Sunday Snippet: Wanderlust by Roni Loren

Have I told you all how much I freaking LOVE Roni Loren? No? Well I do. I love her characters (currently Pike is my fave for reasons) so when she tweeted about this book I was all say what? When she told me who was in it I knew I had to read it and spotlight it. So here we are…sharing a bit of Wanderlust. Did I mention that Wanderlust is in the Sweet Seduction Charity Box Set? No?
In 2014 A Sweet Life, the boxed set curated by Brenda Novak’s Online Auction for Diabetes Research, raised $100 000. This year we’re back for a second helping, and you can indulge too! Priced at only 9.99, this stunning limited edition collection features fourteen BRAND NEW contemporary romances by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors…
You can make a difference while you read! All proceeds from the sale of Sweet Seduction will be donated to the Diabetes Research Institute via Brenda Novak’s Online Auction for Diabetes Research. 
SweetSeduction_500x750Restaurant critic Aubrey Bordelon’s wild streak died ten years ago when a terrible accident changed everything. Since that moment, Aubrey hasn’t nudged a toe in an errant direction. She excels at her job with the local magazine, plays southern debutante for her politico parents, and keeps her dance card clear of messy relationships. So when Aubrey’s boss asks her to fill in for the magazine’s high-profile music reporter, she’s up for the challenge. Compared to egomaniacal chefs, handling a few self-indulgent rockstars should be cake—even if the wicked grin of Wanderlust’s lead singer has her scruples sneaking toward the backstage door.

Lex Logan escapes to New Orleans as a last resort. His song-writing muse has disappeared on a bender. His band members are fighting like alcoholics over the last bottle of vodka. And everyone’s looking to him to play savior before the record label dumps them on their sorry asses. The last thing Lex needs is some haughty, albeit sexy, reporter documenting his downfall. He has to shake her off the story—fast. If she wants a peek into the rock ‘n’ roll life, then he’s going to give it to her. Unedited. But in his attempts to scare her away, Lex catches a glimpse of the passionate woman hiding behind the polished façade. And just one taste is enough to alter his plans from chasing her out of his life to coaxing her into his bed.

 

 Excerpt

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 reason possible—she feared her physical reaction to him. He remembered distinctly how she had quivered beneath him when he had touched her on stage, 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 then gripped the sides of her chair and pivoted 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 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 off his clothes, 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.

*

Holy shit. There were only three more buttons left on Lex’s shirt. Aubrey tried to avert her eyes, but they stayed glued to his chest—the magnetic pull too great. He pulled open another, revealing the smooth plains of muscle hidden underneath. Unlike his arms, which had full-sleeve tattoos decorating their length, his torso was mostly unmarked. He sang the words of the song to her, his deep, grit-filled voice turning her insides molten. God, she needed to get up. Leave. Do something. He yanked open the last two buttons and held his shirt wide, exaggerating every motion and moving his body in a way that dripped sexual confidence.

The band members behind her laughed, and the cocktail waitress catcalled, “Take it all off, baby!”

Lex let his shirt slide down his arms, and then he draped it around Aubrey’s neck. His scent surrounded her—masculine spice and something uniquely him. Sex. That’s what she’d name that cologne. She inadvertently uncrossed her legs and leaned forward. Her attention dropped to Lex’s hard stomach, where his hands moved precariously close to his belt. She tried to swallow, but an invisible fist had clamped around her throat. His jeans sat low on his hips, allowing Aubrey an unencumbered view of the deep v-cut of his pelvis. She dragged her focus back up in an attempt to avoid imagining detailed pictures of what lay at the base of that v.

Lex gave her a wry smile and moved closer. He braced his hands on the tops of her knees and bent until his face was inches from hers. “You’re blushing, Aubrey. What’s going through that head of yours? No naughty thoughts I hope. That would be so unethical.”

With him that close, she had trouble catching a breath. “You’re an ass.”

He chuckled and slid his hands along her outer thighs, pressing her legs together. The heat of his touch seared through the denim of her jeans. “What are you doing?”

He stepped wide and straddled her legs. “They don’t call it a lap dance for nothing, sugar.”

She was now eye-level with the waistband of his jeans. Her fingers tingled with the need to reach out and run her hands down the plains of his stomach—to feel every dip and angle. What would his skin taste like if she closed the few inches between them and ran her tongue along it? She bit the inside of her cheek as a surge of heat settled right between her thighs.

Lex dragged one end of his belt through the loop and unhooked the clasp. His fingers toyed with the button of his jeans.

“Hmm,” he murmured. “Is it boxers or briefs? All the women’s magazines ask me that. What do you think, Aubrey? Have you come across any of those articles? Do you know the answer? What if it’s neither?”

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