Wall Street meets the Sons of Anarchy in Damage Control, the smoldering, scorching next novel in the explosively sexy Dirty Money series.
The only thing more dangerous than a dark secret is a damaged heart…
Shane Brandon has been pushed to the brink, torn between his corrupt family and his explosive, all-consuming desire for Emily Stevens, who he now knows is not who, and what, she seems. Has he trusted the wrong person? Will she, not his brother Derek, be the ultimate destruction of his family Empire?
Emily tries to run from Shane, but he will stop her, confront her, force her to reveal all — one hot touch and kiss at a time, under every intimate detail of who this woman is, and what she wants, is exposed. But as he tears away the dangers of the unknowns with the woman in his bed, and in his heart, The Martina Cartel has set their sights on his company, his family, and the one piece of leverage they believe he won’t gamble with: Emily.
Review for Hard Rules – 4 STARS
“And you were right. Alone is better, which is exactly how I planned to spend this night. Until I saw you and alone wasn’t better anymore. And now I know why. You want what I want.”
Hard Rules is a sexy, suspenseful, and downright confusing at times, story of family, loyalty, and the ties that bind. It’s the first book in the Dirty Money series, a series that, from even just this first book, is shaping up to be quite the Brandon family saga. Secrets and lies, mystery and intrigue, passion and betrayal…sounds just like all the things to love about a soap opera, doesn’t it?
Shane Brandon- the lawyer, the good son, the one who plays by the rules and does things by the book, has returned to Denver to help turn the family business around. Actually, “turn the family business around” is not quite accurate- he’s there to make sure business is, and stays, on the up and up. He’s in for a fight not only with his brother, but with his father as well, both of whom have no problem straddling, and more often than not, crossing the line into some shady situations. At times it was hard to understand exactly what was happening- how the dots were connecting. There was so much going on I honestly found myself a little lost at different points in the story. The prologue had me intrigued right from the start, but then it seemed either I got off course, or the story did, at least as far as what was happening with the Brandon family empire. I never quite figured out how the prologue related to the rest of the book. And that could just be on me, and maybe I need to go back and read that part again.
What I really enjoyed the most about Hard Rules is the relationship between Shane and Emily. They started with a “meet cute” but from then on nothing about their interactions was cute…and I’m so okay with that! These are 2 lonely people who just, luckily, happen across each other, at a time when both could really use some human connection. Things heat up pretty quickly between them, but that’s not all there is to them. They’re both very intelligent, and Emily is able to hold her own with the very alpha and dominant Shane. But Emily is a mystery. As much as she opens up to Shane there are still things she’s hiding- she’s got secrets that so far she’s not comfortable sharing, and that may be just what ends these 2 before they can really begin.
And can you say holy cliffhanger?!? That ending has left me with more questions than answers! And I need answers, desperately!
“You make me remember I need to be good and right in my choices.”
“Do you ever question doing what is good and right?”
“There have been times when I felt like my hand was forced.”
“When you were a lawyer?”
“No,” I say. “I manipulated the law, as does every attorney, but I never broke it. I’m talking about when I’m with my family.”
“Did you go where they lead?”
“Not so far.”
“That sounds like you might.”
“I don’t want to be them.”
“You aren’t them. You don’t have to be them.”
“I know that,” I say. “But you just keep telling me so I don’t forget.” Her legs hit the bed frame and she grips my arms.
I lean into a kiss and she pulls back, her hand pressing on my chest. “Wait. Now it’s my turn to say talk to me. Are you okay?”
“Death happened. The one thing I can’t control. It’s not the night to push me to stop protecting you. Not tonight. Can you do that?”
“Yes. We can.”
“We,” I repeat, “and that word sounds as good on my tongue as I know you’re going to taste. I’m going to make love to you properly. The way I plan to many times in our future.” I reach down and untie her robe, letting it fall open; my fingers sliding underneath just far enough to tease her nipples. They pucker beneath my touch, and her lashes flutter, settling on her cheeks. “But when it’s over, I’m going to fuck you hard and fast again.”
I tug gently on her nipples and she bites her lips. “Look at me,” I order gently.
She opens her eyes, and there is desire in their depths, but there are shadows there too,. I do not think she intends for me to see doubt or uncertainty that wasn’t there before. That I do not like or wish to know ever again. I want it gone. Now. Tomorrow. Forever. I reach up and rip the silk tie from her robe, wrapping it around my hand, before I reach up and caress the robe off her shoulder, letting it tumble to the ground.
“Give me your hands,” I order, but it’s really a question: Does she still trust me?
She studies me for several beats, her eyes narrowing ever so slightly, and I do not know what she sees in mine, but she offers me her hands. I wrap the silk around her wrists then lean in close to her, my cheek against her cheek, my body touching her nowhere else. “Now you’re at my mercy.”
“Yes,” she agrees. “I am.”
“How do you feel about that?”
My lips curve with the answer that is every bit the combination of sweet sexy honesty I’ve come to expect from her. “I’m going to make you warmer.”
I go still with that question, which on the surface is innocent, but I wonder if it truly is or if it’s about those shadows in her eyes. “I promise,” I say. “And you know, I never—”
“Make a promise you don’t keep.”
“Exactly,” I say, and her reference to my previous words tells me that I am not the only one on a mission of trust, and I intend to deserve hers.
I bring my hands to just above her shoulders, letting them lightly touch her before beginning a slow caress downward. She makes a soft little sound that has my cock thickening and my blood running hot, but I won’t rush this. My lips follow, tracing a line down one of her arms, then the other. I lean and caress my lips over hers, a feather light touch that teases me, if not her.
I take her hands in mine, pressing them behind her head. “Hold them there, for me, so I can see all of you. Understand?”
“You intend to tease me incessantly,” she says, without so much as a hint of hesitation. “Yes. I understand.”
I wrap my arm around her waist and pull her naked body against me, my free hand on hers above her head, our mouths a breath apart. “I intend to lick every part of you, and then do it again, so yes. If that’s the definition of incessant teasing, then yes. I am going to tease you incessantly.” I close my mouth down on hers, my tongue licking into her mouth, a deep, hungry tasting I force myself to end far too quickly. “That was the beginning. Should I could continue?”
“Please,” I say. “I like that.”
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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series. Suzanne Todd (producer of Alice in Wonderland) on the INSIDE OUT series: Lisa has created a beautiful, complicated, and sensual world that is filled with intrigue and suspense. Sara’s character is strong, flawed, complex, and sexy – a modern girl we all can identify with.
In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, Lisa has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is presently working on a dark, edgy new series, Dirty Money, for St. Martin’s Press.
Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women’s Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.
Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at www.lisareneejones.com and she is active on Twitter and Facebook daily.
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