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.
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.
I think Lisa’s books are the only cliffhangers I read on a regular basis. I always tell myself I’ll wait until at least the second book before I start, but alas I have no will power. I fell into this book hard. From the beginning, when Shane gets his first look at Emily, to the end, I had no choice but to keep turning the pages.
A favorite scene is their first meeting.
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.
Hard Rules: A Dirty Money Novel (pp. 4-6). St. Martin’s Press. Kindle Edition.
With all the tension created by their dying, unfaithful father, Derek and Shane are at odds. Shane to make all the businesses legal and Derek who just doesn’t get the importance of that. All that and a mother whom I can’t tell who’s side she’s on, but probably just her own.
A relationship forming with enough ups and downs to mimic a rollercoaster, Emily has secrets that she needs to trust Shane enough to share with him. These two run hot and cold and back to hot again in a heartbeat.
A suspenseful tale with secrets we aren’t privy to. Family drama to the max and off the charts hot sex.
I really can’t wait for the next book in this series, February seems so far away.
5 Contented Purrs for Lisa!
~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 by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland) for cable TV. 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.
Watch the video on casting for the INSIDE TV Show:
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.
Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her on her website and she is active on twitter and facebook daily.