My guilty conscience will work to the benefit of my readers, however. I've decided to post a deleted scene from my book, Shift. This is the most requested scene of any of my books, a scene I had to edit from Shift because it was the only one told from Tate's point of view. It pained me to cut it, so I'm thrilled to share it with you today. Without further ado, here it is...the avowing of Tate and Zachariah.
When she glanced at the male maintaining the dampening, she realized he looked weary. She focused as intently as she could on the weight of his presence on her mind. The moment it faltered, she contacted Tiege.
Tell Sparky to go to sleep.
She barely got the thought through before the dampener shook off his stupor and clamped back down. Praying he needed to rest soon, she kept her mind open in case another opportunity arose to convey thoughts. When she had been stranded on the mainland all those weeks ago, Sparky connected with her through her dreams. She figured she stood a good chance of it working now.
A short while later, Ariana mumbled, "Can't go on."
"You will keep flying," Eirik demanded.
"Can't sense the scroll anymore," she said. Her eyes closed and her wings extinguished for a moment before she snapped back to awareness.
That did the trick. They landed on a white sand beach beside a calm, clear blue sea. Tate sank down next to Ariana and closed her eyes.
Within minutes, she saw Sparky standing in a field of wheat. He spotted her. She ran up to him and threw herself into his arms.
“Oh, thank goodness,” she asked against his chest. “Eirik said he had a plan to deal with Tiege, and I thought…but you’re both okay?”
“Yes. But we must hurry. We have no idea how long this connection will last.”
“Hurry?” She frowned. “Oh, you want to know where I am. Well, we’re headed to the lib—”
“No, I want you to exchange vows with me. Now.”
Her eyes going wide, she blinked and repeated, “Exchange vows with you?” Her heart filled with excitement even in light of the awful circumstances. “Sparky, do you mean you want to avow yourself to me?”
“Yes. I believe if we avow in this dream, your subconscious will merge with mine to a point that I should be able to maintain the connection with you even upon your waking.”
Deflated, she said, “That’s why you want to avow yourself to me? Because you want to do a better job of protecting me?”
“Of course,” he said.
Irritation replaced both her fear and her joy over seeing him again. “Well, forget it.” She pushed away from him. “I’ll protect myself before I’ll bind myself to someone for such an unemotional reason.”
“Unemotional?” He reached out and grabbed her by her upper arms. “You think it is a lack of emotion that makes me want to do whatever I can to protect you?”
She looked into his eyes and saw the feelings swirling there. But even if this was a dream, what he asked of her was huge. Even if the act was intended to save her life, she wouldn’t agree unless it was for the right reason.
Hesitating, she asked, “You know that an avowing requires rings, right?”
He released her arms and reached into his pocket. She couldn’t mask her surprise when he pulled out two rings.
“Can we hurry up and get to the vow exchange now?”
“Where did you get those?” she asked.
“This is a dream. I conjured them with a thought.”
Flushing, she just said, “Oh.”
“The vows?” he prompted.
Giving up, she nodded. For an avowed pairing to work, it had to be based on love. Sparky hadn’t ever claimed to love her. She suspected this could be a spectacular failure, but willingly took the ring he handed her and gave him her left hand. He held it in his own hand with the ring poised to slide over her left ring finger. Then he held her gaze and spoke.
“I, Zachariah, wish to pledge myself to you, Tate, in every possible way. You are my world now, as well as my heart. Though it may take all eternity, I will strive to prove myself worthy of your love. I offer you this ring as a symbol of my love and my unbreakable commitment to you.”
Tate’s breath stuck in her throat, which was suddenly much too tight. He slid the ring on her finger. It generated a feeling of warmth that tingled up her hand. From what she understood, an avowed pairing typically required the second being to repeat the words of the first. But, well, their relationship had been nontraditional from the start. She was just going to speak the words in her heart.
Her vow was short and to the point. “I, Tate, love you, Zachariah, more than anything in the world, and want to spend the rest of my existence with you. I offer you this ring as a symbol of my love and my unbreakable commitment to you.”
She slid the ring on his finger. Then they laced their hands together so their rings touched and kissed to seal the vow. Pain flashed across her right shoulder blade and the outside edges of her eyes as they kissed, indicating the making of their avowed markings.
When they parted, tears stung her eyes. “Promise me that when this is over, we’ll do this for real,” she whispered.
I promise. I—
His thought cut off in her mind as she woke up.
So...what did you think?