Love for the Barista

Hello romance readers! Today’s Tuesday Tales post is from a new Valentine’s Day romance, Love for the Barista. This short romance is almost finished, so there won’t be many snippets shared from this story. Join us as we take a peek into a Carmen’s new love. Carmen owns Java Time, a coffee shop situated on historic Oak Grove Square. Between running her business and being a single mother of two young children, she doesn’t have time for love in her life.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘point.’

Return to TUESDAY TALES here to read more story snippets.

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Love for the Barista

Wiping her brow with the back of her hand, Carmen fought back the fatigue and looked up to help the next customer.

“Howdy, little lady. You serve any regular joe in this fancified establishment of yours?”

Little lady? Really?

Carmen resisted the urge to smack the pearly whites that grinned in her direction. She pasted a smile on her face and pointed to the sign hanging over her head. “Right there, sir. Regular or decaf. A dollar fifty a cup.”

cowboy.jpgHe tipped the brim of his cowboy hat in her direction. “Sorry, ma’am. I reckon it would have helped if I’d read the sign better. I’ll take a cup of regular.”

Ma’am? Even though he has a good ten years on me? It just keeps getting better.

One thing about owning Java Time, the coffee shop she’d opened a year ago, was that it had taught Carmen a few lessons in customer service. The largest lesson, for her, had been how to keep her mouth shut and not give back the smart alec retorts that she’d been prone to throw back her whole life. As she filled the to-go cup with steaming – plain – coffee, the man across the counter kept a stream of prattle headed in her direction. She didn’t hear a large portion of it. She was in her smile-and-nod mode, the result of a sick two year old that kept her up most of the night.

Snapping the lid on the cup, she nodded in the direction of a counter against the side wall. “Cream and sugar’s over there.”

The cowboy – or farmer, hard to tell in this part of Texas – dug in his jeans pocket and retrieved a wad of crumbled dollar bills.

“You can pay Julie, at the register.” Carmen looked pointedly in the direction of the girl to her right standing behind an obvious cash register.

The man hesitated. He opened his mouth as if to say something, then clamped it shut. He tipped his hat again. “Thank ya’ ma’am. Y’all have a good day, now.” Heading to the register he stopped once and turned back.

Carmen was already busy with the next customer and he paid and left without another glance. She kept serving customer after customer and never gave the stranger another thought. Finally getting to the last person in line, she heaved a sigh of relief. “Victoria! My goodness. I thought this line would never stop.”

“Must be the cold weather sending us all in for something hot to warm us up.”

“I guess. It was nineteen degrees when I left this morning.”

“Brrrr!” Victoria shuddered at the mention of the temperature. “At least there’s no ice. I don’t like the cold, but I’d rather have that than streets you slip and slide on.”

“Your regular today?”

“Yes. Chai tea. But make it the biggest you’ve got.”

“So when are we going to convert you to coffee? You’ve been coming in her long enough. You should try one of my special drinks.”

“Never. I can’t abide the taste of it. Sorry.” Victoria grinned to take the sting out of her words and inhaled a deep breath. “I do love the aroma of it though. Odd, isn’t it?”

“Not as much as you think. Actually, a lot of people that don’t drink coffee enjoy the fragrance of it.”

Victoria took the cup of spiced tea from Carmen. “So how long have you been drinking coffee?”

Carmen chuckled. “When I was a teenager. I’d be out late at night, partying with my friends. I started drinking it to try and wake up and make it to school.”

“Did you always want your own shop?” Victoria was curious.

“Not really. I just wanted to get married and have babies. But…” she threw her hands up in the air. “You know how life is. The guys don’t always cooperate with the plans you dream up in your head. Daniel didn’t want to be a daddy. He only wanted to help make the babies.”

Come back next week for more!

Return to TUESDAY TALES here to read more story snippets.

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