If you enjoy romances like Julie James’ FBI series (beginning with Something About You) I think you will really enjoy Hot Asset by Lauren Layne. This is a fast-paced romance with two commanding leads.
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) agent Lara McKenzie has been handed the case of a lifetime–or at least, the case that may finally get her a job at the FBI working with white collar crimes. It’s her dream job after being raised by two FBI agent parents herself and she will do whatever she can to finally make it come true. In this case, it means proving that Ian Bradley, confident Wall Street trader, is guilty of insider trading.
It should be an open and shut case but there are some elements of the case that are niggling at Lara’s mind. She is a methodical and practiced agent, used to closing cases and proving the wrongdoing but with Ian, well that’s easier said than done. Her attraction to him is a big no-no first of all. Second of all, well, things just aren’t adding up. Why won’t her boss share the person who made the claim about insider trading against Ian? The more Lara investigates, the more she realizes she has to put her stereotypes of Ian aside and look at the case, and him, with the facts she has in front of her. And something isn’t adding up.
Ian knows he is innocent. At first, he doesn’t think the case will go anywhere, but the more Lara investigates, the more Ian is starting to realize he has an even bigger problem: he really, really likes Lara. Ian is definitely a stereotypical love ’em and leave ’em Wall Street guy but when it comes to Lara, he cannot get her out of his mind. But do these two have any chance at making their feelings come to life?
Hot Asset jumps with chemistry from the opening pages. Lara wants to write Ian off. Ian wants to jump Lara’s bones and be done with it. They both soon realize that the connection between them will not be that easy to sever. What really drew me into this story was when Lara and Ian started to put their misconceptions aside and get to know each other. Their romance is incredibly engaging and visceral. You feel that “will they won’t they” tug from the very beginning but it turns into something more special as the investigation looms heavier in their minds. Lara, who is used to putting all the clues together to get her right answer, can’t fit these pieces together and she definitely can’t figure out how to deal with her feelings. Lara is ambitious and wants to be part of the FBI. She doesn’t have much time for dating and well, Ian is a bit too intense for her.
Ian didn’t think he would ever be drawn to a woman like Lara: intelligent, hard-working, a bit reticent and starchy, but somehow can handle all his foibles like a pro. He knows he is innocent and he just wants to see the conclusion of this investigation because maybe, they can try dating and see where things go. I liked Ian’s brash personality but he definitely has a softer more vulnerable side which sneaks out in some of his conversations with Lara, and his foster parent, Dave. Makes for a fully fleshed character.
Hot Asset is available now. This is an exciting and satisfying romance. Lauren Layne continues to push all my buttons in the right way!
ARC provided by publisher for review.
21 Wall Street
By: Lauren Layne
Releasing May 22nd, 2018
A sexy agent hounds Wall Street’s hottest new wolf in an exhilarating novel from New York Timesbestselling author Lauren Layne.
Ian Bradley is the definition of a Wall Street hotshot: seven-figure salary, designer suits, and a corner office. His drive off the floor is just as potent. Every woman who knows him has felt the rush. But now he’s met his match in Lara McKenzie—a woman with the power to bring Ian to his knees.
An ambitious, whip-smart daughter of FBI agents, Lara is a rising star in fighting white-collar crime. Her latest case—the investigation of Ian Bradley for insider trading—could make her career. She knows a scoundrel when she sees one. Ian fits the bill: a cocky, ridiculously handsome bad boy with a slick swagger.
She’ll do anything to prove he’s guilty. He’ll do anything to prove he’s not. But it’s only a matter of time before their fierce battle of wits gets oh so hot and personal. Now, taking down Ian has become more than business for Lara. It’s become a pleasure—and there’s more at risk than she ever dreamed.
“[A] playful romance…Layne populates her world of high-stakes finance with charismatic characters, and the fast-paced story works well with the simmering sexual tension between the leads…It’s easy to root for this couple.” —Publishers Weekly
“Layne can always be counted on to create an engaging, steamy, and thoroughly rewarding reading experience.” —RT Book Reviews
Lauren Layne is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than two dozen romantic comedies. Her books have sold over a million copies, in eight languages. Lauren’s work has been featured in Publishers Weekly, Glamour, The Wall Street Journal, and Inside Edition. She is based in New York City.
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