Bonus Scenes from THE MUSE UNLOCKED

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“Pasta, Cate?”

(The following bonus scene debuted in 11/2013 on the So the Story Goes book blog)

For those who have read THE MUSE UNLOCKED, you may recall a reference to this event in a later chapter from the book. However, the scene itself does not appear in the novel and has never been shared. That is, until now… I hope that readers will enjoy another small glimpse into these characters’ lives.


And for those who have not yet read the book, never fear. There is nothing here that will spoil a later introduction to the book for you but you’ll get a chance to meet screenwriter/author Cate Mullen and film and TV actor Oliver Sand in this slice-of-life scene that you will, I hope, enjoy, as well.

~ Chris Kuhn, author of THE MUSE UNLOCKED




Oliver stretched out on the chaise lounge and flipped through a pamphlet as Cate stepped outside to join him, drying her hands with a towel, and then turning to two filled wine glasses to carry them out to the patio. “What are you reading?” she looked at him quizzically as she handed him a glass.


He sat up in the chaise, smiling as he took the glass from her hand, “Thanks. Just a little something I found in the pantry.” He took a sip and cocked his head to one side. “Mmm. This is good. Merlot?”


Cate sipped her wine slowly, peering at him over the glass and smiling to herself. “Close. You’re getting better at identifying them. This is actually what’s known as a vintner’s blend – cabernet merlot. But nice job.” She nestled into the Adirondack chair, tucking her feet under her body. “So you still haven’t said? What is that you’re reading?”


Oliver laid the pamphlet on his lap and sighed loudly. “When were you going to tell me, Cate? Were you really going to keep this bit of information from me?” he stared down at the screenwriter, offering up a stern look that couldn’t completely mask the playful smirk beneath it. “Did you really think I wasn’t going to find out?”


Cate lifted herself away from the chair, shaking her head and chuckling. “What the hell are you talking about? Did I pour you one too many drinks tonight?”


Oliver swung his legs over to one side on the chaise and pointed to the pamphlet. “This, Cate. I found this in the pantry along with a cleverly concealed piece of equipment that I think somebody was trying to keep hidden from visitors. But I being the inquisitive and clever guest that I am found it,” he said proudly, his smirk completing the cycle and transforming into his signature beaming smile. He held up the pamphlet now for Cate to see. “Pasta, Cate? You like to make…pasta?” What started as a low, slowly building snicker escalated into outright laughter that Cate found completely endearing and sexy as hell.


Cate leaned forward and snatched the flimsy product manual out of his hands and joined him in the chuckles. “Yes, you caught me. I have a pasta maker. I received it as a gift one year. But I don’t use it. It’s far easier to go down to the store and buy it.


“But it’s much better fresh,” Oliver shot her a scolding look laced with a grin.


“And you know this because you’re a world renowned pasta chef, right?” Cate dipped her head down to sip her drink, smiling as her lips hit the rim of the glass.


“Well,” Oliver paused and shrugged his shoulders then lifted his lean but muscular frame off of the chair, stretching as he did. Cate couldn’t help noticing his exquisitely carved abs sneaking out under the tight-fitting black T-shirt as he raised his arms. “It just so happens I am an excellent pasta chef. I’ve made it many times. But not with some crazy machine.”


Cate looked up at him, sipped her drink once more then set it beside her on the end table. She rose up to meet him or at least stand next to him since he had six inches in height on her. “Are you telling me that you, Mr. Movie-Star-on-the-Rise, rather than hop on your motorcycle and head down to the grocery store like everyone else and pick up a ninety-five cent box of pasta, you are at home in your apartment kitchen sweating over the stove making pasta from scratch?”


“Well, I don’t get that sweaty but yes, I do make it myself. And it’s really not all that hard. You don’t need much. Do you have eggs, Cate?”


Cate looked at the handsome actor who had once again managed to surprise her. “Huh?” she said distractedly. “Oh, eggs? Yes.”


“Do you have unbleached flour?”


“I think so.”


“That and some salt, and we’ve got everything we need. In fact,” he moved in closer to Cate, pulling her body against his and circling her waist with his arms. “I’m going to show you exactly” he kissed next to her right ear “how to” then kissed her left ear “do it” and punctuated the playful pronouncement with a kiss on top of her nose. “Right now.” He leaned down to kiss her on the mouth, and Cate could feel her entire body turn to mush as he lingered on her lips.


When he finally pulled back smiling at her but keeping her in the grasp of his firm arms, she stumbled a bit to respond. “Um, right– right now?”


“Yes,” he nodded confidently and enveloping her hand in his, guiding her back into the screenwriter’s kitchen. He pulled down items from cabinets and out of the refrigerator – each ingredient measured out and poured into smaller bowls, a big mixing bowl here, a whisk there – and before Cate knew what was happening, the two were standing beside each other at her butcher’s block in the center of her kitchen in what could only appear to others peeking in as a cooking demo set-up. She wondered when Martha Stewart would walk through the door.


“Okay, Cate. Are you ready?”


Cate looked around for her glass of wine, chuckling to herself. “I can’t believe we’re really doing this.” She finally spotted it on the counter and happily took one final swig before returning to her post beside her handsome instructor. “Okay, teach. Fire up the lesson. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.”


As he walked her through each step of the pasta-making process, Cate found herself entranced with the man beside her, both patient and playful, yet serious about each step and keeping his doting student interested and entertained. Each time, they’d finish the next step in the process, he’d lean down to kiss her on the lips while caressing her bottom with his flour-covered fingers. She was pretty certain by now her ass must look like a powdered donut. Oh, Oliver. You don’t have to worry about me staying interested. You just have to show up and breathe, and already you’ve got my full attention.


By the time the two had mixed, whisked, blended, rubbed, patted, kneaded, folded, balled, sliced and flattened each inch of dough before them, his black shirt was covered in white-speckles of flour, front and back. And Cate was doused in every possible way, both on the surface of her flour-covered blouse and jeans as well as down below in her Oliver-arousing, soaked panties, stimulated by each fondle and show of affection the actor integrated into the cooking lesson. Yes, by the end of Pasta 101, Cate found herself more twisted and wound up than the spirals the two had just painstakingly made. She looked down at the floor beneath them as he finished placing the last set of flour-covered utensils in the sink to begin rinsing them.


“Have you looked down lately?” she laughed out loud after discovering the tile floor beneath them was as covered with flour as the two pasta-making lovebirds.


Oliver stopped his work at the sink to glance at the floor. “Oh wow, Cate. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean for us to make such a mess of your kitchen. Where’s your broom? I’ll clean up.” He started to head for the closet and she stepped before him reaching out to grab his arms.


“Don’t.” He stopped in his tracks before her and looked down into her eyes. “Don’t worry about it, Oliver. I’m not. I only noticed it. But I really think there’s a much bigger problem at hand.” Her face turned more serious.


He moved in closer to her, a look of concern sweeping across his face. “What, Cate? What’s wrong? Did I do something to upset you?”


Her serious look softened. “Just look at you. You are a mess. And I am a mess, too,” her face transformed into a shy smile, tinged with a bit of rose in her cheeks. She reached for the bottom of his T-shirt tucked into his jeans and began pulling it out and upward to remove it. “You can’t stay wearing these messy things. You’ll trail flour throughout my house.” She shot him now a broader, more confident smile as he raised his arms and removed his shirt enthusiastically in response, returning her beaming smile yet remaining quiet the entire time. Occasionally, he would let out a soft chuckle as he watched the woman before him muster up the courage to unbuckle his pants and kneel before him to slide his jeans down to the floor, for which he cooperated eagerly, stepping out of them once they reached the ground. After peeling each layer of clothing off of his lover, Oliver gently picked up Cate in his arms and delivered the two of them to the bathroom for a shower. Kitchen clean-up could wait.



Chicken & Waffles

(The following bonus scene debuted on Rose’s Book Blog in 2/2014)

For those who have read THE MUSE UNLOCKED, this is a scene that does not appear in the book but would have taken place just after Chapter 13 and before Chapter 14. It follows a dinner party that Cate and Oliver attend at Jaime and Kristen’s house. Now readers will get an opportunity to see what happened immediately following that evening and how it may have influenced the couple’s first road trip adventure. I hope you enjoy it!

And for those who have not yet read the book, not to worry. There is nothing here that will spoil a later introduction to the book for you but you’ll get a chance to meet screenwriter/author Cate Mullen and film and TV actor Oliver Sand in this slice-of-life scene so I do hope that you enjoy it, as well.
~ Chris Kuhn, author of THE MUSE UNLOCKED
Oliver pushed open the door and led Cate by the hand into the all-night diner. She looked around skeptically at what she would have likely considered a dump if she were driving by and would have never considered stopping in, but she could tell by his enthusiasm, that this was a place Oliver knew quite well.

“Hi there, handsome!”

Cate heard what sounded like an older woman’s voice. She detected an accent but wasn’t sure until she stepped in to see that the server calling to them from behind the counter was most likely in her 50’s and of Hispanic heritage

“This place has the best chicken and waffles anywhere in the Los Angeles area, and believe me. I’ve searched everywhere trying to find some place that makes it like back home,” he looked back and smiled at Cate.

“Chicken and whaa?” She eyed him with amusement.

The actor laughed and rolled his eyes. “Chicken and waffles! Aren’t you from the south? From Florida? How can you not know about the plate of heaven that is chicken and waffles?”

Cate just shrugged and smiled back.

Oliver made eye contact with the server and pointed to a booth for her approval. The server nodded and blew him an air-kiss, which Oliver responded to with one of his dazzling heartthrob smiles. Well, what do you know? Yet another woman on the planet who finds my date irresistible. What a shock. Cate laughed to herself at the observation that most women and some men frequently took it upon themselves to flirt with the handsome actor, and not that she could blame them, but it did frequently cause her to question why he chose to spend his time with her and not one of the many admirers they seemed to cross paths with on a daily basis.

Oliver pulled Cate toward the table. On the way there, he grabbed a menu with his other hand and laid it before his date as the couple sat down. “I haven’t been here in a while,” he looked around with a gleam in his eye that Cate noticed as she peered over the menu at him. “I love this place.”

“What’s not to love,” Cate said with a chuckle. The barb was out before she could reel it back. “I’m sorry. I’m just teasing.”

Oliver sat across from the writer, studying her, his hands folded on top of the table. “Thank you again for letting me drive your car here from Jaime’s. That’s quite a set of wheels you’ve got. Why do you have such a fast car anyway? You don’t strike me as a dragster.” He grinned and cocked his head to the side.

Cate let her eyes take in this beautiful actor before her and thought she felt a little drool gathering at the corner of her mouth and quickly wiped it to be safe. She felt his eyes lock with hers. “You’d be surprised about me when it comes to a lot of things. Some days, I just like to go out on the open road, put my foot to the floor and let my mind wander.”

She noticed him catch his breath a little though his gaze didn’t waver, and a sexy smirk overtook his lips. He leaned in and lowered his voice. “I’d really love to see how fast you can go, Cate.”

She blinked a few times and caught herself swallowing hard as the server arrived at the table to greet them. Oliver jumped out of his seat to embrace the server who wore a nametag etched with “Essie.” He planted a gentle kiss on her cheek before returning to his seat and pointing to his date. “Essie, I want you to meet a good friend of mine. This is Sara. And Sara, Essie is one of the sweetest, most beautiful ladies you’re going to meet here in Los Angeles and she was one of the first people who made me feel at home when I stopped in just after I moved here.” He looked up at the server and beamed.

Essie caressed his cheek motherly. “Oh, honey. How could anyone not be sweet to you, ah?” She turned to Cate and touched her arm gently. “Is he not the most handsome boy you’ve ever seen? And sweeeeeet.” She held out the syllable on that last word just long enough to prompt a giggle from Cate who nodded and smiled at the woman. Essie turned to Oliver. “So what are we having this morning?”

“That’s right, it is morning already, isn’t it?” Oliver looked at Cate with surprise in his eyes.

“It sure is.” Cate continued to look down at the menu but smiled at his sudden realization that the two were sitting down to a meal at2 a.m. after going to Jaime and Kristin’s for dinner earlier that evening.

Essie squeezed his arm and giggled, the way all women seemed to do around this endearing man who sat before Cate, a man that she was starting to fall for more and more every day. Her concentration on the smoothness of his skin along his neck was broken by another tug on the arm — this time, hers.

“Oliver only brings good people here, so I know you must be good people,” Essie radiated joy, and Cate quickly realized why Oliver would be so attracted to her positive energy and the hospitality of what would otherwise be described as a hole in a wall but clearly to Oliver had become like home. Cate did find another thought enter her brain uninvited – I wonder who Oliver’s brought here before – but she quickly pushed it aside. She blushed at the server’s kind sentiment and spoke quietly. “I do the best I can.”

Oliver jumped into the conversation. “Sara is one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I know, Essie. So yes, she’s good people. Very good.”

Cate felt her insides tumble a little at his emphasis of the final two words and grinned. She looked up at Essie and began to place her order. Oliver jumped in before she could say a word.

“We’ll have the chicken and waffles, Essie, and… coffee?” he turned to Cate for her input on that part of the order. She chuckled and nodded. Clearly, he is intent on me trying this dish, so I’ll leave my better judgment aside and pick up antacids on the trip home, she thought to herself.

The server took the menu with another sweet smile for them both, then left their table to place the order. Oliver held out his hands on the table straight in front of them and Cate gave in, laying her fingers inside his grasp.

“So what were you and Jaime talking about when Kristen sent me to tell you that coffee and dessert were ready?” he looked at Cate with a new seriousness. “It looked pretty intense in there.”

Cate laughed off the inquiry and shifted the subject. “Oh, it was nothing. Just talk about script changes. So why was it so important for us to come all of this way from home for a meal in a greasy spoon?”

“You always tell me that you never got a chance to explore Los Angeles when you moved here, so I thought I’d show you another place you haven’t been.”

“Yeah, but we could have gone another day and come in the daytime, not so late at night,” Cate offered.

“But there’s nothing like chicken and waffles in the early, early morning. Mmm mmm,” he closed his eyes and moaned a little, and the sexiness of even the slightest moan coming from that handsome man left her quivering yet again.

“I know. You really want me to try this combination, but it’s just so late and we’ve got to be on the set tomorrow so early, that I just thought—“

Oliver cut her off. “I didn’t want the night to end, okay?”

His admission caught Cate off guard. She felt her mouth drop open in response and quickly shut it to form a shy smile with her lips. “I don’t want this evening to end either.”

She watched the normally boisterous actor become quieter and hang his head a little, a smile spreading across his face. “So Cate, what do you do for fun around here? You know, when you have free time?”

Cate placed her elbows on the table and propped her head with her clutched fists resting under her chin. “Wow, that’s a really good question. I’ve never thought about it because I don’t usually have any free time. At least, I haven’t in a while. Not when my dad was sick and I was flying back and forth to Florida. I guess if I had more time off I would probably go to museums and art galleries. It was one of the things I was most excited about when I moved out here. Being in a big city with so much art and theater was new to me. I wasn’t used to that back home. We have some nice museums, but I usually had to travel to see them.”

Oliver nodded and twisted a few napkins pulled from the dispenser into various shapes and sizes. “There is definitely a lot to do out here. I wasn’t used to it either. My town didn’t have a lot of that, art galleries or theaters, so the only time I had a chance to see a show or go to an art exhibit was when our class would take a field trip to Oklahoma City.”

Cate looked over at the server who smiled at her from behind the counter, clearly keeping an eye on the couple. Cate smiled back politely and her eyes connected with Oliver who held a longing in them and seemed to glide across her face and entire upper body. She felt a blush come over her as Essie returned to bring coffee cups and a coffeepot, then promptly returned to the counter. Cate eyed Oliver as he began pouring cups for both of them. “Why did you tell Essie that my name was Sara?”

He set down the coffeepot and pulled the sugars and bowl of creamers closer to them. “Essie’s great. She wouldn’t say anything, but you never know who might be around in here. Who I’m dating seems to be of real interest to some people and you definitely don’t need people poking their nose in your business right now, so I didn’t think you’d mind,” he looked over and shot a grin as he stirred his coffee. She felt a glow upon her face, so impressed at his discretion and thoughtfulness to look out for her as much as himself.He’s Lancelot. She smiled to herself.

Essie arrived with their dishes in hand. “Careful. These are hot.” She laid the still steaming plates before each of them. “Enjoy.”

Cate blew through her golden blonde bangs. “Oh my, that’s a lot of sodium.” She chuckled aloud as Oliver tore into his dish like he had not eaten in days. “I see you’re up for the challenge of this mountain of food before you.”

Oliver covered his mouth, but she caught the dimples etched in his face in response to her observation. When he’d finally finished that first bite, he held his hand out to touch Cate’s. “Sorry. I haven’t been here in a while, but trust me, Cate,” he leaned in closer to her and let his fingers glide up and down her hand. Then spoke in a low, sexy voice. “You’ve never tasted anything like this in your life.”

The sultriness in that innocent remark caught Cate off guard, and the woman of many words found herself speechless. He pulled his hand away and shot her another one of his dazzling smiles just as Cate picked up her fork to begin diving into the meal. She dropped the fork suddenly which only made those dimples deepen and the two giggled as they got lost in chicken, waffles and a heavy side of innuendo that showed no signs of running out anytime soon.