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LOVE ON THE BOARDWALK
(Cinnamon Bay Romance series - Book 1)
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She’s hiding a broken engagement.
He’s concealing his true birth heritage.
They’ll have to trust their hearts even if they’re sure love is a lie.
Just for you...here's a preview of Chapters 1 & 2!
FOR AS LONG as Eva Halloway could remember, the menu at the Brewed with a View coffee shop had remained the same.
She’d learned by heart each specialty drink, hot drink, and pastry from her childhood days spent sitting on one of the stools along the antique counter and watching her grandmother tend to customers. Hands down, her favorite item on the menu had been the strawberry float. And even now, years later, just being in the coffee shop, the familiar smells and the atmosphere had her craving a strawberry float. Maybe if her grandmother had been on the other side of the counter, she would have indulged in the drink of her childhood.
Instead, Eva stood on the other side of her counter, filling the shoes of her late grandmother, Lilith. It hadn’t been a surprise that Lilith had left her only granddaughter the family business, but rather a surprise that her spry nana had passed away so suddenly.
Eva hadn’t asked or been looking for a new beginning, but at the same time, the change had been exactly what she needed. She’d moved back to her summertime playground of Cinnamon Bay, North Carolina and took over Brewed with a View.
And with new beginnings, she decided the menu could use some spicing up—or rather an entire revamp. After weeks of research, she’d narrowed down the specialty, hot, and cold drinks. She’d added a fruit and smoothie line as well as a “grab-n-go” snack line. All having funky new names. And today was the day she’d introduce the new menu to the town.
Balancing on the ladder, she finished writing the last drink on the oversized chalkboard—her grandmother hadn’t modernized with digital screens, and Eva quite liked the cozy feeling of the old chalkboard.
She leaned back to admire the white-and-blue chalk words she’d scripted and was confident the sweet maple cold brew would be the perfect replacement for the town’s legendary Café Amour.
The antique clock chimed six times, telling her it was time to open. She climbed down the ladder, rinsed the chalk from her fingertips and dried them on her apron as she crossed the room and flipped the open sign.
The foggy morning seemed appropriate for the tiny touch of dread inside her. She knew taking Café Amour off the menu might not fly with the town, but this was her coffee shop and if she wanted to remove a silly drink that gave people false hope and foolhardy expectations she didn’t believe in, then so be it. And if she had to stand up to every single person who lived in Cinnamon Bay, bring on the torches and pitchforks of the angry mob townsfolk.
The lock clacked as she slowly turned the deadbolt. Through the glass door, she could see three shadowed figures walking down the boardwalk, the fog rising around them set the scene of a horror movie.
Chills crept up her spine.
The whole town in mob form wasn’t nearly as scary as Hattie, Trixie, and Birdie, the resident matchmakers, and her late grandmother’s best friends.
Eva’s gaze flitted over her shoulder to the chalkboard. There was still time to add the Café Amour back on.
No. She refused.
Taking a deep breath of confidence, she walked back behind the counter. Kolby Reeves, her newest—but the coffee shop’s oldest—employee, made it to the ladder first and unhinged the sides to flatten it.
She admired his thick dreadlocks wrapped in a fancy bun atop his head. He spent more time on his hair than she did her entire morning regime. She glanced down, second-guessing her jeans and T-shirt and wondering if she should have decided on a dress for today, to give her a softer, sweeter side.
Not to impress Kolby; they batted for the same team.
No, her mind was still on easing the new menu to the ladies getting closer. She could see the outline of Trixie’s and Birdie’s hats. Hattie refused to wear a hat because of her name, which spoke volumes to her stubbornness.
“I see the matchmaking posse is on their way bright and early today.” Kolby hitched his eyebrows upward as he walked past her with the ladder tucked under one arm. “Almost as if they sensed what you’ve done.”
“Not you too.”
He continued walking as he spoke. “Sweetheart, you know it’s true. I warned you about taking Café Amour off the menu. But I won’t abandon you to three little old matchmakers.”
The bell above the door rang, and the tap of heels clicking on the hardwood floor warned them the matchmakers were in the coffee shop.
“Then where are you going?” Eva hissed at Kolby in a low whisper for only him to hear.
“I have to put the ladder away and…count the forks,” he said.
“Count the forks?” Lies, all of them.
He glanced over his shoulder. “Honey, one of us needs to survive to be able to serve the customers. I’ll be back after the wrath of what you’ve created has passed.” His fingers spun in the air for effect.
“Chicken.” But her hiss was only met with an amused chuckle as he disappeared into the back.
Deep breaths. Deep breaths.
It was her coffee shop, and she had this.
Plastering her best smile on her lips, she turned toward the powerful three. “Good morning, ladies.”
None of them responded. Their eyes zeroed in on the menu.
Eva grabbed three coffee mugs