Desert Isle Keeper
When I read that Hot Asset was going to be about a stockbroker and the SEC officer investigating him, my antenna pricked up. Interesting, I thought. What are those dynamics going to be? Is this going to be another case of a professional lady who is perfect in her professional life and a total mess in her personal one, saved from the tragic fate of singleness by a handsome fella in a suit with a silver tongue and questionable ethics? I’d probably still read that book, let’s be honest, but I’d eyeroll my way through it. What Ms. Layne has produced instead, is much more interesting and I’d recommend Hot Asset to any contemporary fans looking for a good read.
When we first meet Ian Bradley – in his own PoV – he tells us that he’s an asshole. He’s one of those Wall Street dudes who has sex indiscriminately, is really good at his job and therefore hella wealthy, and is drop dead gorgeous. He then quickly informs us that the manwhore reputation is a carefully crafted one, and not to take it seriously.
When we first meet Lara McKenzie, she’s trying to do her job. As an investigator for the Securities and Exchange Commission, that job at the present is to investigate anonymous accusations that Ian Bradley has been engaging in insider trading. She tells us that the SEC isn’t exactly where she wants to be, but is instead a stepping stone to her ultimate dream of becoming an FBI agent. To make the leap to the other agency, she needs a big case and Ian’s is just that. As far as she’s concerned, it doesn’t matter how jaw-droppingly sexy the man is, he’s guilty until proven innocent.
But that jaw-dropping sexiness is super distracting.
The will-they-won’t-they dance is fun to read, especially since each chapter comes with more exposed layers of each of their histories and personalities. With Ms. Layne’s signature wit and sparkle, the story moves from a conventional contemporary romance to something more – an exploration of calling, ethics, sacrifice, and exactly what to do when the future you carefully crafted suddenly becomes impossible.
I enjoyed every page of this thing and I have a feeling many of you will, too.