The Savvy Sistahs

By: Brenda Jackson
Prologue


When three fabulously fine women walked into the plush Orlando restaurant, a number of heads turned and looked their way. Individually as well as collectively, they received admiring glances and lingering gazes. Other women silently complimented the way they were dressed—glamorous, elegant, and stunning. A few necks strained to see if perhaps they were well-known celebrities who had graced the tourist city. When it was determined they weren’t, everyone was satisfied in reaching the conclusion that what they saw were gorgeous, sophisticated, high-class sistahs; women who knew what they wanted; women who were accomplished in everything they did.

Brandy Bennett, a divorée, was thirty-three and stood at a height of five-six. She had medium brown skin coloring, dark brown eyes, and wore her shoulder-length hair in braids. She was manager and sole owner of the St. Laurent, a very prestigious hotel.

Carla Osborne was thirty-two and stood five-seven. Her skin coloring was burnished bronze, the color of her eyes was dark coffee, and she wore her black hair in a short and sassy cut. She was a single parent and CEO of Osborne Computer Network, Incorporated.

Amber Stuart, also a divorée, was thirty-two and stood five-eight. Her black shoulder-length hair, cocoa-colored skin, and amber-colored eyes complemented her voluptuous figure. She was the proud owner of Amber’s Books and Gifts.

Brandy Bennett smiled upon seeing the attention they were getting. She had a pretty good idea what everyone was thinking. Some would call them savvy and she would accept that description as a dramatic turning point in each of their lives, because before they became savvy they had been survivors of the leading destroyer of black women…a damn no-good brother.

She glanced over at Carla and Amber. They were here to celebrate. Their friendship had begun a year ago on this very night. At that time they had formed a sistah-circle and called it the ABCs, taken from the first letter of each of their names. The three had been victims of dog bites of the worst kind, deep wounds inflcted by doggish men who refused to do right. For a long time pride had kept them from baring the heartaches they had endured. But through the power of prayer, the grace of God, and a firm belief that no man could keep a good woman down, they had stepped out on faith and rebuilt their lives. And although they’d never shared in detail the circumstances that had brought them to this point, it hadn’t been hard to figure out that it had involved mistreatment by a man. A bond had been forged between them and the support they had given one another, both personal and professional, had been priceless.

Thomas Reynolds, the owner of the Commodore Restaurant, looked up, saw them, and smiled. His gaze lingered on one of the women in particular. “Ladies, it’s good seeing you again, and the room you requested is ready, if you care to follow me.”

They followed as he led them to a private dining room. “Oh, Thomas, this is perfect,” Brandy exclaimed, glancing around. The secluded room had a beautiful panoramic view of Orlando.

Thomas’s smile widened, boosted by Brandy’s compliment. “Thank you, and I’m glad I was able to please you.”

He had drawn the last words out and Brandy had caught his meaning. She immediately thought of the last time he had tried pleasing her. It had been their first and last date almost two years ago. She had arrived in town not knowing a soul, and he had been eager to make her acquaintance and get her into his bed…and after a time she had accommodated him, only to roll away less than thirty minutes later totally disappointed. It wasn’t that he hadn’t tried, because Lord knows he had, but once she had lain on her back, she couldn’t get past the fact that he was a man older than her father. And although the outside package was pretty damn tempting—since he didn’t look the age of sixty— his techniques in the bedroom, in her opinion, were outdated and left a lot to be desired.

But what had developed between them afterward was a close friendship, and she much preferred it that way. He had been the one to tell her about the support group for professional black businesswomen called Savvy Sistahs Who Mean Business. The group’s motto was: “Don’t just empower sistahs—put sistahs in power.” The members met monthly and offered support, advice, and the tools needed to be successful in dealing with double discrimination—both racism and sexism: maximizing strengths and downsizing weaknesses, developing business strategies and management styles, and coping with business ownership. It was there at the monthly meetings that she had met Carla and Amber.

“Can we sit down and order our food? I’m starving.”

Brandy smiled at Carla, the one who always ate the most and weighed the least. “Sure.” She then glanced at Amber, who was trying to hide her smile.

“Thomas, we’d like to take a look at your menu, and we would like a bottle of your best wine. We’re celebrating,” Brandy said excitedly.

He lifted a brow. “Oh? And what’s the occasion, if I may ask?”

A beguiling smile touched the corners of Brandy’s mouth. “A year of friendship and the success of our businesses.”

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