Hard Sell

Hard Sell


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.

  • A Wall Street bachelor's playboy lifestyle lands him in hot water with the boss—and into the arms of the one woman who can save his reputation.

Hard Sell could easily have been read in one sitting. Everything about it works: the pacing, the characters, the dog (!), and the story (and others elements as well). Layne seemingly effortlessly takes the reader on a roller coaster of smiles and tears, all within a low-on-angst page-turning story proving that once again she is a must-read romance writer.” Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored

Hard Sell is a sexy and sassy story line about friendships, family, heartbreak and love. The premise is spirited and engaging; the characters are dynamic and energetic; the romance is sensual and captivating. Hard Sell is a breathtaking and delightful addition to Lauren’s 21 Wall Street series.” The Reading Café

“My favorite in the series thus far, Hard Sell was a fast-paced ball of longing. The characters were so well-suited for one another and created a wonderful story that sucked me right in from the first page. I cannot wait for the long-awaited third couple to do the very same.” Book Reader Chronicles

“The chemistry in this book was absolutely intense! It’s been a bit since I’ve read anything Lauren Layne and I have to say I finished Hard Sell in about a 12-hour time frame. It was a book that I didn’t want to put down!” Cali Book Reviews

“The chemistry between Sabrina and Matt was HOT!” Debbie’s World of Books

“When I read, my fiancé can always tell when I am truly into something, or if I am just reading to pass the time. I find myself missing entire conversations, and find myself asking him questions to gauge his reactions. I’ll ask him what he would do faced with a particular scenario, and see if his reactions match the characters in the books. While reading Hard Sell, I found myself engaging him in the story lines, and asking him how he would react to such scenarios if it were me and him in real life. I also found him asking me how the story was coming, so even though he wasn’t reading the book, I already had him invested in the story!” Garden of Reading

“The romance was on point. This was a steamy book and the chemistry between Sabrina and Matt was perfect!” What to Read Next

“Two adversaries who have a friendship based on snark lose their walls and find a new definition of love and happy ever after for themselves, even if they never thought it possible. Another wonderful installment and my favorite of the series so far!” I Am, Indeed

“It’s perfectly built up, filled with sassy, funny dialogue and chemistry that will burn your kindle up. The added bonus is seeing Ian and Kate from Hot Asset, and getting glimpses of Kennedy and Kate, I can’t wait for their book, Huge Deal!!! These two will be awesome I just know it!!!” Schmexy Books

“Ms. Layne gives me all the trope-y goodness I want with all the warm and fun characters I expect. Bonus points: her playboys don’t make me want to punch them in their face with their arrogance.” Romance Reader

“I really enjoyed Hard Sell. Layne is easily one of my favorite Romance authors and I just love her more with each book I read. I definitely recommend this to Romance fans.” Stephanie’s Book Reports


“I just need you for a month,” I say, trying to keep the impatience out of my voice. “People will believe it. We’ve known each other for years, and it’d be more plausible that Ian set us up than me suddenly dating some new thing. Plus, I can count on you not to get . . . the Cinderella complex or whatever.” Sabrina blinks. “Cinderella what?” “You know . . . fancy dresses, the ball . . .” Her eyes go wide. “Ball?” “Gala. The Wolfe Gala. I need you to go with me.” She laughs and hands me the vermouth bottle. “Of course you do.” Okay. So she’s going to be a hard sell. I was prepared for that.

“You’re snippy in the morning. I’d forgotten that,” he says, falling into step beside me. “So. Where’re we going?” I take a sip of the drink, unsurprised to find that it’s a cappuccino, one packet of raw sugar, exactly as I like it. Wordlessly I reach out, take his cup from his hand, and sip that. Pumpkin spice. Huh. Didn’t see that coming. “We’re sharing drinks now?” he asks as I hand it back. “We’re a couple, right? What’s yours is mine.” Actually, it has nothing to do with that. You know how I said I know everything about everybody? Every now and then, there’s a stumper. Matt Cannon’s coffee choice is one of them. I’ve never found the guy to get the same coffee beverage twice. I know what Ian drinks—Americano with a splash of two-percent in the morning, sometimes opting for something cold and sweet on a summer afternoon. I know what Kennedy Dawson drinks—black coffee, always. But Matt? He changes. Sometimes it’s a caramel Frappuccino. Sometimes it’s a tall drip. Sometimes it’s a white mocha with extra chocolate. Sometimes it’s a double-shot espresso with no sweetener whatsoever. Today, apparently, it’s a pumpkin spice latte. Tomorrow, who knows? I don’t even know why I care. I guess I’ve always hated things I can’t predict, especially as they relate to Matt Cannon.

My friends are right. She is the last woman on earth to be at risk of falling for me. Because Sabrina Cross hates my guts.

Simply and reluctantly put, men don’t come better-looking than Matt Cannon. He’s the epitome of a golden boy. Perfectly styled blond hair? Check. Mischievous blue eyes? Yup. Chiseled jaw? Uh-huh. Perfect body . . .

Yeah, you get the idea.

Also, I hate him.

I lean against my doorjamb, still blocking his entry. “Why are you here, and why in God’s name did my doorman let you up?”

Matt puts a hand to my waist as though it’s his right and nudges me aside so he can enter my apartment. As though that’s his right, too.

Matt goes to my freezer and adds ice, as though it’s the most natural thing in the world for him to be in my kitchen, making the two of us cocktails.

He puts the lid on the shaker, but before shaking it, he sets it aside and shrugs out of his suit jacket, tossing it onto the back of one of the dining room chairs, then rolls up his sleeves.

My mouth goes a little dry at the sight of white sleeves being rolled over tanned male forearms, but I refuse to respond or even look interested.

Thankfully the sound of the cocktail shaker diffuses the sexual tension. Or so I tell myself as I pull two cocktail glasses off my bar cart and set them in front of him.

When I first met Sabrina Cross, I thought she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen.

Four years later?

I still think it.

The woman’s a perfect ten. Fantasy-worthy curves. Her long coffee-brown hair is streaked with gold, her eyes piercing and blue, her features as feminine as they are stubborn.

She’s also a royal pain in the ass.

I hate that I find her attractive, but I thought I’d resigned myself to the fact.

We lock eyes as we clink glasses, and I realize that I’ve been wrong. I’ve been thinking the hardest part of this whole thing will be faking being in love when I don’t even believe in love.

Now I know better.

The hardest thing is going to be keeping my hands off the only woman I’ve ever wanted.

The dress is pulled from my hands and tossed onto the back of a chair, the hanger falling to the floor.

“Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not one of your moronic clients to be handled,” Matt snaps.

“I know that. But you’ve got to trust—”

His hand slips around my neck, tilting my face up, and my breath catches. Damn him.

“No hookups, remember?”

“I know,” he says, resting his forehead against mine. “But I can’t think when you’re dressed like that.”

“I’m not really dressed at all,” I mutter.

His smile is strained. “Exactly.”

She whirls toward me, and the air all but crackles around us. With anger, with sexual tension, with whatever else is between us, always.

I wish I knew what it was. I’m not sure it has a name. Because even though I know down to my very core I’m not cut out for the monogamous-relationship thing—I don’t want a serious girlfriend ever, much less a wife—the woman in front of me is the only one who’s ever made me think maybe.

His mouth moves restlessly over mine, one hand on the back of my head, the other pressed between my shoulder blades, holding me close.

“I’ve missed this,” he murmurs, his lips gliding under my chin, nuzzling my jaw. “I’ve missed you.”

His words send a thrill through me, and though I’m not brave enough to say them back out loud, I’ve missed him, too. I show it as best I can, my head dropping back to give him full access to me, my back arching into him.

“I don’t want some damned space!” I shout, opening my eyes again. “I want . . . I want . . .”

“What?” she says.


I try to tell her out loud, but the words don’t come. It’s as though they’re buried deep, lodged in my throat.