by Renee Rose
“The Bookie” is the 6th book in the ‘Chicago Bratva’ series by Renee Rose. This well-written and entertaining series has made its way through the members of the Chicago bratva hierarchy. Each book in the series can be read and enjoyed as a standalone. We now get to the story of Nikolai, the man who runs gambling operations for the organization.
Zane is a young man who plays at exclusive, high-stakes games run by the Russian mafiya. When Zane screws up and gets in over his head, Nikolai is uncharacteristically understanding – but the debt still has to be paid. Chelle is furious with her younger brother Zane for getting himself in such a dangerous position, but she’s desperate to save him. For the first time ever, Nikolai accepts a personal arrangement from a woman to pay off a debt. It violates his own personal moral code, which is something he has, even though he’s a criminal. But when it comes to Chelle, he just can’t help himself. She experiences the same attraction, and the same deep confusion about it.
Nikolai and Chelle were both likeable, multidimensional characters. As she tells him, “You’re a good person, Nikolai. For a bad guy.” He was tough, but he had the self-awareness to recognize that he wanted a relationship like the loving ones that his twin brother and other men in the group had found for themselves. Something about him was especially appealing. The story moves along quickly and has a lot of action. There’s a particularly shocking scene that reminds us that for all his introspection and intelligence, Nikolai is capable of brutal violence. Somehow, the way it happens … well, you just have to read it to appreciate it. This has been such a good series, I can’t wait for the next book!