Well, I'm now 2000 words over my deadline and it's not looking like it will stop for a couple more thousand... oops! Guess I'll be reading back through and trying to cut out some of the excess this next week!
GREAT job on the names for the future character! Keep 'em coming! You've got all month - I'm so excited to see what everyone comes up with!
Awesome news - my editor just posted this link about the Lauren Holbrook series here. Isn't it fun?!
Okay, so I think I promised a sneak peek! Yay! Here's a little segment from the first chapter. I hope you enjoy - let me know what you think!
___ Cool Beans I yank open the tinted glass door and stop, inhaling through my nose, arching my back and achieving what my Pilates instructor would call “core stability”.
I close my eyes now. This is apparently our dark roast for the day. I sniff harder, focusing on the scents. Maybe Italian? I can’t distinguish the medium roast, which disappoints me greatly. But the decaf is definitely my own creation: Half decaf French, two sprinkles of cinnamon and the rest is a light Breakfast Blend.
You know how in those sappy romances the people are always like, “I knew he was the one because I felt like I was coming home anytime I was around them”?
Yeah. Cool Beans evokes that feeling for me.
See why I love my work so much?
“Hey, Nut Job! Close the door!”
I open my eyes and squint at the tall, skinny, dark-haired guy behind the counter. Jack Dominguez is grinning, wiping his fingers on a towel and causing a little group of twentysomethings sitting at the closest table to the counter to start twittering.
“Totally ruining the moment, Man vs. Wild.” I frown at him a minute longer and then close my eyes again, breathing deeply.
That’s it…feel your navel pressing against your spine…
I’ve always wanted to ask the perky Pilates lady if she’s ever really felt the inside of her belly button pressing against her spine. I mean, she’s skinny enough that she might have, but really. Wouldn’t that sensation kind of creep you out? Like, oh my gosh! Where’s my intestines?
I don’t know. Just a thought.
I let my breath out finally and close the door. Cool Beans is not crowded this time of the morning. Aside from the women, there’s a bald guy with a laptop, and two guys in suits discussing something about stock presentations.
Here’s how Cool Beans is set up:
There is always a blend of 50’s and big band music playing quietly over the speakers. Everything is decorated in retro colors: cerulean blues, cherry reds, lots of white leather and silver. There’s five awesome barstools on the counter side right by the fireplace.
Jack throws a towel at me as I walk through the little swinging door in the counter. “Morning, Sciurus,” he says, smirking.
I catch the towel and pop it at his leg. “Hey, how’s the zoo-keeping?”
Jack is still in the process of majoring in biology with an emphasis in animal behaviors. A degree like this will open doors.
Zoo doors, at least.
Just so you know, Sciurus is the Latin name for “squirrel”. I do not appreciate him calling me this, especially since he does so because he’s convinced my brain activity is a lot like a squirrel’s.
Quick, pointless and scattered.
Which is also the reason he calls me multiple nicknames from that: Nut Job, Nutkin (from Beatrix Potter) and Pattertwig (compliments of C.S. Lewis and Prince Caspian).
“Just fine, thanks for asking.” He takes a redheaded girl’s order and starts making an espresso while I tie on my cherry red apron. He grins over the machine at me. “I think I might get that internship at the Hudson Zoo for next semester.” The automatic espresso machine is humming quietly.
I can’t help the smile. “Awesome! That’s really good, Jack.”
“A friend who works at the zoo said that if they don’t like your application, you find out in a week. It’s been nine days.” He smiles into the espresso. “It’ll look really great on a resume for the San Diego Zoo.”
I’ve known Jack since the eighth grade. We were both assigned to the same work table. Which was fortunate because his mom always packed him tamales for lunch and my mom always packed me tuna fish. I hate tuna fish. Jack doesn’t like tamales. So, we became lunch swap buddies.
We lost track of each other through high school, but then both ended up in the same Fitness elective Junior year at Cal-Hudson. And we both started working at Cool Beans that same year.
So, we’ve been friends for a while.
Jack has wanted to work at the San Diego Zoo since he visited there as a second grader. Hudson is about an hour east of San Diego.
I finish working on my apron and start grinding a fresh batch of the Italian medium roast.
“So guess what?” Jack asks over the buzz of the grinder.
“You decided against a career shoveling manure?”
“Funny, Pattertwig. No, I’m parrot-sitting this weekend.”
“Won’t that hurt the bird if you sit on it?”
So, there you have it! Brief sneak peek! I'll post the complete first chapter on my website soon!