Rome’s Chance (Reaper’s MC #6.6)

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Rome McGuire knew he was in trouble the first time he saw her.

She was sweet and pretty and just about perfect in every way. She was also too young and innocent for the Reapers Motorcycle Club. He did the right thing, and walked away.

The second time, he couldn’t resist tasting her.

Gorgeous and smart, fun and full of wonder, she jumped on his bike and would’ve followed him anywhere. Still, she deserved a shot at happiness somewhere bigger and better than a town like Hallies Falls. Walking away wasn’t so easy that time, but her family needed her and he had a job to do.

When she came around a third time, he’d had enough. Randi Whittaker had been given two chances to escape, and now it was time for Rome to take his.

This time, the only way Randi would be leaving Hallies Falls was on the back of Rome’s bike.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

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Rome’s Chance is the first book to be released in this series in more than a year and I am so thankful Ms. Wylde is back!! Both the heroine and hero were initially introduced as secondary characters in Reaper’s Fire although the timeline has skipped forward several years since then.

I haven’t compared the word counts but this book felt so much shorter than the previous novella, Shade’s Lady. I have no idea why that is because I enjoyed both books, but this one just felt much shorter!

I will warn you, this book was drawing out my tears more than any other I have read in months! I was sick while reading it and perhaps a little more emotional than usual, but there are still some sad moments that you should prepare yourself for.

There is much less sense of the MC in this Rome’s Chance. To me, it read more like a contemporary romance with a hero who just happened to ride a bike, than a typical Reapers MC book. There is no visit to the clubhouse, no discussion of club business, and the only other Reaper who is even named in the book is Gage. And he still doesn’t have a single line. Also, there is less sex than normal for this author, but considering the shorter word count of a novella, that is obvious. I just felt like they had a less physical relationship that I was expecting.

I am glad that this author is back and hope that we get another book before summer is over. I will read anything she writes!

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Shade’s Lady by Joanna Wylde

Shades’s Lady counts as book #6.5 in the Reapers MC series. It is a novella and a fun departure from the previous books. It tells the story of Shade, the national President of the Reapers MC and takes place in a different location than any of the other books. You won’t meet many familiar faces, but the new ones introduced certainly make up for it!

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Looking back, none of this would’ve happened if I hadn’t dropped my phone in the toilet. I mean, I could’ve walked away from him if I’d had it with me.

Or maybe not.

Maybe it was all over the first time he saw me, and he would’ve found another way. Probably—if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that Shade always gets what he wants, and apparently he wanted me.

Right from the first.

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So first off, this is a novella so obviously it is the shortest book so far. Also as obvious, I wish it was longer! I wanted to explore Shade more and the unique aspect he is in as national President of an outlaw MC. Most of the complaints that I had about the book stem from its shorter length, but I want to be fair and judge the book as the novella it was intended to be.

So I did love this book and feel that it added some freshness to the series. We didn’t get to revisit any of the former main characters, although readers were briefly introduced to Shade in a couple of earlier novels.The heroine, Mandy, is also completely new to Reapers MC.

The one thing that all heroines in this universe seem to share is that they have gumption! They are all real ladies, not too prissy or perfect and each has faults. But they have to have a certain level of confidence to stand up to an outlaw biker, and this is usually what attracts the hero to them.

Mandy has had a rough life so far but she gave up everything to support her sister and three little nieces going through a rough time. This pretty much nominates her to knighthood in my opinion, since she doesn’t even have a bed to sleep in as a result!

Shade has the patience of a Saint! It surprised me how much of a “good guy” he is considering his office, but I guess you need to have a fair amount of patience and diplomacy to be the big honcho.  I wish we could have explored his character more but you can only do so much in a novella. Hopefully, these characters will show up again in future books.

I love how the author weaved together the subplots and new cast of characters that Mandy brought with her. From her boss “Bone” to her family and the Sheriff’s Deputy her sister starts dating, I didn’t feel at that the story was lacking due to a smaller word count. It only became obvious in the club world. The only Club characters that really get introduced, besides Shade, are Dopey and his Old Lady.

This struck me as weird, since Shade supposedly has two brothers assigned to him at all times, in a bodyguard capacity. But we are only ever introduced to one. It would have made a lot more sense to me to either add on a couple of pages every few chapters to give Muscle #2 a storyline or to just write him out completely.

Otherwise, this story gets five stars and I cannot wait to get another book from Ms Wylde! She has recently teased that she is writing a book about Taz and that this will be the first book in a “side-quel”series about the Devil’s Jacks!!! Hopefully we also get Fathomless soon as well! It was originally supposed to be released in 2015 but apparently keeps getting pushed back due to publishing issues.

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Reaper’s Stand by Joanna Wylde

Reaper’s Stand is the fourth novel in the Reapers MC novel. Finally the CDA President of the Reapers MC gets a second chance at love ❤

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As Reapers Motorcycle Club president, Reese “Picnic” Hayes has given his entire life to the club. After losing his wife, he knew he’d never love another woman. And with two daughters to raise and a club to manage, that was just fine with him. These days, Reese keeps his relationships free and easy—he definitely doesn’t want to waste his time on a glorified cleaning lady like London Armstrong.

Too bad he’s completely obsessed with her.

Besides running her own business, London’s got her junkie cousin’s daughter to look after—a more reckless than average eighteen-year-old. Sure she’s attracted to the Reapers’ president, but she’s not stupid. Reese Hayes is a criminal and a thug. But when her young cousin gets caught up with a ruthless drug cartel, Reese might be the only man who can help her. Now London has to make the hardest decision of her life—how far will she go to save her family?

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I loved reading Picnic and London’s story. Although I have loved every book in this series so it was to be expected. Every time I go back and reread this series, I get a little bit more out of it. The first time around, I remember feeling that Mellie’s character was redundant and that all the drama with Jess was annoying and a distraction from the love arc. But the addition of all these young new secondary characters sets up future stories. It also separates this book from the others in the series and keeps things from becoming repetitive.

Pic and London are both a little older than previous couples, although at 38 and 43, they aren’t exactly geriatrics. This life experience – added to the fact they are both parents of adult children – provides each with more perspective, wisdom and ability to overcome the little things … and ahem *not so little things*. Like attempted murder.

Also, Pic is hot for an older guy! I’d definitely date him if I were fortunate enough to take London’s place.

Reaper’s Stand definitely has some unexpected sad parts. I’ll admit that I have been a teensy weensy bit emotional lately, but hearing Picnic talk to his dead wife Heather, and make peace with taking a new old lady, had me in tears multiple times.

Although Heather and London share some characteristics, the comparisons are minimal which kept the book from going into the creepy-zone. However, they both were super feisty ladies. Sorta a necessity when dating the President of your local outlaw motorcycle club!

Case in point… this is from London’s POV.

Thirty minutes later the roast was in the oven and I was setting out frozen rolls to rise. I’d had a second, strictly medicinal shot of vodka, and while I wasn’t exactly buzzed, I was feeling a little more balanced about things. Of course, dumping yellow food colouring in the back of the downstairs toilet tank and pouring vinegar in his milk helped restore that balance . . . I also loosened the lid on the salt shaker. Why did I do these things? Probably best not to examine that too closely.

Wylde, Joanna. Reaper’s Stand (Reapers Motorcycle Club Book 4) (Kindle Locations 1823-1827). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Parts of Reaper’s Stand get pretty dark, especially around chapter 14. Personally, I like “dark” in my stories so it was a fun extension of the story for me, but could push triggers for some readers. Thankfully, all of Wylde’s stories end with a good love story so push through to reach your happy ending.

Bonus:

There were essentially three epilogues at the end of RS and fans get a mighty big update on Hunter and Em’s arc which was glorious!

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Devil’s Game by Joanna Wylde

Devil’s Game is the third book in the Reapers MC series by Wylde. It tells the story of Em and Hunter that was teased throughout the entire second novel. The first part covers Em’s kidnapping and the fallout, only told from her and Hunter’s perspectives, rather than Sophie’s. As such, it is more detailed. Em and Hunter are a classic Romeo and Juliet story retold from the perspective of contemporary characters who belong to enemy outlaw motorcycle clubs.

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Liam “Hunter” Blake hates the Reapers MC. Born and raised a Devil’s Jack, he knows his duty. He’ll defend his club from their oldest enemies-the Reapers-using whatever weapons he can find. But why use force when the Reapers’ president has a daughter who’s alone and vulnerable? Hunter has wanted her from the minute he saw her, and now he has an excuse to take her.

Em has lived her entire life in the shadow of the Reapers. Her overprotective father, Picnic, is the club’s president. The last time she had a boyfriend, Picnic shot him. Now the men in her life are far more interested in keeping her daddy happy than showing her a good time. Then she meets a handsome stranger-a man who isn’t afraid to treat her like a real woman. One who isn’t afraid of her father. His name is Liam, and he’s The One.

Or so she thinks.

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I loved this book! I actually had to read it twice to appreciate its glory. The first time I read it was just a few days after the previous book and it was too soon. I didn’t want to recover any of the same material. But after taking a few months before going at it a second time, I am so thankful for the author’s decision to retell the kidnapping from Hunter and Em’s POVs. This decision provides insight into their psyches and lots of  delicious tension. Em is fiery and passionate and makes several escape attempts that were tons of fun to read.

The prologues and a couple of flash backs give excellent background info on both characters It is pretty funny to see some of the things that Em had to deal with growing up as the daughter of the President of an outlaw MC. Despite some of the very difficult periods of her life that she has gone through – or maybe because of them – she understands the value of life and second chances quite clearly and is very forgiving.

A little vengeful too. But that just keeps life interesting.

Devil’s Game opens up the Reaper world just a little bit more. The reader gets to meet Deke further, and see the beginnings of a relationship between him and Cookie develop. I hope they get a story of their own one day …. I would be super excited to read it! We also see the Portland chapter of a Devil’s Jacks MC start up.

Hunter is delicious. Very ignorant of how to conduct himself in a relationship but charming all the same. He may be pretty rough around the edges but he loves his girl and that shines through clearly.

I loved Em and Hunter’s story. The only problem I had with it is that it ends very suddenly. As soon as the main plot point was resolved, the story just drops off with one chapter. I think the ending would have been improved with more of a lead off.

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Reaper’s Legacy – Joanna Wylde

Reaper’s Legacy is the second book in the Reapers MC series by Joanna Wylde. If you are rolling your eyes right now, thinking to yourself NOT ANOTHER MC romance series, take heart, because this one is the best around and you’ll be glad you sucked it up and read just one more.

Wylde was a professional journalist before she moved into writing novels and her experience shows. She did major research into how MCs operate and the people who choose that lifestyle. It is reflected in the quality of her work, which has an integrity and honesty few other authors have managed to communicate. Wylde has done countless interviews with outlaw bikers and their women.

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From Goodreads:

Reaper’s Legacy is a raw and intensely erotic tale in Joanna Wylde’s Reapers Motorcycle Club series.

Eight years ago, Sophie gave her heart-and her virginity-to Zach Barrett on a night that couldn’t have been less romantic or more embarrassing. Zach’s step-brother, a steely-muscled, tattooed biker named Ruger, caught them in the act, getting a peep show of Sophie he’s never forgotten.

She may have lost her dignity that fateful night, but Sophie also gained something precious-her son Noah. Unfortunately, Zach’s a deadbeat dad, leaving Ruger to be Noah’s only male role model. When he discovers Sophie and his nephew living in near poverty, Ruger takes matters into his own hands-with the help of the Reapers Motorcycle Club-to give them a better life.

Living with outlaw bikers wasn’t Sophie’s plan for her son, but Ruger isn’t giving her a choice. He’ll be there for Noah, whether she wants him or not. But Sophie does want him, has always wanted him. Now she’ll learn that taking a biker to bed can get a girl dirty in every way.

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Ruger is basically Noah’s Dad, in everything but name. So at its heart, this is almost a baby daddy / estranged parents story, except that Ruger and Sophie have never actually done the deed.

Reaper’s Legacy is the second story in the MC world of the Reapers where the heroine is new to club life. This gives the audience a chance to learn the rules with her. Like the heroine in the previous book, Sophie initially struggles with the sexist rules of the MC and with certain terms like “property” … but she also quickly becomes friends with the bikers’ Old Ladies, and none of those broads are the least bit intimidated, or oppressed by the club members. Sophie can see the differences in the treatment these women receive and how the club sluts are treated. Added to how kind everyone is to her and her son, she can’t quite slam the door on the biker world. Or Ruger.

I love how Wylde seamlessly patches together subplots involving a whole cast of secondary characters without taking away from the hero and heroine. In particular, we get to learn a whole lot more about Em Hayes and also have regular updates on Horse / Marie and their upcoming wedding.

Wylde’s bikers are alpha males, and kinda assholes to be honest, but they’re asses who love their women and would throw down for them anytime anywhere which takes a bit of the wind out of the feminist sails. While Horse, from book 1, is still my ultimate dream guy, I also absolutely love Ruger. We might kill each other in real life, but I love him.

Highly recommended!

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Reaper’s Fall by Joanna Wylde

Can I just start by saying that I can’t believe I never wrote this blog?! I must had read this book six times over now, but I just noticed it still sitting on my “Currently Reading” shelf on goodreads. Huh. Guess I get the joy of reviewing this and the next in the series this week then 🙂

Reaper’s Fall is the fifth book in the Reapers MC series by Joanna Wylde. And although there is some fierce competition because I read a lot of MC romance, the Reapers are by far my favourite world to jump into.

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He never meant to hurt her.

Levi “Painter” Brooks was nothing before he joined the Reapers motorcycle club. The day he patched in, they became his brothers and his life. All they asked in return was a strong arm and unconditional loyalty—a loyalty that’s tested when he’s caught and sentenced to prison for a crime committed on their behalf.

Melanie Tucker may have had a rough start, but along the way she’s learned to fight for her future. She’s escaped from hell and started a new life, yet every night she dreams of a biker whose touch she can’t forget. It all started out so innocently—just a series of letters to a lonely man in prison. Friendly. Harmless. Safe.

Now Painter Brooks is coming home… and Melanie’s about to learn that there’s no room for innocence in the Reapers MC.

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Painter and Mel’s book starts way back in the same time period as the previous book, before Painter’s year long prison sentence. This means it also takes place before Silver Bastard. It is nice because you get to “see” Painter and Mel meet and start to fall for each other from their own perspectives, although nothing serious happens until after Painter goes through that year in a California prison. But if you are a regular reader of the series, you are taking a step back in terms of the timeline.

One thing that separates this book from others in the universe is timeline. Most of the Reapers books take place in a fairly compressed period of time, a few months at most. Reaper’s Fall stretches out over 6 years or so, beginning with their first meeting, then mostly skipping past Painter’s year in prison, to the eventual conception of Mel and Painter’s daughter several months later, and up until she is about four years old.

I enjoyed seeing their relationship grow and develop over a longer period of time. It makes it seem much more realistic than most romance novel relationships however I wish that the book was a little longer. The first two thirds of the novel are our love birds falling in love, but their reconciliation has lots of “two years later” gaps in time. Those gaps occurred too frequently towards the end of Reaper’s Fall, so I wish the author had added an extra 50 pages length to fill some in.

One of my favourite scenes was between Painter’s best friend Puck, and Mel. I love that Puck took Mel and her baby across the country to see Painter when he was in prison. I would have loved this scene to also be expanded because it humanizes both bikers from their normal badass personas and shows the sense of family that is at the core of the MC world. There are times Mel comes across as a raging bitch, and given her situation she has more than enough reasons to act that way, but her trip with Puck – a virtual unknown to her at the time – also shows how much love she has for both Painter and their daughter, and demonstrates that she wants them to have a great relationship.

This book had all the tension, romance, sex and passion that I have come to expect from Joanna Wylde. I am eagerly awaiting more additions to this universe and will write a review for Reaper’s Fire ASAP!

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Dauntless – a Sons of Templar MC novel

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From Goodreads:

This isn’t a fairy tale. I’ll save you the trouble by telling you that now.

This is the tale of a girl who spent her life bouncing around foster homes, who had her innocence stolen in the darkness before she knew it was something that could be lost. Her demons followed her everywhere, after that night. They chased her to the medical school she dropped out of, to the strip club she sold herself in, and finally caught her in a river of sin where they tried to drown her.

My name is Bex and this is my story.

I’m paddling, barely keeping my head above water. And even though I’m submerged, I’ll never be clean. The layer of dirt that has clung to me since birth is a tattoo I’ll wear for life.
He can’t see it, though.
Even when I’m torn and tattered, and left in pieces, he wades into the filth to try to put those pieces back together.
He doesn’t seem to understand there’s nothing left to repair. To love. Just sullied fragments of a damned soul.
He’s willing to damn himself in order to exact revenge on those who sent me to the pit.
Problem is, my name is at the top of that list, since I not only damned my own soul, but his too.

*Contains dark subject matter and potential triggers
**Can be read as a standalone

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Okay, yes this can be read as a standalone. But I REALLY would not recommend it. The Sons of Templar MC is stellar and you would get so much more from the book if you read the others first. At least read Beyond the Horizon, which is the fourth book in the series and the one where Bex and Lucky meet.

Also, if you have read the series, note that this one is the darkest yet, IMHO. Trigger warnings include child abuse (in the heroine’s backstory), drug use, rape and mental illness. The heroine feels like she is worthless trash due to her experiences. Please note that none of the violence and abuse occurs between the hero and heroine.

Now we have that established…

I absolutely loved Dauntless. It totally made up for my last (disappointing) review. Bex and Lucky have a dark and twisted love story and I love that Bex is not your typical helpless heroine, waiting for the boys to come rescue her and help her deal emotionally. She is a kickass, strong, mentally-tough woman.

But she’s not perfect. The author, Anne Malcom, wrote a strong female lead who struggles with mental illness and with addiction. She has a horrific upbringing, from being dumped into the system at birth and being “raised” in a series of shitty foster homes, to her rape by one of those so-called “Dads” when she was just 12 years old. Those experiences have left some pretty extensive emotional scarring.

The story picks up when Bex is 23, a college dropout stripping to try to make rent every month and using drugs to cope with the she life she’s been handed. I love that Malcom doesn’t pretend a person who is mentally strong does not have any issues. Sometimes, the strongest have the most horrific life experiences. THAT is what makes them so strong.

Lucky and Bex appear to have been made for each other. The amount of patience and self-discipline Lucky demonstrates while waiting for Bex to pull herself together is incredible. I truly don’t think that I would have been able to do that for anyone. He knows that she is the one for him and is willing to do whatever, wait however long, in order to be with her and respect her boundaries. Repeatedly he steps back and lets her do things he doesn’t approve of because he understand her, understands that need to control her body and her life after control was taken from her so brutally in the past.

He also takes a lot of emotional abuse, understanding that the bitchiness is protecting a soft, extremely delicate core that cannot handle any more abuse. Lucky has always been the funny guy of the group, always with a joke and a smile. You sure see another side of him in Dauntless, but there is also a lot of humour and banter between him and Bex that helps to counter the dark content.

I felt that Dauntless was a more balanced story between the hero and the heroine than previous books in the series. It is still told almost entirely from Bex’s POV, but we learn a lot more of Lucky’s viewpoint and backstory than we did for previous male leads. This is a huge improvement in my opinion. I also loved that Malcom wrote them as an inter-racial couple and it was so not a big deal that I almost missed that point. This is how it should be! I’m tired of reading books where the author describes the hero/ine’s skin tone as chocolate or coffee a million and one times.

The earlier books in this series also had a slightly different pacing and style. Partially, I think the author is adapting her writing style, but also, her changes really fit with the dark tone of this book. There is a lot less jumping around in timeline – Dauntless mostly reads chronologically – and the supporting cast have far less importance and “page-time” than in other books, except for Rosie… who I seriously hope is the star of book six!

Malcom has started two other series, one a spin-off from the Sons of Templar MC and another completely separate, so I am guessing the books are not going to be coming as swiftly as I am used to. Too bad because I am very interested in reading all about Rosie and Luke, the hunky deputy!

I absolutely recommend this book for anyone who doesn’t mind a little dark in their romance!

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