About the Book
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?
Chapter 13 – Distressed Damsels
Jake said a mental thank you for the truck’s navigation system and pulled over on the side of the road. So much for relaxation, duty calls. He walked up to the door and heard a few women laughing loud. He had on his work pants, Honey-Do-4-Hire logo shirt, cap and boots and carried a small tool box. The door opened before he could knock.
“Um, you must be Mr. Honey-Do.” Yasmine was standing there with a drink, in heels, a mini skirt, crop top and a feather boa around her neck.
“Yes, I guess that would be me. May I come in?”
“Girl, get out the way and let the man in.” Jake heard a voice from the back.
Yasmine turned around, “Meeka, hush. I was the one who called. I’m the damsel in distress.” She extended her hand. “Yasmine Nash.”
He reached out his free hand and shook hers. “Jake… Jiles.”
She smiled then sucked her teeth and rolled her eyes at Meeka. “Please come in. The kitchen’s this way.” She walked slow and put her heels to work as her black mini swung from side to side. Jake kept his eyes forward and did a mental eye roll.
“Um, um. That thang right there.” Meeka said aloud, not caring that Jake heard. “Dang, let me go break something.” She crunched on a carrot stick then licked her pink lips.
By this time Bree, Yasmine’s other friend had arrived and was sitting in the living room with her legs crossed, unfazed.
“It’s the garbage disposal.” Yasmine said as she pushed Meeka out the way.
“You mind?” Jake made sure the switch was off, then knelt down with his flashlight. “Just a minute…I need to slide under here.” He pushed the reset button and nothing happened. “Seems like something fell in and jammed it.” He slid back out and stood up. “Let me see…” He put on some rubber gloves and grabbed a few tools from his box. He slid back under the sink. He unscrewed a few parts and knocked around. Finally he was able to dislodge the culprit—a chewed up dish cloth as he emerged from beneath the sink.
“Ugh, that’s disgusting.” Meeka frowned.
“Uh, I know you ain’t talking with your non-housekeeping self. This is the thanks I get for planning this fabulous soiree for your lonely-no-man-having—”
“Ladies, ladies, um don’t mean to interrupt, but I have another job after this.”
He walked over and placed the dishrag in the trash. “Do you mind if I go wash my hands? We can wrap it up when I come back.”
“No, not at all.” Yasmine said.
When he left to go to the restroom he heard loud whispers.
“Gurl, I’mma ask him. What woman would let a man that fine work on Valentine’s Day? If that were my Boo, huh, I’d serve him breakfast and spend all day with him.” Meeka dipped the ladle in the punch bowl and poured some in her cup.
When he opened the door to come out he started to write up the bill.
“Yoo-hoo, Mr. Honey-Do? I know you gots to have a woman. A man Boris-Kodjoe, Idris-Elba fine?” Meeka’s ponytail whipped in animation as her neck moved with her words.
He smiled. “I’m flattered. Don’t mean to be rude, but I really do have to go.” Jake flashed his smile again, hoping they’d be satisfied with that.
“Yeah, we know the real reason you rushing off. You got a woman.” Yasmine said, batting her extra long lashes. She signed off on the bill and paid him.
“Appreciate it,” he said, ignoring their inquiries. “Okay, ladies, enjoy the rest of your evening. If you need anything else, you have my information.”
“Anything?” Meeka said, fanning herself. She watched him until he left out the door.
As Jake stepped outside and rushed out to the driveway, he noticed a woman that was seated inside her car fumbling with the door. She was visibly frustrated and talking to herself. “I can’t believe I just did this. Ugh!” She opened the door wide and jiggled a latch.
Jake walked toward her. “Excuse me, miss, you okay? Need some help?”
She sucked her teeth. “I did the most stupid thing. So like me,” she said, focused on her lock.
“What happened? Can I take a look at it?” he asked, concerned.
She finally stopped to focus on Jake. Her eyes moved from his work boots, to his jeans, to his arms bulging from his work shirt, then to his handsome face. Then she saw the logo. “Honey-Do-4-Hire?” She chuckled.
“Look, I’m not the one needing help.” He wasn’t laughing.
She raised her finger. “I guess you’re right.” For a few seconds their eyes connected. She couldn’t help but notice his milk brown skin and iridescent eyes. She was caught off guard by how handsome he was, but she didn’t let on.
“C’mon, let me check it out. What happened?” He knelt down to look at the side of the door.
“Well, I was rushing trying to get over here. Yasmine always nags about being on time. I wasn’t even gonna come. I was all set for my movie marathon. But nooo, she started whining. Anyway, I stopped at the grocery store and slammed my seat belt in the car door. I had to hold the door closed on the way here. Thank God it was less than a mile. This is gonna cost me some money. The electronic door lock isn’t working.”
As she sat there explaining, he took in her face. He loved the way her short layered cut highlighted her high cheekbones. As she spoke, her long eyelashes bounced every few seconds. Her skin is so smooth. Jake quickly focused, “Okay, stay calm. If you step out I can get in to get a better look.”
She turned her body so she could step out. Jake tried not focus too hard on her athletic body. She was casually chic in jeans, a white top and high heel boots with a scarf wrapped loosely around her neck.
He placed his tool box next to the door. He eased in the driver’s seat and immediately went into damage control. He reached down in the box to grab a small metal tool and jiggled the area where the door closed. He jumped back out. “Okay, there’s good news and bad news.”
“I figured,” she said, folding her arms. She bit the side of her baby pink glossed lip.
Jake watched her eyes widen. “The good news? I fixed it so you can at least close and lock your door manually. The bad news…you’re gonna need some electrical work on the lock. Off to the dealer you go. ”
She took a deep breath. “Ugh. Between maintenance and super unleaded gas, this car has cost me some money.”
He grinned and shrugged his shoulders. “Sorry I couldn’t do more.”
She smiled warmly, her teeth sparkling like the diamond studs in her ears. “No worries, at least you tried. So what’s this gonna cost me?”
“You’re joking, right? I barely did anything.”
“Well, chivalry isn’t dead after all.” She raised her neatly arched eyebrows. “There’s still a few of us out here.” Jake grabbed his box.
She stuck out her hand, “Thanks, um…”
He pulled the side of his shirt where his name was embroidered.
He grabbed her hand, “You’re quite welcome…”
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
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. North
Carolina A & T State University