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Friday, July 29, 2016

Feature and Giveaway: Wanderlust by Roni Loren

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Loving on the Edge series and Off the Clock, a story of sex, love, rock & roll, and a reporter who’s about to learn a new meaning for staying on top of her assignment...

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…

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Aubrey managed to stay focused during the end of Darkfall’s performance, putting her journalist hat on. But when they left the stage, time seemed to crawl. Bodies shifted. Voices were too loud. Claustrophobia started to claw at her. Maybe this had been a bad idea. Maybe she couldn’t handle this. But the third time she checked the time on her phone, the smoky lights of the club dimmed, indicating the start of the show. Here we go. She took a deep breath. Within seconds, the voices of a thousand rabid fans whipped into a screaming frenzy.

A few seconds earlier, she’d worried that bad memories were about to overtake her, but now she found herself leaning forward in anticipation, the trapped feeling falling away. The energy of the crowd pulsed through her, the excitement infectious. Her foul mood from earlier began to slip from her shoulders like the shedding of a heavy coat. The band members, barely visible silhouettes under the cover of darkness, filed onto the stage and took their posts. The drums sliced through the roar of the crowd first—a thump-thump-thump so loud her bones vibrated. When the strobe lights began flashing and the guitars kicked in, a crush of bodies pressed against her as everyone surged closer to the stage in one collective mass.

All of the band members were in place except for the lead singer. The woman next to Aubrey screamed Lex’s name and hopped like a caffeinated rabbit, waving and flailing her arms. Wow, Aubrey couldn’t remember ever being that excited about anything—especially not about anyone. If the chick wasn’t careful, she was going to pass out from sheer anticipation—or from excessive bouncing in a way-too-tight bustier. Either one could lead to fainting. Luckily, she didn’t have to wait long.

Aubrey heard his voice before she saw him. Gravelly, dark, and powerful—the vocals of Wanderlust’s Lex Logan washed over her with a rush of heat. Goose bumps pricked her arms. Center stage was still black, but she craned her neck, trying to get a glimpse of the man behind the sound. As if responding to her silent desire, the spotlights flipped on and illuminated the singer. The screams in the audience rose to an octave only female voices could reach. Aubrey wanted to shout along with them, but all air had evacuated her lungs.

The crowd around her became a blur of noise and colors, and all she could focus on was the man at center stage. If she had seen pictures of Lex Logan, she really must not have been paying attention. The six feet of lean, hard-bodied rock star sent her pulse into instant overdrive. Dark hair. Bright eyes. And full sleeves of colorful tattoos. Holy hell. She shifted to the left and stood on tiptoes to get a better, full-length view. Heat rippled across her skin as Lex looked out at the audience and curled his lips into a smile. Confident. Seductive. Wicked. That smile said volumes. That smile made promises.

He gripped the mic stand and bent over, belting out a note, causing his shaggy, dark hair to fall over his eyes. Sexuality, raw and unadulterated, rolled off him in waves. And now she got it. Got what the girl next to her was having palpitations over. Aubrey wanted to drown in that voice—fall in and never come out. She closed her eyes and let the sound resonate through her, her body swaying with the motion of the crowd around her.

A gruff voice interrupted her blissful moment. “Hey, watch it, lady.”

Her lids snapped open. The man next to her glared.


“Watch your goddamned feet,” he barked. “My toes aren’t made of steel.”

She dropped her gaze to her heeled boots and assumed she must’ve stepped on the guy’s feet. “Sorry,” she yelled over the music, but the man had already turned to face the stage again. She gave herself a mental shake. What the hell is wrong with me? I’m supposed to be working, not drooling over the subject of my assignment.

She had to get a grip or her story would end up reading like a teen idol website. Lead singer of Wanderlust, Lex Logan, is totally hot! He’s six foot two inches tall. His favorite color is black. Likes long walks in dark alleys. Prefers blondes who wear dental floss. Okay, so the last part probably wouldn’t make it into Tiger Beat, but still. She needed to pay attention to the music, the show, and how tight the performance was or wasn’t. That’s what she was getting paid to do. Not to admire how firm Lex’s abs looked through that snug black T-shirt or how his inked arms flexed when he gripped the microphone.

The song ended and the band launched into the next track. Aubrey tried to hone in on the other band members, watching Lex only when she couldn’t avoid it. She shut her eyes often so that she could listen to the notes, the quality of the vocals, the crisp sound of the instruments. By the fourth song, she had returned to some sort of professional mode, taking mental notes at a rapid clip.

When the song finished, Lex sauntered to the edge of the stage to address the audience. “How’s everyone doing tonight?”

Screams answered him. He gave an easy laugh, clearly comfortable being the center of attention.

“I’m glad y’all are having a good time. We are, too. New Orleans definitely knows how to throw a party.” He put his hand against his brow to shield his eyes from the spotlights and squinted at the sea of people below him. “Turn up those house lights. I want to see these beautiful faces.”

Female voices reverberated off the walls as the lights above the crowd switched on. A redhead a few steps away from Aubrey lifted up her shirt as soon as Lex’s eyes traveled in her direction. Nice. What was this? Mardi Gras? Lex smiled and gave a little nod of acknowledgment to Boob Job Girl, but otherwise didn’t comment.

“You know, I’m feeling mighty thirsty, and I heard a rumor that New Orleans is home of the body shot,” Lex said, continuing to survey the audience with a sly smile. “So I’m thinking, that maybe I should try one tonight. What do you think?”

The shouting of the crowd increased.

“Now all I need is . . . a willing victim,” Lex continued. Bustier Girl began her bouncing routine again and waved her hands frantically trying to catch his eye. Lex paced across the stage, taking his time, holding his finger up and preparing to point to the chosen one.

Aubrey put her money on Miss Augmentation, but he passed that section up without a glance. As he neared Aubrey’s end of the stage, his eyes landed on her exuberant neighbor. The girl’s scream turned shrill. “Pick me! Me! Me!”

Lex lowered his hand ready to point and then shifted his gaze, locking eyes with Aubrey. Her breath caught. Oh, shit. Seconds seemed to tick by, but she couldn’t pull away from the stare. She managed to wag her head slowly back and forth. No. No. No.

He smiled, lowered his finger, and pointed directly at her. “You. The sexy brunette in the black T-shirt.”

Her stomach took a nosedive.

“Come on, I won’t bite,” Lex said, waving her forward. “Unless you ask nicely, that is.”

The girl next to Aubrey shot her a glare that could have curdled milk. The sea of fans parted as if she’d suddenly morphed into royalty, and she forced her leaden feet to cross the few yards to the barricade. Her heart took up residence in her throat, threatening to jump out. This was a disaster. She silently cursed the bouncer from backstage. If she had met the band beforehand, she would’ve never ended up in this position. Building a professional relationship with the band after this was going to be next to impossible.

Hands patted her back and shoulders as the two bouncers flanking the stage helped her climb over the metal barrier. Lex squatted at the edge of the stage, all wicked grin and guyliner, and stuck his hand out. He cocked his head, beckoning her closer in a way that spoke without the words. Come on over, lamb, said the wolf. This will only take a minute.

Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. Though she’ll forever be a New Orleans girl at heart, she now lives in Dallas with her husband and son.

If she’s not working on her latest sexy story, you can find her reading, watching reality television, or indulging in her unhealthy addiction to rockstars, er, rock concerts. Yeah, that's it. She is the National Bestselling Author of The Loving on the Edge series from Berkley Heat. 

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