Home > End Game (Dirty Money #4)

End Game (Dirty Money #4)
Author: Lisa Renee Jones


AUTHOR’S NOTE

Dear Readers,

It’s that time again. The time I hate and dread but also enjoy so much. You finally get to read the finale to Shane and Emily’s story … for now. I never like to say good-bye to my characters, but I am leaving you with my current version of their happily ever after. That’s not a spoiler! It is a romance, after all. But how they’ll get there … you’ll just have to read to find out! This book packed a much bigger emotional punch than I ever anticipated. Just ask my husband—he walked in on me several times blubbering over these characters who have become so beloved and important to me. I know Bad Deeds left off on a heart-wrenching cliffhanger. And for that, I’m still sorry! But it had to happen. As much as I wield the keystrokes, these characters dictate their own stories.

BEFORE YOU GO ANY FURTHER! Please be sure you’ve read Hard Rules, Damage Control, and Bad Deeds (in that order) before reading on. I’m about to recap Bad Deeds since a bit of time has passed for some readers who read it when it first came out, and the following paragraphs will have spoilers for the previous books and prepare you for how End Game will begin.

As a refresher: we picked up in Bad Deeds after Derek’s threat to Emily at the family dinner with him, Shane, Brandon Senior, and Maggie. This is also following Adrian having stabbed Derek in the hand when he learned about his payoff to the FBI agent, and that the FBI was now snooping around Brandon Pharmaceuticals, which Adrian has infiltrated with his drug trade.

After Derek’s not-so-veiled threat, Emily is visibly shaken, but eventually she shores up her tough attitude to go back in for dinner. Brandon Senior has announced a new trial that could result in remission for his cancer. That comes as a shock to everyone, and he announces that Maggie will be joining him for a two-week stint in Germany for the treatment. In his absence, Shane will be taking over Brandon Enterprises, much to Derek’s outrage.

Following these major shifts in this dangerous game, Emily and Shane return to their apartment, where they find Adrian Martina waiting for them, unannounced and uninvited. He has a business proposition for Shane: help bring the Martina cartel even further into Brandon Pharmaceuticals operations by allowing the consortium he is part of to invest and get their illegal drug past FDA testing and on the legal market. Of course, Shane is against the proposal, but if he wants to get everyone out of this fight alive, he has to play his cards smart. Which does not sit well with Emily. She wants herself and Shane as far away from the drug cartel as possible. After Adrian’s good-bye, and a tense debate with Emily about the Martina cartel, Shane leaves to game-plan with Seth and Nick. They’ve decided Emily will need a protective detail after the events of Adrian stabbing Derek and as tensions get higher as they are about to make their move to extricate the cartel from BP. They also find out that Ted, one of Nick’s men, is missing and has been since Adrian paid Shane a visit. Of course, they soon realize this is a scare tactic for Shane and his family by Martina, which comes to a head when Ted is delivered in a box during what seems to be an attack on the office building. Making for a very public display and a skittish and more alert group.

Shane is also still reeling from the information that his mother has been having an affair with Mike Rogers, one of the stockholders in BE and the owner of a national basketball team. He also finds that Mike is trying to conduct a hostile takeover of BE, which just adds insult to injury. Shane can’t let Mike or Adrian take his family’s legacy from him. As their parents jet off to Germany, Derek and Shane visit Mike Rogers, only to be slapped with an impending lawsuit for control of the company now that their father is gone and seemingly unfit to run it. So Derek and Shane, unlikely cohorts, team up in the face of their adversaries, and create the plan to sell off Brandon Pharmaceuticals (the most profitable branch) from Brandon Enterprises to Mike Rogers, whom Adrian will be able to control with no problem, and buy up Mike’s team’s sports center for Adrian’s consortium investors so Adrian has even more leverage over Mike. This will extricate both Mike and Adrian from Brandon Enterprises entirely.

Who we see much more of in Bad Deeds is Teresa Martina, Adrian’s sister and Derek’s lover. She’s very at odds with what the right thing to do is: she loves Derek, but she doesn’t want to be the cause of his loss of life because of who her brother is either. She also has an infatuated member of Adrian’s team, Ramon, who is obsessed with her and sketchily following Emily as well. Teresa eventually leaves Derek for his own good, which devastates him.

All this takes place while Emily and Shane have been planning to create an incorruptible branch of Brandon Enterprises—a fashion and makeup line—which will more than make up their profit losses from the sell-offs to Mike. Before any of this can be implemented, though, with Derek drunk and distraught over Teresa, and Emily being caught unaware, they are both kidnapped by Ramon. Ramon has heard Adrian talking about legalizing the cartel business, which he blames Shane and Adrian for; this does not fit his motives at all, and complicates his obsession over Teresa and her love for Derek. He’s incredibly unstable, and when Shane shows up to save Derek and Emily, Ramon and Shane both fire off shots, with Shane killing Ramon. Ramon’s gun is pointed at Emily, but Derek jumps in front of it to try to save her. And those are the last heart-stopping moments of Bad Deeds. Shane’s agonizing cry as he sees his brother, who is finally coming back to him, and the woman he loves immeasurably both falling to the floor, both covered in blood … which is right where we pick up in End Game.…

Xoxo,

Lisa

 

 

CAST OF CHARACTERS

EMILY STEVENS (27)—Heroine in the series. She is Brandon Senior’s newly appointed secretary. After landing her new job, she learns that the one-night stand she had the night before turns out to be her boss’s son Shane Brandon. Emily has secrets and she’s running. But Shane will not let her run from him. During Hard Rules, the two had a lot of push and pull about their relationship, his family, and her secrets.

SHANE BRANDON (32)—Hero of the series. Shane Brandon is the black sheep of the family. The good one. The one willing to risk everything to play this game on the up-and-up and keep his brother from ruining the family empire, Brandon Enterprises, by getting in bed with the Martina family drug cartel. But Shane is treading on thin ice as he bring his legacy back from the brink of corruption. He is also dealing with Emily Stevens. A woman who breaks through his defenses and brings an innocence to his life that he can’t have as a distraction. He wants and needs to protect her, possess her, and be worthy of her. She is already making him a better man and keeping him grounded. But she has secrets, and could be the one to ultimately send his world crumbling harder than he ever anticipated.

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