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The Coffee Girl

The Coffee Girl

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The Coffee Girl

évaluations:
3.5/5 (2 évaluations)
Longueur:
272 pages
4 heures
Sortie:
Aug 28, 2012
ISBN:
9781476461731
Format:
Livre

Description

Former barista Brenna Smith dreams of opening a bistro where she can bake her specialty pastries and serve delicious coffee. Envisioning a rich, aromatic life full of savory moments, she instead lives at home with her parents, making a long commute each day to work for a boss who doesn’t know beans about his job. If it wasn’t for the hunky guy she sees each morning at the coffee shop, her bland existence would be unbearable.

Charming, smart, and good-looking, Brock McCrae is a man comfortable in his own skin. Owner of a successful construction company, he decides to move to the small town where his business is located and immerse himself in the community. Brock doesn’t count on his new client being the cute and quirky woman he knows only as the Coffee Girl from his daily stop for coffee.

Sortie:
Aug 28, 2012
ISBN:
9781476461731
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

After spending her formative years on a farm in Oregon, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield turns her rural experiences into sweet historical and contemporary romances filled with sarcasm, humor, and hunky heroes.When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or covertly stockpiling decadent chocolate, Shanna hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.

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Aperçu du livre

The Coffee Girl - Shanna Hatfield

Silverton Sweethearts Book 1

A sweet contemporary romance

by

USA Today Bestselling Author

SHANNA HATFIELD

The Coffee Girl

Copyright © 2012 Shanna Hatfield

Cover Art © 2012 Shanna Hatfield

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

For permission requests, please contact the author, with a subject line of permission request at the email address below or through her website.

Shanna Hatfield

shanna@shannahatfield.com

shannahatfield.com

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

Thank you for downloading this free ebook. Although this is an ebook, it remains the copyrighted property of the author, and may not be reproduced, copied and distributed for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy at Smashwords.com, where they can also discover other works by this author. Thank you for your support.

To keep up on new releases and exciting news, make sure you sign up for the newsletter today!

Shanna’s Newsletter

To those who encourage and support

others in their dreams.

You are so appreciated!

And to Colleen - the perfect Coffee Girl!

Chapter One

Rain pelted against the glass of the coffee shop windows in a persistent rhythm, keeping time to the impatient tapping of Brenna Smith’s foot as she waited in line.

Aware of the frantic pace at the shop each morning, she should have skipped the coffee or left the house five minutes sooner. In fact, if the line didn’t start moving a lot faster than its current snail-like pace, she would be late for work at her office in Portland. And that wasn’t an option.

Skies the color of cold gunmetal coupled with the frigid drizzle of rain didn’t help her dreary state of mind. The typical wet, winter day in western Oregon shouldn’t have surprised her.

Hesitant to dwell on what the day would bring, she rolled back her shoulders, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath.

The delicious scent of cedar wood, warm musk, and, not surprisingly, rich, dark coffee filled her nose. Inspired to breathe in another whiff, she opened her eyes, fastening her gaze on the back of the man in front of her.

It was him.

Brenna first noticed the man in the coffee shop weeks ago. His unique, outdoorsy scent preceded him every time she happened to stand close to him in line. How had she not noticed he stood right in front of her today?

The way he looked in his canvas coat, jeans, work boots, and ball cap brought the barest hint of a smile to Brenna’s face.

The guy wasn’t movie star handsome, but he was ruggedly good-looking. From the way his coat stretched across broad shoulders, she assumed he would be fit. Brenna liked his easy smile and the laugh lines framing his bright hazel eyes. From what she could tell, he was somewhere around her age.

While he placed his order, Brenna tried not to stare too intently at his back or listen too attentively to the deep cadence of his voice.

When he turned away from the cash register, he handed her a cup of coffee with a wink and a cocky grin before walking to the door.

Thank you! Brenna called to his retreating form. He waved a hand in response as he strode out of the coffee shop.

Brenna’s thoughts tumbled around the man while she took a sip of her coffee. Shocked, she wondered how he knew she always ordered a Chai latte.

She rushed out the door and stepped off the sidewalk as a car speeding through the parking lot hit a puddle in front of her, drenching the front of her coat with murky water.

Murderous fury flashed in her eyes as she stared at the taillights. Incensed, she dashed across the puddle-ridden asphalt, grumbling under her breath all the way to her car.

The euphoria she experienced at having the cute guy purchase her coffee quickly dissipated.

Just perfect, Brenna muttered as she merged onto the freeway, heading north into Portland.

Her foot pressed against the accelerator and she kept her speeding just shy of the point that would get her a ticket. Frustrated, she held the steering wheel in a death grip, releasing the sigh that had been building since she got out of bed that morning.

She hated this rush to work every day. If she cared to admit it, she hated her job and pretty much everything about her current existence.

In a few weeks, she would turn thirty and this was not how she pictured her life as she hit that major milestone.

Exiting the freeway, she drove downtown and pulled into the employee parking lot at Harchett Industries where she worked as a research analyst. Brenna found a space to park in the sea of other vehicles belonging to coworkers. She hurried inside and tapped the toe of her high-heeled shoe at the elevator, anxious to get to her office.

The hard, long hours she worked finally moved her into a management position, but her job no longer held any joy for her. It had become one more thing she got up and did every day without a speck of enthusiasm.

The sound of her heels echoed on the floor as she raced down the hall, past the receptionist, and into her office. She threw her rain-splattered trench coat on the rack just inside her door, grabbed notes and a folder from her desk, and rushed to the early morning staff meeting. With two minutes to spare, she slid into her chair. In an attempt to center herself before whatever storm at work began brewing, she inhaled a calming breath and closed her eyes.

Her hotshot boss swaggered in five minutes late sporting sunglasses and a hangover. If his uncle wasn’t one of the bigwigs in the executive suites upstairs, Brenna was certain he would have been fired long ago. Instead, he’d been promoted to his current position that allowed him to run roughshod over a team of good people.

The last year had been a game of cat and mouse for her, trying to stay off his radar. Any time he focused on her, she found herself popping antacids like they were candy. He was rude, obnoxious, and arrogant, and that was on a good day.

The wrinkled appearance of his suit, looking suspiciously like the same one he wore the previous day, didn’t bode well for a pleasant day ahead.

Despite her longing to become invisible by sinking lower in her seat, Brenna lacked the magical powers to make herself disappear.

Well, kids, what’s shaking? Wesley Mettler asked as he took his seat at the head of the table and looked around the room. Not giving anyone time to answer, he turned his attention to a new intern sitting close to the coffee and pointed his direction. You. Coffee. Now.

Uncertain and a little frightened, the young man’s face held a look of panic until someone discreetly pointed to the coffee pot on the table. The intern quickly poured a cup and carried it down the long table to Wesley.

Instead of saying thank you, Wesley glared at the young man over his sunglasses then sat back in his chair, taking a long drink.

Which one of you is going to make me look brilliant today? Wesley asked, glancing around the room.

Brenna kept her eyes glued to the legal pad in front of her, hoping Wesley wouldn’t look her direction. Her hope was short lived when she felt his gaze boring into the top of her head and fought the urge to squirm in her seat.

Ms. Smith, what can you share with the group this morning? The snide tone of her boss grated on her nerves.

Most everyone in the office speculated the reason for his obvious dislike of Brenna. Perhaps it was her conservative nature. Some chalked it up to her intelligence and competence that constantly left him feeling threatened. A handful supported the notion it was because she turned him down with a scathing rebuff the one time he propositioned her.

Brenna took another deep breath as she gathered her thoughts. We finished researching the site retargeting project. It’s definitely something we don’t want to waste time considering. We need to move on it while we can maintain an edge. I’ll have a report with a proposed action plan ready by the end of the week.

No, you won’t. Wesley swiveled his chair back and forth, sunglasses covering bloodshot eyes as he rested his elbows on the chair arm and steepled his soft fingers together. I want it before you leave today.

But, Wesley, that’s not possible. It will take several days to compile the information, create the graphics, write the…

Wesley sat forward, lowered his glasses, and pinned her with a cold stare.

Today, Ms. Smith. It will be on my desk before you leave today. I don’t care how long it takes, just get it done. You’ve got until midnight. Wesley offered her a final sneer then moved on to his next victim. The meeting adjourned a few minutes later.

One of the first to leave the meeting room, Brenna hastened back to her office, ignoring the sympathetic looks of her coworkers.

Quietly shutting her door, she tamped down the desire to slam it. Livid, her heart pounded and a headache throbbed at her temples. Experience taught her there wasn’t a thing any of them could do about Wesley. The last person who complained about him ended up unemployed and escorted out to her car by security.

Resigned to accepting the inevitable, Brenna lost herself in preparing the report as the hours flew by. She doled out parts of the project to her team members and together they worked to complete the report before Wesley’s ridiculous deadline.

A knock on her door drew her attention at half past noon.

Come in, Brenna called, looking up from her computer long enough to acknowledge her good friend Kathleen with a welcoming smile.

Did you come bearing gifts? Brenna continued typing as Kathleen strode across the office carrying a bag from the deli down the block.

I brought you some lunch. Kathleen set the bag down before perching on the corner of Brenna’s desk.

Better not let Weasel Wesley catch you doing that. Brenna lifted a chef’s salad out of the bag.

I’m not worried about him in the least. Kathleen crossed her legs and defiantly swung one foot.

Kathleen didn’t need to be worried because her grandfather was one of the firm partners in the executive suites upstairs. He wouldn’t allow Wesley to mess with Kathleen’s career, although he did expect her to work her way up through the company and pull her own weight.

With her looks, attitude, and intellect, Brenna didn’t think it would take Kathleen long to have her own office near her grandfather’s. Tall and lithe with flowing black hair and snapping green eyes, she carried herself like royalty. She was also sharp, fearless, and Brenna’s best friend.

They met the summer they both served as interns with the company. The internships led to part-time jobs while they finished their college degrees. They started climbing the corporate ladder together. It had been a challenging climb, especially in a company mired in the opinion that women should be secretaries and errand-girls, while men did the rest.

Management positions were a hard-earned accomplishment.

Maybe you aren’t, but I am. You know what happens when he gets tired of employees. Before you can blink, you’re packing up your personal belongings and out the door. Brenna pointed her plastic fork at Kathleen as she ate her salad.

The company knows how valuable you are, even if Wesley doesn’t. They aren’t going to let him chase you off like he has the rest. Kathleen snitched an olive out of the salad and popped it in her mouth.

Brenna grinned at her friend’s antics. Thanks for bringing lunch. I needed a little break.

No problem. Kathleen stared at Brenna’s computer screen where multiple windows were open as she worked on piecing together her report. I heard what Wesley did this morning. Is there anything I can do to help?

No. My team is working on the charts and graphics while I write the technical details and formulate the battle plan. I’ll probably burn a little midnight oil to get this on the weasel’s desk as ordered, but I’ll manage.

You always do. Kathleen slid off the desk and adjusted her slim skirt. Just don’t stay too late and for goodness sakes, make sure you put your name in that report. He always takes credit for your efforts even though everyone knows who really does the work. Call me if you need anything.

I will, Kat. Thanks. Brenna smiled at her friend as she walked out the door, shutting it behind her.

Hours later, Brenna stood to stretch the kinks out of her neck and back, noticing the sky was no longer gray but black with darkness. She waved away her team at five, telling them to go home and enjoy the evening.

Quickly picking up the phone, Brenna called her mom and let her know she was going to be late.

How late, honey? asked Lettice Smith, better known as Letty. We can wait dinner for you if you’ll just be a little while.

No, Mom. I have a few more hours of work to do before I’m finished, so don’t wait on me. I’ll grab something to eat on my way home. Brenna leaned against the desk, staring into the watery darkness outside.

Drive carefully. I hate that you have to make such a long trek to and from work every day, Letty cautioned.

I know, Mom. See you in the morning. Brenna disconnected the call.

Growing up in Silverton, Oregon, just an hour or so southeast of Portland, Brenna and her family didn’t think anything about running into the city on an errand. The drive was far different when she had to make the trip every day in heavy traffic.

All through college and right up until about two months ago, Brenna lived in a cute little apartment with two roommates not far from the office. When the owner of the apartment building decided to sell it to a developer for a new retail center, the tenants were given a month to get out. Without time to hunt for a new apartment, Brenna temporarily moved back home.

Yep, that’s how I’ve always envisioned my life, she thought sarcastically: a thirty-year-old living at home with her parents, working for a boss she loathed at a job she barely tolerated in a city she often felt sucked the lifeblood right out of her.

Someday, she’d follow her dreams, but today was not that day.

Her sister, Avery, constantly nagged her to stop waiting for someday and do it now, but Brenna was too cautious, too responsible, to throw caution aside and plunge blindly into the future.

She had a nice little nest egg, a good start on her retirement savings, and a few close friends she enjoyed. None of that erased her longings, though, or the loneliness that sometimes threatened to overwhelm her.

When she closed her eyes, she envisioned a welcoming cottage-style home, a man with broad shoulders and dark hair, and a gangly mutt. The smell of coffee and fresh baked pastries hung in the air, along with a hint of cedar and some other scent that drifted just out of her mind’s reach.

Haunted by the same dream for years, Brenna had yet to see the house, the man, or the dog anywhere but behind her closed eyes.

For now, she’d go on dreaming and waiting.

Brenna sighed, returning to her paperwork. She was exhausted, her back was killing her from sitting at the computer all day, and she was half-starved. Pushing her discomfort aside, she buried herself in the work.

Two hours later, she neatly bound the report with a strong sense of accomplishment. Brenna picked up her coat and purse, turned off her office equipment and lights, shut the door, and walked down the hall to Wesley’s office. The door was open, so she walked in and dropped the report on his desk.

As she turned to leave, she noticed him sprawled on the couch with an empty bottle of whiskey on the floor beside him. She shook her head and walked out. By the snores emanating from him, he had no idea she’d been in the room.

Cautious about crossing the parking lot alone, Brenna asked one of the night security guards to walk her to her car. It wasn’t that she was overly paranoid, but she’d rather be safe than sorry. Two homeless men begging for change made her glad for the escort. The security guard waited until she buckled her seatbelt before returning inside.

Brenna’s stomach growled as she headed south on the freeway. She planned to swing by one of her favorite sandwich shops closer to home, so she kept on driving.

Mentally exhausted, she was tired of playing the office games, tired of putting up with Wesley, and tired of having no life outside of her job.

Something had to change. Soon. Maybe she should consider Avery’s advice.

A loud pop as her car jerked to the right yanked her from her musings. Of course, her tire would blow right after she drove past an exit. Carefully maneuvering onto the shoulder of the road, Brenna turned on her hazard lights and jumped out of the car into a steady downpour of bone-chilling rain. Rushing around to the passenger side, she could see her tire was not only flat, but also missing a piece or two of rubber.

Fantastic.

The flat tire unraveled the last thread that held Brenna’s frustrations in check. She ran back to the driver’s side of the car, slid behind the wheel, and burst into tears.

Chapter Two

Brock McCrae didn’t make a habit of buying strange women coffee. In fact, it was the first time he’d ever done such a thing but the cute little blonde standing behind him in line piqued his interest.

For the last two months, he’d seen her most weekdays at the coffee shop. She always ordered a Chai latte, always smelled like fresh flowers and sunshine, always glanced at him shyly.

Brock assumed she must have an office job in the city, judging by her power suits and heels and the harried air about her. She wore her curly golden locks twisted into a clip or a bun at the back of her head. Although she was not beautiful by fashion model standards, she was definitely someone he’d given more than a passing glance.

Her blue eyes were huge, luminous, and moist like she absorbed everything around her. A smattering of pale freckles dusted her nose and cheeks. Lips, a soft shade of pink, seemed to rest in a natural pout, which made Brock want to kiss them in the very worst way.

Not fat or thin, not tall or too short, she should seem average, but something about her drew Brock’s attention.

From his furtive observations while waiting in the coffee line, he knew she always seemed in a rush and appeared to be more of the quiet type.

This morning, when he realized she was standing in line behind him, he wanted to do something nice for her so he bought her coffee. The grateful smile she sent his direction as she recovered from the surprise of him handing her a drink was a great trade for the price of the drink.

Brock thought of her, and the smile that lit her face, throughout the day as he worked on finishing his current construction project.

Fresh out of high school, Brock landed a job for a construction company. His parents planned for him to become a doctor, lawyer, or something involving a high-powered career. It came as a shock to them that he was much more interested in high-powered tools.

Building something out of nothing drove him out of bed every morning and kept him engaged and excited through the day. He thrived on the feel of the tools in his hands and the smell of sawdust. He enjoyed watching dreams on a piece of paper become a reality wrapped up in wood, steel, and paint.

Summers spent

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