Wanderlust by Roni Loren
Released: July 19, 2016
Reviewed by Sheena
Restaurant critic Aubrey Bordelon is never at a loss for words to describe her meals in the fancy restaurants of New Orleans. But after her magazine’s high-profile music reporter falls ill, she finds herself out of her element and in a sea of screaming fans awaiting Wanderlust’s lead singer, Lex Logan. The sound of his voice gives her goosebumps, and the stage presence of the hard-bodied rock star takes her breath away. So when he pulls her onstage for a sexy stunt, she knows she’s in real trouble.
Lex doesn’t want to pretend that the sparks on stage between him and Aubrey never happened, but it certainly makes the fact that she’s writing a story on his band all the more dangerous. The last thing he needs is some nosy reporter revealing their problems to the world. But the sexy Southern belle doesn’t give up easily, and soon he’s wondering if the best way to chase her off the story is to coax her into his bed…
Southern gentility be damned. Nice was getting her nowhere… “Look, I’m not here to get laid.”
There will be copious amounts of fan-girling. I can’t help it. Which is perfectly fine with me because I don’t want to help it. Roni Loren is romance royalty and off with my head if I dared not fan girl. Have you had your first Roni experience? If not, Wanderlust is the perfect introduction to The Loren. If you’ve been to this rodeo and understand how special these books are, then greetings my fellow Loreniator *does secret hand shake* rejoice with me! It is important that you know that rock-star romance has been kind to me lately. I have a rocky history with this trope , however, the last three that I’ve read were exceptional, so I am in a sweet spot with this sexy little genre. Wanderlust was an auto-read because, Roni Loren. (The Duh is deafening). Ranked in the top tiered, upper echelon of my absolute favorite authors, in Loren, I can always count on a smart, sexy romp that is guaranteed to leave me breathless and wanting. Hell, who needs oxygen and satiety anyway? Not me. Not with this hot little baby in my grubby little hands.
Aubrey is no pin-up pretty prop. She is an intellectual, independent young woman and almost any reader could surely identify with her. Lex is a sec-on-a-stick rocker with a chip on his shoulder and emotional scares that compel him to sad self-deprecation, blinding him to his own potential, should he take a chance and believe in himself.
What’s that you say? Emotional turmoil, avoidance behavior and steamy, sexual acting out? Oh yes, yes please.
The crux of the novel is the tension and cat and mouse game between Aubrey and Lex. Lex is all cocky and show pony, shallow flash. Aubrey’s depth is deep as the ocean and she sees through his barriers, walls erected to protect himself, yet hold him prisoner. Aubrey is just what Lex needs to live. Only he can’t stop trying to manipulate the damn situation, pissing her off!
Her attention snapped toward him and he flashed a cocky grin- one that said he had already carved a notch on his mental bedpost in her honor.
Oh hell no.
So now he thought her willingness to do the body shot meant she was ready to be the groupie of the night? Was that how things worked in his world? Of course it was. The thought instantly cooled her body’s hair trigger reaction from a moment earlier…
Well Mr. Rock Star was in for a rude awakening. He may have managed to get her all hot and bothered during her momentary lapse of sanity.
But she wasn’t some Wanderslut.
Burn! Hey Lex, we have a live one here! Though she is ambitious and not preoccupied with the fact that Lex is a rock god, Aubrey is not unaffected by his aura and magnetism. This is part of what is so insanely awesome about Roni Loren. Her innate ability to humanize these characters. The cliché’ is to write a heroine who is hard as nails, uncooperative for the sake of being “tough” yadda, yadda- basically, completely one-dimensional in regard to how much of a hard time she gives the hero. Been there, done that and pitched the washed out post card in the nearest dumpster. Aubrey is a realistic woman. Vulnerable to her emotions, yet not a slave to them. Responsible for her own actions and really gets this thing called life, but not too high on her own horse to take good advice. Hands down, my favorite moments in the book are when she calls Lex out on his BS and lays it out there in a way he understands. Her insight is impressive and damn if she didn’t pull at my heart-strings.
“…What you said, ripped me in half…But in a way, I get it. People use you. That’s what happens in your world. You just didn’t realize I wasn’t one of them.”
Insert ugly cry. When a man is so used to being objectified and seen as a commodity and golden ticket, it is a hell of a long journey to reach his heart and trust is hard to foster. There was definitely something a little new adulty about Waderlust- and I low key, kind of hate new adult romance with its hokey angst and fumbling emerging adults and crying in the rain and… you catch the drift. None of that with this! Leave it to Loren, and I have read practically everything this phenom has published to date-yet leave it to this amazing author to allow the tentacles of new adult romance trope to creep into her work- yet she utterly control those savage bastards and the result is a whole lot of awesome. Wanderlust could have had twenty more chapters and I would have sat, riveted, right to the very end.
She catches his eye in a sea of screaming, adoring fans, his lust is ignited, they connect and dance around their attraction and finally say, what the hell, and give it a shot. They fall for one another but pride, life, and missed understandings muddy the waters, they crumble and fail at moving on without the other and their reunion is a tear jerking tableau. I’ll be the first to admit that the plot is predictable, down to the misunderstandings that these two lovers fall into. The HEA is a given, yet who even cares about all that when you are in the throes of a sweet romance that happens to be utterly steamy, escapist reader cat nip.
And boy did I enjoy my treat!
Wanderlust is a combination of cautionary tale, reluctant hero, damsel saves the day, sexy humor. I’ve seen this troupe before, but the story is all its own. I want to read more. I don’t want it to be over, but dammit, it’s a stand alone. I will miss these characters. I want to follow these band members and see their lives evolve.
I often read many books, but the truly special books, I read often. Wauderlust is a shoo in for a repeat. Genuine characters and their flawed but beautiful humanity is an element I will not soon forget and will continue to look out for as it is beyond rewarding to experience.