Review: Hard Rules

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Hard Rules
Hard Rules by Lisa Renee Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Suspenseful, thrilling and deliciously sexy.

“It’s time for some rules?”
“Rules? What rules?”
“Hard rules. And hard rule number one is, no more lies.”

Power and money are the main fuel that moves the Brandon family. Unlike the rest though, Shane only wants it by his own merit and if it’s attained legitimately. Something he was well on his way to achieve as a successful lawyer in NY. Far away from the current tangle of fraud and corruption his family’s empire is in. But having his heartless father nearing certain death due to illness or his mother suffer the consequences of illegal company dealing, he’ll do just about anything to prevent his family’s legacy crumble, even step into a dangerously gray area to fight his merciless brother.

“Blood divides as easily as it unites, especially when money and power are involved”.

And in the midst of his storm of lies and betrayal he meets the mysterious Emily Stevens, a woman who not only piques his sensual interest but also brings light into what seems to be his inevitable path to darkness. A woman who’s past he doesn’t know and could destroy them both. Because Emily has secrets of her own. She’s running and trying to avoid any entanglements that might get caught in the crosshairs of her problems, but she can’t escape the very intense, alpha who’s his sight on her.

“She’s my light in the storm of betrayal.”

I just love complex and well developed characters. Even when we don’t get a lot of details from Emily’s past be we do get to know her through Shane’s keen sense of observation and her own actions. She’s sweet yet strong, a perfect counterpart for Shane. She is the sweet mocha to his no nonsense triple shot latte.

“I drink my coffee the way I see the world. Hash and brutal. And I drink my booze with a smooth kick, the way I try and face my adversaries.”

Opposite to Emily’s scarce background details, we do get a lot regarding the domineering, dutiful and cunning Shane Brandon and his family which seems completely beyond repair or redemption. I half wanted him to leave Denver with Emily in tow. I felt for him and the lack of trust and love from the people who should love and support him the most. So I really want him and Emily to work out.

“I see it in your eyes.”
“Back to my eyes,”
I say.
“Yes. Back to your eyes.”
“Stop looking.”
“I can’t.”

Those two words sizzle, matching the heat in his eyes…

The chemistry between Shane and Emily was sizzling throughout the story, and the more they got to know each other the more intense their connection got. But the fact that they wanted to protect the other from each other’s difficult lives, made them push as much as they pulled which created a whole lot of drama.

“She’s a drug I could easily call an addiction when I don’t have addictions, and at a time I’d be nothing but poison to her. That’s a problem for her and me.”

Even though Shane and Emily have a serious case of insta-lust right from the get go, the story itself took a while for me to get into. But as it progresses, the plot thickens with mystery and intrigue I got really hooked.

All secondary characters were as well developed as the main ones. From Shane’s cunning mother to his wonderfully awesome assistant Jessica. All of whom added a great layer to the story.

Hard Rules is book #1 in the Dirty Money series by Lisa Renee Jones. It is a contemporary romance hailed as “explosively sexy Wall Street meets Sons of Anarchy” and I would have to agree. Lisa Renee Jones crafts a strikingly rousing and sexy opening story wrapped up in danger, deceptions and secrets. The book is told from both points of view and ends with an OMG I want the next book cliffhanger. I can’t wait to know Emily’s secret and how Shane will deal with it and his completely dysfunctional family.

Author’s Pinterest board ->…

4.5 stars

* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author. The excerpts are from that copy. *

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