On Tour with Prism Book Tours
Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages
August 1st 2018 by Harlequin Heartwarming
Will an apple a day…
Keep love at bay?
For Cass Gentry, coming home to Lake Miniagua, teenage half sister in tow, is bittersweet. But her half of the orchard she inherited awaits, and so does a fresh face—Luke Rossiter, her new business partner. Even though they butt heads in business, they share one key piece of common ground: refusing to ever fall in love again. But as their lives get bigger, that stance doesn’t feel like enough…
When Luke is still being a pain in the neck about the coffee shop…
“Tell me again why we can’t just have the coffee shop in the center corridor of the barn. It’s plenty big enough and access is right there from both entrances. That leaves the side areas for offices or even other little shops if this thing takes off.” Luke looked both tired and impatient. And on the edge of angry.
Cass wasn’t good at standing her ground—it wasn’t something that had ever worked particularly well for her. But… “Because the coziness factor would be gone. It would never be quiet or intimate or conducive to working.” She had said all this. She knew she had. Who knew that under that straight, silky hair of his, Luke Rossiter had such a thick head?
“Working? I thought it was for coffee. If people want to work, they should rent their own office space—maybe in the side rooms of the round barn.”
“How did you get through college without studying in coffee shops?” she demanded.
“Easy. I studied in the student union or even occasionally—call me crazy—in the library. I thought a coffee shop was for drinking coffee.” He grinned, but it wasn’t his usual funny, endearing expression. It was more like a smirk.
“It is. And for visiting, studying and working. It’s a great place for parents to recharge after a day with kids. For artists to sketch and writers to write. Even for music. Open mic nights or karaoke.”
“Do not speak to me in that tone of voice.”
His eyebrows shot up. He took off his cap, pushed his hair back and put it on again. “Exactly what tone of voice is that?”
“The one that says I’m too stupid to waste your time talking to. I’m not.”
“Of course you’re not, and I never for one minute thought you were. I do think you lose sight of the fact that we’re in North Central Indiana, not California or the East Coast. Things are different here. People go to coffee shops to drink coffee or get a cup for the road.”
“Oh, good grief. Were you even there when we went to those coffee shops in Peru and North Manchester and Kokomo? Have you seen the liars table at Silver Moon? Those people aren’t there just to drink coffee and eat eggs over easy with bacon—they’re there to talk.” She lifted her hands in supplication, conscious that she was raising her voice as well. It felt kind of good. “Did all those people we saw sit there in silence and drink their coffee or wait for carryout, or did some of them have laptops or notebooks or books? Were some of them actually sitting and talking to other people? Wasn’t there a guy sitting in the corner with a guitar?”
“There was, and I admit I got a little itchy to sit and pick with him a little because I’m pretty sure he was better than me. But we have the Silver Moon for that. Or—what’s the name of the tearoom now that Seven Pillars was destroyed in the tornado? Oh, right, Just One of Those Things. I’m not saying it’s not a nice thing, but Miniagua’s a small farming and resort community and I think the kind of venue you’re suggesting won’t fly here. The orchard’s doing fairly well, as you know, so is it really the time to take chances with that? We’re a down-home kind of place and we’re proud of it. We don’t need the same kind of trappings they require in larger places.”
“How many people drink coffee in the orchard store every day?”
He looked bewildered. “What?”
“How many people drink coffee in there? Besides staff, I mean.”
“I don’t know. A couple of dozen, I guess. More on nice days, fewer when it’s cold and rainy. But they’re not going to come over here to a fancy coffee shop where people are sitting with laptops and sketchpads, especially if it’s in a confined space instead of an open one.”
She walked over to look at the room she wanted to use—it had great light, great windows, the perfect amount of space—then came back to where he stood in the center of the empty barn. She counted to ten. Twice. “So what you’re actually saying is, fine, we can have a coffee shop, but only if we do everything on your terms.”
He hesitated. “I have business experience,” he said finally. “I’ve been part owner of the orchard for three years and I clocked some part-time hours here a couple of years before that. So, yeah, I think you should listen to me.”
She hadn’t expected him to admit it, and wasn’t sure how to feel about it when he did. She hated what he’d said, hated it, but she thought she probably would have hated it even more if he’d been less than honest.
“Well.” The problem with standing her ground was that it always gave way beneath her, and this time was no different. While it was true they were equal partners, she agreed that his seniority and his knowledge gave him a leg up on her when it came to business decisions. “Okay then.” She looked at her watch. “I said I’d work in the store this afternoon so Lovena Beiler could be with her daughter. I need to get over there. Sarah’s near delivery and anxious—apparently she’s miscarried a few times.”
“She has.” He nodded short agreement. “All right. We’ll talk more later?”
“Sure.” Maybe. And maybe the whole idea of a coffee shop was just a pipe dream that she should put away behind her heart and forget about.
He watched her walk away. She could feel it, but didn’t turn around, just stiffened her back and went on. She had enough failures on her résumé—she wasn’t going to let this partnership be another one because she hadn’t gotten her own way.
Other Heartwarming Books
About the Author
Liz Flaherty was a little nervous about retiring from her day job, but making quilts, more family time, traveling at the mere mention of “why don’t we go…” and becoming a Harlequin Heartwarming author have made the past years more fun and exciting than she could ever have imagined.
Nicole’s Book Musings
Declarations of a Fangirl
Reading is my SuperPower
Hearts and Scribbles
Andi’s Book Reviews
Among the Reads
Inside the Mind of an Avid Reader
Splashes of Joy
Book Lover in Florida
Britt Reads Fiction
Book by Book
Becky on Books
Thoughts of a Blond
My Life, Loves and Passion
My Devotional Thoughts
It’s All About the Romance
Rockin’ Book Reviews
underneath the covers
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Ends August 15th