My Grump/Sunshine Christmas romance is going to be in the Wanted: Mistletoe anthology.
After losing her dream job and apartment, Emma’s car breaks down in the small town of Lake Holly. She walks into the Brew 4 U coffee shop while waiting for the mechanic, and straight into the grumpy owner who tosses a customer out asking for a mistletoe latte.
Nick Iverson’s struggled with running his cafe and raising his fourteen-year-old niece single-handedly. When people begin asking for an old menu item that rips open old wounds, he’s about to lose it. Lucky for him, an angel is in his cafe that day.
This Grump/Sunshine novel will be part of the Wanted: Mistletoe Boxset this Christmas.
You can pre-order the entire collection for just $0.99 right now!
“Who’s next?” a voice boomed above the excited chatter of the crowd. A tingle shot through Emma faster than espresso. With his arms crossed and stance wide, the man didn’t so much stand behind the counter as guard it. The hanging industrial lights glinted off his shorn dirty-blond hair and the day-old scruff. It struck his square jaw, emphasizing the rugged terrain. She couldn’t make out his eye color, but she’d guess it was steely gray for the stone grit to his wide brow and long nose.
“Uh-huh,” he boomed, tossing a pad of paper onto the counter. He swiped a pencil across it to take the order the old fashioned way. Suddenly, his detached expression knotted up. His whole jaw managed to gnarl into a sneer.
“That’s it!” he shouted, leaping around the counter like a wide receiver going for a touchdown. The customer blanched as the man grabbed him by the arm and hauled him out of line.
“Wh…what are you—?” the man stammered as the enraged owner stormed past, half dragging and carrying the customer. Even as Emma folded away with the rest of the line, she could feel the immovable force from him. It’d be like fighting against a tidal wave.
He yanked open the door, flinging it against the wall, and hurled the customer out into the cold. The man rebounded off the lamppost festooned with Christmas greenery. “Do you know who I am? You’ll be sorry for this!”
“I’m sorry I woke up today!” the man shouted before latching onto the door and slamming it back. Silhouetted by the morning sunlight, his wide shoulders shook in unsuppressed rage. Only his jagged panting and the squeal of tools from the auto repair shop down the road filled the air.
Slowly, he drew a palm over his face and revealed a smile below. “Are you here for the mistletoe latte?” he asked, his baritone voice crackling.
The man beside Emma nodded excitedly. “Yes, I saw the article—”
He shook the man off and stopped right before her. She was wrong. His eyes weren’t steel gray but blue-white and beamed with such ferocity her chin dropped to avoid them stripping her to her core. “What do you want?” he thundered.
“A coffee,” Emma whispered.
“Finally.” He crooked a finger at her. She stepped away from the rest of the line. The powerful scent of coffee wafted off him as he raised his hands. “Everyone who’s here for the mistletoe latte, will you please step to the side?”
The entire line moved, leaving Emma exposed. She knotted her fingers together and flicked the hole in her glove. He didn’t grab her like the last customer, but guided her to the counter. Once there, he picked up his abandoned notepad and knocked the spiraled edge on the desk three times before looking up at her.
“Coffee, right? How do you like it?”
“In a cup?” she squeaked before slapping a hand to her mouth.
To her shock, his rigid sneer slipped up for a moment and he gave a quick snort. “That’s complimentary. Do you want sugar, milk?”
“Um, a little cream? Please.” Normally, she didn’t drink coffee black, but this day was far from normal.
The man nodded and jotted it down before he hauled a mug off the pegboard behind him. It bore the logo of a local hardware place.
“Anything else?” he asked.
Emma’s stomach twisted, reminding her how she hadn’t eaten since the motel and that was a long car ride ago. “Do you have any…?”
His glare intensified, the pencil poised over the pad as if he’d snap it in half if she asked the wrong question. Her throat dried and she struggled to swallow. Fighting through it, she asked, “…food?”
“Yeah, I think there’s a pastry or two in back. What’s the name?”
“I’m Emma. What’s yours?”
He meant it for the order. She realized that the second the question slipped from her mouth. He cracked another bemused grin and darted his icy eyes up a moment. “It’s Nick. Here’s your coffee.” He passed over the mug along with a carafe of milk.
She scooped it all into her hands. The heat had caused the yellow logo of the hardware store to melt away into a blue cartoon moose accidentally nailing his antlers to the wall. After blowing across the top, she began to raise the mug to her lips.
“That’ll be three-fifty…” Nick paused in entering the order into his old cash register to look right into her eyes. “Emma.”
2 thoughts on “Mistletoe Latte Cover”
The excerpt is interesting.
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