Title: Hard Rules (Dirty Money #1)
Author: Lisa Renee Jones
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Release Day: August 9th 2016
ARC kindly provided from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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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.

4 stars! 

This was my first book from the author and what a way to start! The story stars with Shane and Emily; when Emily accidentally takes Shane’s coffee. I usually have an issue with insta love but this was more like insta acceptance. You see, Shane is a character that doesn’t really hold back unlike Emily. He sees her, he asks her out, she refuses and he wants more. But the way the story is presented, it doesn’t leave room for doubt, you connect with these characters instantly and the main reason is Emily.

Unlike most books, Emily is a mystery throughout the story, we get next to nothing about her and that is hard to pull off – also it raises the chances of getting disappointed if it turns out that whatever Emily is hiding is not that big a deal. She works for Shane’s family company – mainly his dad’s secretary and she has an issue with her phone. That’s all we get from her and it was perfectly fine with me! Usually secrecy pisses me off but Shane’s personality and his family more than made up for Emily’s lack of – in fact if Emily had a more revealing part  in the story it would have made it too much to keep up with. It has the perfect balance between characters.

Shane is a corporate lawyer with lots of family drama that occupy a big part of this story and it’s the main conflict. Shane’s brother and his dad are assholes basically and I haven’t decided what to make of his mother but he’s left in the middle, trying to take the company in more legit business against his family’s plans. He is a very upfront character and he wants people to reciprocate so with Emily being so secretive, it both fascinates him but also he wants for more from her.

“It’s time for some rules?”
“Rules? What rules?”
“Hard rules. And hard rule number one is, NO MORE LIES.”

Like I mentioned earlier it is a semi insta love story but more of an attraction that becomes aware ever early on and why shouldn’t there be a connect like that between the characters. Their relationship – if we can call it that – has a natural flow of two people that have bigger  things in their life to worry about but also want to hold onto this a little bit longer. It’s impossible to see where this is going to go because of Emily’s mystery but I’m ready for more of them!

“Who burned you, Emily?”
I blanch but recover with a quick, “Who says anyone burned me?”
“I see it in your eyes.”
“Back to my eyes,” I say.
“Yes. Back to your eyes.”
“Stop looking.”
“I can’t.”

The author writes a compelling story with a lot of mystery that surprisingly never makes you feel left out. You know something is happening behind the scenes and you’re missing something but that just adds to the appeal of the story. The blurb says Wall Street meets Sons of Anarchy, I definitely get the Wall Street part and I’m hoping for more SOA in the future but there’s Shane Brandon and he’s a badass!


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