Hard Rules by Lisa Renee Jones ~ Live & Review

Also in this series: Damage Control (Dirty Money, #2)
Hard Rules by Lisa Renee Jones ~ Live & ReviewAlso by this author: Denial (Careless Whispers, #1)
Hard Rules (Dirty Money, #1) by Lisa Renee Jones
ASIN: B015WAHK2I
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on August 9th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
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three-half-stars

Wall Street meets the Sons of Anarchy in the smoldering, scorching first novel in the explosively sexy new Dirty Money series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones.
How bad do you want it?
The only man within the Brandon empire with a moral compass, Shane Brandon is ready to take his family's business dealings legitimate. His reckless and ruthless brother, Derek wants to keep Brandon Enterprises cemented in lies, deceit, and corruption. But the harder Shane fights to pull the company back into the light, the darker he has to become. Then he meets Emily Stevens, a woman who not only stirs a voracious sexual need in him, but becomes the only thing anchoring him between good and evil.
Emily is consumed by Shane, pushed sexually in ways she never dreamed of, falling deeper into the all-encompassing passion that is this man. She trusts him. He trusts her, but therein lies the danger. Emily has a secret, the very thing that brought her to him in the first place, and that secret that could that destroy them both.

 

 Review

When I read the blurb for Hard Rules, I immediately knew it would be right up my alley. Corruption,  secrets, handsome alpha and someone to root for?  Umm….yes, please.

Shane Brandon isn’t like his father and brother. What he sees as a legitimate business for both himself and the world, his family uses it to hide behind all their dirty little secrets full of greed, criminal activity and zero remorse. As Shane sets out to fight this battle of good versus evil, he quickly finds out that in order to survive, you sometimes have to break the rules. Something that doesn’t settle well with him. The only bright light in his life is the one girl that he can’t seem to get out of his mind. Will he be able to push his feelings aside and focus on legitimizing Brandon Enterprises?

Emily Stevens is immediately drawn to Shane as he continues to pull her in with his charm, alpha tendencies and full on sex appeal. The closer she gets to Shane, the deeper she falls. Yet, she’s hiding something from him. Something that very well could separate them forever. Will she expose her secrets, allowing them to fully embrace into a trusting relationship or will it destroy them all together?

I have to be honest and say that the first part of the book moved very slow for me. I actually had to put it down a few times and come back. However, once it did pick up, I became extremely intrigued by the story line. I was constantly trying to guess what both Shane and Emily’s next moves were. I really like these two together. Emily is able to find a way to balance Shane out and to help him focus on his end goal. She is able to hold her own against his need for control and know just how to push his buttons. I love a little push and pull in relationships and we get just a tiny hint of that in this book.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and appreciate the storyline that left us needing to know what happens next. There are enough plot twists that keep you guessing on what’s going to happen next. Especially with the rival between Shane and his brother Derek. And kudos to Lisa for effortlessly making Derek creepy. The way his character was written, I was immediately creeped out by him. I look forward to Damage Control releasing in February so we can find out more of what exactly is going on.

 

 

 

A Note From Lisa

This series will have FOUR full-length books in it. The first four will be Emily and Shane’s story and there will be a fifth fir a secondary character’s story (more information to come soon). I don’t have covers or buy links for these books YET, but I DO have titles and tentative release dates!

* Book One – Hard Rules – August 9, 2016

* Book Two – Damage Control – February 2017

* Book Three – Bad Deeds – August 2017

* Book Four – End Game – February 2018

I am SO excited for this series to come out, because it is so unlike my other series. I am hoping my readers love it just as much as I did when I was writing it! PLEASE be sure to sign up for my TEXT LIST (link below). That will be where/how I communicate when these titles, and others, are available for pre-order, on sale or when I have a big giveaway!

XOXO,

Lisa Renee Jones

 

Excerpt

 

My order appears and I straighten, intending to claim my coffee and find a seat, when a pretty twenty-some-thing brunette races forward in a puff of sweet, floral-scented perfume, and grabs it.

“Miss,” I begin, “that’s—”

She takes a sip and grimaces. “What is this?” She turns to the counter. “Excuse me,” she calls out. “My drink is wrong.”

“Because it’s not your drink,” Karen reprimands her, setting a new cup on the counter. “This is your drink.” She reaches for my cup and turns it around, pointing to the name scribbled on the side. “This one’s for Shane.” She glances at me. “I’ll be right back to fix this. I have another customer.”

I wave my acknowledgment and she hurries away, while my floral-scented coffee thief faces me, her porcelain cheeks flushed, her full, really damn distracting mouth, painted pink. “I’m so sorry,” she offers quickly. “I thought I was the only one without my coffee and I was in a hurry.” She starts to hand me my coffee and then quickly sets it on the counter. “You can’t have that. I drank out of it.”

“I saw that,” I say, picking it up. “You grimaced with disgust after trying it.”

Her eyes, a pale blue that matches the short-sleeved silk blouse, go wide. “Oh. I mean no. Or I did, but not be-cause it’s a bad cup of coffee. It’s just very strong.”

“It’s a triple-shot latte.”

“A triple,” she says, looking quite serious. “Did you know that in some third- world countries they bottle that stuff and sell it as a way to grow hair on your chest.” She lowers her voice and whispers, “That’s not a good look for me.”

“Fortunately,” I say in the midst of a chuckle I would have claimed wasn’t possible five minutes ago, “I don’t share that dilemma.” I lift my cup and add, “Cheers,” before taking a drink, the heavy, rich flavor sliding over my tongue.

She pales, looking exceedingly uncomfortable, before repeating, “I drank from that cup.”

“I know,” I say, offering it back to her. “Try another drink.”

She takes the cup and sets it on the counter. “I can’t drink that. And you can’t either.” She points to the hole on top, now smudged pink. “My lipstick is all over it and I really hate to tell you this but it’s all over you too and . . .” She laughs, a soft, sexy sound, her hands settling on her slender, but curvy hips, accented by a fitted black skirt. “Sorry. I don’t mean to laugh, but it’s not a good shade for you.”

I laugh now too, officially and impossibly charmed by this woman in spite of being in the middle of what feels like World War III. “Seems you know how to make a lasting impression.”

“Thankfully it’s not lasting,” she says. “It’ll wipe right off. And thank you for being such a good sport. I really am sorry again for all of this.”

“Apologize by getting it off me.”

Confusion puckers her brow. “What?”

“You put it on me.” I grab a napkin from the counter and offer it to her. “You get it off.”

“I put it on the cup,” she says, clearly recovering her quick wit. “You put it on you.”

“I assure you, that had I put it on me, we both would have enjoyed it much more than we are now.” I glance at the napkin.

“Are you going to help me?”

Her cheeks flush and she hugs herself, her sudden shyness an intriguing contrast to her confident banter. “I’ll let you know if you don’t get it all.”

My apparently lipstick- stained lips curve at her quick wit but I take the napkin and wipe my mouth, arching a questioning brow when I’m done. She points to the corner of my mouth. “A little more on the left.”

I hand her the napkin. “You do it.”

She inhales, as if for courage, but takes it. “Fine,” she says, stepping closer, that wicked sweet scent of hers teasing my nostrils. Wasting no time, she reaches for my mouth, her body swaying in my direction while my hand itches to settle at her waist. I want this woman and I’m not letting her get away.

“There,” she says, her arm lowering, and not about to let her escape, I capture her hand, holding it and the napkin between us.

Those gorgeous pale blue eyes of hers dart to mine, wide with surprise, the connection sparking an unmistaka-ble charge between us… 

 

 Giveaway

three-half-stars

About Lisa Renee Jones

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series, which is now in development for a television show to be produced by Suzanne Todd of Team Todd (Alice in Wonderland). Suzanne Todd 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. I’m thrilled to develop a television show that will tell Sara’s whole story – her life, her work, her friends, and her sexuality.

In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, she 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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