She’s a criminal when it comes to sex

The following is a NSFW excerpt from A Disturbing Prospect.


“Hold on,” she says, glancing up and down the street. There’s a dangerous look in her eyes, one that simultaneously draws me in and makes me pause. This woman might look harmless, but she’s a criminal when it comes to sex. She grabs my hand and tugs me forward, trying car doors as we walk.

She’s dead serious.

“Olivia, what the fuck are you doing?” I mutter. “I’m on parole. You know that, right?”

She tosses me a challenging look. “Is your probation officer here right now?”

“No, but—”

“Relax,” she says, pulling the door of a station wagon open. “We’re not technically breaking in if it isn’t locked.”

There are so many technicalities wrapped up in this night.

She climbs into the back seat, shedding clothing. “It’s roomy in here,” she purrs, beckoning me inside.

With one more glance at the street, I climb in after her, shutting the door behind me.

Our breath steams up the windows. She peels off garments, flinging them onto the passenger seat. Within seconds, she’s naked.

“Your turn.”

So much for savoring this.

I yank off my jeans, shirt, and coat. My cock stands at full attention. Olivia regards me with an amused expression on her face. Heat flushes my cheeks. “What?”

“You were commando?” she asks, crawling into my lap.

I laugh. “I ran out before, and didn’t get a chance to change after we did laundry.”

Olivia smiles back. A wisp of hair falls into her eyes. I brush it back gently, my eyes roving over her face. Suddenly we’re shy teenagers who thought they were ready but don’t really know what to do next.

My hands drop to her hips, fingers caressing the soft flesh. “You really want this?”

She nods. Her arms encircle my neck, those eyes locked on mine. It could be a trick of the light, but she looks truly happy. Maybe she’s one of those people who really, really like sex. Whatever the reason, I’m honored to be the one to make her feel good—in multiple ways.

Soft lips tug at mine, her tongue flitting across my bottom lip. She sucks me between her teeth while her hands trail to my shoulders. The heat radiating from her warm center is so inviting.

My tongue plunges into her mouth, a growl escaping my lips. I should be gentle with her, but I don’t want to. I want to consume her until I’m completely intoxicated, neither of us able to walk.

Her legs wrap around my waist, her hips thrusting her soft wetness against me. Fingers from one hand pluck at my nipples, while her other hand wraps around me.

In just a few seconds, I’m going to throw back the bars of the cage. “One more time,” I growl into her mouth. “Do you really want this?”

She rubs the head of me against her slit in response.

Her slick wetness makes me come completely undone. In one motion, I twist our bodies until she’s flat on her back. Her legs wrap around me, and I lower myself until I’m throbbing at her entrance. Olivia gives me a final nod, and I slide in.

Her warmth envelopes me, and I almost come halfway through my first thrust. “I’m not going to last long,” I choke out.

“Shh,” she soothes into my ear. “It’s okay. Just give me all you’ve got, baby.” Her arms lock around my neck and she clings to me with her whole body. I sheath myself in her, embedded deep inside.

Slowly, I slide out, until just the tip of me is in her. I caress the side of her breast and each rib with my fingers as I make my way down to her. I want this to be just as good for her as it is for me.

Stroking her with my fingers, I plunge into her again with slow precision. With each thrust, I get more into a rhythm, two knuckles grinding against her. She shivers underneath me, tiny moans tumbling from her lips. Hard nipples rub against my chest, a complete parallel to her soft breasts pressed to my pecs. Our hearts pound against each other, blood boiling, edging us closer and closer.

My cock surges, the fire of the orgasm blowing through me.

“Fuck,” I growl into her ear. “No.”

She gasps, shouting out. “Just fuck me,” she pants, and I do. I plow into her, rubbing her, begging her. This will all be for nothing if I can’t take her with me.

Olivia arches into me, her back coming straight off the floor. A moan ripples through the station wagon, her nails raking down my back. “Yes, baby, yes,” she breathes as she shivers against me.

The last twenty years rush out of me, pulsing into her. I feel her tighten and expand around me, driving us both into the abyss.

It’s the best I’ve ever had.

I collapse, rolling to the side so I don’t crush her. A stream of hot liquid gushes down my thigh. Resting on my back, I stare at the ceiling, my breath ragged. Beside me, she exhales and turns onto her side.

“Wow,” she says, grinning. “Thank you.” She dips her chin. Our eyes meet for a second, then she reaches into the front seat for her cigarettes. The flash of bare skin exposes a twin stream running down her leg.

My heart just about stops.

“Fuck,” I say, scrambling to sit up. “We need to get to a store. We didn’t—I mean, I didn’t—”

She glances over her shoulder. Now she really does look amused. “Relax,” she says, handing me a cigarette. “I’m on the pill.”

I fall back, relief rushing through me. I smoke in silence, and decide I’ve had enough thrills in one night to last me a lifetime. From here on out, I’m keeping my head down and playing it straight.

This can never, ever happen again.

A Disturbing Prospect

Whose secret is more disturbing, his or hers?


Someone’s slashed my tires less than a week after I screwed ex-con Cliff back into society. I knew it was a bad idea, but with his dark hair, gentle eyes, and disturbing secrets, I was dying to unlock him. As much as I don’t want to believe it was him, he’s a killer, so what’s a little stalking? With a whole biker club at my back, normally all I’d have to do is say the word, but he just became their latest Prospect.

I’ll just have to handle it myself.


After two decades in prison, I might as well be on another planet. Everything is different now, including me. I’ve fallen for the first woman I met, and I’ll do anything to prove to her that I’ve changed, too. There aren’t many prospects for a felon, so I have no choice but to take the first job I’m offered. Becoming a Prospect for my father’s MC comes with all kinds of strings, especially since I’m the one who killed him.

And now, thanks to Olivia, I’ve got one more body to bury.

A Disturbing Prospect is the first book in the River Reapers MC series, a dark romance with a body count. Some content may be disturbing to some readers.

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Post a Review of A DISTURBING PROSPECT (Pretty Please)

If you’ve read A Disturbing Prospect, please post a review! Reviews are for readers, not authors, but they do help me out quite a bit.

There are quite a few myths about reviews—sorry, 50 or more reviews don’t trigger Amazon marketing—so here’s how they actually help.

  • They help other readers decide if my book is The One for them
  • They show other readers that my book has actually been read by real people
  • They help me determine what is working and what I need to improve

If you could post a review for A Disturbing Prospect, whether you loved or hated it, I’d really appreciate it!

Not sure how to post a review? Here are some tips!

  • Say what you liked and didn’t like about the book
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  • Let people know if it was too spicy, not spicy enough, or just right
  • Mention whether it met your expectations for a biker romance

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Thank you so much!

I’m Breaking All of My Rules for Him | A DISTURBING PROSPECT Snippet

Cliff has me breaking all kinds of rules.

I throw on sweats and my high top Nikes, then toss my hair into a frizzy bun. With such wild curly hair, I’ll never have one of those cute messy buns that straight-haired girls rock. But I’ve managed to make it my own.

I’m supposed to work tonight, but I’ll come home and shower first. Still, just in case, I wing my eyeliner and dab on mascara. Looking at my reflection, I shake my head at myself. The odds of me running into Cliff today are pretty low. This is totally absurd. After another moment, I shrug and add lip gloss.

My hand is on my bedroom door knob when I hear a door slam. Frenzied shrieks and Spanish gush from my roommate’s mouth. I throw my door open and Esther barrels into my room.

Between high school and my roommate, my Spanish is pretty good, but she’s talking way too fast. Tears streak her cheeks, and she clutches her phone in her hand. I lead her to my bed and sit her down. After bringing her an ice cold glass of water, I calm her enough to talk.

“My car,” she gasps, her hands shaking. “Someone slit my tires.”

I bolt up straight. Eyes narrowing, I stomp toward the front door as if I can still catch the motherfucker. Right outside our front door, Esther’s car slumps pathetically. All four tires have long gashes in them. My jaw hangs open even as fury rips through me. Esther is a nice person—someone so quiet, she wouldn’t disturb a librarian. Cutting tires is never random, always personal. This doesn’t make sense.

I light a cigarette and Esther joins me outside. Red rims her eyes and blots her nose.

“Who would do this?” she whispers, hugging herself.

I shake my head. “No one followed you home?”

“Not that I saw.” She holds her hand out for my cigarette. I give it to her and light another for myself. Taking a drag, she grimaces. “I haven’t smoked since high school.” Still, she visibly relaxes. Once a smoker, always a smoker.

“Anyone you might have . . . annoyed?” I can’t imagine Esther ever pissing anyone off enough to make them want to slit her tires, but I have to cover all the bases.

Her head swivels from side to side. “No. Last night was actually a really good tips night.” Dainty eyebrows knit together. “Donny even asked me out.”

My eyes narrow. “Who’s Donny?”

Lips softening into a smile, Esther practically swoons. “This guy at work. He’s one of the chefs. I’ve been waiting for him to make a move forever.” She sucks on the cigarette, still smiling.

“He’s nice to you?” I’m losing hope. Walking around the car, I examine it again.

“Very,” Esther says. “He’s one of the ones who hold doors open and all that. He’s even brought me gifts—little things like chocolate. He brought me a rose last night.”

I blink at her.

Rolling her eyes, she puts her hands on her hips. “Valentine’s Day?”

I halt in my tracks, groaning. “Fuck,” I mutter.

Esther rushes to my side. “Did you think of something?”

“No.” I sigh, lighting another cigarette. “I kind of did something last night, without realizing what day it was.” Wrinkling my nose, I hope Cliff didn’t think it was all supposed to be some romantic bullshit. Or, even worse, that I was so desperate for a Valentine, I begged him to come home with me. I rub my temples. God, I’m pathetic.

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The River Reapers Go to Walmart

The River Reapers MC series is now available at Target and Walmart! In honor of this exciting news, I wrote a new short featuring the whole MC.

The following is unedited and non-canonical, written purely for fun.

© 2021 Elizabeth Barone. All rights reserved.


The last time I was in a Walmart, it was 1997 and I bought a CD. Now they still sell CDs, but no one buys them. Or so Lucy is saying.

“They’re mostly there for decoration,” she tells me, and I almost can’t tell if she’s busting my balls or dead serious.

“People buy the vinyl, though,” Olivia adds. “You should be familiar with vinyl, old man.”

I forget to be offended, because the bicycle shorts she’s wearing hug her ass in all the right places. “You know those shorts are straight up ‘90s, right?”

She does a slow twirl, hands up. “Let’s go already. I need things.” She links arms with Lucy and they start toward the entrance, leaving me to push my niece in her stroller.

“See how they ditch us?” I tell Bunny. The guttural rip of nine motorcycle engines drowns out the baby’s coo. My entire club floods the parking lot, pulling into the spots next to Lucy’s car.

“Look who rolled up in a cage,” Donny calls out. Esther hops off the back of his bike and steals the stroller from me, rushing to catch up with Olivia and Lucy.

I chuckle. “Your girl just stole my niece. You better knock her up quick before she takes that baby home.”

He claps me on the back. “I’m doing my best, brother.”

“Let’s make this quick,” Ravage, our President, instructs everyone. “I wanna be setting up at the Mermaid within the hour.”

That gets everyone moving.

Even though I only need a couple things, I grab a cart because the girls are already in the baby department, and between the three of them, we’re gonna need it. Donny and I hustle to catch up with them, weaving through the Sunday afternoon crowd.

I toss a package of boxer briefs in, and Donny laughs at me.

“You buy your panties at Wally World?” He grabs a pack, too, one size up, and we stare at each other for a beat.



Abraham blows past us, Vaughn balanced on the front of the cart. They head toward the grocery section.

“Margarita mixes,” Donny explains.

“For the benefit?”

He nods, checking out the socks. “They never have the ones I need.”

“What’re you gentlemen up to?” Stixx wheels a cart full of plants and potting soil into the men’s department.

“How did you already hit the plant section?” I retrace my mental map of the store. It’s changed a lot since I went inside, but it hasn’t changed that much.

“I cut through the front,” he says.

I find Olivia in the pet section, a cat tree tucked awkwardly under one arm and a bag of cat food balanced on her hip. I take them from her and add them to the cart.

“Thanks.” She peeks up at me, suddenly shy.



“Aw, look at this bowtie!” Esther holds up a cat collar. “Que lindo.”

“Don’t do that to my dude,” I plead as they exchange calculating glances. “Get him a little biker vest or something. He’s not the professor type.”

“I had a tuxedo cat when I was little,” Esther says. “My mom kicked out my dad for a minute and was feeling normal. Then he came back and the cat disappeared.”

Donny tucks her into his side, running his hand up and down her arm.

“Damn,” I say, pushing my hair back from my face. “Did any of us have normal childhoods?”

“That’s why I’m not having kids,” Olivia says. “Trauma just pays it forward.”

“Don’t tell Leigh that,” Lucy says, joining us with Bunny.

I take the box of diapers she balanced on the stroller and throw it into the cart. “Are we good?”

“Nah,” Donny says. “We need deodorant.”


“Bro, I could smell you before I even pulled in.”

“I need face wash,” Olivia says, and the girls take off again.

I glance into the cart, calculating. “Good thing I got a good job.”

Donny laughs, clapping me on the back. “Feels good, providing, doesn’t it?”

It actually does, but I don’t admit it. I just shake my head, and we follow the girls through the toys and books section. I stop to check out an endcap of CDs.

“Last time I was here, I got a CD. It was the last thing I bought before I went inside.”

“Which CD? Wait, let me guess.” Donny sizes me up. “It’s gotta be Deftones or Nick Cave.”

“Mariah Carey,” I admit. “I had the biggest crush on her.”

“And now you’re dating Mariah Scary.” He slaps his thigh.

I smirk. “Still hot.”

Ravage turns out of the book aisle, his arms full of titles. “What?” He gives us a hard look.

“Thought we were here for the benefit, Pres,” Donny says, eyeing the books.

“Nothing better than a book in one hand and a drink in the other,” Ravage says.

“I’ve got some prizes for the kids,” Beer Can says, joining us with a cart full of toys.

“Go easy on me,” Mark begs. “Treasury ain’t infinite, boys.”

“Then you shouldn’t have been waving around those fat stacks last night,” Vaughn says, pulling up with a cart full of drink mixes and Super Soakers.

“That was for the deposit,” our Treasurer grumbles, “and I wasn’t waving them around.”

“We ready?” Ravage glances from cart to cart.

“Not quite.” Olivia dumps an armful of toiletries into my cart, Lucy right behind her with her own load, followed by Esther.

Donny and I exchange glances.

“I take it back,” he mutters.

“Wait up,” Skid calls, Mercy trailing behind them. Their cart overflows with summer-themed decorations.

Mark rubs his temples.

“It’s for the kids,” Ravage says.

“For the kids,” Mercy echoes.

“And the books?” Mark eyes Ravage’s stack.

“Romance, Pres?” Olivia ribs. “No wonder Shannon puts up with you.”

“It’s not just sex,” Ravage objects. “There’s some good shit in these. I just read one where these two very lost, very fucked up people meet, and even though they’re completely different, they find a home in each other.”

Instead of the usual teasing, the men nod. Donny wraps another arm around Esther, kissing the top of her head. And, to my surprise, Olivia leans into me.

I place a palm at the small of her back, drawing her in. Over the top of her head, I take in these messed up people who are as different as night and day, yet we do normal shit like family trips to Walmart.

“All right, let’s get out of here,” Mark says, pointing us toward checkout.
Olivia straightens. “Shit. I almost forgot.”

Before any of us can stop them, she, Lucy, and Esther take off again.

We might never leave.

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River Reapers MC Series

Book 1: A Disturbing Prospect

Book 2: A Risky Prospect

Book 2.5: Her Mercy

Book 3: A Fatal Prospect

Standalone Contemporary Romance

The Stairs Between Us

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River Reapers MC Series

Book 1: A Disturbing Prospect (OUT OF STOCK as of June 8th)

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Target is currently carrying the first and last in series. Like with Walmart, I have no control over which titles they choose to carry. Hopefully they’ll carry the rest soon!

The River Reapers MC Series is Now Available at Target and Walmart!

Did I die and go to heaven? The River Reapers MC series is now available at Target and Walmart!

You could say the River Reapers are taking over. This series is opening more doors for me than I ever dreamed!

Buy the River Reapers MC series at Target
A Disturbing Prospect | A Fatal Prospect

Buy the River Reapers MC series at Walmart
A Disturbing Prospect | A Risky Prospect | Her Mercy


You can also get The Stairs Between Us at Walmart!

I don’t know when they’ll be adding my other titles. Hopefully soon! 🤞🏼

(Looking for the series reading order? Click here!)

Quite a few people asked me how this happened and, the short answer is, I don’t exactly know, but I set myself up for success.

The long answer is, a few years ago, I stopped using CreateSpace (now KDP Select) to print and distribute paperbacks, and switched to IngramSpark. I was trying to get my books into Barnes & Noble and other book stores, and one of the managers at my local BN told me I needed to get my books into the Ingram catalog, because most stores order exclusively through Ingram. That’s everyone from small indie booksellers to big box stores.

(Shoutout to Robin M. for not only giving me this crucial tip, but also supporting me over the years and having me at the store! I can’t wait to come back.)

I’ve been in the Ingram catalog for quite a while now, but neither Target nor Walmart have ever carried my paperbacks before. (For a little while, when Walmart and Kobo were partnered, you could read my ebook editions through their app. Their partnership seems to have ended, though I’m not sure why.)

My theory is that someone on their merchandising teams saw my books in the Ingram catalog and ordered them. This whole thing started with Target carrying A Fatal Prospect, so I’m wondering if these big box stores are positioning themselves to cater to the growing dark romance community. Dark romance is exploding, in case you haven’t noticed.

However it happened, it’s really cool, and definitely an author achievement I’ve unlocked.

Thank you so much to all my readers for all your support over the years, and thank you to all the stores, big and small, who are supporting indie authors!

The Real Story That Inspired Bryce’s Story in A FATAL PROSPECT

TW: Sexual assault of a minor.

In 2016, players from a high school basketball team sexually assaulted one of their teammates while at a conference. Three players were found guilty, only one of which was actually found guilty of rape. They all basically got away with a slap on the wrist.

This was about a year before I wrote A Disturbing Prospect.

This story haunted me. Based on news articles and tweets, it sounded like the school—or at least staff involved with the team—tried covering the whole thing up. The coach rushed the survivor to the hospital for emergency surgery, but didn’t report the incident. The superintendent cancelled the remainder of the basketball season, but didn’t publicly address why. According to the Times Free Press, “the judge initially refused to disclose the verdict or to allow reporters to cover the trial, claiming that it could harm the now-guilty defendants, who were juveniles at the time of their arrest.”

Our society is too often more concerned about protecting rapists instead of supporting victims. Even if a rapist is found guilty and convicted, the sentencing is often the bare minimum, with an emphasis on the negative effect it’d have on them, rather than the lifelong trauma they brought onto their victim.

This boils my blood. Here we had a young athlete, who had just as promising a future as the boys who held him down and sodomized him with a pool stick. He should’ve been supported and protected.

When I wrote A Disturbing Prospect, I knew where I wanted to take the series, but I wasn’t sure if my readers would be into a book/series like it. I wrote it as a book that could stand on its own if my readers weren’t feeling it, but could easily be built on if I got the green light. I knew exactly where I wanted to go with this series, if they let me. As soon as I realized my readers not only loved it but also wanted more ASAP, I started writing A Risky Prospect.

I wanted to incorporate a story like what happened to the teen in Tennessee because I wanted to bring awareness to how rape affects boys and men, and how rampant sexual assault is in sports. I created the character Bryce to represent all of the boys who’ve survived sexual violence in silence.

I needed to know what happened to the basketball player. He was never named and I wanted to give him the help and support he deserved.

Originally, Bryce’s story was part of A Risky Prospect. I wrote about 20,000 words of that first draft before I realized I needed to tell Olivia’s story first, to establish why she wanted to help Bryce so badly. I moved Esther’s story to A Risky Prospect because it tied in well with Olivia’s. Both of them grew up with absentee mothers who were neglectful at best. (Bree’s story is told in Her Mercy to explain why she wasn’t able to be present for Olivia; she’s a victim, too.) Those relationships played a huge part in the violence they both suffered.

Once I established those storylines, I was able to move Bryce’s front and center in A Fatal Prospect. I wanted to write this storyline as realistically as possible, while also giving Bryce the support he deserved.

From a young age, I learned that I couldn’t trust authority figures to protect or even support me. I drew on these experiences and the news to flesh out how the school, town, and police department handled what was done to Bryce. Then I let the River Reapers take over his case.

Since outlaws inherently don’t trust authorities, either, it was actually easy to write from the club’s point of view. Olivia, Cliff, and the MC make an effort to work with police, but there’s a lot of mistrust there and the police can’t legally take the case any further without the proper physical evidence. The club knows they want to support survivors like Olivia, Esther, and Bryce, and this is a sort of test run for them so they can eventually branch out and protect survivors as a service.

They’re completely new at this and they have to make mistakes before they can finesse their system. Unfortunately, their internal issues and historic rivalries don’t give them the time they need to reach any level of efficiency. The shit hits the fan and the club is thrown into reactive mode.

Bryce represents the innocence that is stolen when a person rapes someone. He’s a boy and, according to society, supposed to be strong—especially since he’s a football player. Pink is a soft color, and I gave him pink hair to remind readers that he’s still a victim, and all victims deserve justice.

Read the River Reapers MC Series

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Photo by Liz Weddon on Unsplash

River Reapers MC Quarantine Chronicles: “A Sense of Purpose”

But I’m a romantic at heart; I want someone riding behind me. Or better yet, beside me, the way Cliff has Olivia. I look at them and the world makes more sense, in the way that the MC used to frame things for me.

They’re our future.

“A Sense of Purpose”
A River Reapers MC Short Story

Author’s Note: Have you been wondering how the River Reapers would handle social distancing? I have! So I wrote a few very short stories, just for fun, just for you and me. The following is unedited, so please excuse any typos or errors. Please also be aware that it may contain spoilers for the series.


I’m the only one in the club who isn’t attached in some way. I put my dark and silent phone to the side, our second Zoom meeting over. With everyone homebound, the rules for Church changed a little—enough for me to see the rules changed for me, too.

Pru is now with Beer Can.

It’s cool—we were never exclusive or anything like that. It was just for fun. But Beer Can, really? It’s like looking at Beauty and the Beast.

I know, I know. I’m bitter, and I sound it. I guess deep down I kind of hoped that my occasional nights with Pru might turn into something more. My everything is comprised of the MC and my family, and my work at the strip club, in no particular order. The lines between them are blurred. The MC gave me The Wet Mermaid. Before, I had the management experience but not the purpose, not the means. Now I have it all. But I’m a romantic at heart; I want someone riding behind me. Or better yet, beside me, the way Cliff has Olivia. I look at them and the world makes more sense, in the way that the MC used to frame things for me.

They’re our future.

I stand in the middle of the empty strip club, the stage and bar dark. I’ve been coming down here a few times a week, just to check in, make sure everything is okay. Everything is always just fine. Without this place, without my club, I’m at loose ends. I have no purpose. I drift through my house and the club house, untethered, unattached. I’m pushing fifty and I have no wife, no children of my own, no one to fill my days when I’m not needed. This pandemic has made it clear that I’m not needed.

Strip clubs, after all, are hardly essential businesses.

Arguably, anyway.

For me, The Wet Mermaid is essential. It’s a moot point now. Pushing my hand through dirty blond hair streaked with gray, I give the club one last looking over. Not a chair is out of place. For the first time in years, I’m caught up on sales and use tax filings. The stage gleams. I’m like a mother whose children have all flown the nest.

I need a purpose. At the least, I’ll take a hobby. I can’t remember the last time I had anything like that. Years and years ago, I played co-ed softball. It was just for fun, when I was young—really just a way to occupy myself, to stay out of trouble for my mother’s sake. Then I met Ravage and discovered riding, and I didn’t need to fill my time anymore. I just fell into place.

Rapping on the door yanks me out of my thoughts. “We’re closed,” I call out even as I make my way over. Through the glass I see her, her dark hair not dark enough to hide the bruise blooming around her eye. My eyes drop down to her fist, also bruised and a little bloody. A medical grade mask hides her mouth and nose.

“Be careful what you wish for,” I mutter, unlocking the door. “Are you okay?” I ask her.

She pushes past me, out of the sunlight and into the cool exterior of the strip club. Her wild eyes appraise the bar, settling back on me as if she already knows she’s safe here. “Pru told me to come here,” she says through the mask. “Is . . . Shannon around?”

I nod as understanding dawns. She’s another stray. This is usually Shannon’s territory. My gaze dwells on her mask. I didn’t wear one; I hadn’t planned on coming into contact with anyone. I came straight here and I planned on going straight home. I can’t exactly turn her away, though.

“She’s not,” I say. “I’m Mark. What’s your name?”

She hesitates. “I . . . Pru told me to ask for Shannon.”

I hold back a frown. I don’t know why Pru gave her this address instead of Shannon’s Haven, but she’s here now and that’s what I’ve got to focus on. I pull down a couple of chairs and seat myself, hoping she’ll feel more comfortable with me sitting. “Usually Shannon’s at the shelter—Shannon’s Haven,” I explain. “This is, uh . . .” I wave a hand around. “A strip club.”

“Pru works here,” she says, nodding. “I know. She says you can hook me up with a job here, too.”

“Me?” I peer at her a little more closely. Doesn’t she realize we’re in the middle of a pandemic? No one is working. The dark circles under her eyes tell the story of a woman who’s been living in hell for quite some time. When she runs a hand through her hair, I catch a wide shock of white buried underneath all that silky black.

“You’re Mark, right?” She lifts green eyes to mine, an emerald green that shocks me, freezing me in place.

I nod, because I can’t form words.

“Pru told me to ask for Shannon . . . and Mark.” She licks her lips. “I just didn’t know if I could trust you.”

I nod again. I’ve given jobs to more wary women than I can count. Even the men who work here—our bouncers—are refugees of some sort. The Wet Mermaid is a safe haven of its own accord.

She remains standing in front of me, this mystery women. My eyes drop to her knuckles again, and I jerk my chin toward them.

“I’m guessing he won’t be a problem anymore.”

“No,” she says. “He won’t.” She tilts her head, watching me, waiting.
I push my hand through my hair, thinking. “Well,” I say after a few moments, “we’re closed, for the time being.”

Her shoulders droop.

I stare at the mask.

“A nurse in the ER gave this to me.” She holds up her left hand, exposing splinted fingers to me. “I . . . He didn’t keep a TV or anything in the house. I kinda just got the crash course.”

“Okay,” I say, and words start falling from between my lips before I can think about what I’m saying. “You can stay here. I’ll go get your paperwork. We’ll furlough you so you can collect. I’ll check in and train you to be a cocktail server . . .”

“No,” she says, lifting those intense green eyes to mine. “I used to be a dancer—a competitive dancer. He took that away when we got married. I want to dance again. Give me the stage.”

The word “married” barely registers. Her determination, the resolve in her eyes, her knuckles—all of it enthralls me.

I’m a goner.


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River Reapers MC Quarantine Chronicles

Thank you so much for reading the River Reapers MC Quarantine Chronicles! “A Sense of Purpose” may be the last in this miniseries, but there are more RRMC stories coming your way.

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River Reapers MC Quarantine Chronicles: “The Sound of Waves”

I’m sick to death of rides. On the back of his motorcycle, I feel a little like a dog hanging out the window, hungry for any taste of the outside world. He’s trying, though, and I don’t want to crush him. Not when he rode miles to find me, after twenty years in prison.

“The Sound of Waves”
A River Reapers MC Short Story

Author’s Note: Have you been wondering how the River Reapers would handle social distancing? I have! So I wrote a few very short stories, just for fun, just for you and me. The following is unedited, so please excuse any typos or errors. Please also be aware that it may contain spoilers for the series.


I stand in the bedroom that used to be Olivia’s nursery, back before everything blew up. I find myself in here every morning, mug of coffee in hand, one of Mercy’s shirts grazing my thighs. This tiny house once felt like home, and now it’s my prison. I’m surrounded by memories and what could have been.

I hate this house.

“Morning,” Mercy says from the doorway.

I turn, the soft fabric swishing around my breasts, rubbing against my belly—achingly empty. I don’t know if it’s being back here, or the near isolation, but all I can think about is how different things could be if Mercy and I made different choices.

“Morning,” I reply, and my low, slow tone gives me away completely.
He fixes intuitive brown eyes on me—eyes that I swear also belong to Olivia, even though that’s impossible. “Want to go for a ride today?”

I’m sick to death of rides. On the back of his motorcycle, I feel a little like a dog hanging out the window, hungry for any taste of the outside world. He’s trying, though, and I don’t want to crush him. Not when he rode miles to find me, after twenty years in prison.

“Or,” he says, stepping closer, “we could go to the park. Get some sandwiches or some other takeout, enjoy nature.” He slides his hands along my hips, and I melt into him immediately, holding my mug out and steady.

“I’ll take that,” he murmurs, plucking the mug from my hands. He sets it down—I never see where—and pulls me into him. The motion hitches his shirt up over my hips, and he sucks in a deep, appreciative breath.

“After all this time,” he says, gazing deep into my eyes, “you are still all I want, Bree. I’d walk through fire for you. I hope you know that.”

I nod and smile, because he has. Yet my heart clouds, because in this pair, I’m the runner. Part of me is still running. Part of me will always run.

I passed that trait to Olivia. Everything bad in me, I gave to her.

I sigh, leaning my forehead against his shoulder. Tears burn my eyes, spilling out before I even have the chance to shove the emotions down again. This social distancing is really getting to me.

“Oh, none of that.” He lifts my chin and uses his thumbs to brush fat teardrops away.

“I hate this house,” I sob, feeling like a two-year-old who hasn’t had a nap.
It’s only eight in the morning.

“Talk to me,” he whispers, enfolding me in his arms, holding all of my pieces together.

“I want to go to Marshall’s.” It flies out of my mouth, completely illogical, irrelevant, and impossible. Most stores are closed, unless they sell essential items. I don’t even need anything at Marshall’s.

“Ah,” Mercy says. He rubs his beard, more salt now than pepper. As his fingers move, the morning light breathes life into the faded letters on his knuckles: B-R-E-E, one on each finger.

“This is the only prison tattoo I allowed myself,” he told me once, a few weeks ago. His other hand has R-R-M-C—another prison tattoo, another constant reminder of what could have been.

“You need retail therapy,” he says now.

“No.” I pull away, shaking my head, aiming my hands for my coffee. “We don’t have any money to spend.”

“Doesn’t mean we can’t look.” He lifts me into his arms, sweeping me off the floor.

“Hey!” I stretch out a hand one last time, watching my coffee shrink away as he carries me into our bedroom. “No fair.” He deposits me onto the bed, then stretches out beside me.

“Here.” He hands me my phone, twirling a finger in the air. “Pull up Amazon.”

“It’s not the same.” I set the phone aside, turning so that we’re lying facing each other.

“Right.” He sighs. “Maybe we could go to Target later, stroll through the dollar aisle.”

I chuckle. “I do find good things there.”

He holds up a hand, indicating the newly decorated bedroom. Right before the pandemic hit, I dropped more money than I care to admit—all on breathing life into this house.

It still feels like a prison.

“Maybe when this is over, we can move,” I muse. “Go to the coast.”

It’ll never happen. As much as we’ve sacrificed, as much as he’s suffered under the oath, Mercy will never walk away from his club. Since I won’t walk away from him, I’m stuck here, too.

Foolishly, I once thought that by letting DCF take my daughter, they’d save her from me and the club. Yet here we all are, back in this town, still tied to the River Reapers MC.

I frown. Until now, I never realized how much I resented the club.

“Sure,” Mercy drawls. “We could go to Maine.”

This is a new game. I move closer to him, closing my eyes and resting my head on his chest. “We could move to a small coastal town,” I murmur, each beat of his heart a soothing crash against my ears. I pretend it’s the sound of waves.


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River Reapers MC Quarantine Chronicles

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Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

River Reapers MC Quarantine Chronicles: “Shelter in Place”

No one ever rang my bell. My apartment was damn near a no-fly zone, and I liked it that way. Keeping my head tilted, I listened for signs of life outside the door. It had to be a mistake.

“Shelter in Place”
A River Reapers MC Short Story

Author’s Note: Have you been wondering how the River Reapers would handle social distancing? I have! So I wrote a few very short stories, just for fun, just for you and me. The following is unedited, so please excuse any typos or errors. Please also be aware that it may contain spoilers for the series.

This short is NSFW-ish.

Beer Can

When the virus hit Connecticut, my old ass was stretched out in my recliner, filling in a Sudoku puzzle with good ol’ fashioned pencil and paper. I don’t fuck around with that app shit. I know there’s no truth to the whole 5G thing, but there are a lot of downsides to technology. I’ve never been a slave to anything; I refuse to be glued to my cell phone all day.

The governor came on to urge everyone to stay at home, and right as I rolled my eyes, my doorbell rang.

I sat up in the recliner, frowning. No one ever rang my bell. My apartment was damn near a no-fly zone, and I liked it that way. Keeping my head tilted, I listened for signs of life outside the door. It had to be a mistake.

But no. The ding-dong of a second ring rilled my apartment. Setting the puzzle aside, I worked my way out of the well worn chair—too broken-in to get out of easily, but perfectly formed for my body and nice long naps.

Yeah, some badass biker, I know.

“Hold on,” I called out, making my way to the front door. I unlocked the top and bottom locks, and swung it open. There was no one there. The bell rang again, and I headed toward the back porch. Unlocking the sliding glass door, I pushed aside the blinds and shoved it open. “Pru?” I gaped at the dancer from The Wet Mermaid standing on my deck.

“Special delivery,” she said, thrusting a box toward me.

“What’s this?” I stared at the box, making no move to take it from her.

“Mark ordered some merch but it came to my place by mistake.”

“Your place?” I blinked at her. “Why in the world would it come to your place?”

Steely blue eyes met mine. She shook the box at me.

“You . . . and Mark?” My eyebrows furrowed. Pru was young enough to be my granddaughter, if I had kids. I was also pretty sure she was exclusively into women. The name of her band was Cervical Caves, for Christ’s sake.

This old man couldn’t keep up.

“It was a one-time thing,” she said, inching closer with the box. “Mark said to drop it off at your place, since you’re closer to me.”

“Oh, it’s none of my business,” I said too late. “But what does he want me to do with this?”

The sliding glass door of the adjoining apartment scraped open. My neighbor and the street gossip, Mrs. Henry, poked her head out.

“You know what, dear, you better just come in.” I ushered Pru inside, giving Mrs. Henry a harsh look before closing up.

Pru set the box down on my kitchen table. We stood there, eyeing each other, unsure of how to act outside of the workplace.

Five weeks later, we still don’t really know how to act.

I sprawl in my recliner, Pru curled against me. We’re still connected, neither of us making any attempt to move.

“This is a one-time thing,” she says, for the thousandth time.

“Sure.” I stroke her back, soaking in her presence. Even though I used to appreciate the peace of living alone without visitors, I’m not sure I could’ve survived the last month without her. I’m still not sure how we went from sorting hoodies by size to kissing to undressing to fucking more times a day than I can count. Suddenly I’m like a teenager again, and I’m still unclear on Pru’s sexuality.

But maybe it’s as fluid as quarantine time, I don’t know. I’m just glad she chose to shelter in place with me.


Get More

River Reapers MC Quarantine Chronicles

Get a FREE short every Monday, plus immediately receive the standalone spinoff novella, Her Mercy.

Click here!

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