Fans of Joanna Wylde and the Reaper’s MC will recognize this couple as they made an appearance Reaper’s Fall. In fact Reaper’s Fire runs parallel to the events in Painter’s book, which can be at times interesting and at times kind of confusing. And while I was looking forward to Gage and Tinker’s story, I did have some anxiety knowing the set-up before I went in.
Let me explain.
Gage is in Hallies Falls posing as Cooper Romero, a newly divorced father looking for work and a place to stay close enough to his kids to visit, but with plenty of distance from his ex. But he’s really in town on the orders of his club President Picnic, willing to do whatever he must in order to infiltrate a local motorcycle club in order to find out what kind of illegal shit is going on. In order to get in with the Nighthawk Raiders he begins a relationship with their club president’s sister, Talia. A fucked up hate/hate relationship built completely on sex and blowjobs and nastiness, but a relationship nonetheless. Nothing will get in the way of his duty to the Reapers. Not falling for Tinker Garrett, his landlady and employer, not when shit gets dangerous and Talia becomes even more unhinged, not even when he fucks up and begins to make moves Tinker despite knowing it’ll make his job harder. Nothing.
Tinker Garrett has moved back to her small town in order to get away from her soon to be ex-husband and to take care of her father. She has taken over running her deceased mother’s tea shop while making gourmet chocolates in the back kitchen. When a hot looking biker comes into her shop looking for work and a place to stay one day he seems like a godsend, even though he obviously has horrible taste in women. She needs someone willing to make repairs on her family’s ancient apartment building and he promises he can do what needs to be done for a minimal cash output. Unfortunately, despite his girlfriend and ties to the local mc club, she can’t help but salivate over the sexy handyman.
I knew going in that Gage was engaged in a fake (on his part) relationship with a woman other than the heroine. I say fake because his feelings, other than hate, aren’t engaged. He is only with her for one reason, and that’s to get Marsh to trust him. I even knew that he would be sleeping with this awful woman when he met the heroine and would need to keep his relationship going in order to get what he needed from the motorcycle club he was sent to infiltrate. I KNEW THIS. I TOTALLY KNEW. Despite knowing, I was disgusted with Gage for a better part of this book. His relationship with Talia goes on and on and on. For well over half the book he and Talia have sex. He meets Tinker and starts to fall for her, but he’s still with Talia. He begins to make the moves on Tinker by inviting her over for dinner and a movie, but still he’s banging Talia. He even begins to imagine Tinker when he’s having sex with Talia, which frankly was kind of icky. After a while, I wondered when in the world we would get to Gage and Tinker. When would they have time to build a relationship and get to know each other? At about the 50% mark I began to get a bit irritated and anxious for Talia to get gone and for Gage to tell Tinker the truth.
When Gage finally does come clean with Tinker I was all at once irritated beyond belief by Gage and his possessive proclamations and proud of Tinker for telling him to get the hell out of her house. I can’t even imagine how annoyed I would have been if she would have fallen into his arms after the bullshit he put her through. Things move plot wise and relationship wise rather fast after the this. Lots of stuff happens. Tinker and Gage get together despite her misgivings. The Reaper’s move in and begin to figure out what to do with the NightHawk MC. There’s a fire, there’s weird back and forths between Tinker and her ex that seem to be resolved rather easily, and then there is an ending and an epilogue. The epilogue was rather sweet, but I wish there would have been a more in-depth relationship building time between Gage and Tinker before the ending. I liked the Gage from Tinker’s POV better than I liked being in Gage’s head, but I can’t argue that they had chemistry and their sexy times were off the charts hot. I think I would have enjoyed their story more if the relationship with Talia would have ended a bit sooner and our main characters were able to be together for a longer amount of page time. It’s like I spent the first half of the book wishing it would speed up and I would get to finally see them together, but then the second half of the book wishing it would slow down and spend more time focusing on them actually becoming a couple. Sigh.
Regardless, I am a fan of this series and this author, so while Reaper’s Fire didn’t exactly work for me as I’d hoped, I look forward to what comes next. Final Grade-C
“I want to see you come,” he said. “I need to see you come. I’ve been waiting a long time for this, Tinker girl.”
“It’s not up to you,” I whispered, and he smiled, then reached down between us, dark and terrible things written in his eyes.
“It’s always up to me, babe. From now on.”