The road to perfection is paved with, um, lots of deleted scenes, I think! :)
Below is one from CAPTURED BY THE CAPTAIN, a historical romance available Sept. 7, 2021. In this scene, the hero and heroine, Captain Leo Sullivan and Grace Covington, are sailing to Charleston, S.C., in the spring of 1892, aboard the captain's schooner.
Though I LOVED the details in this scene, they only slowed the story down once we neared the final drafts of the book. So it was snip, snip, snip--and onto the cutting room floor for it, lol.
Anyway, I'm happy to share it here now. :)
Of the many places Leo had navigated the Destiny, he loved sailing her into Charleston Harbor most of all. There was always a steady sea breeze to whisk him inland ... and then, eventually, sight of the huge, majestic columns of the Roper’s multi-tiered mansion on the Battery, built at the perfect angle to help a captain line up his vessel for entry into the harbor. First though, he had to get past the forts. With Grace beside him at the helm, he motioned starboard and then to the port side.
“That’s Fort Moultrie on the right,” he explained to her. “To our left is Fort Sumter. First shots of the Civil War were fired over Sumter. The whole area is littered with shipwrecks.”
Grace’s eyes widened. “Entire ships are beneath us?”
He nodded. “More than I’d like to think about. Some were blockade runners that attempted to run the gauntlet imposed by the North to block all trade while others were vessels sunk defending these forts.”
Grace shielded her eyes from the early morning sun with one hand, looking hard at the walls of Fort Sumter as they passed. “These are hallowed waters indeed, then. Do you know how to navigate around the wrecks?”
“I do,” he assured her, wanting to allay any fears. “Jetties were built a while back, which not only changed the lay of the land beneath the water but also helped clear out the area.”
“Is the fort still used for protection?”
“Not any longer. These days, it mostly serves as a lighthouse station.”
She dropped her hand to her side and glanced over at him, a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. “How does a captain from Maine come to know so much about this area?”
“Your father,” he answered honestly.
He saw her straighten up just a tad, mention of Thomas obviously bringing sharp feelings to the surface.
“I know it’s hard for you to hear, but your father has been a huge influence in my life. All for the better.”
She hugged her waist with both arms, nodding her head. “I can see that,” she acknowledged.
But she didn’t want to delve deeper into any of it, Leo knew. Back at the island, she’d said she wanted to “sail away from everything today,” so he decided to give her that experience. Fully.
Lightening the mood, he nodded up ahead, explaining to her how he would line up the Destiny with the huge, white columns of the Roper family’s home.
Later, as he navigated for a berth along the busy port, he pointed out the Old Exchange Building, where so much history had taken place and where even prisoners had been kept, and then he noted the huge steeple of St. Michael’s Church that seemed to touch the belly of the day’s perfectly blue sky.
His running dialogue worked to ease any anxiety she might be feeling. Once finished with the details of docking Destiny, Leo was only too eager to hire a hackney and head into the business district with Grace at his side. They could have walked, but he wanted to gift her with viewing the older parts of the city by carriage.