Martha Sorenson stops into the Oxford Coffee Shop on her way to an interview for a position that involves travel to businesses around the country in order to help them expand. Her beautiful boss molds her in more ways than one. At first, she readily accepts the new life, but soon realizes that she isn’t that person. Breaking away, she finds herself without a job and no prospects. Out of desperation, she applies for a job at the coffee shop. Pam hires her for the morning shift. After a couple of blind dates go poorly, she seems destined to be lonely, with seemingly endless nights free. She opens an account on the popular social media site she’d gone out of her way to avoid. She meets a talented mystery and suspense writer there, and they embark on a suspense story, bringing romance into it at the suggestion of his publisher. It doesn’t take long before romance leaps off the page, forcing Martha to make a dangerous decision. Will love prevail, or will it kill her before she finds her heart? This novel comes with a bonus short story at the end.
Where do I go from here? Martha asked herself as she drove down Route Twelve. It’s too late in the day to go far. She stopped the light in downtown Oxford and sat there, waiting for it to turn green. A rumble in her stomach told her that she hadn’t eaten anything all day. It had been in knots as she prepared for what she knew to be the inevitable. Now that she’d gotten beyond the unpleasantness, hunger struck. She remembered the coffee shop from several months before and parked in a nearby space shortly after turning right at the signal.
The window next to the door had a help wanted sign taped to it. That’s right. The girl on the day shift will graduate this month. She went inside.
A blonde waitress in a short yellow dress and a pink apron came up to her. “Can I get you a table?” she asked.
“Please.” Martha thought the question strange until she remembered the counter and the stools lining it. I imagine most single customers sit at the bar. She was led to the very table she’d sat at the last time she was there. A menu was placed on the table in front of her.
“Welcome to the Oxford Coffee Shop. My name is Suzette, and I’ll be your server. Our special tonight is fillet of sole with a pepper-cream sauce and a side of French fries.”
“Fish and chips?” Martha smiled.
Suzette laughed. “Without the British accent.”
Martha pointed at the news article on the wall above her. “Did she get her degree?”
“Trisha? Yes, she did.”
“Well, good for her. And the special sounds good, too.”
Suzette pulled the pad from her apron pocket and wrote it down. “Would you like something to drink with that?”
“Coming right up.” She smiled and picked up the menu.
The food didn’t take long to prepare—a result Martha was thankful for. Her stomach had started talking out loud. She took a bite of the fish covered with the sauce. This is as good as I remember the food last time I was here. I wonder if it’s the same chef. She took her time and savored the meal. The food was so flavorful that she had forgotten her predicament for a spell, but as she finished her French fries, the situation found its way back into her head. What am I going to do? I’m such an idiot. I didn’t think this through very well. Who am I kidding? I didn’t think this through at all.
She opened her purse and pulled out her checkbook. She felt a little relief when she looked at her balance. She had enough money to be safe for a few months, but she realized finding a job that made as much as the one she’d walked away from would be unlikely anytime soon. I can go back right now. She’d take me. Martha sighed. No I can’t. I wouldn’t be worth anything to her professionally. There would always be that cloud hanging over me.