by Hudson Lin
Release Date: May 25, 2021
Publisher: Carina Adores
Book #1 in the Jade Harbour Capital series
Number of pages: 384
Source: ARC from Netgalley & Carina Press
Contemporary Romance M/M
Read 5/20/21 to 5/21/21
One night wasn’t enough.
Danny Ip walks into every boardroom with a plan. His plan for struggling tech company WesTec is to acquire it, shut it down, and squeeze the last remaining revenue out of it for his Jade Harbour Capital portfolio. But he didn’t expect his best friend’s younger brother—the hottest one-night stand he ever had—to be there.
Tobin Lok has always thought the world of Danny. He’s funny, warm, attractive—and totally out of Tobin’s league. Now, pitted against Danny at work, Tobin might finally get a chance to prove he’s more than just Wei’s little brother.
It takes a lot to get under Danny’s skin, but Tobin is all grown up in a way Danny can’t ignore. Now, with a promising patent on the line and the stakes higher than ever, all he can think about is getting Tobin back into his bed—and into his life for good.
If only explaining their relationship to Wei could be so easy…
Hard Sell by Hudson Lin is available in eBook, trade paperback and audiobook formats on May 25th!
Danny adjusted the watch on his wrist as he headed out. If only he didn’t need a win so god damn badly. He would love to march back into the meeting room and rip up the offer right in front of Cyrus West’s face. What smarmy remark would Cyrus have then?
Unfortunately, Danny did need a win and, even more unfortunately, WesTec was his best shot. Maybe his last shot. Jade Harbour’s financial backers were starting to notice that his once stellar track record wasn’t looking so stellar lately. His ass was on the line, which left Danny with very few options.
Outside, he stopped, still vibrating with adrenaline from the confrontation.
“That was pretty badass.” Tobin looked back through the doors they’d exited, as if Cyrus was going to come bursting through them at any minute.
Perhaps it was, but Danny saw no reason to take pride in it. His job was to close deals and sometimes the sellers needed a little encouragement.
Tobin turned to him, and suddenly WesTec and Cyrus West didn’t matter anymore.
Was he dreaming? Was Tobin really standing in front of him? Chubby cheeks had given way to sculpted cheekbones. A bit of acne scarring on his skin made Tobin look even more adult. He held himself with such self-assurance; like he’d grown into too-big clothes that now fit him just right. He was striking. He would turn heads when walking down the street. Danny’s body certainly made its interest known.
Danny took a step backward, needing the extra foot of distance between them. Seven years ago, he had succumbed to Tobin’s appeal. There may be years and geography between them, but one thing hadn’t changed. Tobin was undoubtedly special.
Did he remember that night as vividly as Danny did?
A shy smile tugged at Tobin’s lips, as if he’d read Danny’s mind, and Danny couldn’t help but return it. It didn’t matter what Tobin did or did not remember. They were…childhood friends, practically family, connected in a way Danny didn’t have words for. It’d been too long since they were in touch. No matter their reasons for drifting apart.
“Are you free for dinner tonight?”
Tobin’s smile exploded at Danny’s invitation. “Yes! Yeah, definitely, totally. Uh…” He patted his pockets. “Shit. I think I left my phone upstairs.”
Danny reached into the inner pocket of his suit jacket and pulled out a business card. Always be prepared. “Here. Give me a call when you’re done, and I’ll send a car around.”
Tobin took the card and ran a thumb over the embossed letters, as if committing them to memory. He clutched the card in his hand. “Oh, I, uh… I can meet you wherever.”
“Don’t worry about it. I’ll send a car for you.”
Tobin looked a little taken aback, almost as if he was going to put up a fuss. But then he chuckled and nodded. “Okay, sure. I guess I’ll give you a call when I’m done.” He held up the card in a wave as he walked backward toward the doors. “See you later.”
Danny nodded and watched Tobin go. At the building’s main entrance, Tobin stopped and glanced back at Danny as if checking to make sure he was real.
Danny felt exactly the same way.
Let me start by saying I found the chemistry in this story on point. The author really did a wonderful job of portraying the sexual frustration, yearning for touch, and heated looks between Tobin and Danny. I also love a good best friend’s sibling story (or, to say it another way, brother’s best friend). The pull Danny felt between Tobin and his brother Wei felt real. Yet there were things that kept me from being fully engrossed in this story.
Tobin and Danny haven’t seen each other in many years when they bump into one another at the company Tobin is trying to help and Danny is trying to buy. The dealings with this company, WesTec, become a bit convoluted and even confusing. I guess confusing isn’t the right word, but some of the ins and outs of their jobs and what WesTec represents to them both took me out of the story. Especially when it came to Danny.
For the most part, these are two great guys. Tobin has a chip on his shoulder about being the baby of his family and therefore still being babied by them. But overall he’s a compassionate and wonderful person. Danny is great when it comes to his personal life. He’s a fantastic uncle to Wei’s little ones and treats Wei’s parents like they are royalty. He also has a chip on his shoulder, one from growing up poor alongside Wei and Tobin who grew up rich. In no way has Tobin or his family treated Danny as lesser or other, it’s a label Danny has put on himself. He’s now uber-successful and rich but is still trying to prove himself. Often, that leads him to make some not so morally great decisions.
Here’s one of the places I had an issue. Something comes to light less than halfway through the story about the owner of WesTec that is vile and illegal. (CW: sexual abuse.) Danny knows it should be reported yet sits on the information because it will help him to reach his goal of obtaining this company. Every good thing Danny does after this is overshadowed, in my mind, by this one thing. It’s just not something I could overlook, so it really messed with how this story flowed for me.
Like I mentioned before, the chemistry in this book is phenomenal. I will definitely want to give this author another go on that fact alone. And, while I was taken out of the story in spots, for the most part this was a very enjoyable read.
One last thought, the author did many of her readers a disservice at one point in having a character express distaste in audiobooks. Maybe she doesn’t realize how many people read audiobooks. I am not one of them, they’re just not my thing. But I absolutely believe that listening counts as reading. I just wonder how that’s going to go over if this book is made into an audiobook. There was no reason for throwing that shade into this story, it didn’t further the story or even fit the character. It really put my guard up pretty early on.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and Carina Press. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**
About the Author
Hudson Lin was raised by conservative immigrant parents and grew up straddling two cultures with often times conflicting perspectives on life. Instead of conforming to either, she has sought to find a third way that brings together the positive elements of both.
Having spent much of her life on the outside looking in, Lin likes to write stories about outsiders who fight to carve out their place in society, and overcome everyday challenges to find love and happily ever afters. Her books are diverse romances featuring queer and disabled people of color.
When not getting lost in a good story, Lin hosts a podcast, interviews queer people of color, and a does bunch of other stuff.
Connect with Hudson Lin
Website – Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – Goodreads – Amazon
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