Updated: Aug 21, 2021
by Lauren Layne
Published by Montlake Romance
Book #1 in 21 Wall Street Series
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.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Some Steaminess Rom-Com Feel Good
Hot Asset is the first book in the 21 Wall Street Series, and centers around Ian Bradley and Lara McKenzie. Truthfully, I doubt I would have picked up this book if it wasn't written by Lauren Layne. It's a weird thing, but I usually am not interested in books that involve detective work, or the FBI. I don't know why. I'm a true crime junkie, but in a romance, it doesn't usually jive for me.
But ... it's Lauren Layne. I love her books.
The first few chapters I read, I wasn't sure I liked Ian. He is arrogant, and a bit of a man-whore. It didn't take long for him to grow on me, and of course, his softer side didn't start coming out till he met the witty SEC agent Lara. Details of his life didn't start coming out till he met her. His backstory of being an orphan, being shifted from shitty foster home to the next, and working his ass off, getting into an ivy league school, and becoming one of the top guys on Wall Street, and one of the richest, is interesting. His affection for his last foster father, who he still remains in contact with is sweet. The fact that he harbors some disappointment that he never adopted him goes a long way to explain why he keeps most people at arms length. It could even explain why he was so attracted to Lara in the first place. Women never rejected him, until her. At first, I am sure it was the challenge to get her to want him that lured him to her.
Lara is driven and passionate about her dreams. Her dream is to be an FBI agent, just like her parents, in the white collar division. She wants to work her way there, so she is currently an agent with SEC, and is asked to investigate Ian Bradley for insider trading. She believes in doing everything by the book, and she lets her job take over her life. She knows if she can find evidence proving Ian's guilt, her boss will send a recommendation letter to the FBI.
The chemistry between these two takes time to build up for me. Their positions in regards to one another made it hard for them to connect the way they needed to. It didn't take long for sparks to fly though. I loved that their feelings for one another creep up on each other. Quicker than I usually like, but it was necessary so the rest of the story could grow as well. After all, it isn't just romance in this book, but a bit of a mystery, which was interesting to mull over during the read.