Reaper's Stand (Reapers MC, #4)

Reaper's Stand (Reapers MC, #4)

Joanna Wylde


This is my fourth book in the Reapers Motorcycle Club series, and as time passes it becomes harder to write my acknowledgments. The list of people who have supported me grows longer and I’m afraid I’ll forget someone. You have no idea how much I appreciate all of you.

Thanks to everyone at Berkley who has made this possible, especially Cindy Hwang. I have an incredible team behind me and I appreciate all their efforts. It’s worth noting that I’ve been repeatedly blessed by the Cover Gods—the Berkley art team has been amazing, and I hear almost daily from readers praising their efforts.

I also want to thank my agent, Amy Tannenbaum, Betty, my MC friends, my beta readers, my writing posse, all the bloggers who have supported me and everyone on my Junkies page. Special thanks to Chas and Jessica, because it doesn’t matter whether or not a book is good if nobody ever finds out about it. Kylie, Hang, Lori, and Cara—you know exactly how much you’ve helped me, and don’t think I take it for granted. Thank you for all the time you’ve given me.

Finally, thanks to my family, whose endless patience and willingness to step up makes my writing possible. I love you very much.


Throughout this series, I’ve tried to offer readers insight into MC culture and how I do my research. I’m very fortunate to have the continuing support of real women affiliated with clubs, and like each of my books, this one has been reviewed for accuracy. Reaper’s Stand was the first in which my club friends didn’t find major errors regarding club life, so maybe I’m finally figuring it out.

I’ve tried to make each book in the Reapers Motorcycle Club series different, rather than following a set formula. This has challenged me as a writer, but I’ve enjoyed exploring a variety of character types along the way. I think you’ll find that Reaper’s Stand has a different feel than the books that came before it. For example, Devil’s Game was a coming-of-age novel. Reaper’s Stand is the opposite—it’s a book about mature characters who are already fully formed as individuals. Every time I try something new, I worry that readers won’t be willing to make the leap. So far you haven’t given up on me. I hope you enjoy Reaper’s Stand.





Should I look him in the eye when I killed him or just shoot him in the back?

Tough call.

I crouched in the kitchen, digging through my purse as if searching for keys. I knew right where the gun was, of course, but pulling it straight out just seemed so . . . obscene. The smell of dinner on the stove filled my nose. Chicken chili, with whole-grain corn bread in the oven for a side because it’s healthier.

It’d been baking for ten minutes already, which meant I had about twelve more minutes to end his life before the bread burned.

Reese sat out in the dining room, reading one of his motorcycle magazines and drinking his favorite beer while he waited for food. I’d been sure to buy a half rack earlier, and I’d met him at the door with a cold one open and ready to go. He was on his second now. I wasn’t under any illusions—two beers wouldn’t be enough to slow him down if he came after me, or ease his pain if my aim was off.

Still, a man deserves a beer before dying, right?

My fingers brushed the cold metal of the gun. I pulled out my phone instead and looked at Jessica’s picture, studying her pretty, smiling face on graduation day. So full of hope and promise. She’d raised her right arm to wave at the camera. Her pinkie curled forward, offering a glimpse of the sparkling tips on her new acrylics. She’d wanted them for graduation so badly. They hadn’t been in the budget, but I couldn’t tell her no.

You have to understand—none of us ever expected Jessica to graduate.

Hell, she shouldn’t even be alive. My bitch of a cousin had done drugs all through both pregnancies, yet somehow Jessie pulled through. Not unscathed. She had the usual developmental quirks . . . poor impulse control, bad judgment. Quick to anger. They came from fetal drug effects—the gift that keeps on giving for a child’s whole life. But at least she had a life. Her little sister died in the NICU two days after her birth. Never got a chance.

Fuck you, Amber. Fuck you very much for doing that to your kids.

I glanced up at the oven timer and realized I’d wasted nearly three minutes thinking about Jess. I supposed I could kill him after pulling out the bread, but putting it off would just make things harder.

Or maybe I should feed him first?

No. He’d had his beer, but if I had to sit across from Reese over a meal I’d never make it. I couldn’t look into those blue eyes and laugh. I’d never been a good liar. This past month had been heaven and hell rolled into one big bad joke.

Right. Time for the punch line.

I pulled out the small pistol and stuck it into the pocket of the loose sweater I’d picked so carefully for just this moment. I also took out my keys, my ID, and my cash, stuffing them into my jeans. Just in case. I didn’t really expect to survive the night, but it never hurts to hope. The van was even gassed up and ready to go, on the off chance that I managed to get away.

Of course, I had no idea where I’d drive. Burn that bridge when you get to it . . .

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