This was such an addictive, angsty and swooning second-chance, forbidden love m/m romance! I loved the diversity, the family bonds, the thrilling finance world setting and the heart-warming childhood friends-to-lovers plot, but most of all the message about finding out what you really need and want in your life and being brave enough to risk losing it all for love and happiness.
Danny Ip is the big shot private equity investor, a true investor shark, who’s worked his way up from his poor childhood to the absolute top of the Canadian finance world. He didn’t do it all on his own though, but had help along the way from his childhood best friend Wei Lok’s supportive family. For long he’d truly enjoyed being married to his work with its thrills and the luxury that came with the big money, but lately he’s started to feel burned out and has begun to slip. To not lose his position he needs to pull himself together and close the new deal, the acquisition of WesTec from the infamous Cyrus West.
Tobin Lok is the younger brother of Danny’s best friend Wei and has been almost like a younger brother to Danny himself. Tobin’s feelings for Danny have never been of the brotherly kind though, and at Wei’s bachelor party seven years ago his dreams about Danny became real in a drunken hook-up. The happiness was short though, as Danny left during the night full of guilt and did his best to avoid Tobin ever since. Until they suddenly meet at WesTec, both working with the company but on different sides, and the forbidden attraction is back with a burning intensity.
This book had so many things I love like second chances, forbidden love, strong family bonds and wonderful friends. I also really loved the diversity both in regard to the LGBTQIA+ representation and the Asian characters. There was also the right amount of angst and a burning attraction, and some truly amazing character developments, as well as really interesting insights to the private equity world. I rooted so much for both Danny and Tobin from the start. Their love was so obvious and strong, and I so wanted them to get the happiness they deserved that at times I almost wanted to scream at them both to just be brave and take a chance on each other, and not let the respect for Wei and his parents stop them.
The only minor objection I have to their romance was how the book took a jump from a sweet romance to being quite explicit sexually, but that’s just my personal reaction and I can certainly understand how other readers might appreciate these hot scenes more. I also had some issue with the subplot with Cyrus West and how he was such an one-dimensional villain (it would have been enough that he was a homophobic jerk, the extra stuff with his bad divorce and the trafficking/minor sex parts felt a bit too much). It didn’t sit very well with me how the main characters found out about Cyrus West being a sexual predator and never acted on it. It made me feel a little less for them that they just shrugged it off and never thought about reporting it to the police or anything. And then there was the issue with how the love story started and the ‘almost-being-brothers-growing-up’-aspect. It’s always a fine balance with this trope, especially since there was a quite substantial age gape between Tobin and Danny, but all along the story Hudson Lin did a wonderful job keeping this balance. I’m very happy that Tobin was 19 at their first hook-up, so that there were never any uncomfortable underage issues.
All in all, Hard Sell, was such an addictive, emotional and highly enjoyable story about second chances and overcoming barriers for a chance to find love and happiness. I can’t wait to continue the Jade Harbour Capital series with Ray’s story in the next book!
Thank you to Carina Adores and NetGalley for the ARC and blog tour invitation for this wonderful book! All opinions are my own and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton A. Meredith Walters Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.G. Drews Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elizabeth Acevedo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray John Green Julianne Donaldson Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Williamson Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve River Braun Roan Parrish Roseanne A. Brown Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Saundra Mitchell Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophie Gonzales Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Teagan Hunter Tiffany D. Jackson T.J. Klune Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez