The Big House's “Coloreds Only” policy makes the club popular with Harlem residents. The same policy makes it harder for the owners to find and retain musicians. After four weeks of listening to saxophonists with bigger dreams than talent, the owners are ready to hire the first person who walks in and plays “one good note.” Their words come back to haunt them when Randy Jones auditions.
Many of the employees are not thrilled when Randy breaks the color barrier. He does find an ally in Cass, the club's sassy singer, who goes out of her way to welcome him. Offstage, Cass Porter looks like a teenager, but when she sings she’s all woman. Inside, she’s been hurt badly and has determined never to love again.
As their relationship develops, life at the club for Randy becomes complicated when he has to fight both Cass’s fear of opening her heart and those who want to keep them apart.
Page Count: 410
Word Count: 101950
“From all the shouting, it’s safe to assume you got the gig.”
Despite his objection to her talking back to her elders, Randy smiled at the young lady. She stood at the entrance of the dining room, shoving the last bite of a slice of cake into her mouth. The lines previously marring her brow had disappeared.
“Not officially. Luther wants to hear how I sound with the band.” He grabbed his case and hat and stepped off the stage as she sashayed toward the table where she had been sitting earlier. “I guess I should say thanks,” he said, extending his hand to her.
“Standin’ up for me like you did, though I don’t condone you talkin’ back to your elders.”
“You’re the best player to audition,” she said, placing her hand in his. Though her tone was calmer, her accent was still thick. “If it meant I didn’t have to listen to anyone else murder music, I’d have spoken up for you if you were purple and had walked in here on four legs.”
Randy laughed as he released her hand. “Auditions couldn’t have been that bad.”
She made an unladylike snort and dropped into a chair. “I’ve heard sick geese that sounded better than some of the cats coming in here claiming they could play.”
He would have argued with her had the other sax player not produced sounds Randy had not heard since leaving the farm. “By the way, I’m Randy.”
“You mentioned that already.”
He placed the case on the table and dropped his hat next to it. “Sassy, aren’t you?”
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