Right from the first.
Shade's Lady is a stand-alone story. There is no need to have read any prior Reapers MC stories to enjoy Shade's Lady.
I recommend that anyone planning to read a MC romance watch Sons of Anarchy first. Why? Because it will desensitize typical romance readers to all the macho bullshit that goes on in these clubs (if SoA is to be believed). These are not your typical romance novel heroes. They aren’t particularly nice guys. Sometimes they’re flat-out criminals. They’re blunt and brash and say politically incorrect things that would normally make you want to knee them in the nuts. But all of that is easier to take when you look into Jax Teller’s soulful eyes. So, I went into this novella with a picture of Jax Teller in my mind’s eye and I ended up enjoying the book quite a bit.
Mandy is an easy-to-relate-to heroine. Who among us hasn’t made some crappy, questionable choices that land you somewhere you don’t want to be? She’s made her mistakes, she’s paid the consequences, and she’s returned home—quite nobly, in fact—to help out her sister, who has made some rather dire choices of her own. Mandy is a good sister, a good aunt and a good employee. She just has shitty taste in men, which leads her to refuse Shade’s many, many advances for quite some time.
“From now on, consider me your resident nun.”
Shade is very much like Jax Teller, in my opinion. He’s sexy and badass and not above bending the law (or snapping it like a twig) in defense of his brothers in the club, or their “old ladies.” (And yes, that’s just one of those terms you’ll have to accept if you’re going to read MC romances. Just let your inner feminist cringe and roll her eyes, then move on.) His attraction to Mandy takes him by surprise, and there’s nothing more satisfying in a romance novel than seeing a big, bad alpha male knocked to his knees by a woman.
“You can bullshit all you want about sex and one-night stands, but I’m not done with you yet and you know it. I get what I want, and I want you.”
I will caution all you readers out there in romance land that if you go into this one looking for deep, soulful declarations of love and a clearly laid out happily ever after you’ll be disappointed. It didn’t bother me at all since this was a novella, and mushy stuff like that would have been totally out of character for the hero, anyway. I think the author gave us just enough to hint at a lovely “happy for now” ending, which is just fine for a book of this length.
“What will you be?”
All-in-all, this was a funny, sexy, MC read that more than satisfied the hole left in my heart when SoA ended. It’s definitely worth a read!
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
Crushes it! No rehab needed. This one’s clean and sober.
Other reading suggestions
I would check out the rest of Joanna Wylde’s backlist. Kristen Ashley’s Chaos series is also fabulous, as is Julie Ann Walker’s Black Knights series.