Feb 21 2017 12:15pm

First Look: Lisa Renee Jones’ Damage Control (February 21, 2017)

Damage Control by Lisa Renee Jones

Lisa Renee Jones
Damage Control (Dirty Money #2)
St. Martin's Griffin / February 21, 2017 / $15.99 print, $7.99 digital

The second book in a four-part series is always tricky. Damage Control,  the second in Lisa Renee Jones' Dirty Money series, is no exception. Fans on the hook after reading Hard Rules want reassurance that the couple they took to their hearts is going to make it but the plotline has to maintain suspense and tension so that readers devour the story avidly and wait impatiently for Bad Deeds and End Game to arrive. A hard task, but Jones’s latest Dirty Money tale satisfies on every level. 

Shane Brandon has fallen hard for Emily Stevens, but it turns out that she has as many secrets as him. Deeply hurt, Shane confronts her.

“No more games, Emily. Or whatever the hell your name is. Seth had you investigated, and nothing about who you are quite manages to add up.”

“Investigated,” she repeats. “Right. Because why in the world wouldn’t you investigate the woman in your bed?”

“Since the person you say you are doesn’t exist, clearly for good reason.”

“My secrets are mine. Mine to know. Mine to share. When I’m ready.”

“When exactly were you going to be ready?”

And that is the sixty-four thousand dollar question. Shane believes that their tumultuous, intense intimacy demands honesty but Emily tells him that her “secrets didn’t begin with you and they don’t end with you.” In Shane’s mind, being “damn naked” with all the doubts that are swirling in his mind takes him to a place of vulnerability that he doesn’t want. Or so he initially says. Emily says she kept secrets from him to protect him. That is so hard for Shane to accept—maybe the smartest thing he can do is “take her back upstairs, tie her to the bed, and fuck her until I get my answers.” Is that a good plan? What about his misgivings?

...our gazes collide, the connection a punch in my chest I don’t want her to have the power to deliver. But she does. I am vulnerable in ways I swore I never would be with a woman, or anyone for that matter, and I’d actually forgotten the lessons my family taught me years ago. What my mother warned me about with Emily. The people closest to you can hurt you the most.

In a move that will reverberate with lovers of Linda Howard’s feisty, intelligent, passionate heroines, Shane and Emily’s talk-it-all-out dinner devolves into where the hell is Emily when she doesn’t return from the bathroom.  Emily is on the lam, but not without some major regrets at leaving the guy she adores behind.

I can’t believe a kiss and a promise from Shane almost made me forget how unfair the burden of my confessions would be to him. And how dangerous. Even knowing this, standing there in that bathroom, he’d made me believe he could take on every monster in my closet and win. To exit the bathroom and find him absorbed in an intense conversation with Seth had thrown much needed water in my face. I don’t have one monster to defeat. I have many, some of which are not just powerful, they’re capable of destroyed him, which means if I lead them to him, I’m the one destroying him.

I can’t do that. I won’t do that.

I can’t go further without destroying the intense push-pull between the valid and competing concerns that separate Shane and Emily. For both of them, their brothers have been lightning rods of danger shot through with family loyalty. Emily and Shane are both so intelligent and perceptive—I found it fascinating to parse out Emily’s career path versus Shane’s decisions. It’s worth noting that however much divides them, their core strength is the “comfort, pride, and friendship” that permeates their sensuous, private world.


Learn more about or order a copy of Damage Control by Lisa Renee Jones, available February 21, 2017:

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Janet Webb aka @JanetETennessee moved from the San Francisco Bay to eastern Tennessee. Baseball is my passion: I follow the Chattanooga Lookouts and the Nashville Sounds (farm team of my beloved Oakland Athletics). Social media devotee. Stories on royals and politics catch my eye. Ottawa born. Grew up on Georgette Heyer and Helen MacInnes. I also review at Criminal Element.



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