Hard Rules by Lisa Renee Jones
This was really good! Beware of the cliffhanger, though. I knew it was coming, so I was okay with it. Just know going in, that it's not a complete story. It reads like a serial. But I was wrapped up in the story so much that I didn't care.
This is Emily and Shane's story. Shane is in a fierce battle with his father and brother over control of their family company. Shane's father is dying and his brother is dragging the company into illegal activities. Shane has left his job as a lawyer to come fight his family to push the company towards the legal side of business. He meets Emily is a coffee shop and is intrigued. She is clearly on the run from something or someone. It is not revealed yet who or what. She just moved to Denver with hardly any belongings and a burner phone. She gets a job at Shane's family company, unknowingly. Shane and Emily feel a deep connection to each other and begin a relationship despite both of their misgivings to drag each other into their problems. But Shane's family and their criminal activities and Emily's past look like they are going to put a big wrench into their burgeoning feelings for each other.
I really liked both Emily and Shane. They are both really good characters. You can tell that they are both good people caught up in bad circumstances. We don't know what Emily is running from or much about her past, but we know she is not a "bad guy". Ms. Jones is very good at creating chemistry and connection, a sense of suspense and sexiness, and great complex characters. Her writing is so good. There was not a lot revealed in the story. It is very mysterious and not a lot of action happened, but I was still enthralled.
Overall, this was a very good start to a serious and I can't wait to find out more about Emily and see her relationship with Shane develop. Luckily, book 2, Damage Control, releases today 2/21!