Ah, Picnic, we’ve waited three books to hear your story…
Reese “Picnic” Hayes has spent the decade since his wife’s death doing his best impression of a man-whore. It seems the man will fuck almost anything with a vagina (almost. He does have some standards.) When London Armstrong, the woman contracted to clean several of the club’s businesses, asks him for a favor, he agrees – and his dick sits up and takes notice.
To be honest, he’d noticed her a while ago, and it didn’t make him happy, so he did his best to ignore it. As for London, Reese is off limits, in more ways that one: not only is he her employer, she’s got a boyfriend, and the last thing she wants is to get involved with a known criminal. So her girl parts will just have to get the message.
You can guess how this ends.
The build up in the last two books on the action with the cartel and the truce with the Jacks comes to a head here. Jessica, London’s impulsive young cousin, ends up held hostage by the cartel, forcing London and Picnic to embark on a strategic hit-cum-rescue mission – right at a critical time for Em, Pic’s daughter.
I’ve got mixed feelings about Reaper’s Stand. expect from a Reapers MC book: action of the explosion and gunfight variety; steamy, nasty sex; tension thick enough to choke a small stable of horses; a couple who you root for from the beginning. London’s pretty typical of a Reapers heroine in a number of ways, chief among them she’s pretty naive about what it means to be a Reaper or property of the club. Despite her innocence and occasional annoying moments, I liked her. She gives as good as she gets and has no illusions about what it means to be with Reese (she doesn’t call him Picnic). It takes her a while, but she does eventually figure out it’s okay to have a life now that Jessica’s an adult.
My first impression of Picnic was he’s tired. Tired of fucking around, tired of fighting the Jacks and the cartel, just plain tired. His daughters are grown and out of the house, and his oldest is shacked up with a member of an enemy club. He’s 43 years old and can still get as much tail as he wants, and yet, all he wants is London. And not just in his bed. His surprise and frustration when he figures out he actually wants something beyond a quick tangle in the sheets was actually quite sweet (and a little funny) to see.
Together, they’re a good fit, and they’re a good fit right from the beginning, even when London’s got it stuck in her head that she shouldn’t go anywhere near him.
At the same time, though, I felt a bit let down by Reaper’s Stand. It wasn’t just the lack of sex (and given the amount of erotic romance I’ve read in the past few months, I’m surprised I think that). There was plenty of plot, and I shouldn’t be complaining about that, because it was great plot. Ties up a lot of things and gives us peeks into other people’s lives (anyone want Bolt and Maggs’ story now? How about Painter?) There’s tons of space for London and Picnic to grow, both separately and together, and they take full advantage of it.
The pace was tight, and I kept turning pages, skipping dinner in favor of finishing the book. But it was missing something.
I missed the alphaness.
That sounds so wrong. I mean, Picnic is absolutely an alpha. But where Ruger and Hunter and even Horse, to an extent, were alphaholes (Ruger most of all), Picnic isn’t. What that says about me that I missed that element and wished it had been present, I don’t know. I think it’s more I’d always figured Pic would be an even bigger alphahole in some ways than Ruger and to find that he wasn’t was a disappointment.
So while Reaper’s Stand contains all the things I expect from a Reapers MC book, it didn’t quite meet my expectations of what a Reapers MC book should be like. A solid entry into the series, worth reading if you’ve read the others, and it gives you this tantalizing glimpse into Silver Bastard that will likely drive you nuts until next spring.
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