$6.99 ebook; $12.95 paperback
ISBN 978-1-61390-143-4 (ebook)
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The print edition is available on CreateSpace and elsewhere.
Coffee-flavored erotica! Taste the bitter roast when a barista brews alone at closing time and is joined by coffee’s physical manifestation. Roll the rich smoothness of steamed milk along your tongue while spies hide from the enemy and pass the time in tense pleasure. In this anthology of speculative erotic fiction featuring coffee shops, COFFEE: HOT, editor Victoria Pond brings together nine authors to explore coffee’s connection with the erotic fantastic.
Alcohol and erotica were frequent bedfellows in the 20th century, but now we’re well into the 21st! Imbibing caffeine causes no hazy field of impaired judgement, and coffee shops are places to stimulate the mind and to socialize with all sorts.
This volume contains stories ranging from Victorian London to a far-flung space station, from the quiet to the action-packed, from two-person sex to tentacles. (Wondering how there can be coffee shop erotica with tentacles? Read “Dark Roast” by Justin Josh to find out.)
Readers love curling up in oversized plush chairs to read in cafes. Authors are drawn to working in coffee shops. But what hides beneath the milk-steamy surface of this glorious addiction? In a world where everyone is over-familiar with the steamer’s whir and the roaster’s aroma, drinkers forget to stroke the glazed porcelain that holds their caffeine and radiates its warmth through their hands and into their hearts.
COFFEE: HOT features work by Django Wexler, Rebecca Croteau, Owen James Franks, Justin Josh, Axa Lee, K.L. Noone, JJ Poulos, Greer Thompson, and Avery Vanderlyle. Their stories take a setting we know so well and transform it into something magical once again.
Hot excerpt, keep reading!
The inside of the shop was all dark mahogany, with copper accents. It took a long time to take it all in, for even Alessandra’s inquisitive mind to understand what she was seeing. What she had first supposed was decoration instead proved to be working pieces of the machine. And when she realized that, the full enormity of the thing amazed her. It occupied most of the shop, gargling and steaming. The thing was a great tangle of tubes and copper plating, running all the way up to the ceiling of the shop, filling the space there with a crushing amount of riveted machinery, pressuring chambers, big-bellied steam chambers, tubing and piping that spiraled around itself in complicated patterns before finally venting out the roof. Special holes had had to be cut, some reported, the old, narrow chimney proving inadequate. And Alessandra could see why: the thing must pull in and expel air at a prodigious rate. Great glass globes with rubber-coated pistons chuffed up and down, moving steam and a dark, smoky liquid through the exposed tubes, to be drawn into cups by the staff. It was truly a marvel to behold.
“What can I get you?”
The dark-haired woman wiped the counter with a bartender’s towel and braced her hands against the glossy, finished wood.
Alessandra’s wide-eyed gaze flicked to the blackboard hung on the wall behind the counter, traveling over the choices with the frantic terror of one who had no idea what she wanted. The colorful array of delicately swooping letters describing the drinks and their name might as well have been written in ancient Egyptian for all the sense Alessandra could make of it, mocha this and latte that, all as inscrutable as hieroglyphs.
The woman behind the gleaming mahogany counter smiled. Her eyes were dark as well, Alessandra noted, almost the same mocha as her hair. Her skin was the color of the Mediterranean, the kind that was light olive and tanned easily, leaving no blemishes. A prim little mouth slanted in a roguish smile. If chocolate had a smile, it would be that smile: tempting and lit from within by laughter.
“I can guess,” the gypsy-dark beauty said. “I have somewhat of a reputation for guessing.”
The proprietress, with her short bobbed hair and daring cut of her clothes, gave her a bold bearing and insolent smile, as if she knew a secret Alessandra couldn’t bear anyone else to know. Alessandra couldn’t place her accent, something between French and Portuguese–maybe Italian. The lyrical quality put her in mind of their time in Genoa, when Nicholas had installed her in a small villa located a short drive from his rented town house.
Beside her, Nicholas fidgeted.
“Guess,” he grumped. “But by all that’s holy let us sit. My sciatica.”
His sciatica and pancreas had been acting up all week, a combination of too much rich food and drink and too much weight, gained from the aforementioned food and drink.
“Vienne, the press is stuck again,” one of the counter assistants said.
The proprietress reeled off a list of orders and complicated mechanical tweaks that Alessandra couldn’t follow, then turned back to her and Nicholas with a smile.
“Give me your hands.” The proprietress extended her own hands, palms up, across the counter.
With a half-glance at Nicholas, Alessandra tentatively laid her hands palm-up, cupped by the long, warm fingers of the other woman. As Vienne’s hands tightened around Alessandra’s, a shiver of pleasure traveled up her arms and down her back, leaving goose-pimples in its wake. The alluring smells drifting from the coffee machine, the heat of the proprietress’s hands, the days-long anticipation Alessandra had experienced, simply all combined so that in the moment their hands connected, the touch ignited something that torched its way across her skin and came to rest somewhere between her hip bones, her womanly parts becoming a vague ache of unmet desires.
Something stroked through Alessandra, something like a touch, but that left a tang on her tongue like sucking on copper pennies. It left her gasping, her skin raised and prickling. She looked up into Vienne’s dark eyes, glimpsing something wild there for a moment, like catching a movement in the corner of your eye, where it’s gone before its ever really there. She tasted violets then, and strawberries. And she sensed loneliness, so much loneliness and wanderlust that it was almost overwhelming.
Vienne jerked her hands away. Alessandra noted the flush up her neck, the rapid rise and fall of her chest.
“Interesting,” Vienne murmured. She wiped her hands with the bartender’s towel. Their eyes met as their hands parted and the vague ache turned sharp and insistent. “Café mocha. And steamed milk for him.”
“Steamed milk…” Nicholas began, sounding affronted.
“Café au lait then.” Vienne smiled, quickly appeasing him, but when she looked back at Alessandra her expression was less one of roguishness and more one of pensive inquisitiveness. “Take a seat and I’ll bring it right out to you.” With a wink at Alessandra, she vanished behind a panel at the side of the machine.
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