SWEETHEART by Sarah Mayberry
Release Date: March 1, 2021
I just wanted to get my hands on his beans
Four years ago, I had a ridiculous crush on my sister’s boyfriend. But when they moved away together, I put Beck out of my mind and my heart. But now he’s back, and roasting the best coffee in Vermont. I need to convince him to supply the Busy Bean. And I need more of those kisses we accidentally shared outside the coffee shop. He still makes my heart race faster than a triple shot of espresso.
She should be off limits, but instead she’s pushing mine
Her sister burned my life to the ground, so Haley Elliot is the last woman I should bring into my bed. Although our business relationship is giving way to something more than a fine grind. Neither of us can help ourselves. And what’s worse, I think I’m falling for her.
But it’s a small town, and ours is a big secret. And when her sister blows back into town, suddenly the coffee isn’t the only thing brewing…
You know that thing where the rational part of your brain decides on a sensible course of action and commits to it, but then the murky, primal, unsupportive part of your brain refuses to get on board? The Germans probably have a name for it, something hard to pronounce with lots of umlauts. All I had was a feeling, and it hit me on a regular basis over the next couple of weeks whenever Beck set foot in the Busy Bean.
Every time I saw him propped in the kitchen doorway sharing a laugh with Zara, I felt it. When I realised Roddy had started using Beck as a taste tester for recipes he was developing, even though they barely knew each other, I got a big, hard dose of it. And the day I left the cafe to find Beck and his dog playing with Audrey and her two kids down by the river bank, I was awash with it.
If I had to parse this feeling into its component parts, it would be made up of nine-tenths envy and one-tenth wistfulness. With a sprinkle of sexual jealousy thrown in, just for kicks and giggles.
Because I wanted Beck to laugh with me the way he laughed with Zara. I wanted us to have the kind of relationship where I could run ideas past him, the kind of friendship where I could come upon him and his dog down by the river and feel free to hang out with them.
I was fully aware that this stupid, stubborn longing I was experiencing was at complete odds with my decision to respect his obvious desire to have as little to do with me as possible, but no matter how many times I told myself I didn’t care, the lump of concrete in the pit of my stomach said otherwise.
The problem was that Beck was just one of those people that other people wanted to be around. He’d always been that way, hence the fact that my sister had wanted him, and the fact that I’d developed my ridiculous, hopeless-cause crush on him in the first place.
He had a natural ease and charm that made people smile, even if they were having a shitty day. He gave good banter, and he knew how to tease people in a gentle, utterly harmless way that made them feel like they were special because he’d noticed them. And he was curious about people, asking lots of questions and genuinely listening to their answers.
It probably didn’t hurt that he was extensively easy on on the eyes, either.
All of this worked together to make him a warm, real presence that people wanted to get closer to, like campers gathering around a fire at night.
I witnessed the power of his charisma over and over, in the way Audrey stood a half-foot closer to him than she did to other people, even though she was madly in love with her husband Griff, and in the way Roderick launched into an amusing anecdote whenever Beck arrived with his delivery, as though he’d been waiting to share the story with him.
Even snarky, cynical Zara wasn’t immune, spending extra minutes chatting to him on the phone when she called through our bi-weekly order, her laughter ringing through the cafe.
Everybody loved Beck, and Beck loved everybody – with the notable exception of me.