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Deleted Scene—Kinley and Bram

This is a different version of the scene between Bram and Kinley when Mrs. Tate is trying to get her fired. There are parts of this scene that are still in the book, but at least half of their conversation was deleted. It felt a little too personal and out of place for Bram to discuss this with Kinley.


I was wrung out, and it wasn’t until I heard footsteps—much closer than they should have been—that I realized what a mistake it had been to relax, to let my guard down. I jumped to my feet, but not fast enough. Bram already stood in the doorway, watching me.

I straightened my posture and stared at the floor. “Forgive me, Master Bram,” I begged as humiliation made my skin grow cold and clammy.

He didn’t reply, but I felt his eyes continuing to study me, making my heart pound as my fear increased. I was going to be fired and return home in disgrace, unable to even keep a simple job in service.

“What is it?” The question was a common one as far as nobility speaking the servants, but the way that he said it was different. He didn’t sound angry or distrustful. He sounded concerned. Concerned for me.

It was as though he had not just caught me nearly falling asleep while on duty.

My heart slowed and I looked up, but before I could think of a coherent response, he went on. “It seems Mrs. Tate is still trying to cause mischief where you are concerned.”

My heart sank. So she had informed the family of my treacherous ways.

“You don’t look surprised,” he noted.

I shook my head.

“I overheard her expounding on your deceitfulness to my mother.” A corner of his mouth curved up. “I’ll be honest. It was difficult not to laugh. If we fired every servant who was caught listening at doors, we’d not have a single servant to employ.”

A breath of relief whooshed out of me, almost turning into a chuckle, but not quite. I looked at his eyes, which were still filled with concern. “And what did your mother think?”

“She wasn’t as keen on dismissing Mrs. Tate’s concerns as I was, but she’s not going to fire you.”

“Are you certain?”

“For now,” he admitted with a shrug of one shoulder. “Unfortunately, Mrs. Tate did an admirable job of casting doubt on your character.”

My body was too weary to rally any sort of defense. “Perhaps I should just go, and relieve them of the burden of casting me out.”

His brow arched. “Mrs. Tate has convinced you of that, has she?”

“Yes—well, that’s only part of the reason.”

“What’s the other part?”

I couldn’t tell him, couldn’t say the words. I tried to at least hold his gaze, but found that I couldn’t. I dropped my eyes to the floor, shaking my head.

“Is it Mr. Baylor?”

I looked up, my mouth hanging open, a half-formed word stuck in my throat. I wished to deny it and have it be true. “How did…”

“I’ve put the clues together over the past weeks. The most obvious was the dance you shared with him at the ball.”

I closed my eyes. I knew that he had recognized me, but I had never considered that he would have recognized the connection Rylan and I shared.

“Then he showed up here to court Aveline,” he pointed out, giving me the urge to cover my ears, “and something about it didn’t feel quite right.”

I forced a smile, trying to brush it off. “He is not who I thought he was.”

“People can change.”

“If he has changed, it is not for the better. Just look what he did to Aveline.”

He smiled the smile of a brother who did not take his sister’s heartbreak seriously. “Aveline will recover.”

“That doesn’t justify his actions.”

“You’re correct, of course. But do you know his reasons?”


“Do you wish to?”

Did I? Could any reason heal the gulf that now separated us?

“I saw the way he looked at me after meeting with my father. It took great restraint for him not to hit me.”

I shook my head.

“And that had everything to do with you and I standing in the hallway together.”

A tremor ran through me, and I bit my lip, trying to bring myself back to reality.

Bram took a breath to speak again, but I cut him off. I didn’t want to hear any more about what he had seen between Rylan and me. “I will look into finding a position elsewhere.”

His brow arched. “Running away?”

I wanted to deny it, but the lie wouldn’t come. “Yes.”

He smiled as if he understood. “We all need to run once in a while. Just make certain you can live with the consequences.”

I laughed a bit, thinking of the consequences of going to work anywhere but here. Yes, I had found an odd sort of confidant in Bram, but other than that, the only thing keeping me here was fear that I would not find something else. “If I wait for your mother to fire me, my reputation may be such that no one else will be willing to hire me.”

“I don’t actually believe that my mother will fire you. I’ve told her my opinion of the situation, and that does hold some weight.”

I considered that, but realized that even if I could keep my position here, I didn’t want to. Submitting myself to Mrs. Tate’s threats and insults day in and day out was not something I was willing to do anymore.

I mentally shook myself, refocusing on my work. “If you and Master Marcus are finished in the parlor, I’ll be about my duties.” I lowered my head and walked to the door. Bram stepped aside and let me go.