The Enchanted Garden Cafe (South Side Stories, #1) by Abigail Drake
Publication date: May 1st 2018 | Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
For her sixth birthday, Fiona Campbell’s mother, Claire, made her a peace sign piñata filled with wishes for a better planet instead of candy. When she got her period, her mother held a womanhood ceremony at their café and invited the neighborhood. On her sixteenth birthday, they celebrated with a drum circle.
Fiona grew up trying to keep the impulsive Claire in check, and their struggling café afloat. She plans to move out, but first must find a way to stop a big corporation from tearing down their business and destroying her mother’s livelihood.
Claire thinks karma will solve their financial and legal problems. Fiona prefers a spreadsheet and a solid business plan. The last thing she has time for is Matthew Monroe, a handsome complication who walks through their door with a guitar on his back and a naughty gleam in his eye. But when disaster strikes, and Fiona’s forced to turn to him for help, will she learn to open her heart and find she can believe in something magical after all?
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A group of tea ladies, full of good food and tea, came in, ready to shop. One of them, a sweet, little old thing in a blue dress with a matching hat, approached us. “I’d like to buy some of that tea we had today. It was wonderful.”
“The Tea of Love?” asked Mom with a warm smile. “I’ll get some for you.”
When Mom went to get the tea, Old Blue Hat pulled me aside. “I have to know, how does she do it?”
“What do you mean?”
“Her teas are incredible. I’ve never tasted anything like them. And they work.”
“Work?” I frowned, confused.
“When I first started coming here, my joints ached constantly. She gave me a tea that took all the pain away. I can walk and bend and even do a little dancing.” She demonstrated with a little wiggle of her hips. “And after she gave us the Elixir of Youth tea, I honestly feel ten years younger.”
“That’s nice,” I said, not sure where this was going.
“Today’s Tea of Love was fantastic. I feel . . . romantic. I know you must have had some too. I saw you cry when the nice young man played his guitar.”
“I had dust in my eye. And a bug.”
She looked unconvinced. “Your mom has some kind of special magic. I’m sure of it. I can spot someone with the gifta mile away.”
I wanted to groan but controlled myself. “She knows a great deal about herbs, and some teas have anti-inflammatory properties . . .”
“Then how do you explain the inflammation to my libido? My Harry is going to be a happy man this evening.”
The idea of Old Blue Hat and her husband getting it on was more than I could handle. I wanted to erase that image from my mind forever.
“And you have to admit he is a looker,” she said.
“Who?” I hoped she wasn’t talking about Harry. I didn’t want to know what Harry looked like. The name was enough.
“The boy with the guitar. If I were forty or fifty years younger . . .” She fanned herself with a white-gloved hand.
Mom brought out the tea, and I rang up her order. We packaged the specialty teas in sheer silk bags tied with satin flowers like pretty little sachets.
I decided to clarify things. “There is nothing going on between the guitar guy and me. Nothing at all.”
Old Blue Hat gave me a knowing wink. “It didn’t look that way.”
“I have a boyfriend, and I’m happy, so happy I can barely stand it.”
“You’re a lucky girl.”
“Yes, I am. Thank you. Have a nice day.” I forced a pleasant smile onto my face. Old Blue Hat meant no harm, but she annoyed me.
When I turned to restock the shelves, I slammed right into a wall of solid muscle. Matthew stood there with a strange expression on his face. “That guy last night was your boyfriend? The suit?”
“His name is Scott.”
Matthew looked like he was about to speak, but one of the women came up with a stone phallus. “Is this a dildo?” she asked in her sweet little-old-lady voice.
Matthew choked back a laugh and walked away, leaving me to answer her question on my own. I found nothing humorous about the situation. “No, ma’am, it’s a fertility charm.”
“Oh,” she said, comprehension dawning in her bright-blue eyes. “A virilitycharm. I’ll take two.”
Award winning author Abigail Drake has spent her life traveling the world, and collecting stories wherever she visited. She majored in Japanese and International Economics in college and worked in import/export and as an ESL teacher before she committed herself full time to writing. She writes in several romance genres, and her books are quirky, light, fun, and sexy. Abigail is a trekkie, a book hoarder, the master of the Nespresso machine, a red wine addict, and the mother of three boys (probably the main reason for her red wine addiction). A puppy named Capone is the most recent addition to her family, and she blogs about him as a way of maintaining what little sanity she has left.
Abigail, who also writes young adult fiction under the name Wende Dikec, is the winner of the prestigious 2017 Prism Award for her book Traveller, and the International Digital Award for her young adult book, Tiger Lily. In addition, she was a finalist in the Golden Pen, the Golden Leaf, the Dante Rossetti Book Award, and the Cygnus Award for Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction.
For more information about Abigail, visit her: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |
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