About Java Rocks
Author: Julia Talbot
Word Count: 7000
Page Count (pdf):
Date Published: 01/22/2018
Publisher: Turtlehat Creatives
File Types available: pdf, mobi, epub
When tea drinking writer Jerrod needs to research coffee, he throws himself into a ride along at Java Rocks, his local coffee shop. Owner Finn thinks Jerrod is the hottest thing ever and that they can steam way more than just milk. Will these two be a single espresso shot, or a long lasting triple latte?
This is a previously published title. The publisher has changed.
Jerrod Redus swirled his tepid tea in his mug, wishing for the fifth time in less than an hour that his protagonist drank tea. No, he had to write a damned coffee drinker, which he knew dick-all about. Not only was his main character a coffee drinker, he owned a coffee shop.
That stupid, simple fact meant that Jerrod had written himself into a corner, and he was going to have to do some damned research.
He had a personal assistant. Someone to handle e-mails and read-throughs and scheduling appointments. Most of the time, though, Jerrod preferred to do his research by himself, for himself. Nothing beat experience for making something ring true in a book. Jerrod had done ride-alongs with EMTs and police, had interviewed FBI agents and politicians, and had gone surfing and mountain climbing.
The problem was that he hated coffee.
Sighing, he sat back in his chair and rested his head against the little neck roll. He’d bought the chair when his first novel had been hailed as a breakout success, when he’d realized he’d earned his advance. The poor thing looked a little shabby now, but he loved the soft leather and cushy seat too much to replace it.
He finally saved his doc, opened his e-mail, and shot off a request to his PA, Patty. “Need a work-along with a small, privately owned coffee shop, ASAP.”
She would do the legwork for him, make all the arrangements. All he would have to do was show up and hold his breath so he didn’t have to smell the evil demon brew. Hopefully he’d get good pastry out of the deal. He should have put that in his e-mail.
So Jerrod sent another. “Make sure there are cookies and muffins.”
There. He grinned, rising so he could stretch out his back and neck. Joints cracked all over his body. Man, he needed to get out more, maybe do some hiking or something. When the writing flowed, he stayed in like a hermit, clacking away at his keyboard. He’d tried voice capture software, but he liked the connection to the words that typing gave him.
He grabbed his mug again and headed to the kitchen of his condo, ready for something to settle him down for the evening. Chamomile didn’t do it for him; he liked hibiscus. Lowered his blood pressure, soothed his throat. He’d have that and an almond cookie before he took his shower.
Jerrod liked his routine, liked to know what his schedule looked like weeks in advance. His nerves jangled a bit when he thought about taking time out to do the research he had to do. The coffee shop looked to be as big a character as anything else in the book, damn it. He had to make it real, had to make people believe it.
He listened to the kettle ramp up, bubbling, then whistling. His sister gave him electric kettles all the time, maybe once a year. He preferred his mom’s old stovetop model. Tradition. Habit.
The scent of a fresh cup of tea settled his nerves.
Coffee shop. Just for a few days.
He could do this.
Finn Tinnean wondered what kind of man Jerrod Redus was. He knew who Jerrod was as a writer. Thrillers, and good ones too, if a little pedantic. He had no idea that Jerrod lived in Austin, but hey, not everyone wanted to live in New York, right?
He sure didn’t.
After glancing at his watch, he pulled out his apron and started checking supplies for the day. Mr. Writer had exactly three minutes to knock on the door if he really wanted to see what it took to open Java Rocks for the day.
The knock came with thirty seconds to spare, and he smiled, his mouth twisting up at the corner. So, he already knew something about Jerrod. Someone was a little OCD. Not early, not late.
He unlocked the door, taking in the man who walked in. Medium height, a little on the skinny side, with wire-rimmed glasses and a little goatee. Jerrod wore a long-sleeved tee, pressed jeans, and closed-toe low boots. At least he was appropriately dressed. The ball cap Jerrod tugged off and hung on the coat hooks right inside the front door, giving Finn a view of too-long dark brown hair to go with hazel eyes.
A minute or more ticked by while they sized each other up.
“Finn, please.” Finn held out a hand to shake. “Jerrod, right?”
“Right.” Jerrod shook his hand, staring curiously at the tattoos running up Finn’s arms. “So, definitely not like the big corporate places, right?”
“If you mean the no visible tattoos or piercings and no colored hair, yeah. We kinda toss those rules out the window. Bree, the barista you’ll work with today, has pink hair.”
“I won’t be working with you?” Jerrod looked surprised. Maybe disappointed.
“You will until we open. Then I have a bunch of errands to run, so I’ll turn you over to Bree.”
“Oh, well, good. I really need to pick your brain as the owner.” Jerrod smiled, an expression that seemed rusty. The way those dark hazel eyes lit up told Finn it was genuine.
“Sure. You have a few more days after this too, and I’ll be around. Here, I’ll show you how to set up the espresso machines while you tell me what you need out of this.”
“Of course.” Jerrod followed him behind the counter. As soon as Finn pulled out the beans to start loading machines, Jerrod wrinkled his nose.
“You don’t like the smell of coffee?” Finn asked.
“I hate it. Don’t be mad.”
“I’m not.” He chuckled. “I’m surprised you’d put yourself through this.”
“I have to.” Jerrod’s face changed, more animated, eyes really shining. “My protagonist, James, his coffee shop has been the scene of a murder. Overnight when his shop was locked up. He comes in the next morning to set up and finds the body. I need the coffee shop to be real, you see?”
“Nope. But I don’t have to.” Finn grinned at the man and got a shaky smile in return. Jerrod needed some social skill refresher courses. “I just have to make sure you learn how to make espresso. So, we start with filling the bean well.”