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Aubrey's only at the Wanderlust concert to cover it, a last minute job since the original reporter is sick. But while in the audience, she's picked to come up on the stage so Lex can do a body shot off of her. It should have ended there, especially since she's set to spend the next week with the band on tour for an exclusive interview, but Lex can't get Aubrey out of his mind and Aubrey is tempted to throw out all her rules and take a walk on the wild side just this once.
I do like the bad boy rocker being "reformed" by his woman, so Wanderlust was right up my alley. Lex and Aubrey have some light banter, which I always enjoy, as well as fantastic chemistry. It's a Roni Loren book, so of course it's pretty hot.
There's angst from Aubrey's past. Ten years ago she was driving her twin sister and boyfriend home from a concert and crashed, killing Ashley instantly. She's lived with her mistake, the guilt over it, and the grief of losing her sister, all made even worse by her parents, who blame her again and again. Because of that night, Aubrey doesn't touch alcohol...until her parents pull a shitty move on her (which I hated). Suddenly, she's throwing it all away and getting hammered. I'm not going to lie, this annoyed me and I wanted to slap her. Turning to alcohol is not the answer, ever, but this time it went against her own character up to that point. Though in full disclosure, I always have issues connecting to characters when they turn to alcohol or drugs -- but that's just me, so take it all with a grain of salt.
There's also some conflict from Sean as Aubrey agrees to keep his secret from the rest of the band. Obviously that went over real well. I saw that coming from a mile off, but thankfully things did work out in the end.
I must say I loved the epilogue. It was a sweet, fun way to bring their relationship full circle, right back to where they started: onstage with a body shot. :)
I really enjoyed Wanderlust, and I'm hoping Loren has plans to write about the rest of the band because I really need their stories.
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I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, as part of the blog tour.
*Note: The quotes used belong to Roni Loren; TBQ's Book Palace does not claim them. Any mistakes or typos in the quotes are my own fault.
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Wanderlust by Roni Loren
Setup: Aubrey is at a strip club with the band. She’s a reporter and is following them around, but Lex is being difficult. So he made her a bet that he assumed he’d win. If Aubrey won, she’d get interview time with him. But the other band members tagged on another part of the bet—loser has to do a striptease for the other.
Lex narrowed his eyes at Aubrey, still stunned that she had won. He could accept that maybe she knew Van Halen—who didn’t? But, there was no way this chick listened to old-school Nine Inch Nails or eighties hair metal. He’d bet all his money on that.
She lifted her hair off her neck and piled it on top of her head to fan herself before letting it fall back around her in a dark flood. Lex flexed his fingers, wondering what it’d be like to run his fingers through it—or wrap it around his hand when he . . . He shook the image from his head before his blood flowed too far south.
“No, you can’t let him out of the bet,” Jared complained.
“Really, I don’t need that,” Aubrey said quickly.
Her posture shifted, her edge of nerves almost a taste in the air, and Lex’s lips curled into a grin. “Oh, no need to let me off the hook. I don’t punk out on a bet. You’ll get your show.”
A fleeting expression of panic skittered across her face, but she quickly covered it and grabbed for her drink. She was probably wishing she had alcohol in it now. Lex knew that Jared had intended for the bet to humiliate him, but this was going to embarrass Aubrey much more. He was used to being the center of attention. Performing on stage in front of people was his lifeblood. Aubrey, on the other hand, lived in a safe, neat world. She was probably used to men who observed the personal space rule, men who waited until the third date for a chaste kiss. Men who would never dare push her boundaries. Lex rose and swilled his beer.
Aubrey lifted her palms. “Seriously, Lex, I don’t want you to do this. We need to keep things professional.”
Her tongue darted out and swiped at her lip. Her knuckles were white against her drink. His gaze traveled to the flush creeping up her neck, and a slow smile spread across his mouth. Well, would you look at that. Little Miss Reporter was lying through her pretty white teeth.
She wasn’t protesting because of professionalism. He may not know her well yet, but he was an expert at recognizing the signs she was inadvertently throwing his way. Ms. Bordelon was terrified for the best possible reason—she feared her physical reaction to him. He remembered distinctly how she had quivered beneath him when he had touched her onstage, the look in her eyes when he’d brushed his lips against hers.
Oh, this was going to be fun. “Don’t worry, I’ll still respect you in the morning. Your professional status will be intact. Just remember, you can’t touch the stripper. It’s against the rules.”
She pulled her expression into one of utter boredom. “I’ll try to restrain myself.”
He laughed and then gripped the sides of her chair to pivot her away from the table to face him. He let his gaze slide over her from her head to her feet, taking his time, wishing he’d won the bet so he could watch her dance for him. She crossed her legs and folded her arms over her chest, pinning him with her glare.
Damn, she was cute when she was pissed.
A new song pounded through the club, and he began to sing the lyrics to her as he circled her chair and placed his hands on her shoulders. Her muscles stiffened under his touch. He bent his head next to her ear, the honey citrus scent of her hair cutting through the smoke and alcohol of the bar. “You’re going to have to relax a little or you’re not going to be able to enjoy this.”
He grabbed the collar of her black blazer and slipped it off her shoulders, forcing her to unfurl her arms. She allowed him to take off the jacket, revealing her fitted green tank top underneath. He let his eyes linger a moment on her neckline.
“That’s better,” he said. “I don’t want you getting too hot.”
“I thought you were the one who was supposed to take clothes off, not me.”
He stepped in front of her and unfastened the top button on his shirt. “As you wish.”
Her gaze fell to his chest, and she bit her lip as the flush on her throat crept up to her cheeks. He raised an eyebrow. Well, well, Ms. Bordelon. A wave of satisfaction moved through him. Maybe Jared’s plan wasn’t so ridiculous after all. Lex hadn’t believed that Aubrey would jump into bed with any of them. She had scruples, thank you very much. But the look on her face now was unmistakable. He’d been around enough women to recognize it. Desire, pure and simple. She may think he’s a jerk, she may hate him personally, but on some level, she wanted him.
The corners of his mouth tipped into a wicked smile. Maybe he could solve two problems at once. If he could get her in bed, not only could he force her to drop the story, but he could exorcise the ridiculous obsession to touch her that had been plaguing him since the body shot. Plus, God knew if any girl was in need of a wild, no strings romp in the sack, it was this one. He pulled open another button.
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