Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link:
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Length: Novel


Edith has inherited two things from her parents: the McLean Family Coffee Shop… and a mountain of debt. Her parents were devoted to making coffee; their shop is well situated in a college town and gets decent reviews, but not enough customers to make up for the $6,000 roasting machine her dad bought. With her parents recent passing, Edie is determined to hold on to the shop, the only thing she really has left of them. She just has no idea how.

Edie has no idea how to make the shop suddenly turn a profit, any more than she has any idea how to flirt with the beautiful night shift nurse who comes through for coffee in the evenings. That doesn’t mean she’s going to give up, though. She just needs some help. And money. A whole lot of money.

What Edie ends up with, instead, are ideas. Such as taking the coffee shop from a design mishmash of eras to something with a little more … bite. But making a vampire-themed coffee shop in a town that burned a book for daring to have vampires in it is a big ask. A very big ask. With the help of Empty and Obsidian, her roommate and her roommate’s boyfriend who play at being vampires; Blake, the philosophy student; and Penny, the night nurse who finds Edie just as fascinating as Edie finds her, maybe her coffee shop stands a chance.

Edie knows what it’s like to be alone. She was her parents’ only daughter; she’s really the only member of her family left, and all that she has to hold onto is the coffee shop that she was raised in, the shop her grandfather built and the place her parents sunk all their money. So when she learns that Penny, the nurse she has a crush on, also feels alone, Edie reaches out to offer comfort. And not just because she has a crush on her. Edie has a warm heart, for all that she can be somewhat judgmental, but her opinions, like good coffee, take time to firmly settle.

Empty seems just like some goth kid with a strange goth boyfriend who plays at being a vampire. They eat her food and take over more of the house than Edie would like, but she never calls them out on it. One, she needs the money; two, so long as she’s paying rent, it’s Empty’s house, too. And that consideration allows Edie to get to know the pair of them as people. Empty, who loves wholeheartedly and just wants a chance to belong, and Obsidian, who feels restrained by his parents religion and judgement and just wants to be himself. Because Edie gave them a chance, treated them like people, they turn to her for guidance and, when Edie needs it, they are also there for her when she needs friends.

When Edie finds out that Penny is a vampire, she doesn’t react with fear … or even awe. Instead, she asks for time. After lengthy google searches, she then asks Penny for her story. Edie sees Penny as a person, first, a vampire second. Their relationship is built on trust and consideration — and plenty of physical attraction. The two of them have instant chemistry, and it just keeps building. Edie all but swoons when Penny proves she can fix a milk steamer; not because Penny is showing off, but because Penny helped her when she needed it … and looked good doing it.

Along with the relationships themselves — romantic and platonic alike — the writing in this book has some really lovely moments:

“It’s been ages since anyone has slept next to me,” Penny admitted. “I forgot how relaxing it is, the rise and fall of a sleeping chest. I watched the stars and held you, and it has been one of the best nights I can remember.”

This is such a good story about people falling in love, making friends, and doing good for their community, and doing so without having to change who they are. I found the vampire aspect to be a bit muted for my personal taste, but I did appreciate the different take on vampire lore the author offered. The pace is lightning fast and the book is written in a clean, effortless way that made it so easy to read …. and keep reading. I finished this in one sitting, while really wishing I had a caramel latte. If you’re easily influenced by coffee, be warned. You’ll need a drink with this book.