Monday, January 8, 2024

Now On Tour Her Name Was Lola by Karen Janowsky

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Her Name Was Lola
Karen Janowsky

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Date of Publication: 12/22/23
ISBN:  978-1-4874-4027-5
Number of pages: 300 
Word Count: 8,859
Cover Artist: Martine Jardin

Tagline: Sometimes you have to lose your heart to gain your dream.

Book Description:

Lover of fairy tales Lola Nelsson learned at an early age that darker truths lay behind their bright facades. At twenty-two, she still hopes for her fairy tale to come true before she graduates college. But she hasn’t met her prince yet and she doesn’t know how to navigate the real world. Then a handsome man at a conference catches her eye. She’s sure he’s out of her league, but tries to get his attention anyway. And she’s successful… until she isn’t.

Only one thing matters to Professor Vance Anderson—gaining tenure. Known as Dr. Casanova on campus, he’s a true love ‘em and leave ’em kind of guy. For now though, he’s sworn off the distraction of women. When he spots a beauty of a different sort at a conference, he can’t stop thinking about her.  But when she accepts his invitation to his room, his insecurities kick in. Everything goes well… until it doesn’t.

The night ends disastrously, and it’s all over. Until Lola and Vance wind up in a working relationship, making it impossible to avoid one another. The situation can only end in one of two ways. They’ll either end up madly in love or they’ll want to kill each other. Before they can discover their real feelings, they need to learn to trust themselves. Only time will tell if their fairy tale is sweet or dark.

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Bewitching Exclusive Excerpt:

Chapter Thirty-One

Lola flung her shoes across the suite’s common area. The narrow heels made satisfying thumps as they bounced from the wall onto the floor. Storming into her room, she lugged her suitcase onto the bed and began tossing things into it. Her stockings caught on the bedframe and she ripped them from her legs. Reaching around, she tugged at her dress zipper, which tangled in her hair. Clenching her jaw, she yanked her hair out of it, making her scalp smart. She shoved the dress over her hips, tearing the zipper from its stitches. She headed into the bathroom, grabbed a pair of scissors, and cut it off the rest of the way. Then she pulled on her pink leggings and faded yellow T-shirt and washed off every speck of her carefully applied makeup.

Once again she looked like the child she still must be, given the shitshow that was this year. Stomping into the common room, she grabbed her phone from its charger and started Googling travel sites for a plane ticket.

The door opened and slammed shut. Vance’s scowl normally reduced her to six inches tall, but Lola glared at him, meeting his fury as she strode back and forth, looking for cheap flights.

“You were supposed to be helping me,” he accused.

Lola stopped pacing and pivoted toward him. “You were doing fine on your own between your two evening pastimes.” She mirrored his facial expression.

“What did you say?” His face darkened.

“You heard me.” She kept her voice to a slow burn. “I’m sure you’ve got your nighttime sex party lined up. I want nothing to do with you or your stupid life anymore.”

They stared at each other like two bulls ready to charge. She couldn’t breathe.


This must be what it’s like to implode. Vance took a step forward. “Excuse me?”

“The man who handed you that note said you gave him permission to fuck me now that you had your own festivities squared away. So no, I don’t think you need my help unless you want a tri-lingual whore, like you told your sister I was.”

He blinked and did a double take. “I said no such thing to him. As far as Ingrid, you—”

“Heard that conversation? It’s not eavesdropping if you’re loud enough to hear.”

This time, he raised his voice. “What are you talking about?”

Lola raised hers back. “I’m done. I’m going home tonight. You can take those women up for…what did you call it in August? A really nice hookup.”

His eye twitched. “You want to discuss this?” he yelled. “Fine.” His head and chest were a furnace. “I’m sick of your manipulation and fake reproach. You didn’t complain at the time. You were expecting something, or you wouldn’t have had your friend push me in your direction and you wouldn’t have let me take you to my room. If you’d objected at any point, I would’ve stopped. We both got what we wanted. I’m certainly not your first rodeo, and—”

Lola hurled the phone at him.

It thudded into his chest and he slapped it against his sternum.

“You are my first, Vance. You’re my only,” she shouted.

“You have no right to—” he shouted back. “What?” The rage turned cold as he gasped.

“I was about to leave the party because I was afraid to introduce myself. Naomi insisted, and next thing I knew, you were right there.” She glared at him. “You said you wanted to go somewhere quieter and I thought you wanted to get to know each other. You said you wanted me to stay with you all night and I believed you. I felt special, and beautiful, and wanted, and you kicked me out as soon as you rolled off me.”

The rims of her eyes reddened. “What do you think it was like for me to walk into your office and see that repulsed look on your face?” Her voice quieted and shook. “Do you think I wanted to go through all that pain and humiliation again?”

He took a few steps backward, nearly tripping on the coffee table. Lightheaded, he sat on the edge of the couch and buried his head in his hands. “Oh my God.” His voice creaked. He looked up at her and knitted his brow. “I didn’t know.”

“I didn’t tell you right away because I was afraid you’d have that exact, horrified reaction.” Her tone was high-pitched fury and grief. “I tried, though, before anything happened. But I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. I’d hoped you’d be different and not act like I was radioactive when you found out I was a virgin.” Tears slid past her lips as she spoke, making her words slur.

His insides knotted. “I don’t know how I’d have reacted, but you should’ve told me. You—”

“How the hell is this my fault?” she yelled. “You weren’t listening. You hardly even asked about me.” She wiped her sleeve across her eyes. “You lied to me. You had no intention of spending more time than whatever it took for you to masturbate into me.” Palpable anguish streamed from her in waves. “I was your…your human trampoline. What good would it have done to tell you after you told me to go—or when I saw you again—except to make things worse?”

“Lola, I—”

She stepped closer. “I cried so hard I had trouble finding my room that night. Now I know why they call it a walk of shame, because that’s how I’ve felt since then.” Clenching her jaw, she pointed.

He shrunk back.

Her tone lowered to a growl as her shoulders quaked. “You’re a condescending, bullying prick.” She stood at the edge of the coffee table and held out her hand. “Give me my phone. I’ll take out a loan for an extra semester and graduate late. I’d rather go into debt than be your punching bag anymore.”

Chin trembling, he put her phone aside. Saltwater seeped past his lips and turned bitter at the back of his throat.

She dropped her arm. “The worst part is that I never thought you were a terrible person, not until you pimped me out tonight.” She scrunched her face as she tried to control what was likely to be another cascade of sobs. A drop of blood beaded on her lip where she’d bitten it too hard.

He’d answered the man’s question about whether she was any good and if he could borrow her. Vance had thought he meant as a translator. A lump rose in his throat. He’d broken her. Worse still, it wasn’t entirely from carelessness.

“Every once in a while, I saw the man I thought I met in August.” She wiped her eyes with her palms. “All semester long, I saw a sensitive, introspective, loving man with so much anger and pain locked away. I defended you to my friends because I believed in you. And I never said a word about what happened.” Lola’s voice stumbled over ragged breaths. “Naomi and Clay knew because they were there when I got to my room and fell apart.”

She sniffled and made a soft, wheezing sound. “There were times I let myself think you cared about me. I was so afraid of disappointing you.” Gulping hard, she straightened. “Obviously, I’m just a pebble in your shoe. You never saw me as anything but an easy fuck, a useful underling, or an annoying child.” Her legs shook and fresh tears streamed down her cheeks. “I never stood a chance to be a complete person in your eyes, even while I was trying to see every facet of you that I could.”

Vance’s throat tightened as he tried to swallow. He was an absolute, lower than low dick, and he’d had this coming.

“I trusted you, so I gave you my body.” Now her voice was a hoarse whisper. “If I’m a slut, it’s because you made me into one that night.”

He opened and closed his mouth a few times, but there was no apology good enough, nor any justification to be made. She was right.


About the Author:

Karen wanted to be an author and/or Wonder Woman when she grew up. One of those jobs was already taken, though. She lives with her husband, son, and six cats in Maryland, where she works as an English professor. Karen received her MA in literature and creative writing from Florida State University. When she isn't writing, she can often be found sitting at a friend's dining room table drinking wine and playing RPGs, hanging out at the local Indian restaurant with her bestie, or curled up in bed with a few cats, listening to the rain and either reading a book or watching a BBC mystery.

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