Rating 4 Stars
What’s the book about?
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.
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.
His to Defend was my first book by Rhenna Morgan and certainly won’t be my last! It was such a great introduction into her writing style and provides readers with a tantalizing teaser of who else you can expect to meet in her stories (characters from both past and future stories!). While the story is definitely a mafia romance, it’s fairly mild on the actual intricacies of the mafiya life so don’t expect a dark romance with guns, drugs and women.
Sergei, the hero in His to Defend, is all about establishing a claim on New Orleans through helping the community and keeping bad mobsters away. He’s first and foremost a business man and understands that building the community up through buying businesses, developing a successful plan of action, and removing thugs/other nefarious obstacles is the best way to turn a profit. That being said though, he’s still a pakhan (Mafia boss) and not someone you’d want to mess with. He will defend anyone he considers family until his last breath. Now that he has his sights set on Evette, she and her son will never have to worry about being targets again…
Evette was such a joy to watch as she learns to open up and love again with Sergei in her life. She’s smart, strong, independent and so protective of her son. She never backs down and is ready to pick herself back up again with every curveball life throws at all. I also loved the dynamic between Sergei and Evette. Sergei was the perfect balance between a sweetheart and domineering, alpha; but even during his domineering moments, Evette was ready to give it back to him and let him know that she had the final say in her actions. This was so great to read because it really opened up the communication between the two characters. It also made the raising and inclusion of Evette’s son more prominent. Sergei actively included young Emerson in his life, making him feel welcomed and loved, and often referred to him as family or his ‘son’. I don’t often enjoy reading the single parent trope because so many authors merely use the child as a prop in the story but that isn’t the case with Rhenna Morgan. In His to Defend, Emerson was developed into a complex character (even at 7 years old) and he had a significant role in every aspect of the story. I wouldn’t be surprised if another spin off series was created later on with Emerson as an adult. I would definitely read that one too!
Overall, this was a great story and introduction to Rhenna Morgan as an author. There’s nothing overly action packed in this book and the one scene you’d most expect in a mafia book is wrapped up pretty quickly and neatly so I’d definitely recommend this story to anyone wanting to read a lighter mafia romance story or wanting to be introduced to the mafia romance genre. I loved pretty much everything about this book and can’t wait to get started on the next!
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