Kat Mizera’s DEFENDING DANI is an amazing start to the Alaska Blizzard series. It is a spin-off of Las Vegas Sidewinders series. The main characters are both siblings to players on the Sidewinders. Sergei Petrov is the brother of Toli and half-brother of Vlad. Danielle Cloutier is the sister of Zakk.
Sergei has not had luck in the relationship department. He is divorced from his first wife, and his second wife was murdered. He is now a single dad who has been traded to Anchorage, Alaska. Enter Dani. She has been helping Tessa and Toli take care of Sergei’s three-year-old son, Niko, while he settles things in Anchorage. Toli thinks Dani would make an amazing nanny for Sergei. Dani is finishing her master’s degree in athletic training from North Dakota. She was selected to play with the women’s US Olympic team and has time before she needs to move to Colorado for training.
The couple have a rocky start. Sergei has a lot of personal issues he is dealing with. To top it off, he is now playing on a struggling NHL expansion team, that doesn’t seem to gel. Dani loves hockey but knows her career is at an end because women in the NWHL barely make any money so that is not a viable career option. Sergei, Dani, and Niko settle into a wonderful life in Alaska, but several issues arise causing problems.
Kat Mizera does a fantastic job with this novel. The characters are multidimensional and grow throughout the story. The plot is realistic and believable. DEFENDING DANI is skillfully written. I was captivated from beginning to end. I enjoyed the conclusion. I’m looking forward to book two, HOLDING HAILEY. Hailey is one of Dani’s Olympic teammates, and Kane is a teammate of Sergei. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.