From 1,001 Dark Nights! Be sure to grab your copy today! Bestselling author Joanna Wylde comes ELI’S TRIUMPH, a new novella in her , brought to you by
From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Joanna Wylde comes a new story in her Reapers MC series…
Peaches Taylor spent the last seven years slinging drinks and dodging drunks at the Starkwood Saloon. Some might call it a dead end job, but to her it was an investment—another six months, and she’d have enough money to buy the place.
Life would've been perfect if Eli hadn’t come home.
Eli King is ready to settle down. He stood by his brothers when they needed him, paying the price for their freedom with his own. Now it’s time to claim his reward—the Starkwood Saloon. He’s got the cash to buy the bar, the skills to run it, and just one person standing between him and his dream: Peaches Taylor.
She’s been driving him crazy since they were kids, and not in the good way. When she was six, she shoved a spider down his pants. When he was ten, he locked her in a closet overnight. Then she hot-wired his car at seventeen, and things got ugly…
They’re adults now, and the Starkwood isn’t a toy to fight over—it’s the hill they’ll die on. No prisoners. No compromises. No mercy.
Peaches Taylor and Eli King are going to war.
**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you'll enjoy each one as much as we do.**
Peach Taylor and Eli King have known each other practically their whole lives. Peach was eight when eleven-year-old Eli joined her mother and Gus. Gus is Eli's uncle. Peach didn't like losing Gus' attention. She started making Eli's life miserable.
A couple of decades later, Peach is working at the Starkwood Saloon. She has been helping Gus for years. Then she learns that despite wanting to buy it, Gus is selling it to Eli and not her. Talk about mad. Peach wants to punch both of them. It doesn't matter that the Reapers like to hang at the bar. She knows to keep quiet but losing the bar is not something she can do without putting up a fight.
Joanna's Reapers MC series is one of my favorite MC series. The characters are memorable and likable. Most of them are antiheroes. Eli fits with this profile. Someone who has already been to prison (for 5 years) after doing something illegal. Eli believes in the Club. He will do anything to protect it and sometimes that means doing what needs to be done without caring about the consequences.
Peach was harder to like. She was mean to Eli as a kid which forced Eli to retaliate after her attacks. As an adult, I felt she should've known better. If she was miserable with Eli winning the war for the Starkwood Saloon, she could've quit and found a new job without the drama. Notwithstanding, Peach grew on me in the last third of the novella and by the end, I was happy with how the story was developing.
The end felt rushed but this might be just me. Even though my brain knows that a novella should be short, I couldn't help but feel like I needed much more.
“Eli?” she asked, sounding confused. “Why are we talking about Eli?”
“He’s been watching me.”
“Um, I think he’s just drinking a beer,”Megan said. “Maybe checking out your boobs a little, but that’s nothing new.”
Hmm… It couldn’t possibly be that simple, but it did give me an idea. Maybe it was time to create a diversion. I shifted my shoulders, expanding my chest.
Disappointingly, his eyes stayed on mine.
“Someday I’m gonna own this bar, and firing his ass is the first thing I’ll do.”
Megan giggled. “That sounded sort of super-villain-ish. Do you have a lair? I wish I had a lair…”
I blinked, caught off guard. I hadn’t realized that I’d said the words out loud. Eli smirked at me, gloating because he’d just won our little pissing contest. Dammit!
“I can’t believe I wrote to him in prison,” I told her, turning my back on the bikers. “Never should’ve been nice to him. He probably thinks that, deep down inside, we’re friends or something. We’re never going to be friends.”
“Didn’t he give you a ride home after work last night?” she asked, her voice light.
“Gus made him,” I snapped.
“And did Gus make him hug you the other day?”
“He caught me and gave me a noogie. And it hurt, too. It’s not a hug if it leaves bruises.”
“He left bruises?”Megan asked, startled. Shit. I might be able to justify a rumor about him not being able to get it up, but telling her that he’d hurt me for real…yeah, that probably crossed a line.
“No,” I admitted. “That was an exaggeration. But he’s still pure evil, so don’t fall for his shit. Or sleep with him. Every time a waitress sleeps with him, she ends up quitting without notice. Then I have to cover their shifts.”
Megan nodded, looking a little uncomfortable. “Okay, then… Um, I think I’ll go check the bathrooms. Make sure there’s no ugly surprises before things start getting busy.”
“Great idea,” I told her, and she scuttled off. Then I reached for a washcloth because I had lemon juice to clean up. Then I’d have to go back over there and check on them. See if they wanted more… Eli would, I could already tell. Not because he was big on drinking, though.
He just wouldn’t be able to resist an opportunity to order me around.
Joanna Wylde started her writing career in journalism, working in two daily newspapers as both a reporter and editor. Her career has included many different jobs, from managing a homeless shelter to running her own freelance writing business, where she took on projects ranging from fundraising to ghostwriting for academics. During 2012 she got her first Kindle reader as a gift and discovered the indie writing revolution taking place online. Not long afterward she started cutting back her client list to work on Reaper’s Property, her breakout book. It was published in January 2013, marking the beginning of a new career writing fiction.
Joanna lives in the mountains of northern Idaho with her family.