Review: Hard Rules by Lisa Renee Jones (Dirty Money #1)

Note: This ARC was provided by St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review.

Shane Brandon is a lawyer and his career has been on the rise, but it’s a career that he’s put indefinitely on hold. His focus right now is to put the family-owned conglomerate Brandon Enterprises on the right path, weeding out the dirty money that’s been used to fund it by bringing in income and investments with a legally obtained and continuous influx of cash. He knows he’s up against his older brother Derek and his father seems to think it’s entertaining to pit one son against the other, but Shane knows this is something that needs to be done, especially with his father dying of cancer. He doesn’t expect to find himself a distraction in the form of Emily Stevens. He wants her and he’s certain she wants him just as much. Whatever rules they set are changing faster than they either one of them can figure out what exactly it is they have. But can Shane afford to trust a woman he’s recently met, especially one with secrets?

It’s been a day of romantic suspense series starters and I found myself a second winner with my very first Lisa Renee Jones read! Hard Rules is the first novel in the Dirty Money series and while it does end on quite an evil cliffhanger, I’ve been sucked in so completely into the world of thirty-two-year-old Shane Brandon and twenty-seven-year-old Emily Stevens. The prologue piqued my interest and while I was reading the book, I found myself forming theories in my head as to what was going on and how the prologue tied into it. But with that cliffhanger ending I mentioned, it looks like the prologue ties in to either the first two books or to the series as a whole. I’m not sure if all four books will be about Shane and Emily or if it’ll be split in the middle between brothers Shane and Derek. Heck, maybe books three and four will be about two different couples. You never know with series and I try to not assume, though, I end up doing so.

There’s a lot of secrecy going on with Shane and Emily. I think I’ve figured out at least one of Emily’s secrets, but of course, I could be absolutely wrong. I’ll have to wait until the second book is released to find out if I was right or not. Shane’s relationships within his family are extremely complex, especially the one with Derek, which is no longer mere sibling rivalry, already bordering on something seemingly sinister and adversarial. Everyone has an agenda in this story, as if they’re out for themselves and whatever benefits them most. In the case of Shane and Emily, however, they’re ensnared by their evolving feelings for each other, to the point that they could very well be risking their own endgame. I loved, loved, loved the mystery suspense angle of the book and while I’m itching to get answers to all my questions, I’m confident that the wait will be worth it. In short, expectations for Damage Control are high. Five stars for Hard Rules. ♥

Date Read: 11 August 2016

Learn more about Lisa Renee Jones.

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