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Water under Bridges (Pink Bean Series - Book 5) (PAPERBACK)

Water under Bridges (Pink Bean Series - Book 5) (PAPERBACK)

Can you build a future if you don't let go of the past?

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Book specifications

Pages : 236
ISBN : 9789887801306
Weight : 8.2 ounces (233g)
Dimensions : 5 x 0.51 x 8 inches (127 x 13 x 203mm)

Full description

Can you build a future if you don’t let go of the past?

After a brutal break-up in Brisbane, Louise Hamilton is back in Sydney and loving her job at Glow, Darlinghurst’s new yoga studio.

She has found new friends in her boss Amber and the gang at the Pink Bean and feels like her life is finally back on track.

Until someone from her past comes back to haunt her.

Mia Miller is the Pink Bean’s new manager. She’s delighted to leave the corporate life behind and become part of a small business and the sense of community she’s been missing.

When an attractive Pink Bean customer catches her eye and Mia tries to establish a connection, her advances are met with nothing but indifference and disdain.

What happens when a dark past comes back to haunt you? And can you ever truly move on from a deeply traumatizing experience?

Find out in book five of the heart-warming Pink Bean series!

Themes and tropes

  • Enemies to lovers
  • Childhood trauma
  • The Pink Bean series

Chapter One Look Inside

Chapter 1

As far as first days at new jobs went, this one had been easygoing for Mia. Kristin hadn’t hired her to brew coffee; Mia was here for far loftier goals. Expansion. A second coffee shop in another part of the city. Obtaining a liquor license. Turning the Pink Bean brand into much more than the friendly neighborhood coffee shop it stood for today.

“Great product,” she said to Kristin after taking a sip from her coffee. Strong and black. For someone who had just become manager of a coffee shop, Mia didn’t truly believe all the fancy coffee drinks were necessary. What was wrong with plain old regular coffee? That was how she liked it. But she wouldn’t have this new job if not for the fancier beverages which had a much higher margin than simple black coffee.

Tomorrow morning—bright and early—Mia was expected to handle the first barista shift of the day alongside Josephine, to whom she hadn’t even been properly introduced. She had suggested it herself, favoring a hands-on approach and learning the ins and outs of the coffee shop business from actually working in one. The only part she wasn’t very enthusiastic about was the starting time of her duties at 6:30 a.m.

“Hello, hello,” Sheryl said as she entered the Pink Bean from the back room.

Kristin and her partner had interviewed Mia together for the position, so Mia had already been formally introduced. After the interview, which had been relaxed and free of the usual corporate stiffness, Mia had wanted the job so badly, she’d had to stop herself from going back in and pleading her case all over again. It was the vibe of the place. Not only the extreme gay-friendliness—or perhaps she should call it straight-friendliness—but the way the two of them were together. It gave her hope for better times in her own personal life. And the number of lesbians that must frequent the place. Mia didn’t know the neighborhood very well, but even on the way over from the train her gaydar had pinged several times. The lesbian density wasn’t as high as in Newtown, but the women here were different. And Mia could do with a new stomping ground.

“I know we hired you to help Kristin, but that doesn’t mean she’s allowed to boss you around too much.” Sheryl kissed Kristin on the cheek. “She can be like that sometimes.”

Kristin gave Sheryl a look, then refocused her attention on Mia. “Don’t mind her. Sometimes she doesn’t know when not to say something.” Kristin shot Mia a warm smile, her eyes narrowing with glee and the skin around them crinkling up.

“I look forward to getting to know you better, Mia, but now I have to dash. Professorial duties are calling.” She tipped a finger to her forehead and stopped at the counter where Josephine handed her a takeaway coffee she hadn’t even had to order.

“Jo, can you join us for a minute?” Kristin asked.

“Sure. Refills?”

“No, that’s all right,” Kristin said.

Mia could have done with a refill but Kristin had the sort of insistent tone of voice she instinctively didn’t want to argue with.

Kristin introduced Mia to Jo as the new Pink Bean manager and Jo to Mia as the Pink Bean’s longest and hardest-working employee with the voice of an angel.

“I guess that makes you my new boss then,” Josephine said. “So we’d best try to get along.”

“You should really come to the next open mic night,” Kristin said. “Jo will be singing and blow you away in the process. We’re lucky to have her on our tiny stage once every two months these days, that’s how in demand she is.”

“Please, Kristin.” Josephine waved her off. “You know how easily I blush.”

A customer walked in and Kirstin got up. “You girls get acquainted. I’ll take care of this.”

Mia took the opportunity to study Josephine’s face. She couldn’t immediately place it, but something about her was beginning to look familiar. “Wait a minute. You’re not Josephine Greenwood, are you?”

“The one and only. Why do you ask?”

“Er, because of this.” Mia fished her phone out of her back pocket and scrolled to the WhatsApp message that contained the music file her friend Pat had sent her a few weeks ago. She tapped play and a powerful, impressive voice boosted from her phone’s inadequate speakers. “Is this you?” She glanced at Josephine’s face.

“Sounds like me. Where did you get this?”

“A friend sent it to me. She went to one of your gigs and made this recording. Sent it to all of us, that’s how blown away she was by your voice. I could only agree.” Mia gave Josephine a wide smile. “It’s an honor to be working with you.”

“I’ll sing you a tune once in a while.” Everything about Josephine smiled.

“If you don’t mind me asking—why are you working here? There’s so much buzz about you in Sydney right now. You’re about to blow up.”

“Very simple. I need the money,” Josephine said matter-of-factly. “Singing in student pubs doesn’t pay that well.”

Mia couldn’t help herself. The question that worked its way from her brain to her mouth in record time was out before she could think about it. “Do you have someone looking out for your interests?”

“I have Jimmy.”

“Who’s Jimmy?”

“The guy playing guitar on that clip you just heard.”

“Your guitar player is your manager?”

“He’s not my guitar player and he’s not my manager either. He takes care of all the bookings and the admin stuff, for which I’m very grateful.”

Mia didn’t know how to go about this. Tact had never been one of her strong suits. “The fact that I have this clip on my phone says so much. I don’t usually know about new music, let alone about local bands or singers, but I do know about you, Josephine. You’re on the verge of something. Just playing that ten-second clip gave me goosebumps.”

“It’s still just a hobby,” Josephine said.

“My guess is it won’t be for much longer. Your voice is too heavenly to keep it from the masses.” Mia smiled at her new colleague.

Josephine tilted her head and painted a soft smile on her face. “Thank you for the kind words. I approve of the buttering up to your brand new co-worker strategy.”

“I mean every word of it.” Mia was starting to love the Pink Bean and its employees more by the second.

“To tell you the truth, I’ve had several offers for management and I think I am a little aware of the buzz, but I have so much going on right now, I don’t even know where my head is most days. I probably shouldn’t say this, but my mornings here are by far the most relaxing hours of my day. I can do this on autopilot and have a chat with the regulars, but the second I walk out of that door at lunch time, it’s mayhem.” She sent Mia an apologetic smile. “I think what I need most of all is a life coach. Or an assistant. Neither of which I have the money to pay for.”

“Jo,” Kristin said with a raised voice from behind the counter. “Amber and co are arriving. I’m going to need a hand.”

“We’ll talk more later,” Mia said. “But if you ever need me to cover for you here, just ask.”

“Thanks, Mia.” Josephine got up and reached for their empty coffee cups.

Mia held up her hand. “I’ve got these.” She gathered the cups from the table and stacked them in the dishwasher.

She watched Kristin and Josephine work in perfect tandem. A group of three very attractive women had just placed an order of their usual and was making its way to a table by the window.

“Mia, come meet some people you will see in here every day,” Kristin said. “They’re part of the furniture, really.” She handed Mia a mug of green tea and carried two cups of coffee over to the table, gesturing for Mia to follow her.

“Ladies, please meet the brand new Pink Bean manager, Mia Miller. Mia, this is Amber, who will be having the tea.” Kristin nodded at the woman with the ginger curls tied into a high ponytail. Mia set the tea down in front of her and put on her widest smile. “She runs the yoga studio down the street along with her best friend Micky, whose favorite drink is a cappuccino.” Kristin set down the cappuccino in front of the dark-haired woman. “And a short black for Louise,” Kristin said and winked at the youngest woman of the bunch and, to Mia’s tastes, the most interesting looking. Dark, piercing eyes. Straight black hair that fell to her shoulders. And that skin. Not quite dark and not quite pale. Christ, maybe she should take up yoga lessons.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, ladies.” Mia tried to imprint their names into her brain. She wouldn’t have any trouble remembering Louise’s.

“Micky used to work here, until she decided that yoga was more her thing than coffee,” Kristin said with a grin on her face. “And Amber stole her from me.”

“If I remember correctly, dear Kristin, I was the one who gave her to you in the first place,” Amber said.

“Excuse me,” Micky said. “Nobody gave me to or stole me from anyone. I’m quite capable of making my own choices, thank you very much.” She painted a stern expression on her face. “That’s not to say that I don’t miss my buddy Jo behind the counter and my wonderful ex-boss, of course.” Micky craned her neck and gave Josephine a wave.

“So you all work at Glow?” Mia asked. The flyers near the door of the Pink Bean were hard to miss. She was mainly interested in finding out what Louise’s position was, although the tights and tank top did give it away somewhat.

“Glow is the three of us,” Amber said. “Louise just started a few weeks ago as an instructor. Micky handles the admin side of things. I basically had to hire her because she, her partner Robin, and her ex-husband invested the bulk of the money in our tiny but wonderful studio.”

“And made all your dreams come true,” Micky added.

Louise sat stiffly saying nothing and, it seemed to Mia, avoiding her gaze altogether. Maybe she was still getting used to her new employers. Mia knew all about it. She would send her a look of encouragement if only the woman would glance in her direction.

“It’s nice to meet you,” Amber said. “Odds are you’ll be seeing lots of us.”

“I look forward to it.” Mia smiled widely and again, in vain, tried to find Louise’s gaze. A challenge. She was up for that.

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