Deleted scene from Lady of the Tarot:
The savory scents of beef broth filled the air, the makings for the Christmas pudding. Beneath it, the syrupy fragrance of mincemeat pies. Emilie ignored her growling stomach, in favor of the doorbell. Carolers, perhaps? Maybe her uncle had come, not saying a word beforehand to keep from ruining a Christmas surprise for her aunt.
A hint of cold seeped into the room as the maid answered the caller. Her skin still damp from the mist of her morning bath, Emilie shivered and moved closer to the fire. The warm glow eased her discomfort.
The maid soon entered the parlor, carrying a small box, wrapped in brightly colored paper and bows. “For you, Mademoiselle Emilie.”
Emilie rose and took the package from her. She opened the card.
Merry Christmas. I’m sorry I haven’t called on you lately. The business of my
uncle’s is taking far longer to sort out than I thought. I miss your fine laughter
and the beauty you bring to Nightingale’s Reste.
“Emilie, you’re blushing,” Grand-mère said interrupting her in the middle of Linton’s flattery.
Emilie cleared her throat and turned back to the message.
Do forgive me and accept my gift. I found this bracelet in my uncle’s
belongings. I think it belonged to my grandmother.
Was this why Linton had come to visit her, the first week of December? Now that she thought back on it, perhaps, when he took her wrist in his hands, he’d been measuring it for fit. She turned the note over.
As to that other question, have you found anything? I’m still looking.
The question he’d come so late at night to ask. She hadn’t found an answer to the who behind what he said his uncle—and her father—had done in the war, nor who they’d offended. If there was a who, she hoped Linton found out by now, but his note proved otherwise. Thinking of the story gave her chills. As it did to think of her lost brother. Would they never solve these mysteries?
“Well, what do you have there?” Grand-mère asked.
Shuddering, Emilie pushed Linton’s statement aside. For the moment. Opening the small, festive package, she gasped.
“Emilie, don’t keep me in suspense,” Grand-mère said as she came to her side.
She pulled a delicate silver bracelet forth. “It’s from Linton,” she said, clasping it around her wrist. “For Christmas and for neglecting me, I think.”
“Gorgeous,” Grand-mère said. “But should you accept it?”
Her fingers paused and the bracelet slid down her wrist. “Why shouldn’t I?”
The doorbell rang.
“Oh!” Grand-mère cried. “Who’s come now?”
The maid appeared on the parlor threshold. “Captain Bartram, ma’am. I’ll tell him to come back.”
“Oh, look at the hour!”
“I’m not ready,” Emilie said. She brushed her fingers over her hair, still tied up with strips of cloth to enhance her curls. Linton’s card and gift made her feel silly for dreading to emerge. Now, her guest reminded her of the reason for her reluctance. Just thinking of him out there reminded her of her nightmares, the touch of a million spider legs tickling up her arm–real? Or imagined? Remembered from a dream?
“No!” Grand-mère said and tugged Emilie up. “Show him in and give him tea. We’ll be right with him.”
She ushered Emilie up the back stairs to her room and whipped open her wardrobe, extracting her fetching red velvet dress.
“Can’t we send him away?” Emilie asked.
“You don’t want to see him?” Grand-mère asked.
Emilie removed her nightdress and the maid wiggled the red gown over Emilie’s head.
No. “Tell him to come back at a better hour.”
The maid buttoned the last button then picked up a hairbrush. “Ouch!” Emilie said as she tugged it through her tangles.
“Begging your pardon, ma’am.”
“Emilie!” Sinjon’s deep voice boomed up the steps. “You’ve a visitor.”
Why did he seem annoyed? She was the one annoyed. “I know!”
Grand-mère opened the door and shouted, “Don’t scream, children! It isn’t polite.”
“Well, he’s here,” he said.
A pang of guilt stabbed Emilie; she need not take her nerves out on Sinjon. She longed to creep to the kitchen, or the attic, and hide there for good. No such luck.
“Entertain him,” Grand-mère told her brother. “We’ll be right down.”
“You go, Grand-mère,” Emilie said. “I’m not presentable.”
Grand-mère looked her up and down. “Nonsense. You look fine.” She plucked up an ivory silk sash and tied it around her waist. Her soft touch urged Emilie to the door. “Come, let’s not keep him waiting any longer.”
Emilie snatched Linton’s bracelet from her vanity, slid it on, then followed after her grandmother.
Nicholas waited downstairs. Emilie deflated. Go away, go home! she prayed. Shoo!
But he remained, smiling up at her. “My dear girl,” he said. “Don’t you look delightful? Marcus.” He turned to the man behind him, carrying a stack of wrapped gifts. “These are for you.”
Grand-mère tittered in delight. Emilie pushed the bracelet underneath her sleeve and stepped forward, opening the top box. A dress of white silk, striped with black hid beneath its covering. “It’s lovely!” she said.
“Should you like to wear it to church,” he said, “I’ll wait while you change clothes.”
“No,” she said, sliding the box top back in place and handing it to their maid. “We’re late. I’ll wear it for you for new year’s eve.”
“Or when we present you to the king.”
Shock trundled through her. “The king?”
“Why shouldn’t you make his acquaintance?” Nicholas asked.
“Yes, but… I …” She’d already been presented to Queen Marie. “I don’t think it’s necessary.”
“Of course it is.” Nicholas took and kissed her wrist. “As you are to be my wife.”
If she presented herself to the king, her chance to break off her engagement would be lost.
Emilie tugged at her collar and wondered if it were possible for a noose to feel soft as linen.
The synopsis is as follows:
WHAT THE CARDS FORETELL MAY BE REAL, AFTER ALL
1793: Having escaped the Reign of Terror, Emilie Maigny took refuge in England, trying to come to grips with the life and loss she left behind. When her brother, Sinjon, returns, a terrifying evil swoops down upon her. Nightmares plague her now, providing strange clues … but to what?
Scottish-born Linton Morrison spent his entire life in luxury, whiling away the hours in intense study of the tarot and the cards’ hidden meanings, but until he met the lovely Emilie Maigny, he would never have guessed how important his study might be–to his life and Emilie’s survival when terrible evil strikes.
A Cypher is all Emilie needs, but what is it? Is Linton the key? He may charm her heart–and he may be her only salvation.
New book trailer:
As I said above, LADY OF THE TAROT, is available at Amazon for Kindle; the audiobook can be found at Audible, Amazon, and Itunes, and it’s also available in paperback. For more on Lady of the Tarot you can see its page here.
I hope you enjoyed this deleted scene. 🙂 You can see more about Lady of the Tarot, here, if you wish. Thanks for reading. I hope y’all have a merry Christmas, happy holidays!
deleted scene copyright Juli D. Revezzo , 2016, 2019