Sep 10 2015 11:30am

First Look: Christina Lauren Dark Wild Night (September 15, 2015)

Dark Wild Night by Christina Lauren

Christina Lauren
Dark Wild Night (Wild Seasons #3)
Gallery / September 15, 2015 / $16.00 print, $7.99 digital

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
But what didn't happen in Vegas seems to follow them everywhere.

Lola and Oliver like to congratulate themselves on having the good sense to not consummate their drunken Las Vegas wedding. If they'd doubled-down on that mistake, their Just Friends situation might not be half as great as it is now.

. . . Or so goes the official line.

In reality, Lola's wanted Oliver since day one—and over time has only fallen harder for his sexy Aussie accent and easygoing ability to take her as she comes. More at home in her studio than in baring herself to people, Lola's instinctive comfort around Oliver nearly seems too good to be true. So why ruin a good thing?

Even as geek girls fawn over him, Oliver can't get his mind off what he didn't do with Lola when he had the chance. He knows what he wants with her now . . . and it's far outside the friend zone. When Lola's graphic novel starts getting national acclaim—and is then fast-tracked for a major motion picture—Oliver steps up to be there for her whenever she needs him. After all, she's not the kind of girl who likes all that attention, but maybe she's the kind who'll eventually like him.

Sometimes seeing what's right in front of us takes a great leap of faith. And sometimes a dark wild night in Vegas isn't just the end of a day, but the beginning of a bright new life . . .

Christina Lauren can do no wrong in the world of New Adult romance. And this is true of Dark Wild Night. This third book in the Wild Seasons series features the final couple from the “mistake” Vegas weddings - when Lola and two of her best friends marry and then immediately divorce three male strangers almost a year ago. And unlike her two friends and their hookups, nothing ever happened between Lola and Oliver. Not that she didn’t try. She did. But he just wasn’t interested.

Only, of course, dear reader friends, we do know he was interested. What he wasn’t interested in doing was cheapening the moment, because he quickly realized that Lola is someone you don’t do casual with. Lola is the real deal. Thus Lola and Oliver become friends. Best friends. Soul mates, really. And we are screaming at Lola and Oliver to figure out what everyone else has figured out—that they are meant to be together in addition to the fact that they are both madly in love with each other.

The way their mutual feelings are revealed is done to perfection, like a sweet seduction. The way the story unfolds makes me crave the story even more. I want them to figure it out but I love the teasing and foreplay that Christina Lauren put us through with their pen, er, keyboard. Moreover, it’s a genius move on their part by letting us peer into Lola’s inner workings through her art and storyboard panels.

“Lola,” he starts.

I swallow, unable to keep from blinking – for just a second – down to his mouth. I love his mouth. It’s wide; his bottom lip and top lip are the same size. Full, but not feminine. I’ve drawn it a hundred times: with lips barely parted, lips pressed closed. With lips curved in his tiny smile or arced in his thoughtful frown. Lips with teeth sharply sawing across or, once, his mouth soft and open in an obscene gasp.

The count of two is all I get before I look back up at his eyes. “Yeah?”

It’s a year before he answers and by the time he does, I’ve gone through a million possibilities for what he’ll say next.

Have you ever thought about kissing me?

Reckon we could go shag in the back room?

Would you ever cosplay Zatanna?

Oliver has a reason for being so cool and collected around Lola. He’d rather not cross that boundary if it means losing Lola’s friendship and her love. Even though the only thing he can think about is crossing that boundary.

Was it only nerves, or was it more? With Lola I can’t tell. She looks at me in a way she doesn’t look at anyone else, but that could be meaningful only because I am her closest male friend, and have carefully, intentionally cultivated her trust. Trust is key with Lola. She closes down if she feels inspected, clams up if pushed.

But it’s a delicate, slow process and unfortunately, I want sex, and – maybe more specifically – the intimacy that comes along with it.

Yet Oliver and Lola continue this dance of questioning intimacy for almost half the book and I relish in it. Each moment that brings them closer makes their eventual coupling that much more delicious.

My hands are curled around his biceps and I’m staring up at his face. The dark of his brows, the light of his eyes, the shadow of a beard at his jaw…somehow it comes together to make my favorite face in the world. Oliver’s lips come apart just the smallest bit when he looks down at me and I see his jaw flex, feel his fingers press more firmly into my back. This is tension. This, right now, is lust, and I’ve never wanted anything more than I want his kiss. It’s nearly painful, the wanting. Something inside me is rebelling, stabbing itself with need, telling me it won’t let up until it gets what it wants. I’m being held hostage by my own heart.

We move, shifting feet, very, very slowly turning.

“This is nice,” he says. “I haven’t danced in ages.”

I keep waiting for the oddness to descend, the realization that what we’re doing is a little weird, but it doesn’t happen. It feels like I’m holding my breath, waiting for a sneeze to come.

“Breathe, Lola Love,” he whispers, and something inside me trips.

And Lola does trip. In both good ways and bad before they reach their eventual HEA. Of all the Wild Seasons books thus far, this one is my fave.

Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Dark Wild Night by Christina Lauren, available September 15, 2015:

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Tanya is a fanatic of all things romance and teaches sociology part time. You can find her on twitter @tamushamu.


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