shoved each other, throwing elbows. Renee clocked one of her opponents right in the jaw. I couldn’t keep up with who was scoring and who wasn’t. Thankfully, the scoreboard kept me up-to-date. Plus, the crowd was my compass. They morphed into a wild frenzy every time either team scored.
Becca and I jumped to our feet, clapping and shouting with everyone else. A timeout was given to the Calistogas, and the hall quieted. After all the shouting, my throat was rather parched.
“Do you want a drink?” I asked.
“I’m good.” Becca said. “Hurry back. This is too exciting to miss.”
I agreed. I navigated around legs and feet then climbed the stairs to the Mezzanine. Looking both ways, I found a concession stand to my right with a long line. Another one down to my left had a shorter line. So, I trudged down that way when my phone rang.
“Kade? Are you there?” I glanced at my phone. One bar flashed then the line went dead.
My phone rang again.
Still no signal.
I walked down to an exit past the concession stand. I had my hand ready to push through the door when my phone buzzed again.
“Hey.” I answered.
“Where…are…you?” His voice was choppy.
“Kade? What’s wrong?” My voice echoed, causing people in the immediate area to glare at me.
So I ducked outside.
“Hello,” I said again.
I dialed Kade’s number.
“Lace,” Kade said.
I hung under a small portico, the smell of rain lingering in the air. “There you are. Sorry. I didn’t have a good signal. Is something wrong?”
“Are you okay?” he asked.
Cars buzzed by on the road that ran parallel to Gray Hall.
“Yeah. Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Is the match over?” His voice had an edge to it.
“No. What’s going on?” I walked a little ways out into the parking lot, then paced back and forth.
A drop of water landed on my hand. I tilted back my head and another fat raindrop hit my cheek. I ventured back to the door and pulled. Locked. “Shit.”
“What?” Kade asked.
“I’m locked out.” I surveyed my surroundings, but didn’t see any other entrances in the immediate area.
Massive lights high above illuminated the parking lot, glinting off the roofs of cars. The wind kicked up, and a can rolled by me.
With my phone to my ear, I started to skirt around parked cars.
“Lace, can you get inside?” Kade asked.
“I’m trying. Why do you sound—”
The phone slid from my hand, landing on the concrete. I bent down, and when I went to snag my phone, I froze.
A black booted foot came into view. Slowly, I craned my neck as I followed the length of the body—black jean-clad legs, thick thighs, muscled chest, and wide neck.
Swallowing air, my pulse sped up.
My brain scrambled to remember what my self-defense instructor taught me. The only thing that came to mind—don’t panic. It didn’t matter. This dude was ten times bigger than me.
Kade’s voice blared from the ground. Several expletives spewed through the phone. I gulped again as I skimmed the guy’s face. His eyebrows curled under the knitted cap he wore, and the bridge of his nose was flat as though he didn’t have a bone inside.
Dread crawled up my spine when my eyes caught his. “Pick up the phone.” His voice was scarier than his looks.
With a shaky hand, I snatched my phone. Then on instinct, I jumped up, spun around and took off in the other direction. Only to be met by another wall of muscle. Different guy. Just as big though. This dude was dressed the same like they were part of a gang.
“Lacey.” Kade’s voice bellowed in my hand.
The second guy ripped the phone from me and threw it to his partner.
I timidly glanced over my shoulder.
Flat-nose raised the phone to his ear. “She’s lovely close up, Kade. I couldn’t tell from the seat in the stands when I was watching her pitch the other day.”
My eyes popped out of my head as rain soaked my clothes. These were the guys who were sitting with Greg at tryouts.
“I’d hate to ruin her pretty face. So, here’s what you’re going to do. Bring Sullivan to the high school.”
I shifted back to the second guy.
He crossed his arms over his chest.
I screamed, but my voice died on my lips.
He smirked at my horrible display of trying to get help.
“You have an hour,” Flat-nose said. “Lee, tie her up.”
Lee whipped out a plastic zip-tie. In two seconds, my wrists were tied. Dragging me by my arm, Lee shoved me into the back of a black Escalade. My head hit the leather seat, as I fell to my knees on the running board. He lifted me by the scruff of my jacket as though I was some animal.
“Get your hands off me,” I protested. Now my voice decided to work.
He didn’t say a word as he pushed me into the Escalade.
The flat-nosed dude strode up with another dude who was dressed the same as Flat-nose and Lee.
“John, in the back with her,” Flat-nose ordered to John.
The passenger door on the driver’s side opened and John slid in beside me while Flat-nose climbed into the driver’s seat, and Lee took up the passenger side.
John tapped Flat-nose on the shoulder. “Weaver, where’s Red?” the guy with me in the backseat asked.
“At the school.”
My pulse was all over the place while my mind scrambled to make sense of what was going on.
Weaver started the vehicle, flicked off his cap and ran his hands through his dark military cut hair. He shifted the Escalade into gear and before long we were on the road.
The windshield wipers scraped against the glass as the rain pelted down. A nasty aroma of earth or dirt hung in the air. Whoever belonged to the scent had to have bathed in it.
“Can I have my phone?” I asked. I knew the answer, but I had to ask. Becca had to be flipping out.
All three of them chuckled.
“I need to let my friend know I’m alright. If not she’ll call my dad.”
“So, let her. You’re dad’s busy anyway. He owns a club here in Cambridge. Right?” Weaver asked.
Horror made me slam my head against the seat. “Who are you guys?”
No one even attempted to answer my question.
Weaver’s left hand gripped the steering wheel in the twelve o’clock position, resting his right elbow on the console. His profile revealed a scar on the underside of his jaw.
“Are you going to answer me? Anyone?” I asked.
“Tape her shut, John,” Weaver commanded.
The dark-haired John stuck his hand into the back pocket of the driver’s seat and produced a roll of gray tape. Within seconds, I couldn’t talk, and I could barely breathe. So this was what it felt like to be kidnapped.
The Escalade zipped through the waterlogged streets as quietness filled the vehicle. Within an hour we were two blocks from the school as Weaver drove down a dead-end street. Towering trees and dense underbrush lined both sides, and a sign was posted at the end. No trespassing. Wonderful. If Kade didn’t do what they asked, my body could be found buried here. I should be freaking out, panicking or having an anxiety attack. But I wasn’t. Perhaps some sick part of me thought life would be better with Julie and Mom.
“Remember the plan. Kade will have his brothers with him, and his friend, Hunt.
“Got it, boss,” Lee said before he hopped out and ran through the thicket.
My ringtone trilled with Call Me Maybe.
“Yeah,” Weaver said. “Good.” He hung up my phone and retrieved his. He tapped a button. “Maxwell is at the school. Are you in place? How many? This should go easy then.” He threw my phone and his onto the console and shifted into gear.
“How many, boss?” John asked.
“Two. Kade and one of his brothers. They have Sullivan.”
“The big guy will be happy,” John added.
Silence became my companion as we traveled the short distance to the school. We stopped six car lengths from Kade’s F150. The sports complex sat to our left. Rows of empty parking spaces to our right. The Escalade’s high beams sprayed an arc of light outward to cover a hundred and fifty degree radius, showing that the hard rain had settled into a drizzle.
“I thought you said they were here, boss,” John said. “The place looks deserted.”
“Kade is under the portico.” Weaver shifted to park.
I glanced in that direction. Sure enough, Kade stood next to a trashcan near the main entrance dressed in all black with a knit cap on his head.
“Bring her when I give the signal.” Weaver snatched the phones, slid his big body out, and walked up to Kade, keeping a ten-foot gap between them.
Words were exchanged, but I couldn’t hear anything. Then Weaver waved his hand toward us.
“Okay, lady.” John pulled a gun from the waist of his black jeans. He examined one side then the other.
When he angled the weapon I caught sight of the yellow cover on the tip. He held a Taser not a gun. No matter. It would still do damage.
He got out of the vehicle, circle around and opened my door. With his help, I managed to get two feet on the ground.
Holding onto my arm, he pressed the Taser into my side. “No funny stuff.”
We walked to the edge of the Escalade and stopped. Kade swung his gaze from Weaver to me. We stared at each other. Too many emotions to name crossed his handsome face before he quickly banked every one of them.
“If you’ve laid a finger on her, I’ll rip you to shreds.” Kade’s tone was deadpan.
“She’s fine. Now, Sullivan.”
Kody, also garbed in black, held a weapon to Greg’s head as they materialized from the sports complex. From where I stood, I couldn’t make out if Kody had a gun or a Taser. Regardless, Greg had his hands tied behind his back and tape covered his mouth, wrapping around his entire head.
“Don’t move another inch, Kody,” Kade ordered.
“You know if you do anything stupid, you’ll be dead before the night is over,” Weaver said confidently. “And let’s not forget your pretty girl over there.”
I fought to get air into my lungs through my nose. I kicked John.
He rewarded me with a deeper jab of the Taser. “Easy.”
Panic skated the edge of my consciousness.
“Why am I here doing your dirty work?” Kade asked. “You could’ve picked up this scumbag yourself.” He flicked a finger at Sullivan.
“You know he was on forbidden territory,” Weaver said.
Greg wore an impassive expression on his face. Nothing about any of this seemed to bother him. Not even the weapon pointed at his head.
Kade shoved his hands in the pocket of his hoodie. “Here’s what I think. You want to teach me a lesson. You guys are still mad at Hunt and me for not jumping on your train. You saw a way to get to me through my enemy. So you put Sullivan up to this. Or Sullivan devised this plan to get back at me for what we did to him two years ago.”
Greg’s eyes widened at Kade’s declaration.
“Genius boy, right?” Weaver said more than asked. “You and your brothers with your high IQ think you’re the shit. Don’t you? Mr. Pitt hasn’t given up on any of you, including your brothers. I can tell you, if don’t hand over Sullivan, Mr. Pitt will make sure he owns you.”
My blood turned to steel as dizziness began to set in. I felt as though I had walked into a middle of a mafia-type movie.
“Leave my brothers the fuck out of this,” Kade barked.
“Crap,” John whispered at my side. “If your boyfriend doesn’t hold it together things could get ugly.”
I had to do something. But I couldn’t talk or scream for help. If I ran, I wouldn’t get far.
“So if I let Sullivan go, I’ll never see you again?” Kade asked.
“That’s the plan,” Weaver responded.
“Then, call your men out. You have two hiding with guns pointed at us. Once there out, I want them to deposit their weapons in this trashcan.” Kade tipped his head at the receptacle next to him. “Then we’ll take Lacey first. When she’s safe,I’ll hand over Sullivan.”
“You can’t make demands like that, Maxwell. Do you know who’re dealing with?” Weaver asked, his tone ominous.
Kade snarled. “Oh, I can. And I’m very well aware of who I’m dealing with. Now, if you don’t follow my instructions, I’ll be forced to play a card that you won’t like. And I mean you personally, Weaver.”
Weaver studied Kade, scrubbing his hand over his jaw. He glanced over at his partner and me then back at Kade.
“This just got personal,” John said low, still jabbing that Taser in me.
I peered up at him, hoping he would read the question in my eyes. Didn’t all this get personal when you assholes took me?
Weaver snagged his phone out of his pocket. I imagined it was his, although he still had mine. He touched the screen, and lifted the phone to his ear.
“Plan C” was all he said.
Kade placed a hand behind his back. Still holding Greg at gunpoint, Kody glanced at me.
Time stopped. The exhaust from the Escalade wafted in my direction. The drizzle continued to soak through my clothes. My side hurt from the Taser. Every time John tensed he lodged the weapon into me harder. I didn’t think he knew he was even doing it.
Lee surfaced from the darkness on Weaver’s right. Another guy with red hair walked into the light from the left side of the building.
Kade clenched his fists. “Weapons in the trash. And don’t try anything. I have guns pointed at this very spot.”
Lee and the other redheaded dude looked to their leader for direction. Weaver nodded. Lee dropped his gun and two knives into the trash then joined his boss. The other guy didn’t move, aiming his gun at Kade, and it definitely was a gun—a Glock.
My heart collapsed. I yanked my arm from John, but he caught me.
“Don’t. Red is a mean motherfucker. You move and your boyfriend is dead.” His tone was low and lethal.
Kade laughed. The love of my freaking life laughed at the guy who had a gun directed at him.
“Gamblers,” Kade drawled, calm and confident. “No problem. Phase two.”
Within seconds a red dot floated along Red’s black knitted cap.
“Red, put the fucking gun in the trash,” Weaver ordered. “They have a laser on you.”
The laser stayed on his head as Red walked slowly over to the trashcan. After he dumped the weapon, his fist shot out and punched Kade in the face.
No movement. No retaliation. Not even a flinch from Kade.
“You may have taken this round, but you won’t get the next,” Red said as he sidled up to his boss.
“Now what?” Weaver asked.
“Phase three,” Kade said.
Headlights lit up the lot to my right. An engine purred as the Jeep braked inches from me. Kelton jumped out of the passenger’s side. He too was dressed in all black.
“Tell your guy to let her go,” Kade ordered Weaver.
Weaver turned and nodded at John who released me from his grip, lowering the Taser.
Kelton extended his hand.
I glanced at Kade.
“Lacey. Now!” Kelton’s voice hardened.
Kade kept his focus on the three thugs. I jumped into the backseat of the Jeep as Kelton dover into the front passenger seat.
“Move,” Kelton said to Kross.
“Lacey.” Becca threw herself at me, her eyes brimming with tears.
My eyes bugged out of my head as I tried to say something but the damn tape was still glued to my mouth.
“Kross came and got me,” Becca said as though she knew my question.
My brain froze. It needed a reboot. Only then I might be able to think.
Tires squealed as the backend of the Jeep fishtailed out of the lot. Kross sped through the residential streets. No one said a word. Hell, I couldn’t. I still had the damn tape on my mouth. I nudged Becca who spilled salty tears on my shoulder. She sat up. I tilted back my head, hoping she would get the message to take the tape off my mouth.
“Oh.” Her red stained eyes widened.
I sucked in air the minute Becca ripped the tape off me.
“Pull over,” I panted out in a hoarse voice.
The lights of the town slowly faded.
“Not yet,” Kross said.
My stomach heaved. “Then I’ll puke in the car.”
“Crap,” Kelton said. “Up ahead.”
Kross flipped the blinker and slowed alongside the country road.
“Can you take these zip-ties off me?” I asked no one in particular. “And hurry. I’m going to lose it.”
The Jeep stopped. Kelton made quick work of helping me out. Then I fell to my knees, my wet soaked hair falling forward. I heaved the contents of the hamburger I had for dinner and more. I sat on the wet ground, rocking back and forth, waiting for the next wave of nausea to hit.
“Lace, we need to go.” Kelton’s strong hands lifted me before he removed a pocketknife from his black jeans. Then he cut off my ties.
Massaging my wrists, I heaved again as a ripple of dizziness washed over me. Once my stomach was somewhat settled I climbed back into the Jeep with Kelton’s help where he strapped me. I continued to rub the red marks on my wrists as the loss of adrenaline was kicking in, making my body weak.
“So is anyone going to tell me what’s going on?” I asked.
Kross turned the wheel as he got back on the road. “We’ll wait for Kade.”
Given that Kade was their leader, I didn’t think they would talk, but I had to ask.
Becca scooted close to me, her body trembling as she grasped my hand.
“I’m alright,” I fibbed, hoping she would relax. I couldn’t though. Not until I knew Kade was safe, and my stomach wasn’t churning. “I’m sorry I left you,” I said to Becca.
As the Jeep rolled along the country road, Becca’s body became a paperweight on mine. By the time we arrived at the Maxwell house, Becca was fast asleep. Kross gently lifted her out and into his arms. Until I had Kade’s body pressed to mine, I had no intentions of sleeping.
Kross escorted me to Kade’s room to clean up and get out of my wet clothes. He’d been kind enough to find a T-shirt and a pair of pajama pants of Kade’s.
I had just finished changing when a knock sounded.
“I’m decent,” I called as I tied the drawstring at my waist.
Kross poked in his head. “Kade is on his way.”
I sighed, slumping my shoulders.
“If you’re ready we’re supposed to meet in the family room,” Kross said.
He too had changed his clothes. He replaced his jeans and other outwear with sweatpants and a T-shirt. His black hair was wet and his cheeks had a tinge of red as though he just stepped out of a shower.
“I am. Can I throw my clothes in the dryer?”
I gathered my clothes and trailed behind Kross. My bare feet slapped on the wood floor as we picked our way through their sprawling two-story house until we were near the archway of the kitchen.
A cold draft floated in before Kody. He flipped a switch, and the room lit up like an airport runway. The island, a centerpiece, twinkled from the gold specs in the black granite. I almost shielded myself from the brightness, but my eyes were fixated on the door.
“Hi,” Kody said.
“Is Kade with you?” I asked, holding my breath.
“No. You guys hungry?” He stuck his head into the fridge.
Huh! He acted like holding Greg hostage was an everyday task. I wanted to bang his head against the stainless appliance.
“Where’s is he?” Kross beat me to the punch.
Waiting for Kody’s answer, I clung to the wet clothes in my hands so hard water dripped on my bare feet.
He closed the fridge. “He’s with Hunt. They were right behind me.”
Another cold blast of air preceded Hunt as he sauntered in with Buster. I hadn’t seen the imposing bouncer since he broke up the potential brawl that night at the Cave. He hadn’t changed. He still had aura of meanness about him. Perhaps the permanent frown line between his brows supported my impression.
Chatter ensued, cabinets closed, drawers opened and silverware clanged. Stools dragged along the tiled floor as bodies moved to sit in them. Me? I couldn’t move.
“Are you sure Kade was right behind you?” I asked Kody.
“I’m right here, Baby.” Kade’s voice slid over me, making my toes tingle.
I spun around, and the world tilted. The clothes fell to the floor. Voices faded. Kade peered down at me with one of his signature grins. I flew at him, surprised my legs even worked. He caught me, wrapping his strong arms around me. I touched his face, his hair and everywhere to make sure there wasn’t a scratch on him. Then I locked my hands behind his neck, resting my forehead against his.
“I love you. I freaking love you,” I whispered.
He brushed his lips over mine. “Polar bear.”
We stared at each other as all the worry slowly left me.
Copyright 2017 S.B. Alexander.