Hi everyone! Welcome to the first official author content post of this event! Oh, it's very exciting :) Remember, you can begin commenting now to get yourself entries for the big giveaway!
Today I have the pleasure of sharing a deleted scene with you.
Hunting Lila. Sarah Alderson. Alex and Lila on a beach. ENOUGH SAID.
If you love it and are thirsting for more Sarah Alderson, be sure to check out Brodie's Fated character interview with Evie and Lucas! Both books are excellent - read them ASAP and prepare to swoon! If you're STILL in need of a Sarah dose, stay tuned for a Hunting Lila character interview and another deleted scene. Enjoy!
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This scene was from a bunch of chapters that got edited out and reworked into the book now known as Hunting Lila. In that first version Alex, Lila, Jack and Sara head to Catalina, an island off the coast of California for a weekend (before Lila discovers the truth about the Unit or Demos). This scene took place on Catalina... - Sarah Alderson
The beach was golden sand and the afternoon sun was stretching the umbrella shadows across it. I stood a little awkwardly watching as Sara unconsciously shrugged off her shorts and top to reveal a purple bikini. Jack, lying on a towel at her feet was grinning up at her and I kicked some sand in his direction.
'Hey,' he said looking away briefly from Sara's luscious body.
I shook my head laughing at him. He knew exactly what I was getting at and he laughed too and went back to ogling, reaching up for Sara's hand and tugging her down onto his towel.
I leant down for my own towel and spread it out, allowing a good few feet from those two. As I stood back up I noticed Alex had put his bag down next to Jack and had dropped his t-shirt on top of it. My eyes swivelled a few feet to the right and up and I took a hit of his chest again. My legs wobbled a bit on the uneven sand. He wasn't looking at me, he was looking out at the water. I could see what he was thinking and then a second later he was off jogging to the shoreline. He hit the water and waded quickly through the shallows for a few metres, then dived into the next breaker, coming out a few seconds later and spraying water all around him. I could see his wide smile and then he disappeared again.
Jack was busy rubbing sun cream into Sara's back. He seemed to be enjoying himself a bit too much and Sara kept doubling over laughing. I was still standing on my towel. I guessed I couldn't procrastinate any longer. I started to undo the buttons on my sundress, then hoping that Jack was too busy drooling over Sara and that Alex was underwater, I slipped it off, shimmying it over my waist.
'Lila, that bikini is perfect on you.'
I winced and dropped to the towel, lying on my front so my bruise was hidden from view. Sara was grinning at me nodding her head, clearly delighted at her success as a personal stylist. Jack's eyes however looked like they were about to burst out of his head. Had he seen my leg? I turned my head away from them and heard a slap, Jack saying 'ow' and Sara giggling.
'Anyone coming in?' Alex was yelling at us from the shallows.
I turned my head a little and squinted towards the water. He was standing up and the water was running off his body in mini torrents. My mouth fell open.
I turned my head back the other way to check out Jack and Sara's response. They hadn't appeared to notice Alex, they were too busy with each other. One of Jack's hands was resting on the small of Sara's back and their heads were bent in conversation. I rolled over and jumped up, moving quickly towards the water. I felt so self-conscious in my bikini, aware that the last time Alex had seen me with so few clothes I'd probably been about six in the bath. The only thing paler than me on the beach was the white of the beach umbrellas. The bikini Sara had picked out was navy blue and stripy, pretty much three triangles of material held together with flimsy ties. And I was accessorizing beautifully with a purple bruised thigh and bloody scraped knees.
I kept my eyes on the sand and not on Alex. When my toes hit the cold of the water it made me yelp. I took a breath and waded in deeper, feeling the sting of the salt against my knees and hands where the skin was broken, then I counted to three in my head and dived into the next wave. The blast of water against my face and up my nose was like fireworks. I resurfaced with a gasp. Alex was just a few feet away treading water and grinning at me.
'Cold,' I yelped again.
'Wimp. And I thought you were pretty ninja.'
I flicked water at him with the back of my hand and he ducked his head looking at me with a dangerous expression before whacking the surface and sending a huge spray in my direction. I ducked under the water again, resurfacing nearer him. Up this close my body started to tingle, though possibly it was early stage hypothermia. Alex's tattoo was just a few inches away and I reached over and touched it briefly before having to pull my hand back to help me stay afloat. He took a breath and dived again. I trod water waiting for him to reappear and a few seconds later he burst through the surface about ten metres away. He swam back towards me.
'Look, Jack's coming,' he said as he reached me.
I turned around and saw my brother crossing the sand and starting to wade into the surf. Sara was sitting up on the towel watching after him and I waved across at her. She waved back.
Jack swam out to us with a couple of strokes.
He pushed the water out of his eyes and said, 'Race you to the buoy.'
I looked over to where he was pointing out in the water. About thirty metres away, a buoy was jumping up and down in the choppy waves. 'I'll take a rain check,' I said.
'What?' said Jack, ''Where's my sister? What have you done with her? She'd have been following us in a second. You're going soft in your old age.'
We were still all treading water, 'I'll time you,' I said through a mouthful of saltwater.
They didn't need any further encouragement. The next second they were a blur of limbs and spray. My legs were starting to ache so I began swimming back to the shore. When I dropped down onto my towel next to Sara I was shivering.
'That was cold,' my teeth chattered.
'Yes, there's no way they're getting me in. Look at those two will you.'
I sat up and hugged my knees to my chest, the towel still draped around me.
'Have you ever seen anything like it?'
Jack and Alex were tearing through the water. When they reached the buoy they were about even, both grabbing hold of it and rising up out of the water at the same time. We saw them talking and then they were both off again, racing each other back.
I looked over at Sara, 'Actually, yes, every single day growing up.'
She smiled now and rolled onto her stomach to look over at me. 'What were they like? You told me bits about Jack and his escapades — those poor girls - but what was it like when you were kids?'
I paused, chewing my lip and looking out at the two heads breaking the surf and their arms pounding the waves. 'It was amazing.' I was smiling just remembering.
'So much fun always.' She nodded so I continued, 'They never told me to go away, you know, there was never a sense that they didn't want me around, other than that one time with the playboy magazine.'
Sara laughed loudly and I giggled again at the memory. 'They always let me play with them. My mum got so worried that I would start thinking I was a boy that she started insisting I wear dresses occasionally and made me invite the girls in my class over for dolls' tea parties, but I was just not interested. I just wanted to be wherever they were. Which was usually rolling around in mud and leaves and playing soldiers.' I let the towel fall down again and rolled over onto my stomach too. My leg throbbed with my weight on it.
'So even back then it was a big thing — the whole soldier deal?'
'No, no not really. I mean Jack never showed any interest in the army when we were growing up. We were just play acting, by twelve he'd moved onto football and girls. And anyway my parents are democrats!' The present tense rung in my ears. 'It just wasn't something we knew about. My mum was in the peacecorps. I'm not sure what she'd say if she knew.'
Sara was biting the edge of her lip. I wondered how much Jack had told her about mum.
'You must miss her so much. From the way Jack talks about her she sounds like she was pretty incredible. And beautiful.'
From nowhere a great sob rose in my chest. It took me by surprise and I rubbed my palms into the sand feeling the grains fill the scores of my grazes. When it passed I squinted backwards and out at the water, Jack and Alex were on their second trip back from the buoy. 'Yes, she was.'
'Alex says you look just like her.' I sucked in a sharp breath, turning my head back and looking straight ahead up the beach.
'He's being nice.'
'Lila, you need to look in the mirror. Jack's having a heart attack every time he sees a guy within a fifty yard radius. Just walking along the beach was like having to control a Rottweiler.'
'Don't be ridiculous,' I laughed.
'Oh, really? If I'm being ridiculous, just watch this...' I looked over at her, she rolled onto her back, exposing her curved stomach and leaned up on her arms. A couple of guys in their early twenties were walking past us, 'Excuse me, do you have the time?' she called over to them.
The two of them exchanged a look and a smile and then headed over to us. I shot a disbelieving glance at Sara but she ignored it, 'My friend needs the time, do you have it?' One guy knelt down in the sand near my head offering me his wrist so I could read the time on his watch.
'It's coming up for four,' he said helpfully, the dial being only a few inches from my eyes.
'Um, thanks.' I mumbled.
'Hey, no problem.' He was smiling at me and I didn't know what to say. 'So, you guys on holiday here?' he asked me.
'Er, yes, something like that' I mumbled wishing I could kick Sara.
His friend opened his mouth to say something but then stopped. A shadow fell on my back and I looked up and over my shoulder. Jack was standing between Sara and I, water dripping down his body. He had a friendly smile on his face but his teeth were gritted behind it and the way he was standing screamed foe not friend. I widened my eyes at Sara but she just raised her eyebrows, flashing me a smile at me as though she'd scored a point.
I turned the other way and saw Alex a few feet further back. His head was slightly cocked to one side and a smile was lifting the corner of his mouth, a smile I loved seeing usually, but this time his eyes were hard and slightly threatening. It really was like having secret service officers patrolling the beach. I couldn't believe how fast they'd gotten to us.
The two guys who Sara had stopped immediately backed off, stuttering 'bye.' I couldn't watch them go I felt so bad, so I rolled over and sat up.
'I can't believe you guys just did that.'
'Did what?' Jack asked innocently. He was still staring after them, his fists were slightly clenched.
'I told you Lila.' Sara was giving me another look. She was relishing my discomfort.
'Told her what?' Jack asked finally sitting down next to her. She squirmed out of the way of his dripping body.
'That you wouldn't let any boy so much as go within a fifty yard radius. I was right.'
'Hey, what's that?' Jack was suddenly frowning and pointing towards my leg.
I was glad for the change of subject but not onto this particular topic. This time I was prepared though. 'It's just a bruise.'
'She got it playing hockey.' Alex was laying his towel out next to mine. I looked over at him. He dropped down onto the towel like he was doing a press up. The muscles from his arms, down his chest and down the line of his legs flexed.
'Yeah, hockey. I got it playing hockey.' I didn’t even play hockey.
'Who did it?' Jack sounded angry.
'See?' Sara was lying down with her sunglasses on.
My mouth pulled down into a frown. Maybe she was onto something. I was so glad that I hadn't told him about being mugged.
'Anyone want a drink?' Alex had jumped up, he was still wet and droplets of water fell onto my bare legs. When he noticed me jump from the cold splashes he ran his hand through his shorn head and shook it over me.
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Now why can't I be at a sunny beach with a half-naked Alex? Life just isn't fair. Thoughts? ;)
If you've read this book, you'll know the sexual tension is borderline insane!
If this is your first Sarah read, well, here's a tiny little taste. So much more to enjoy in the actual book! Hopefully you're more determined than ever now to read it!