Hard Rules by Lisa Renee Jones Review

hard rules cover lrj

Hard Rules by Lisa Renee Jones

Release Date: August 9, 2016


Wall Street meets the Sons of Anarchy 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.
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.

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SPECIAL $4.99 EBOOK PRE-ORDER PRICE! It will go up to $7.99 shortly after release day so be sure to get it now!

The print version of HARD RULES will have a bonus alternate POV scene and is on sale for 50% off on Amazon (subject to change)!



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My Review

Thank you to the author for an eCopy of Hard Rules. All opinions are completely my own.

Note that this is a cliffhanger. There’s your warning. That being said – you MUST go grab this book today. Today! Lisa Renee Jones is the queen of twists and turns and her newest book is no different. Jam-packed with passion, desire, and angst, Hard Rules will have you hanging on from the first chapter to the last word.

Did I mention it’s a cliffhanger? Yeah, I’m going to need the next book later today. I’m so invested in Shane and Emily’s story that I feel a little heartbroken that I have to wait, but in Lisa Renee Jones fashion, I’m sure it will be worth it.

Intriguing characters, unexpected moments, and steamy passion make Hard Rules a Summer must-read! I like that there were still a ton of secrets at the end of the book, I know I have my ideas on those secrets, but I really enjoyed how Jones rolled out the plot a bit at a time and kept us on edge. I’ll be re-reading this one while I’m waiting for the next in the series.

Oh, and Shane’s my husband’s name so there’s that, too. 😉

★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2 Stars

  • Shane as a BBF: ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Hotness Level: ★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2
  • Swoon Level: ★ ★ ★ 1/2


“Angst-y, sexy contemporary romance with big emotional and financial stakes set against the backdrop of two dynamic families. Sure to leave readers desperate for the next installment.” 

-Kirkus Reviews

“High-octane romance set above the glittering lights of Denver is enhanced by the dominance of a powerful man and the cunning sweetness of a woman who isn’t cowed or swayed by his wealth…a fascinating mystery and characters with distinct voices.” 

-Publishers Weekly

“I was hooked from beginning to the end and was gasping when I reached that last page. I am in desperate need to get book two. The characters are completely charming. Shane and Emily are perfect together,” 

-Lindsey, The Smut-Brarians


This series will have FOUR full-length books in it. The first four will be Emily and Shane’s story and there will be a fifth fir a secondary character’s story (more information to come soon). I don’t have covers or buy links for these books YET, but I DO have titles and tentative release dates!

  • Book One – Hard Rules – August, 9, 2016 
  • Book Two – Damage Control – February 2017 
  • Book Three – Bad Deeds – August 2017 
  • Book Four – End Game – February 2018 

I am SO excited for this series to come out, because it is so unlike my other series. I am hoping my readers love it just as much as I did when I was writing it! PLEASE be sure to sign up for my TEXT LIST (link below). That will be where/how I communicate when these titles, and others, are available for pre-order, on sale or when I have a big giveaway!


We meet again,” he says, his voice a soft purr of seduction, and his eyes are still a perfect steel gray just like the tie that matches his suit.

Yes, I . . .” I swallow hard. “I’m sorry. I didn’t see you.”

I’m not sorry and I did see you.”

You . . . what?” I step back, his hands falling from my waist.

Mine slide away from his chest, where I wouldn’t have minded them lingering a little longer, but that would be bad. And inappropriate, which is exactly what I’m trying never to be again.

He glances at the guard. “Is there a problem, Randy?” he asks, and good gosh, no won der I ended up in that exchange with him this morning. The man is the definition of “tall, dark, and handsome.”

The lady is looking for her cell phone,” Randy explains, “and Lost and Found is closed for the night.”

Shane arches a brow at the man. “Closed? How does Lost and Found close?”

My thoughts exactly, but I bite my tongue, considering “Randy” had actually displayed quite a lot of patience with me, considering I’d asked the same question in a far more pushy way.

And Randy is actually looking quite uncomfortable, his reaction indicating that Shane is more than a random hot guy in this building who likes his coffee ridiculously strong. “I’m the only guard on duty,” Randy explains. “I can’t leave the desk.”

I’ll watch it for you,” Shane states, and it’s not an offer. It’s an expectation. Everything about this man is a smooth command that manages to be sexy, not obnoxious. A rare skill few men, or women, successfully harness, though I’ve known many who tried and failed.

Yes sir,” Randy says. “I’ll be back in five minutes.”

The guard rushes away, leaving me stunned at his quick departure while Shane rests an arm on the counter and faces me. “You ran away today.”

My eyes go wide. “That’s the way to get right to the point. And for your information, I had someplace to be.”

You didn’t even take your coffee with you.”

I didn’t have time to drink it,” I say quickly, no stranger to thinking on my feet.

You ran,” he repeats.

You’re kind of intimidating,” I counter.

Amusement lights his gray eyes. “You aren’t intimidated by me.”

Are you saying you are intimidating to others?” I challenge.

To some I am, but not to you.”

You base this assessment on what, exactly?”

Anyone intimidated wouldn’t be brave enough to say they are.” He closes the distance between us, the scent of him, autumn leaves and spice, teasing my nostrils. “Are you intimidated now?” he asks, the heat in his eyes blisteringly hot.

No,” I say, suddenly warm all over, when lately, everything has made me cold. “I’m not intimated.”

Good news,” the guard announces, jolting me back to a reality that does not include hot strangers who could find out more than I want them to know. I quickly take a broad step backward, distancing myself from Shane, to face Randy.

You found my phone?” I ask, hopeful.

I found a phone,” he confirms. “I need you to confirm the first number in the contacts.”

I hesitate, but having no other option, admit, “There are no numbers in my phone at all.”

You are correct,” the guard says, sliding the phone onto the counter. “I’ve never known anyone to have no contacts in their phone.”

It’s new,” I explain, picking it up and slipping it inside my purse, and realizing it’s a lame excuse, I add, “I need to sync my numbers. Thank you.” I rotate to face Shane to find him staring at me with the kind of interest and curiosity I’m not in a position to invite. “And thank you,” I add, motioning toward the door. “I should go.”

I was about to go grab dinner and a drink at one of the restaurants nearby. Join me.”

I really should get home,” I say, trying not to sound as regretful as I am. I’m flattered, but then, what woman wouldn’t be with this man?

I won’t keep you long.”

I have plans in the morning,” I counter, and it’s true. I’ll be waiting for the phone to ring and thinking about how much I wish I’d said yes to his invitation.

He glances at the guard, who quickly takes a hint and murmurs, “Good evening,” before stepping back behind his post and busying himself.

The instant he’s gone, Shane once again closes the space between us, this time bringing us intimately close, and I think he might touch me. I want him to touch me. “Here’s how I see us meeting again: The odds are next to zero. That means you have to have dinner with me.”

Have to? Is that some rule or something?”

Not just a rule. A hard rule I just made up.”

Does making up rules work often?”

Yes. Is it working now?”

Yes, I think, but instead, I say, “I wish I could.”

You can. Just say yes, Emily.”

Emily. I hate that name, but he has somehow not only remembered it, but made it silk and seduction. He is silk and seduction, a magnificent man who no doubt has so many woman lining up that I am a mere flicker on the screen. And actually, that isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s freedom. This is about tonight. Just tonight. He won’t want to know my past or my future. He’s looking for a diversion, and the truth is, if I spend one more night alone, trapped in guilt, worry, and my fast- looping replay of how I got to this point, I might go insane.

Emily,” he prods, using that name again, my name, and I swallow hard. “Say—”

Yes,” I supply. “Yes, I’ll have dinner and drinks with you.”


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