When I start writing a book, I always seem to know one character better than the other. That means I have to work a little harder at getting to know the second character. I find that as I write the story, I learn more about the characters, and then I usually have to go back and revise the beginning with what I’ve learned.
It was no different when writing “Better Latte Than Never.” When I started writing this book, I really got Finn. He is, after all, like me, a writer.
But there is more to Finn than that.
Finn writes incredibly popular books under the pen name Morgan Heart. All of his novels are tragic love stories, where one half of the couple always dies at the end. Originally his first novel had a happy ending, but before he submitted it, he went back and changed it. Why? Because it’s not realistic.
Finn doesn’t believe in happy endings.
In “Better Latte Than Never”, he confesses to Enzo why. His own parents had the greatest love story he’d ever seen, only for his mother to die young of cancer. His father never recovered from her loss, dying of a heart attack a few years later. This tragedy shaped Finn, made him the person he is today, writing his parents story over and over, although he doesn’t even realize he’s doing it.
Finn has a bubble around his own heart. He expects every relationship he has to fail. He keeps looking for the cracks, knowing an ending must come at some point. Because of this, he never lets himself relax, knowing something tragic is going to happen. He’s so focused on the ending, that sometimes he sees problems where there aren’t any.
When I started writing, I knew I had this poor shattered character, someone walking around with a broken heart but unwilling to do anything about it. Who could heal his heart?
That’s where Enzo steps in. I knew he had to be completely different, that he had to shine a light on all of Finn’s shadows. But at first, I didn’t know who he was other than he worked in the coffee shop.
It became very clear that Enzo was an artist. And in contrast to Finn, he had absolutely no problems with his own creativity. In fact, his art is how Enzo sees the world. He frequently thinks of things in shades of paint.
Enzo doesn’t immediately heal Finn’s heart. No, first he heals his soul, opening Finn to a new world of creativity, bringing him back to the time before his writer’s block.
But Enzo isn’t just Finn’s muse. In a now deleted line from my first draft, I have Enzo angrily tell Finn he’s “not his manic pixie dream boy.” Enzo has his own dreams and problems. He’s estranged from his parents. His best friend and roommate is moving out. He’s got to figure out if he wants a real 9 to 5 job or if he wants to keep trying to make it with his art. And that’s when Finn steps into his life and turns everything upside down.
I hope you check out “Better Latte Than Never” to see how these two manage to make it work, and the incredible art they make together.
CC Bridges has a new MM contemporary romance out: Better Latte Than Never. And there’s a giveaway.
Finn’s love stories always end in death.
He’s made millions writing as author Morgan Heart and his fans can’t get enough of his tragic love stories. But a bad breakup results in a killer case of writer’s block, and Finn needs to try something drastic to fix it, like. . .going to a coffee shop to write. There’s got to be a reason it’s a cliche, and in his world, cliches sell.
He shouldn’t be flirting with the hot, younger barista. He shouldn’t be using said beautiful barista as another character to kill off in his new book. And he sure as hell shouldn’t be getting his heart involved, especially since he’s still keeping his real identity secret.
Working at his aunt’s coffee shop is a temporary thing. . . that’s been going on for eight years now. One day soon Enzo is finally going to make it big with his art and move on. But when Finn walks into the cafe – confident, mature, put together, everything Enzo is not – he can’t help developing a huge crush, even if Finn is a customer.
As their relationship deepens, Finn’s deceptions and Enzo’s insecurities threaten to undermine everything they are starting to build together. If they can each confront their inner demons, then Finn might be writing a happy ending for the first time in his life.
Better Latte Than Never is an m/m age gap, coffee shop romance featuring a slow burn attraction that grows steamier than an espresso machine.
Warnings: Mention of partner betrayal, death of character’s parents in the past
CC is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour:
Yeah, the cafe was so damn predictable. Except for this new guy.
Enzo downed his cake and tossed the plate into the trash. He should really square up with his aunt before she left for the day. Still. What if the guy left before Enzo could say anything? He’d make his rounds with the regulars after, but right now, Enzo couldn’t contain his curiosity about the stranger.
He threw on his apron and sauntered over to the corner where the stranger sat half-hidden behind a laptop. If this went wrong, Enzo could claim he’d come over to offer a refill. Not to, you know, see if the guy’s smoldering look when Enzo had walked in the door meant anything.
“Hey.” Enzo cleared his throat. “Thanks for coming to my birthday party.”
The guy looked up from his computer, those gorgeous eyes moving slowly upward in a way that made Enzo want to blush. His jaw was straight and covered with a smattering of stubble. Enzo wanted to rub his hands along it and enjoy the feel of the soft roughness against his fingertips…and in other places. There was an adorable sprinkle of freckles across his sloped nose. But his lips—perfect and pink and a bit too full for a man—were what made Enzo’s thoughts move straight into the gutter.
“It was my pleasure. Enzo, right? I’m Finn.” He held out his hand.
Enzo took it, squeezing tightly. Finn had a firm handshake, but his palm was soft and warm against Enzo’s. When he pulled away, Enzo curled his hand into a fist, wanting to savor that feeling.
“Finn? Is that a nickname?”
“It’s short for Finnegan.”
“Ah, a nice Italian name.” Enzo grinned and, happily, Finn laughed at his joke.
“What brings you to our cafe?” He winced at how terrible that sounded. Apparently Enzo completely forgot how to flirt when it was a customer he thought was hot. He could charm the old ladies like nobody’s business, but a cute guy? Nope.
Finn nodded at his laptop. “Came for the Wi-Fi and stayed for the coffee. And then the surprise party.”
He picked up his fork and stabbed the last piece of cake left on his plate. “This cake is amazing.”
“Everything my aunt bakes is amazing.” Enzo watched the bit of chocolate make its way to Finn’s mouth and the sensual way his lips closed around the metal of the fork. That shouldn’t be turning Enzo on right now, but God, if he didn’t want to follow that piece of cake with his own tongue against Finn’s lips.
“So what do you make that’s amazing?” Finn asked with a wink, and that was when Enzo knew they were in business, or at least on the same wavelength.
He could feel the blush creeping up his cheeks. “I don’t bake, but I do brew a mean cup of espresso.” “I’d love to have a taste.”
“You’ve got—” Enzo gestured to his own face. A smear of chocolate had found its way to Finn’s chin.
“Here.” He picked up a napkin from the table and brushed it away.
Finn took the napkin, his fingers tangling with Enzo’s for a moment. His eyes were smoldering. “Thank you.”
CC Bridges spent her childhood visiting other worlds in books, comics, and the starship Enterprise. It’s no surprise that she ended up a librarian, being surrounded by the books she loves so much. She writes about amazing worlds with honorable heroes. Her hobbies include paying money to get locked in a room for an hour so she can solve puzzles to escape, along with the aforementioned reading. She lives with her husband and son on the Jersey Shore. She is currently pursuing an MFA from Southern New Hampshire University
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