Book Title: Happiness in Jersey
Author: Jacinta Howard
Release Date: August 29, 2014
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
The only thing in Jersey Kinkaid’s world that she has time for are keeping her grades up so that she doesn’t lose her scholarship to South Texas University, playing the bass in her band, The Prototype, and satisfying her coffee addiction. Oh, and the occasional random hook-up she indulges in to pass the time.
Love? Eh, not so much. Save that crap for a Katherine Heigl or Natalie Portman movie.
Jersey’s seen enough in life (courtesy of her Pops) to realize that undying romance is nothing more than a myth used to sell books and movie tickets. As she knows too well, the only thing inevitable in life is death— love is definitely not promised.
That’s why when Jersey meets Isaiah “Zay” Broussard with his soulful gray eyes, quick wit and easy charm, she’s determined to remain aloof. She doesn't have time to get sidetracked by fleeting fantasies, even if she does feel an unexplainable connection to Zay she’s never experienced before.
But when his interest in her only seems to intensify, despite her attempts to brush him off, she gets to see a side of him and herself she didn’t expect…
I’d never seen any of the Harry Potter movies or read one Harry Potter book and sometimes that made me feel a little weird, like I missed out on a vital part of my childhood or something.
There was this girl that I sometimes used to hang out with back in middle school, Chloe, who used to keep at least one of the books with her at all times, like the bible. She always complained that her mom thought it was sorcery and believed that her love for the books would somehow cause her to grow up and eventually become a weirdo magician like David Blaine—either that or one of those tarot card readers that are always at arts festivals. I didn’t exactly agree with her mom because she was a super religious and condemned everything outside of the Fourth Street Baptist New Beacon of the Everlasting Tabernacle of Life Church as unholy, but I sort of get where she was coming from. Chloe thought the meaning of life was in the Harry Potter series.
I leaned against the counter at work, bored stiff, watching one of the neighborhood high school kids engrossed in one of the Harry Potter books. I think the kid’s name was Jeremy but I couldn’t be sure because my memory was crap. I just knew the kid is a little strange. What fourteen year-old is purposely awake at eight-thirty every Saturday morning, sitting in a coffee shop reading Harry Potter? You’d think it had just been released the way this kid’s eyes were getting bigger and bigger with each sentence he read. How he managed to not know the ending was beyond me. Even I knew how the thing ended. Clearly he wasn’t a Wikipedia user.
I frowned because then again, little weird ass, non-Wikipedia-using Jeremy will probably end up being the next Mark Zuckerberg or something since in this world, that’s kind of how shit happens.
I sighed and picked at my now purple nail polish as I flipped through my Macro notes while I still had some downtime. It was Saturday so in a couple of hours when the campus kids finally woke up from their hangover slumbers I’d have the overwhelming joy of pouring coffee for them. In the year that I’d been working at Aroma, I’d found that there’s nothing more stimulating than serving college kids who ideally should have better things to do with their Saturdays than sip lattes and discuss meaningless pop culture happenings disguised as socio-political awareness (“What is it with Kanye West and his outbursts? I actually think he’s making a statement about post-Obama race relations and corporate dominance.”). College kids believe themselves to be very deep.
I jerked my head up, my eyes colliding directly with gray pupils. Dammit. How he managed to sneak up on me every time was beyond me.
“Must you always sneak up on me?” I asked aloud, furrowing my brow, although it was difficult because he was so damn handsome, it was nearly impossible to frown and look at him at the same time. He had on another white form-fitting v-neck with a pair of worn black jeans today.
He grinned disarmingly and shook his head.
“If you call walking up to a counter in a relatively busy coffee shop that’s located around the corner from a popular campus in broad daylight ‘sneaking up on you’ then yes, I guess I must.”
I rolled my eyes.
“I feel like you really are stalking me now,” I said when he just stood there, looking at me.
“I’m actually waiting for you to take my order.”
I stared at him for a second longer then grabbed a mug and poured him a cup of plain coffee.
“You remembered,” he said, sounding a combination of happy and impressed.
I rolled my eyes again. “Yes, that was so very difficult.”
“You said you had a bad memory yesterday… or wait, did you forget?”
He laughed like he’d actually said something funny.
“Aw, come on, Kitten,” he joked in his raspy baritone, his smirk back in place. “That was a little funny.”
He studied me as he leaned his hip against the counter, making himself totally at home.
“I think your button is lying,” he said after a few seconds of silence.
“Your button,” he said again in his slow drawl, nodding toward my right breast. “It’s lying.”
I glanced down at the button that said “COFFEE MAKES ME HAPPY” and rolled my eyes again, unable to stop myself from grinning.
“So, how’d you learn to play the bass?” he asked casually, interest lighting his smoky eyes.
I shrugged, caught a little off-guard by his sudden change of subject. “I just… could play.”
“So, you taught yourself?” he asked. Again, he looked impressed. I found myself kind of liking his impressed look.
“Yeah. I was having a bad day, found my Pop’s bass in the closet and started messing around with it. I sucked at first, obviously. But it didn’t take too long for me to get the hang of it.”
He nodded and smiled. I was happy to see his impressed look again so quickly. He glanced over his shoulder at the table we’d sat at the day before.
“I feel kind of weird talking to you with a counter between us.”
I shrugged again. “You know it’s against company policy for me to fraternize with customers while I'm on the clock.”
He leaned forward a little, his eyes on mine. “But I'm really enjoying fraternizing with you.” His eyes skipped down my face to my breasts, causing heat to spread everywhere his eyes touched. “Besides, you’re already breaking company policy with all the eye rolling you’ve done this morning.” He nodded toward my HAPPY button. “Eye rolling is pretty much the exact opposite of ‘happy’.”
I stared at him blankly.
“Please?” he said, tilting his head a little when I didn’t move, flashing the half-dimple in his right cheek. Damn he was cute.
“Okay,” I huffed dramatically. I grabbed my own coffee, nodding for him to lead the way.
Jacinta Howard is a writer and avid music lover who resides in the Atlanta area with her daughter and husband. Currently the entertainment editor at Upscale Magazine, she finds her happy place deep in the pages of a great novel, on the beach listening to good music and hanging with her family.