“I did not call you a sex robot.” The woman behind the counter flushed almost the exact same color as the pink polo top displaying a cutesy lip-print logo.
She was gorgeous. Tumbling blond hair swept up into a bouncy ponytail, wide green eyes staring at him unflinchingly, and full lips all competed for his attention. There was something arresting about her, something strong and willful and so electric it grabbed Ronan Walsh by the balls. Add to all that a full figure with the kind of curves that could make a grown man weep, and he was momentarily robbed of his resolve to not to even think about women for the next twelve months.
“She totally called him a sex robot.” One of the younger women at a nearby table snickered and ducked her head behind a coffee cup big enough to caffeinate an entire college faculty. “How embarrassing.”
“Can I help you with a drink?” The woman asked, trying to act like she wasn’t ruffled. As she came closer, Ronan caught the name Audrey printed neatly on a white badge. “Maybe a croissant or a bagel?”
“A coffee, black, in whatever is your biggest cup.” He tore his eyes away from the barista to scan the bakery display. “And a blueberry muffin.”
Audrey nodded and rang the items up on an iPad that served as the café’s cash register. Kisspresso Café had been one in a list of recommended local businesses that his new boss had provided him when he’d checked into his visiting accommodation late yesterday. At first he’d almost walked straight past the place. Not because he’d missed it—a feat impossible to anyone who could see, thanks to a hot pink front door that looked like something out of a Wes Anderson movie. Rather, Ronan wasn’t sure his long-haul-travel-weary eyes were ready for the visual assault.
But he’d quickly learned that pink and red were town colors and, therefore, were unavoidable.
“One coffee and a muffin,” Audrey said. “To go?”
Ronan nodded. He could handle all the brightness for the five minutes it would take to get sustenance, but then he wanted to go back to his apartment and faceplant onto the couch.
Thank you, jetlag.
“I’ve been told there’s a discount for college staff?”
Audrey’s eyebrow immediately arched. “Yes.”
Hmm, was it a faux pas to ask? The information had been printed neatly alongside the coffee recommendation in his welcome pack. “Great. I’m a professor there.”
“I haven’t seen you before,” she said. “I’ll need to see your faculty card.”
“Uhh…I’m new, so I don’t get my faculty card until the office opens back up next week.”
Audrey cocked her head. “You know, we’ve been warned about people like you.”
“Sex robots?” The words leaped off his tongue before he could stop them. Someone behind him snorted and Ronan cringed.
Great. His first day on campus and someone was probably live-Tweeting this whole silly conversation.
“People posing as professors.” She waggled her finger at him and made a teasing, tutting sound.
“Posing?” Ronan literally studied the very things which made people who they are—the very fiber of their motivations and morals. He would never scam someone. But this wasn’t the first time someone had questioned him because he was younger than average. “I’m a professor at Harrison Beech College. I don’t have my faculty card yet, that’s all.”
“You really thought you could get one past me by trying to look the part?” She shook her head. “The elbow patches were a good attempt, but don’t you think they’re a little cliché?”
Now she was insulting his fashion choices? He blinked. “What’s wrong with elbow patches?”
“It’s like you Googled ‘what do professors wear?’ and then bought the first thing you saw.” She bit down on her lip as if stifling a laugh.
Everyone was looking at him now, but Ronan had always been impervious to embarrassment. Maybe it was years of growing up with his Irish grandmother who was as blunt as a hammer.
Although he had Googled that exact question on his first day as a professor in his late twenties. He’d been more insecure back then, feeling the age gap between him and his colleagues and his lack of life experience like a weight around his neck. These days he’d learned to hold his own, academically and personally.
And he damn well liked his elbow patches.
(C) Stefanie London, Entangled Publishing 2020. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.
Kissing Creek #1
Welcome to Kissing Creek, where everything has a romance-themed pun for a name and love is lurking around every corner. . .
Audrey Miller doesn’t believe in happily-ever-after, so she is definitely living in the wrong town. But she’s never getting out of Kissing Creek, because playing pseudo-mom for her younger siblings doesn’t leave time for much else. She’ll do anything to make sure they don’t end up stuck like she is, working as a barista in a college town, serving Pink Passion mochas with Chocolate Smooch donuts.
Then Ronan Walsh, a new young professor and walking cliche, right down to the elbow patches on his blazer, steps in for a coffee and into her life. She knows his type–intelligent and charming, yet sweet as a cinnamon roll, the sort of man she’s inevitably attracted to but is always out of her league. So why does someone like him have any interest in a worker bee with no future?
Her bland-as-oatmeal existence has nothing to offer, but Ronan’s temporary teaching position is only a stepping stone on his way to somewhere else. He isn’t here to put down roots, Audrey’s roots are firmly planted–neither of them is looking for love. And maybe that’s just perfect.
But in a small town called Kissing Creek, sometimes love can be impossible to avoid. . .
Romance Contemporary [Entangled: Amara, On Sale: November 9, 2020, e-Book, ISBN: 9781649370846 / eISBN: 9781649370846]
About Stefanie London
Books that make you laugh a little, and love a lot.
Stefanie London is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romances and romantic comedies.
Stefanie’s books have been called “genuinely entertaining and memorable” by Booklist, and “Elegant, descriptive and delectable” by RT magazine. Her stories have won multiple industry awards, including the HOLT Medallion and OKRWA National Reader’s Choice Award. She has also been nominated for the Romance Writers of America RITA award.
Originally from Australia, she now lives in Toronto with her very own hero and is currently in the process of doing her best to travel the world. She frequently indulges in her passions for good coffee, lipstick, romance novels, and anything zombie-related.