When a new book comes out from Joanna Wylde, I kind of go fan girl crazy. Who knew I would feel that way after reading her first book? Not me, but it has happened. Set in the Reaper’s world, we get Gage’s story which runs parallel to Painter’s story. Some situations in this story we have already seen, but there is a lot we haven’t. While I think you can read this as a standalone, it does help if you have been following the series.
The story opens up with Tinker miscarrying her daughter as her husband stays at work, not even coming to be by his wife’s side. This is the beginning of the end with him, but he still has a part in the story. Tinker leaves her husband and retreats back home to take care of her father, their apartments and tea store while also running her fine chocolate business. Things aren’t ideal, but she’s work on her divorce and trying to decide what to do in the long run.
Gage comes to town undercover for the Reaper’s to infiltrate the local Nightstalkers Club. He needs to get in good with the leadership to find out why the Reaper’s cut of the runs has dropped dramatically. To do that he goes in as Cooper, a trucker going through a divorce with two kids. He needs to be close by, but not to close to his kids. In between jobs, he takes on maintenance jobs at the apartments in return for his room with Tinker.
Tinker is attracted to the rough, alpha male, but he’s in tight with Talia, the Nightstalkers President’s sister. He’s caring, understanding and helps her with her father. So why is he taking up with the riff-raff of the town and banging the local slut? She’s confused by her feelings when she doesn’t need the hassle of a man who has two personalities that are confusing her.
I found myself questioning why I loved this story so much. Gage spends half the book living a lie, under a fake name. He’s fucking around with Talia even if he detests it, while also craving the mature woman he can’t have just yet. It felt like cheating, when in reality it wasn’t because he never promised Tinker anything. While he lied to her, he tried hard not to put her in a bad situation. So it was lies, but also hard truths. Confusing.
Poor Tinker. This woman deals with a man who lies to her, but treats her like a mature woman. She has an ex that is stakerish and won’t give her a divorce, her father’s developing dementia and at times confuses her with her mother who has passed away, and to top it off Talia comes after her a few times. She convinces herself that Cooper isn’t worth all the trouble he brings her, but she wants the closeness she feels with him.
There isn’t much club business in the Reaper’s clubhouse. Most of the story takes place with the Nightstalkers, which is a very bad situation. You get to know the characters well and Gage puts his club first. When push comes to shove though, he claims Tinker as his and that means everything to the club. There are some historical aspect also woven into the story that puts a lot of suspense to an already bad situation.
Secondary characters make the story. Carrie is Tinker’s best friend and I laughed so hard with her. She is always there for her friend. Carrie’s husband is a motorcycle person, but he is there to protect his wife, daughter’s and Tinker. Painter makes his appearance, but you can read more about him in his book. A few Reaper’s also make an appearance, but with the story being in a different city, you don’t see them as much.
Clearly there was no actual cheating, but the lies did get to me. I understood the need, just had a hard time accepting him doing Talia when a real woman was right there in front of him. He even feels that, but I get the luxury of calling him on it. Other than that, I loved seeing mature characters fall in love in most definitely not the best situation. I can’t get enough of this series!
Literary Pickers: Work Gloves/Garden Gloves
Pervvy Girl: Biting
Books ‘N Tunes: Don’t Tell Me How to Live by Monster Truck
Sophia Rose’s ReviewReaper's Fire by Joanna Wylde
Much anticipated is an understatement when it comes to this book. As this runs parallel to Painter’s book, Reaper’s Fall, I had already met Gage and his situation in the story. But wow, this story really showed some sizzle and pop when his lady, Tinker was added to the mix. A world of bikers, their club, their pasts, and their loves come to loud and colorful life in this spectacular saga of the Reapers MC.
This is, as mentioned, part of a series and is also a book that flows parallel in chronology and crossover events with the one before it so best not to get it out of order.
Things start with a heartwrenching prologue. Tinker is introduced as she is losing her baby while her jerk husband won’t even leave his work to be with her. Enough is enough. She’s out.
Next, Gage comes to Tinker’s small home town on club business. He is undercover for the Reaper’s so is pretending to be an independent biker to the local Nightstalkers Club and an over the road trucker looking for a new place to land. He sees Tinker’s ad for a handyman that includes work in exchange for room. It will make a good cover so he applies. Only Tinker in her fiery red hair, petite curvy body and mature womanly demeanor fire all his cylinders as he does hers.
But Gage has a job to do and it doesn’t involve taking his new landlady and boss against the wall. No, his task is to get in good with the new leading faction of the Nightstalkers and find out why the cut in their business to the Reapers has suddenly dropped off and why older Nightstalkers in prison are uneasy about their own club. To accomplish his mission, he must get with the cold-hearted, mean skank of a sister of the Nightstalker’s president.
Tinker can’t figure ‘Cooper’ out. His story makes sense up to a point- in the process of a divorce, between trucking jobs, needs a place near, but not too near his ex. However, she is disappointed to see him tight with Talia, a real Queen B, and hanging out with the riff raff biker element in town. It doesn’t match with the hard working handyman who is understanding about her situation, about her dad’s memory issues, and gives off vibes that he’s into her.
Then things take a turn and she’s faced with the real Cooper, a raging fire, her persistent ex, a crazy woman, and her own confused feelings. Dare she take a chance on another man hurting her and pushing her around or is Gage her best chance at something real like her best friend Carrie has.
Alright, so this one was really good. Love the world of the author’s Reapers MC, her strong, flawed, and gritty characters, and the darker plottings. I devoured it in one day. But it was also not exactly what I was expecting. I should have realized that it would be somewhat different because the setting shifts to the small town in Washington State away from Idaho and the Reapers.
When I say different, a few things are responsible for this. For one, the club culture takes a backseat in this one though it is there coloring everything since it’s the whole reason Gage is even there. The focus is very much on Gage, Tinker, and their situations mostly around the business and rooms that Tinker’s family owns and the town with just a bit at the Nightstalkers’ clubhouse. And with Gage and Tinker as a romance, much of the book, he is living a lie that includes another woman so it was a different type of romance that took place- more of a romance that is setting up on the sidelines and on hold until it bursts forth strong and fast late in the book. Finally, because it’s a parallel story, much of what was going down as far as the club stuff and Gage’s mission was not new to me. A few new layers and nuances, but not much to surprise me. The tone wasn’t as sharp or edgy as a result, but this doesn’t mean that I didn’t like the story. I really, really did. Really. Alot.
I’m always most enchanted by the characters this author creates. They are real people thinking, saying, and doing real stuff. They’ve made their mistakes and have their flaws, but also their engaging and good sides. Gage is all about his club and has been for many years. He’s one of the older, mature set. He’s a bit burned out by dealing with all the drama that comes with managing the club-owned strip bar and jumps at the chance to get out of it and do something different. He’s a hard man, but he wants what some of the other more settled guys have with their old ladies and families. In this story, he meets and recognizes the woman meant for him, but he is on club business so is forced to put that on hold and consort with a real head case and skank woman. Oh how I loathed Talia and wanted her to trip near a high cliff and go over. Gage is a typical alpha male and his forceful way with Tinker was humorous as he screwed up big with her when he ignores Picnic’s advice about how to deal with a worthy lady.
As to that worthy lady, Tinker grab my heart and my admiration right from the start. She has endured a lot with the death of her baby, the coldness of her husband, her mother’s death, and her dad’s fading memory while coming home to salvage the family businesses and her dad. She is a good and giving woman though she is not immune to the hotness of her new handyman. Tinker is a real woman with maturity and curves, but she is unsure after a certain huge, embarrassing mistake and seeing Gage rubbed all over by the possessive and scary Talia.
Now, while I really liked this one, I wasn’t as gungho as usual because of the situation with Gage having to make up and have sex all over the place and all the time with Talia. This is not cheating and it wasn’t anything like that, but I felt that Gage and Tinker’s getting to know you time and much of the book was tainted by Talia being between them. Did I mention that I detest her? Tinker wanted Gage, but she wouldn’t poach even if the woman was the undeserving Talia. And Gage knew he couldn’t do much about Tinker until his job was done. I didn’t feel there was enough of their time together without all the Nightstalker/Talia stuff going on when it was just them working on a relationship. So, just a small niggle, I guess, since really I loved this story and was really into it.
I have to add that I really think the author made a good move changing up the story to include the element of the forest fires toward the end. It was the perfect touch to add a tension and edge that the story was heretofore lacking, at least for me. And the emotional tone a devastating fire can bring was done well.
All in all, another fantastic installment to an already strong and compelling series. Biker romance at its best. Can’t wait for more and definitely recommend this book and series to those who enjoy the gritty, sizzling world of a biker mc.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this one in exchange for an honest review.
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