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Eight years ago, Sophie gave her heart—and her virginity—to Zach Barrett on a night that couldn’t have been less romantic or more embarrassing. Zach’s step-brother, a steely-muscled, tattooed biker named Ruger, caught them in the act, getting a peep show of Sophie he’s never forgotten.
She may have lost her dignity that fateful night, but Sophie also gained something precious—her son Noah. Unfortunately, Zach’s a deadbeat dad, leaving Ruger to be Noah’s only male role model. When he discovers Sophie and his nephew living in near poverty, Ruger takes matters into his own hands—with the help of the Reapers Motorcycle Club—to give them a better life.
Living with outlaw bikers wasn’t Sophie’s plan for her son, but Ruger isn’t giving her a choice. He’ll be there for Noah, whether she wants him or not. But Sophie does want him, has always wanted him. Now she’ll learn that taking a biker to bed can get a girl dirty in every way…
About the Author
Joanna Wylde has written several erotic romances for Ellora's Cave and lives in Idaho.
Read an Excerpt
Seven years later
Our last night in Seattle didn’t go so great.
My babysitter, my emergency backup sitter, and my second emergency backup sitter all had the flu. I’d have been screwed if one of my new neighbors hadn’t volunteered to keep an eye on Noah. I didn’t really know her, but we’d been living next to each other for a month and no red flags. Not the best, I know.
You do what you have to when you’re a single mom.
Then Dick yelled at me for coming in late for my shift.
I didn’t tell him I’d nearly missed work altogether because of Noah. And no, I’m not just calling him Dick because he’s actually a dick (although he is). It’s his real name.
That night I actually understood why he was in such a bad mood, because of the six girls who were supposed to be on, only two showed. Two had the flu (genuine—half the city had it) and two had dates. Or I’m assuming they had dates. Their official stories were a dead grandmother (her fifth) and an infected tattoo.
Apparently none of the drug stores in her neighborhood carried Bacitracin.
Either way, things fell to shit fast. We had a band, which put the customers in a good mood, but the live music and drunken dancing made it even harder to keep up with my tables. Also made us busier than usual. We would’ve been stretched even with a full staff. To make things perfect, it was a local band and most of their fans were college students, which meant crappy tips.
By eleven I was already tired and needed to pee in a bad way, so I ducked into the bathroom. Out of toilet paper already (of course), and I knew damned well nobody had time to restock. I pulled out my phone, doing a quick check for messages, and saw two. One from Miranda, my babysitter, and a second from Ruger, the world’s scariest almost-in-law.
Miranda first. I held it to my ear and listened, hoping to hell everything was all right. No way Dick would let me off early, even for an emergency. Ruger could wait.
“Mom, I’m scared,” Noah said.
“I took Miranda’s phone and I’m hiding in the closet,” he continued. “There’s a bad guy here and he’s smoking inside and he wanted me to smoke, too, and they kept laughing at me. He tried to tickle me and make me sit on his lap. Now they’re watching a movie that has naked people in it and I don’t like it. I don’t want to be here and I want to go home. I want you to come home. I really need you. Right now.”
I heard his breath hitch, like he was crying but didn’t want me to know, and then the message cut out.
I took a couple of deep breaths, trying to control my surge of adrenaline. I checked the time on the message—almost forty-five minutes ago. My stomach twisted and for a second I thought I might puke. Then I pulled it together and left the bathroom. I managed to walk back into the bar and had Brett, the bartender, unlock the drawer where we kept our purses.
“I need to get home, my kid’s in trouble. Tell Dick.”
With that I headed toward the door, pushing through drunken frat boys. I was almost out when someone grabbed my arm, spinning me around. My boss stood there, glaring.
“Where the hell do you think you’re going, Williams?”
“There’s an emergency,” I told him. “I need to go home.”
“You leave me now with a crowd like this, don’t come back,” Dick growled. I leaned forward and stared him down, which was pretty easy considering the guy was hardly more than five feet tall. On good days I thought of him as a hobbit.
Tonight he was just a troll.
“I need to take care of my son,” I said coldly, using my deadliest troll-killing voice. “Let go of my arm. Now. I’m leaving.”
Driving home took at least a year.
I kept trying to call Miranda, but nobody answered. When I reached our ancient apartment building, I tore up the wooden stairs to the top floor, shaking with a weird mixture of rage and fear. Miranda’s place was right across from my little studio, and while my thighs and calves hated the climb, I loved how we were the only residents up here. Until now.
Tonight it felt remote and scary.
I heard music and grunting as I pounded on the door. No answer. I pounded harder and wondered if I’d have to break in. Then the door flew open. A tall guy with unbuttoned pants and no shirt blocked the entry. He had the start of a gut and bloodshot eyes. I smelled pot and booze.
“Yeah?” he asked, swaying. I tried looking around him, but he blocked me.
“My son, Noah, is here,” I said, struggling to stay calm and focus on what really counted. I could kill this asshole later. “I’m here to pick him up.”
“Oh, yeah. Forgot about him. C’mon in.”
He stepped aside and I ducked past him. Miranda’s place was a studio just like ours, so I should’ve seen Noah right away. Instead I spotted my useless neighbor on the couch, collapsed on her back with her eyes glazed and a dreamy smile on her face. Her clothes were rumpled, her long hippie skirt shoved up above her splayed knees. The phone lay on the coffee table in front of her, next to a bong made out of plastic pens, foil and a Mountain Dew bottle. Empties surrounded it, because apparently weed wasn’t enough to keep her entertained while she failed to babysit my seven-year-old child.
“Miranda, where’s Noah?” I demanded. She looked at me blankly.
“How should I know?” she slurred.
“Maybe he went outside,” the guy muttered, turning away from me as he reached into the fridge for another beer.
I caught my breath.
Across his back was a giant tattoo that looked kind of like Ruger’s, only it said Devil’s Jacks instead of Reapers. Motorcycle club. Bad news. Always bad, despite what Ruger insisted.
I’d think about that later. Focus. I needed to find Noah.
His voice was soft and trembling. I looked around frantically, then saw him climbing in through an open window facing the street. Oh my God. I moved toward him, forcing myself to approach oh-so-carefully. Four flights above the ground and my boy was clinging to a windowsill. If I wasn’t damned careful, I’d knock him off the ledge.
I reached out and clamped my hands around his upper arms, pulling him in and clutching him close. He wrapped around me like a little monkey. I rubbed my hand up and down his back, whispering how much I loved him and promising never to leave him alone like that again.
“I don’t get what you’re so upset about,” Miranda muttered, pulling herself up to make room for her asshole boyfriend. “There’s a fire escape out there and it’s not like it’s cold. It’s August. Kid was fine.”
I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and forced myself to stay calm. Then I opened them and looked past her.
That’s when I saw the porn on the TV.
My eyes skittered away from the sight of a silicone woman screwing four guys simultaneously. Something terrible took fire in my heart.
Stupid bitch. Miranda would pay for this.
“What’s your problem, anyway?” she slurred.
I didn’t bother answering. I just needed to get my boy out of here and home safe. I’d deal with my neighbor tomorrow.
Maybe by then I’d have calmed down enough not to end her miserable life.
I carried Noah out of the apartment and across the hallway to my own door. Somehow I managed to get it open without dropping him, fingers trembling from suppressed rage and a health dose of guilt.
I’d failed him.
My baby needed me, and instead of protecting him, I’d left him parked with a druggie who could’ve gotten him killed. Being a single mom sucked.
It took a warm bath, an hour of snuggles, and four books to get Noah to sleep.
Me? I wasn’t sure I’d ever sleep again.
The summer heat didn’t help—I swear, the place had zero airflow. After an hour of sweating in the darkness, watching his little chest rise and fall, I gave up. I popped a beer and sat down on our couch, a thousand plans running through my head. First, I’d kill Miranda. Then either I needed to find a new place to live or she did. I also pondered whether to call the cops.
I liked the idea of throwing her and her stoner boyfriend to the wolves. They deserved a friendly visit from the boys in blue.
But since her man was in a motorcycle club, calling the cops might not be the smartest move. Guys in MCs generally weren’t fond of the police, a perspective he and his club brothers might feel the need to share with me once he made bail. Not to mention Child Protective Services would get involved, which could also get pretty ugly.
I loved Noah and would do anything for him. I was a damned good mother. When other girls my age were out partying and having fun, I was taking him to the park and reading him stories. I spent my twenty-first birthday holding him while he puked from stomach flu instead of hitting the bars. No matter how rough things got, I spent time with Noah every day and made sure he felt loved.
But I didn’t look so good on paper.
Single mom. Dad out of the picture. No family around, crappy studio apartment. Probably unemployed after tonight . . . What would CPS make of that? Would they blame me for leaving him with Miranda in the first place?
I had no idea what to do. I took a long pull on the beer and then turned on my phone, where Ruger’s message glowed at me accusingly. Crap. I hated calling him. No matter how much time he spent with us (and he made a point of seeing Noah regularly), I just couldn’t relax around him. Ruger didn’t like me and I knew it. I think he blamed me for destroying his relationship with Zach. God knows, I played my part. I pushed that memory away.
I always pushed that memory away.
If only I unnerved him, too, but apparently that was too much to ask. Instead he just looked right through me, hardly bothering to acknowledge my existence.
Even more frustrating? Ruger had to be the hottest guy I’d ever met. He was all danger and hard muscles, with his tattoos and piercings and that goddamned black Harley of his. When he walked into a room he owned it, because it only took one look to see he was a fucking badass, the type who takes what he wants and never says he’s sorry.
I’d been nursing a hell of a crush on him for longer than I cared to acknowledge, something he’d failed to notice despite his apparent fascination with every other woman under the age of forty within five hundred miles. Well, failed to notice all but once, and that hadn’t exactly ended well.
At least he never brought any of his club whores around (which I greatly appreciated), but that didn’t change the fact that he was one of the biggest sluts in north Idaho.
So that’s where we stood.
Presented with my nonthreatening charms, the panhandle’s sexiest, most prolific man-whore still preferred hanging with my seven-year-old child during his visits.
I sighed and hit the play button.
“Sophie, answer your fucking phone,” he said, his voice cold and unyielding, like usual. “I just got a call from Noah. I talked to him for a while and tried to keep him calm, but then some bitch started yellin’ and took the phone away. Nobody answered when I called back. I don’t know what the fuck you’re thinking, but your kid needs you. Get off your ass and go get him. Now. I swear, if anything happens to him . . . You don’t wanna go there, Sophie. Just fucking call me when you find him. No excuses.”
I dropped the phone and leaned forward on my knees, rubbing my temples with the tips of my fingers.
In addition to everything else, now I had to deal with Mr. Being-A-Biker-Isn’t-A-Crime losing his shit on me. Which he would do, I had no doubt. Ruger was scary enough in a good mood. The one time I’d seen him truly enraged still gave me nightmares, and that’s not a figure of speech. Unfortunately, he had a point. When my son needed me, I hadn’t answered the phone. Thank God Ruger had been there for Noah. But still . . . I really didn’t want to deal with him right now, either.
I couldn’t leave him hanging, though, worried about Noah all night. He’d called me a bitch the last time I saw him, and maybe he had a point, but I wasn’t a big enough bitch to torture him like that. I hit the callback button.
“He all right?” Ruger demanded, not bothering with a hello.
“I’ve got him and he’s fine,” I said. “I couldn’t hear the phone ring at work, but I found his message and left about forty-five minutes later. He’s okay. We got lucky and nothing happened, not that I can tell.”
“You sure that asshole didn’t touch him?” Ruger asked.
“Noah said he tried to tickle him and make him sit on his lap, but he ran away. They were completely cross-faded. I don’t think they even noticed when he took off. He was hiding outside on the fire escape.”
“Fuck . . .” Ruger said. He didn’t sound happy. “How high up was he?”
“Four stories,” I said, closing my eyes in shame. “It’s a miracle he didn’t fall.”
“Okay, I’m driving. I’ll talk to you later. Don’t fucking leave him alone again, or you’ll answer to me. You got that?”
“Yeah,” I whispered. I hung up the phone and set it down on the table. The room felt stifling and I couldn’t get enough air, so I crept softly across the floor to the window. The splintery wooden sash slid up with a groan and I leaned out, looking down at the street, sucking in the cool breeze. The bars had just emptied and people laughed outside, walking along like everything was fine and dandy.
What if I hadn’t checked the voice mail? Would any of these happy drunks have looked up and seen a little boy clinging to the fire escape? What if he’d fallen asleep out there?
Noah could be dead on that pavement right now.
I finished my beer and grabbed a second one, then sat on my ratty couch and pounded it. The last time I checked the clock, it said three a.m.
What People are Saying About This
"Wylde’s second Reaper’s Motorcycle Club contemporary (after Reaper’s Property) mixes a super-hot bad guy, a struggling young single mother, and sex that blisters the imagination, resulting in a thrill ride as raw as it is well written.."Publishers Weekly
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
As posted on The Smutty Kitty reviewed by KittyKelly 4 out of 5 Licks After reading Reaper's Property I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book. This is only my second MC (Motorcycle Club) book that I've read and while it might not have grabbed me like the first one did I still really liked it! Ruger is such a mean a** hole teddy bear! He is such a jerk but I'll be damned if it didn't make me want him. Must be some kind of chemical imbalance in my brain. Sophie annoyed me at times but she had it pretty tough over the last few years so I understand. She tried to stand her ground as much as possible with Ruger but her panties seemed to disappear along with her better judgment anytime he was around. What made me really fall for Ruger is one of the same things that pulled Sophie in too. He loved her son like he was his own. And if that wasn't enough the tattoo story at the end completely sealed the deal for me (and made me cry). I don't think this one was as hard-core as Property but it was still super good. I can't wait for the next in the series and I hope she plans a lot more! Make sure to clear your evening before you start this one cause you won't want to stop!!
First off the cover is delicious and the story was great! Ruger is the perfect bad boy with a big heart. Gotta love a man who is posessive, strong, sexy, loving, smart and generous. Even if he can be a little scarry sometimes. The way he fell in love with Noah and then to read about the tattoos just did me in. I also didnt get frustrated with Sophies indecisiveness like I usually do with so many other books. Hers where completely justified and it got my total buy in. I was instantly hooked and stayed up all night reading it cover to cover, just couldnt put it down, it was that good. This is the first book ive read in this series and given how much i enjoyed it, i plan on reading the rest. Definately worth every penny and then some!
Love the Reapers!! Hot, hot, hot. Great MC series with alpha men and strong women.
Really didn't like this book.
I'm on page 40 of the first book and it's a miracle I've gotten this far. The writing is choppy and immature feeling as if it was written by a 10 year old. I can't read any more of it. Save your money and time. Do not purchase!
These two leading characters were unlikeable beyond belief. The hero was an as*hole and the heroine a whiny doormat. No thanks.
Love this series. Can't wait for more. Read book 2and it was great too.
It was a good addition to the reapers. I wasnt crazy about the main characters n the relations tho. I found sophie way too childish and imature n ruger not alpha male but annoying most of the times. Reapers property was much better than this one but is still a good adittion to jnow more about the characters as other stories come. I do have high n poditive expectations to the 3rd book coming later in the year.
I loved this book. I enjoyed the first book in the series Reaper's Property, but this one was just as good. I can't wait for Em's story next.
Damnit to hell, I’m hooked!
One of my favorite books in my entire collection. All the drama and troubles is worth the read <3
Love the Reapers!
This series has kept me on the edge of my seat.. Romantic, sexy and funny
I started with this book instead of Reaper's Property but it still pulled me in. I had a few problems with some of the content (it's not for the faint of heart) but I think that's how real clubs can be so it was very appropriate for the subject. When I was a little girl, I had an uncle who was president if an mc club. I don't remember much since he was a great-uncle but I do remember he was awesome and I was safe with him. I have purchased the rest of the series and am eager to read the rest. Thank you for the great stories. Don't change ANYTHING ;)
Just reread this book and it's just as great the 2nd time . A must read series but this book is definitely my favorite !
Love this book series can't wait for the new one I'm in the process of reading them over again. There just as good as the first time I read them.
Enjoyable and well written
Where oh where do I begin? How about with how badass this book was! I absolutely fell in love with Ruger! Oh my word. I want him so bad! Ms. Wylde has created a wonderfully amazing, fast paced, heart gripping second installment for her steamy, sexy Reaper's MC series. Sophie. What can I say? I loved her, I hated her. She was a wonderfully chiseled character and really was perfect for the story. There were times I was like "wake up!" but then there were times I was like "go girl!". And Noah......bless him, he stole my heart too! I loved Noah's character. Ruger. Let's see. Where can I get one of him? He was super hot, super dominant and oh so yummy! The attraction for Sophie rolls off the pages and surrounds the reader completely. But, I gotta admit, like any red blooded sexy man, I wanted to whack him upside his head more than once and tell him to get it together! Do I recommend this book? Hell yea. Do I want more of these amazing characters, more of Ms. Wylde's deliciousness in her writing? With a doubt, hell yea! This book is definitely worth 5 stars and more! Well done! On to the next in the series........... *No money was exchanged for this review. This was a book that was from my personal collection.*
After reading the first in this series I just had to keep reading! Love the stories about these bikers. Very hot and sexy with a decent story line.
Could not put this book down.