Book Review: Protection (Mobsters + Billionaires #2) by Kelly Fox

  • Read my review of the first book in the Mobsters + Billionaires series, Extradition.

It’s no secret that I’ll read pretty much anything Fox writes at this point, but even though I ended up loving the first book, I wasn’t sure this series would live up to the world Fox created in Texas. I am here to officially declare myself wrong, and not just because Fox brings Texas to us in this installment of her delightful #murderswoon series.

Within the first chapter, I was already obsessed with the character of Mads. His internal narrative while Anthony attempts to address a Super Serious Issue with him had me cracking up immediately. Throughout the story, I firmly believed in Mads’ overall good intentions, from when they worked (creating a diverse company and supporting his employees) to when they slightly missed his mark (the possible negative applications of the tech developed by his company). However, I am firmly on Team Anthony regarding how he needs to take certain threats (both virtually and in real life) more seriously, despite how Mads presumes he’d find support in every corner of New York City. Mads is more of an optimistic genius than an absent-minded one, which makes his position as half of this book’s “idiots in love” duo even more entertaining.

Anthony and Mads meet due to the bizarre social circle developed in book 1 that has prompted multiple genuine friendships. Though Anthony doesn’t quite accept the appeal he feels toward Mads, his internal protective drive extends to the other man regardless. Anthony’s code of honor supports his dedication to his “day job” along with his commitments to a long-time friend, making him the most adorably begrudging mobster ever. Unfortunately, this honor is also what prompts Anthony to nearly crash and burn the tentative relationship with Mads before it starts. And you know it’s bad when even a character who should be entirely separate from their circumstances thinks Anthony is being dumb.

Honestly, these two never stood a chance with each other. The hottest non-flirting ever starts from page 1, which makes the first time they get together feel both perfect and inevitable. Sure, guys, it’s only going to happen once. Good luck with that. As the first half of the book progresses, Fox never lets us forget the external conflict even when the relationship conflict explodes, allowing the interlocking storylines equal footing in this book without one subsuming the other to subplot status. And as a bonus, I didn’t think the steamy bits could get any hotter than what I read in book 1. Not only was I wrong, but I’m thoroughly impressed that Fox took a trope I’m not really into (size difference) and made it incredibly sexy.

As much as I would have been happy to read about Anthony and Mads being swoony at each other the entire time, I also became thoroughly invested in the external plot. Fox throws multiple twists I never expected, continually upping the stakes. I appreciate that the billionaires of this series have that status not just because it’s sexy, but because it also allows Fox to present interesting plots that revolve around bigger socioeconomic issues (in this case, modern slavery). I found the way things were discussed here to be informative rather than preachy, but I’ll admit that I’m biased toward that end of the social spectrum (Mads and I both agree that there can’t be such thing as an ethical billionaire). What’s really exciting is how much of an epic adventure the issue prompts in the latter half of this book. Anthony proves that he was not lying about the lengths he will go to for a loved one (I gasped out loud). I knew things were about to get even more real when a few familiar faces appeared, and the team-up was everything I could have wanted. Each character fulfilled a specific purpose and never felt like fan service.

It might not be Texas, but Fox has secured this series as an integral part of her epic shared-world universe. I loved connecting the threads, and not only am I looking forward to the next book in this series based on interactions between Luca and Ford here, but also to a brand-new series we should get later this year.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced review copy of this ebook from the author.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Published by J.L. Gribble

Author, Editor, Worldbuilder

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