All right, you asked for it. Here are some scenes (and parts of scenes) that didn’t make it into Heated Rivalry. This is the stuff that my editor didn’t even see, so any mistakes are my own.
Also I drew that little sketch of Ilya texting Shane just so I could have an image for this post and I am proud of it. I am not an artist. Let me have this.
So first we have an early draft of the beginning of the Part Two section, which is Shane and Ilya’s third season in the NHL (2013-14). I have a couple of deleted Part Two scenes to post.
I took some of the ideas from this scene and incorporated them into the final book (Shane having an embarrassing sexual experience with a woman the same night Hayden met his future wife, for one). I know somewhere I actually wrote at least part of that embarrassing sexual encounter but I can’t find it.
DELETED SCENE ONE - JANUARY, 2014
Every time, Shane would swear it was the last time. He had even tried harder with women. He went out with his teammates and made an effort to hook up with the beautiful women who threw themselves at him, but the encounters were lackluster at best, embarrassing at worst.
One particular hook-up was so humiliating he couldn’t bring himself to think of it. Hayden had begged him to come out with him to a new club in Montreal and Shane had reluctantly agreed. Hayden left early with a woman he had met on the dance floor. Shane got tipsy and went home with a girl who had been hanging off of him all night.
Shane had lost his erection three times trying to have sex with her. Then he gave up, apologized, and left. He was sure he had decimated the poor woman’s Shane Hollander fantasies.
Hayden, on the other hand, was now engaged to the woman he’d left with that same night.
So now Shane had to deal with the fact that he couldn’t even perform for anyone other than Ilya Rozanov. Because he never had any dick malfunctions when Rozanov was the one touching him, or, hell, looking at him.
It was time for Shane to face the facts. Shane was a fucking weird pervert who was turned on by…competition? Rage? Being annoyed?
It was the only explanation.
In their second season, Montreal and Boston had met in the second round of the playoffs. Rozanov had devoted a lot of energy to making fun of Shane’s barely existent playoff beard. Too much energy, as it turned out, because Montreal eliminated Boston in game five. Montreal had been eliminated in the next round by New Jersey, but Shane had felt good about helping his team make it to the third round in only his second year in the NHL. He had been a finalist for the league MVP trophy that year.
So had Rozanov. But anyway.
Neither of them had won. They’d blown each other in Shane’s Las Vegas hotel room after the award ceremony, and they didn’t have any contact until September when their teams met in an exhibition game.
Shane had told himself he wasn’t going to text Rozanov after that game. He also told himself that he wouldn’t reply if Rozanov texted him. But the truth of the matter was that Shane hadn’t had any kind of sex since the post-awards blowjob swap, so when “Lily” asked if Shane had booked a hotel room for them that night, Shane had pulled out his credit card really damn fast.
It hadn’t stopped. It hadn’t shown any signs of stopping. It was becoming such a fixture in Shane’s life that he was contemplating purchasing or renting a place specifically for their hook-ups. Which was insane.
But, goddammit, every time he was behind a locked door with that cocky bastard it just never seemed that crazy. It just felt…exciting. And, at the same time, relaxing in a way that Shane couldn’t understand. Rozanov would put his big hands on Shane’s waist, or his face, or his back and Shane’s head would tip back and his lips would part and everything just became simple.
Until the moment it ended. The moment they parted, Shane would feel sick and weak and…not disgusted exactly, but…embarrassed.
Their hook-ups were always over quickly. They never had much time, and Shane wasn’t sure they would want more time anyway. They weren’t lovers. Not in that…romantic kind of way. Shane wasn’t sure what they were exactly. It didn’t make any sense to him and he was damn sure it wouldn’t make sense to anyone else if they were ever found out.
He really should look into real estate. Find a safe place for them to continue this thing, if it was something they were going to continue.
Sometimes he would fantasize about having Rozanov at his cottage. Not his parents’ cottage, because that would be very weird, but at the new one he was building for himself. It would be just down the wooded road from his parents’ cottage, but it was going to be much larger. Much more luxurious. Shane planned on spending most of his time off there, and, after he retired, he planned on living there full-time.
He knew that it would never happen—having Rozanov at his cottage. The idea was absolutely absurd. But the thought of having that much time and privacy with the only person on Earth who was able to sexually excite Shane was…appealing.
So that gets Shane planning some stuff early on. I ended up going in a different direction for Part Two, just to move things along (Shane had already bought the building, etc.). I also just thought it would be more interesting to get these Shane thoughts about Ilya into some scenes where stuff is actually happening, instead of one big introspection blob.
I do wish I had worked the lines, It was time for Shane to face the facts. Shane was a fucking weird pervert who was turned on by…competition? Rage? Being annoyed? into the final book. Solid description of Shane’s self-disgust.
The next deleted scene takes place in 2018 during the Winter Olympics. In real life NHL players weren’t allowed to play in the 2018 Olympics, so I wrote a scene where Shane and Ilya were watching the (very fictional) Canada v Russia gold medal game and texting each other. I love the idea of this scene but in the end I needed to move things along and I knew I had a lot of texting and phone conversations between them coming up in the book, so it all got cut. Also, I decided that Ilya should be the only Russian player on the Boston team. In this scene he has Russian teammates.
Also, I changed the timeline of the book so Heated Rivalry actually ends (besides the epilogue) in 2017, not 2018. So there wouldn’t even be an Olympics. But if there was, I think it would go a little something like this…
DELETED SCENE TWO - FEBRUARY, 2018
Lily: I wish we could play in the Olympics.
Shane laughed at his phone, then wrote, No shit. You mention it in like every interview.
Lily: You watch my interviews?
Shane: No comment.
Lily: Russia vs Canada tomorrow.
Shane: Oh really? Hardly anyone in Canada is talking about it.
Lily: You are a snarky bitch.
Shane grinned, but decided to be nice.
Shane: Will you be able to watch the game?
Lily: Yes. I'm at home.
Shane: Me too.
Shane found himself thinking about how fun it would be to watch the game with Ilya. On a couch somewhere, with beer and snacks.
Almost as fun as it would have been to play against him for a gold medal.
The league had said for years that 2014 would be the last Olympics that NHL players would be permitted to play in. Despite that, Shane knew that Ilya had held out hope that, somehow, he would be able to redeem himself at the 2018 games. Shane wished he could have.
Ilya decided to make a party out of the game. He invited over his two Russian teammates, Anton Mironov and Lev Koslov, and ordered an elaborate platter of smoked fish, caviar, blintzes, and pickles from a Russian restaurant. He made sure he had plenty of the good vodka in his freezer, and a selection of Russian beers in his fridge.
Being Russian was about the only thing he had in common with these teammates, but it was relaxing to be able to spend an afternoon not having to stumble his way through the English language. Anton was a quiet farm boy who still went home every summer to help on the family farm. He was a solid, stay-at-home defenseman; nothing flashy. He often talked about leaving the NHL so he could start a family in Russia. Lev was Boston’s back-up goaltender. He was kind of a dick, honestly. More than a little homophobic, for sure.
“It’s fucking bullshit that we can’t play in this game,” Lev said.
“Yeah,” Ilya agreed, although he was definitely the only one in the room who would have made the team. Who the fuck was Lev kidding?
“If it had been NHL players in the Olympics this year, Russia would have destroyed Canada,” Lev continued. “Canada’s stars are a bunch of pussies, like Hollander.”
“Mm,” Ilya said.
“Fucking right,” Lev said, as if Ilya had contributed anything. “Hollander takes it up the ass for sure.” He laughed and helped himself to some gravlax.
“You think so?” Ilya asked mildly.
“For sure. Every night. His teammates probably line up.”
Ilya shook his head and took a sip of beer. Lev didn’t know shit.
Ilya wished Roman Ivanov was still on the team. Before he’d been traded the previous season, Roman had been Ilya’s best friend on the team. They had actually had a few things in common besides language and a firm belief that Russia produced the best hockey players. Although they never discussed it directly, Ilya felt that Roman had shared his wariness of Russia. Ilya loved his country, but he feared it, too. Not that he would never say it aloud. Russian celebrities needed to watch themselves in a way that the American and Canadian superstars could never understand.
But today was about hockey, and about Russia proving that they were the best in the world. That the 2014 Olympics had been an unfortunate fluke. Ilya had let his country down, and it was up to these men to fix it.
Canada scored first. Lev swore at the screen. Anton sighed quietly.
Ilya’s phone lit up.
Jane: Uh oh…
Ilya glanced sideways to see if anything else was looking. He grinned and wrote, I’m not worried.
Jane: You should be.
Ilya: Where are you watching it?
Jane: I’m at Hayden’s. There’s a bunch of us here. And Hayden’s family.
Jane: Hayden Pike, I mean.
Ilya: I’m with Mironov and Koslov.
Jane: Shit. That’s gonna be a sad room when this game is over.
Ilya shook his head, and, before he even had a chance to think about it, wrote, It’s a sad room now. These guys are assholes.
I have no idea where what scene was going to end up. Probably texting that becomes increasingly more flirtatious until Shane throws his phone out a window in a moment of panic. It was a tough to let this scene go because I loved the idea of them texting each other while hanging out with their respective friends/teammates/countrymen.
I think I made the right choice eliminating Ilya’s Russian teammates from the book, but I do wonder about Roman Ivanov. He seems sweet.
Okay, last scene.
This is from a version of the epilogue that I decided to abandon. I think the scene has some quality stuff in it. I had considered the epilogue being about Ilya moving into his new house in Ottawa after signing with them over the summer. In the end I decided to go with more hockey and the press conference scene. I stand by that choice.
Some of the info in this scene made it into the final epilogue but most of it never got used at all. I have some other alternate epilogue stuff that I am going to hang onto for now because I might use it in the sequel (there’s a scene where Shane and Ilya host Hayden and his wife for dinner that makes me laugh, and could totally still be worked into a sequel. If it doesn’t work I might rework it into a short story instead).
DELETED SCENE THREE - AUGUST, 2018
“Well,” Yuna said, her hands on her hips as she took in the empty room around her, “it looks like you’re going to have to do some shopping.”
Shane laughed at his mother’s understatement. The house Ilya had recently purchased on the edge of the Ottawa River was state-of-the-art, massive, and very empty. Ilya hadn’t moved any of his furniture from Boston, wanting, as he’d told Shane, to start fresh. Instead he had sold the entire furnished penthouse to one of his teammates.
“So when are your cars being delivered?” Shane asked. He had noticed the house had a four-car garage, which he knew wasn’t enough space for Ilya’s entire collection.
“Monday,” Ilya said. “But…only two of them. I have a new ride now.” He gestured to Shane to follow him to the door that led to the garage.
Shane was surprised to find a very sensible-looking Mercedes SUV parked in the middle of the garage. It wasn’t even a flashy colour. Just metallic grey. “This is yours?”
“Yes.” Ilya bit his lip. “Is good in snow.”
Shane smiled. “Good for driving between Ottawa and Montreal in the winter.”
“I thought so.”
Shane leaned up and kissed him. “Thank you. I was worried you’d be driving a Ferrari or something stupid on the highway in January.”
“No. But I am buying a Ducati.”
“A—wait. Isn’t that a motorcycle?”
“It is more than just a motorcycle, Hollander. Look.” He brought a photo up on his phone.
Shane blanched. “That looks…fast.”
“Ilya.” He put his hands on Ilya’s arms and looked sternly at him. “If you die on a motorcycle I am going to be very angry.”
“Then I won’t die. And also, the money from selling my cars, I thought could be put toward the foundation.”
“Oh yeah?” Shane grinned. “I was thinking the exact same thing about the money from selling the building in Montreal.”
They had decided to start the Irina Foundation together. The money it raised would be distributed to various organizations, large and small, that raise awareness, or provide support and assistance, to people struggling with depression and other mental illnesses. They planned to hold a press conference together to announce the foundation’s creation in a couple of months, and they would host the first hockey camps next summer.
Yuna had jumped at the chance to leave her Bank of Canada job and become the director and treasurer of the foundation. Shane couldn’t imagine a better person for the job.
They found his mother in the kitchen, tapping aggressively on her phone.
“Alright. I’ve made a list of what you need to get started, Ilya,” she said. “You can get most of it online. But I’m going to Wal-Mart later so I can pick up some of the most urgent items for you.”
Shane flushed at the words ‘urgent items’ because there were only a couple of things that he definitely wanted on hand for tonight. He dearly hoped they weren’t on his mother’s list.
Shane hugged his mother goodbye at the door, and then Ilya did the same. His parents had been so great about accepting him, and about keeping their secret.
“I’ll pick up a rotisserie chicken so you have something to eat tonight,” Yuna said.
“Aw, you don’t have to—”
“Shh, Hollander. Let her buy us chicken.”
Yuna beamed at Ilya as if she hadn’t spent seven years cursing his name. “Listen to your boyfriend, Shane.”
“Rarely a good idea,” Shane muttered.
Yuna left, and Ilya crowded Shane against the door. “How long until she is back?”
“I don’t know. An hour? Maybe two?”
After so many years of practice, they were very good at making the most of an hour or two of privacy. Ilya kissed him in the way that always made Shane’s toes curl in his socks. Shane tilted his chin up, leaning forward, wanting more.
“Let’s break in the bed,” Ilya said.
“Oh hell yes.”
I think the thing I like the most about that version of the epilogue was Ilya showing Shane his small garage with his new, sensible SUV. And also Yuna being in charge. But I don’t want Shane’s very busy mom to be spending her time helping two fully grown men buy basic household essentials. Like, seriously. Get it together, boys.
I do like Ilya being excited about a rotisserie chicken, though.
Well that’s about all I have to share with you. In truth, the editing process for this book mostly involved writing more content, not deleting what was there. I’ve been thinking a lot about Ilya and Shane lately, as I get ready to start writing their next book. I know this is the corniest thing to say, but they won’t shut up in my head. I am losing sleep because they won’t stop talking.