Sunday, January 18, 2015

**Review** Wanderlust ~ Thea Dawson ~ Donna's Review ~

Thea Dawson

Coming on February 10, 2015!

Wanderlust is 169 pages/52,000 words

It is a standalone novel, not part of a series
What reviewers on Goodreads have to say:
“… a beautiful read …”
“A nice plot that immediately catches the reader's attention.”
“Really enjoyable fast-paced story.”

 So much for destiny. This was more like fate’s idea of a practical joke.

Monica Prescott, writer and world traveler, has everything she wants … except a man who’s freespirited
enough to join her for a life on the road. But when she bumps into Jason, the guy who
broke her heart in college, she lets him think she’s engaged. It wouldn’t take much to fall for him
again—and that’s one road she doesn’t want to go down.

Jason Moretti has a job he hates, and he’d like nothing better than to tell his boss to shove it.

Then he runs into Monica, the girl he never got over. Thinking she’s settling down with a wealthy
fiancé, he reinvents himself as an ambitious career man in a desperate bid to impress her.

Old feelings start to resurface, but Monica has trust issues and Jason doesn’t like risks. To top it
off, Monica is leaving for Bangkok in two weeks—and she won’t be back anytime soon. Time is
running out for them to come to terms with the past and embrace their wanderlust.

Monica and Jason met at the beginning of their freshman year in college and fell in love. They were planning a future together. However, Monica was going to study in France her junior year and Jason didnt want her to go. This drove a wedge in their relationship and things ended badly.

Monica becomes a world traveler and travel writer. She loves her job and her life but sometimes wonders if she is missing out on love. Jason has a job he hates with a prestigious PR firm. He wants to start his own business in marketing but is afraid to take chances.

Ten years after their break up, they run into each other again. In order to avoid being hurt once more, they aren't truthful with each other about certain aspects of their lives. When they realize the spark is still there, will they be able to be honest with each other and work things out?

I really enjoyed this book. The character are believable and likable. The story gives enough of their backstory without spending too much time in the past. I liked the Epilogue tying up all the loose ends. I liked the fact there weren't lots of involved love scenes.

I had never read a book by Thea Dawson but I definitely will read more by her. I highly recommend this book and author.

4.5 stars
Sample Chapter


It was a bitter January day in Chicago. I stomped the snow off my boots as I walked
into the cozy, wood-floored coffee shop and made my way to the counter. I was going to be
late to work, but my days there were numbered anyway, and I preferred to start the day with
a decent cup of coffee, rather than the crap they had at the office. It was the only indie
coffee shop left in the commercial district where I worked. It wasn’t the best service in the
world, but I liked to feel that by patronizing it, I was doing my bit for small businesses.

I ordered, and took off my gloves to dig my wallet out from underneath layers of
clothing. I rubbed my hands together while the barista collected my change, cursing my luck
at ending up in freakin’ cold Chicago. I was dimly aware of the front doorbells ringing as
another customer came in, bringing a brief blast of cold air.

Almost unconsciously, I began thinking of ways the coffee shop could improve its
business—reward cards, specials, a friendlier barista. It was almost automatic for me now to
assess every business I came in contact with, and think about ways to improve it. This shop
had some good things going for it—excellent coffee and a nice atmosphere—but I didn’t
like its odds for staying in business for the long haul. I thought about asking the barista for
the owner’s contact information, but there was another person in line behind me now, and I
didn’t want to take up too much time.

The barista handed me my change and told me my coffee would be ready in a
moment. I turned to get out of the way of the customer behind me, then I saw her face and
froze. It had been seven years since I’d caught a glimpse of her at graduation, but I would
have known her anywhere, even bundled up as she was against the harsh wind and snow.


Those big brown eyes turned to me, blinked, then widened in surprise. “Jason!” For
a split second, I wondered if she’d just turn around and walk out, but to my relief she said,

“Wow! How are you?”

I couldn’t look away from those beautiful eyes. Still the same deep brown, bright and
clear and fringed with thick, dark lashes that stood out against her creamy skin, now flushed
and rosy from the cold. A wisp of chestnut brown hair had escaped from beneath her wooly
winter hat, but I couldn’t tell if it was still as long as it had been in college. I found myself
hoping that she hadn’t cut it short. It had been so long and beautiful in college.

“You look great!” I said. Not terribly original, but definitely true. We managed an
awkward little hug before I remembered my manners. “Here, let me buy you something.

What are you having?”

“Oh, small mocha,” she said to the impatient barista, “but please don’t worry about
it,” she said to me, groping in the pocket of her backpack for her money.

“No, no, please let me.” I fished a twenty out of my wallet and handed it to the
barista before Monica could extract her cash. “Wow! You look great! It’s so nice to see you!”
I knew I was grinning like a total dork. Even with a pink nose and flushed cheeks, she
looked beautiful. Her top half was encased in a down parka, but she wore skinny jeans, and I
could see that her legs were as long and shapely as ever. She smiled bashfully.

“Do you have time to sit down and catch up for a bit?” I asked. Now I’d be really
late to work, but now I cared even less.

“Oh, actually, I’m meeting a client here in a few minutes …”

If it was a hint, I didn’t take it. “Well, just a few minutes, then,” I said, barely looking
as the barista handed me my change. “It’ll be a few minutes before the coffee’s ready,
anyway. This place is pretty slow,” I added in a whisper.

We sat at a table and smiled at each other for a long moment. I thought she was
happy to see me, but apparently neither of us knew what to say. Then we both started to
speak at once.

“Go on, you first,” she said with a light laugh.

“So how are your parents?” I blurted, not knowing where else to start.

“They’re fine,” she said. “Thanks for asking. Still in Minnesota. My sister’s expecting
a baby.”

“Lauren? The pesky fourteen-year-old?”

She laughed. “No, my older sister, Charlotte. But Lauren’s engaged. Hardly pesky at
all anymore.”

I shook my head, thinking of the freckle-faced kid who’d followed us around during
my visit to Minnesota, teasing Monica about me and spying on us when we tried to make
out. She’d be in her mid-twenties now. “Hard to believe,” I said, smiling.

“So what are you doing these days?” she asked.

“I’m an accounts manager for a PR firm up the street.” I didn’t add that I expected
to be fired any minute, and that the chances of that happening were improving every
moment I sat there talking to her. “How about you?” I was genuinely curious, and I wanted
to deflect the conversation away from my job. “When you say you’re meeting a client—?”

“Your coffee’s ready!” announced the barista from behind the bar.

“Faster than usual today,” I mumbled, for once wishing that the barista had been her
normal, inefficient self. I jumped up to retrieve the cups and placed Monica’s mocha in front
of her.

“Thanks,” she murmured. She unzipped her coat, took off her hat and began peeling
off her gloves. Her hair wasn’t quite as long as it had been in college, but I was happy to see
that it still tumbled well past her shoulders. “I do a lot of things. Mainly, I’ve been working
as a travel writer, but I also just started a little business, sort of a travel agency for women
going abroad by themselves.”

“Wow, that sounds interesting!” I said. My marketing mind kicked on instantly—
how did she advertise? What kind of women were her clients? What kind of travel did she

She nodded absentmindedly. “Yeah, it’s a lot of fun.” She looked distracted. I wasn’t
sure if she was thinking about her client, or maybe she just felt uncomfortable with me.

There were so many things I wanted to ask her, but I was afraid of coming on too strong, so
I groped for a way to break the ice.

She picked up her cup and took a sip of her mocha. I was about to make a joke
about how at least she was still left handed—some things don’t change—and I glanced
reflexively at her hand. The room seemed to give a weird lurch that made my stomach roll
over, but I pulled myself together.

“Hey, congratulations! Who’s the lucky guy?” I said with as much enthusiasm as I
could muster.

She looked at me blankly. I looked significantly at her left hand. She put the cup
down and looked at the ring, as if she were surprised to see it.

It was beautiful. An enormous, square-cut emerald, surrounded by tiny diamonds. A
knock-out of a ring that might have cost as much as I made in several months. A big, goofy
smile spread over her face as she looked down at it. “Oh! This is—it’s kind of a long story,

The bells on the coffee shop door rang again, and an elegantly dressed woman who
looked to be in her early forties walked in.

“Oh, there she is,” said Monica, waving to the woman. “I’m going to have to—”

“No worries, I’ll get out of your way,” I said, getting up. I took a deep breath. “Look,
can I get your number? I don’t want to be inappropriate, I know you’re engaged and all, but
I’d love to catch up with you properly sometime.”

She gave me a quick glance that conveyed her hesitation, but to my relief she
nodded. “Yeah. Yes, I’d like that, too,” she said, fumbling in the pocket of her backpack
again. “My business cards are in here somewhere—” She gave up, clearly in a hurry to get rid
of me. “You know what, I’m on Facebook, Monica Prescott. I have a page called
Adventuress Travels.”

“Adventuress Travels,” I repeated. “And it’s not like I’ve forgotten your name.” I
grinned. “I’ll message you. Great to see you!” I leaned down and gave her a quick kiss on the
cheek. I grabbed my coffee and smiled briefly at the elegant woman, who gave me an
appraising look as I passed her.

“Who was that?” I heard the woman ask Monica as she sat down.

Monica’s reply made its way to me across the coffee shop as I made my way out the
door and back into the bitter wind.

“No one. Just an old friend from college."

Excerpt #1 (200 words)


When I got back, she’d slipped into my bed, but the t-shirt was on the floor and I
could just see her bare shoulders peeking out from under the comforter. She’d spread the
towel over my pillow. I looked at her wet hair fanning across it. “You look like a mermaid.”

She smiled. “I can do things a mermaid can’t do.”

“Like what?”

She shrugged and smiled suggestively. “You’ll have to come closer so I can show

I sat down at the edge of the bed and lifted a corner of the towel to dry her face a
bit. “I hear you mermaids are dangerous. You could lure me to my doom with this beautiful
hair of yours.”

She laughed. “The point is I’m not a mermaid. Lie down and I’ll show you.”

“I bet that’s what all you mermaids say,” I said, slipping under the covers. I put my
arms around her naked body and kissed her. She was still shivering and I held her tightly.

“Someone needs to warm you up.”

“Someone is warming me up,” she replied, her voice husky.

I nuzzled her neck. “So what can you do that a mermaid can’t?”

“Let me show you,” she whispered.
Excerpt #2 (152 words)


“Everything I want is right here, in this room, on this bed.” He sat up and took me
in his arms, holding me tightly. “Please, don’t go,” he whispered into my hair. “I’ll take you
to Paris on our honeymoon.”

I didn’t trust myself to speak. I was afraid I’d burst into tears. Too many emotions
were swirling around inside me—guilt, anger, love ... and something else.

Excitement. The desire to break away, have an adventure, do something new and

I regained control of myself and pulled gently away from him. “I’m going, Jason. I’ll
be back in a year. I’d love it if you waited for me, but if you can’t, I understand. I’d love it
even more if you came with me. But one way or another, I’m going.”

He nodded and looked away, his mouth set in a hard line.

And that’s when things started to change.
Thea Dawson spent much of twenties and early thirties abroad. She has lived in Tokyo,
Rome, and London, and has backpacked around much of Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

She was finally talked into settling down when her boyfriend proposed to her in Angkor
Wat, Cambodia. Now she’s stateside again, and embarking on a new career as a writer.

Wanderlust is her first book.

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