Cup of Joe by Teri Wilson|
Goldie wasn't sure how it happened. One minute, she was out for a morning stroll with Bliss bobbing at the end of her new, pink patent leather leash and the next...
Well, the next minute she found herself hovering
at the entrance of Joe's Coffee Shop. What was she doing here? Her intention
had been to head over to the Turtle Beach Library to check out some books on
dog training and puppies, maybe even learn a bit more about Cavalier King
Her eyes widened at the sight of the bright yellow
awning with Joe's name marching across it in big letters. How had she gotten
here? It was as if her feet had walked here completely of their own accord.
She glanced down at Bliss. "Please tell me this
was your idea. You dragged me here, right?"
The spaniel looked up at her with melting, doe
Like this little thing could drag anyone anywhere.
Goldie took a deep breath and tried to acknowledge
that she must have walked here of her own free will. While her mind had been a
complete whirlwind of phrases like "it's time to get on with your life," her
feet had chosen to follow her heart instead of her overcrowded head. And she'd
ended up here. On Joe's front steps.
Quite a little turnaround.
Goldie glanced at her watch and noted that if she
walked quickly she could get home in time to catch the beginning of her game
show. But, when she looked back up, she noticed a young woman with a shock of
red hair staring at her through the window. She stood behind the counter,
dishrag in hand, and seemed to be waiting for Goldie to step over the
Goldie gulped and opened the door.
She was greeted with a chorus of woo-woos from
Java, who shuffled over from his dog bed to greet Bliss with a wag of his tail.
"Morning, Java." Goldie scratched the Husky behind
his pointy ears, all the while keenly aware of a pair of eyes watching her with
great interest from behind the counter. "Good morning," she said to the
"Oh, hi." The girl dragged her gaze from the white
silk scarf tied around Goldie's ponytail and offered a warm smile. "You must be
"Yes," Goldie answered, feeling more
self-conscious by the minute. "Um, how did you know my name?"
"Joe's mentioned you a time or two. I'm Cinnamon,
by the way."
Was it Goldie's imagination, or did Cinnamon seem
exceptionally happy to see her? She looked nearly as excited as the audience
members of the Oprah show when she gave out all the free goodies. What did she
call it? Her favorite things episode.
Good grief. I watch way too much daytime
television. Everyone's right. I really do need to get on with my life.
Goldie, suddenly filled with the heady knowledge
of what it must feel like to be the all-powerful Oprah, fiddled with the end of
Bliss's leash. Before she could stop the flow of words spewing from her mouth,
she asked, "He mentioned me?"
"Oh yes." Cinnamon nodded with a grin. Then she
waved her hand in the direction of the large chalkboard hanging over the
counter. "Plus you're on our menu."
"What?" She must be having some sort of
hallucination. Either that or she'd been so distracted by the sight of
Cinnamon's unfortunate nose ring, she'd heard wrong.
"Your drink. The one Joe named after you." She
wiggled her fingers toward the chalkboard again, this time with a flourish.
"See? Right here."
And there it was. In black and white for the
entire world to see.
Goldie's Latte Macchiato. $3.00.
She was sandwiched right between Black Coffee
and Espresso. And my, she wasn't cheap either.
"Oh. Goodness." Goldie read and re-read the words
to make sure they were real.
She blinked. Hard.
They were still there. "I've never been a menu
Cinnamon smiled even wider. "Would you like one?"
Goldie tore her gaze from the chalkboard menu and
tried to form a coherent answer, which would have been much easier if she'd
been paying attention to the question. "Excuse me?"
"Would you like one?" Cinnamon asked. "A Goldie's
Latte Macchiato? Your drink."
A giggle escaped Goldie's lips. It was so strange
hearing her own name in the title of a beverage. Strange, but nice. She decided
she quite liked it. "Yes, please. I'll have one Goldie's Latte Macchiato."
"Coming right up." Cinnamon winked at her, then
added in a tantalizing whisper, "And I'll let Joe know you're here."
"Um, OK." Goldie tried not to blush, but a warm
flush crawled up her neck and made its way to her cheeks.
And, to top it off, her nose started tingling at
the sound of his name.
Her gaze flitted once again to the blackboard and
her name drawn there in white chalk. She tilted her head to admire it, as if it
were an exquisite piece of art. It certainly stood out from the other offerings
on the menu. There wasn't a single other name up there. Not even Joe's. Just
What did it mean?
Was Eve right? Could Joe possibly be attracted to
"So, what do you think?" A voice snapped her out
of her thoughts. The voice of Joe himself. She stopped gaping at the chalkboard
and directed all her attention toward him.
He pointed at the menu and grinned. When he
smiled, his eyes crinkled in the corners in a most appealing way. How had she
failed to notice this before? "It's... quite a surprise actually."
He raised his eyebrows. "A good one I hope?"
"Of course. It's very sweet. Thank you." She
reached toward Cinnamon's outstretched hand, which held her steaming coffee
drink topped with a generous portion of whipped cream. Of course.
"Wait just a minute." Joe intercepted and took the
cup in his own hand, causing Goldie's fingertips to graze his with a feather
She pulled her hand away and wondered if he felt
the same sizzle when their fingers met.
"You can't drink this yet. It's not finished." Joe
picked up a slender bottle with a fine-tipped nozzle and drizzled a delicate
stream of caramel over the top of her drink. His hand was remarkably steady
and, before Goldie even realized what was happening, he'd created a perfectly shaped
G atop the whipped cream.
So the initial had been his idea.
"Here you go. All yours." He held the cup toward
her. She reached for it, careful not to touch his hand this time.
"So do all Goldie's Latte Macchiatos come
with the fancy G on top?"
Joe's smile turned sheepish. "No. That's a special
Goodness gracious. "I can't begin to thank you
enough for all you've done for me."
"No thanks necessary." There it was again. That
familiar gleam in his eye. The one that made her feel as if he had really known
her all along.
"I disagree. Plenty of thanks are required.
Especially for this precious little creature." She nodded her head toward
Bliss, now splayed belly-up on the ground.
Joe came around to the front of the counter and
scratched her tummy while Java watched with a cocked head. "So you two are
"Fabulously. She never lets me out of her sight.
It's very comforting." Without warning, Goldie suddenly felt the sting of tears
in the corners of her eyes.
Would this ever stop? Today she finally felt
better. More like herself than she had in days. Then it was back. A fresh wave
If Joe noticed, he disguised it well. He stood
from where he was crouched on the floor beside Bliss and glanced around the
shop. "We're pretty slow right now. How would you like to take the dogs for a
quick walk on the beach?"
Goldie felt the yes rise in her heart
before she even had a chance to give the question any thought. It was at that
moment she realized part of her hoped Eve was right about Joe. Not the part
about him being all wrong for her-good grief, no! The part about him having
feelings for her. "Sure. That sounds nice."
"It felt comfortable, peaceful. Goldie wondered if right then-walking on the beach with Joe and his dog-her own eyes held that familiar glimmer of affection she'd seen so often in his."
"OK. Let me grab Java's leash and we'll go."
Two new customers filed in while he disappeared
for a minute. As Joe returned, worn leather leash in hand, one of them placed
an order for a Goldie's Latte Macchiato in a booming voice. Goldie's
head turned at the sound of her name, but no one seemed to notice.
Except Joe. He winked at her as Cinnamon went to
work once again at the espresso machine.
This is so strange. Strange, but nice. She
wondered if she sat here all day in Joe's Coffee shop listening to people order
her drink, if she'd ever grow accustomed to it.
Somehow, she doubted it.
"You know what?" Joe said as he held the door
open for Goldie and Bliss. "Your intense dislike for coffee may be the best
thing that ever happened for my business."
Goldie took a sip of her drink and grinned. "So I
guess that makes us even." Hardly. But it was the only clever response she could
come up with on short notice.
Joe guided her along the winding sidewalk beside
the coffee shop that led to the sandy beach dunes. Goldie could hear the ocean,
even smell it, before she actually saw the sun's rays dancing on the crystal
clear water. As far as she looked in either direction, Goldie couldn't see
another person on the isolated strip of beach.
They walked over the dunes where the sand was
soft, like fine powder, and closer to the water. The cool ocean breeze ruffled
the dogs' coats and blew Bliss's ears straight backward. She looked as though
she could fly. Once they reached the packed sand of the shoreline, Joe and
Goldie fell in step beside one another. Bliss and Java crept out in front,
trotting and wagging their tails. Every so often one of them pounced on a
seagull shadow drifting across the sand.
For a long moment, neither Goldie nor Joe said a
word. But it wasn't an awkward silence. It felt comfortable, peaceful. Goldie
wondered if right then-walking on the beach with Joe and his dog-her own eyes
held that familiar glimmer of affection she'd seen so often in his.
"Can I ask you something?" Joe asked, breaking the
"I couldn't help but notice the obituary in the
paper listed your name as Teresa." He paused. Goldie suspected he wanted to
make sure she felt comfortable discussing the obituary. She nodded to signal
she was fine.
Joe continued, smiling so his eyes crinkled in the
corners again. "So how did you get the nickname Goldie?"
"Grandpa." A tender feeling came over Goldie at
the memory. "From the time I was a little girl, he always called me Goldilocks.
Eventually, it got shortened to Goldie. Now that I'm an adult, I guess it seems
strange to be named after a fairy tale character."
"No. Not strange. I think it's charming. It suits
you perfectly." His gaze traveled the length of her blonde ponytail and over
the wispy curls that had bounced free in the salty wind. "Does it bother you to
talk about him? So soon?"
"No. Strangely enough, it feels nice." It was the
truth, she realized with a wistful sigh. "He was such a huge part of my life, I
can't imagine not talking about him."
Joe stopped walking and turned to face her. His
dark eyebrows and the tips of his thick eyelashes were laced with a fine layer
of salt from the ocean breeze. At Goldie's feet, Bliss danced on her hind legs
and batted her front paws for Goldie to pick her up. But Goldie couldn't seem
to look away from Joe.
"You know I'm here if you ever want to talk. About
him. Or about anything. Capeesh?"
Her heart almost leapt out of her chest. Capeesh
had been one of her grandfather's trademark phrases. He'd picked up the Italian
slang word while he was stationed in Europe with the Army. She couldn't
remember hearing anyone else ever use the word. Somehow, it seemed fitting for
Joe to take up the tradition.
Goldie nodded her agreement and answered back,
just as she did with Grandpa. "Capeesh."
"Let me take this for you," he said as he reached
for her empty coffee cup. "It looks like Bliss might be running out of steam."
Goldie scooped the spaniel into her arms. "She
just needs a little cuddle."
Java poked Joe's leg with one of his big paws and
woofed. When Goldie and Joe responded with laughter, he barked even louder.
Joe wagged his finger at the Husky. "Don't even think
about it. You're too big to be carried."
They fell in step with one another again, and not
until Goldie's senses became enveloped with the rich aroma of coffee, did she
realize they were once again right around the corner from the shop. "We'll let
you get back to work. Thanks for the walk. And the coffee."
Joe paused. He raked a hand through his windblown
hair, still tinged with salty crystals. Java's gaze flitted back and forth
between Joe and the coffee shop, as if he were trying to figure out why they
weren't already inside. "Um, Goldie?"
"Yes?" Something in his tone and the way he
shifted his weight from one foot to the other caused a swarm of butterflies to
take flight in the pit of her stomach.
He cleared his throat and continued, "Are you busy
Oh. My. Gosh. Joe the Coffee Guy is asking me
Goldie froze for a moment, unsure how to answer.
The flutter in her belly told her she certainly wanted to go out with Joe. But,
was it too soon? Was she even thinking clearly?
Then she looked at Joe and remembered who he was.
He was still the same Joe. The Joe who played checkers with her grandfather.
Grandpa had adored Joe. He would have probably been thrilled to see her go out
on a date with him. Especially now. What was her problem? Of course, she would
say yes. Maybe she would even say capeesh. Yes, that would probably make
him laugh. That would be her answer. Capeesh. "No, not really. No plans."
"Oh, OK. Well, I was thinking you might want to
bring Bliss to a dog training class. Java and I go every Saturday afternoon.
Would you like to come along?"
It took every ounce of strength Goldie possessed
to keep the smile on her face intact. She was mortified to her very core. He
wasn't asking her out on a date. He was inviting her to a dog training class. A
dog training class! And here she was, planning a witty, flirty dialogue about
their non-date. Emphasis on the non. How on earth had she misread the
Horrified, she nodded and tried to force out an
answer. "Uh, sure. That sounds great."
She listened and commented in what she hoped were
all the right places as Joe explained all about the training class. All the
while, she clutched Bliss closer to her chest like a life preserver.
"OK, I'll see you Saturday." Joe winked and walked
backwards, his gaze never leaving hers until he'd disappeared inside the shop.
Goldie spun on her heel, still holding Bliss in her
arms, and headed for home. Growing wearier with each step, she forgot all about
the library. She just wanted to get home, crawl back under the safety of her
covers and forget she'd ever stopped at Joe's Coffee Shop. She knew it would be
difficult, however, with the sweet taste of caramel still lingering on her
"So, did you ask her out?" Cinnamon swirled her
straw around in what Joe thought was a vanilla latte. He still couldn't keep
all the new drinks straight. When he'd asked her to develop a few new menu
options, it had been akin to unleashing a dragon.
He rubbed his temples and glanced up at the
chalkboard. Overnight the number of offerings listed there had tripled. Yep, he
was actually going to be forced to study his own menu to get it all straight.
"Hello? Joe?" Cinnamon's distinct note of
impatience brought his attention back to her interrogation. "Are you paying
attention? What happened on your walk? Did you ask her out?"
If Cinnamon ever grew bored of her career as a
barista, she had a brilliant future as a detective. Or private investigator.
Pretty much anything that involved large amounts of questioning. And snooping.
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She swirled her straw again and took a giant sip
of her latte. The slurping noise echoed off the empty walls of the coffee shop.
Joe wagged his finger at her. "Don't slurp."
"Can't help it. This is so good. Do you want me to
make you one?" Cinnamon's words came out in rapid machine gun fire and she
hopped from one foot to the other. "Hey, you're changing the subject. You still
haven't answered my question."
Joe grabbed the large, empty cup from her hand.
"That's it. I'm cutting you off. Clearly, you've had enough caffeine."
Cinnamon shrugged, but Joe noticed her gaze
followed the empty cup as he pitched it in the trashcan. "Hey, it got
super-busy in here while you were out. I had to keep up somehow. But don't feel
bad about leaving me here by myself during the rush. It was all for the sake of
true love." Cinnamon plopped her elbows on the countertop and rested her chin
in her hands. She fluttered her eyelashes and sighed. "So, did you ask her out
Joe shot an envious glance at Java, snoozing away
on his dog bed. Anything to avoid looking Cinnamon in the eye. Or nose ring,
for that matter. "No."
"No?" she shrieked. "What do you mean no?"
"You don't understand. It's not the right time."
He'd wanted to ask her out. No doubt about it. Then again, he'd wanted to ask
her out for the better part of a year.
"Are you crazy? Of course it's the right time."
She drummed her shiny orange nails on the counter. Their pounding hammered her
words into his head.
"And how would you know that? You've known Goldie
for all of five minutes."
"I'm a woman. I can tell." She said it with an air
of confidence that belied her young age.
"Is that so?" Joe doubted she possessed any
special insight into Goldie's emotions, but hope tugged at his heart ever so
slightly. "How can you tell?"
"Easy. She was wearing a scarf. Didn't you see
Of course, he'd seen it. It wrapped around her
ponytail in three precise loops. The silky ends played with her mass of curls,
slipping in and out of the blonde ringlets with every subtle movement of her
lovely head. He couldn't hide the smile that played on his lips as he
remembered it. "Yes. I saw the scarf."
"So, she's ready." Cinnamon announced, as if the
matter could be settled that easily, by the mere presence of a silky wisp of
fabric in Goldie's hair.
"The scarf could mean something. I'll admit that,"
Joe conceded. "But it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with me. She's
probably feeling better about things; that's all."
Even as he spoke his words of doubt, he secretly
prayed. Dear Lord, please. Please let it have everything to do with me.
Cinnamon heaved an enormous sigh. "Boss, you can't
be serious. Are you blind? She wore her trademark scarf for the first time in over
a week to your coffee shop, to see you, with the dog that you
When she put it that way, he almost dared to
believe it. Could it be that after all this time, with a few simple acts of
kindness, Goldie had finally noticed him? "You do have a point."
"So what are you waiting for?"
It was a legitimate question. What was he waiting
for? "It's complicated."
Cinnamon rolled her eyes. "How so?"
"Bob, Goldie's grandfather, was a friend of mine.
I made him a promise. A promise I intend to keep."
Cinnamon's face fell, a look of horror coming over
her. "Oh no. You didn't promise him you would never date his granddaughter, did
Joe chuckled. "Good grief, no. That's not it at
all." Hardly. In fact, now that he thought about it, he supposed it probably
would make Bob rather happy if he and Goldie ended up together.
Cinnamon let out a puff of breath. "Then what was
"I promised him I would always look after Goldie
for him once he was gone." Overcome with reverence for his pledge to Goldie's
grandfather, Joe lowered his voice. "That's easy to do so long as I'm her
"And even easier if she's..."
Joe leveled his gaze at Cinnamon and spoke his
secret hope, his dream, aloud for the first time. "...my wife."
Cinnamon gasped. "You really love her, don't you?"
"I do." Choked with emotion, Joe cleared his
throat. "But don't you see? If she's not ready, if I push too soon, things
could get very awkward. She might not even want to be my friend. Then how could
I watch over her, as I promised?"
Cinnamon pondered this for a moment and answered
him in a way he never expected. "Boss, where does your God fit into all this?"
The question hit him like a slap in the face. He
gave himself a moment to recover before responding. "I'm rather surprised to
hear you talk about God, Cinnamon. Pleased, but surprised."
She shrugged her shoulders and peered at him with
wide eyes. Joe could scarcely believe it, but she looked almost bashful. "I've
been thinking about everything you said the other day and how you believe that
He answers prayers. If you truly think He provided Bliss for you to give to
Goldie, why don't you believe He'll show you the way to keep your promise? Why
don't you trust Him with your feelings for Goldie?"
Joe ran his hand through his hair, still damp from
the salty ocean breeze, and paused. He couldn't answer the question. She was
right. This girl, who readily admitted she wasn't sure she even believed in
God, had somehow spotted his lack of faith where his romantic feelings were
Forgive me, Lord. Forgive me for not trusting
in you and for being a bad example for your child, Cinnamon. She's searching
for you, Lord. Help me help her.
"You really have been thinking about God a lot,
She gnawed on the corner of an orange fingernail.
He wished he knew a way to be a better witness for
Christ. Unsure what exactly to do, he said, "That invitation to church is still
good, by the way."
Cinnamon grinned, and turned to him, the diamond
stud next to her nostril shining like a beacon. "I'll make you a deal, boss."
"Yep." She shoved her hand toward him and nodded,
as though she wanted a handshake. "If I go to your church, you will agree to
ask Goldie out on a date."
"Are you serious?" Joe was skeptical. It seemed
wrong, almost like a bribe. But, then again, maybe God didn't care. Maybe this
way he and Cinnamon both would be following His plan.
"Yes sir. Completely, one hundred percent
serious." She clicked her heels together and saluted him.
"OK." He stuck his hand toward hers, but then drew
it back. "But you have to come to church first. Then, afterwards, I'll do it.
I'll jump in with both feet and ask Goldie out."
"Great. It's a deal." She took his hand in hers
and pumped it up and down in a vigorous shake.
As Joe stood there in the coffee shop, shaking
hands underneath the chalkboard with Goldie's name winking down at him, he
thought once again about the scarf. What did it mean? He imagined touching it,
feeling the delicate silk between his fingers. He dreamed of unwinding it from
Goldie's thick tresses and letting her curls fly free in the salty wind.
And he wondered how many Sundays he would have to
wait for Cinnamon to come to church.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise
indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®.
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission
of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Cover Art by Tamra Westberry
White Rose Publishing,
a division of Pelican Ventures, LLC
PO Box 1738 *Aztec, NM * 87410
First White Rose Edition, 2009
Softcover ISBN 1-60154-708-0
Published in the United States of America
In loving memory of my Grandpa,
Robert K. Wilson
Dec. 22, 1915 - Oct. 25, 2006
And for Jesus Christ, You are ever Faithful
and True. Rev. 19:11.
Praise for Teri Wilson:
Cup of Joe 2nd Place Merritt Contest Winner
~Sponsored by the San Antonio Romance Authors
Hoofbeats & Heartstrings series from The Wild Rose Press
Do You Hear What I Hear?
Using horses, aromatherapy and a love story, Teri weaves a tale that is
more than a novel, more than a love story, it is THE love story in human
history revealed. Read this book, you won't regret it!
~Dr. Kim Bloomer, veterinary naturopath, author, and host of
Animal Talk Naturally
I was so enchanted with this charming tale that I read it straight
through in one sitting. This story is my first taste of the work of Teri Wilson
but it will not be my last... Do You Hear What I Hear? is a must read Christmas
story. I highly recommend this enchanting, magical tale! ... I can't wait for the
~Stephanie B., Fallen Angels Reviews
Love, Lilies & the Unbroken Straw
In one word: sweet! This chaste romance was a breath of fresh air... I'd
recommend this story for those looking for something closer to a true romance. And,
in fact, I already have.
~Janelle, You Gotta Read Reviews
Teri Wilson is the winner of the 2008 Spaniel Journal writing contest for her story, Angel & Me, about her beloved English cocker spaniel. Cup of Joe, her first inspirational romance novel, tells the story of a grieving young woman and her journey back to life, with the help of the owner of the neighborhood coffee shop and an adorable cavalier King Charles spaniel puppy.
Cup of Joe was a finalist in the 2009 San Antonio Romance Authors Merritt Contest. Teri is also the winner of the 2008 Pet Sitters International Humor Writing Award, the 2006 Westminster Kennel Club Angel on a Leash Writing Award and the 3rd place winner of the 21st Annual American Kennel Club Short Fiction Contest. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, son and four delightful dogs.