Hello, you lovely people! Today, Brenda Janowitz is being featured at Traveling With T because her newest, THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB, released today! Who is Brenda Janowitz, you ask? Well you might remember her from RECIPE FOR A HAPPY LIFE. Or the Author Spotlight: Brenda Janowitz that happened last summer at Traveling With T.
Today, though, I have an excerpt and a GIVEAWAY! Scroll down to the bottom to check that Rafflecopter link (after you read the kick-butt excerpt!)
Excerpt from THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB by Brenda Janowitz:
Chapter Twelve: Owner of a lonely heart
Valentine’s Day. February fourteenth. A day of love and romance and frills and doilies. A day filled with chocolate in heart-shaped boxes and all things pink and red.
Valentine’s Day is the day on which lovers freely express their passion for each other by sending flowers, candies, and insipid love notes. Lots of love notes. According to the Greeting Card Association, approximately one billion Valentines are sent every year, making it the biggest card-giving holiday besides Christmas.
Dozens of red roses are sent on this day and hundreds of couples get engaged. Radio stations play love songs and bakeries bake heart-shaped cookies. February fourteenth is a day dedicated entirely to the pursuit of love.
It’s also the day that five of Al Capone’s men gunned down seven members of Bugs Moran’s gang with tommy guns in a garage on Chicago’s north side in 1929. But people usually don’t send cards for that.
It being Valentine’s Day, and me being alone, I do what any respectable single woman who’s utterly alone would do—I open a bottle of Stoli and order in some fried food from my local Italian place.
“That’ll be $32.15,” the hostess says after she’s tallied up my dinner delivery order.
“But I get the same thing every time,” I say, pouring my first vodka tonicof the evening. I pour way too much vodka into the glass, making it stronger than I intend it to be, but I’m not exactly drinking it for the taste this evening. “Isn’t it $18 and change?”
“Oh,” she says, “yeah, normally it is, but there’s an extra charge on all of the menu items for Valentine’s Day.”
“What?” I say, since I must have misheard her. There’s no way in hell this girl just told me that even though I’m ordering in for one, she’s charging me extra because it’s Valentine’s Day. In fact, since I’m ordering for one and it’s Valentine’s Day, shouldn’t I get a discount instead of a price increase? The whole situation really brings out my Irish. Being a Jewish girl from Long Island, I don’t really have much Irish in me, but it brings it out nonetheless.
“Oh,” she says. “I was just saying that there’s an extra charge on all of the menu items for Valentine’s Day.”
“But I ordered for one,” I say, pacing around my kitchen with my glass as I speak. “Clearly I’m alone and it’s Valentine’s Day.”
“Yeah,” she says. “I know. It’s just that there’s an extra charge on all of the menu items for Valentine’s Day.”
“I heard you,” I say. I take a big gulp of vodka.
“Okay, yeah, so it should be there in about twenty minutes,” she says, trying to get me off the phone.
“I ordered for one.”
Dead silence on the line.
“I’d like to speak to a manager,” I say, polishing off my first glass in just one large gulp.
“Um, okay,” she says. “Hold on.”
“Hi there,” the manager’s cheery voice announces, as I’m pouring vodka tonic number two. To call this one a vodka tonic would be a bit of a misnomer. Glass number two is more like a vodka with a splash of tonic. “I’m Greg. I’m the manager here.”
“Hi, Greg,” I say as I sit at the kitchen counter and swirl the glass to mix my drink. “I understand that it’s Valentine’s Day and that means that you have to gouge the eyes out of all the lovesick puppies who come into your restaurant tonight. I would do the exact same thing, Greg. The same thing. I mean, fuck them, okay? Fuck ’em, Greg. But I am home—alone—ordering for one. How dare you charge me extra for my goddamned Caesar salad and chicken parm. Tonight of all nights. I mean, what the fuck, Greg? What the fuck?”
“You are absolutely right, miss,” Manager Greg says to me as I down the second glass of vodka. “I’m so sorry.”
My Caesar salad and chicken parm arrive hot on my doorstep twenty minutes later, and the delivery guy presents me with the bill. I glance at the bill, ready to pay, but then I notice something. It’s not a bill for the usual amount—it’s a bill for the jacked-up Valentine’s Day price.
“I’m not paying this,” I say, handing back the bill to the delivery guy.
“Um,” he says, shifting his weight from foot to foot. “Whaddya mean?”
“I mean you can tell Manager Greg to go fuck himself,” I say.
“Um, wait? What?”
I hand the delivery guy a tip. “This is for you. You can tell Manager Greg I’m not paying for this. If he has a problem with that, he can come up here himself.” I grab the bag of food just before I slam the door.
I barely even taste the chicken parm. Minutes later, I realize that I must have eaten—the takeout container’s empty—but it’s like I didn’t even have a bite. Anger coursing through my veins, my face getting hotter by the second, barely processing a thought. Just seeing red. Blinding red. I look down at the takeout container and realize I’m still hungry.
But I don’t want to eat. I want to rage.
Put it into a song, I tell myself. Get it out with your music.
But the words don’t come. There’s no structure, no rhyme or reason—I just want to scream at the top of my lungs for a while. To blow off steam.
A tear comes to my eye as I think about everything that’s happened to me in the past few months. All the things that I’ve lost, all the things that were totally out of my control. The job, the guy, the freelance gig, the wedding.
The guy. My eyes burn as I force the tears back, refuse to let them out.
I look at my computer across the room, its black cursor against the pale white screen flashing in the dark. Talking to me. Beckoning to me. Write. Get it all out.
So I do.
Wasn’t that excerpt fantastic? I’m currently reading THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB now (look for my review in the next couple of weeks!) But, I just couldn’t wait. I had to post this excerpt and the giveaway opportunity for you all today!
Before we get to the giveaway portion- here is a bit more about Brenda!
About Brenda Janowitz:
Happy Reading and Bookishly Yours,
T @ Traveling With T’