Riding the Wave (A Pacific Blue Novel)
Signet / July 1, 2014 / $7.99 print & digital
With a make-or-break world championship on the line, professional surfer Tanner Wright has come back to the coastal California hometown he left a decade ago, carrying only his board and the painful knowledge of his father’s infidelity. Now that Hank Wright is dead, Tanner intends to keep the secret buried to spare his mother and sister the burden.
The last time Avalon Knox saw her best friend’s brother, she was fourteen and he was a twenty-year-old surfer god. She’s never understood or respected the way Tanner distanced himself from the family that has embraced her. But now she has the professional chance of a lifetime: to photograph Tanner for the competition—if he’ll agree.
Out on the waves, they find in each other passion that’s impossible to resist. And Tanner’s not the only one trying to move forward from his past. As the competition heats up, secrets get spilled, and lust takes over. How close can Avalon get to this brooding surfer…without getting burned?
Contemporary romances can sometimes try too hard to be cute, trendy, or worst, hip. Riding the Wave doesn't do any of those things, and what's more, feels incredibly fresh. With its vivid depiction of the surf life in Southern California, Lorelie Brown uses rich language to transport us right into her characters' world.
California seeps through the pages like its own character, imbibing the language and similes with a well-researched vibe. When Tanner Wright returns to his old hometown for his next pro-surfing championship, he’s immediately attracted to Avalon Knox. When he sees her surfing, he thinks,
“She breathed pure grace. The easy acceptance of the moment she’d been handed and the tiny fraction of the giant ocean she rode.”
And then, later, he thinks that she:
“…Smelled like coconut and toasted sun and everything good he remembered about California girls. Plus, underneath it, something different. Something tastier that called right to the bottom of him, made him want to lick and suck.”
We can almost taste the sunshine and coconut oil in his description, and it helps us to get an immediate sense of just who Tanner is.
Avalon, too, is incredibly believable. As an up and coming photographer, she is asked to shadow Tanner for the month that he’s home, but knows that she should keep away from the playboy, who also happens to be her best friend’s brother and girlhood crush. (Yeah, it’s a lot, but it works!) She speaks with the fluidity of someone who is really “in it,” a real person and not just a character. After a tense moment in a bar, she asks Tanner, “You about to hulk out or something? Because I think those guys are long gone.” She doesn’t pull any punches with Tanner, telling him, amongst other things, that “I think that might have been the cheesiest pickup line I’ve heard.”
Tanner, too, has the language of a professional surfer, imbued with a sexiness that makes it seem very real. I can well imagine the real Tanner speaking like this:
She smiled as she smoothed the bottoms over her ass. “You got what you asked for.”
“Fuck yeah, I did.” He grinned. Tucking his board under his arm, he led the way out the door and down the beach. The sand almost seemed to glow, shining white under the moonlight. It flicked up behind them in soft clouds.
It is this mixture of authenticity and almost poetical language that makes this novel hum with a “trueness.” making me want to research where the author lives. Even in the story’s more heated moments, we can never forget who or what Tanner is, or that Avalon herself not only surfs, but knows the surfing world very well.
She scratched her nails over his thick muscles. The way he arched up into it was a little bit of a rush. He was a beast: all power and strength. She’d seen some surfers who were nothing but ligaments and bones. They tended to flick over the waves in tiny, liquid moves.
Not Tanner. He’d always owned the wave. Owned the moment.
And then, as Avalon continually questions their involvement, she thinks that:
“On the surface, Tanner seemed as solid as the shore. Unmoving against the pounding surf. But what people didn’t realize was that shorelines shifted. Sand slid away….Even land couldn’t be trusted.”
The surf/sand/sun vibe is present throughout the story. But it never distracts from it. Sex between Avalon and Tanner (hope that wasn’t a surprise!) is still very hot. Tanner and Avalon’s story is California fresh to its core, and a very enjoyable read.
Learn more or pre-order a copy of Riding the Wave by Lorelie Brown, available July 1, 2014:
Erin Moore writes sensuous and transportive paranormal romances, and is slowly dipping her toes into the world of historicals. She is so grateful to love her job. Living in Atlanta with her husband (who believes he should be the model for all of her covers), her two little boys, and one unruly dog, she finds her inner peace by meditation and writing. Chocolate and good tea are her only vices. Find her most often on Twitter! She's also on Facebook and Goodreads.