Release Date: Sep 4, 2018
Series: 21 Wall Street
Heat Level: Hot
I’ve expressed a number of times that Lauren Layne is one of my top fave authors. I’m fairly confident she’s my #1 favourite contemporary romance author. Which actually makes reviewing her books not as easy as it may seem. That said, Hard Sell hits all the right buttons for me. Hero and heroine with a contentious past. Ex-lovers. Currently, walking the line between lust and intense dislike. Okay, maybe that’s only Sabrina when it comes to the intense dislike part. All those elements, that’s my catnip. If I read this on a blurb by an unknown author, I’m downloading the sample.
At the beginning of Hard Sell, we find Matt Cannon in a bind. Yeah, he’s young and ridiculously hot and rich but his playboy reputation and some pics taken at a bachelor’s party has his bosses at Wolfe Investments worried that his clients will get the impression he’s as reckless with their money as he is in his personal life. He needs to look stable. He needs a girlfriend.
Enter his arch nemesis Sabrina Cross. Arch nemesis as in occasional lover. PR is her thing and fixing reputations and bad situations is what she does for a living. And since she can’t stand him, she’ll make the perfect fake girlfriend. There’s no risk of her falling for him and wanting more. I don’t need to tell you where this is going, right?
Matt is swoonworthy. I fell for him right away as did Sabrina. Their relationship goes back four years and (like the man he is) he fools himself into believing that what’s between them is physical, irresistible, smoking hot chemistry. And boy does he sometimes put his foot in it, which made my heart squeeze for him even more. The poor guy is human and he demonstrates that enough. He doesn’t mean to hurt Sabrina but sometimes he’s just clueless. Now, he’s in a faux relationship with her where sex is strictly forbidden. My only question was how long will this last.
Sabrina is one of those people who, because of a difficult upbringing, has walled off her emotions. Or at least outwardly. She’s not warm and fuzzy. She’s not a people pleaser. She’s a career-driven, 21st century businesswoman who is good at what she does and doesn’t believe in love. The latter is what she tells herself. The way she is with Matt though—sigh—she simply can’t help herself. That’s what I loved so much about their relationship, which is watching as it grows. Watching as they each make allowances for each other and as the rules of their agreement get broken.
Beyond the cast of Hard Asset (first book in the series), guess who else makes an appearance in the book? Georgianna Watkins now Mulroney from Walk of Shame. I absolutely loved that book so it was wonderful to catch up with her a bit. And then we learn a bit more about Kate and Kennedy, who will finally get their story in Huge Deal. Can’t wait! Can’t wait!
And can I tell you what Lauren Layne is soooo good at? Making the hero grovel. The hero pulls out all the stops when he finally—eureka moment—realizes that he’s gone gone gone for the heroine. Matt is no different and I fell for him even harder by the time their HEA was all wrapped up.