The River Reapers MC series is now available at Target and Walmart! In honor of this exciting news, I wrote a new short featuring the whole MC.
The following is unedited and non-canonical, written purely for fun.
© 2021 Elizabeth Barone. All rights reserved.
The last time I was in a Walmart, it was 1997 and I bought a CD. Now they still sell CDs, but no one buys them. Or so Lucy is saying.
“They’re mostly there for decoration,” she tells me, and I almost can’t tell if she’s busting my balls or dead serious.
“People buy the vinyl, though,” Olivia adds. “You should be familiar with vinyl, old man.”
I forget to be offended, because the bicycle shorts she’s wearing hug her ass in all the right places. “You know those shorts are straight up ‘90s, right?”
She does a slow twirl, hands up. “Let’s go already. I need things.” She links arms with Lucy and they start toward the entrance, leaving me to push my niece in her stroller.
“See how they ditch us?” I tell Bunny. The guttural rip of nine motorcycle engines drowns out the baby’s coo. My entire club floods the parking lot, pulling into the spots next to Lucy’s car.
“Look who rolled up in a cage,” Donny calls out. Esther hops off the back of his bike and steals the stroller from me, rushing to catch up with Olivia and Lucy.
I chuckle. “Your girl just stole my niece. You better knock her up quick before she takes that baby home.”
He claps me on the back. “I’m doing my best, brother.”
“Let’s make this quick,” Ravage, our President, instructs everyone. “I wanna be setting up at the Mermaid within the hour.”
That gets everyone moving.
Even though I only need a couple things, I grab a cart because the girls are already in the baby department, and between the three of them, we’re gonna need it. Donny and I hustle to catch up with them, weaving through the Sunday afternoon crowd.
I toss a package of boxer briefs in, and Donny laughs at me.
“You buy your panties at Wally World?” He grabs a pack, too, one size up, and we stare at each other for a beat.
Abraham blows past us, Vaughn balanced on the front of the cart. They head toward the grocery section.
“Margarita mixes,” Donny explains.
“For the benefit?”
He nods, checking out the socks. “They never have the ones I need.”
“What’re you gentlemen up to?” Stixx wheels a cart full of plants and potting soil into the men’s department.
“How did you already hit the plant section?” I retrace my mental map of the store. It’s changed a lot since I went inside, but it hasn’t changed that much.
“I cut through the front,” he says.
I find Olivia in the pet section, a cat tree tucked awkwardly under one arm and a bag of cat food balanced on her hip. I take them from her and add them to the cart.
“Thanks.” She peeks up at me, suddenly shy.
“Aw, look at this bowtie!” Esther holds up a cat collar. “Que lindo.”
“Don’t do that to my dude,” I plead as they exchange calculating glances. “Get him a little biker vest or something. He’s not the professor type.”
“I had a tuxedo cat when I was little,” Esther says. “My mom kicked out my dad for a minute and was feeling normal. Then he came back and the cat disappeared.”
Donny tucks her into his side, running his hand up and down her arm.
“Damn,” I say, pushing my hair back from my face. “Did any of us have normal childhoods?”
“That’s why I’m not having kids,” Olivia says. “Trauma just pays it forward.”
“Don’t tell Leigh that,” Lucy says, joining us with Bunny.
I take the box of diapers she balanced on the stroller and throw it into the cart. “Are we good?”
“Nah,” Donny says. “We need deodorant.”
“Bro, I could smell you before I even pulled in.”
“I need face wash,” Olivia says, and the girls take off again.
I glance into the cart, calculating. “Good thing I got a good job.”
Donny laughs, clapping me on the back. “Feels good, providing, doesn’t it?”
It actually does, but I don’t admit it. I just shake my head, and we follow the girls through the toys and books section. I stop to check out an endcap of CDs.
“Last time I was here, I got a CD. It was the last thing I bought before I went inside.”
“Which CD? Wait, let me guess.” Donny sizes me up. “It’s gotta be Deftones or Nick Cave.”
“Mariah Carey,” I admit. “I had the biggest crush on her.”
“And now you’re dating Mariah Scary.” He slaps his thigh.
I smirk. “Still hot.”
Ravage turns out of the book aisle, his arms full of titles. “What?” He gives us a hard look.
“Thought we were here for the benefit, Pres,” Donny says, eyeing the books.
“Nothing better than a book in one hand and a drink in the other,” Ravage says.
“I’ve got some prizes for the kids,” Beer Can says, joining us with a cart full of toys.
“Go easy on me,” Mark begs. “Treasury ain’t infinite, boys.”
“Then you shouldn’t have been waving around those fat stacks last night,” Vaughn says, pulling up with a cart full of drink mixes and Super Soakers.
“That was for the deposit,” our Treasurer grumbles, “and I wasn’t waving them around.”
“We ready?” Ravage glances from cart to cart.
“Not quite.” Olivia dumps an armful of toiletries into my cart, Lucy right behind her with her own load, followed by Esther.
Donny and I exchange glances.
“I take it back,” he mutters.
“Wait up,” Skid calls, Mercy trailing behind them. Their cart overflows with summer-themed decorations.
Mark rubs his temples.
“It’s for the kids,” Ravage says.
“For the kids,” Mercy echoes.
“And the books?” Mark eyes Ravage’s stack.
“Romance, Pres?” Olivia ribs. “No wonder Shannon puts up with you.”
“It’s not just sex,” Ravage objects. “There’s some good shit in these. I just read one where these two very lost, very fucked up people meet, and even though they’re completely different, they find a home in each other.”
Instead of the usual teasing, the men nod. Donny wraps another arm around Esther, kissing the top of her head. And, to my surprise, Olivia leans into me.
I place a palm at the small of her back, drawing her in. Over the top of her head, I take in these messed up people who are as different as night and day, yet we do normal shit like family trips to Walmart.
“All right, let’s get out of here,” Mark says, pointing us toward checkout.
Olivia straightens. “Shit. I almost forgot.”
Before any of us can stop them, she, Lucy, and Esther take off again.
We might never leave.
Get My Paperbacks at Walmart
River Reapers MC Series
Book 1: A Disturbing Prospect
Book 2: A Risky Prospect
Book 2.5: Her Mercy
Book 3: A Fatal Prospect
Standalone Contemporary Romance
The Stairs Between Us
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Get My Paperbacks at Target
River Reapers MC Series
Book 1: A Disturbing Prospect (OUT OF STOCK as of June 8th)
Book 3: A Fatal Prospect
FREE Shipping with $35 Orders!
Target is currently carrying the first and last in series. Like with Walmart, I have no control over which titles they choose to carry. Hopefully they’ll carry the rest soon!