Finn’s love stories always end in death.
He’s made millions writing as author Morgan Heart and his fans can’t get enough of his tragic love stories. But a bad breakup results in a killer case of writer’s block, and Finn needs to try something drastic to fix it, like. . .going to a coffee shop to write. There’s got to be a reason it’s a cliche, and in his world, cliches sell.
He shouldn’t be flirting with the hot, younger barista. He shouldn’t be using said beautiful barista as another character to kill off in his new book. And he sure as hell shouldn’t be getting his heart involved, especially since he’s still keeping his real identity secret.
Working at his aunt’s coffee shop is a temporary thing. . . that’s been going on for eight years now. One day soon Enzo is finally going to make it big with his art and move on. But when Finn walks into the cafe – confident, mature, put together, everything Enzo is not – he can’t help developing a huge crush, even if Finn is a customer.
As their relationship deepens, Finn’s deceptions and Enzo’s insecurities threaten to undermine everything they are starting to build together. If they can each confront their inner demons, then Finn might be writing a happy ending for the first time in his life.
Better Latte Than Never is an m/m age gap, coffee shop romance featuring a slow burn attraction that grows steamier than an espresso machine.
Warnings: Mention of partner betrayal, death of character’s parents in the past
Title: Better Latte Than Never
Author Name: CC Bridges
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
“What brings you to our cafe?” He winced at how terrible that sounded. Apparently Enzo completely forgot how to flirt when it was a customer he thought was hot. He could charm the old ladies like nobody’s business, but a cute guy? Nope.
Finn nodded at his laptop. “Came for the Wi-Fi and stayed for the coffee. And then the surprise party.” He picked up his fork and stabbed the last piece of cake left on his plate. “This cake is amazing.”
“Everything my aunt bakes is amazing.” Enzo watched the bit of chocolate make its way to Finn’s mouth and the sensual way his lips closed around the metal of the fork. That shouldn’t be turning Enzo on right now, but God, if he didn’t want to follow that piece of cake with his own tongue against Finn’s lips.
“So what do you make that’s amazing?” Finn asked with a wink, and that was when Enzo knew they were in business, or at least on the same wavelength.
He could feel the blush creeping up his cheeks. “I don’t bake, but I do brew a mean cup of espresso.”
“I’d love to have a taste.”
“You’ve got—” Enzo gestured to his own face. A smear of chocolate had found its way to Finn’s chin. “Here.” He picked up a napkin from the table and brushed it away.
Finn took the napkin, his fingers tangling with Enzo’s for a moment. His eyes were smoldering. “Thank you.”
Enzo cleared his throat and pulled at the collar of his shirt. Who’d turned up the heat in here? “What are you working on?”
“My book. It’s not behaving.” Finn glared at his laptop. “I’m hoping coming here will help spark…something.”
Enzo opened his mouth to tell Finn exactly what he hoped it would spark when he felt a tug on his sleeve. He looked over to find Scottie had left his mother’s side. The kid seemed to like Enzo. Any time he and his mother visited while Enzo was working, Scottie would trail him around the cafe.
“Enzo, I saw you had your sketchbooks,” he whispered. “Are you going to draw me again?”
Before he could reply, Tami had made it to their side of the room. “Scottie, leave him alone. That was a special occasion!”
Enzo had done caricatures one day as a promo for the cafe. Scottie had loved the little drawing Enzo had done of him as an astronaut. “It’s not a problem. Let me get this gentleman some more coffee first. Are you drinking regular, or would you like to try my espresso?”
“I’d love to try your espresso.” Finn smiled, and for a moment it felt like they were the only two people in the entire cafe.
But Enzo had to get back to work, shattering the illusion. He went behind the counter, quickly chatted with his aunt so she could leave for the day while brewing Finn’s espresso. Then he grabbed his sketchbook and tucked it under his arm before bringing out the coffee.
“Here you go.”
“Thank you. About that drawing you’re going to do?” Finn accepted the cup of coffee but didn’t drink it.
Enzo gestured with his sketchbook. “Oh, it’s nothing. I’m going to make a cartoon for Scottie over there.”
“Mind if I watch? Unless you’re the kind of artist who can’t work while someone is looking at them?”
“You’re procrastinating, aren’t you?” Enzo teased. “Let me guess. Deadline?”
“You have no idea.”
Enzo shook his head. “You can watch if you want. I’m used to it.”
This is a new to me author, but the premise sounded cute so why not? Featuring an age gap, as well as a success gap, and both of those things can easily be death to a relationship. Together with secrets, it can be a recipe for disaster.
One MC is successful in his chosen field, but hiding it from the other. Meanwhile, Enzo, the picture of a struggling artist, has his own insecurities to deal with, and they begin to hurt their relationship as well.
There’s definitely some life lessons for these characters, as they work to grow as people and in their relationship.
I did struggle a bit with this book, as I found the interactions stiff between the two MC’s, and for me, I wasn’t sure if it was intended to be that way, or the writing was a bit too stiff for me. I started and stopped this book a couple of times before finally getting into it later in the book. In the end, they struggled to get to find the right place to land in their relationship, but just like I needed, an HEA.
3.5 pieces of eye candy
CC Bridges spent her childhood visiting other worlds in books, comics, and the starship Enterprise. It’s no surprise that she ended up a librarian, being surrounded by the books she loves so much. She writes about amazing worlds with honorable heroes. Her hobbies include paying money to get locked in a room for an hour so she can solve puzzles to escape, along with the aforementioned reading. She lives with her husband and son on the Jersey Shore. She is currently pursuing an MFA from Southern New Hampshire University
Author Website: https://www.ccbridges.net
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/ccbridgeswriter
Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/ccbridges10
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Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2780312.C_C_Bridges
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