||January 25, 2008
Valerie A. Howard
Valerie A. Howard's website
Can “Miss Perfect” get it together before she loses it all?
Cecilia Richards is single, saved and sassy as her nickname implies. She is also an unapologetic know-it-all. Sassy has no problem pointing out the imperfections in others’ lives, including her best friend, Amber, who is involved in an illicit relationship with a married man, and her neighbor, Jayna, who has a deep, dark secret from her past. Sassy’s pristine world begins to crumble when her man, Darnell, finds fame and fortune more alluring, she falls out with both of her girlfriends, and her career as a top marketing executive is compromised. Can “Miss Perfect” get it together before she loses it all?
“Where oh where has the birthday girl gone? Oh where oh where can she be?” David sang, walking up to Sassy.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“I mean, when was the last time you saw her? Sass, she’s not here.”
“What do you mean, David? Where is she?”
“I don’t know where she is, but she’s not in this building or on the grounds. Her car is gone too. I saw her on her cell, sneaking out about an hour ago.”
“I don’t believe it. Why would she leave her own party? I’m going to ask around and see if anyone knows where she went!” As Sassy set off to do just that, she heard some murmuring and commotion and looked toward the entrance. Amber, coming through the door, had obviously gone home and changed clothes. A very attractive man, Gil, Sassy assumed, stood by her side.
“Now,” Amber announced, “we can have a party!” She sashayed about the room in a low-cut, thigh-high, bright red dress. Her entire back was out except for two thin straps tied together that held the whole thing up. Sassy gasped. It’s unseasonably warm, but not that warm. Lord, help this girl! Amber made her way over to Sassy, arm in arm with the man.
“Sassy, this is Gil!” she said, excitedly. “And Doctor Gilbert Reed, this is my best friend, Cecilia Ann Richards.”
“Cecilia, very nice to meet you. Amber speaks of you all the time,” he said with the deepest voice Sassy had ever heard. Hmm, Barry White has nothing on you, brother.
“Nice to meet you too, Dr. Reed”, she responded dryly, reaching out to meet his already extended hand. “Enjoy yourself. Excuse me.” She shot Amber a look, turned and walked away.
“Sassy!” Amber called, running behind her. “That was rude!”
“What are you talking about? I was cordial. What more did you expect? I can’t believe you went home to change clothes and to pick up a date!”
“You know sometimes you get on my nerves with this self-righteous attitude that you have. This is my life, Sassy. Let me live it!”
“Amber, I am not trying to live your life. I just wish you would stop chasing after these losers.”
“Gil is not a loser! He is a doctor…”
“I know. And ‘he’s a plastic surgeon and he has his own practice, and he is well off and he drives a Porsche and he is fine!’” she said, mocking Amber.
“Stop it, Sassy.”
“And he is married. And your mother is here!”
“You know what? Whatever.” Amber threw her hands up and stormed off. Then she softened her walk into the sashay again and threw her arms around Gil’s neck.
Dr. Gilbert Reed was indeed an attractive man. He had to be about 6’5 and in his early to mid 40’s, Sassy estimated. He was well built and walked with a quiet authority. He was the kind of man who could command the attention of a room full of strangers without speaking a word. And he did now. His skin was a creamy butter pecan color and he had beautiful brown eyes with long eyelashes. His gorgeous smile revealed two rows of perfect pearly white teeth. Gil wore an olive green suit that hung as though it had been custom made for him. Sassy could tell that he had paid some serious money for it. She watched as Gil and Amber embraced each other and walked out onto the dance floor. They danced for quite a while, seeming to block out everyone else at the party. Hmm, he is fine though. I don’t condone it, but I do understand…
The Price of Friendship and Faith, April 13, 2008
Valerie A. Howard, in her debut novel, tells the story of Cecilia Ann
Richards or Sassy. Sassy, who is the top marketing executive for an
elite corporation, is single, confident, independent and saved. She
also has a way of telling everyone, without a bat of her eye, exactly
what is on her mind. Sassy believes that the only way to succeed is to
speak only the truth. She credits her success to her parents and her
friend Amber, who has grown from a wall flower to owner of a fitness
center; her boyfriend, Darnell, who is building a successful career
as a recording artist; and her neighbor, Jayna, who has recently
joined her church.
Howard was able to put together a short but compelling story of faith
and friendship. As Sassy struggled to maintain her overachiever' s
level of order, she lost sight of her friendship with Amber and
Jayna. She lost faith in Darnell, who wanted fame and fortune at any
cost and she compromised her position at work that could have cost
the company money. In only 150 pages, Howard put together a very
heartwarming story of what could happen when you put material things
first in your life. I look forward to reading her next longer
Reviewed by: Priscilla C. Johnson
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