The only thing more dangerous than a dark secret is a damaged heart…
Shane Brandon has been pushed to the brink, torn between his corrupt family and his explosive, all-consuming desire for Emily Stevens, who he now knows is not who, and what, she seems. Has he trusted the wrong person? Will she, not his brother Derek, be the ultimate destruction of his family Empire?
Emily tries to run from Shane, but he will stop her, confront her, force her to reveal all — one hot touch and kiss at a time, under every intimate detail of who this woman is, and what she wants, is exposed. But as he tears away the dangers of the unknowns with the woman in his bed, and in his heart, The Martina Cartel has set their sights on his company, his family, and the one piece of leverage they believe he won’t gamble with: Emily.
My Rating: 4/5 stars
There is absolutely no rest for the wicked when it comes to family drama, drug cartels, and a dead sexy woman on the run.
Damage Control picks up exactly where Hard Rules left off, with Shane desperately trying to understand why Emily is pulling away from him and hiding a boat load of secrets. Given his inherent trust issues, having Emily deceive him may be a betrayal he can’t come back from.
In an effort to better understand Emily and what she’s dealing with, Shane forces the issue until Emily unloads absolutely everything. To say he wasn’t expecting the story he gets is a vast understatement. Emily is on the run from one of the most ruthless hacking groups on the planet, a group her brother is involved with up to his butt. To make matters worse, her brother has stopped contacting her and cut her off from the funds needed to support herself or run with if push comes to shove. If Shane has his way, and he usually does, Emily will not run again, but will stay by his side and let he and his trusted team get her out of the mess she finds herself in. Furthermore, Emily is still advantageously placed within the Brandon business to spy for Shane and help him sort out the huge mess created by Shane’s evil brother and ruthless father.
Though she is hesitant to endanger Shane and his inner circle, without her money, Emily is out of options and leaving Shane, given her feelings for him, is all but impossible. Additionally, Emily is now totally invested in helping Shane right the boat that is his family business and she doesn’t like to leave work undone. Shane’s father, though grievously ill, still has his head in the game and is intent upon seeing more ill deeds done before he checks out for his dirt nap. Shane’s brother is becoming increasingly reckless and his dealings with a dangerous cartel are threatening more than just the company. Emily’s strategic location within the company allows her access to a great deal of information and material which she constantly feeds to Shane and his security team. The game is certainly afoot, but with so many balls in the air, it’s hard to say who is going to survive.
The Bottom Line: Before anything else, I want to point out how extremely grateful I was to find a long passage at the beginning of the book reminding me of what came before. I felt completely refreshed and apprised of the situation before diving into Damage Control and it made this read so much better! Damage Control is one disaster after another with threats and danger cropping up at every turn. In between bouts of panty-melting sex, Shane and Emily must navigate the shark-infested waters of their lives if they are to ever be free from all the danger surrounding them. While a few things get straightened out in this read, Damage Control is really all about building the drama and setting the stage for the next installment of the series. There is no way in hell the Dirty Money series is over and, if my suspicions are correct, it has a very long way to go.
Excerpt from Damage Control (Book #2: Dirty Money Series):
“You make me remember I need to be good and right in my choices.”
“Do you ever question doing what is good and right?”
“There have been times when I felt like my hand was forced.”
“When you were a lawyer?”
“No,” I say. “I manipulated the law, as does every attorney, but I never broke it. I’m talking about when I’m with my family.”
“Did you go where they lead?”
“Not so far.”
“That sounds like you might.”
“I don’t want to be them.”
“You aren’t them. You don’t have to be them.”
“I know that,” I say. “But you just keep telling me so I don’t forget.” Her legs hit the bed frame and she grips my arms.
I lean into a kiss and she pulls back, her hand pressing on my chest. “Wait. Now it’s my turn to say talk to me. Are you okay?”
“Death happened. The one thing I can’t control. It’s not the night to push me to stop protecting you. Not tonight. Can you do that?”
“Yes. We can.”
“We,” I repeat, “and that word sounds as good on my tongue as I know you’re going to taste. I’m going to make love to you properly. The way I plan to many times in our future.” I reach down and untie her robe, letting it fall open; my fingers sliding underneath just far enough to tease her nipples. They pucker beneath my touch, and her lashes flutter, settling on her cheeks. “But when it’s over, I’m going to fuck you hard and fast again.”
I tug gently on her nipples and she bites her lips. “Look at me,” I order gently.
She opens her eyes, and there is desire in their depths, but there are shadows there too,. I do not think she intends for me to see doubt or uncertainty that wasn’t there before. That I do not like or wish to know ever again. I want it gone. Now. Tomorrow. Forever. I reach up and rip the silk tie from her robe, wrapping it around my hand, before I reach up and caress the robe off her shoulder, letting it tumble to the ground.
“Give me your hands,” I order, but it’s really a question: Does she still trust me?
She studies me for several beats, her eyes narrowing ever so slightly, and I do not know what she sees in mine, but she offers me her hands. I wrap the silk around her wrists then lean in close to her, my cheek against her cheek, my body touching her nowhere else. “Now you’re at my mercy.”
“Yes,” she agrees. “I am.”
“How do you feel about that?”
My lips curve with the answer that is every bit the combination of sweet sexy honesty I’ve come to expect from her. “I’m going to make you warmer.”
I go still with that question, which on the surface is innocent, but I wonder if it truly is or if it’s about those shadows in her eyes. “I promise,” I say. “And you know, I never—”
“Make a promise you don’t keep.”
“Exactly,” I say, and her reference to my previous words tells me that I am not the only one on a mission of trust, and I intend to deserve hers.
I bring my hands to just above her shoulders, letting them lightly touch her before beginning a slow caress downward. She makes a soft little sound that has my cock thickening and my blood running hot, but I won’t rush this. My lips follow, tracing a line down one of her arms, then the other. I lean and caress my lips over hers, a feather light touch that teases me, if not her.
I take her hands in mine, pressing them behind her head. “Hold them there, for me, so I can see all of you. Understand?”
“You intend to tease me incessantly,” she says, without so much as a hint of hesitation. “Yes. I understand.”
I wrap my arm around her waist and pull her naked body against me, my free hand on hers above her head, our mouths a breath apart. “I intend to lick every part of you, and then do it again, so yes. If that’s the definition of incessant teasing, then yes. I am going to tease you incessantly.” I close my mouth down on hers, my tongue licking into her mouth, a deep, hungry tasting I force myself to end far too quickly. “That was the beginning. Should I could continue?”
“Please,” I say. “I like that.”
About the author and where to find her:
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT SERIES, and is now in development by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland, Austin Powers, Must Love Dogs) for cable TV. In addition, her Tall, Dark and Deadly series and The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series, both spent several months on a combination of the NY Times and USA Today lists. Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 40 books translated around the world. Booklist says that Jones suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann. Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine. Lisa loves to hear from her readers.