Chapters Get Cut

Lost Chapter 20 (unpublished) from The Path to Freedom (task Force 125 Book 1) clears the clutter of a story and sometimes that means words, paragraphs and even chapters need to get cut.  But there are some readers who want to know more about the characters they’ve come to love.  I dare say, there may be readers out there who want to know what Sarah Stevens and Vince Hennessee talk about behind closed doors.  When the mission isn’t underway, do these characters have a personal dynamic?  Of course they do!

Here’s one of the chapters that was cut from The Path to Freedom

The Path to Freedom Chapter 20: The Showgirl

It was two days before American Swift was due to take off for Greece to get their first mission with Sarah started.  They’d all spent some time getting to know her and although they all thought she was quite likeable and an asset in a street fight, they had some reservations about her pulling off the role of seductress.

They’d been following her every night as she worked the clubs with Tony and honed her skills at charming the Jet Set.  So far, she was doing fine and the guys were coming around to the belief that she might actually be able to pull off this operation with Hassan.

Vince, Chris, Will, Jason and Brian were enjoying the Pussycat Dolls show with drinks and some great Cuban cigars that Will had magically procured.  They never asked Will how he acquired the things he did, but they all respected his ability to find anything, anywhere, especially those things that made life a little more enjoyable.

The guys were discussing the finer points of striptease while Chris listened in on Sarah’s night with orders to report anything interesting.

Suddenly he exclaimed: “Oh, damn!”

Vince jerked around to look at Chris.  “What?  Is she OK?”

“What’s up, man?”  Asked Jason.

“Boss, you have got to hear this!  Lori is in the bathroom and fixing to kick Sarah’s ass.  She thinks you two are together.”

“What the…?” Demanded Vince incredulously.

“Listen to this!” Said Chris as he handed Vince an earpiece.  “You’ve got to break that up, man.  We put too much work into Sarah.  She got fluent in Arabic in only three weeks.  You just can’t find a sweet piece of ass like that with a brain to match.  She’s ready for the op and we can’t lose her now because your crazy hell-bitch ex decides she wants to scrap.”

Vince rolled his eyes at Chris as he listened in.

Chris threw his hands up.  “Sorry, man, but you know she is.”

Vince smiled.  “I know.  I know.  Let’s see how our sweet piece of ass handles herself.  I’d love to see her kick Lori’s ass.  Besides, she could run into tougher situations than this and we need to know if she can cut it.  Just keep us posted on what’s happening in case we need to pull her out.”

“OK boys!”  Jason said with gusto as he pulled his wallet from a pocket and opened it.  “Let’s get this pool going.  Fifty says Sarah draws first blood within five minutes.”

Vince pulled a fifty out of his wallet and said “Seven.”

Will put a fifty on the table.  “She’s strictly defense.  I say nine.”

Chris put his fifty dollars down.  “She’s going to talk her way out of it.  Fifty says no blood.”

Brian shook his head.  “She’s drinking tequila.  I say four or less.  Remember the icebreaker?  I poured a beer over her head and she threw me in the pool!”

“Shoosh!”  Chris hit the timer on his watch.  “I can’t hear what’s going on!”

Lori’s voice came across loud and clear through Sarah’s transmitter.  “Look, don’t lie to me.  I saw you two together on the terrace at Pure.  He was all over you and you were loving it!”

“Hey, wait a minute!  He bumped into me and I stumbled.  That’s it.”

“You’re a lying’ ho!”

Chris reported matter-of-factly: “Lori called her a ho.  That’s never good.”

Brian pointed at Chris.  “Ain’t no negotiating going on tonight, sucker.”

“OK, that’s it!  I don’t give a damn about your ex-husband, bitch, but I draw the line when somebody who doesn’t even know me has the cojones to call me a whore.  We aren’t doing this here.  You come outside and we’ll settle this quick, fast and in a hurry.”

“Alright, I’ll be right out with my girls to take care of you once and for all.”

“Lori’s bringing the girls in on this.”  Chris stated to the hushed table.

“Oh, no.  If you want a piece of this, you’re eating’ alone.  Let’s go.”

“They’re coming out!”  Chris was giddy.

The boys watched as Sarah exited the ladies room behind Lori.

Sarah walked by the table where the guys were watching and leaned toward Vince on her way by.

“Looks like I make your dreams come true tonight, big boy.”

She knew the guys were listening and was quite sure they’d be watching closely.

Chris heard what she said through the receiver he wore.

“What did she mean by that?”  Then his face dropped.  “Dude!  Are you doing the new girl?”

“Absolutely not.”  Vince stated with a very serious frown.

“Oh, but she’s doable!”  Jason piped in.

“Definitely.”  Will said coolly as he took a thoughtful puff on his cigar.  “That’s a sweet little pork chop we picked up at the fat farm.”

Jason smiled and said “Oh, shit.  She’s pissed!”  As an afterthought, he added “And I’m telling her about that pork chop crack.  I’ll put my money on her kicking your old ass!”

Will smiled as he stood up.  “Boy, a woman like that can do whatever she wants to me.  Shall we?”  He motioned toward the door Sarah and Lori were walking toward.

Sarah saw Lori motion to the girls she was at the club with and noticed them following as she and Lori headed for the door

That’s right.  Call in your little tramp friends.  They can get in line and I’ll kick their asses too!  I’ve had it with you bitches born beautiful.  As far as I’m concerned, you are every woman who has ever tread on me.  I never understood how other women could be the cruelest to fat women.  Nope, this is my chance to get back at all of you and it’s a thing whose time has come!  OK, what’s my situation?  I’ve got Lori plus three.  They don’t look like much.  Mostly just pretty faces and some trash talk.  If I can take four guys in a street fight, I figure I can put you four club crawlers down in no time.  We might as well make this interesting.

Sarah knew the boys had bet on her first fight.  Why should this one be any different?  “Chris, what’s the pool?”

Chris answered.  “First blood.  Brian in four.  Jason in five.  Vince in seven.  Will in nine.  I thought you’d negotiate.”

Sarah paused.  “I think you’re going to lose your money, honey.  Frogman says four, huh?”

“Yep.  Going to do it?”  Chris asked.

“Oh yeah.”  She said confidently.  “Time hack?”

“Two ten.”

As Sarah stepped outside the smoked glass door, the hot, dry Las Vegas air filled her lungs and she felt a stinging slap against her left cheek.

Lori had gone quickly out the door to ambush her, but Sarah knew that would be the last slap the woman managed.  She’d spent the past sixteen weeks hardening her body and taking hits from professionals.  Lori’s slap didn’t even rate on Sarah’s tickle meter.

The boys watched from just inside the door so they could block any security guards that might try to break up the fight.

In one sweeping motion, Sarah grabbed Lori by the neck and backed her into the wall.  Her voice was low and commanding.  “A slap?  That’s all you’ve got?  Listen good because I am only going to say this once.  I’m sick and tired of women like you who were born beautiful and think that the whole world needs to pay homage to you.  You are not a goddess!  You’re just a stupid, spoiled bitch who has had everything her way and never known what it was to have to fight to get by.  Well, I know how to fight.  I’ve had to do it in one way or another all of my life and nothing would please me more than to kick your ass.  So you think a minute about how far you’re willing to take this because I guarantee I’ll be the one to finish it.  This isn’t going to be slapping and pulling hair, sissy.  This is it.  If you still want a go at me…bring it.”

Sarah pushed off Lori and took a step back to give the woman a chance to back out.  The next thing she knew, Lori had lunged at her and grabbed a handful of hair in one hand while she reached to claw at Sarah’s face with the other hand.

Sarah dodged the claw but felt the pain of hair being pulled.

I am not screwing around with this bitch!

Her hand flashed to her inner thigh and pulled out the four inch Gerber that she had tucked in her garter.  She took one swipe at Lori’s forearm, cutting a large gash across the inside of it.  She heard Lori scream and recovered herself, knife at the ready, just in case Lori was stupid enough to want more, or one of her friends jumped in.

Lori stepped back, holding her arm and shrieking.

She heard Chris’s voice say, “Drop the knife, Sarah.  Drop it!”

“Time out two-fifty-eight.” Chris reported coolly to the guys as he pushed the door open and all five guys strode outside and went to work like a well oiled machine.

Suddenly, Sarah saw Will breeze out the door and wrap something around Lori’s arm.  Sarah dropped the knife.  She had just enough time to realize that the voice came from within her earring before somebody lifted her off her feet and threw her over their shoulder.

“What the fuck?” She demanded as she looked back and saw Chris, Jason, Will and Brian distracting Lori and her friends.

When she looked down, the view made her pause.  She was looking at an amazing ass.  She knew it had to be Vince.  She started giggling uncontrollably about the ridiculousness of the situation, and marveling at her luck to be able to stare at such a great ass.

Finally, Vince rounded a corner, stopped and put her back on her feet.  She adjusted her dress and combed her fingers trough her hair, still laughing.

“Why’d you stop me?  She was begging for a slice and dice!  What’s up with that hair pulling bullshit anyway?  Damn!  I broke a nail!  Oh, now I’m going to kill somebody!”  Sarah jumped to return to the scene, but Vince stepped in her way and she ran full force into his solid wall of a chest.

Vince laughed a deep baritone chuckle.  “Sorry, Stevens, I can’t let you do it.” He said soberly.

“Oh, you could have stopped this before it got messy.  You enjoyed it!  Let me make your dreams come true, baby.  Don’t stop me now!”  She stated fiercely.  Sarah had a crazed, intense look in her eyes when she added: “I will make your dreams come true.  No doubt about that!”

Vince smiled.  “No doubt about it, babe.  But the first rule of combat is you never go back into a skirmish once you’ve left.  Look, nobody wants to see that bitch get her clock cleaned more than I do, but we’re two days from go time and we can’t afford to lose you.”

“Oh, that’s sweet.  But come on!  I could have finished that bitch!”

Vince chuckled again and put his arm around Sarah’s shoulders “I know you would have, but my need to see you safe and out of trouble is far greater than my need to see her have her ass handed to her.  Mind you, that’s saying a lot!”

“Aw, shucks.  You know, in a very odd sort of way that’s quite charming.”

“Don’t go getting a big head over it.  We’ve put a lot of work into this mission.  Let’s go have a drink.”