Doing it at: 36%
Catnip: Bikers, He’s Basically A Criminal, MC Romance, Tattoos, Opposites Attract, Strong Female Lead, Accidental Pregnancy, Hate to Love You, Dual Narrative, Pen Pals, Johnny Castle Complex
Shame Scale: Lower than it maybe should be? The men in Joanna Wylde’s books are not particularly concerned with being politically correct with their women, or anything else. But they’re so damned hot. The plot might be a fun one to explain to your great aunt Helen when she asks if you’ve read any good books over Thanksgiving dinner.
Fantasy Cast: Josh Mario John, Sophie Turner
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.
Cleone: In a genre cluttered with MC novels, Joanna Wylde is writing some of the best ones out there. She’s created a world filled with hot alpha men and strong women we’d actually want to be friends with. We talked a little about our stance on feminism, and how being ok with the things that you like sexually IS feminism in our review for Silver Bastard. These men take what they want and we like what we like and no one should be apologizing for that.
Mary: I discovered the Reapers MC series way back when I was still getting my feet wet in the romance waters. It was after I stopped pretending I wanted to read anything other than sex-filled romances, but before I stopped being a little bit embarrassed by it. I picked up Reaper’s Property on a whim, and I loved it so much you guys. It’s about a biker who kidnaps a woman and tells her she’s going to have to work off her brother’s debt on her back if she wants to live. It was one of the books that made me begin to embrace the fact that yeah, I’m a feminist, and sometimes it’s really hot to read about criminal, maybe-a-tiny-bit-rapey, biker studs. I’m also pretty sure it was one of the first “should we maybe be a little bit ashamed of ourselves for thinking this is sofuckinghot?” books that Cleone and I bonded over. But we’re so so so very past that now. Bring on the criminals and the grey area and the men who just need to own their women.
C: We meet Painter and Mel while the former is in prison and they’ve been writing letters to each other for years, even though they barely knew each other before he went down the river. Mel is friend’s with the niece of the MC president’s new wife (I could make you a little MC family tree if that’s confusing), and Painter was assigned to keep an eye on Melanie when some stuff went down a few years before our story picks up. Painter finds himself strangely into her, even though she’s young and innocent and he’ll get his balls cut off if he tries anything. So, when he goes to prison they stay in contact.
M: They’re pen pals. It’s adorable – Mel is writing him slightly twee letters about hanging out with her friends, and Painter is writing back innocent, friendly letters and then jacking off to thoughts of her at night in his cell.
C: Melanie doesn’t want to be part of the Reaper’s life, but since her best friend is essentially her only family, she has some pretty close ties with the world. She hangs out with Jess, and with the president’s daughters Em and Kit, a lot. And I hope we get a Kit book, because that girl is fun:
“That was straight vodka,” I gasped, staring down into the green plastic tumbler. I’d grabbed Kit’s cup instead of mine–obviously she wasn’t a water drinker.
“I know,” Kit said, nodding her head earnestly. “It’s more efficient that way.”
“So you’re chasing your vodka with wine?” Em asked.
“No, I’m chasing my wine with vodka,” Kit explained.
C: Even though she’s not trying to get caught up in the MC, Melanie is still hurt and confused when Painter gets out of prison and basically ignores her. They’d exchanged tons of letters, where she poured her heart out to him, and now he’s back in the flesh (and crazy fucking hot) and ignoring her. He, of course, thinks he is doing it for her own good. Book boys always think they’re hurting girls for their own good. And biker book boys are especially good at making decisions for their women.
M: Painter has a Johnny Castle Complex. He’s no good for her, so he’s going to stay away to save her. It’s a trope that works for a reason.
C: The two dance around each other for a while, and then decide that they’re going to try to be friends, which is totally do-able for two people who have a chemical attraction to each other.
“I need you, Mel. I need you too much as a friend to risk it. I know I’ve done a truly shitty job trying to communicate with you about this, but if you had any idea how important you are to me…Christ, you’re one of the few things that kept me sane inside. Thinking about you, getting your letters. We gotta find a way, babe. We can’t do this.”
“I hate men,” I muttered, rolling off him and onto my back, glaring at the sky. How could one guy be so evil and so sweet at the same time? Because he was sweet. I swear, my heart was melting even while I wanted to strangle him.
I wasn’t ready to forgive him, though. Not yet. “And take your fucking arm out from under my head. Cuddling is for closers.”
C: Cuddling is for closers is my new favorite book line, and I wish I had more instance to use it in real life.
M: Obviously we know their friendship is a freight train headed straight to naked town.
C: When Painter and Melanie finally give in to their desires to bone the shit out of each other it is glorious. They don’t call him Painter for no reason, and they have messy, hot, frantic sex. Luckily for the reader, they’re both smart enough to realize they can’t go back to being just friends after this.
M: There’s paint involved. It’s much hotter than it sounds. The sex in this one is on fleek, I think there’s a case to be made for this being Joanna Wylde’s sexiest book to date.
C: It’s hot, like excuse me I need to go be alone hot.
Painter is head over heels for Melanie, they’ve barely consummated their relationship before he’s talking to the club about officially making her his old lady. An action that would both brand her as his own and offer her the clubs absolute protection. Not too shabby of a deal.
M: But then the drama kicks in, Painter acts like a moron, and Mel shows a surprising amount of wisdom and backbone. That’s one of my favorite things about this series – in a genre that’s filled to the brim with beige waifs in need of a savior, the heroines in these ones are refreshingly strong willed and capable.
C: Painter and Melanie feel like grown ups, in a world of romance that’s often populated with characters just out of college, or characters who seem to not have any actual real life reasons why their relationship wouldn’t work (made up stumbling blocks are DBB that we despise), these two have real issues. She doesn’t know if she’ll ever be able to accept the violence that is a constant part of his life. Painter is frustrated that Mel can’t seem to see him as anything more than the young, reckless guy he once was. Through it all they have an attraction that is undeniable.
The story, and the characters are fresh and real. Plus Joanna manages to infuse so much humor into story lines that run the risk of feeling too heavy or dour, her character banter is well above par.
We really recommend the Reaper romances to any fans of romance, but specifically to the girls who watch Sons of Anarchy just for Jax Teller’s ass, and to anyone looking for a love story that feels like it was written for adults.
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