Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Hot Asset (21 Wall Street #1) by Lauren Layne: Release Blitz w/ Review, Excerpt & Giveaway


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.

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I’m pulling my stapler out of my box of office crap when there’s a knock at the conference room door.

I glance up, lifting my eyebrows in surprise when I see the last person I’d expect leaning against the doorway.

Ian Bradley’s dressed impeccably in a light-gray suit, black tie, and holding two frothy concoctions.

I click my stapler twice and study him, trying to figure out his game. His expression’s friendly, but his blue eyes are calculating.

“Mr. Bradley.”

“Ms. McKenzie.” He doesn’t move.

“Would you like to come in?”

He grins. “Would you like to put that stapler down?”

The moment I do, he steps forward and, setting one of the drinks on the table, slides it toward me with a flick of the wrist. If anyone else did this, the drink would tip and fall, but Ian simply makes the cup slide perfectly across the table and into my waiting hand.

I lift the Starbucks cup and study it. “Really. Bribery?”

“Barista made two by accident. I could just give it to Kate . . .”

“Ah yes, your assistant,” I say, leaping on the opening. I’d met Kate Henley yesterday, and my initial impression of the tiny brunette was that she has one of the best poker faces I’ve ever seen.

Verdict after trying to coax her into conversation today?

The best poker face I’ve ever seen. “She said she’s worked for you for five years,” I say.

“Mm.” He walks toward the window, looks down. “They gave you the bad conference room. The other ones have a better view.”

“I’m not here for the view.”

“No, you’re here because of J-Conn,” he says, turning back around.

It’s a predictable play, fishing for information. Granted, he’s right. I’m here for J-Conn, and I’m not all that surprised Wolfe’s already put that at the top of their guesses.

But this isn’t my first rodeo.

I say nothing, instead watching him carefully for any signs of nervousness, finding none.

“Why now?” he asks quietly. “Why are you guys after me for a company that crashed ten months ago?”

“Didn’t say that we were.” He’ll find out he’s right the second I start asking questions, but that’s not today. And I have no intention of playing this game on his terms.

Not that this is a game.

But the way he’s watching me, and the Starbucks drinks . . . I can tell he thinks it’s one.

“Okay, well let’s say hypothetically you’re here because of J-Conn,” Ian says smoothly. “What would have to happen to put me on your radar?”

I set the cup aside without taking a drink. “Hypothetically, we’d have a source,” I say, telling him nothing he doesn’t already know. “Who’s alleged you had insider knowledge of the company’s future.”

“Who’s the source?”

I snort. “Really. You bring me an overpriced coffee and think I’ll just tell all?”

“Or you could swoon,” he says with a wink.

This time I roll my eyes. “I’d heard you were a womanizer, but I confess, it’s really hard to picture.”

“Yeah?” He crosses his arms and sits on the edge of the conference room table. “What have you heard? Maybe that I’m good with my hands? That when I’m with a woman, I always make sure she gets her—”

I hold up a hand. “Stop.”

Good Lord, is it hot in here? I resist the urge to undo a button on my shirt.

He smirks, then glances down at my ignored beverage. “Try the drink, Ms. McKenzie.”

“No thanks,” I say briskly, trying to remind myself that I’m Lara McKenzie with the SEC, not Lara McKenzie, Ian Bradley groupie.

He gives an exasperated sigh as though I’m an uncooperative child and stands and walks toward me. He stops a couple of feet away and, without breaking eye contact, picks up the drink I’ve set aside and holds it out. “Try it.”

“This caveman approach might work on other women, but—”

“Oh, I get it,” he interrupts, starting to set aside the drink. “You’re scared. You like your lines straight, your colors black and white, your coffee boring. God forbid you try something new, live a little—”

Before I can stop myself, I reach out and snatch the drink. My fingers brush his, and the contact is so unexpectedly electric I nearly drop the damn thing.

He shifts slightly closer. Not to crowd, or to intimidate, or to kiss, but for a whisper-quiet seduction that’s about a million times more effective than his pickup lines so far.

For a hideous moment, I want to lean in to him, to brush my lips along his jaw, to . . .

Well, hell, I realize with a jolt. The man really may be as good as his reputation after all.

I can’t let him know it. I won’t.

I stay put, giving a little lean of my own, letting my eyes lock on his as I part my lips and put the green straw in my mouth. I take a sip of the cold, wonderfully sweet beverage, and I let out an mmm noise unlike anything I’ve ever made in my life.

His eyes flare with surprise, then desire, and for a long moment I have no idea who’s seducing whom, who’s one-upping the other . . .

Ian gives a slow smile that crinkles his eyes.

“Well played, Ms. McKenzie.”

“Back at you, Mr. Bradley.” I take a victory sip—it really is delicious. “You want to play sexy cat and mouse, I can play right back, and I’ll win.”

About the Author:

Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. In 2011, she and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where Lauren decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite ardent assurances to her husband that it would only take three). Since then, Lauren's gone on to publish ten books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.

Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian. When not writing, you'll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.

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Yvette's Review:

My favorite books to read are ones that make me laugh and make me swoon, with a storyline and characters that command my complete attention from start to finish. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that my favorite genre to read is the romantic comedy and one of my favorite rom-com authors is Lauren Layne. Since I discovered her book, Walk of Shame, I became an instant fan, devouring every book of hers I could get my hand on, which leads me to her newest release, Hot Asset, the first book in her 21 Wall Street Series. Four words: hot guys in suits. What’s not to love about that?

From page one, Hot Asset is a tantalizing, exhilarating, tension-filled page-turner, following the story of investment broker, Ian Bradley, and SEC agent, Lara McKenzie, who find themselves on opposite sides of an insider trading investigation. Ian, a hotshot, womanizing Wall Street legend proclaims his innocence while Lara, a rigid, by-the-rules agent with her sights set on the FBI, is determined to prove his guilt. Despite their instant chemistry and the sparks that fly between them, Ian and Lara bicker and butt heads every step of the way. They have a teasing, flirtatious, if somewhat antagonistic banter that’s akin to foreplay ratcheting up the sexual tension between them, driving themselves (and the reader) crazy, making you wish their slow-burning romance would maybe…perhaps…hurry up…just a little bit.

Part high-stakes investigation, part smoking hot romance, Hot Asset is a humorous, seductive, whip-smart enemies-to-lovers romance that’ll keep you on your toes right up until the very end. With complex, thoroughly fleshed out protagonists, a fast-paced, drama-filled narrative, and a romance that’ll have you alternating between blushing a swooning, Hot Asset is a must-read. Add in a supportive cast of tightknit friends that are fiercely, unfailingly loyal as well as intriguing, and I’m even more impatient to see what’s next with the 21 Wall Street Series.

*complimentary copy provided by publisher for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

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