Lola Carlyle's 12-Step Romance

Lola Carlyle's 12-Step Romance

by Danielle Younge-Ullman

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Overview

Lola Carlyle is lonely, out of sorts, and in for a boring summer. So when her best friend, Sydney, calls to rave about her stay at a posh Malibu rehab and reveals that the love of Lola's life, Wade Miller, is being admitted, she knows what she has to do. Never mind that her worst addiction is decaf cappuccino; Lola is going to rehab.

Lola arrives at Sunrise Rehab intent solely on finding Wade, saving him from himself, and-naturally-making him fall in love with her...only to discover she's actually expected to be an addict. And get treatment. And talk about her issues with her parents, and with herself. Plus she has insane roommates, and an irritatingly attractive mentor, Adam, who's determined to thwart her at every turn.

Oh, and Sydney? She's gone.

Turns out, once her pride, her defenses, and her best friend are stripped away, Lola realizes she's actually got a lot to overcome...if she can open her heart long enough to let it happen.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781622667857
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 05/05/2015
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Danielle Younge-Ullman is a novelist, playwright and freelance writer who has always had a passion for books, language and storytelling. Danielle attained her BA in English and Drama from McGill University in Montreal, then returned to her hometown of Toronto to work as professional actor for ten years. Danielle still lives in Toronto with her husband, two daughters, and their dog, Finny. For more information including updates, a book club reading guide and links to interviews and podcasts, visit www.danielleyoungeullman.com.

Read an Excerpt

Lola Carlyle's 12-Step Romance


By Danielle Younge-Ullman, Stacy Abrams

Entangled Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2015 Danielle Younge
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-63375-001-2


CHAPTER 1

"You could bounce a quarter off my butt cheeks."

Crap. Sydney. I shouldn't have picked up.

"I'm serious," Sydney continues. "The combo of yoga and surfing — it's like magic. Not to mention, I have a real tan. I've never looked hotter."

"If you do say so yourself," I mutter in a low voice, so as not to disturb my mother or the zillions of tiny, disgusting fish currently nibbling on the dead skin of her feet.

"Yes, I do say so. There's nothing wrong with a healthy self-esteem, Lola. That's something else I've learned."

Right. As if Sydney has ever been lacking in self-esteem. Modesty, yes, self-awareness, maybe, but self-esteem, no.

"Also, two words: spa food," she says, and rambles on about vegan pizza, free-range carrots, yada yada, happily oblivious of my hurl-worthy situation and deliberately ignoring the fact that we haven't spoken for two months.

"Anyway, this is way less boring than spending the summer in L.A.," she says.

"And the city is a safer, saner place."

"Ohhh, bitchy. It's okay, I know you're just jealous. But with a few minor adjustments to your daily routine and some work on your parentals, you, too, could find yourself booked on this fabulous vacation."

"Vacation, huh? Love the euphemism."

"No, listen, rehab is the new 'vacation.' Everyone's going these days."

"Not if they have no addictions."

"Sure they do. People go for just about anything. Gambling, internet addiction, eating disorders, cutting, prescription drugs. They go to convince their spouses they'll stop boning other people — the list goes on. For you, you'd just need to go to some clubs, come home stinking of booze and pot, and/or get photographed wearing no underwear ..."

"That is an officially terrible idea, Syd."

"But your mom would die if you did that. She'd pack you off in two seconds."

"I don't think so." I glance over at Mom, who is covered in mud up to her neck, while her feet sit in the mini fish tank. I'm here to protect her from the (supposed) hordes of paparazzi that might barge past reception and up the celeb elevator for the sole purpose of photographing her.

"Or ask your dad. Doesn't he say yes to everything?"

"He's not involved enough to be saying yes much." I lower my voice further as a precaution, even though Mom's wearing organic beeswax earplugs.

"Don't be such a baby. He buys you some great stuff and he doesn't cramp your style. He lets you be yourself."

He certainly does.

"So?"

"Sure," I say, not even trying to sound like I mean it, then breathe through my mouth while I switch out the cucumber slices on Mom's eyes. "When do we get to the part where you apologize for stealing my boyfriend?"

"Oh Lola, you have to get over that. I mean, Itold you I was going to steal him. And I didn't keep him. I dumped him after two days, practically on your behalf."

"On my behalf?"

"I have no guilt about it. I did you a favor."

I nearly choke at this, and Mom makes a hushing sound, somehow without moving her face, which is smothered in a mask that is supposed to contain (I wish I were kidding) real gold.

"A favor, huh?" I say to Sydney.

"I'm serious. How much do you want a guy if he's so easily stolen? It was a test of character, and he failed. And come on, was he not the worst kisser?"

Up floats the unpleasant memory of Trevor's limp, over-moist smooches, and despite my best efforts to stay mad, a bubble of laughter escapes from me.

"Besides, if he'd been loyal, you'd have been stuck with him and his smooshy kisses. You'd have stayed with him out of pity, with the exact thing you wanted to dump him for — the bad kissing — simultaneously being the reason you felt you had to stay."

"That makes no sense."

"Don't tell me."

"But ..." I trail off because in a twisted sort of way, she's right.

"Whereas my approach is much more direct. I told him. I said, 'Trevor, you can't kiss worth shit. You're like a dying frog.'"

"You did not!"

"I did. And again? A favor. I even tried to give him some pointers, like how to firm his lips up a bit and how licking them first is not working."

"Oh God."

"I know. Also, I told him not to lunge in so fast," she adds.

"Oh, I know! It's like you're standing there innocently and then all of a sudden he, like, lands on your face."

"Like a big, juicy bug splatting on your windshield on the highway!"

"Eeeewwww!"

"Lola!" It's Mom, pulling out an earplug and risking a crack in the gold by speaking.

"Oops. Hang on," I say to Sydney and put my hand over the phone. "I'll be off soon, Mom."

"Have some respect," she says, like it's a funeral instead of a pedicure.

"I just need a minute."

"Fine, go outside then, and send the girl — I need her anyway. But watch the door for me, and don't let anyone else in."

"Sure. But if the paparazzi get up here, I think they'll storm Anne Hathaway's room first," I say, and then head to the hallway, gesture to the tiny aesthetician hovering there, and flop down on a hemp-cushioned bamboo bench.

I'm all for a bit of personal upkeep, but my mother always goes for the most bizarre treatments — cactus massages, masks with bird droppings or snail slime, ass facials — the list is mortifying, as is the job of accompanying her.

"Sorry, Syd," I say. "Mother-Daughter Day."

"Oh joy."

"Yeah. Quality time." I roll my eyes. "Now, where were we?"

"Trevor's lips as squished bug."

I snort.

"So I offered him some tutorials, but seeing as I'd just dumped him and wounded his ego, he turned me down. I was like, 'Dude, it's not like I said you have a small penis. This is fixable.' But he stomped off in a total huff. Men are such wusses. Wait. He doesn't, does he?"

"He doesn't what?"

"Have a small —"

"Oh! No. I mean, I don't know because I didn't — Oh my God." I look up and down the cork-floored, over-scented hallway and hiss, "I am not talking to you about this."

"Ah," Sydney intones, "because we must not discuss the Private Details of the Sacred Pen —"

"Stop. You're just trying to distract me and make me forget I'm mad."

Sydney sighs. "Okay, Lo, how about this: I promise I won't do it again. Even if you pick the worst possible guy."

"What about the best possible guy?"

"That assumes you know the difference."

"This from the girl who made out with Willie the Warbler?"

Sydney makes a gurgling, gagging kind of sound. "All right. I promise I won't hook up with any more boyfriends of yours, even if it's for your own good. Are we over it?"

"Can I have your Louboutin clutch?"

"Which one?"

"The hot pink."

"Come on, you could totally get your dad to buy you that."

Right. Mom deposits a portion of the child support directly to my bank account, and if you expand your definition of "truth" just a little, then Dad does buy me a lot of stuff.

"That's not the point, Sydney. I want you to give me something — to make up for my pain and suffering, and as a future deterrent."

"You drive a hard bargain. I haven't even been seen with that bag. But then you'll be over it?"

"Think so."

"Jeez, you should've just told me that in the first place. I'd have bought you a bag before I stole him and we could've saved ourselves all this drama. Done."

"Fine. Okay." Bag for boyfriend. More than fair, considering the boyfriend in question, considering she probably did save me weeks of pity-dating before I could bring myself to break up with him, and considering she never apologizes for anything, ever.

"So, when you get here —"

"Oh, now I'm coming?"

"Just make sure you don't tell them you know me. I think they frown on friends being in rehab together, and it might cause them to suspect you're not legit. We'll just pretend to have an instant bond when we meet. And then you can unplug, get fit, learn to surf, detox on all levels. I mean, you should see my skin!"

I laugh and shake my head. I've missed her. Even living in L.A., I don't know anyone so entertaining, so hilarious, so full of every kind of trouble. I don't know anyone who relishes her own shallowness, nourishes her own shallowness, quite like Sydney. Nothing can quell Sydney or bring her down.

Although, given that she's in rehab, perhaps something has brought her down ...

"Seriously, you doing all right?" I ask.

"Me? Please, I'm fine," she says. "I still haven't gotten to the main reason I called. You haven't heard the best part."

"Mm."

"Aren't you going to ask me the best part?"

"Nah." She'll tell me anyway.

"You'll never guess who's here ..."

"Probably not."

"Only your dad's protégé and your star crush, the smoking hot, gorgeous cutie pie ... Wade Miller."

My heart lurches and I'm breathless, and then, as I get past hearing the name and what she's saying sinks in, I feel sick and a little bit panicked.

"No," I say, "not Wade."

"Yes, Wade."

"Someone else with a similar name, maybe."

"Wade Miller, star of Drift. That's what I overheard. He just checked in."

"Did you ... Is he okay? Does it sound serious? Sydney, Wade is — Well, first of all let me remind you he is not a star crush. I know him. But that's the thing: Wade is sweet. And grounded. This should not be happening."

"Was sweet. Was grounded. You haven't seen him in ages — how do you know? Mind you, he could be here for Snapchat addiction or something."

"But what did they say he was —"

"Oh, sorry Lo, I have to go."

"But —"

"Think about my idea," she says, suddenly whispering. "Imagine, you'd be here together for weeks, you and Wade. You'd essentially be spending your summer with him. And there's me, of course. I'm lots of fun."

"But Sydney —"

"I'll call you tomorrow."

Without even saying good-bye, she's gone, leaving me sitting in the spa hallway, staring at my phone, looking for answers it can't give me.

Wade Miller, rehab.


Wade Miller, drugs.

Wade Miller, trouble.

While watching Mom try on dresses at every store in the Grove, I find a lot about Wade via Google. Most of it's rumor, none of it confirms he's at Sunrise Rehabilitation Center, and there's nothing recent from his PR team. Not that I don't trust Sydney, but I don't 100 percent trust her. Or, I do trust her — but what I trust her for is to look out for number one — ie, herself. Which means I have to do the same.

Not that I am actually considering faking my way into rehab.

Although ... I come across Sunrise in my Googling too, and it does look more like a spa than anything else, and people do come out of rehab looking refreshed and happy and like all their problems have been solved.

As the search goes on, I find some photos where, admittedly, Wade looks drunk, and some where he has that pale, sweaty, possibly high look. But getting drunk or high a couple of times isn't exactly a big deal, in Hollywood or anywhere else for that matter, and it doesn't mean he's addicted to anything.

He can't be.

And it isn't because I've had a thing for him since I was thirteen and saw him standing outside his trailer on the set of one of my dad's films — a zombie musical — or because we got to be really good friends and he became my first and only (unconfessed and unrequited) love. I mean, I realize no one's perfect.

It's because Wade is better than that. He wasn't some entitled asshole and he wasn't desperately insecure either; he was a hardworking guy, a nice guy, a good person, and talented.

And because my dad saw something in him and took a big chance casting him, and when it looked like he was about to crash and burn out of pure lack of experience, I helped him. Rescued him, sort of. When my dad found out who was responsible for the major turnaround, he was so proud of me, and working on that film was the best time ever. The happiest time. The last time Dad was proud of me, I think. Definitely the last time I was happy.

So Wade can't be an addict because he was at the center of all of that, and his skyrocketing career has been the only good thing salvaged from it.

He can't be an addict because, aside from my having a secret-but-furious crush on him, he was my friend — a real one — in a place where a lot of the friends aren't real.

And he can't be an addict because if Hollywood has destroyed him, I am more than partially responsible. I am in the direct line of responsibility.

Not that I could do anything about it.

Even if I did somehow get into Sunrise ...

CHAPTER 2

"Shall we grab some dinner — me, you, and your phone?" Mom says once she's done shopping. "Sushi?"

"My phone is a vegetarian," I say, and she rolls her eyes. "Besides, I thought we were going to shop for me."

"You? Oh honey, I'm exhausted."

"Me, too," I say, knowing better than to pick fights with her but unable to help myself this time. I'm upset — upset about Wade, and upset because all this thinking about Wade has made me think about all the other stuff, including how shitty these mother- daughter days really are. "I'm also exhausted. But in my case it's not from spa treatments or choosing new clothes, it's from boredom and disappointment."

Mom swivels, making sure no one is watching or listening to us, her strawberry-blond hair lifting and settling so perfectly she could be in a shampoo commercial. Her smile stays in place as she hisses, "You're exhausted from staring into a small rectangular screen all day. And don't even talk to me about disappointment. For goodness' sake, you're one of the most fortunate —"

"Blah, blah, blah ..." I say, starting to walk away from her.

She catches up, heels clicking along beside me.

"We shopped for me because I have events to attend, multiple events. And everywhere I go I have to be ready to get photographed."

She is right about that part. The crazed, tabloid-frenzied, paparazzi-induced hiding-in-the-house days that followed my parents' scandalous breakup are long over, but she still gets papped. They got some photos back then that were pretty bad, and Mom hasn't been the same since — it's hard to explain, but the attention was somehow both violating and the tiniest bit addictive.

Addictive and even comforting, because as a star of a not- critically-acclaimed, guilty-pleasure nighttime soap opera, she knows her job could disappear very easily. Years ago there was an Emmy, but she was younger then. Now she needs continual reassurance that she is still "someone," and paparazzi are good for that.

So, along with most of Hollywood, she hates them and yet dresses for them and acts as if they are lurking about somewhere at all times, which makes public outings and communications during public outings part of a giant performance. It's very meta.

"You, on the other hand," she continues, "have nothing to do but loaf around on the beach all summer. You don't even have to save for college."

"So maybe I need bathing suits," I say. "And loafing-around clothing. Maybe as my mother you might have noticed I've grown out of most of my sandals. Not to mention you stole my Ray-Bans."

"Those Ray-Bans make you look fat," she says.

"What?"

"It's true. They make your cheeks look puffy."

"And my ass, too, no doubt," I say, almost spitting out the words. "Sunglasses have a way of doing that."

"If your mother can't tell you the truth, who can?"

"The truth according to you is that I should be anorexic. Maybe we should all start doing coke for breakfast. Would that make you happy?"

"I just want you to realize that a healthy weight —"

"I am a healthy weight. I'm shorter than you and I have hips and boobs, which, in real life as opposed to television, look just fine. And so what if I were fat?"

"Then you'd have a very difficult future ahead of you," she says, with such a convincing worried-mama face that I almost believe her concern is real.

"Let's not pretend you give a crap about my future, Mom. You just don't want me to have a Kardashian ass."

"God, no," she says. "Certainly not unless you were taller."

"You are such a freak show."

"Stop it," she snaps. "Quit sniveling and go shop."

"Wow, this gets warmer and cozier by the minute," I say, taking long strides and making her hustle on those stilettos. "Girl time. Yay."

"You have five minutes," she says. "I'll wait here on the bench."

"What — you don't want to do fatness patrol on my choices?"

"Four minutes and thirty seconds ..."

"Perfect," I say. She thinks the short time frame will deter me, but damn if I'm not going to get something out of this mother-daughter fiasco. I hold out my hand for her credit card. She passes it to me and then crosses her arms over her chest.

"That bench makes you look fat," I say, and witness her momentary look of panic before I storm away.

Ten minutes later, I return. In the bags I'm carrying are:

-Three bathing suits, one particularly awesome with bottoms that look like lace shorts

-An oversize tee with kittens on it (Mom is allergic)

-A pair of sequined leggings

-A pair of round-eyed Miu Miu sunglasses

-Two new pairs of Ray-Ban Wayfarers, the same kind I had before. From now on I'm calling them my "Ray-Ban Fat-Asses."

And I'm going to wear them a lot.

Mom stands up. "Happy now?" she says, and links her arm in mine like we weren't just ready to kill each other a few minutes ago.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Lola Carlyle's 12-Step Romance by Danielle Younge-Ullman, Stacy Abrams. Copyright © 2015 Danielle Younge. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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