The distance between us is complicated. She doesn’t want to move in with me, she doesn’t want to get married, and she definitely doesn’t want to have my babies. She won’t even let me tell her I love her.

The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming novel, A Fatal Prospect, and may not reflect the final product. This excerpt contains spoilers from the series; please read A Disturbing Prospect and A Risky Prospect first!


“You’re on Bunny duty, Cliff,” Olivia tells me as I set down the final box of decorations. I turn to find my cousin Lucy holding out her baby to me.

“Leigh,” she says, narrowing her eyes at Olivia. “Her name is Leigh.” She passes the baby Olivia nicknamed Bunny to me, and I cradle her in the crook of my arm.

“Easiest job in the house,” I say. I’d never pass up on some uninterrupted Bunny time. It’s a regular game my cousin and I play. Where we used to fight over turns playing Crash Bandicoot, now we fight over who gets to hold Bunny. Lucy always wins, of course.

Nothing has changed between us.

“I can’t believe you two talked me into a biker Sip and See,” Lucy says, climbing onto a chair. She wraps crepe streamers around the stripper pole, and I bite back a laugh.

I can’t believe it, either.

I catch Olivia’s eye from where she sets up the bar. She smirks. “Please. I wasn’t about to let you sip tea. Whiskey’s so much better, and we’ve got plenty of that.”

“I told you to save it for your own baby,” Lucy says.

“Not gonna happen,” Olivia says. “And don’t even start with that ‘you’ll change your mind’ bullshit again. I’d be a horrible mother.”

I swallow her statement. It lodges in my chest, wedging the rift between us even wider. Babies are a touchy subject between us, close behind marriage and Olivia’s PTSD.

Bunny fusses. I look down at her, and I can’t help but smile. “Hey,” I soothe. She’s existed for just about two weeks, yet she brings out the very best in me. I might never have my own children, so for me, Bunny is it.

“I’m gonna spoil you,” I confess, rocking her. I swear she smiles. “I’ll even buy your first motorcycle.”

“Over my dead body.”

I turn. Lucy holds out the tiny outfit she debated over for the last week, rolling her eyes at me but smiling. “I’ll work on her,” I tell Bunny.

“It might not take long.” She holds out her arms. “Olivia talked me into a biker baby debut. The two of you could talk me into anything. Give me my baby.”

“I can change her,” I say, not ready to give up my niece.

“I need you to hang up the rest of the streamers,” Olivia says, joining us.

She barely looks at the baby. I’ve seen her hold Bunny twice, and both times were at the hospital.

“Sucks being tall, doesn’t it?” Lucy teases, and I relinquish the baby, immediately missing her.

“She smiled at me.” I grab a roll of streamers and tape, and get to work.

“We’ve been through this. It’s gas.” Lucy lays Bunny down and starts working her out of her tiny onesie.

My chest aches.

Olivia loves Bunny—Leigh. I know she does. She’s the one who gave her that nickname while Lucy was pregnant. But once Lucy brought Bunny home, everything changed between Olivia and me.

The distance between us is complicated. She doesn’t want to move in with me, she doesn’t want to get married, and she definitely doesn’t want to have my babies. She won’t even let me tell her I love her.

It’s not just that.

Sometimes when I close my eyes, I still see her on top of Greg, those fingers, currently stacking delicate shot glasses, wrapped around his throat. There’s no doubt in my mind that she had to do it. I still wish I didn’t have to see it.

I guess that’s how Lucy must feel about me.

I finish up the streamers, my hands tingling, the muscles and nerves remembering what I want to forget. I made my father pay for his sins against Lucy with my bare hands. No regrets, that’s how I live. Olivia, too.

It still changes you.

There are times when I can’t look at her. The monster in me sees the monster in her. It stops me cold in my tracks. Our entire relationship is probably built on that thread that runs through us both. It makes sense that we can’t have the things I want so badly.

Our world is no place for a child.

It’s not her fault at all.

I just don’t know what to do about it.

“It’s time,” Olivia calls, putting the final touches on the gifts table. Right on cue, the door swings open, and Donny and Esther shuffle inside with their herd of kids. Esther’s three little sisters come with a plus-one, an older teen boy I’ve never seen before. Esther’s oldest little sister, Cierra, breaks off from the group with him and they dip their heads together. Cierra points to Olivia, and my eyebrows furrow.

“Who’s he?” I ask Donny.

His jaw tightens. “Cierra’s seventeen-year-old ‘friend.’ She’s fourteen, for fuck’s sake. I wasn’t ready for this shit.”

“She’s in high school, brother,” I say, clapping him on the back. “It was bound to happen.”

“I ain’t a fan.” Donny eyes the boy. “They’re attached at the hip, and I swear, if they attach anywhere else, I’ll kill him.” His dark eyes meet mine, softening as his threat dies.

Donny fell in love with Esther and didn’t skip a beat when she got guardianship of her little sisters. They’ve all been through a lot and, teen boyfriends aside, I’m glad things are getting back to normal for them.

More guests pour in, mostly teachers Lucy works with at the elementary school. I spot her chatting with friends, rocking Bunny in her arms. Motherhood looks good on Lucy. She reminds me of my mother, dedicated and tender.

I’ll probably never know the truth behind Ruth’s death.

It’s a loss I feel every day, but especially today when she should be here. She’d love Bunny. She’d love Olivia.

I glance around for my woman, but she’s gone. So are Cierra, the boy, and Esther.

“Olivia will fill you in later,” Donny says, gripping my arm.

“Fill me in on what?” Before I can get an answer out of him, music fills the clubhouse.

Read Chapter 2 »

Romance with a Body Count

A Fatal Prospect
River Reapers MC, Book 3

Available April 28th, 2021

Cover Reveal April 14th

Bloggers: Click here for ARCs

[su_button url=”https://books2read.com/afatalprospect” target=”blank” background=”#c9806d” color=”#ede3e3″ icon_color=”#ede3e3″ title=”PRE-ORDER NOW”]PRE-ORDER NOW[/su_button]

Catch Up On the
River Reapers MC Series

Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited | Order a Signed Paperback

Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited | Order a Signed Paperback

Read for FREE with BookFunnel | Order a Signed Paperback

Photo by logoboom, via Depositphotos

Author: Elizabeth Barone

Elizabeth Barone is an American novelist who writes contemporary romance and suspense starring strong belles who chose a different path in life. Her debut novel Sade on the Wall was a quarterfinalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. She is the author of the South of Forever series and several other books. When not writing, Elizabeth is very busy getting her latest fix of Yankee Candle, spicy Doritos chips, or whatever TV show she’s currently binging. Elizabeth lives in northwestern Connecticut with her husband, a feisty little cat, and too many books.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: