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Hard Rules (Dirty Money Series #1)
     

Hard Rules (Dirty Money Series #1)

4.7 50
by Lisa Renee Jones
 

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Wall Street meets the Sons of Anarchy in Hard Rules, 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

Overview

Wall Street meets the Sons of Anarchy in Hard Rules, 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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
06/20/2016
Seduction, lies, and secrets dominate the first Dirty Money contemporary from Jones (the Inside Out series). Shane is a lawyer, and a formidable man in all areas of his life. He and his family are used to getting what they want, when they want it—and now Shane has to save the family legacy from his own relatives. Emily is hiding from her past, and from herself. She finds herself without a job, but not without hope. A fateful meeting in a coffee shop throws the two of them together for what promises to be explosive sex, then turns into much more when both are least expecting it. High-octane romance set above the glittering lights of Denver is enhanced by the dominance of a powerful man and the cunning sweetness of a woman who isn’t cowed or swayed by his wealth. The somewhat repetitive prose and lack of answers to pertinent questions are balanced by a fascinating mystery and characters with distinct voices. Agent: Louise Fury, Bent Agency. (Aug.)
From the Publisher

"Lisa Renee Jones excels at creating powerful men and women who are determined to live life on their own terms, and fans will be immediately drawn to the dangerous world of Brandon Enterprises." - RT Book Reviews

"High-octane romance set above the glittering lights of Denver is enhanced by the dominance of a powerful man and the cunning sweetness of a woman who isn't cowed or swayed by his wealth." - Publishers Weekly

"Sure to leave readers desperate for the next installment.: - Kirkus Reviews

"Edgy, brilliant and all-consuming, Dirty Money is THE series of the year! Lies, danger, secrets,and a hero you will fall HARD for. A must read!" - New York Times bestselling author Katy Evans on Hard Rules

"Get ready for a nail-biting, panty-melting, head-scratching, eyebrow-raising roller coaster ride that will have you anxious for more as soon as it's over. The line forms here..." - Rosa from iScream for Books on Hard Rules

"...her impressive ability to captivate the reader by revealing only the slightest hint of the bombshell buried under the layers of her intricate story. I can't recommend this book enough." - Author A.D. Justice on Hard Rules

"The author has deliciously woven an intricate plot with many threads, giving us lots of angst, sexual tension and suspense, the writing style sexy and seductive, drawing the reader in from page one." - Zita, Goodreads Reviewer on Hard Rules

Kirkus Reviews
2016-05-31
First in a new contemporary romance series that brings together two powerful families on opposing sides of the law.Shane Brandon thought he could build a respectable life as an attorney, far from his rich but ruthless family. But when his father becomes ill, Shane agrees to return to Denver to help run Brandon Enterprises. He's determined to root out the corrupt deals his brother and father have struck and save the company without sacrificing its moral core. Shane "doesn't do relationships," but when he meets Emily Stevens in a coffee bar, he can't resist her sexual and emotional allure. Emily is on the run from her own troubled family, especially her brother Adrian, who runs the Martina drug cartel with terror and violence. Shane needs a lover he can trust, and Emily is full of secrets, but their connection is intense and irresistible. In a refreshing departure from the usual controlling billionaire boyfriend, Jones (Demand, 2016, etc.) has written a complex hero who struggles to maintain difficult family relationships while making moral compromises that he hopes will lead them out of the dark. He unselfishly cares for Emily, and while he makes the usual alpha gestures at control, she holds her own, resulting in a fairly egalitarian, and very romantic, relationship. Emily is less well-developed, in part because her history and background are mostly withheld in this installment, the first in the Dirty Money series. Sometimes the pace drags, the result of too much of the tortuous internal monologue to which an alternating first-person point of view is prone. But breaking up Shane and Emily's love story into multiple books allows Jones the space to create interesting antagonistic secondary characters instead of flat foils.Angst-y, sexy contemporary romance with big emotional and financial stakes set against the backdrop of two dynamic families. Sure to leave readers desperate for the next installment.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781250083869
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
08/09/2016
Series:
Dirty Money Series , #1
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
5,296
File size:
845 KB

Read an Excerpt

Hard Rules

A Dirty Money Novel


By Lisa Renee Jones

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2016 Lisa Renee Jones
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-08386-9


CHAPTER 1

SHANE

I park the silver Bentley convertible, which my father gifted me last year for saving his ass, into my reserved spot in the garage of the downtown Denver high-rise building owned by our family conglomerate, Brandon Enterprises. It's a car he and I both know was far more about his attempt to drag me to the dark side, and aligning me with his way of doing business, than the thank-you for keeping his ass out of jail. I'd have refused the damn thing if my mother hadn't begged me to take it, insisting I'd bruise him when he's already fragile and cancer-ridden. Like my father ever fucking bruises and he damn sure isn't fragile. And if he knew I'd coddled him, he'd most likely spit in my face, and tell me I'm a disappointment.

Killing the engine, I exit the vehicle and stare at my older brother's white Porsche 911, also a gift from my father, ironically and most likely for getting us into the very mess I'd returned to Denver to clean up. Jaw clenched, I shove my keys into the pocket of the gray two-thousand-dollar suit I'd bought back in New York, a reward to myself for winning a high-profile case for one of the most prestigious law firms in the country. I wore it today to remind myself that I'm a few well-played cards from conquering the challenge I took when I returned home: becoming the head of the family empire when my father retires and replacing all the dirty money running through six of the seven asset companies with good, clean cash. Namely, the revenue produced by Brandon Pharmaceuticals, or BP, the newest asset I'd forced into acquisition only three months ago.

I head toward the elevators, when my cell phone buzzes with a text. Fishing it from my jacket pocket, I glance down to read a message from my secretary, Jessica: Seth just called. Needs to speak to you urgently. I told him you had a meeting at the BP division this morning and he hung up on me. Knowing Seth, he'll show up at your meeting. Seth Cage was the one person I brought to the company with me, and the only person other than Jessica who I trust now that I'm here.

I punch the call button for the elevator, and dial Seth. "I'm pulling into the BP parking lot now to see you," he says by way of greeting.

"I just pulled into the garage downtown."

"Son of a bitch. I'm pulling a U-turn at the security gates. I have something you need to see now, not later, and I can't talk about it on the phone. Is your brother in the building?"

I glance at the Porsche. "His car's here so I assume he is as well. What the hell has Derek done now?"

"Let's just say I'm not sure it's a good idea that he's in close range when you find out. Let's meet outside the office."

"Fuck me," I growl.

"No," he amends. "More like fuck us all."

"I don't even want to know what that means," I say, catching the elevator door that's opened and already trying to close. "Meet me at the coffee shop."

"That still puts you in the same building as him. I don't think that's a good idea."

"Just hurry the hell up and get here," I order testily, ending the call and stepping into the otherwise empty car where I punch the L button on the panel to my left. In the short trip to the lobby level, I manage to come up with at least five ways my brother could fuck over the plays I have in action, and I'm still counting.

Exiting into the gray marble corridor, I walk toward the huge oval foyer of the building and then to the right, where a coffee shop is nestled between a restaurant and a postal facility, both of which rent from Brandon Enterprises. I head to the counter when Karen, the owner of the coffee shop — a robust forty-something woman with red hair and a big attitude — appears, leaving me no escape from her habitual chitchat.

"Well, well, well," she says, leaning on the counter. "Now I know what I'm missing on the morning shift and I do declare that seeing Shane Brandon himself, instead of his secretary, is a better 'wake-me-up' than any java shot I sell. But then, you Brandon boys came by those looks honestly. That father of yours is a looker."

And therein lies the reason she irritates the shit out of my mother and I happily treat Jessica to afternoon coffee to have her bring me mine. Karen's not only a chatterbox and a flirt, she has it bad for my father.

"All right now," Karen says, grabbing a cup and pen, and preparing to write. "Large latte with a triple shot?"

"Just what the doctor ordered," I confirm, though I have a feeling once Seth arrives I'll be wishing for a bottle of whiskey.

"Will do, honey," she says, giving me a wink before moving toward the espresso machine. "I'll add it to your tab."

I retreat to the end of the counter where the orders are delivered, resting my elbow on the ledge, retreating into my mind and chasing problems made worse by the division between Derek and me. He's thirty-seven, five years my senior, and the rightful successor to our father. I'd happily stepped aside and started my own life, but damn it to hell, I know things now and I can't walk away.

My order appears and I straighten, intending to claim my coffee and find a seat, when a pretty twenty-something 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 because 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. "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 unmistakable charge between us, which I feel with an unexpected, but not unwelcome, jolt. "Thank you," I say, softening the hard demand in my tone that long ago became natural.

"I owed you," she says, her voice steady, but there's a hint of panic in her eyes that isn't what I expect from this clearly confident, smart woman.

"What's your name?" I ask.

"Emily," she replies, sounding just a hint breathless. I decide right then that I like her breathless but I'd like her a whole lot more if she were naked and breathless. "And you're Shane."

"That's right," I say, already thinking of all the ways I could make her say my name again. "I've never seen you here before."

"I've never been here before," she counters and I have this sense that we are sparring, when we're not. Or are we?

My cell phone rings and I silently curse the timing, some sixth sense telling me that the minute I let go of this woman, she's gone, but I also have to think about whatever explosion Seth is trying to contain. "Don't move," I order, before releasing her to dig my phone from my pocket. I glance down at the caller ID to find my mother's number, and just that fast, Emily darts around me.

I curse and turn, fully intending to pursue her, only to have Seth step in front of me. Considering the man equals my six feet two inches, and is broader than I am wide, he stops me in my tracks. I grimace and he arches a blond brow that matches the thick waves of hair on his head. "Looking for me?"

"You'll do," I say, reaching for my coffee and bypassing it to pick up Emily's instead, or rather holding it captive for the return I doubt she'll make.

"Good to see you too," he says, the words dripping with his trademark sarcasm, which five years of knowing him has taught me to expect.

"Bring me good news for once," I say, motioning us forward, leading the way through several display racks of chocolates and coffees, as well as a trio of empty tables, to claim a seat at a corner table facing the entryway.

Seth sits next to me rather than across from me, keeping an eye on the door, the ex-CIA agent in him ever present, his skills and loyalty paired with his no-nonsense attitude only a few of the reasons I recruited him from my firm in New York. He opens a large white envelope and pulls out a picture, setting it in front of me. "The private security company we contracted to do surveillance on your brother delivered this to me about an hour ago."

I stare down at the image of my brother handing a large envelope to a man I've never seen before. I eye Seth. "Who is he?"

"He works for the FDA."

Any remnant of pleasure I'd taken from the exchange with Emily disappears. "Obviously it's related to the pharmaceutical division and I don't even want to think about how many laws we broke in that exchange."

"That's why I wanted you to see it right away."

"Do we know what was in the envelope? Do we know anything?"

"The FDA employee's name and tenure. That's about it, but I authorized the security team to follow him as of today."

I glance at the picture, wrestling with anger that will get me nowhere but the hell to which my brother is trying to drag me. "This is the aftermath of last week's stockholder meeting. I walked in there singing the praises of BP profit margins, with the promise that once the FDA approves our new asthma drug, it would allow us to let go of all the dirty money."

"And all they heard was the chance to double their money," Seth supplies. "Enter Derek, who promises to make it happen in a ploy to claim the table. You knew this could happen. We talked about it. Dishonest people don't suddenly become honest."

"No," I say tightly. "They don't. And I haven't been operating with the same killer instincts as I did in the firm or this wouldn't have happened."

"Because you still haven't let go of the firm."

"It's not the firm I haven't let go of. It's my brother. Because despite my denial, I knew staying meant my brother became my enemy."

Seth leans closer. "Listen to me, Shane. I'm thirty-five years old. I did seven years in the CIA and five years of contract work all over the world before I happened to take a job that threw us together. I've seen monsters. I've seen criminals. I've seen your family and I say this not just as the person you hired to have your back, but the friend who would have it anyway." He taps the image of my brother in the photo. "This man is your enemy. And I'm not going to let you forget it."

"He's also my brother, and this is my family, who I want to save."

"You may not be able to."

"I'm aware of that and if I don't take this company as my life, the way I did my law career, I won't succeed. And believe me, I've navigated enough family-driven litigation to know that blood divides as easily as it unites, especially when money and power are involved. I have to get ahead of this before we all end up bloody or in jail."

"So we agree. This is war."

"It's always been war. I didn't want to name it, but I am now. It's time we go to battle."

"Meaning what?"

"I played nice for my brother's sake. Today he put me — us — into the line of fire with the law, and I'm done pulling punches. The number-one obstacle is my need for the board's vote to gain control."

"And when exactly is that vote? Because the last I heard, your father wasn't exactly retiring to hit a bucket list. If he hadn't dropped twenty pounds in six months, I could forget the man is dying of cancer."

If only forgetting made it not true. "Whatever the case, a vote now would not be in my favor and since we've agreed there isn't a cure for corruption, our board needs to go away. That's the only way I can freely dissolve the root of all of our problems, which is Brandon Financial, where my father's spent decades hiding people's money and doing dirty deals for them. The rest of the companies — trucking, restaurants, real estate, and steel — they're nothing but shells to hide money for us and those clients."

"You won't get rid of them without playing hardball."

"I didn't win the case I won, or save my father's ass from the Feds, by playing softball. This is a chess game, and you can ask my father and brother. I'm damn good at chess, both on the board, and off. Hire the staff you need and get me the kind of leverage I can use to push them out."

"Dirt or leverage?"

"Isn't it one and the same with these kinds of people?"

"There can be a fine line."

"And I'll evaluate when I have data to analyze but if I don't do this in one fatal blow, my family will push me out before I can."

"I've already pulled enough substantial 'dirt' on everyone to force an exit, with the exception of Mike Rogers. He's reading clean to me. The man owns a professional basketball team and twenty percent of our stock and I can't figure out why he's even risking the liability he knows exists here. He has to have hidden money with your father, but we can't use that without the threat of the company being exposed."

"His money is exactly why he's involved. He has a boatload to hide and invest. He has more to lose when we shut down the investment division than anyone. Interestingly enough, Mike is the only one, aside from me, Derek, and my father, who has the complete list of transactions for the financial division. He could rally people together. He's dangerous."

"Why would your father put him on the board and give him that kind of power?"

"Good question, because my father isn't one to give anyone else power. I'll ask my mother what she knows. In the meantime, get me what you have on the others."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Hard Rules by Lisa Renee Jones. Copyright © 2016 Lisa Renee Jones. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Lisa Renee Jones is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than forty books across many romance genres—contemporary, romantic suspense, dark paranormal, and erotic fiction. Her books have been translated all around the world, and her highly acclaimed Inside Out series is now in development for cable television. She loves to hear from readers.

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT SERIES,and has now in development for a cable television show, to be produced by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland). In addition, her Tall, Dark and Deadly series and The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series, both spent several months on a combination of the NY Times and USA Today lists.
Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 40 books translated around the world. Booklist says that Jones suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann.

Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

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Hard Rules: A Dirty Money Novel 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
O. M.G. this is going to be a winner of a series! I'm bummed that the next book isn't out till February. I want to know more about Emily and her past. As I was reading I was hoping to get a little more of what she is hiding, but that was not to be. Shane is my new book boyfriend. Please hurry February (of course then I'll have to wait for book 3!) Thank you Lisa for another great story with awesome characters!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Keeps you intrested frm the first page.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Many twist and turns but an interesting story of secrets with a love story involved too. Beware we have to wait till February 2017 to get the next installment.
gaele More than 1 year ago
Starting with the short glimpse into a behind closed door dirty deal, one of the two sides of this story coin gives readers a chance to dip a toe into the dangers to come. From there, with no real sense of how much time has elapsed, we are thrust into the world and challenges of Emily and Shane, and the dance between attraction, trust, power and secrets. Shane is the ONLY person in his family with a moral compass, even if he battles with his own memories of the family he wants with the family he has. And OH what a complete spider web mess his family is: a father who is grasping, controlling and not above blackmail to achieve his goals; a mother who will manipulate situations and people around her to gain ‘insight’ and knowledge; a brother who is consumed with power, money and his ‘use one to get more’ attitude. I’m not a huge fan of the family he’s been saddled with, and can empathize with his own struggles with loyalty, trust and wanting their approval and love. Emily arrives as a bit of a question, her own identity is a new one, she has secrets that could destroy her and those around her. I’ve got my suspicions about just ‘who’ she really is: but her ability to empathize with Shane from an “I’ve been there” angle is intriguing. She’s multi-faceted with each facet opening to the light as she and Shane get closer physically. What intrigues me most about these two is their similarities that fuel their connection. And they are electric, with Emily able to provide Shane with something to chase even as he wants to push her off to save her from the ticking bomb that is his family. Told in alternating first person, I wanted a bit more from Emily. While this story carries much of the feel that I had in the Inside Out series, Emily is a different sort of girl altogether. She’s not innocent and untried like Sara, she understands the manipulations and machinations of family and she’s also hiding several secrets, many not as well as she thinks. Shane is so focused on making Brandon Enterprises a name to be reckoned with in all the best ways, something he’s got to rebuild after keeping his father out of jail after a federal investigation. I loved his passion and determination to grow the company and his role, while trying to manage and protect his family members- a full time job plus with that group. Fortunately he’s got dedicated and loyal people on his side – from his assistant Jennifer: who takes zero guff, speaks honestly and openly and always has his back to his own personal security/pi guru in Seth. Overall, there’s a sense of having seen the relationship trajectory between Emily and Shane before, and while that’s not a huge issue, I hoped for a bit more between them. This does end on a cliffhanger that may bring Emily to the forefront of suspicion and revelation in the next book, these characters, the Brandons and their twisted manipulating ways demand you read on. Sure to please fans of the Inside Out series, this is a great start to a new series that is unconnected to that world, and the perfect option for readers who want to try the work of Lisa Renee Jones. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Lost-N-Love-N-Hopeless 6 months ago
Sin. Scandal. Seduction. Secrets. Salacious. Could the day get any worse? Shane just did not know what the hell was going on. I must admit that this was a bit more than I was expecting but that was the good thing about it all. I was full of assumption when I went in to this book. I am so happy that I picked it up and continued reading. Shane was oooooh my. Shane got me. The one thing that took away from the book was by the end I still was not sure the deal with Emily. I was not completely sure that I liked her enough to care what was in her past. But at the same time Shane. Whatever she was hiding would affect Shane. Shane’s family provided enough edge on, in your face drama to keep the book going all on its own. Until you remember this was supposed to be a romance also. That was when you had to accept Emily as the other half of this couple.
Anonymous 8 months ago
One of the best books I have EVER read! From the first page, I was pulled in and so very intrigued! Shane is a man in his own category, kind and considerate, yet downright mean and cold when he needs to be! The whole book, I was questioning who I can trust and who is speaking the truth. But the end, oh god, what an ending! I NEED BOOK TWO.
Anonymous 9 months ago
I loved this,can't wait for the next book in the series.
sm0120 9 months ago
"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! *Reviewed for The Book Enthusiast.
KristyJewel 9 months ago
I desperately wanted to love this book and I did enjoy it. I love Lisa Renee Jones as an author and I was thrilled to get this book on NetGalley. With that said, I miss the spark that her "Inside Out" series had. I could relate to the characters & I loved seeing the intensity in the story line. Hard Rules is a good novel and I loved the concept and for the most part, I enjoyed the characters. Unfortunately, it just didn't live up to her other series. I'm hoping that that changes with the next installment. I did have one major issue with the book but that is on the triple shot latte. Seriously, a triple shot latte is not that strong of coffee. I know that it is a very small part of the book but all I could think of is "what a whimp" when it came to the description of how strong the coffee is. Seriously, three shots of espresso & the rest steamed milk is simply a large latte with an extra shot. (Yes, my coffee rant is over). All in all, this was a fun book that has a nice little cliffhanger ending.
Lisa_RisqueAffair More than 1 year ago
"It's the little pieces of our past that bring us to the present." This story has a little of moving pieces. You have Shane who is trying to legitimize his father's business, all while fighting his brother for control of it (his father is sick). The only ray of sunshine in his crazy life, is Emily. She accidentally takes his coffee at the local coffee shop, but he just can't get her out of his head. They have a one night stand, but that isn't enough for them. They're both drawn to each other, but they also each have secrets... and hers could stop their relationship before it really starts. This was my first Lisa Renee Jones novel. I love how she gives little pieces away, while still keeping you guessing. There are so many twists and turns, that you'll have a hard time figuring out who you can trust... and who you can't. I love how there's a backstory happening right along with Shane and Emily's story. Can Shane trust Emily? I'm not really sure. She really is a mystery in all of this. But you can't help but hope that her and Shane make it through whatever she's hiding from. This does end in a cliffhanger, but it's part of a series... so I knew that was a possibility going in. I was given a complimentary ecopy from the publisher via NetGalley.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't wait till February for the next one!
featherlight97 More than 1 year ago
OMG! What an ending!! Are you kidding me- I have to wait until February to find out what happens?! I can't wait!! It's that good! There's so many lies, deceit & secrets going around mixed in with a bit of Romance & sexiness! Ah, the suspense! This book had me intrigued from the beginning to the end! If you read the teaser, that's enough to give you the basis of the book. I'm not gonna give anything away, you need to check it out for yourself! I don't think you'll be disappointed! Great start to Dirty Money series!! Ready for Part 2 now!! I received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
gigiluvsbooks More than 1 year ago
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: This first book in the new series by Ms. Jones is full of backstabbing and intrigue all centered around Shane Brandon's family business empire. Emily gets wrapped up in it when she meets Shane and then goes to work for his father. Poor Emily gets caught up in all the family drama and wants to help Shane but he keeps pushing her away. You never know who to trust as you read the story. Ms. Jones writes some excellent drama that kept me enraptured in this story. So many forces and lies keep getting in the way of Shane and Emily's love story. The book is full of sexiness between the couple and when they are not apart are so strong together. This is actually the first book I have read by this Author and I totally enjoyed her writing and this story. This is the first book in this new series, so no catching up needed. I do have to say this has a cliffhanger ending and the next book is not out until next..fair warning given. 4Stars *I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.*
ckwlofton More than 1 year ago
This first book in a new series by Lisa Renee Jones is awesome! It is full of intrigue and is hot as can be. Shane and Emily are positively combustible when together. Not only are they good together in that way, they are good together in most all ways. The only problem is Emily's secrets and what she is running from. Shane has a problem trusting anyone remotely connected to his family or the family business. Will Emily's secrets keep them apart? This book does in a cliffie so if you aren't a cliffhanger fan, hang on for more of the series. Otherwise, grab this one as soon as you can. I am now in a major book hangover waiting for the next one!
MP604 More than 1 year ago
That sinking feeling that you get when there's 19 minutes left in a book and you know there's no way all the issues you've been reading about can get solved in that amount of time. Only to then get slapped in the face with an ending so intense that you scream because dang it you want to know what's going to happen! Alas, this book ends in a cliffy and that fact just about broke my heart. You've been warned. Hard Rules is gripping from start to finish. I was so engrossed in this book that I could not put it down. The confidence that Shane exudes is intoxicating! He comes off as a bit arrogant with his take charge attitude but it only makes him more alluring. Emily is a bit of a mystery. There’s so many levels to her that we haven’t cracked into yet. You can tell she wants her independence yet something is holding her back. She's hiding but from what or who exactly, is the question. One thing that is blatantly obvious though is her feelings for Shane and his for her. These two are explosive together. There’s no denying the connection between them. Hard Rules is suspenseful, engaging and fast paced. I loved everything about this book!!
wizkids32 More than 1 year ago
Excellent book can't wait to see how it turns out once again amazing writing from Lisa loving the whole story with the BP and Brandon Enterprise and how Shane and Emily story is going to work out she is great for him and him for her too bad she can't trust him yet to tell him who she is and hopefully she won't hurt him I doubt it in the end it will all work out Thanks for an amazing book can't wait until Feb for the rest
Lisa-Lou More than 1 year ago
Hard Rules by Lisa Renee Jones is the first book in her brand new series Dirty Money. In true Lisa Renee Jones fashion, the suspense is high, the steamy factor is scorchingly off the charts, and the story just flows from page to brain to paint the pictures for you as only a great book can do. Emily is hiding all her darkest secrets and when she meets Shane, by chance, she feels a strange connection to him. When she has vowed to keep everyone out, she wants nothing more than to let him in. Shane is doing everything within his power to take his family's business and legitimize it. His dying father and warped and sinister brother are doing all they can to prevent him. So when he encounters Emily in his building she immediately enthralls him, being a bright spot in an otherwise terrible day. Ending on a cliffhanger, as only LRJ can manage I am chomping at the bit for the next book in this series, Damage Control expected February 2017.
dshutters More than 1 year ago
Another Great book by Lisa ! Each book Lisa writes that I have read are different.This one is know different. I love the story line where you get to know some of the main male character : Shane and very little about the lead female character: Emily. This has romance, sex, suspense, drama and a cliff hanger at the end which makes you want to read the next book to find out more about Emily's past and Shane gets the business or more trouble coming for both of them. I look forward to the next book in this series Damage Control
CoffeeGoddessTK More than 1 year ago
Six pages. Less than one chapter. That's how long it took for me to fall for Shane Brandon, and to be completely in love with this new series from author Lisa Renee Jones. I'm not surprised, really, because there is nothing that Lisa's written that I don't enjoy tremendously, but HARD RULES starts out fast and furious, and just keeps going. Lisa is a mistress of writing the strong alpha man that we just can't say no to, and Shane is true to form. A good man in a nest of vipers, he's doing everything he can to right the wrongs of his father, and save the family empire from the corruption that threatens at every turn. When chance pulls Emily Stevens into Shane's orbit, he's intrigued. Emily is truly an enigma, but one that sparks Shane's interest in a way that he hasn't experienced before. One night leads to another, and soon these two people that don't 'do' relationships are trying to find their way in the midst of secrets and chaos. HARD RULES is a tautly written, engaging read, and I could not put this book down. The characters, the premise, the dark heat, all worked together to draw me in and keep me hooked. Thank goodness this is the first book in a series, because I am a fan, and I cannot wait for DAMAGE CONTROL, Book 2. 5 fast-paced, sexy, secret-filled stars for HARD RULES. Pop this book right to the top of your TBR, because it is a must-read for Lisa's fans. Grab it, read it, thank me later.
Naughty_Book_Blog More than 1 year ago
Oh wow, how do I sum up everything that is the beauty and complexity of this book? It was everything I have come to expect from this author and more. Her books are always all consuming and intense, including a well thought out, complex and detailed plot. Believable characters with fantastic dialogue and an intense connection. Suspicion and secrets! So many guilty secrets that I NEED to know now! So beautifully and well written. Shane Brandon is an attorney by trade who is tangled up in the dirty family business his father and brother have created. With his father's death imminent, he is immersed in a power struggle to make the family business something to be proud of. His entire family is the dictionary definition of dysfunction. Emily Stevens is one giant, walking, talking secret. Who she really is and the secrets she is hiding are well concealed. My brain was working overtime to come up with what she could be possibly hiding, and I still really have no solid theories. Shane and Emily meet by chance and form an instant connection and chemistry. Neither one of them is at a place in their life where they can afford to get attached to someone else, alas it puts them at risk of being collateral damage of their own respective demons. Of course neither can stay away from the other and they are soon all tangled up in both in and out of the sheets. So many questions to be answered and secrets to be revealed yet in this series. I have a feeling that many things are not as they seem. I'm ready for some epic drama and shocking secrets to come!
AmyBosica More than 1 year ago
“His mouth slants over mine and the rest of the world disappears, as does the driver, leaving me alone with the only man who’s ever possessed me and made me like it.” Hard Rules was one of my most anticipated reads of 2016. Lisa Renee Jones is one of those authors for me, that I will automatically one click. I know I can count on her stories for a sinful, yet suspenseful read. And with a description describing it as Wall Street meets Sons of Anarachy, I just knew I had to grab this book. And let me tell you, Hard Rules does not disappoint. From the moment you pick up Hard Rules, you are sucked in by the prologue. Your curiosity has been peaked. You are intrigued and have to know more. Before you know it, you are completely lost in Emily and Shane’s story as well as the world that Lisa Renee Jones has created. There are secrets, lies and danger around every corner. You will find yourself turning the pages faster, as you try to figure out what is going on and who you can really trust. Of course, this would not be a Lisa Renee Jones story without a sinful, sexy, alpha male. And let me tell you, Shane hits all those marks. The chemistry between Shane and Emily is scorching. When Shane and Emily are together, not only are they able to forget about their troubles, but they completely lose themselves in the passion they share. It’s like there is not outside world. They can escape their families, all the secrets and truths that have yet to be discovered. Hard Rules is a fantastic start to Dirty Money Series. I found this story to be an intriguing and entertaining read. I loved the characters and am dying to know more. I loved all the secrets and twists. This story is like a giant puzzle, just waiting to be solved. I have a lot of questions and can not wait to discover the answers. I will warn you, this book does end with a cliffhanger and it is a good one! I know I can’t wait to find out what will happen next!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a brilliant start to this new series! I could not put it down!! I love the characters and the great storyline! Seriously..Can Not Wait for the next book! February 21, 2017! I'll be patient! It's well worth it! Thank you Lisa! From one of your biggest fan~ Deborah Lent Cooney
MandalynnJDG More than 1 year ago
I was given a copy in exchange for an honest review. This is the start of a new series and so far, the series is off to a great start! Shane Brandon is moving across the country to come work for his father's company since his father is stepping down. Emily has changed her identity and is now going to work for Brandon Sr. as his secretary. She accidentally meets Shane for a one-nighter before she knows who he is. Try as they might, Shane and Emily can't keep themselves from one another and so work and private life becomes complicated. As they are both trying to keep the other from getting hurt, pushing each other way is not the way to go about it! As Emily tries to make her escape, Shane is determined to find her. I can't wait for the next in the series!
NPButterfly More than 1 year ago
Hard Rules is my favorite book by Lisa Renee Jones to date. This book is fantastic! Between the secret that Emily is hiding and the drama with Shane’s family, I was intrigued, enthralled and completely riveted by the plot. Lies, deception, sex, manipulation, this book has it all. “You, Emily, are a contradiction I cannot wait to explore.” Shane is absolute perfection. I fell hard for him. Sweet, domineering, intense, with a hint of vulnerability. He is my idea of the perfect Hero. “Maybe I can do this. Maybe he’s the light at the end of what has been a dark tunnel.” Emily is still an enigma. Her secrets a mystery to the reader. This is where the plot thickens. Through Lisa’s writing you are left to question whose side Emily is on, if any. Overall, the chemistry built between Shane and Emily is intense. I’m dying for Damage Control (book #2). I need answers. Great first book of a series, one that I will try and wait patiently for. Patience really isn’t my thing. I think everyone needs to meet Shane Brandon. Read this book, fall in love, and tell your friends.
grandmareads102 More than 1 year ago
A chance meeting between Shane and Emily leads to a passionate encounter that up ends their world. Shane Brandon is fighting to keep his father's business from disaster and to stop his devious brother from gaining control. Questionable deals and under the table payoffs have put the business at risk. Shane won't be drawn to the dark side. He's worked to hard to achieve his success. Emily is new to Denver. She's running from a life that put her in danger. She doesn't need more drama, but working for the dysfunctional Brandon family isn't the way to keep herself safe. Hard Rules is a passionate and suspenseful family drama that kept me on the edge of my seat. The attraction between Shane and Emily is white hot. Even though both are consumed by their doubts they can't stay away from each other. They are an amazing couple. The maneuvering and back stabbing within the powerful Brandon family blew me away. Their desire to win at any cost stunned me. Lisa Renee Jones did an excellent job. The characters dominate this well plotted story. I stayed up way too late reading, but I couldn't stop. Just be aware that the ending left many of my questions unanswered. The second book in the Dirty Money series will be released in February of 2017. I can't wait.