“Of All the Lives I’ve Taken” | Deleted Scene from A FATAL PROSPECT

I’m no stranger to chasing after Olivia. It’s an art form we’ve perfected. I’d do anything for her. I think I’ve proved that. But I can’t imagine what could’ve happened that she can’t talk to me about. Not after everything we’ve been through.

Or maybe it isn’t enough.

No matter how many times I chase her, she keeps running. Maybe it’s time to accept that she doesn’t want to be with me.

Sometimes I get carried away and add too many scenes, scenes that I love but they don’t move the plot forward and therefore, they must go. Chop, chop!

The following is a deleted scene from A Fatal Prospect. It was originally Chapters 9 and 10, which got replaced with a scene between Olivia and Vaughn.

The following contains a sweet interaction between Cliff and Olivia, some more time with Lucy, and (CW) accidental killing of an animal.

This scene may contain spoilers from the previous books in the series. Read at your own risk!


I collapse onto the futon acting as my living room couch, booted feet hanging over one end. Between work at the factory, shifts at The Wet Mermaid, and hanging out with Bunny so Lucy can catch some Zs, I’m beat. My eyes close and my jaw goes slack.

My phone rings.

Groaning, I tug it out of the pocket of my cut. Olivia’s face flashes on the screen. “You’re lucky you’re you,” I greet her.

“I have never felt lucky for being me.”

“If you weren’t you, I’d have hit the red button. Congratulations.” I remain on my back. “What’s up?”

“What’s up?” she echoes. “It’s Friday. Take me out.”

I sit up. “Like on a date?”

“Think of it as a celebratory ending to the week.”

“So a date.” I grin. “Where do you want to go?”

“Anywhere that isn’t work and doesn’t make me look weird for dressing up.”

“Definitely a date.” I stand from the futon. “How about that comedy club?”

“Are we comedy club people?”

“We could be.”

“Let’s give it a shot.”

“I’ll pick you up in an hour,” I tell her.

“What if we just meet there?”

I suppress a laugh. “You asked me to take you out. Take being the operative word.”

A pause stretches between us. I can’t really argue with her, because I wouldn’t want to ride on the back of someone else’s motorcycle, either. If someone told me back in January that I’d be saving up for my own motorcycle, I’d have laughed at them.

“I can meet you at Lucy’s and we can take her car,” I offer.

“But it’s a beautiful night to ride!” she exclaims through a giggle. An actual giggle.

“It’s always a beautiful night to ride.”

“I kind of want a cheeseburger.”

“I want a burger!” Lucy calls.

I chuckle. “Who knew a date could be so complicated? Tell you what, I’ll pick up burgers, we’ll eat with Lucy, and then we’ll go see a movie.”

“It’s a date,” Olivia says, and hangs up.


“Is Cliff bringing burgers?” Lucy asks from my side. We sit on her couch, where she eavesdropped on my entire conversation with Cliff and inserted herself into my almost date.

I side-eye her. “You’re a cock block.”

She mock gasps, placing the free hand that isn’t holding Bunny on her chest. “Me?”

“Whatever,” I say, springing from the couch and sticking my tongue out at her. “I’m getting ready.”

In the shower, I exfoliate and shave, getting every inch deliciously smooth. Burger-thieving sisters or not, there will be making out in the movie theater. I sing while I scrub down and while I dry off, and also while I run cream through my curls. Maybe it’s because this week I didn’t have to take anybody’s kids away, but I’m ridiculously happy. I’m so happy, I’m dressed and ready before Cliff arrives.

I pull on my boots and jog back down the stairs, still singing. It’s one of those electropop songs that always gets stuck in my head. “I’m going out for a cigarette,” I sing out to Lucy.

She does a double take from the couch. “What is happening here?”

I shrug and open the door, then step outside. Something squishes and crunches under my foot. A soft chirp follows. I freeze.

“No,” I gasp. “No, no, no.”

The chirping from over my head swirls around me, a crescendo punctuated by each beat of my heart.


I lift my boot, still whispering no under my breath. A tiny bird twitches on the front doormat. I stare down at it, my brain scrambling to arrange the downy white tufts and brown feathers and the still moving yellow beak, the squelch of intestines bursting from one side, the tiny legs sticking up into the air.

“No, no, no!” Tears blur my vision, a lump clogging my throat. There’s no undo button, no going back in time. I knew the birds were there, I knew there were babies. I should have been more careful.

I blink and it’s winter and Dio lies in a broken heap on my bed. A peep is a meow and there’s no going back. I fall to my knees and scoop up what’s left, tears dragging mascara down to my chin.

“No.” I sob, cradling the little bird in my hands. I know I’m not supposed to touch them, but I can’t remember if it’s because the parents will kill it or I’ll risk some disease. The tweeting over my head continues, the birds in the nest above me oblivious. Or maybe they saw it all and they’re grieving, outraged at this giant, this murderer, this killer.

The door opens and Lucy sticks her head out. “What—?” Her eyes drop down to my hands, and her hands flutter to her mouth, covering her expression.

“I didn’t see it,” I cry.

Her hands drop to her sides. “It’s okay. You didn’t mean to.”

“I didn’t look.” I look down at my hands then out at the road. I don’t want to look. I shouldn’t look. But I didn’t look, and here I am.

“Stay here,” she commands. Where would I go, anyway? I hope she’s calling a vet. She has to call a vet. The beak is still and the broken creature in my hands is going cold.

It’s too late.

Lucy returns, her gloved hands reaching for the bird and bagging it before I can move. I remain kneeling, my palms up toward the sky. Feathers stick to my fingers. She disappears again, and when she comes back, her hands are empty, the gloves gone.

“Let’s wash your hands.” She guides me to my feet and steers me inside, plunging my hands under warm water and squirting soap into my palms. I rub them together, mechanical function taking over. I wash them again, but the weight of that tiny baby is still there.

“It’s okay,” she repeats, rubbing my back. “Livvie?”

“I didn’t look.” I dry my hands on a towel, my gaze dropping to my feet. I check the soles of my boots. They’re clean. It’s as if nothing happened.

“We’ll just be more careful now,” she says.

I catch my reflection in the mirror, taking in the dried line of mascara and the pale tint of my skin. A motorcycle engine purrs nearer, reminding me that I need to get myself together.

“Olivia?” Lucy asks, her tone taking on a worried edge.

I turn the water back on and dip my hands underneath the stream, bowing my head. I scrub the makeup off until my skin is bare and red.

“Burger delivery,” Cliff calls from the living room.

“Olivia?” Lucy asks again.

I try to find words, to crack a joke, but it’s too soon. I take a shaky breath.

“You okay?” she asks, still rubbing my back.

Of all the lives I’ve taken, this one bears the most weight.


I head into the kitchen, dropping the bag of burgers and fries on the table. “Olivia? Luce?” I call out. Dio hops up onto the table with a meow. “Hey buddy.” I give his head a rub. “Where is everyone?”

From behind the closed bathroom door, a faucet starts running. Otherwise, Lucy’s condo is completely still. Shrugging, I grab some plates and sit down. I don’t need to be told to dig in, not when it comes to G’s. Or any takeout, really. I glance down at what is sure to be a dad bod if I don’t reign it in a little.

“It’s not my fault,” I tell Dio, shooing him off the table. “I had to eat slop for twenty years.” I plate everyone’s orders and sit back, staring at my food. “Well, this is awkward.”

Dio meows in agreement.

The bathroom door opens and Lucy steps out, closing it behind her. “Oh. Hey!” She drops into a seat and grabs a fry from the plate in front of her. Her face is unreadable.

“Where’s Olivia?” I ask cautiously. Maybe a date was a bad idea. Olivia and I have never been conventional, and every time I try to do some kind of normal boyfriend/girlfriend thing with her, I only end up scaring her away.

My cousin looks up from her food. “Olivia?” she asks, blinking.

Shit. I lean back in my seat. “Did she, ah, leave?” I swear I saw her Street Glide in the driveway. I frown.

“No!” Lucy throws on a smile. “She’s just doing her makeup.”

I tilt my head. “Makeup?” I can’t help the smile that takes over my face.

Lucy’s eyes drop back down to her still untouched burger. “You know, just girl things . . .”

My eyes narrow in suspicion. “Everything okay?”

She opens her mouth, but whatever she’s about to say is interrupted by a wail from the baby monitor. “Be right back,” she promises, casting a worried glance at the bathroom door. Then she disappears.

I look down at Dio, who sits next to my chair, his nose up in the air sniffing the bacon. “I really wish you could talk, dude.”

He stands up on his hind legs, nose wiggling.

With a shrug, I take a bite of my burger, careful to save a few bits of bacon for the cat. Through the baby monitor, I hear Lucy soothing Bunny. The bathroom door remains closed.

I stand, slipping Dio a bite of bacon as I make my way to the bathroom. I hesitate at the door. It might really just be makeup—girl stuff. If I’ve learned anything about Olivia in the past seven months, it’s that nothing is simple about the woman I love. I raise a fist to knock, then lower it.

Dio meows at my feet, giving me away. Traitor.

I knock lightly. “Hey. Everything okay?”

The faucet stops running. There’s a muffled clatter of plastic hitting porcelain. “Damn it,” Olivia mutters.

I knock again. “You in there?”

Everything goes still.

I step back from the door, running a hand over my beard. I should probably just eat my burger. If something is wrong, what kind of boyfriend would I be if I just ignored it?

Dio meows again, lowering himself to his belly. He reaches a paw under the door, swiping. His next meow is loud, plaintive.

We’re both being shut out.

“Burgers!” Lucy calls out from behind me.

I pivot, lifting my boot to avoid the cat’s tail. My cousin drops into her chair, lifting her burger while wearing a forced smile.

“I’m just gonna head out.” I walk away from the door, planting a kiss on Lucy’s head as I pass.

Her eyes dart between me and the door. She lowers her burger. “Just give her a minute,” she whispers. “Please?”

Sighing, I return to my seat. “What happened?”

She nibbles on her lower lip. “I’m not really sure,” she hedges.

I blurt out the burning question. “Is it because I let you in on our date?”

Her lips tighten.

“Luce,” I plead.

“I don’t think so.” She sets her burger down. “I think she’s just going through a lot, and isn’t exactly coping with everything.”

“What happened?” I ask again.

The bathroom door opens and Olivia steps out, Dio winding between her legs. Lucy and I turn in our seats. The whole room holds its breath. Olivia steps past Dio and veers around the table, heading toward the front door.

“Food’s getting cold,” Lucy tries.

“I’m going for a ride,” Olivia says. She opens the door and then slips out. The door closes behind her.

I fix my cousin with a frown.

“Let’s just eat,” she says, picking up a fry.

Outside, the Street Glide roars to life. I drum my fingers on the table. I’m no stranger to chasing after Olivia. It’s an art form we’ve perfected. I’d do anything for her. I think I’ve proved that. But I can’t imagine what could’ve happened that she can’t talk to me about. Not after everything we’ve been through.

Or maybe it isn’t enough.

No matter how many times I chase her, she keeps running. Maybe it’s time to accept that she doesn’t want to be with me.

I sigh, leaning back in my seat.

“Cliff,” Lucy begins.

I hold up a hand. “Let’s . . . just eat.”

The rumble of the engine cuts out abruptly. I pick up my burger, resolving to just let her go. There’s nothing else I can do. Not when she’s shutting me out. I’ve never felt about anyone the way I feel about Olivia. Sooner or later, it’s going to be my undoing. Probably sooner.

I can’t make her love me back.

The front door opens and Olivia steps inside. Dio bounds up to her. She scoops him up and he rubs his cheek against hers. “You’ve got bacon breath.” She carries him into the kitchen and sets him down by his bowl. “Who gave this demon bacon?”

I try not to look guilty, but Lucy gives me away.

“I was upstairs with the baby.”

Olivia shakes her head at me, but a smile tugs the corners of her mouth up. She takes the seat next to me and steals a fry from my plate, dipping it into ketchup. I watch her out of the corner of my eye, noting the way her eyes don’t quite light up.

“So what movie are we gonna see?” she asks, nudging her onion rings toward me.

I wish I’d never let Mercy go, but I can’t bring him and Bree back. All I can do is wait and see if the shadows in Olivia’s eyes recede.

A Fatal Prospect
River Reapers MC, Book 3

Available April 28th

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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.

2 thoughts on ““Of All the Lives I’ve Taken” | Deleted Scene from A FATAL PROSPECT”

  1. I hated that you cut one scene out of this book! But if it had to be any this would be the one, poor Olivia!


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