October 1, 2014
REVIEW: Reaper's Stand (Reaper's MC #4)
To Be Published October 7, 2014
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Format: ARC, provided by the publisher
Genre: adult erotic romance/suspense
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
Rating: 5 STARS
(From Goodreads) 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?
Sexy, dangerous books are fun for me because they take me away from my normal, humdrum life and put me in the shoes of people who are much more interesting, more daring, and more attractive than I am in real life. The problem I am finding myself facing more and more, though, is an increasing difficulty being able to relate in any way with these hot, young people. I'm 38 and dealing with encroaching wrinkles, stray gray hairs and steadily sagging body parts (I'm depressing myself more and more with every word I type!).
So, for me, REAPER'S STAND was the best book so far in the Reaper's MC series because Joanna Wylde, goddess that she is, decided that it was time that Picnic get his own story. Picnic - the leader of the Idaho Reapers chapter. The one with the grown daughter. The guy who is 43-years-old.
Things are heating up with the Mexican drug cartel that is slowly encroaching on the various MC clubs' territories along the west coast. The Reapers and a few other clubs get together and decide to band together to do something about it. Around the same time, through a very circuitous route, Picnic enters into a relationship with local businesswoman London. Though no one - especially not London and Picnic - could've ever guessed it, that relationship ends up threatening all the clubs' efforts, and even their lives.
The overarching theme in Reaper's Stand is all about second chances. All of the main characters have an opportunity to seek out a second chance, but different things hold them back. For Pic, London is his second chance at love. He lost his wife to cancer six years earlier, and he had resolved to never take another one again. But, as he learns more about her - both her life and her body - he can't help feeling things about her that scare the crap out of him. And, who could blame him? The moments when he has quiet conversations with his wife were so bittersweet. It was like she continued being his sounding board, even when it came to another woman.
London is 38, has never been married or had children of her own, and yet, she's spent the past six years raising her junky cousin's daughter with special needs. She owns her own cleaning business. She has no life. Pic has a way of drawing her out of her shell and having her ask for things she never imagined, including a life with him. London has a second chance to live her life to the fullest, but her committment to giving Jessica the best life she can has prevented her from doing that in the past.
Jessie was absolutely infuriating. I get that her actions are not entirely intentional. Yet, her lack of accountability made me want to throw something. Jessie makes bad choice after bad choice after bad choice. She's given second, third, and fourth chances, and blows them all. And, then, because of that, she puts her life and London's in jeaopardy. It's hard to forgive a character when they do stuff like that (but, we better try, since it seems like Jessie will get her own book soon...).
The passion between London and Pic was absolutely nuclear. These "older" characters are just as sexy, just as virile and just as adventurous as their younger counterparts. The explosive sex was tempered by sweet moments between these two, especially as Pic comes to terms with letting the memory of his wife fade a bit.
As with the other Reapers we've met, Pic has his moments. You know what I mean - those times when he acts like a complete and utter asshole, and you want to absolutely strangle him for it. Wisdom and good judgement doesn't necessarily come with age, and thank goodness. Where would be the fun in that? London makes some equally stupid decisions, which causes Pic to make some really hard choices, and in the aftermath, I was so proud of both of them.
The action and danger in Reaper's Stand is ramped up as the various MCs (Reapers, Devil's Jacks, Silver Bastards) engage the cartel in a turf war. There's a lot more violence in this book than in the other books in the Reaper's MC series. We meet some new characters and new MCs that I think we'll be seeing a lot more of in the future (*cough*thenextbook*cough*).
Joanna Wylde is doing some incredible things with the relationships featured in her Reapers MC series. I can't wait to see what comes next.