Updated: Aug 23
by Lauren Layne
Published by Montlake Romance
Book #2 of 21 Wall Street Series
He’s a Wall Street wolf.
She’s been hired to tame him.
From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne comes a wildly sexy novel of business and pleasure.
Twenty-eight and filthy rich, Matt Cannon is the youngest broker on Wall Street. He may be a “boy wonder,” but he’s every inch a man. Ask any woman—any night. But when Matt’s latest fling makes scandalous headlines, his clients get anxious, and his bosses at Wolfe Investments level an ultimatum: keep his assets zipped, get a “real” girlfriend, and clean up his act. Only one woman can help Matt with something this hard.
For PR genius Sabrina Cross, the best fixer in Manhattan, playing Matt’s steady is going to be a challenge, even if it’s just for show. They already have an explosive history, she can’t stand the cocky party boy, and worse—she can’t stop thinking about him. So who’ll dare to break her “no touching” rule first? Because when that happens, Matt and Sabrina’s game of let’s pretend will get so hot it could set both their reputations on fire.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Some Steaminess Rom-Com Feel Good
Hard Sell is the second book in the 21 Wall Street series by Lauren Layne, and focuses on Matt Cannon and his enemy-with-benefits Sabrina Cross. I will say, I was looking forward to this one, after reading Hot Asset. Matt and Sabrina's fights were pretty entertaining in the first book, and the sexual tension bled through the pages.
In book two of the series, we find out that it wasn't just a one time hook-up, and fight that leads to them becoming enemies, but that four years later, they still hook-up from time to time. That's their thing. They either are at each others throats, or going at it. For two people who have major commitment issues, it works for them. The question on everyone's mind though, is why do they fight all the time?
Both admit the night they met, and fell into bed together, was amazing. Romantic even. Turns out, one, rather insensitive comment from Matt, is what ruined what could have been a really good thing from the start. It brought up painful memories from Sabrina's past, ones she works hard to forget. And while he was incredibly apologetic, they both held grudges over one another.
When you are scared of love, it would be easier to hide behind anger.
Their very different pasts, resulting in the same current issues, I found interesting. Matt's childhood was unconventional, despite being raised with a silver spoon, and while I suspected that his parents marriage was messy, I was surprised about the actual state of their marriage, and can see why Matt avoids relationships. He was raised knowing about his parents affairs, knowing that they knew about the affairs, and yet they pretended everything was perfect.
That would mess with any kids head, and shape who they became in the future.
With Sabrina, we knew from the first book that she grew up in Philly with Ian, and they both had rough childhoods. We knew her dad was dead, and her mom was into drugs and alcohol, and was an all around shit mom. I started to suspect even worse happenings when she was thinking about the time her mom's boyfriend bought her a bikini, and when she refused to try it on for him, her mother yelled at her. Finding out it didn't go as far my brain was going, I'm glad for Sabrina. But learning that the only reason her mother didn't prostitute her out to the men asking to sleep with a teenager was because she was jealous of her youth ... wow. What a piece of garbage. Totally understandable why Sabrina keeps her walls up. The one person in the world that was supposed to love her and care for her, didn't.
While the whole fake relationship aspect is done ... a lot ... this one is a bit different because they already have a relationship. I mean, its fighting and sex, but after four years, that's something. Dysfunctional for sure. In public they bickered constantly. My favorite moments between them were when they were in Sabrina's home, or in the Hamptons, with her dog Juno. Since the sex was already there, and they had already known each other for years, it wasn't unrealistic how fast they fell for each other. All they needed was time together, and being forced to get along. By actually talking, slowly learning to trust one another, they become closer then ever.
It's weird to think of romance stories centered around three men who work on Wall St as sweet, but so far, both books of the series are sweet. Yes, it has most things you want in a romance: insane chemistry, hot sex, and a good plot, but they have a sweet, endearing undertone. The characters are well written and interesting, and the book itself is consistent. Totally recommend this series! 4.5/5
Also, for Walk of Shame fans ... Georgie Mulroney makes an appearance! :)
Top 3 Favorite Moments
1. The shopping trip when Matt tags along with Sabrina, and after a rather hot make out in the dressing room, and scooting Matt into his own dressing room, she tells the sales associate to charge everything to Matt.
2. After Sabrina mentions she hated the rain because her dog Jude was scared of umbrellas and didn't like her wearing a hood, Matt offers to take her dog outside. He ended up soaked, but it was so sweet he did that so Sabrina didn't get soaked outside.
3. Epilogue. We learn they got married really fast. They married in Vegas on New Years Eve, with their friends and Matt's family. The epilogue shows them at home, trying to make deals with how many kids they want. Even though they both was four, Sabrina says two, and she wants to wait a year, just so she can argue with him. It's their thing.
Where to Buy:
Paperback (Amazon Canada)
Matt: "You're an angel, and I love you."
Kate: "Are you talking to me or the bagel sandwich?"
Matt: "I don't pay you enough to throw out my chewed gum."
Kate: "You don't pay me enough for any of this."
Matt: "You make me crazy, but I trust you. Only you."
Matt: "What are you so afraid of?"
Sabrina: "You know, for someone so decidedly anti-relationship, you're pretty obsessed with the idea of my falling for you."
Matt: "What can I say, the apocalypse fascinates me."
Sabrina: "At least you acknowledge that it'll be the end of the world before I feel anything other than tolerant loathing for you."
Matt: "Or I you."
Sabrina: "No hookups, remember?"
Matt: "I know. But I can't think when you're dressed like that."
Sabrina: "I'm not really dressed at all."
Matt: "That's perhaps the scariest word you've ever said."
Sabrina: "How do you figure?"
Matt: "How easily you forget that I know you. And I know that any time you easily agree to something, hell is sure to follow."
Matt: "I'm not sure they want the guy who makes his credit card sweat buying clothes for his 'girlfriend,' either."
Sabrina: "I'll take it all back tomorrow if it's going to break your budget."
Matt: "Don't worry about it. I can afford it, and it was worth every penny knowing you'll think of me each time you get dressed. or undressed."
Sabrina: "Well played."
Matt: "I thought so."
Sabrina takes the bar stool vacated by Feinstein and, catching the bartender's eye, orders two mimosa before crossing her legs and turning to face me with a triumphant smile. No doubt about it, she knows that she skillfully unfucked my entire morning and did it well. Damn it. There'll be no living with her now. - Matt
Ian: "How's the Sabrina thing been going?"
Matt: "I'm exhausted."
Ian: "It's only been two days."
Matt: "Yeah, well ... let's just say if being her fake boyfriend is this exhausting, I pity the guy who will take on the role for real someday."
Ian: "Really? Here, Distract yourself with this."
Matt: "What is it?"
Ian: "A present."
Matt: "I see that. Why is it on my desk?"
Ian: "What's wrong with you? I think the words you're looking for are 'thank you.'"
Ian: "Damn it. I've got to run. Drinks later on me as a thank-you for not giving me shit about the dippy best-man gesture?"
Kennedy: "Oh, there will be shit-giving. We just haven't gotten around to it yet."
Sabrina: "Actually, now that you mention it, it's a church wedding. I'm pretty sure your skin will burn off if you try to enter the building."
Sabrina: "Say something charming."
Matt: "Your ass looks amazing in that dress."
Sabrina: "Whatever. You made it clear four years ago what you thought of me."
Matt: "Not that again-"
Sabrina: "Yes again. You may want to forget what you said that morning, but I can't. You said I must be worth every penny. You said it after we slept together, like I was a common-"
Matt: "Don't say it. Do not call yourself that."
Sabrina: "Why not? You practically did."
Matt: "you heard what you wanted to hear, then and now. Back then I only meant that you were damn good at your job. You'd told me just hours before that your job was to be anything to anyone, for a price, and that night you were everything to me."
Matt: "You'll do it?"
Sabrina: "Yes. If nothing else, to save all those other women from the agony of being fixed up with you."
Matt: Thank you. Seriously, thank you. And I'd love to tell you you won't regret it, but in the interest of honestly, you totally will."
Sabrina: "Candor appreciated."
Matt: "You look nice."
Sabrina: "He says, an hour and a half after picking me up."
Sabrina: "You are not walking my dog."
Matt: "Why not? I've done it before when you were out of town."
Sabrina: "Yes, but I didn't ask you to. I asked Kate. She betrayed me."
Matt: "Yeah, a real Judas, that one. Look, you didn't ask e then, and you're not asking me now. I'm volunteering."
Sabrina: "You have your car."
Matt: "Which - and brace yourself for this news flash - can be parked."
Matt: "Damn you Damn you for what you do to me."
Kate: "I'm almost jealous of the fab apartment, but you have to put up with Ian, and I don't know that I could."
Sabrina: "You do that all day long."
Kate: "Nope. Different. The guys are totally different in their work habitat."
Kennedy: "How's that?"
Sabrina: "Thought you were having man talk on the balcony."
Kennedy: "We are, but ... Besides, this is far more interesting. How are we different in the office?"
Kate: "I'll clarify. Ian and Matt are different inside the office. You're more of the same."
Kennedy: "Yeah? Explain."
Kate: "No thanks."
Kate: "See, this is exactly what I mean. You're bossy in the office, bossy outside the office ..."
Kennedy: "And you're not?"
Kate: "It's my job to be bossy. Someone has to make sure you guys keep your pants zipped up so you don't go thinking with your ..." *gestures to his crotch*
Kennedy: "Wasn't aware that my *gestures to crotch* was any of my assistant's business."
Matt: "We're kind of screwed up, huh?"
Sabrina: "I prefer the word guarded."
Hell, to be completely honest, I don't know that he was ever my worst enemy, so much as my biggest threat. The person who I sensed, even from the very beginning, could destroy me. What I didn't see until recently was how the person with the power to destroy you can also be the one to lift you up. The one who can make you live like you've never lived before. The one who sines light into dark, infiltrates color into blandness. The person who can take someone who's perfectly content and make her ... happy. - Sabrina
Matt: "Sabrina. You know I care about you ..."
Sabrina: "Don't. Please don't do that."
Matt: "Don't what, speak the truth?
Sabrina: "Not if the truth involves some sort of placating but. You care about me, but. You want to keep sleeping with me, but. That's what I'm trying to tell you. I want what we have without the buts. I want what Ian and Lara have. What I suspect The Sam's have. I want someone to be with me not just because it's convenient and we're well suited but because he can't stand the thought of not being with me."
Matt: "Be happy."
Sabrina: "It would seem I fell in love with the idiot."
Matt: "No, it's not. I want to know if I still have a chance with her. To fix this."
Kennedy: "You're not going to find out by forcing her into anything with that damn contract."
Kate: "For once, the cyborg gets it right."
Matt: "Don't you date tell me it's too soon. Don't tell me we've just started dating, because that's bullshit and you know it."
Kennedy: "Very romantic."
Matt: "You still want me?"
I smile and wiggle my finger.
Sabrina: "Hell yes, I want you. I love you, Matt Cannon."
Check out book 1 and book 3 of Lauren Layne's Wall Street Series below!