Wall Street meets the Sons of Anarchy in Bad Deeds, the smoldering, scorching next novel in the explosively sexy Dirty Money series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones.
Would you bleed for the one you love?
To save his family empire from the grip of the drug cartel, Shane is pushed to the edge of darkness, forced to make choices he might never make. His father is dying. His brother is desperate to rule the empire and this means war and all gloves are off. His brother only thought he knew what dirty meant. Shane is about to give it new meaning. There is another war brewing though, and that one, is inside him, his battle between right and wrong, light and dark, and in the heat of the night, it is Emily he turns to for escape. Driving her to new limits, pushing her to accept a part of him that even he cannot.
In every one of Shane's seductive demands, Emily can taste and feel, his torment, his struggle to save his family and not lose himself. But he is losing himself, and that is a problem just as dangerous as her secret, that still lurk in the shadows, a threat to the Brandon Family waiting to erupt. No matter where she and Shane have traveled, or will travel in the future, she can't just sit back and watch him become everything he hates, everything he never wanted to become, everything she tried to save him from when she tried to run. It could be their undoing, the end. His end.
This is war, blood will spill, and someone in the heart of the Brandon family will not survive....
Wall Street meets the Sons of Anarchy in Damage Control, the smoldering, scorching next novel in the explosively sexy Dirty Money series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones.
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 sites on his company, his family, and the one piece of leverage they believe he won’t gamble with: Emily.
This is book THREE of FOUR in Shane and Emily's story.
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About the Author
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, 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.
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.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed Inside Out series. In addition, both her Tall, Dark and Deadly series and The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today lists.
Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 40 books that have been translated around the world. Booklist says that Jones's 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 a 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.
Read an Excerpt
You could always sacrifice your queen and let her die a royal death. Would it — would she — be worth it to win?
Those words, a threat against my life spoken by Derek only minutes before, seem to whisper in the Colorado wind around us, taunting Shane and me where we stand under a tree in his parents' yard, our foreheads joined, mocking our desire to dismiss them as nothing but words and my desire to believe Shane's promises that everything will be okay. He means it, I know he does, and I'd wanted him to say those words, but now I am coming to my senses, remembering what my family taught me all too well — my brother, most especially. Promises, even well-intended ones, are like water in a cracked glass. One wrong lift or squeeze and it shatters, and in this case, with potentially bloody consequences.
I shut my eyes, and for a moment or two, or maybe even three, I let myself revel in Shane's words again:
We're okay. ...
Everything is okay....
But as surely as I soak in my desire for those things to be true, I flash back to the moment inside the house, when Derek had looked up from the chess game he'd been playing with Shane, and right at me. To those moments when he'd captured my stare, held it, and then issued that threat, and I'd seen the deep malicious intent and evil in his eyes.
We are not okay.
I shiver in a chilly gust of April evening wind blowing across the Rocky Mountains, and Shane's strong hands come down on my upper arms, the heat of his touch seeping through my navy silk blouse. "You need your wrap," he says, rubbing up and down my arms. "And I don't even have a jacket on to be gallant and warm you up."
"I don't have my wrap because I rushed out here in a reactive mode I should never have let anyone see," I say as more of the typical Denver evening winds lift my hair into my face. I shove it away, reminded that it is now brown but should be blond, the brunette color as fake as my name and identity. Another reality I think of in this moment, because this is my new life, by Shane's side, and I don't want it to be as a liability, but rather as an asset. "And you don't need to be gallant or make promises I shouldn't have asked you to make," I add. "We need to go back inside. The longer we're out here, the more it seems like I'm some scared fool."
He arches a brow. "Scared fool?" He laughs, one of those deep, sexy rumbles that proves he's not as starched as his white shirt, while also telling me that he's not taking my concerns seriously.
"This isn't funny," I say, my hand closing around the navy tie I'd chosen for him out of some romantic notion that we'd match for his family dinner, which doesn't feel romantic anymore.
His hands return to my arms. "No one thinks you're scared. If anything, they think you're angry."
"I am angry. And not at your father for inviting me to stir up trouble, or your brother for making sure he got it. That's just who they are. I know this, and I still gave them both a reaction. And then you reacted. I made myself your weakness." I grab his wrists, urgency growing inside me. "We need to go back inside," I say again. I try to move away from him.
He holds on to me. "Don't go in there thinking you have something to prove. You don't."
"I let them think I was scared."
"The human — and normal — reaction to someone threatening your life is fear, sweetheart, and I'm going to get you the hell out of here."
"No," I say. "No. I have to go in there and correct this. And later I'm going to apologize properly for asking you to make unfair promises."
"I repeat. The normal —"
"Don't say that again, Shane. 'Normal' doesn't apply to my life or yours, and we both know that. I'm human, yes, but I should have waited to freak out until we were alone. I'm pissed at myself, and you should be pissed at me. Why aren't you pissed at me?"
He cups my face. "I don't want you to become cold and callous like my mother. Ever. I want you to have feelings. I want you to be human."
"But being strong in front of your family doesn't make me cold like her. I won't ever become your mother, Shane. Because not only are you not your father, I'd leave if you were."
He inhales and lets the breath out, putting his hands on my waist. "I won't ever be my father."
"I know that," I say. "Or I wouldn't be here, but Derek —"
"Is wearing a wounded ego right along with that bandaged hand, courtesy of Adrian's knife. He's puffing up his chest to try to seem unaffected by me making him look bad to the cartel. And now my father threw down the gauntlet by threatening his inheritance."
"Was that real or just part of the games he plays with you two? I mean, why would he do that when he's been enjoying this game of pitting you and Derek against each other?"
"Because to exact revenge on Mike for sleeping with my mother, he intends to buy the sports center where Mike's pro-ball team plays and then recruit in, or buy, another team. And because of my contractual agreement when I joined the company, he needs my signature to sign any contract. In other words, he needs me happy, which means he needs you safe."
I've already blanched and recovered at this point. "I'm nearly speechless. This is huge. Monumental, even. And expensive." Realization hits me. "That's why he was meeting with investors."
"That's right. It's also legal and highly profitable, which puts me and my father on the same side of the fence for the first time in most of my adult life." His fingers flex at my waist. "I've got this under control. Everything is okay."
"No," I say, rejecting that idea. "It's not that simple, and you know it. Mike won't take this lying down, and he's the largest stockholder in the company outside of the family. He's going to attack you because you're attacking him."
"For all we know, he's already attacking us and planning a hostile takeover."
"Then that only drives home my point. He's going to attack, and who knows where that will make your mother step? Even with those things aside, there's your brother, and hate is positively radiating off Derek tonight. He isn't done fighting. He'll do whatever it takes to steal the company from you."
"He can't take what's not mine, sweetheart. My father is still king."
It hits me then that I'm so wrapped up in how Derek affected me that I've forgotten about Brandon Senior. My hand goes to Shane's chest. "How are you feeling about your father's news?"
"You don't have to analyze me over this, sweetheart," he says, obviously reading where I'm going with this, confirming as much when he adds, "I openly admit that my feelings about my father are a mixed bag of emotions that resemble a swampland. One I don't intend to open until I find out if that was real or another one of his mind-fucks."
Mind-fucks. That's all he ever feels he gets from his family, and I aided them in that effort tonight. "You think he's lying?" I ask, certain Shane's in denial, protecting himself from that swampland. "Why in the world would he do that?"
"I can think of several strategic reasons related to the company and to Mike, that I'll explain after we get home and after we fuck this night out of our systems a good three times."
The grit in his voice tells me his desire to leave is bigger than just me. "All the more reason we should get back inside, where you can find out the truth that Derek and your mother probably already know."
"None of us will find out the truth inside that house," he says, "and I've already texted Seth to get me answers." His eyes warm. "What I really want to do is mind-fuck my father and leave without playing his game. What I want even more is you naked and next to me."
He's angry. I hear it in the bite of his voice, feel it in the tension in his body. That's the emotion he feels, and that comes from his certainty that his father is lying. I don't even think it's real. This is about fear, fear that he will feel hope and discover it's false. I step to him, aligning our legs. "Shane —"
"You aren't my weakness," he says softly, but somehow vehemently. "You're just the opposite. You're the complete contradiction to everything that is this family, and you remind me of the change I'm fighting for." His hand cups the back of my head and then he is kissing me, his tongue licking into my mouth, the taste of his anger, his need to escape, bleeding into me, telling me his father's many lies are burning into his mind and emotions. "When we go back inside and my family fucks with your head, which they will, think about fucking me when we get home. That's what I'll be thinking about too."
My cheeks heat with the erotic boldness of those words, the boldness of this man who never fails to make me a little bit shy and a whole lot aroused. Again he laughs low and sexy, caressing my cheek. "I have no idea how you still blush after all the things we've done together, but I love it." And just like that, his mood has lightened, and his arm is around my shoulders, his steps directing us back toward the door. "At least we're guaranteed a good meal," he says. "My mother wouldn't cater anything but the best."
"Were all your meals catered growing up?" I ask, reminded that tonight, with his family, for all its guaranteed uncomfortable moments, there is an open window into Shane's past that I welcome.
"Believe it or not, she was a regular homemaker when I was a kid, even down to the freshly baked cookies after school."
"I'm having a hard time picturing your mother with an apron on. What happened to transform her?"
"I'd say it's a safe assumption that my father happened."
We step onto the patio, and he reaches for the door to the house, but instead of opening it, he maneuvers me to rest my back against the hard surface, one hand on the wood by my head, the other branding my hip. "I will not let anyone hurt you. You know that, right?"
His laughter from minutes before is gone, his words low and fierce in that way he always loves me, and emotions I can't name are welling up in my chest. No one has ever wanted to protect me the way this man wants to protect me. No one has ever cared this much about me, but then, I now know that the same is true of him as well. I wrap my arms around Shane's neck and push to my toes, pressing my lips to his, lingering there a moment before I say, "And I will not let anyone hurt you either." I relax back onto my feet and stare up at him. "You know that, right?" I add, repeating his words.
He stands completely still, unmoving, unreadable, until his hands are on my arms again, and he's pulling my mouth to his again too, in a fast, hard kiss. He ends with, "Ah, woman. What are you doing to me? Let's get this over with and get home." He turns us toward the door and opens it, allowing me entry into the Brandon family home, where life, love, and laughter seem to be more focused on one man's battle to live or die, which he may or may not have already lost.
I enter the house first, my gaze once again traveling the stunning circle that is the broad foyer with a unique domed ceiling, which is somehow fitting, since this family is nothing if not unique. Shane shuts the door and joins me at the same moment I hear Maggie.
"There you are!"
At the sound of his mother's voice, Shane and I turn to the left, nearing the kitchen, and find her hurrying toward us. As is usual for her, her black suit and long dark hair drape over her shoulders, giving the picture of elegance. "The chef's quite insistent that his food has to be eaten now," Maggie says, "or, per his expert opinion, it will be a disaster to the taste buds." Shane's hand settles protectively at my lower back while she motions between us. "I need you two in the dining room, pronto." She stops in front of us and lowers her voice, her attention on Shane. "Is this cancer treatment the real deal?"
"Why would he fake a medical procedure?" Shane asks, clearly having no intention of sharing his doubts with her.
Her lips purse. "Why would he announce something like this and not tell his wife beforehand?"
Shane's fingers flex against where they rest against me. "Why indeed, Mother?" he asks, a barely there hint of sarcasm in his voice, and I know he's thinking about her and Mike, concerned about her motives and loyalty. But I also have an epiphany. Could Shane have coped with his father's flaws by placing an unrealistic standard of perfection on his mother that he's yet to recognize or accept?
Maggie's response to his question is a look that's downright incredulous. "This is your father we're talking about, Shane. Everything he does has an endgame and some sort of strategy to get there."
"Staying alive," he says, "seems like a fairly cut-and-dried strategy and crystal-clear endgame."
"Cut-and-dried?" she demands. "If 'cut-and-dried' applied to your father, he would have told me about his treatment first, as most husbands would have. And if 'cut-and-dried' applied to your father, he'd have made peace with his family when he was diagnosed in the first place." Her voice is controlled, hard, and I do not know if she's containing her burning hot emotions or if she's been scorned by her husband to the point that this is the ice of a queen whose king has betrayed her.
"And," she continues, apparently not done yet, "if 'cut-and-dried' applied to that man, you and your brother wouldn't be playing a game of tug-of-war with the bladed rope he's handed you. Your father enjoys his mind games, and he will enjoy them while the rest of us suffer, until the day he dies. Perhaps even beyond." She folds her arms in front of her but not before I notice her hands trembling, which could mean any number of things, guilt and heartache among potential culprits. "Did you," she asks, focusing solely on Shane, "know about this in advance officially or unofficially?"
"I did not," Shane confirms.
"And you have Seth, who I know is a perfectionist to the bitter extreme, monitoring his activity?"
"I do," Shane states.
"Then that proves my point," she says, anger quavering back into her voice. "We're all being taken on a ride."
"Actually," I dare interject, afraid they're both making assumptions based on a history of manipulative behavior by Brandon Senior that may not apply this time. "My mother's best friend had terminal cancer, and I was close enough to her to know details. When a patient is terminal, they are put on a trial list — if they want to be considered for one, of course. When one opens up that matches their needs, it's often sudden, as it was with her. She found out and was under treatment within days."
"And how did it work out for her?" Maggie asks, her blue eyes fixed on me.
"She lived five years when she'd previously been given three months," I say. "So no, it wasn't a cure, but it certainly gave her valuable years she wouldn't have had otherwise."
"I see," Maggie says softly, her expression unreadable, but there is a timid quality to her barely there reply that doesn't suit what I know of this woman, as if her internal struggle is perhaps distracting her from a performance. It's stunning though. Could her entire existence be one big, exhausting show?
The male voice echoes from the left, near the kitchen, and Maggie inhales but doesn't turn, exhaling on a tightly spoken, "Yes, Chef Rod," and she glances at Shane. "Your father and your brother are already in the dining room." She then cuts me a sharp look. "No one else knows where your head was at and you need to make sure it stays that way." It's a reprimand, and I don't know if it's self-serving to her, but it's good for me and Shane.
"I was angry," I say. "I don't care if they know. I'll tell them."
Her lips purse and hint at a smile. "That's an acceptable response." And with that, she returns to her prickly self. Then she turns and starts walking away.
Shane and I stand there, watching her cross the tiled foyer, neither of us moving or speaking, a band of tension tightening around us, suffocating us with the energy that is his family. "He didn't tell her before the rest of us," Shane bites out the moment his mother disappears into the kitchen, "because of Mike. On some level, be it consciously or unconsciously, I know she knows that."
And with that statement, I have a good idea where his head is, even if he does not, and it's not in the right place. I step in front of him, my hands settling at his hips. "This is not the right time or place to say this to you, but it's necessary if we're going to stay for dinner. Can anyone hear me here or do we need to go outside?"
"Speak softly and we're fine here," he says, curiosity in his eyes. "What is it?"
"I asked you what happened to change your mother, and you said, 'My father.' I'm not justifying your mother's actions, but, Shane, she didn't get to this place overnight. She has lived with your father for over thirty years. She made a decision to stay, and found a way to survive."
Excerpted from "Bad Deeds"
Copyright © 2017 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.
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