In Portland, Oregon, the only thing hotter than the coffee shops, restaurants, and bakeries are the hard-working men who serve it up—hot, fresh, and ready to go—with no reservations…
Robby is a self-employed barista with a busy coffee cart, a warm smile, and a major crush on one of his customers. David is a handsome finance director who works nearby, eats lunch by himself, and expects nothing but “the usual”—small vanilla latte—from the cute guy in the cart. But when David shows up for his first Portland Pride festival, Robby works up the nerve to take their slow-brewing relationship to the next level. David, however, is newly out and single, still grieving the loss of his longtime lover, and unsure if he’s ready to date again. Yet with every fresh latte, sweet exchange—and near hook-up—David and Robby go from simmering to steaming to piping hot. The question is: Will someone get burned?
Robby is a guy who can’t get a break in the boyfriend department – that’s all he wants, but he can’t find a permanent guy. He’s in a great place to find love, Portland, OR – and he’s had quite a few try-outs, but none who are perfect.
David is a “just out of the closet” coffee drinker who casually pushes all Robby’s buttons. They sort of flirt with one another for weeks and months then at a Pride Fest Parade they kiss and thus start their “relationship.”
Here’s the main problem: David doesn’t know how to be in an “out” relationship, his last partner died while in complete denial that they were even “dating”. Robby has so many insecurities that he hesitates to ask for or expect what he wants and deserves. So… for weeks and months more the relationship very (agonizingly) slowly moves forward.
Something’s gotta break though, because Robby can only stand in the shadows so long before he’s going to run.
Luckily – David gets his act together before it all ends in tears.
What I loved about this:
The writing: crisp, clear, subtle artistry, deliberate and evocative.
The setting: I loved how well Annabeth described Portlandia. From the gentrification of Alberta to the coffee snobbery to the hipsters on every corner.
The characters: Each was a very three-dimensional person and intriguing on their own merits.
What I didn’t love:
The fact that if Robby had only spoken up so much could have been resolved. It felt a bit contrived, though it did make some sense given his dating history.
All in all it was a wonderful first novel (for me) from this author and I will absolutely be looking for more from her and the series!
4.5 of 5 stars
(Copy purchased for review)