Pink Bean Series: Books 1-9 - Harper Bliss - E-Book

Pink Bean Series: Books 1-9 E-Book

Harper Bliss

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Beschreibung

Sydney is full of coffeeshops, but none as exciting, and full of drama, as the Pink Bean.


First meet Micky, a newly divorced mother of two, who in No Strings Attached is claiming her independence by taking a job at the Pink Bean and exploring a new side to herself.


Next up are Kristin and Sheryl, the owners of the Pink Bean. Beneath the Surface will take you back in time to follow their journey and discover the origin story of Sydney’s pinkest coffee shop.


Get to know Josephine, long-time barista at the Pink Bean, as she attempts to get over her insecurities and opens herself up to love in Everything Between Us.


In This Foreign Affair, heartbroken Zoya has a holiday romance with French tourist Camille, but is faced with tough choices when the fling turns into something deeper.


Old traumas come back to haunt yoga teacher Louise when the Pink Bean hires a new manager. Water Under Bridges explores the themes of change and forgiveness, and whether people can ever truly move on from a dark past.


Book shop owner Annie and her wife Jane see their relationship challenged with the arrival of the Pink Bean into their lives. Find out how they navigate and overcome the struggles of a long-lasting marriage in No Other Love.


Love Without Limits is the follow-up to Everything Between Us and sees Josephine and Caitlin explore the boundaries of their unconventional relationship.


Jessica is on a road to recovery, both physical and mental, in Crazy For You. She finds herself falling for Liz, but accepting Liz’s background is proving harder than expected.


Former escort Katherine is opening a new Pink Bean branch with the help of builder Hera. Walls have to be broken down and prejudices overcome in More Than Words.


Grab an espresso (or a flat white) and settle down for 2000 pages of heartwarming, dramatic and steamy lesbian romance like only best-selling author Harper Bliss can craft.

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Pink Bean Series

BOOKS 1 - 9

Harper Bliss

Contents

Special Offer from the Author

No Strings Attached

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Beneath the Surface

I. 1997

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

II. 2007

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

III. 2014

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

IV. 2016

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Everything Between Us

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

This Foreign Affair

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Epilogue

Water Under Bridges

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Epilogue

No Other Love

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Love Without Limits

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Crazy for You

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Epilogue

More than Words

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

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No Strings Attached

Pink Bean Series - Book 1

For everyone who is in the closet. I hope you find a good way out.

Chapter One

“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?

Chapter Two

When she’d gone hunting for a new pad, Micky had fallen in love with the second house the real estate agent had shown her. Her children, not so much. The biggest trade-off when they had swapped Mosman for Darlinghurst had, in the end, not been the size of the bedrooms but the fact the new house only had one bathroom they all had to share. On school days, Micky had no problem letting Olivia and Christopher take their showers first, the latter never spending more than five minutes in there anyway, while she made them breakfast and attempted—mostly in vain—to get them to eat it.

“I’ll have an apple on the bus” was Olivia’s standard reply, while Christopher would eat one forkful of the scrambled eggs she’d made, mumbling, “Mmm, good, Mom,” just to placate her, after which he probably wolfed down a Snickers bar. Micky found the wrappers everywhere.

Today, though, Micky needed to be at The Pink Bean at seven thirty—“Just to observe on your first morning shift,” Kristin had assured her—and she was impatiently waiting for Olivia to exit the bathroom. This reinforced the thought that this whole thing was an awful idea in the first place. She was forty-four years old. She’d been married to Darren Steele for a whopping eighteen of those—she’d given him her prime. What was she doing starting work at a coffee shop where, at least once a week, an LGBT activity took place?

Micky remembered the double-take she had done when Amber had first brought her there just after it opened.

“Must it really be so blatantly obvious?” she had asked, not caring how that made her come across. Her marriage had been in the final stage of its existence and what if someone she knew ran into her at a coffeehouse called The Pink Bean. Why couldn’t it just be called The Bean? And now she was going to work there—or at least attempt to. What did that say about her?

Her kids, who had become regulars at The Pink Bean as well, often going in after school for a muffin or an iced tea, didn’t seem to be disturbed by the Pink aspect of The Bean when she told them about her plans. They’d mostly scoffed and said, “You, Mom? Serve people coffee? Why?”

Micky had explained that she needed something to do with her time, now that they obviously didn’t need her that much anymore.

“But why do that?” Olivia had asked. “Can’t you volunteer at a soup kitchen or something, like other moms?”

Micky had postponed and postponed her decision to leave Darren. She’d wanted to stay until both her children were at university, but Olivia was only twelve at the time and the six years it would take for her to graduate high school seemed like a lifetime.

Micky had not been able to provide Olivia with a coherent answer to her question. Not even she knew why she wanted to work at The Pink Bean—she didn’t even know if she wanted to work there. It was just a leap, like Amber had said. Trying something new.

Christopher, who was a sweet boy at heart, but suffered deeply from the mood swings that come with puberty, hadn’t been very talkative and had just grumbled something Micky didn’t understand.

Micky knocked on the bathroom door. “Hurry up, Liv,” she shouted, while nerves coursed through her body.

The bathroom door flew open, and Olivia stormed out. “Is it going to be like this every morning now?”

Tonight at dinner, Micky would suggest a proper morning bathroom schedule. She shouldn’t have tried to wing it like this. “We’ll work it out, sweetie.” She resisted the urge to kiss her daughter on the top of the head—Olivia had grown out of accepting spontaneous motherly affection a while ago.

Olivia headed off to her room and banged the door shut behind her.

Happy times at the Steele-Ferros.

Micky never visited The Pink Bean before lunch, and the morning rush took her by surprise. She watched as Kristin and Josephine, the only other morning-shift employee, moved behind the counter with astounding efficiency. As a mother who had just fought with her daughter over bathroom time, Micky greatly doubted her ability to ever do what the two women were accomplishing. They had a rhythm about them, Kristin taking the orders and Josephine executing them seamlessly.

Micky felt foolish just standing around like that. The only thing she’d done so far was take cups of coffee to customers who were sitting at a table, but at this time of the day, most beverages were sold for on-the-go.

Another conclusion she drew was that by opening The Pink Bean, Kristin had built a goldmine. Australians were serious about their coffee, and they were equally willing to pay good money—albeit way too much—for a cup of it from their favorite vendor. Micky imagined all the people who had walked out of there with a scalding hot paper cup on their way to the office, enjoying Kristin’s work. And it was hard work, she could see now.

“Hi, Micky,” Sheryl, Kristin’s partner, said. “First day, huh?” She stood in the middle of the line, clearly not expecting special treatment.

Micky walked over to her, feeling exceedingly self-conscious. She pecked Sheryl quickly on the cheek. “It’s a bit daunting.”

“I bet.” Sheryl always dressed casually for work, and today was no different. She wore jeans and a loose-hanging blouse. Micky actually looked forward to getting to know her and Kristin better. They were acquaintances now who said hello and good-bye to each other and had never gotten further than making small talk. They were an impressive couple to whom, Micky had to admit, she looked up.

“Why don’t you sit down and I’ll bring over your coffee?” Micky said.

Sheryl gave a deep belly laugh. “You obviously don’t yet know the rules of The Pink Bean.” She shuffled forward in the queue. “General Park over there doesn’t do nepotism.” She eyed her partner from a distance. “Not even for me, her wife who owns half this place.” She winked at Micky. “I’ll wait my turn, otherwise I’ll get in trouble tonight.”

Micky gave a nervous giggle. She’d know all about Kristin’s rules soon enough.

She looked at the ever-growing queue and wondered what was so much better about being there than her usual routine of meandering around the aisles of the organic supermarket in Potts Point and picking out the best-looking produce for dinner—at least her children always had a huge appetite after school.

“Micky, can you fetch us some more cocoa powder from the back, please,” Kristin asked, and Micky snapped to attention, though she had no idea where the cocoa powder, or anything else for that matter, was to be found.

Chapter Three

It was Micky’s third day on the job. She’d successfully made it through the morning rush, working the register, smiling at people, giving them back their correct change if they paid cash, and even having a brief chat with a few regulars she recognized.

She was wiping down a table when Amber walked in.

“Green tea?” Micky asked automatically. Amber didn’t drink coffee, only gallons of tea.

“Yes, and a side of my best friend, please. Where were you yesterday afternoon? I thought you only worked the morning shift?”

Micky shook her head while she put a tea bag into a mug. “I was too exhausted for yoga. I’m not used to this. I’ve only been here two and a half hours today, and my feet are already killing me.”

“You can use that as an excuse once, but not twice. You know I’m all for you having this job, but I don’t want you jeopardizing your practice.” Amber always referred to yoga as a practice.

“And suddenly I have two bosses, whereas a couple of days ago, I had none.” Micky handed Amber her tea.

“Is Kristin leaving you alone in here already?”

“This is the quiet hour. Everyone’s at work. Kristin has gone upstairs for a bit, and Josephine is on the phone with a supplier in the back.”

“How’s your new adventure going?” Amber asked in between blowing on her tea.

“It’s definitely still in the challenging phase.” They both looked at the door as it opened. A woman walked in. Micky’s pulse picked up speed slightly. She’d made plenty of practice-cups of coffee by now, but this would be her first time without supervision, unless the woman ordered tea like Amber—Micky hoped that she would.

“I’ll leave you to it,” Amber said and headed to a table by the window.

“A tall wet capp, please,” the woman said.

“Excuse me?” Did this woman know she was in a coffee shop?

“My regular. A wet cappuccino.” Her blue eyes seemed to look straight through Micky. If she was a regular, couldn’t she see that Micky was new? Or perhaps she was one of those people who never took notice of who served them.

“I’m very sorry. I’m new here, and thus far, no one has explained to me what a wet cappuccino might be.” Wasn’t all coffee wet by definition?

The woman sighed audibly. She’ll roll her eyes at me next. “Wet means a bigger ratio of milk to foam.” She stood there with a massive air of superiority about her.

“So a latte?” Micky asked.

The woman did roll her eyes then. “If I wanted a latte, I would have ordered a latte.” Her tone of voice was nothing like the friendly customers Micky had served throughout the morning. This woman was loud and brash and certainly didn’t have an Australian accent. She sounded American, and acted like it—like she owned the bloody world.

But Micky knew she couldn’t mock the customer. This was a business, and customer satisfaction was key. “That’ll be three dollars ninety-nine, ma’am,” she said. “Coming right up.” Micky couldn’t help giving the woman a defiant stare, in case she thought she didn’t sound utterly ridiculous.

The woman paid cash without saying another word, then walked to the side of the counter, her heels clicking loudly, to wait for her latte—Micky refused to call it a wet cappuccino, even in her head.

Why must people be so unpleasant and have their head stuck so far up their ass, she wondered as she prepared the beverage. But this was one of the challenges that came with her brand new job: dealing with difficult customers. Micky was sure it wouldn’t be her last. And if the woman was indeed a regular, Micky would be making her many more wet cappuccinos to come.

“Hi, Robin.” Josephine sauntered out of the back door.

So she was called Robin. Without looking up from her phone, she mumbled something, reminding Micky of her son’s favorite way of having a conversation with his mother—unwilling to tear his gaze away from his precious iPhone and showing her that he was actually listening to what she was saying. Micky cataloged Robin as an overly pampered expat.

“Here you go.” She handed Robin her drink, their gazes crossing briefly when she did. Robin had an awfully intense stare.

“Thanks,” she said, and immediately flipped the lid off her paper cup—probably to inspect the foam to milk ratio. “Please teach your new colleague how to make my wet capp properly by tomorrow, Josephine,” she said, turned on her heel, and walked out the door.

“Jesus.” Micky looked at Josephine. “A wet capp? Really?”

“It’s just a latte,” Josephine said matter-of-factly.

“If only I had known that before I got my head bitten off.” Micky looked over at Amber, to gauge if she’d followed the conversation between her and the annoying customer.

“Why don’t you take your break,” Josephine said. “Rest your feet for a bit.” She was at least twenty years younger than Micky, and twenty times better at her job.

“Tsk. Americans,” Micky hissed as she sat down opposite Amber.

Amber shot her a friendly smile. “Don’t sweat it. We’re all different.”

“Indeed, some of us are pompous asses.” Micky rotated her ankles and relished the feeling of relief it brought.

Amber looked at her intently. “Why are you getting so upset? She was just another person ordering another cup of coffee.”

Micky shrugged. “I don’t like the way she spoke to me. Did you hear what she said about me to Josephine before leaving? So rude.”

“Just brush it off. It comes with the job. Not everyone can be lovely and full of positive energy like me.” Amber batted her lashes ostentatiously.

Micky had to smile. “She could surely benefit from one of your classes, but she probably doesn’t have time. She probably has to make some other people feel bad about themselves around seven tonight.”

Amber looked at her silently.

“What?” Micky asked.

“Granted, she was being a jerk, but why can’t you let it go?” She narrowed her eyes, as though inspecting Micky’s face in detail.

“Because I didn’t start this job to be treated like dirt, while clearly she was—”

“She was hot,” Amber interrupted her. “Might that have something to do with your level of upset?”

Micky arched up her eyebrows. “Excuse me?”

Amber painted a smile on her face. “Not only that, but I’m guessing that she may have reminded you of someone with the way she waltzed in here and spoke to you.”

Micky couldn’t follow Amber’s train of thought at all.

“Demanding, busy, overly confident?” Amber continued. “Your ex-husband comes to mind.”

“Nuh-uh.” Micky shook her head. “Our marriage may have run its course and ended badly, but Darren is also considerate, a great father, and only half as full of himself as that woman was.”

“You like the type, that’s all I’m saying,” Amber teased.

“Come on, Amber. She’s a, er, woman.”

“I do have eyes in my head. I noticed her female features.”

“You keep pushing me on that, just because of one thing I said once, after too many bottles of wine.” Micky knew she was making a poor attempt at embellishing things. On top of that, Amber knew her too well to let her get away with such a statement.

“This is your workplace now, so not the place to discuss this further, but we do need to have a serious conversation about this, sooner rather than later.”

“Dear Amber, you’re my best friend, and an excellent yoga teacher, but that doesn’t make you my life coach.”

“When are the kids going to their dad’s?” Amber asked, undeterred.

“Day after tomorrow.” Micky simultaneously dreaded and looked forward to that day of the week. She could do with a few days of peace and quiet after starting this job, but she also—always—missed them terribly. Having to shuttle her kids around between her home and her ex’s was something she would always feel guilty about. None of this was their fault, yet they had to suffer because of it.

“So, Friday evening, you’re coming to yoga, then to dinner at mine. We’re going to have an intimate chat. It’s time.”

“Are you propositioning me, Amber? I didn’t know you felt that way about me.” Now Micky batted her lashes in an exaggerated fashion.

“Don’t be silly. You’re like my sister, which is why I’m the right person to confide in.”

“All because of that woman and her ridiculous coffee order?” Micky used playing dumb as a defense mechanism.

“You know why,” Amber said. “I have to go now.”

“Back to work I go as well.” They both stood, and Amber gave Micky an extra long hug before she left.

Chapter Four

All throughout Friday evening’s yoga class—the first Micky had attended all week—Micky felt ill at ease and unable to center herself. Amber had been on her case more than usual lately, what with first pushing her to get a job, then inviting her over for an intimate chat. Micky had no trouble talking about herself, but there were certain topics she was loath to address.

Now they were walking toward Amber’s flat, past a French restaurant, then an Indian. Micky’s stomach was growling because she was used to having dinner much earlier with her kids, and if they were at their dad’s, she usually had dinner at the same time as well. She sure hoped Amber had already prepared the kale and quinoa salad Micky was almost certain she was going to serve, probably with a green juice on the side, instead of a much-needed glass of wine.

The Pink Bean was located about halfway between the yoga studio where Amber taught and her flat, and whereas before the place had solely inspired extreme comfort in Micky, when she walked past it now, a slew of other emotions rose to the surface. The past week, after her first day of observing and learning, she had arrived at the coffee shop at six thirty sharp every morning—preempting the need for a shower schedule at home, because she ended up leaving the house well before her children did—and worked until Alyssa came in to cover the midday shift.

After her first full week of having a job, Micky wasn’t sure yet she was cut out for it. The days suddenly seemed so much shorter, and this week, when she took an afternoon nap, she actually needed it to be able to stay up until past her kids’ bedtime—and make sure they turned off the light on time.

Once they’d reached Amber’s apartment and Amber, as always, offered her a large glass of water without asking, Micky said, “Please tell me you have cold wine.” Micky had brought a bottle, but after sitting in her bag throughout yoga, it wouldn’t be chilled enough anymore to drink.

“Would I invite you over if I didn’t?” Amber was already headed toward the fridge. As usual, Micky would end up drinking two thirds of the bottle, while Amber gingerly sipped from a glass that didn’t seem to get empty. Amber did have to teach tomorrow, not that she would drink much more on any other evening.

“Kimberly was shamelessly flirting with you,” Micky said once they’d sat down to eat and she’d felt the soothing cold balm of white wine slide down her throat.

“That might be so, but I don’t date students,” Amber replied quickly. She lived by so many rules, Micky sometimes wondered how she got any actual living done.

Micky shook her head. “You meet so many women every single day, some of whom are clearly very interested in you, yet you refuse to enjoy the attention they give you.” Micky was glad to discuss Amber’s lack of love life instead of her own.

“I know most people see it differently, but in my view, it’s unethical.”

“You’re not teaching children. You’re teaching full-grown adults how to, ultimately, bend their legs behind their ears. I really don’t see what’s so unethical about that.”

“First, what I teach might be physical, but I do hope that for most of the people I instruct, the outcome can be felt on a spiritual level as well. Second, my reputation is very important to me. I want to start my own studio soon, and I don’t want potential clients to have any false ideas about me. How I present myself and how I behave need to be aligned.”

Amber was starting to lose Micky, though Micky was desperate to keep the conversation going. She was tired, and this spinach and tofu salad that Amber had served in mason jars and turned upside down in a bowl, wasn’t giving her the comfort she craved from a Friday evening meal, especially after her first official workweek.

“But all you do is teach, hang out in The Pink Bean and juice bars, and make organic salads. How can you expect to meet someone?” Micky held up her hand because she wasn’t finished yet. “And you refuse to go on the internet for a date.”

“I’m glad you brought up the subject,” Amber said, fixing her green stare on Micky. “This is exactly what I wanted to talk to you about.”

Micky sighed. “You always do this. You never want to talk about yourself.”

All Amber did was fix Micky with a strong, silent stare—as though waiting for Micky to realize that what she had just said didn’t make sense and to inform Micky she knew what she was up to.

In response, Micky drank some more. The kids were at their dad’s that weekend. Darren had downsized to a much smaller townhouse as well in Lavender Bay. Olivia and Christopher’s school, a new one they’d had to enroll in after the summer holiday amidst major protest and long tantrums—sentiments Micky fully understood and was trying to make up for every day—was, not coincidentally, smack dab in the middle between her and Darren’s new residences.

Micky could drink as much as she wanted tonight. All she had to do was hobble the few hundred feet home, and she could sleep in as long as she wanted tomorrow.

She refocused her attention on Amber. Of course she knew what she wanted to talk about, but Micky didn’t have the wherewithal to devote a lot of her emotional resources to that particular subject. First and foremost, she was a mother, and she wasn’t in the habit of putting herself first like that. The only time she had prioritized herself was when she’d asked Darren for a divorce, because, by then, in her view, there really was no other option left. She was still paying for all the consequences of that.

“Ready when you are,” Amber said. “We can talk about me all of next week, if you like.” She painted a smile on her lips.

“What do you want from me?” The wine Micky was knocking back steadily was making her a bit volatile.

“Did you serve anymore wet cappuccinos this week?” Amber asked, ignoring Micky’s tone.

Micky huffed out a chuckle. “If you think she’s so hot, why don’t you ask her out? How do you even know she’s”—before her divorce, Micky had never had any issues saying the word, but it never slipped off her tongue that easily anymore—“a lesbian.”

“I just know. I have the most finely tuned gaydar in Darlinghurst, perhaps in all of Sydney. It’s very hard to put into words, but I just know.”

“Make an effort,” Micky said. Why would Micky let Amber off the hook when she was about to be grilled? Amber sighed. Perhaps Amber felt the way Micky often did when she was trying to get some personal information out of her children. Trying and mostly failing. Micky had to admit it was exasperating. She held up her hands. “I’m sorry. I’m being difficult.”

“That’s okay. I never expected this conversation to be easy.” Amber took a tiny sip from her wine. “But you know I’m all about finding your truth and following it. You may think all I care about is nourishing my body with healthy food and spreading the joy and benefits of yoga, but in the end, it’s really all about truth.” Amber clasped her hand to her chest. “About what’s in here.”

Micky and Amber really were the most unlikely of friends. Then again, Amber hadn’t always been like this. Neither had Micky.

“Okay, yes, though that woman annoyed the shit out of me, I found her very attractive. She’s one of those people probably 90 percent of all adults on the planet would find attractive, and she knows it. Big deal,” Micky blurted out.

“It’s not about the wet capp woman, per se, Micky,” Amber said. “I know it’s hard. Even though I’ve been out of the closet for twenty-five years, I know it’s hard to be where you are now.”

“I don’t even know… I’ve never…” Micky stammered. Even though she knew what she felt stir deep inside of her, she always came up empty when she tried to put it into words.

“Correct me if I’m wrong,” Amber said, “but the way I see it is that you’ve been married to a man for eighteen years and now you’d like to date a woman.”

“It’s a bit more complicated than that.” Micky didn’t like the defensive tone of her own voice.

“Is it, really?” Amber’s piercing green eyes scrutinized her face. “When you boil it down to its essence, is it really more complicated than that?”

“Yes.” Micky sighed. “I’m forty-four years old. I have two teenage children. And I’ve never even…” Her words stalled again.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are or how many children you have. This is about you. About finding your true self. Nothing else matters.”

Micky shook her head. Amber wasn’t a mother. She couldn’t understand. “How can I even contemplate the notion without considering what my children will think about it?”

“Don’t you think they want their mom to be happy?”

That question took Micky by surprise. All her life, but especially after the divorce, Micky had poured her energy into trying to make them happy, which, in turn, was a great source of happiness for her. But she’d never taken the time to consider what her children actually wanted for her. They most likely wished their mother had stayed with their father. Micky had upended their lives as well.

“I’m pretty sure they’d prefer it over me being unhappy,” Micky admitted.

“For the sake of argument,” Amber continued, “let’s leave Liv and Chris out of it for now. Let’s focus on you. What do you want?”

What did she want? Darren used to ask her that question often. In the beginning out of genuine interest and once things had started to turn sour between them, with a lot of exasperation in his voice.

“I don’t know.” Micky tried to rely on her standard answer, though that would never fly with Amber.

“I think you do.”

Micky drank again, then said, “It’s just that the concept of… dating a woman is so abstract to me. I might want it quite badly, but I just can’t picture it. I can’t stop thinking about the consequences and about what that would make me.”

Micky witnessed Amber perk up in front of her. She always did that when they reached the crux of a conversation. Amber was the kind of person who drew massive amounts of energy from getting other people to speak their truth—though Micky hadn’t quite reached that point yet.

“What do you think it would make you?” Amber asked, elbows on the table, her gaze resting on Micky, making her uncomfortable.

Micky looked at her hands—anything to get away from Amber’s stare. “A woman who has lived a lie for most of her adult life.”

“That’s where I think your perception lets you down, Micky. I’ve known you for so long. I was your bridesmaid when you married Darren, and I know with 100 percent certainty that you loved him. You were crazy about him. Your marriage was never a lie. I do, however, think you have trouble accepting the possibility that now you’re someone else entirely than you were back then.”

“But how can a person change like that?” The crux was about to hit Micky in the head. “You’re still attracted to the same sex as you’ve always been.” It almost came out as an accusation, while it was actually a compliment.

“But everyone is different, and there’s a whole spectrum of sexual attraction out there. One doesn’t have to exclude the other, and I strongly believe that, over time, we all shift a little or a lot. Life is complex. Human beings are complex. Sometimes, trying to analyze it all to death is not the best way forward,” Amber said.

“Have you ever felt your preference shift?” Micky asked, though she wanted to remember to question Amber about what she thought the best way forward actually was.

Amber scrunched her lips together. “Sure. I used to date stuck-up bitches who treated me like dirt, women I wouldn’t even look at twice now. That preference has surely changed.”

“But at least you stayed within the same sex.”

“So.” Amber quirked up her eyebrows. “We can theorize about this all we want—and we will—but you’re going to have to take the plunge sooner rather than later. I truly think you’re ready, and I do believe that I’m the person who knows you best. I know I can be pushy, and I already pushed you to take that job, because I believe it will make you grow as a person, and now I’m pushing you again.”

“You are one pushy woman, Amber.”

“I prefer to see myself as a gentle nudger, but, perhaps, in this case you’re right. When it comes to my best friend, I think I can allow myself some liberties.” Amber smiled broadly.

“How do you suggest I, er, reach the next level?” Truth be told, Micky wouldn’t know what to do without a friend like Amber in this situation.

“Start by being open to the possibility. Just a small change in mindset can have big consequences. People will pick up on that.” Amber’s eyes started sparkling. “Who knows, maybe Miss Wet Capp will even pick up on it? Though she did come across as rather self-absorbed.”

“I do hope I have the good fortune of going on my very first same-sex date with someone a bit nicer.”

“Would you like me to go through my big rolodex of lesbians and set you up?” Amber still had that twinkle in her eyes. “We shouldn’t aim for someone you’re going to fall head-over-heels with for your first. You want to test the waters a little. Confirm your suspicions and have a bit of fun while doing so.”

“I need to sleep on it.”

“Alternatively, you could confide in your new boss. Kristin and Sheryl must know some eligible bachelorettes.”

“You’re going a little too fast for me now, Amber. Slow down.”

“All right.” Amber winked at her and got up to fetch the bottle of wine out of the fridge.

A frisson of excitement ran up Micky’s spine. Could it really be that simple?

Chapter Five

The next Monday, after having pondered Amber’s words throughout the weekend, Micky had a different kind of spring in her step when she walked to The Pink Bean. Amber had been right. Micky was ready. She was nervous and scared, but she was ready. Her conversation with Amber had left her feeling like the cork had been popped from a bottle of champagne and now all these pent-up emotions came gushing out of her.

She would look at the customers differently today—with a more open attitude, as Amber had advised. Not that she expected anything to come of that, but again, as Amber had said, it was more about the feeling that came with it.

Kristin opened the shop at six and was always there when Micky arrived at six thirty. When she kissed Micky hello, a habit she had taken up from the very first day, even her boss looked different to Micky. Everyone and everything looked different.

Next, Micky wondered about Josephine. She was a PhD student at the university where Sheryl worked. Micky watched her pour milk into a steaming jar and wondered how Amber could tell whether people were gay or not. And what if they were bisexual or anywhere else on the spectrum she had talked about last Friday. Micky had thought about the spectrum a lot.

“You and Amber should come to dinner sometime soon,” Kristin said fifteen minutes later, when The Pink Bean was still empty. “Sheryl and I would love to have you over.”

Micky couldn’t believe it. Walking in here with an open spirit had had an immediate effect. Though, of course, Kristin had probably planned to ask her all along. Still, it didn’t matter to Micky. It made her feel good—like she was on the right track.

“That would be great.” Micky looked at Kristin’s regal posture and her upmarket clothes. Micky didn’t know what a typical coffee-shop owner looked like, but if asked to conjure up the image, Kristin would be the last person she thought of. She looked more like a lady who lunched—a very smart one. “Amber is vegan, though, for your information.”

“Not an issue. Quite a few of our friends are,” Kristin said. “Give me a shout when Amber pops in for her daily tea, and we’ll set up a date.”

“Sure thing, boss.” Kristin was, of course, Micky’s boss, though it didn’t feel that way at all. There was nothing authoritarian about her. She never raised her voice and was an expert at going with the flow, even when things got very hectic. Kristin probably knew her bed was made. A few more years of operating a coffee shop in Darlinghurst and she could retire very gracefully.

Micky had only been on the job a week, and already an entrepreneurial spirit she didn’t know she possessed reared its head. What would it be like to own a place like this—and count the takings after closing time? Apart from a job when she was in college—for a degree she never used—Micky had never earned a cent. Darren had always been the breadwinner. Micky made a tiny amount at The Pink Bean, but she wasn’t there for the money—although the very act of earning it felt good.

Perhaps, what it came down to was that Micky saw Kristin as a role model. She was an out lesbian with a long-term partner and her own business. She was a lot of things Micky could only dream of being. Or could she do more than dream?

After the morning rush had passed and Amber had come and gone—and a dinner date at Kristin and Sheryl’s had been set up for the coming Saturday—Micky relaxed with a macchiato, leafing through a copy of LOTL magazine.

She had just gotten engrossed in a story about an older lesbian coming out of the closet—called a latebian in the article—when the door of The Pink Bean opened. Micky’s reflex was to look up, and she saw it was Robin. She wasn’t dressed in the pantsuit Micky had become used to seeing her in. Instead, she wore a tiny pair of shorts, long, white socks pulled up all the way to her knees and a very tight tank top. She was also covered in sweat, which made her arms glisten—and her biceps and triceps stand out in a pretty impressive manner.

Crikey.

Robin ordered her ridiculously named beverage from Josephine, and instead of waiting for it at the counter the way she always did, she sat down at the table next to Micky’s.

Micky tried to focus on the article she’d been reading, but the words danced in front of her eyes. Her gaze kept being pulled to Robin’s legs and the bare patch of thigh between the socks and the shorts. This woman boasted some serious muscle tone. But what was up with the socks?

“I do CrossFit,” Robin said. “That’s why I wear these.” She patted the sock closest to Micky. “They protect my shins when I do deadlifts.”

Had she been reading Micky’s mind? Additionally, Robin might as well have been speaking Chinese, judging by how much of what she’d said Micky had actually understood.

“Oh,” she replied, just to say something. She was also perplexed that haughty Robin would even take the time to speak to her—a lowly coffee-shop employee.

“Here you go.” Josephine brought over Robin’s cappuccino.

Robin thanked Josephine, stirred her coffee once, then looked at Micky. “What’s your story then?”

Was she actually making conversation with Micky after having been so rude to her last week? Micky had seen her come in every day since, but as though luck itself had shone down on her, she’d never had to serve her. And what kind of a question was that? What was wrong with a simple hello, perhaps followed by a quick apology for being such an ass the other day?

Micky fixed her with a stare that, hopefully, said all she had to say. But then she remembered Kristin’s words—delivered in her head in Kristin’s gentle tone of voice. “The customer is always right, even if they’re wrong.” Micky had no choice but to be nice to her.

“Why does a woman of your age work in a place like this?” Robin didn’t let up. She had the kind of voice that, Micky suspected, got a lot of things done.

“Circumstance,” Micky said, but only because she had to answer something.

Not only did Robin order the most ridiculous drink, she was also wearing an insane outfit, she’d been rude to Micky without offering an apology, and the tone she addressed Micky with was hardly convivial. Micky wanted to just get up and leave. This job was supposed to empower her, not have the opposite effect.

“Ha, you’re the mysterious type,” Robin said. “That’s okay. Color me intrigued. Will you at least tell me your name?” She had the audacity to smile seductively at Micky.

Wait. Was that really what that smile looked like?

“It’s Micky.” Micky’s head was about to start spinning.

“Well, Micky, how about tomorrow when I come in, I ask you out? I’m giving you a heads-up because you look like the type who has to think about it for at least twenty-four hours.”

Micky’s jaw slacked. “What?” she managed to say after a few long, awkward seconds.

“Think about it.” Robin winked, then looked away and downed her coffee in a few large gulps. When she got up, she said, “I need to hit the shower and get to work. See you tomorrow.”

Micky was still recovering from what had just happened after Robin was long gone.

Micky had needed the yoga class she attended with Amber the previous afternoon more than she’d ever needed it before. She had also needed Amber’s advice—though she could easily predict it.

“It’s a sign,” Amber had said. “Take the opportunity with both hands.”

“But… I can’t stand the woman,” Micky countered, whereupon Amber put her hands on her sides and gave Micky one of her looks.

“I think you can. Give her a chance. Perhaps she’s exactly the kind of person you’re looking for at this time of your life. You like loud, brash people, Micky, we both know that. You’re not looking for someone else to marry at this point, however, and she’s hot.”

Micky shook her head in desperation. Robin asking her out might very well be a sign of something else entirely. Like letting Micky know this was a bad idea and she should get her priorities straight.

Amber grabbed her by the shoulders and said, “Go for it, Micky. I’ll call you when the date is in progress so that, if you need an excuse, you can leave. I’ll pretend to be Olivia.”

Micky did want to go for it, but not with a CrossFitting arrogant woman like Robin. Though, as usual, there was a sliver of truth to Amber’s words when she claimed that Micky liked the type. Unless she had a different taste in women than in men. She had always loved Darren’s loud, look-at-me ways—an aspect of his personality that was beginning to show in Olivia. But at least Darren had never been obnoxious and he was always polite.

Then again, the fact that she was so conflicted about Robin and that she found it surprisingly hard to give her a clear no for an answer, must mean something.

So, by the time Robin entered The Pink Bean—not sporting white knee socks this time, but dressed impeccably in a navy pantsuit over a bright white blouse—and fixed her with a stare, Micky was ready to say yes. Even though she could be making the worst mistake of her life. But then, at least, she would have tried. She would have conquered some of her fear, just by saying one simple word: yes.

Robin drew her lips into a magnetic smile, giving Micky the impression that she was really turning it on for her. Perhaps she had one of those Jekyll & Hyde personalities. It did gnaw at Micky that Robin was the sort of person who could treat service personnel so rudely, without even apologizing for it. Being nice to people, in the end, didn’t cost a thing. Being nasty, as Amber would say, always cost you in karma points and putting negative energy into the universe.

But, more than any of that, Micky had the strong urge to show Robin that she was so much more than a woman working in a coffee shop. Even if whatever she was trying to prove was more to herself than anyone else, she felt as though she could only accomplish that by rising to this challenge. She was skilled at hiding it, except from Amber, but Micky had suffered from issues of decreasing self-esteem since her divorce—an overall sentiment of floating on thin air and not having a clue where her life was going—and, if she was honest, the fact that someone like Robin would be interested in her, was a boost to her ego.

“Have you thought about it?” Robin asked, while she waited for her coffee.

Micky felt self-conscious standing behind the counter, with Josephine only a few feet away. She rubbed her hands on her apron. Was she really going to do this? A flare of last-minute doubts shot through her, but then she caught Robin’s gaze and it was one of those looks that felt aimed at her and her alone, and made Micky feel like she was the most important woman on the planet.

“My answer is yes,” she said, keeping the tremor that reverberated through her muscles out of her voice successfully. She also wanted some time alone with Robin to ask her how she had known that Micky would even be interested in going on a date with another woman. What had given her away? The magazine she’d been reading and her level of being engrossed in it? Or the simple fact that she worked at The Pink Bean and was therefore gay by association?

“Terrific.” Robin looked like she’d just closed a big, long-awaited deal—the kind of smug Micky had a strange soft spot for. “Are you free this weekend?”

“Er, no.” Micky had anticipated this question, and while she had no problem going to dinner at Kristin and Sheryl’s during a weekend the kids were with her, she couldn’t possibly go on a date with a stranger. What would she say to them? While I was working at The Pink Bean a woman asked me out? “I’m not actually.”

“You keep intriguing me, Micky.” Robin’s tone became flirty. “When are you free?”

“Not before next Wednesday.” Wednesday was switch-over day. Micky picked Olivia and Christopher up after school every other week so they wouldn’t have to take the bus with their stuff, even though they had two sets of all essentials by now.

Robin chuckled. “Not tonight either?”

“Tonight?” Micky exclaimed in panic. She was free that night, but it wouldn’t give her any time to mentally prepare. Maybe that was how she needed this to go, however. Given the opportunity to wait a week, and think this date to death before it had even happened, would most likely make her back out. Why not tonight? The kids were only coming back tomorrow. It would save her another lonely evening watching television. “Yes, I’m free tonight.”

“Excellent. I’ll make a reservation at Fabio’s just down the block. Shall we meet for drinks at Barrio first? Around seven thirty?”

Drinks at seven thirty? When on earth would they have dinner? Now that she worked and got up at five thirty every morning, Micky liked to be in bed by ten. But this was no time to consider sleep. Sacrifices had to be made here.

“Sounds good.”

“Okay.” Robin dug a hand in her blazer pocket and handed Micky a card. “Here’s my number in case you need to reach me.” She shot Micky another million-dollar smile.

Micky stared at the card in her hands, then back at Robin. She didn’t have a business card of her own to hand out.

“I need to get to the office now. Looks like I’ll be knocking off early tonight.” She winked at Micky. She retrieved her takeaway coffee from the counter, turned, and left.

“Did I hear that correctly?” Josephine whispered. “Are you going out with the alpha?”

The alpha? Micky couldn’t think of a better description herself. “Looks like I am.”

“Good on ya, Micky.” Josephine nodded approvingly. “Truth be told, I didn’t even know you were batting for our team, but I guess working here and all, it makes sense now.”

Micky didn’t reply. Her brain was busy dealing with the consequences of being rocked out of her post-divorce lull and trying to process she was going on a date with Robin. She looked at the card in her hand. Robin Mortimer. Regional Diversity Manager for Asia Pacific, it said. Obviously she worked for Goodwin Stark, one of the big banks. Thank goodness not NPBC, where Darren worked. What did a diversity manager even do? She would have ample opportunity to find out tonight.

Shit. Tonight.

Chapter Six

Micky had hesitated between going to yoga and getting a pep talk from Amber or taking a much-needed afternoon nap, what with the prospect of staying up past her bedtime that night. She’d opted for the nap, only to find herself tossing and turning, her mind unable to relax, her heart beating in her throat with nerves. Was she really doing this? Or was she simply losing her mind?

The afternoon passed painfully slowly, but then, when the time came to get ready, she didn’t know where it had gone. She could have used another few days to get herself—and her mindset—ready for this. What had she said to Amber the other day? I do hope I have the good fortune of going on my very first same-sex date with someone a bit nicer. And here she was. Deciding what to wear to meet Robin Mortimer. The whole thing was ludicrous.

She glanced at her reflection in the mirror and, out loud, said, “I should cancel.”

She looked around for her phone and Robin’s card. It would be so easy to send a text message. It would all be over and done with. And then what? Everything would go back to being normal. Wasn’t that exactly what Micky was trying to escape? She knew it was just fear holding her back at this point. First-date jitters as well, of course. Micky’s last first date was more than twenty years ago, when Darren had asked her out. When she came to think of it, something she hadn’t done in a long time, the way Darren had approached her was not unlike Robin had.

Micky had been helping out at a student union party. She was pulling beers behind the bar when this cocky guy came up to her and said, “I don’t care that you’re selling them. I’m buying you a beer.”

“I don’t drink beer,” Micky had protested, even though she did. She just didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of easily complying.

“Then let me take you out for a nice bottle of wine. How does tomorrow evening sound?”

Was she attracted to Robin because she was a female version of her ex-husband, despite the appalling way in which they’d met? Micky was no psychiatrist, but she reasoned that she might be looking for something familiar to hold on to.