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No Strings Attached (Pink Bean Series - Book 1) (PAPERBACK)

No Strings Attached (Pink Bean Series - Book 1) (PAPERBACK)

Micky thought she was straight... until she met Robin.

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Book specifications

Pages : 252
ISBN : 9789881490988
Weight : 8.7 ounces (247g)
Dimensions : 5 x 0.55 x 8 inches (127 x 14 x 203mm)

Full description

Micky thought she was straight, until she met Robin…

Micky Ferro has lived her entire life according to other people’s expectations.

She married a man, had two children, and became a dutiful stay-at-home mom in suburban Sydney. Until she realized that her picture-perfect life wasn’t making her happy.

On the first anniversary of her divorce, Micky decides it’s time for the next step in her journey and gets a job at her neighborhood coffeeshop, The Pink Bean.

Becoming a barista sparks a big change in Micky’s daily routine, but could loud-spoken American customer Robin do the same for her love life?

Don’t miss the first book in this heart-warming series from the bestselling author of the French Kissing and High Rise series.

Every book in this series can be read as a stand-alone without having read the others.

Themes and tropes

  • Opposites attract
  • Toaster oven
  • Coming out
  • The Pink Bean series

Chapter One Look Inside

Chapter 1

“To one year of freedom.” Amber held up her cup of green tea.

Micky stared into her latte and shook her head. “Let’s not toast to that.” She looked up and found Amber’s eyes. “Freedom’s overrated.”

Amber cocked her head. “What’s wrong with you today? This is not the effect my yoga class is supposed to have.” She kept holding up her mug.

Micky averted her glance. Amber was always beaming with positive energy and obvious physical and mental health. Some days, it was just too much. “I’m not saying I’m not happy that my divorce became official exactly one year ago, but I don’t have that much to show for it. This yoga session is the highlight of my week. My children don’t need me anymore, which they keep reminding me of at every turn. I had foolishly believed my life would become better after leaving Darren, but it doesn’t feel that way.”

“You’re still finding your feet. And Olivia and Christopher do still need their mother very much. They’re still getting used to the situation as well. Think long-term, Micky.”

“Well, I definitely don’t want to get back with Darren, I just… feel so empty, so meaningless. My days are filled with literally doing nothing.”

“They’re filled with the exact same activities as before the divorce. It’s just your perspective that’s different,” Amber said.

Amber was a good friend to have, but her spiritual mumbo jumbo did irritate Micky at times like these. Micky could also do with a glass of New Zealand sauvignon blanc much more than this latte.

Micky shrugged as Kristin, The Pink Bean’s owner, headed in their direction.

“Hello, ladies,” she said. “I hope you had a good class.”

Micky let Amber reply to that question. Amber explained how she’d had her students stay in pigeon pose for longer than usual and asked Kristin when she was going to join again.

“As soon as I find a new employee.” She thrust a sheet of paper in Micky’s direction. “Are your children old enough to have an after-school job?”

My children?” Micky bristled. “Actually work for pocket money?” She feigned an exaggerated laugh, then clasped a hand to her chest. “It’s my own fault. I spoiled them too much.”

“How about you, Micky?” Amber’s voice rose.

“Me what?” Micky stared at the text on the piece of paper. Barista wanted. Being upbeat is much more important than being experienced.

“You’re looking for something to do with your time. Why don’t you apply?” Amber looked at Kristin, possibly for words of encouragement, but Kristin had a business to run so why would she hire a washed-up divorcée like Micky? And why would Micky take a job in the first place?

“It could be fun,” Kristin weighed in. “You come in here every day, anyway. I’ll show you the ropes.”

“Me?” Micky leaned back. “Work at The Pink Bean?” The idea sounded ludicrous to her. “I don’t know the first thing about making complicated cups of coffee like this.”

“You’re an expert at drinking them, though,” Amber offered.

“Think about it.” Kristin shot Micky an encouraging smile, then walked off and pinned the sheet of paper on the notice board by the door.

“Why did you say that in front of her?” Micky gave Amber a wry look.

“You know me, Michaela, I’m always only trying to help.”

It was infuriating, but true. “Can you imagine me serving coffee at The Pink Bean?”

“Why not? You were just telling me about how empty you feel inside. You basically said you’re bored. Working here for a few hours a day can change that. You’d meet new people. You wouldn’t be alone. And you can take my evening classes. They’re a bit fuller, but I’ll still pay special attention to you.” Amber drew her lips into that wide smile of hers. A ginger curl had escaped from her ponytail and danced along her temple as she nodded.

“But”—and Micky was embarrassed to admit this—“I haven’t worked a day in my whole life.”

“What are you talking about?” Amber’s voice rose again. For a yoga teacher, she really had problems keeping her voice level in social situations. “You raised two children. You made a home for them and for your ex-husband. It’s not because you don’t get paid for it that it isn’t a job—and a tough one at that.”

“If you put it that way.” Was Micky actually starting to consider this crazy idea? What did she really have to lose apart from a few hours of her time, which she didn’t do anything useful with, anyway. “But I’ve certainly never had a boss before.”

“You live with two teenagers. No boss can be worse than that. Besides, Kristin is a pussycat.” Amber let her gaze slide to the counter where Kristin was chatting to a customer. “Remember that time I hit on her because she was always alone in here and I read it all wrong and I assumed she was single?”

Micky nodded. “How could I forget when you remind me every few months?”

“She let me down so gently. It was the easiest rejection I ever experienced. She even offered me a free cup of tea, which I didn’t accept, of course.”

Micky had heard the story of Amber’s failed crush on Kristin many a time since The Pink Bean had opened two years ago. Since then, they’d met Kristin’s wife Sheryl, a professor at the University of Sydney, and Amber had successfully gotten over her crush.

“What will my kids think of their mother working at a coffee shop called The Pink Bean?” No matter what she did, Micky’s hormonal teenagers would disapprove noisily for an instant, then retreat back into the silence they wrapped themselves in with their oversized headphones on their heads and their blinking screens in front of their eyes.

“They won’t mind, and it doesn’t matter.” Amber fixed her gaze on Micky’s, as though wanting to say something with her intense stare.

“What?” Micky asked.

“You’ve let it slip that you might be open to… exploring more. This is a great place to start.”

Micky’s eyes grew wide. “What on earth—”

“Don’t play innocent with me now. I’m your best friend. Have been for a very long time. I’ve seen your gaze wander. Besides, you’ve told me in no uncertain terms.”

Micky felt herself flush. This didn’t stop Amber from pushing further.

“On a day like today especially, on the first anniversary of your divorce, I think you should take action. Not just symbolic action. Real action. Make a change. Take a step forward.”

At least Amber was letting go of the innuendo. “I’ll sleep on it, I promise.”

Amber nodded, then slanted her torso over the small table. “I know it wasn’t the actual reason for the divorce, because there’s never only one reason, but I know you’re curious. It’s time to put yourself out there.”

Only Amber could say something like that and have the most endearing, non-smug look on her face as she leaned back.

“When will you put yourself out there again?” Micky countered.

“I have,” Amber was quick to say, then scrunched her lips together. “You know I have, I just haven’t met the right woman yet.”

“Maybe you’re frequenting the wrong places and hanging out with the wrong kind of people.” Micky was still a little unsettled by what Amber had just implied.

“You mean The Pink Bean and you?” Amber narrowed her eyes. “Never.”

Micky looked around the cozy coffeehouse just round the corner from her new home—from her new life. She’d been living in the Darlinghurst area for only a few months, and had chosen this quickly gentrifying neighborhood at Amber’s insistence. Amber claimed Micky couldn’t hide herself away in the suburbs of Mosman anymore, not even if it meant that Olivia and Christopher would have much smaller bedrooms to sulk in.

Kristin gave her a quick wave from behind the counter. Micky tried to imagine herself behind it.

Should she take the leap?

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