Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Standalone/Series: Standalone (part of a series)
Published on: June 12, 2017
POV: third POV
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Rating: 4.5 STARS
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I loved this story! I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Claim & Protect given the fact that Rhenna Morgan is a completely new author to me and it is written in the point of view I sometimes did not enjoy. This book is a part of a series but can be read as a complete standalone.
What is the story about?
This story follows a woman named Natalie who is recently divorced and trying to get back on her feet by working in a bar as a waitress. She had been a nurse before she married her ex-husband but had to give up her career to meet his expectations as a good wife. With a son and a mother depending on her, she takes a job as a waitress to get her nursing license. It means that dating is definitely not in her mind until she meets Trevor, the owner of the bar she works in.
Trevor is the owner of The Den, a bar in Dallas’s Deep Ellum district. Aside from the Den, he has several other businesses which make him a very successful man. He is a part of the exclusive group called the Haven Brotherhood along with his brothers, in which they follow their own rules which sometimes can be seen illegal by the outsiders. No one knows that they sometimes do illegal things to save lives.
Because of his traumatic past, he avoids committed relationships and has never seen himself as the type to settle down, until he meets his new waitress. The problem is he cannot get her out of his mind since the first time he saw her. When her ex-husband starts to threaten her new life, it triggers the painful past about his parents abused marriage. He decides to help her by doing the best he can to protect her and her kid.
What did I think about this story?
I could connect with the story (and the main characters) despite it being written in third person point of view. As you know, I don’t usually enjoy books written in third person point of view, especially these days since I have a hard time to connect with the main characters (mostly the heroine). I feel like an outsider watching the story instead of experiencing it with them. It takes me away from the story at times. That is the reason I prefer first person or dual first person point of view. However, to my surprise, I enjoyed and loved this book despite the POV. The writing is rich, detailed that brings out all the emotions the characters are feeling. It felt like I became the heroine in the entire story—living and experiencing her life—and loved every single time of it.
“Never—not until the day she died—would she forget Trevor telling her he loved her.”
The attraction and connection between the main characters were off the charts. I could feel all the emotions, the struggles, the dilemma they were feeling and had to face. They had incredible, multiple, deep intimate conversations which made me, at times, forget that I was reading them. Have I told you that I loved Trevor? He is amazing! He will sweep you off the floor and win your heart with the way he loved and protected Natalie and how he interacted with her son. Trust me, this handsome, smart, protective cowboy in heart will make you swoon. 😉
“This was the stuff of legend. The kind of passion few women ever found but every one of them craved. And it was hers. His. Theirs.”
Moreover, their relationship was not rushed, which was appropriate given the situation they were in—her being a recently divorced mother and him with his fear of commitments and all the secrets surrounding him. They took the time to first get to know each other and the loved ones in each of their lives while trying to understand their own feelings before deciding what was best for both of them, which felt natural.
“She loved it. Loved the intimacy of it, but even more so, the unspoken commitment behind it.”
Another thing that I loved was that the action parts did not take over the romantic elements in this story. I’m a romance reader, therefore, as much as I enjoyed the actions, I loved that I could still experience the romantic elements: the stages in which the main characters got to know each other and grew in love. Fortunately, they did not suffer or were not rushed, which sometimes happens when the story put so much emphasis on the actions instead of the character developments.
The last thing that I loved was that the side characters were well portrayed. Each of them was unique and memorable. Their characteristics matched their actions and were well maintained throughout the story. I loved Trevor’s relationship with his brothers and fell in love with each one of them. I could not wait to read their stories. These men are swoon-worthy that you will, without a doubt, fall in love with.
“… we’re good men. We make good decisions for the right reasons. Maybe not always the law might agree with, but never against our honor and always in the best interest of our family.” He tightened his grip. “My family.”
I would have liked to see how Natalie dealt with her coworkers in the Den considering she was dating her boss, which was unfortunately not covered. It would have been fun to watch everyone’s reactions when they realized their boss is in a relationship with one of his employees. However, overall, Claim & Protect was a fantastic love story with a good amount of drama, angst, and action. I cannot recommend this book enough and cannot wait to read the others in the series.