His to Defend

His to Defend

by Rhenna Morgan

NOOK BookOriginal (eBook - Original)

$3.99
View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now

Overview

Book one of NOLA Knights, the heart-stoppingly sexy spinoff series by Men of Haven author Rhenna Morgan

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.

This book is approximately 88,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781488054150
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: 10/14/2019
Series: NOLA Knights , #1
Sold by: HARLEQUIN
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 10,885
File size: 994 KB

About the Author

A native Oklahoman, Rhenna Morgan is a certified romance junkie. Whether it’s contemporary, paranormal, or fantasy you’re after, Rhenna’s stories pack romantic escape full of new, exciting worlds, and strong, intuitive men who fight to keep the women they want. For advance release news and exclusive content, sign up for her newsletter at http://RhennaMorgan.com. You'll also find all of her social links there, along with her smoking hot inspiration boards.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

$480.

Evette pinched the business-size check from her former employer a little tighter and glared at the cleaning company's logo in the top corner. On any other Friday, the money would have meant inching closer to some semblance of security for her and her son, Emerson. A step toward unraveling the mess she'd created for her life. Today, the unexpected termination that had come with her weekly pay felt more like a sucker punch to the gut. Yet another obstacle to overcome after too many damned years running the gauntlet and never even glimpsing the finish line.

Maybe she could get a job cleaning at one of the hotels. God knew the French Quarter was packed with them, and she was pretty sure she could count on regular shift work, like the office cleaning crew she'd been on. Though, how she was going to land one by Monday when it was already close to 4:30 on a Friday afternoon was beyond her. And landing something quick was the only way this latest setback wouldn't force her into dipping into Emerson's school fund. Plus, there was the hurdle of what would happen if they called her old company for references and found out she'd been fired for a security breach.

Not. Good.

The commuter bus swung onto Tulane headed toward Mid-City, and Evie's spirits sunk a little lower. If someone had told her when she was growing up that she'd be a single mom living in one of New Orleans's rougher parts of town at twenty-eight years old, she'd have laughed in their face. She was going to be a fashion retail buyer — or at least have some kind of career in fashion. She was going to travel the world. See things. Know people. Adventure her way through life and suck it dry.

Then her mom had died, and she'd gone off the rails.

She sighed and slunk a little farther down onto the hard plastic bench, the run-down stores, bars and restaurants along the roadside passing in a blur while the vibrations from the bus's engine rattled clear to her bones.

Get knocked down seven times, stand up eight.

If she had a dollar for all the times her momma had said it and all the times Evie had echoed it in the last eight years, she'd be driving a Porsche toward the Garden District right now instead of a barely livable apartment.

But her momma had made it.

Mostly.

Raised Evette through her tumultuous preteen years after her daddy's death and made it look easy. It hadn't been until a year after Emerson had been born and Evie had found the courage to read some of her mother's journals that she'd realized just how much of a challenge her mother had really faced. How much she'd given up and how alone she'd felt through every second.

Evie understood it now. Knew to her very marrow the sacrifices that had been made on her behalf.

And she'd thrown it all away nursing her grief.

Resolve and a whole lot of stubbornness revved her energy and forced her taller in her seat. Pity was what had gotten her into this mess to begin with, and she'd be damned if she went that route again. Labadie women didn't quit. Didn't give up. They faced whatever they needed to face, and they smiled doing it. Eventually, she was going to find a way to give her and Emerson the world. She just might have to scrimp a little longer and get more creative to make it happen.

The bus's brakes whined, and the older lady seated next to Evie leaned into her.

Evie braced herself enough to keep them both upright and smiled down at her fellow passenger. "You gettin' off here, Miss Arnold? You know Dorothy's Friday specials are always the best ones of the week."

Miss Arnold beamed a smile at Evie and hugged her grocery bag a little tighter to her chest. Her blue eyes might have turned murky in the last few years and the wrinkles lining her pale skin etched a little deeper, but her kind heart was still as strong as ever. "No, no, Evette. Trips to the grocery aren't as easy as they used to be. Better I get my tired bones on to the home before the sun goes down."

A smart move. Especially in this part of town, because a woman like Miss Arnold after dark was a mugging waiting to happen.

Once certain the older woman had her balance again, Evie stood, shouldered her purse and took another stab at the same argument she'd been having with the neighborhood woman for the past year. "Seems to me, you could use that fancy shuttle van all the other residents use for your errands and not have half the hassle."

Miss Arnold lifted her chin a little higher, the epitome of a Southern woman with an iron core. "Seein' to myself is a privilege. Gonna take advantage of it as long as the good Lord'll let me." She dipped her head toward the door at the front of the bus. "Best get yourself to Dorothy's and that handsome boy of yours."

Damn. Shut down again. "All right, but don't think we're not gonna talk about this next time."

"Lookin' forward to it, beautiful girl."

Evie shook her head and headed to the door.

"Evette." Miss Arnold's sharp voice halted her just before she took the first step down. She waited until Evie met her steady stare before she spoke again. "Gonna be all right. Whatever it is ... it's not gonna beat you. You just keep on remembering that."

A tightness noosed around Evette's throat, and tears tingled along the bridge of her nose. Maybe she wouldn't have another chance to talk Miss Arnold out of taking the bus to the grocery store. Not unless her next job took her to the same part of town she'd been working in. She clenched the handrail beside the steep steps and forced a smile she didn't feel. "Don't you worry, Miss Arnold. Gonna take more than a kick or two to keep me down."

The older woman nodded as if she'd expected such an answer, then went back to staring out the window opposite her seat. "Good girl. Now get on to that boy of yours and tell Dorothy I said hello."

Outside, the temperature still hovered near eighty-five degrees. Not exactly an unbearable number at the tail end of September, but the humidity from the gulf and the subtle stench that last night's rains had stirred from the Quarter didn't exactly make for an ideal stroll on the streets either. She hurried past a cheesy souvenir shop, a convenience store and a pub — the latter leaving the faint scent of cigarette smoke on the sidewalk despite the front door doing its best to trap the conditioned air inside. At the end of the block, Dorothy's Diner sat like a neighborhood beacon. The entrance was right at the corner, two long walls of windows stretching for a good twelve feet on either side so those moseying past could get an easy view of the crowd inside.

And there was always a crowd at Dorothy's. As diners went, it was an institution. A safe haven in the middle of hell and a slice of soul food heaven all rolled into one. Per usual, Emerson was at the soda-shop-style counter perched on the barstool closest to the front door, his shoulders slightly hunched forward and his forearms around his plate like a linebacker braced to protect his food. His dirty blond hair was a nod to her daddy's side of the family and was a tad too long and tousled like any other seven-year-old boy's probably was at the end of the school day, but his expression was far too empty. His hazel eyes too void of emotion for someone so young.

She forced another bogus smile and shoved the glass door open. The bell overhead gave a cheerful jingle, and two or three of the waitresses on the floor called out a greeting.

Evie gave them all a polite wave, but went straight to her kid and added a little extra mess to his hair with a playful ruffle. "Hey, champ. How was school?"

For the briefest of seconds, her little boy stared back at her. Not much more than a hint of a smile, but enough to let her know the kid who had curled so innocently in her lap a few years ago was still in there somewhere. The openness was gone again in a blink, the sullen scowl she'd grown to hate aimed back at a plateful of turkey and dressing. He shrugged and stabbed a bite of turkey. "Just a day."

"Yeah, but it's a Friday and everyone knows Fridays are always better by default." She slid onto the barstool next to Emerson and let her purse drop to the raised step beneath her feet. "Anything big go down at recess?"

Emerson shook his head.

"Any surprise tests?"

Another shake.

"Meet any cute girls?"

To that, he simply lifted his head and looked at her like he was torn between walking home without her and suggesting she have her head examined.

"Well, at least that got your attention," she said. "You know, when I was your age, my momma couldn't get me to shut up."

Emerson pushed a green bean that had strayed too close to his dressing back to the exiled portion of his plate. "No point in talking if there's nothing going on."

"Hmm." She crossed her arms and pretended to check out the rest of the diner's patrons while her brain scrambled for any clue on how to engage with her son. He might be only seven, but he talked with more sophistication than most adults. Barely any slang. No Creole mannerisms and definitely no profanity. More like a gentleman stuck in a child's body. So, why she thought some shocking revelation on how to talk to him at his level was gonna plow its way to the forefront of her thoughts right this second after over a year of searching was beyond her. "Well, if you're not gonna talk to me, maybe Miss Dorothy will. You seen her?"

Emerson politely wiped his mouth with his napkin and dipped his head toward the kitchen. "She disappeared in there right before you came in. Table seven didn't like their special."

Evie glanced at the turkey and dressing on Emerson's plate. "Someone's complaining about the cooking? Are they high?"

Miracle of miracles, Emerson's mouth twitched with a smile that didn't quite break free. "Not everyone has good taste, Mom."

"True dat," she fired back, wishing with everything in her she could get her kid to let go and be a kid again. She swiveled toward the kitchen and waved her hand at her bag. "Watch that for me. Don't want our payday finding legs and running off without us."

"Yes, ma'am."

Yes, ma'am.

Evie meandered toward the kitchen, her son's perfect reply echoing in her head. If she'd been that proper growing up, her momma would have celebrated with street parties and however many charitable contributions for the offering plate their bank account would allow. Instead, she'd been sassy. Never disrespectful, of course. That would have earned her a butt whoopin' or boxed ears. But an okie dokie pokey or a you betcha was way more common than a proper Yes, ma'am.

The scrape of metal chair legs against the black-and-white industrial tile shot through the diner.

Evie paused at the end of the counter and turned toward the sound.

Backing away from the popular round booth in the back corner was a slightly balding fortyish-looking man with a short-sleeve checked button-down barely covering his paunch. His black pants were a tad too short in the length, but they were clean and well-pressed. He clenched some papers in his hand and executed a semi-bow that could have been interpreted as fear or extreme respect. Maybe a little of both.

One glance at who was sitting in the booth and the tense gesture made sense.

Sergei Petrovyh.

She'd missed seeing him on the way in. Which said a lot about how distracted the new twist in her life had left her because just thinking his name made her flush. Actually looking at him made her and three-quarters of the female population too tongue-tied to talk. The other quarter mostly threw themselves at him and prayed to any god who would listen for a chance to hear that deep Russian accent of his up close and personal. Preferably in a situation where no clothes were involved.

Rather than butt into Dorothy's rant with the chef in the kitchen, Evie waited near the register and straightened a stack of menus.

The balding man said something to Sergei, took two more steps backward, then turned and quick-stepped it toward the front door.

Her gaze drifted back to Sergei, though she covered her leisurely perusal by thumbing through an order pad near the register. Dark wavy hair to his shoulders, sharp facial features, one of those sexy-as-hell tightly cropped beards and a deliciously tall and fit body to go with it.

But it wasn't just his looks that left women wanting. It was his power. A charisma burning behind his dark blue eyes and a graceful yet predatory edge behind every movement. In short, Sergei Petrovyh was the kind of man who could make any female forget her problems for at least a few precious moments with a single look.

Actually, if she was honest, Sergei could eradicate her problems completely. It was what he'd done for a long list of people in her neighborhood since he'd moved to New Orleans a little over a year ago — traded fixing untenable situations in exchange for obligations owed.

More to the point ... he was a mobster.

A damned good-looking one, for sure, but a seriously dangerous man all the same.

Footsteps and muffled grumbling registered a few seconds before Dorothy's droll voice cut through Evie's ogling. "Girl, I've seen star-struck groupies act less obvious than you right now."

Evie crushed the urge to flinch like a guilty schoolgirl and gave Sergei another thorough once-over just to prove to both of them she could. Seriously, the man was like a Greek god. Maybe it was all that olive skin. Or the fact that he moved like a panther. The custom-tailored suits he wore definitely made the fashion lover in her want to stretch out and purr.

So, yeah. She was old enough to ogle all she wanted and wasn't about to apologize to anyone for doing it. Especially not after the day she'd had. "Nothing wrong with looking." She faced her momma's lifelong friend, leaned a hip onto the counter and braced one hand on the other. "And lookin' at him is a damn sight better than tryin' to figure out how I'm gonna pull off a major miracle between now and Monday."

Dorothy tucked her order pad inside the pocket of her white apron. Her daddy had named her after Dorothy Dandridge purely because he'd had a crush on the actress when Dorothy had been born, but she'd grown into a woman as beautiful as her namesake. At sixty-eight years old, her skin was wrinkled and her hair a soft gray, but her near-black eyes were still sharp as ever. She eyeballed Evie the way only a mother could. "What kind of miracle are we talking about?"

"The kind where I find a job."

"I thought you were goin' for a supervisor position with the cleaning gig. What happened?"

Evie threw up her hands, then crossed her arms across her chest. "Damned if I know. Something about a security breach and my badge being used to access an attorney's office after hours last weekend. Which is complete crap. Aside from me and Emerson going to the Farmers Market and the church potluck last Saturday, me and my badge were home all weekend. It had to be a mix-up."

"You tell 'em that?"

"'Course I did. But they weren't listening. Said they didn't have a choice but to let me go with their security policy."

Dorothy frowned and ambled behind Evie to the back countertop and the tub of clean silverware waiting to be rolled into napkins. She laid out the first napkin and got to work. "Not sure how that constitutes an emergency. I know you, Evie. You're always bracin' for a storm. Don't tell me you don't have savings."

"All of that's going to Emerson's tuition."

"I thought he was on a wait list. No point in scrimping now if you need it and have time to build it back."

"He's not on a wait list anymore." Evie moved in beside her. She'd been rolling napkins at Dorothy's place for as long as she could remember and had worked through countless crises with the simple task. "The dean called this week and said one of the kids is moving. I can apply for a scholarship, but I have to pony up the tuition to hold the spot while they process it."

"How much is it?"

"$900."

Dorothy's head snapped her direction and her voice rose enough a good amount of the diner's chatter ceased. "$900? Are you insane?"

"Dorothy!" she whisper-scolded with a pointed look in Emerson's direction. "Emerson needs this. All his teachers say he needs this place. Say he's bored to tears in public schools and that a Montessori school is perfect for a kid like him."

"Pshht." Dorothy shook her head. "That much money just to hold a spot, that school better pave him a gold path to heaven and wipe his ass, too." She paused long enough to let a comfortable silence stretch between them, then aimed a sideways look at Evie. "So? What you gonna do?"

"Well, I was hopin' maybe you could let me work for you a little while I look for something else."

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "His To Defend"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Rhenna Morgan.
Excerpted by permission of Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

His to Defend 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
JackieBCentralTexasJB 16 days ago
My Thoughts Sergei Petrovyh’s world is one filled with danger and his life has a routine that, while not boring, does not fulfill him totally until Evette Labadie and her son Emerson are a part of it. Evie had her fears before approaching the Russian but once she did those earlier misgivings change and become deeper feelings that she is in no way prepared for or willing to explore, at first. However Sergei, his men, his staff and her own son soon show the single mother that there is more to life than just existing and that opens her up to all the wonderful experiences her Wolf is wanting to share. For me, like other fans of this particular author, the draw for alpha male lead/strong female with ability to hold her own and the extra lure of being set in the world of organized crime family in effect brings my immediate attention to her story. However, what kept my attention and made me really enjoy it was the fact that her story development was smoothly believable from the angle of pairing Sergei with Evie to the innermost intelligence they both share along with their outer good looks. Nothing sexier to me then a man and woman comfortable in their own skin, a pair whose give and take shows their caring for each other, the loyalty they have to those they consider family or friends as well as each other and which also keeps them grounded. These two have that in spades, as do other secondary characters as well. The added backdrop of taking place in historic NOLA was just another plum in the basket of goodies that made up this first book in the new series. Along with the fact that the Haven crew are going to have cameos here and there, which worked well and looking forward to more of it in later books. Thanks many times to Carina Press and Netgalley for the opportunity to once again immerse myself in one of the authors lovely creations, I appreciate it very much. [EArc from Netgalley]
Anonymous 24 days ago
Everything comes together in this spin-off of the great series anchored in Dallas. I loved the characters and really appreciated the way Evette was portrayed. Great job! Too bad I have to wait for the next story in this series!
Anonymous 24 days ago
This is Sergei and Evie book, Sergei is a Russian mob boss! Even though his methods may be rough when it comes to protecting what’s his, his heart is always in the right place! It’s never been more true than when the gorgeous Evette ask him for a job , he knows he has to keep his hands off, especially with the beloved by the locals Evie ! Evie knows not to get involved with the powerful Russian mafia boss, he’s always at her favorite diner and she knows his reputation is dangerous but she struggling with her New Orleans neighborhood and her son and just wants better for him so she ends up asking Sergey for a job! She soon finds herself in a Cinderella situation with a man that’s definitely more of a prince than a villain! She knows she shouldn’t but she’s definitely falling hard! This book was definitely awesome! I’m going right back and starting her other series the spinoff from this one I can’t believe I’ve never really seen this author before I may have seen the books in her other series but I really enjoy her writing! I’m so glad I found myself a new author LOL I can’t wait for more from this author!! Thank you Netgalley and the publishers for sharing this book with me! And thanks for the introduction to this author LOL
Anonymous 28 days ago
Awesome book. Can't wait for the second book!
Yolanda_LM 29 days ago
Thank you to Carina Press and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read an eARC of this book. Russian mob? A damsel in distress? New Orleans? This story is a contemporary adult fiction with a Cinderella vibe but much much MUCH more scintillating than the original story. Evette Labadie is a sweet single mother with some challenges securing a job. She needs one right away to get funds to send her son to a private school. Sergei Petrovyh has a reputation in New Orleans as a mob boss kind of figure, with lots of connections. To hear Sergei say it, it’s a lifestyle, it’s bratva or a brotherhood. He has power, connections, money and will do whatever is necessary to protect his own and he has an eye on Evette. Evette asks Sergei to help her, and he does…and then some! While the story is somewhat predictable: powerful man rescues woman in need, I don’t think it takes away from the story at all. It’s one of those stories that’s addicting if mobster romance is your thing. Their relationship does happen really quick with not a lot of resistance on her part. Evette does have some spunk in her, but deep down she is a sweetheart and gives in to her attraction to Sergei. As for Sergei…he is in the bedroom and so soft and protective towards Evette outside of it. I mean, he does get his way at times because he is a powerful, alpha kind of man. But I like how he’s cautious and easy with her son Emerson as well. Outside of their love story is a situation close to Evette that threatens Sergei and Evette’s lives. But hey…Sergei’s a powerful man. He takes care of it. Overall this is an enjoyable, hot read, with sweetness, a little danger, lots of sexy moments, and a happily ever after!
Lindsay1112 30 days ago
Disclaimers: This review may contain spoilers. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This review is a bit of a stream of consciousness review. Nola Knights is a spin-off to Rhenna Morgan's Men of Haven series. It is similar to MOH in that it is very character driven. I enjoyed this book. I liked Sergei and Evette. Although Sergei was a little different than how I expected him to be based on his brief appearance in Tempted and Taken. I thought he would be a colder, harsher man. The sex scenes were hot, but not as hot as some scenes in the previous books. There was a small, interesting twist towards the end that I did not see coming. I enjoyed the appearances by the MOH characters. I hope the rest of them appear in the future Nola Knights books. I liked Emerson, but I thought he was too physically similar to Levi. Both 7 (at least at the time of their first book appearance) year old boys with long blonde hair. I know that's kind of a random thing to nitpick. I found a timeline error that kind of bugs me. Emerson's Father and Friends Breakfast was at 8 a.m. Evette arrived at the school at 3:28 p.m. and saw Sergei. If Sergei went to the breakfast at 8 why was he still at the school at 3:28? Did the breakfast last 7+ hours? Or did he just spend the entire day there? Overall, I did enjoy reading this book and I found it to be a fitting addition to the world Rhenna Morgan has built. I look forward to reading the next two books in the series. This review has also been posted on Goodreads.
Sussan 3 months ago
The key aspect for me, for any good book is character development and Rhenna once again did not disappoint at all. For me this is a well-crafted story, enough of everything a little drama, a little action, a little humour, a little emotion just enough of everything the keep the story moving without getting bogged down into anything. A feel good book at the end of the day and you want to know what happens to all the characters in it. I’m looking forward already for the next instalment. If you like your heroes and heroines strong and not backward in coming forward in what they want the most for themselves and others. If you like a character driven book with a touch of dark drama, a few little hurdles to conquer and romance to sink your teeth into, this is the book for you. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
carvanz 3 months ago
I love the way this author writes heroes! The icing on her already delicious cake is a heroine that is just as wonderful. Sergei and Evette were awesome individually and together. Add a seven year old boy, and a Cinderella type feel to the story and this book was a winner! Evette dealt with life’s harsher realities by losing herself in wild actions which resulted in an unplanned pregnancy. Since then, she’s buckled down and even if she’s not living her dreams, she’s determined to give her son stability in every area of his life. That determination is what motivates her to approach Sergei Petrovyh, the boss of the local bratva and a man that catches her eye each time he’s in her vicinity. Sergei is expecting her to request a loan so when she asks if he can direct her to a job, he’s thrown off course. For just a moment. Because within the next heartbeat he’s crossing every line he mentally drew when it comes to the neighborhood’s darling. ”Much as he’d honor and savor the touch of someone so light and good, the darkness in him was too thick. Weighted with too many bodies and tainted with too much blood to be worthy of such a gift.” He’s been watching her for a while and has battled his own desires but when she takes a deliberate step into his life he’s going to run with it. He intends to keep his distance, but when her sun shines even brighter in his darkness, he’s staking his claim. Evette was a wonderful heroine with her fierce independence, her loyalty, her parenting habits and her ability to evolve when it came to Sergei’s darkness. She lands in a bit of drama that pertains to Sergei’s business but instead of trying to keep it a secret, she does the adult thing and communicates with him. There was never a too stupid moment although it could have easily gone that way. I loved that that wasn’t her way of dealing with things. She was always up front and honest, especially with herself. As for Sergei, he won me from his very first appearance in the book. The fact that his every thought and action was affected by Evette and Emerson’s presence in his life made me love him all the more. His tender regard, insight into what each was feeling, and total “mine” attitude when it came to both of them skyrocketed him to perfect book boyfriend status. I loved each time we had his point of view because it cemented what his actions and comments highlighted…Evette and her son were his everything. And he shows it non-stop. Swoon. He was freaking amazing! ”If we continue on as we were, people might misinterpret your place. Today, we are making it clear to everyone and anyone who might be interested exactly what that place is.” “Well, would you mind telling me? Because things are a little hazy from where I’m standing.” His demeanor shifted in a second, the amusement and patience he’d shown swept away in the space of one gasp as he cupped the back of her head and tugged her flush against him. “Mine.” This has a great pace to it, slow on action despite the bratva life, heavy on possible danger, sizzling in the chemistry department, and perfection when it came to the epilogue. The secondary characters were just as wonderful as the hero and heroine and they added so much richness to the story without ever stealing the show. I cannot wait to get more in this series! Highly recommending this one to anyone who enjoys bratva/mafia tropes without the dark, heavy feel that can sometimes overshadow the romance contained within.
onemused 3 months ago
HIS TO DEFEND is an engrossing and intense romance. Evette is a single mother who would do anything for her son. When she loses her job right before she needs money for tuition at a school he needs, she decides to approach the mafiya boss who works out of the local diner. When she does, Sergei is struck by her and agrees to get her a job. When she arrives, the job is to manage his household. He immediately takes her into the fold and feels very protective of her and her son. Although she is reluctant to mix business and pleasure, Sergei is impossible to resist. Although the story is rather predictable, the writing is quite compelling. I had some mixed feelings about some of the events of the story and the possessive/take charge nature which borders with consent. This may be a SPOILER, so stop reading if you don't want to read any spoilers, but there is a scene where protection is not used (after a conversation where she had asked for it) and the fall out felt way too controlling and non-consensual for my liking. However, this may work for some people (it felt a little like an attempt at a forced pregnancy) but felt too uncomfortable to me (consent includes consenting to have unprotected intercourse). Overall, I liked Evette and her son quite a bit, and the writing flows very well. I would have liked the main male character to be toned down a little in his controlling nature to fully get on board with the story. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
CathyGeha 3 months ago
His to Defend by Rhenna Morgan NOLA Knights #1 Smiling as I write this. Why? Because this book brought a bit of sunshine into my day just as Evette brought more than a little of it into Sergei’s. Sure...Sergei Petrovyh is creating his own “family” Russian Mafia style in New Orleans so he is not all sugar and spice...definitely more spice than sugar BUT he is a man I could definitely understand. His backstory made him who he was and his desire for something “else” brought him to New Orleans to create it. Meeting Evette and having her ask him for help might have been the first step in their dance but the two had definitely been eyeing one another for some time before she asked him to help her find a job. Evette is loved by those in her community. She is a single mother raising seven year old Emerson and doing the best she can. Her parents died much too soon and it was not easy for her. The one true friend she has is Dorothy, her mother’s best friend. She works hard, is frugal and hopes to one day pursue the dreams she had before the loss of her parents and arrival of her son. Taking the step she did to reach out to someone known to be dangerous wasn’t easy but it seemed right at the time and over time...following her gut was definitely the best decision she ever made. Sergei had a tough childhood but managed to accidentally fall into the right hands...hands that helped him move from a bad situation to one where he found family in the Russian mob. As one of the favors from his Pakhan he was given the opportunity to set up his own family and he chose to do so in New Orleans. He knows he is dark and that bringing someone so bright, cheerful and filled with light into his life might not be wise but then...when is it always the best thing to be wise? This story sizzled. It made me care and want to find out how the two would end up finding their HEA. There were no bumps in the road or big kerfuffles but there were some issues to be addressed before the two finally did settle in together. Some may not like the dominant alpha male that Sergei is but I am one reader who enjoys MC and Mafia romances so this was a good fit for me. I also have read all of the Haven series and was eager to read Sergei’s story...and...now want to find out about the men in his “family” and who they will end up with. Did I like this book? Yes Would I like to read more by this author? Definitely Thank you to NetGalley, Carina Press and the author for the ARC – This is my honest review. 5 Stars
MBurton 3 months ago
This was 100% my kind of mafia book. I like that dark, anti-hero who still behaves honorably and protects what is his at all costs. To me, that's the perfect bad boy persona, that right amount of balance between dark and light. The minute Sergei was introduced in the Haven Brotherhood series I knew I wanted his story. He's one of those characters that captures you from the start and holds you captive. Despite his hard exterior, he never once treated Evette badly. Nothing will win me over faster than that. As heroines go, Evette was a great mix of sweet and strong. She's a single mom who has lost a lot in her life and yet she never let that dim her light. She's outgoing, friendly, well loved and has a backbone. She was the perfect match to Sergei. I really like that Sergei was honest with her about what kind of man he was and what he has done. I also really like that Evette took that seriously. She didn't just blindly follow. She thought things through and trusted her instincts. This couple was such a pleasure to read about. We got quality time of them together and they never behaved immaturely or rashly. No unnecessary drama here. I truly can't wait to see what this author brings us next in the series.
PatriciaWhite 3 months ago
I knew as soon as we met Sergei Petrovyh In Tempted and Taken that I wanted his story. I knew this sexy protective Russian was going to be my favorite.When I found out it was based in New Orleans with all its atmosphere and flavor just made it even better. I’m gonna be honest most Mafia Romance is just not my cup of tea. There are a few good ones out there but most just no thank you! This is one of the best books I’ve read this year and I read a lot. I just love a Alpha Take charge hero and nobody does that better than Rhenna Morgan. Evie is a strong woman taking care of her son. Sergei is a temptation she doesn’t need. Some temptations are just to hard to resist.The twist at the end was just crazy. If you haven’t read The Men of Haven books and now this spin off what are you waiting for. Your definitely missing out.
kahea46 3 months ago
***5 ‘Inevitable’ Stars*** After meeting Sergei in Tempted and Taken I crossed my toes that we’d see more of him again and, as you can probably guess, I was all kinds of excited to hear that the toe crossing had paid off and couldn’t wait to get my hands on his book and it was everything I wanted and more. So. Much. More. It was all kinds of swoony, smexy and funny, add in a nice little mystery/suspense and a quite a few new characters I really want more of (as well as a getting a tinsy bit of time with old favs) and I got a book I didn’t want to end and when it did, it left me NEEDING more. Sergei. Talk about being Alpha AF goodness! He is a Bratva boss in every way that counts, but the man also has a strong sense of honor and has a heart that is a lot more golden than most would ever believe. Evette has all kinds of moxie going on. She’s sweet, sassy and fierce and has the innate goodness that draws you in and makes you want to spend time with her and hope that some of it rubs off on you. The journey to their HEA was a lot of fun from start to finish. I loved how, despite outward appearances, perfectly matched they were. Sergei gave Evette, and Emerson, the security they needed to flourish, while Evie gave Sergei a safe place to just be Sergei the man and not the Bratva boss. Their bantering was on point, the smexy was HAWT and I loved how they accepted every aspect of what made them who they were without exception. I’m a #fangirl of the authors, have been since picking up the first book in her Eden series and I truly love all the words she puts out into the world. This book was simply a great read. There is a bit of a mystery/suspense thing woven into the story, and while I guessed at one part of it, I was definitely not prepared for ALL of it when it was revealed. The Bratva lifestyle plays heavily in the story, it is not a dark romance in any way, though there may be some things that may be considered triggers but nothing gratuitous. As for the supporting cast of characters. I loved Dorothy, Olga and Emerson and how they really brought out the family dynamic in the story. And then there are Roman and Kir. It will be obvious to those who know my preferences why I favor Roman over Kir, but the margin is a slight one and I cannot wait to get my hands on their books! This is a spinoff of her Men of Haven series, and though I do highly recommend reading the series if you haven’t already, you do not HAVE to before diving in this baby. As for me,I love how she kept that tie to it alive in little ways throughout the story, and hope that will continue as this series progresses. ~ Copy provided by the author & voluntarily reviewed ~
kahea46 3 months ago
***5 ‘Inevitable’ Stars*** After meeting Sergei in Tempted and Taken I crossed my toes that we’d see more of him again and, as you can probably guess, I was all kinds of excited to hear that the toe crossing had paid off and couldn’t wait to get my hands on his book and it was everything I wanted and more. So. Much. More. It was all kinds of swoony, smexy and funny, add in a nice little mystery/suspense and a quite a few new characters I really want more of (as well as a getting a tinsy bit of time with old favs) and I got a book I didn’t want to end and when it did, it left me NEEDING more. Sergei. Talk about being Alpha AF goodness! He is a Bratva boss in every way that counts, but the man also has a strong sense of honor and has a heart that is a lot more golden than most would ever believe. Evette has all kinds of moxie going on. She’s sweet, sassy and fierce and has the innate goodness that draws you in and makes you want to spend time with her and hope that some of it rubs off on you. The journey to their HEA was a lot of fun from start to finish. I loved how, despite outward appearances, perfectly matched they were. Sergei gave Evette, and Emerson, the security they needed to flourish, while Evie gave Sergei a safe place to just be Sergei the man and not the Bratva boss. Their bantering was on point, the smexy was HAWT and I loved how they accepted every aspect of what made them who they were without exception. I’m a #fangirl of the authors, have been since picking up the first book in her Eden series and I truly love all the words she puts out into the world. This book was simply a great read. There is a bit of a mystery/suspense thing woven into the story, and while I guessed at one part of it, I was definitely not prepared for ALL of it when it was revealed. The Bratva lifestyle plays heavily in the story, it is not a dark romance in any way, though there may be some things that may be considered triggers but nothing gratuitous. As for the supporting cast of characters. I loved Dorothy, Olga and Emerson and how they really brought out the family dynamic in the story. And then there are Roman and Kir. It will be obvious to those who know my preferences why I favor Roman over Kir, but the margin is a slight one and I cannot wait to get my hands on their books! This is a spinoff of her Men of Haven series, and though I do highly recommend reading the series if you haven’t already, you do not HAVE to before diving in this baby. As for me,I love how she kept that tie to it alive in little ways throughout the story, and hope that will continue as this series progresses. ~ Copy provided by the author & voluntarily reviewed ~
Lisa-nh-23 3 months ago
“His to Defend” is a brilliantly written book with an intoxicatingly, exquisite storyline that mesmerizes the reader into believing that love is there for the taking and that dreams really do come true. Rhenna Morgan is an exceptional writer and her originality shines through on every page. Sergei is the perfect book boyfriend because he is mysterious, sexy, passionate and very romantic when it comes to his pursuit of Evie. He had been watching her for awhile but never chose to make the first move. He knew that she was the one for him and he was confident that someday she would be his. He is a ruthless businessman who always gets his way, but he also has a nurturing and soft side when it comes to Evie’s son, Emerson, who is the most important person in her life. Evie is hardworking, smart, determined and is not afraid to ask for help. When her son’s education was in peril, she didn’t hesitate when it came to confronting Sergei with her request. She found herself a bit flustered and tongue tied when she was in his presence and Sergei’s sexiness and smoldering eyes were almost too much to take. Evie had never shied away from hard work and would take any job, even if it left her beholden to Sergei. Evie sensed he desired her because she could see it in his eyes, and she felt that a little flirtatious bantering couldn’t hurt, because he was impossible to resist.