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Bad Deeds (Dirty Money #3)
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Wall Street meets the Sons of Anarchy in Bad Deeds, the smoldering, scorching next novel in the explosively sexy Dirty Money series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones.
Would you bleed for the one you love?
To save his family empire from the grip of the drug cartel, Shane is pushed to the edge of darkness, forced to make choices he might never make. His father is dying. His brother is desperate to rule the empire and this means war and all gloves are off. His brother only thought he knew what dirty meant. Shane is about to give it new meaning. There is another war brewing though, and that one, is inside him, his battle between right and wrong, light and dark, and in the heat of the night, it is Emily he turns to for escape. Driving her to new limits, pushing her to accept a part of him that even he cannot.
In every one of Shane’s seductive demands, Emily can taste and feel, his torment, his struggle to save his family and not lose himself. But he is losing himself, and that is a problem just as dangerous as her secret, that still lurk in the shadows, a threat to the Brandon Family waiting to erupt. No matter where she and Shane have traveled, or will travel in the future, she can’t just sit back and watch him become everything he hates, everything he never wanted to become, everything she tried to save him from when she tried to run. It could be their undoing, the end. His end.
This is war, blood will spill, and someone in the heart of the Brandon family will not survive….
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You could always sacrifice your queen and let her die a royal death. Would it—would she—be worth it to win?
Those words, a threat against my life spoken by Derek only minutes before, seem to whisper in the Colorado wind around us, taunting Shane and me where we stand under a tree in his parents’ yard, our foreheads joined, mocking our desire to dismiss them as nothing but words and my desire to believe Shane’s promises that everything will be okay. He means it, I know he does, and I’d wanted him to say those words, but now I am coming to my senses, remembering what my family taught me all too well—my brother, most especially. Promises, even well-intended ones, are like water in a cracked glass. One wrong lift or squeeze and it shatters, and in this case, with potentially bloody consequences.
I shut my eyes, and for a moment or two, or maybe even three, I let myself revel in Shane’s words again:
Everything is okay.…
But as surely as I soak in my desire for those things to be true, I flash back to the moment inside the house, when Derek had looked up from the chess game he’d been playing with Shane, and right at me. To those moments when he’d captured my stare, held it, and then issued that threat, and I’d seen the deep malicious intent and evil in his eyes.
We are not okay.
I shiver in a chilly gust of April evening wind blowing across the Rocky Mountains, and Shane’s strong hands come down on my upper arms, the heat of his touch seeping through my navy silk blouse. “You need your wrap,” he says, rubbing up and down my arms. “And I don’t even have a jacket on to be gallant and warm you up.”
“I don’t have my wrap because I rushed out here in a reactive mode I should never have let anyone see,” I say as more of the typical Denver evening winds lift my hair into my face. I shove it away, reminded that it is now brown but should be blond, the brunette color as fake as my name and identity. Another reality I think of in this moment, because this is my new life, by Shane’s side, and I don’t want it to be as a liability, but rather as an asset. “And you don’t need to be gallant or make promises I shouldn’t have asked you to make,” I add. “We need to go back inside. The longer we’re out here, the more it seems like I’m some scared fool.”
He arches a brow. “Scared fool?” He laughs, one of those deep, sexy rumbles that proves he’s not as starched as his white shirt, while also telling me that he’s not taking my concerns seriously.
“This isn’t funny,” I say, my hand closing around the navy tie I’d chosen for him out of some romantic notion that we’d match for his family dinner, which doesn’t feel romantic anymore.
His hands return to my arms. “No one thinks you’re scared. If anything, they think you’re angry.”
“I am angry. And not at your father for inviting me to stir up trouble, or your brother for making sure he got it. That’s just who they are. I know this, and I still gave them both a reaction. And then you reacted. I made myself your weakness.” I grab his wrists, urgency growing inside me. “We need to go back inside,” I say again. I try to move away from him.
He holds on to me. “Don’t go in there thinking you have something to prove. You don’t.”
“I let them think I was scared.”
“The human—and normal—reaction to someone threatening your life is fear, sweetheart, and I’m going to get you the hell out of here.”
“No,” I say. “No. I have to go in there and correct this. And later I’m going to apologize properly for asking you to make unfair promises.”
“I repeat. The normal—”
“Don’t say that again, Shane. ‘Normal’ doesn’t apply to my life or yours, and we both know that. I’m human, yes, but I should have waited to freak out until we were alone. I’m pissed at myself, and you should be pissed at me. Why aren’t you pissed at me?”
He cups my face. “I don’t want you to become cold and callous like my mother. Ever. I want you to have feelings. I want you to be human.”
“But being strong in front of your family doesn’t make me cold like her. I won’t ever become your mother, Shane. Because not only are you not your father, I’d leave if you were.”
He inhales and lets the breath out, putting his hands on my waist. “I won’t ever be my father.”
“I know that,” I say. “Or I wouldn’t be here, but Derek—”
“Is wearing a wounded ego right along with that bandaged hand, courtesy of Adrian’s knife. He’s puffing up his chest to try to seem unaffected by me making him look bad to the cartel. And now my father threw down the gauntlet by threatening his inheritance.”