AFTERGLOW by ARIA WYATT
Release Date: September 13, 2021
I’m a numbers girl.
Or at least I thought I was, until my formula fell apart. Back home in Vermont, with my dream on hiatus, I’m working at the Busy Bean and taking online classes. As long as I keep my focus, I’ll be back in New York City next semester. Hopefully.
When Declan O’Shaughnessy storms into the café, all muscles and tattoos, wielding his sexy Irish brogue like a weapon, the only equation I can solve is one that lands me in his bed. Even more dangerous is my growing affection for his cherub-faced little boy.
But Declan has complications of his own. He’s cagey, but I’ll win him over.
Yeah, about that focus… mine is all on him. Can we have a harmless fling without getting hurt?
The Busy Bean reminds me of my father’s pub in Galway, where I had my first drink and started my love affair with Irish whiskey. I’ve traded booze for hot cider, but I crave the inviting pub vibe of this bakery. There are plenty of bars in town—like the place right across the car park—but I don’t dare set foot in one. This is the closest I’ll allow myself.
“Hi, what can I get started for you?”
I spin toward the lilting female voice and frown. I come here just about every day and I’ve never seen this woman. She’s a pretty little thing who barely comes up to my shoulder. A black T-shirt peeks from beneath the bright yellow apron that covers her breasts. She’s cinched the tie around her waist, showcasing her hourglass figure.
“Hello?” She props both hands on her hips. “Would you like to order something?”
My gaze snaps to her face and locks on to a set of eyes the exact shade of golden amber as whiskey. With her tanned skin, and thick, honey-blonde hair, I’d swear I walked into a distillery. My throat tightens, and the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end as I try to find the words to answer.
Her mouth starts to move again, drawing my focus to her lips. Full and pink, like a wild Irish rose. “I brewed a fresh pot of coffee and the drink of the day is a dirty apple chai.” She licks those plush lips and adds, “With apples from the Shipley orchards, of course.”
My stomach twists into a knot as I glance at the section of countertop that looks like a bar. I’d give my left arm for a pint of Guinness. And I’d give both arms for some whiskey. Desperate to derail that train of thought, I force my gaze to the display of artisanal honey from some of the local apiaries. Funny how the warm amber color also reminds me of whiskey, making my mouth water.
Then again, maybe it’s blondie who’s got me salivating. Whiskey be damned, I’d sell my soul to the Devil for a taste of her.