323 Tender Way – A Cherry Falls Romance Read Online Mila Crawford, Aria Cole

Categories Genre: Contemporary, Insta-Love, Romance, Virgin Tags Authors: ,
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Total pages in book: 32
Estimated words: 29362 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 147(@200wpm)___ 117(@250wpm)___ 98(@300wpm)
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Read Online Books/Novels:

323 Tender Way - A Cherry Falls

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Aria Cole, Mila Crawford

Language:
English
Book Information:


Duke Miller has a past he has been trying to outrun for ten years. His secret has forced him to keep his distance and never let anyone too close. When Duke unexpectedly becomes a barista for a day at the local coffee shop, he meets a woman who makes him question if keeping it all bottled up is worth the hurt. Maybe trusting the right person with his burden is all he needs to let go.

Madison Stephans always had a plan: work hard and live her dream, never let anything stand in her way, including her own two left feet or her notorious motor mouth. If she could just focus, keep her eye on the prize, she’ll make it happen, she swears. But what comes into focus is a tall, tattooed man offering to put it all on the line. Madison never wanted to get distracted, but some diversions are worth the risk they take.
Books by Author:

Aria Cole, Mila Crawford



Chapter 1

Madison

"Ms., I've been waiting forever," a woman in a business suit said. She was tapping one hand on the counter, the other holding her phone. "Oh my God, this girl is totally useless," she hissed into her phone.

"I'm sorry, we’re a little understaffed. What was your order again?" I juggled a plate and two cups of coffee, moving as quickly as I could to the table where the elderly couple was sitting.

"I just want an Americano. It's not even that complicated," the woman said. Her voice was raised slightly higher than a moment ago, as if raising her voice would make her order appear faster, or straighten out the jumble in my head.

"Just give me a moment, please." I walked over to the espresso machine, and as soon as I started it, a massive influx of steam washed over me as the angry red light flashed. "Fuck," I mumbled under my breath. I waved around the cloth in my hand in the air to dispel the smoke. Just. My. Luck.

"You're so incompetent," the lady hollered. She pushed her way out of line and ran smack into a tall man with a full sleeve of tattoos covering the skin along one arm.

"Why, Duke Miller, as I live and breathe," she said. Her tone changed in a heartbeat from that of a striking viper to a purring kitten. The giant of a man ignored her, barely nodding his head in her direction as he walked over toward me. When he reached the counter, I was dumbstruck by the color of his eyes, a deep gold I’d seen on cats, but never in human eyes before. When he focused on me, I could see specks of blue splattered in his irises. He was out of this world cute.

"You need help?" he asked.

"Umm, what? "I mumbled like a complete moron. "I-I'm ok." I stumbled on my feet, knocking down the two plates and the mug resting on the counter, which fell dramatically at his feet.

“There’s usually a busser,” I said by way of excuse.

When he leaned over to pick up the broken glass on the ground, the move gave me a look at his perfectly shaped posterior. I couldn’t believe a man that hot was on his hands and knees helping me. My crappy day was suddenly looking up.

"Please, you don't have to do that. I can handle it." Plus, I’d get written up if a customer sliced open his hands on my watch.

He stood up, pieces of broken ceramic in his hands, and smiled. "Darling, from the looks of it, you're in a little over your head."

I felt my defenses flare up. "No, I’m not. I can do this job with my eyes closed." Trying to stave off the panic of confusion, I closed my eyes right there in front of him.

A slow smile started to form on his full lips as he cocked his head to the side and took me in from head to toe. I was glistening with sweat and the fly-aways in my hair were not there on purpose. I wiped my forehead with the back of my hand, pulled the white rag from my back pocket and nervously dried my hands.

I glanced at the messy heap around me, a busted coffee machine, the line of angry looking pissed-off customers. The problem with caffeine was that it was addictive. When you couldn’t serve it up quickly, tempers flared and patience went from low to nonexistent in a nanosecond. The customers on the other side of the line who’d already been served, were now realizing their coffees were wrong and now lined up anew to complain. Those that had to get to work just marched out the door muttering. Part of me wanted to laugh and another part of me wanted to cry and throw in the towel. But, I was stubborn and hated giving up.

"I hate all those assholes for getting drunk last night and leaving me hanging. There are usually six of us here for the rush. At least Ben showed up, but then he actually had a real emergency and left. I haven’t even had a second to try to call for backup."

I don’t know why I felt the need to vent to a stranger, but his was the most sympathetic face I’d seen all morning. Most of the customers walked in here already wanting to kill somebody. Make them wait and then screw up their order? That was like begging for homicide. I wanted to turn the sign to “closed” and just suffer the consequences. But then there was my paycheck, which I really did need.

"Let me help you, please, it seems like you've really run out of options."

"If you don't know what you're doing, what makes you think help from you will actually be helpful? You might just be getting in my way."


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