Rome's Chance (Reapers MC #6.6)

Rome's Chance (Reapers MC #6.6)

Joanna Wylde

One Thousand and One Dark Nights

Once upon a time, in the future…

I was a student fascinated with stories and learning.

I studied philosophy, poetry, history, the occult, and the art and science of love and magic. I had a vast library at my father’s home and collected thousands of volumes of fantastic tales.

I learned all about ancient races and bygone

times. About myths and legends and dreams of all people through the millennium. And the more I read the stronger my imagination grew until I discovered that I was able to travel into the stories... to actually become part of them.

I wish I could say that I listened to my teacher and respected my gift, as I ought to have. If I had, I would not be telling you this tale now.

But I was foolhardy and confused, showing off with bravery.

One afternoon, curious about the myth of the

Arabian Nights, I traveled back to ancient Persia to see for myself if it was true that every day Shahryar (Persian: ??????, “king”) married a new virgin, and then sent yesterday's wife to be beheaded. It was written and I had read, that by the time he met Scheherazade, the vizier's daughter, he’d killed one thousand women.

Something went wrong with my efforts. I arrived in the midst of the story and somehow exchanged places with Scheherazade – a phenomena that had never occurred before and that still to this day, I cannot explain.

Now I am trapped in that ancient past. I have taken on Scheherazade’s life and the only way I can protect myself and stay alive is to do what she did to protect herself and stay alive.

Every night the King calls for me and listens as I spin tales.

And when the evening ends and dawn breaks, I stop at a point that leaves him breathless and yearning for more.

And so the King spares my life for one more day, so that he might hear the rest of my dark tale.

As soon as I finish a story... I begin a new

one... like the one that you, dear reader, have before you now.

Chapter One

Author’s note: Rome’s Chance takes place eight years after the events of Reaper’s Fire. Rome’s Chance stands alone, and you need not read any other books in the Reapers MC series to enjoy this story.

Hallies Falls, Washington

Friday morning


“So are you gonna buy me condoms or not? I don’t like buying them myself because it’s embarrassing, so I usually just steal them. But they said the next time I get arrested, I’m going to juvie.”

I stared at my little sister, wondering what the hell I was supposed to say. There were so many things wrong with that sentence. So many, many things… How could two girls who came from the same mother be so different? I mean, I’d been boy crazy when I was her age, but half the time I’d been too scared to talk to them, let alone have sex. Lexi, though… Lexi was sixteen going on thirty, and I swear to God, that had to be a push-up bra she was wearing.

Since when did sixteen-year-olds wear push-up bras?

“You know, abstinence education doesn’t work,” she said, popping her gum at me through dark ruby-red lips that went perfectly with her Betty Page hair. “They taught Mom abstinence. Look at how that turned out.”

Seeing as our mom had me when she was seventeen—and I was one of five by four different fathers—it was hard to fault the kid’s logic. I tossed a double pack of Trojans into the cart.

Cheaper than a baby shower.

“Thanks, sis,” she said, bumping her shoulder against mine, and I wondered when the hell she’d gotten so big. I’d been twelve when she was born. In some ways she’d been like my very own baby. Mom was always working, so it’d been my job to take care of the littles.

If you move back to Hallies Falls, you know you’ll get stuck taking care of them again, I reminded myself. Lexi stretched her arms behind her back, putting her already full teenage rack on display. Not good. Not good at all.

“Can we buy a watermelon and some of that salad mix?” Lexi asked, and I nodded, because this was a purchase I could get behind. There hadn’t been a fresh fruit or vegetable in the house my whole childhood, and so far as I could tell, Mom hadn’t changed her buying habits since I’d left home. To be fair, she was living on disability these days, ever since she blew her back out. Money was tight.

“Why don’t you go and get it?” I told her. “I’m going to stock up on some stuff for the freezer. Oh, and we still have to pick up Mom’s asthma meds. Don’t let me forget.”

“We need some TP, too,” she said. “And tampons. We’re totally out of those.”

Of course they were. Food stamps were great for a lot of things, but they sure as hell didn’t cover toiletries. “I’ll get some toothpaste, too.”

“You’re the best, Randi!”

Just like that, she was skipping down the aisle toward the produce section, and for a minute there she almost could’ve been the little girl I used to give airplane and piggy-back rides to. Happy, carefree, and full of mischief. Now she was forcing herself to grow up too damned fast, just like I had.

Joanna Wylde's Books