#BlackLove: Jasper's Cafe On The Boulevard by Tracey Fagan Danzey

Jasper's Cafe On The Boulevard 
by Tracey Fagan Danzey

Although the world hasn't carved out a proper identity for Torie Lynn Harper, she is about to present one that will keep them all talking. Torie is an elite cultural “mutt” and social hybrid raised in an affluent suburban community in Connecticut. Following a move to the nearby city, she would learn that being Black, educated and gorgeous would prove insufficient to being heralded into this urban community that doesn't embrace her. While she would find many that may look like her, undoubtedly, none that speak or share like mannerisms.

Desperate to fit in, Torie quickly becomes a member of a grassroots movement determined to thwart the closing of the iconic “Jasper’s Café” on the boulevard. Torie would soon become the envy of many and enemy to one following a swift climb up the corporate ladder. Millie becomes unable to ignore her concerns as threats to her friend increase. The next 18 months would strip Torie of her family, a fiancé and her identity as she'd known it. Torie must search for herself amid deception, workplace improprieties and a weathered romance.

For the first time, both old and new friendships will be confronted with cultural differences, opening doors to humorous exchanges, tempered debates and social explorations. It's an unraveling suspense that's moving the story forward amid a group of friends that are sharing the most authentic and underexposed relationships.

Excerpt: Jasper's Cafe On The Boulevard

“Just look at my baby girl!” She blots her ageless cinnamon face that nearly matches her bronze dress, her thin youthful body always made it difficult to pass as anything other than a sister or friend of Simone’s, but certainly not her mother.

“Mommy, please don’t come in here making me cry . . . I’ve just gotten my makeup done.”

“I knew from the first day that I saw those slanted eyes stealing their first peek of me and this world that you were finding your way.”

“Oh, Mom,” Simone sniffled after seeing her mother’s eyes well up.

“Oh, no you don’t, Simone Renee Jackson. Don’t you take this moment away from me; I’ve been waiting too long! I certainly knew that you didn’t have a problem in taking the lead and that you were not going to let any man or anyone else stop you when you had your mind made up.”

“It was very telling that you came on out fast and with little notice while Sinclair stayed put for nearly another two hours even with the doctors prompting his little behind.”

We laughed at the idea of Sinclair ever being little.

“He’s always chosen to approach life the hard way, taking me along with him, always making sure that he’s alright. I often remind him that I sport a permanent scar on my belly for a C-section that didn’t have to be, messing up this temple!”

Mrs. Jackson walked over to the ottoman and picked up her purse and removed a small manila envelope from inside and walked back over to Simone.

“Now I want you to take this and buy as many pieces of furniture that you can for that big house on the Cove. My baby is moving to the Cove!” She proudly hands the unsealed envelope to Simone.

I couldn’t have been happier when both Simone and I revealed a bank check in the amount of $25,000.

“Where did you get this from?”

“What do you mean, where did I get this from? Baby, haven’t I always had to work more than one job at a time?”

“I know, but why haven’t you used it on you?”

“I have everything that I need. As I said, I knew that my baby girl was smart as a whip and that I had to start saving for school early on, but your little smart behind and Torie knowing all about those grants and scholarships paid your way right on through that school.”

“Oh. My. God!” Simone says in disbelief.

“Oh yes, he sure did have a lot to do with it too,” her mother replied and then smiled and winked.

“I figured that I would save it for your wedding, but you and that brilliant soon-to-be son of mine had taken care of everything already. So I thought I’d give you a down payment and you all could find a home. I was too late for that too.”

“Mommy, stop playing!!”

“Oh, I don’t have time to play. I have a wedding to attend and the bride just happens to be my baby.”

Simone no longer cared about her hair or make up in that moment as she grabbed her mother from behind squeezing her shoulders so tightly nearly pulling them both to the floor. Mrs. Jackson prepares to go and find Tessa so that she could refresh Simone’s face with the few remaining minutes.

Simone turned to me and said, “I still can’t get over the fact that you and Quinn still haven’t seen each other.”

“Sim, you’re the one who had me running around and having me miss the rehearsal. By the time I got to dinner that night, he’d already left.”

“Listen, don’t say anything about this to your brother; I’m going to hang on to his a little while longer. God only knows what I’ll end up letting him use his for,” she mumbled while walking out the door.

“Bail.” Simone thought she’d whispered it, but to our surprise, her mother obviously heard her and responded, “Don’t talk that way about my baby boy; you know I don’t play that!!”

Simone whispered, “Aren’t you glad you stopped creeping with my brother?” I was caught so off guard that I was delayed in responding. “Oh yeah, I knew. We all did. Sinclair can’t keep secrets! Besides, every time Maxwell’s The Hush would play, he’d unknowingly ask, ‘Hey Sim, where’s your girl at?’”

“Whatever,” we continued to laugh until Mrs. Jackson returned with Tessa.

As we entered the candlelit ballroom, each calla lily appears subdued and muted in tone. This was of course a complete contrast to the 200 black-eyed beauty calla lilies gathered in bunches at the end of each row. I remember when Simone first described these flowers. She went on and on about how extraordinary they were! A description I’d never heard her use outside of designer clothing and shoes. “Their stems are the darkest jungle green, and the calla lily itself has this luscious crème yellowish tone with ivory pearl cloaks inside and outside of a classic champagne flute. It opens as a heart shape, but reveals a ruby-black center.” Even with that description, it absolutely paled to what I’m seeing today.

As we enter the tent for the ceremony, the wooden teak floor is completely infused with an azure glow bouncing off the lighter-colored linens and skipping across the vamps of each of the bridesmaid’s black satin sandals. No longer a rehearsal, it’s the real thing as the vocalist belts out At Last. All the chatter in the majestic tent immediately transforms into “oooohs” as attention is directed onto Simone. She appears at the undisturbed petal-filled aisle escorted by Sinclair, and has finally given us all our first vision of her stunning gown.

( Continued... )

Excerpt ©2015. All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Tracey Fagan Danzey. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

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Meet the Author 
Tracey Fagan Danzey
is an author and occasional blogger who has been described more than once as a natural storyteller. It is her passion for writing that allows her to create an experience, conjure emotions and share vivid views for her readers through her pictorial descriptions. To further pursue her craft and aspirations of becoming a published author, Tracey elevated her commitment by becoming a member of the Westport Writers’ Workshop, critique groups and book clubs.

“Where Is The Box For Someone Like Me?” is a project that advanced in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest and has since developed into Tracey’s debut novel, “Jasper’s Cafe On The Boulevard.”
Website:  www.authortraceyfagandanzey.com