You cannot simply start a process and use it as xlWorkBook in vbs style. From vb.net you would need setup com interop yourself. But... I published a helper for use with ExcelDataReader, called ExelDataReaderHelper. It makes it even more easy to read from excel files. without the need for com interop. Maybe this can help you out. The example is in c# but the package should work fine with vb.net also.
Additional Helper Methods to the ExcelDataReader Package