A New Read from the Author of the The Sunday Brunch Diaries!
About the Book
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Jake Jiles was always handy with tools. Despite his love for all things do-it-yourself, he went to college and majored in business to fulfill his parents’ dream. He finally got the courage to leave his corporate job and start his “Honey-Do-4-Hire” business. Less than a year in, he’s already exhausted his savings and still living at home with his mother, but he’s determined to birth his franchise. Consumed with his business and fresh off a breakup, he wasn’t in the market for Mrs. Right. But after completing a job on Valentine’s Day, his potential dream girl, Sky showed up. After a brief chat over her car dilemma, he ignored the chemistry and left without her number. But cupid and God had other plans. After a divine connection, the only thing that stood between Jake and Sky, were funds. Will Jake pursue “Love on a Budget” or miss out because the price is too high?
My Interview with Norma Jarrett
What was your inspiration behind the novel?
I had several inspirations for Love on a Budget. I kept seeing a recurring theme about men dating while unemployed, married couples in a recession and some of my own personal experience added the extra realism. I saw a great article on www.ForHarriet.com: What the Recession Taught me about Marriage and it really resonated with me. Many women want the ideal man but what happens if you meet a man who works hard and is in the process of building a business? Do you just write him off? Or what happens if you marry the ideal man and things change; either of you gets laid off, somebody gets sick or a disaster wipes out your savings? Thus Love in a Budget, a novel about a gorgeous man how left his corporate job, and girl of 3 years to start his own business and the potential Mrs. Right shows up.
What is the take-away message you’d like to share with your readers?
- Pursue your dreams, in spite of what others may say
- Honor God before work
- Don’t settle or you may delay Mr. or Mrs. Right
- Do not allow your friends to have the ultimate say so in your relationships (consider the source)
- Don’t judge a book by its cover, learn a person’s character, work ethic, and how he treats his mother
- There is no perfect person, but a person that is perfect for you
Can you share a sample?
Sure. I've shared samples from a few of the chapters.
Once they arrived at the restaurant, they were immediately seated. She sat across from Jake, beaming. “I love this place. I’ve been meaning to try it. Love the wall to wall windows and the warm feel. It’s really beautiful.”
“Uh-huh,” he kept eye contact, leaning closer over the white table cloth. “And so are you,” he whispered.
“Thank you,” Sky said coyly. She clearly was thrown off when he looked in her eyes. She had never seen eyes like his, starburst prisms of brown, gray and honey. “And of course, I have the finest man in the room. Look at all these women foaming at the mouth.” She giggled.
“Okay, okay, let’s face it, we’re a fabulous couple. Like Boris and Nicole,” he said laughing.
“Something like that, but we have our own swagger.” Sky wasn’t serious. Jake was already handsome, but had excellent taste in clothes. His wheat color blazer and off white slacks were tailored to perfection. His cologne caressed her body like the softest cashmere blanket.
The waiter came up, and introduced himself. “Let me know if you need more time.”
“No, I’m ready now. For my appetizer I want try,” she bit her lip, “the Crabmeat Brulee Roll and for my entrée I’m having Truffle Mushroom Ravioloni.” She sat back as if she’d accomplished something major.
“Wow, I know I’ll be trying some of yours,” he said.
“Oh, you not trying to share?” He looked up from the menu. He shook his head.
©2013 Norma L. Jarrett
“I’m gonna have the Spicy Jumbo Shrimp Napoleon and the Beef Short Ribs. Man’s gotta have his ribs.” He leaned back clasped his hands and stared at her again.
They handed the waiter the menus.
“Houston’s a good city.” Sky peered out the window next to their table, “Sometimes I think it’s a country city, but it’s still a good place. I just wish they’d fix the roads.”
“It’s a great place to raise a family,” he’d said before he knew it.
She smiled. “Yeah, I guess it is.”
They ate, talked and laughed with ease, only pausing to take a sip of beverage or a bite of
food. The atmosphere was just perfect─until Jake glanced across the room to a booth. No, can’t be. Sydney? He felt a piece of meat lodge in his throat and began to cough.
“Jake, you okay?” Sky’s facial expression grew serious and she looked around then back at him.
He grabbed his water and took a big gulp. “No, I’m fine.” he said, still struggling to clear his throat.
Sky looked around again for a clue as to what might have caused his reaction. Sky realized the answer was walking her way.
“Hey, Jake, how are you? What a coincidence.” Sydney walked over looking more like herself, sans the extra makeup and hair from the last time.
Jake wiped his mouth with his napkin. “Oh, Sydney, wow what are you doing here?” “Eating dinner, Jake. That’s what restaurants are for. I am allowed to do that, right? It’s Jan’s birthday. You do remember Jan, right?” Before Jake had a chance to answer, she turned to Sky, “Hi,” a tight smile crept across her face. “I’m Sydney. And you are?” She stuck out her hand toward Sky.
©2013 Norma L. Jarrett
“Well, I was going to introduce you if you’d given me a second,” Jake interjected. “Hello, I’m Sky. Jake told me about you, so very nice to meet you.” She shook Sydney’s hand.
Sydney gave a half smile. “Oh, really? Don’t believe a word he said.”
“Oh, it was all good.” Sky kept her smile and kept eye contact.
“Well, Jake,” Sydney cleared her throat, “just wanted speak. Couldn’t notice you and not
say hello. Great meeting you, Sky.” She turned around and walked back to her table where she met the eyes of her two girlfriends.
“I’m so sorry about that.” Jake took another gulp of water.
“Jake, what are you apologizing for? Nothing’s wrong. You are a single man out on a date. And FYI, I think breaking up with her was the right thing. I can tell a lot about a person’s energy. No disrespect, but I think she has a few issues.”
“She’s not a bad person; guess she thought we were getting married and well, things didn’t turn out the way she wanted. You can’t pressure a person. Enough about the past, let’s focus on the present.”
“Jake, enough said. Can’t blame her. I mean who wouldn’t want to hold on to a man like you? Warm, sensitive, hard-working and,” she leaned forward, “Oooh and those mesmerizing eyes. Personally? I know a good thing when I see it and I don’t plan on making the same mistakes.” She reached for his hand. “Now, are you gonna to tell me about your surprise?”
His shoulders dropped and he shook his head with a grin, “You, Skylar Ross, are a keeper.”
©2013 Norma L. Jarrett
Chapter 22 – No He Didn’t
“Syd, I thought you said y’all broke up because he didn’t have time for a relationship?” The words ejected from Jan’s mouth before Syd barely sat down.
“Shhh, stop talking so loud,” Sydney said in between clinched teeth as she looked around.
“Look, I’m just trying to help. I told you not to go over there. It looked desperate.” Jan fired back.
“Both of you chill out,” Sydney’s friend, Tyra barked as she grabbed a truffle fry and bit it. “So who is Miss Thang?”
“Her name’s Sky.” Sydney rolled her eyes and folded her arms.
“Sydney, you’re my girl. You also know I’mma tell you the truth. It’s over, chile. Read my lips─moveon.org, cause, apparently, Jake has. Yeah, he’s fine and all, but none of that matters if he’s not for you.” Jan touched the slice of flourless chocolate cake with her fork.
Sydney looked at Jan with a blaze in her eyes. “You were the one who told me to get all glammed up and ask Jake to take me to the Christmas party.” Sydney’s words hurled out across the table and landed in Jan’s lap.
“Uh, that was Tyra. I wouldn’t have ever given you that throwed-off advice. When you have to chase a man and beat him into submission, that’s a recipe for disaster. And if it happens to work, you gonna be waiting a long time for the harvest.” Jan took a sip of ice tea. She reached in one of her gift bags. “I really like this necklace you all picked out,” she said as she placed it against her neckline.
Sydney rolled her eyes, “You know, I’m about to take back my birthday gift and cake.”
©2013 Norma L. Jarrett
“I paid for half that cake,” Tyra quipped, “And personally, I wouldn’t let some chick of the moment, just swoop in after a three-year relationship. I say reclaim your territory, girl.” Tyra crossed her legs and briefly looked away.
Jan took another gift bag and pulled out the Carol’s Daughter gift set. “Sydney, don’t do it, girl.” She ran the Almond Cookie fragrance under her nose, “Why in the world you want somebody that doesn’t want you? You can’t pour new wine into old wineskins. If it ain’t yours, no amount of praying and scheming will change it.”
“Speaking of wine,” Tyra raised her glass, “I thought this was a party.” She took a long sip. “Y’all sure know how to kill a buzz. Geez.” She tossed her long layers and leaned back in her chair.
Sydney noticed out the corner of her eye that Jake and Sky were getting up to leave. It took everything within her power not to completely turn and watch them walk out. Her insides were churning and she was fired up. Her emotions trumped her common sense at that moment. She’d been praying for months and just when she’d found the strength to move on, she had to see this. God, is this how you answer prayers? With pain and humiliation? Uh-ah, it ain’t over ‘til somebody got a ring!
©2013 Norma L. Jarrett
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About the Author
Norma L. Jarrett is the author of Randomhouse novels Sunday Brunch, Sweet Magnolia (Essence magazine national book club selection) and The Sunday Brunch Diaries (Essence Bestseller) and other works: Brunchspiration, Lexi’s Law School Diaries, Christmas Beau and Love on a Budget. Her work has gained attention in Ebony, Essence, Gospel Today, Jewel, Publisher’s Weekly, Rolling Out, Southern Living, Upscale, and USA Today. Norma has been a featured guest on ABC 13’s Crossroads, the Yolanda Adams Morning Show, and other media outlets. Among other honors, Ms. Jarrett has received a Certificate of Congressional Recognition for her literary work. She has served on various panels, including but not limited to the: Baltimore Book Festival, Faith & Fiction Retreat, Harlem Book Fair, Miami Book Fair, and other venues. Ms. Jarrett is a graduate of North Carolina A & T State University and Thurgood Marshall School of Law. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and a founding member of The Anointed Authors on Tour. She is married, resides in Houston, Texas and attends Lakewood Church (Pastor – Joel Osteen). Find out more about Norma and her work at Website: www.normajarrett.net. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, jarrettwrites7@ twitter or on Facebook.