Growing up the daughter of notorious treasure hunter and absentee father Duke Wilder left Lily without much patience for the profession… or much money in the bank. But Lily is nothing if not resourceful, and now uses Duke’s coveted hand-drawn maps to guide tourists on fake treasure hunts through the red rock canyons of Utah. It pays the bills but doesn’t leave enough to fulfill her dream of buying back the beloved ranch her father sold years ago, and definitely not enough to deal with the sight of the man she once loved walking back into her life with a motley crew of friends ready to hit the trails. Frankly, Lily would like to take him out into the wilderness—and leave him there.
Leo Grady knew mirages were a thing in the desert, but they’d barely left civilization when the silhouette of his greatest regret comes into focus in the flickering light of the campfire. Ready to leave the past behind him, Leo wants nothing more than to reconnect with his first and only love. Unfortunately, Lily Wilder is all business, drawing a clear line in the sand: it’s never going to happen.
But when the trip goes horribly and hilariously wrong, the group wonders if maybe the legend of the hidden treasure wasn’t a gimmick after all. There’s a chance to right the wrongs—of Duke’s past and their own—but only if Leo and Lily can confront their history and work together. Alone under the stars in the isolated and dangerous mazes of the Canyonlands, Leo and Lily must decide whether they’ll risk their lives and hearts on the adventure of a lifetime. [From Goodreads]
Christina Lauren’s books so far have been very hit or miss for me. I absolutely adored The Soulmate Equation and Love and Other Words, but The Unhoneymooners and The Honey-Don’t List really did not hook me at all. That being said, I went into this one with a relatively open mind, but I didn’t expect anything other than the normal romance arc.
This was one of the wildest (no pun intended) romances I’ve read to date. I was very confused about the inclusion of alt-right incel Terry… like were Christina Lauren trying to inject a statement about our political climate into this romance? But no, clearly this horrible character I could not stand played a bigger part of this narrative.
I won’t lie, it was extremely over the top. I couldn’t believe the treasure hunt story that ensued. But it was also very fun. And the imagery Christina Lauren were able to create of the characters riding through Utah almost made me cry. I’ve never been, but this book made me feel like I have. I think that descriptive writing alone sealed the deal for me on this one.
Lily and Leo’s story was also very sweet, and obviously the chemistry was amazingly developed. I wish we had seen more of them, though. I think the treasure hunting parts of the story overshadowed the romance just a bit.
The treasure hunting and the chaos that ensues because of it was almost just a bit too unbelievable, too. All in all, though, it was a fun adventure romance. If you’re looking for a romance with a spin on it, this one is definitely for you.