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His to Defend (NOLA Knights) by Rhenna…
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His to Defend (NOLA Knights)

by Rhenna Morgan

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
His to Defend introduced me to a new-to-me author that I’ve since added to my list of favourites. Rhenna Morgan offers us a new series set in New Orleans centring around a Russian vor and the single mom who captured his attention from the first time he laid eyes on her in Miss Dorothy's diner. Sergei Petrovyh and Evie Labadie are the stars of His to Defend and I love them so freaking much, and I hope that y’all will too. Evie is a single mom willing to do anything and everything she can to make sure her son has everything he needs in his life. She sees no way out of the trouble she faces so she turns to the local yummy Russian mobster for some help. And Sergei Petroyvh gives his angel the world, whether she knows it or not.

His to Defend has well-rounded supporting characters in Miss Dorothy, Kir Vasilek, and Roman Kozlov. Sergei is the perfect alpha male, not the horrible overbearing always right type, but the caring, secure, capable of protecting those he loves, possessing a powerful presence, and just enough domineering to get the engines revving (don't judge me). She manages to deliver to me a few twists that I don't see coming and I'm grateful for that. I do hate predictability, y'all. While there is insta-attraction, we do not have insta-love and it makes for some major sparkage going on between Sergei and Evie. Sergei doesn't just work his way into Evie's good graces but he works his way into Evie's son, Emerson's heart as well.

But this story wouldn't be a mafiya romance if there wasn't some intrigue and danger. Evie is fired for a security breach she didn't cause and Sergei does some snooping to find out why she's to blame. And Sergei is an up-and-coming mobster in New Orleans with competition, and there's obviously some danger in that situation (no spoilers but oooh!). Emerson and Evie are both touched by Sergei's business and Evie has to decide whether or not she can handle this sort of life.

Labadie women didn’t quit. Didn’t give up. They faced whatever they needed to face, and they smiled doing it.

Overall, I'm giving His to Defend all 5 of my stars and 4 flames for heat. This was a stellar introduction to a new author and if you haven't read Rhenna Morgan, this is definitely a good starting place. I'm a bit upset I've never read a Rhenna Morgan story before but I'm remedying that as soon as possible. I've bought the series that NOLA Knights spun off from and I'm counting them as a treat for social distancing and surviving Ultra Family Togetherness Time .

This has been a review from Once Upon a Time, I Read a Book. Until next time, have a happily ever after and y'all stay safe out there and practise proper social distancing. xo ( )
  OUATIReadABook | Mar 25, 2020 |
Originally posted on Tales to Tide You Over

I enjoyed Rhenna Morgan’s Men of Haven series where she takes men with rough backgrounds and a need to act then pairs them with competent women in over their heads. Despite the above summation that matches each book in the series, Morgan finds a unique story while her characters are three-dimensional.

NOLA Knights, a spinoff, shows every sign of being the same. It starts with Sergei, who we met in Darya’s story. The Russian has definitive ideas of what the bratva, or mafia, should mean and feels the environment in Russia is no longer conducive to this. He obtained permission to create his own brotherhood in the U.S., choosing New Orleans based on his experiences during his college education.

We don’t know that at first, though. Instead, we meet a struggling single mother with a loss-filled past who has become the sweetheart of one of the toughest neighborhoods in New Orleans. Everyone knows her. Everyone loves her. But none of them can help her when she unexpectedly loses her job for something she didn’t do and can’t explain.

Evette is faced with the tough choice to trust someone she knows to be outside the law or let her financial circumstances undermine her talented son’s schooling. She’s had a hard life so far and always found a way through it. So what if this way caught her attention every time she visited the diner her substitute mother owned? He’s physically attractive, sure, but it’s something more than that.

This novel has all the parts of Morgan’s writing that have made me a fan from the beautiful, layered description to characters I grew to love. Sergei brings with him a dark world in which he has, and will, do dark things that haunt him. At the same time, motivation counts, and this is fiction, so I’m all for the hero taking action and removing barriers built up by corruption and underhanded deals. Or should I say anti-hero? He’s not an angel, but he’s far from the devil he sees himself.

When he tries to describe his intentions, Evette uses the Godfather to visualize what motivates him. People make a deal with Sergei, and they owe him something in return, but they also become part of his protected network. It’s an older image of the bratva, but it suits the series and Morgan’s style. Sergei keeps his promises and offers security, proving his sincerity by removing the infestation of protection-racket thugs who had plagued the neighborhood.

Where Morgan falls into a pattern of sorts is having the relationship consummated in both words and open door action about midway through the book. She leaves the rest of the story to show them as a loving couple, but also to deal with the non-romantic conflict. Sergei assumes it’s his lifestyle, and there’s some truth to that. Still, the seeding is there from the start to show the situation is more complex than just one mobster objecting to Sergei’s efforts to clean up the neighborhood and win the people’s loyalties.

As you have probably guessed, I’ve been won over by Sergei and this spinoff series. It maintains the same aspects I’ve enjoyed in Morgan’s writing while offering a new setup and new stories to go along with it. Even better, Sergei’s ties to Haven through Darya are still strong, bringing beloved characters from that series into this one when appropriate.

Which reminds me of one more thing I wanted to leave you with. The way to tell this is a true love story is in the details. Sergei understands who Evette wants to be beyond what life has pushed her into and does what he can to help her achieve her dreams. In turn, Evette sees into the heart of her Russian vor, retaining a healthy respect for his responsibilities but understanding the why as much as the what. He’s a vigilante, anti-hero with good motives, and there’s no question love thrives between them. Sergei’s ready to step in where corruption turns the system against her and everyone in the neighborhood she claims. After all, she’s family.

P.S. I received this novel from the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review. ( )
  MarFisk | Jan 4, 2020 |
I received this book for free from the publisher (Harlequin) as part of their bookstagram publicity campaign.

This is the first book in a new spin-off of Rhenna Morgan’s Men of Haven series. If you haven’t read that series you can still read this one as a standalone. Some characters from Men of Haven do make an appearance but it is not imperative that you read their books first. I’ve only read the last book in the Men of Haven series and was able to enjoy this book just fine.

This was a great contemporary alpha male romance. I’ve never read a book about a modern day mobster so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I ended up loving the dynamics.

I loved how protective Sergei was of Evette and her son, but also how sweet he could be. Evette was a nice leading lady. She had spunk and I loved that she was honest with Sergei. A lot of times in romances, characters will not tell the person they’re dating about something super important and all it does is just create unnecessary drama. Luckily this book does not fall prey to that. Evette was smart!

Overall, this was a solid to start to a sexy new series and I am looking forward to reading the next installment. ( )
  jessicadelellis | Nov 19, 2019 |
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 ( )
  CathyGeha | Oct 11, 2019 |
I have been waiting to read this book since Rhenna announced it. And man! She does not disappoint. Sergei I was familiar with from Knox and Darya’s book but here you will witness the whole spectrum of his personality. When Evette and Emerson enter his world everything just shifts and settles within him and he knows that they are exactly what he needs to make his family.

If you liked the Haven series you are going to love the NOLA Knights series. The best part is you will continue to get glimpses into the Haven brotherhood as well because they are Sergei’s extended family. Ooh all these alpha males and their equally alpha female just keep growing and getting better.

Advanced Review Copy provided for voluntary review consideration. ( )
  Ash_P | Sep 27, 2019 |
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