His to Defend by Rhenna Morgan

His to Defend by Rhenna Morgan
NOLA Knights Book 1
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (384 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

His world. His rules. Her love.

Though his methods may be rough, when it comes to protecting what’s his, Russian vor Sergei Petrovyh’s heart is always in the right place. That’s never been more true than when the gorgeous Evette Labadie asks him for a job. He knows enough to keep his hands off someone as beloved by the locals as Evie, but there’s something about her that calls to him—no matter how badly he burns to make her his.

Don’t think Evie hasn’t noticed the powerful Russian mafia boss who makes her favorite diner a regular stop. How can she not? He’s as hot as his reputation is dangerous. But everyone in her struggling New Orleans neighborhood knows he’s the man to turn to. And right now she needs money to get her son out of trouble.
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Her other needs—needs she knows damn well Sergei can more than satisfy—will have to wait.

Evie soon finds herself playing Cinderella to a man who, despite what people believe, is definitely more prince than villain. She can’t help falling deeper in love with each passing day. But when a turf war between Sergei and a rival brings violence to her doorstep, Evie must come to grips with loving a man who will do anything to defend her…or walk away from her best chance at a happily-ever-after of her very own.

“She was his weakness. But she was also his redemption.” They should avoid one another at all costs but that isn’t going to happen. Once he has a taste, she’s his to defend but also his to cherish. He’s more than capable of both.

I’ve read a bunch of Russian mafia stories and each author has their own take on what it’s like to be part of “the family”. Some go super dark where women are essentially owned. That can be interesting but I think I prefer Ms Morgan’s view. More of an old school “we just want to own the neighborhood and collect on debts, while not-so-secretly skirting just outside the law” trope.

Don’t get me wrong, Sergei isn’t a good person. He’s an unapologetic criminal but he’s also loyal and protective of his family. When he declares Evette and Emerson to be family, it’s a big deal and I loved how he integrates them into his life. What was equally awesome to watch was how his personality changed because of Evette and Emerson. She’s pretty tough for a ray of sunshine!

This isn’t a paranormal book but there’s definitely a sense of magic in the chemistry that flows between Sergei and Evette. It was flavored and tangible. Real and powerful.

You can’t have a mafia story without there being someone who thinks they’re bigger and badder, or at the very least smarter, trying to make a name for themselves. Bad idea when the real big bad has something to protect. Don’t underestimate Sergei or his Bratva family. There literally isn’t much these guys wouldn’t do to protect what they consider “Mine”. I can’t wait to read Kir and Roman’s books!

Readers who love the dark side just a little too much should absolutely pick up a copy of His To Defend. Hot protective men who live for family and love with every fiber of their being. They’ll make a girl want to take a walk on the dark side, too.

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