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Reaper’s Stand (Reapers MC #4)
Author/Writer of Book/Novel:
0425272362 (ISBN13: 9780425272367)
As Reapers Motorcycle Club president, Reese “Picnic” Hayes has given his entire life to the club. After losing his wife, he knew he’d never love another woman. And with two daughters to raise and a club to manage, that was just fine with him. These days, Reese keeps his relationships free and easy—he definitely doesn’t want to waste his time on a glorified cleaning lady like London Armstrong.
Too bad he’s completely obsessed with her.
Besides running her own business, London’s got her junkie cousin’s daughter to look after—a more reckless than average eighteen-year-old. Sure she’s attracted to the Reapers’ president, but she’s not stupid. Reese Hayes is a criminal and a thug. But when her young cousin gets caught up with a ruthless drug cartel, Reese might be the only man who can help her. Now London has to make the hardest decision of her life—how far will she go to save her family?
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COEUR D’ALENE, IDAHO
Should I look him in the eye when I killed him or just shoot him in the back?
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 …
Things started going wrong as soon as I walked into the dining room. Reese wasn’t sitting at the head of the table, where I’d left him. Damn. I could’ve shot him in the back without warning if he’d just stayed put. Now he sat facing me, leaning casually in his chair, beer in hand. The magazine lay open before him and he looked up, offering me that mocking smile of his. God, I loved that smile, despite the fact that it could be cruel as all fuck.
“Something you want to talk about?” he asked, cocking his head.
“No,” I murmured, wondering what he’d say if I shared my thoughts. Gee, Reese, I’m so sorry I’m about to kill you, but if it makes you feel any better I hate myself for doing it—not a hundred percent sure I won’t shoot myself next.
I wouldn’t, though. Not yet. Not until I saw Jessica for myself, made sure they’d kept their promises and she was safe and sound. After that?
Well. We’d just have to see.
He sighed, eyes flicking to my pocket, where my hand shifted nervously on the gun.
Paranoia hit yet again.
He knew. He knew all about it, I could see it in his face. Fuck. I’d failed her … Don’t be ridiculous. How could he possibly know?
“Babe, you look like you could use a day off,” he said finally. “Have you considered hitting the spa? Maybe get a massage?”
“That costs too much,” I said automatically, biting back a hysterical laugh. Because money mattered now, right?