see her best friend Cam, the ruggedly-cute-but-sometimes-curmudgeonly coffee shop owner fixed up instead. And that's something Peg isn't sure she likes.
Questions about love and last chances on her mind, and way too many books piled on her desk, will Peg succeed in finding romantic hope for anyone, including herself?
Read an Excerpt
I watched the group file out the library's front door, Annette adjusting her sweater around her shoulders as Sophy chatted to her about a television version of the book, Tim opening the door for both of them. Llourdes was on the phone with a friend, and C.J. was shuffling off in the dark towards the little place I knew he lived and worked from. They all went their separate ways once they were beneath Gull Avenue's streetlamps, most of them having no other plans except to go home to dark and quiet houses.
Instead of following their example and climbing the stairs to my dark and quiet apartment, I locked the door behind me and walked down the street and across the sidewalk that divided Main Street. The neon lights of Hill o' Beans window sign glowed brightly, animating a coffee bean tumbling above a sack full of them and the shop name.
I pushed open the door. The rich smell of coffee and cacao beans warmed the air and tempted the taste buds all at once. Florence + the Machine's "Third Eye" was playing over the shop's stereo system, proving that Cam's barista Mallory was working tonight. Behind the gleaming pastry case stocked with strawberry tarts, mango coconut lime bars, and lemon custard drops, Cam himself was wiping down the counter.
"One half-fat mocha latte, please," I said.
"You sure you trust me to make one?" he asked. "No cutting back on the milk? No substituting inferior beans?"
"You should knock it off now. Mallory will think we're really having a fight. And if I didn't come in here, who would defend the music choices that serenade your customers?"
"I've told him before, people love modern and upbeat," said Mallory, appearing from the shop's kitchen, her long dark ponytail swinging against her shoulders. "Just today, I had someone ask me to replay the Jack Johnson CD."
"Whatever. All I'm saying is, music clutters the atmosphere," said Cam. "Unless it's good rock and roll, in which case it fits in everywhere."
"Try making that case to the symphony crowd," I said, accepting my coffee cup from him. "Besides, the friends I was hanging out with tonight would've liked this song." Sophy and Annette would, probably.
"Who were you hanging out with?" he asked.
"You know. It's Friday night. The book club." I sat down at a table.
"Oh, those guys." He wiped an extra-sticky spot on the counter's surface. "Any new members? Closer to your age, for instance?"
"Same old crowd," I answered, shaking my head. "I'm not that much younger than Annette and Tim. Or older than the rest." Then again, maybe I wasn't young enough for the college crowd anymore, I reflected. Wasn't I too young for the forty-something scene, though?
"I was just asking," said Cam. "I wasn't implying anything by it."
"I thought maybe you were thinking about joining us," I said. "Checking out a copy of Jane Eyre or maybe Wuthering Heights." I took a sip of coffee.
"You know that's not exactly my thing," said Cam. "I'm more of a hands-on project person."
"We could use some new blood," I said. "It's been the same five people forever. Well, six." I included Llourdes, although she was only coming to the book club to fulfill a community college credit. "Nobody ever invites any friends, or — or anybody else to join." No one had a 'significant other' to add to the mix on Friday nights — and nobody's coworkers or friends seemed interested in discussing the glorious collective works of the Brontes.
"If you're planning to build a bookshelf next meeting, I'll join you. Otherwise, I'll be right here, steaming milk and listening to Mallory's weird CD collection."
About the Author
Laura Briggs is the author of several women’s fiction and chick lit novels, with themes that range from wedding planning to modern Jane Austen. Even though she tends to write stories with a romance theme, as a reader she has a soft spot for mysteries, including those by Agatha Christie and Mary Roberts Rinehart. She also enjoys books by Jane Austen, Anne Tyler, Amy Tan, and too many others to name. In her free time, she likes to experiment with new recipes and tries to landscape her yard (a never-ending project).
Connect with Laura Briggs
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