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Cup of Joe by Teri Wilson
Chapter Four

cup of joe

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 Charles Spaniels.

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 eyes.


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 threshold.

Sorry, Cary.

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 red-haired girl.

"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 Goldie."

"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 item before."

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 hers.

What did it mean?

Was Eve right? Could Joe possibly be attracted to her?

"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 light touch.

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 touch."

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 getting along?"

"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 of grief.

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 silence.


"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 this Saturday?"

Oh. My. Gosh. Joe the Coffee Guy is asking me out.

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 signals?

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 lips.



"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.

Get Your Cup of Joe


Barnes &

White Rose Publishing offers a special, limited edition hardback along with a gift set with Starbucks coffee and coffee mug.

After December 4, softcover and ebook purchases will also be available at White Rose Publishing.

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 or what?"

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 it?"

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 gave her."

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 you?"

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 your promise?"

"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 friend."

"And even easier if she's..."

Joe leveled his gaze at Cinnamon and spoke his secret hope, his dream, aloud for the first time. " 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 concerned.

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, haven't you?"

She gnawed on the corner of an orange fingernail. "A little."

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."

"A deal?"

"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.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or White Rose Publishing, a division of Pelican Ventures, LLC except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

eBook editions are licensed for your personal enjoyment only. eBooks may not be re-sold, copied or given away to other people. If you would like to share an eBook edition, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you're reading an eBook edition, and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to the publisher and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Contact Information:

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

Publishing History
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 next installment!
~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

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Teri Wilson

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.

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