Friday, 12 August 2016

Release Boost, Review & Interview ~ Hard Rules (Dirty Money #1) by Lisa Renee Jones

Title: Hard Rules 
Series: Dirty Money #1
Author: Lisa Renee Jones
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 9, 2016

Book Description:

Wall Street meets the Sons of Anarchy in 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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Our Review:

Reviewed by Donna ~ 4 stars
***ARC received for an honest review***

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

Hard Rules is the first book in a new series by Lisa Renee Jones and I am glad to say that this is chock full of intrigue, mystery and suspense just like this author is renowned for. So many secrets and Lisa Renee Jones just slowly eeeks out little snippets but as much as she giveth, she taketh away. This is definitely what I call a foundation book, this is the scene setter, the background on the characters, the situations that they find themselves in but most of all, the totally dysfunctional Brandon family.

“Every time I think this family can’t get more fucked up, you all prove me wrong.”

This is the story of a father at deaths door that runs his company with an iron fist and has taken it down the slippery slope of illegal activities in order to bolster already bulging profits, it is a case of pure greed. Knowing that his time on this earth is limited he has taken to pitting his two sons against each other to run the company after his demise and in this case it is definitely a battle of good vs evil. With a conniving, meddling mother, Lisa Renee Jones is certainly weaving a tangled web as this woman has her fingers in so many pies you just never know whose side she is on, or is she just on her own?

“The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, lies in its loyalty to each other.” ~ Mario Puzo

Derek Brandon is the evil one of the brothers, he is definitely his father’s son, with no scruples and even lower morals. He wants the legacy, he wants the power and the fortune it entails, by any means necessary. He is head high in shady dealings and a hairs breadth away from bringing the company into disrepute but he doesn’t care, as long as he wins and the profits get bigger and bigger.

“Behind every great fortune, there’s a crime.” ~ Lucky Luciano

Shane Brandon is an attorney, he went out on his own to make something of himself away from the family, but due to his father’s ailing health the company needs him more. Shane has got his father out of messes in the past, but the Brandon empire is the biggest mess of all. He wants to take it legit, he wants to clean the dirty with or without the family’s help. It is an uphill battle not made any easier by not knowing who your enemies really are.

“You just taught me to watch my back in case I have someone like you behind me.”

Emily is the on the run, from something…from someone…she plays her cards extremely close to her chest and her past is locked in a bank vault. New town, new job, new responsibilities and definitely no men. Emily is incredibly secretive, intelligent, resourceful but from the little we know about her she reeks of desperation and this is where the intrigue really comes in. Who is Emily? What has happened in her past that has led her to be where she is today.

Emily and Shane’s paths cross over coffee, their first meeting was a standoff but Shane isn’t one to be ignored. The chemistry between Shane and Emily is seriously hot and seriously smoking. Despite both their best efforts to stay away from each other as neither were looking for a relationship their chemistry and their physical attraction to one another is hard to ignore.

“My light in the storm of betrayal.”

Emily wants to protect Shane; Shane wants to protect Emily but what happens when things get really dirty? Will Emily just become a pawn in a dangerous game of chess? Who will get checkmate?

“…because if you care about him at all, you cannot become the only weapon they have against him.”

This is the first book in a four book series and the story is set and now well out of the starting blocks. As I said above the underlying mystery and intrigue makes this book one of those that you find yourself constantly page turning, frantically waiting for the next nugget of information…or are they red herrings? The pace in the beginning is a little slow, but I have found with the longer book series I have read the more I appreciate the need to really develop the characters and the foundation of the story, you really gain the benefit further down the line. Book 2 is called Damage Control and I personally cannot wait. Will Emily and Shane win the war or will evil get their wicked way?

Early Praise for Hard Rules:

Over 100 5-star early reviews on Goodreads!

"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

A Note from Lisa:

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!

Lisa Renee Jones


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 her quick wit. “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…

Interview with Lisa Renee Jones:

We were very luck on The Romance Cover to get the chance to interview Lisa Renee Jones and we thank her for taking the time to answer our questions.

1) Old school pen and paper or PC?
a. Mac all the way. I do write notes to myself via email when I’m not by my computer though.

2) Music or silence?
a. Typically, music. But with this release these characters had oddly requested silence while I write.

3) Where are you more creative, home office, coffee shop for example?
a. Home. It’s where I’m most comfortable.

4) Highlights of being an author?
a. Getting to meet so many different people from all over the world and getting to travel for “research” :-)

5) Plotting or fly by the seat of your pants?
a. Plotting. It usually changes by the time I type THE END, but I do need a solid idea of where I’m going before I begin otherwise I’d just have my character wander off like they know what they’re doing

6) Can characters change your plot as they develop?
a. Yes. Absolutely. All the friggin’ time. It’s exciting because I, myself, get surprised, but it’s also a pain when characters make a left turn when they’re supposed to be on a straight and narrow path.

7) If you could spend a day with any one of your characters who would you choose and why and what would you do?
a. Ella from Careless Whispers, I think. She’s a badass and was so fun to write. But also maybe Shane from Dirty Money, because he gets to run a company and is a badass in his own right. Plus, he is a guy and that would be an interesting experience. I’m sure my husband wouldn’t think so though lol

8) Where does your inspiration come from when developing a new book/series?
a. A ton of places, like TV shows, real life, but a lot of it comes from my wacky, wild imagination.

9) Is there a book out there that you wish you would have written?
a. Yes and no. Yes from the view point of I would love to experience being the writer of one of the phenomenon books that have been written, but no, because I am more than excited and content with the books I have written and how my readers love them. 

10) Most inspirational author?
a. There are SO many authors I look up to. I won’t list them because I don’t want to leave anyone out, but I have a VERY long list of people I grew up reading and admire, and have more recently come into the game that are truly inspiring to me. 

11) Tell us about Hard Rules that releases Aug 9th?
a. Oh, I am SO excited about this release!! It’s very much a family drama about two brothers, one good, one evil, vying for control over the family empire. You mix in a steamy affair with the good brother and his father’s new assistant, along with corruption and deceit and it’s a recipe for intense story. This is probably one of the darkest books I’ve written. It’s pitched as Wall Street meets Sons of Anarchy. With Shane Brandon as the Jax Teller but of the corporate world. I cannot wait for readers to experience it! 

12) Is Hard Rules that hot mystery type read that you are so renowned for?
a. Well, first off, thank you for saying I’m “renowned” in anything :) Also, yes, it is very mysterious and very sexy. I’ve amped up both aspects in this series. The mystery is grittier and darker, and the romance and sex are more intense and steamy. 

13) What excites you most about Hard Rules?
a. How different it is from my other books. That made it a ton of fun to write and I hope more fun for readers to experience as well!

14) What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
a. Shane and Emily and their opposing POVs. They’re very alike, but also very different, so as much as the book and what’s going on is dark, these two have an undeniable and consuming connection, but they also lend some levity to the book as well that’s much needed. Creating their characters was and continues to be the best part of this series because they made me a better writer.

15) What question do you wish someone would ask you about your book and why?
a. Oh, boy. I have no idea! Maybe what my all-time favorite scene in the book was. Though, I’m not sure I could answer that because there were a lot, but I think the Lipstick Scene would be my answer because it’s Shane and Emily’s first meet and it sets the whole tone for the book and their relationship. Push and pull. Entice and tease. Sigh. Shane gets pretty alpha hot in that scene, then again, there’s not many places where he’s not alpha defined :)

About the Author:

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 for a television show to be produced by Suzanne Todd of Team Todd (Alice in Wonderland). Suzanne Todd on the INSIDE OUT series: Lisa has created a beautiful, complicated, and sensual world that is filled with intrigue and suspense. Sara’s character is strong, flawed, complex, and sexy - a modern girl we all can identify with. I’m thrilled to develop a television show that will tell Sara’s whole story - her life, her work, her friends, and her sexuality.

In addition to the success of Lisa's INSIDE OUT series, she has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is presently working on a dark, edgy new series, Dirty Money, for St. Martin's Press.
Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women's Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.
Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at and she is active on Twitter and Facebook daily.




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