Cool beans, p.1
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       COOL BEANS, p.1

           Erynn Mangum
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COOL BEANS


  “Cool Beans is like a long sip of your favorite coffee: rich, enticing, and delightful! Erynn’s books never fail to deliver a delicious mix of laughter, romance, and sincere emotion — all topped off with a generous dollop of fun!”

  — BETSY ST. AMANT, author of Return to Love and A Valentine’s Wish

  “With witty and energetic prose, Erynn Mangum taps into the mind of a twentysomething searching for her place in life. Her latest book holds magnetic appeal for all ages and guarantees you will laugh, cry, and sigh with heartfelt delight. Blending brilliant characterization with an infusion of spiritual truth and a shot of romance, Cool Beans is an experience to savor and will leave you with a little caffeine buzz all of its own!”

  — REL MOLLET, Relz Reviewz

  “Erynn Mangum has the amazing ability to create characters so vivacious and fun that you just wish they could be as real as they seem. I honestly believe that you could get a caffeine buzz just by reading this.”

  — LORI FOX, reviewer, TitleTrakk.com

  “What happens when you take one highly caffeinated heroine and knock her faith into the half-caf zone? Cool Beans, another fun read from the pen of Erynn Mangum.”

  — TAMARA LEIGH, author of Leaving Carolina and ACFW Book of the Year winner Splitting Harriet

  a maya davis novel

  COOL BEANS

  erynn mangum

  NavPress is the publishing ministry of The Navigators, an international Christian organization and leader in personal spiritual development. NavPress is committed to helping people grow spiritually and enjoy lives of meaning and hope through personal and group resources that are biblically rooted, culturally relevant, and highly practical.

  For a free catalog go to www.NavPress.com

  or call 1.800.366.7788 in the United States or 1.800.839.4769 in Canada.

  © 2010 by Erynn Mangum O’Brien

  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission from NavPress, P.O. Box 35001, Colorado Springs, CO 80935. www.navpress.com

  NAVPRESS and the NAVPRESS logo are registered trademarks of NavPress. Absence of ® in connection with marks of NavPress or other parties does not indicate an absence of registration of those marks.

  ISBN-13: 978-1-60006-711-2

  Cover design by Alexis Goodman at The Visual Republic

  Cover image by Getty Images

  This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of either the author or publisher.

  Unless otherwise identified, all Scripture quotations in this publication are taken from the New American Standard Bible® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; All rights reserved. Also used is the Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan, all rights reserved.

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  Mangum, Erynn, 1985-

  Cool beans : a Maya Davis novel / Erynn Mangum.

  p. cm.

  ISBN 978-1-60006-711-2

  1. Coffee shops — Fiction. 2. Dating (Social customs)–Fiction. I.

  Title.

  PS3613.A5373C66 2010

  813’.6–dc22

  2009037827

  Printed in the United States of America

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 / 14 13 12 11 10

  For Jon O’Brien, Doug Mangum, Bryant Mangum, Caleb Mangum, Greg O’Brien, Allen O’Brien, and Thomas O’Brien. Thank you for showing me what a real man of God looks like. I’m so blessed to be surrounded by such incredible men!

  Contents

  Acknowledgments

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  About the Author

  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  Lord, this book is all for You. I pray that those who read it will be drawn closer to the One who created them. You always answer me when I call to You. Help me to be quiet and listen.

  Thanks also to:

  Jon, my favorite husband, for kissing me every morning and saying “I love you” every night. Every day with you is a gift from God. I’m so proud to be known as your wife. I love you!

  Mom and Dad, for sharing your wisdom about marriage and always welcoming us over for dinner, movies, and visiting. You are amazing!

  Bryant, Caleb, and Cayce, for being the best siblings and best friends I have. You guys are always able to make me laugh. You are awesome!

  Nama, for calling and e-mailing and being the most amazing grandmother ever. You are my hero!

  Connie and Greg, for welcoming me into your fun and amazing family. I’m so blessed to have such incredible in-laws!

  Allen, Vicky, Tommy, and Ashlee, for being the best brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law I could ever have imagined!

  Jon’s and my extended families, for all of your support, prayers, and laughter. You are precious to me.

  Shannon Kay, Barb and Walt Kelly, Jen and Greg Fulkerson, Eitan and Kaitlin Bar, and Elisa Wingerd — I’m blessed to call you friends.

  Eliya Kirby, for giving me a behind-the-scenes pass to Borders Café — Thanks for letting me stalk you and for being willing to answer my questions about life as a barista!

  Shannon Harden, Jon-Erik Golob, Kelly Rowe, Leslie Poulin, and Amy Lee — for working at an amazing tearoom with me, giving me a glimpse of the restaurant business, and making it tons of fun!

  Steve Laube, my incredibly talented agent and friend, thanks for answering my zillion questions and for encouraging me when I feel like I’ve got nothing left!

  Rebekah Guzman, Kris Wallen, Amy Parker, Tia Stauffer, and the rest of the NavPress team — you are fabulous!

  The Christian Writers Guild, for continuing to celebrate contracts, answer questions, and be wonderful friends. Thanks for everything you do!

  CHAPTER ONE

  The October day is perfect. The sun is shining. The air is crisp. The birds are chirping. The faintest mist is just fading in the earliest rays of light.

  It’s morning.

  “Miss?” There’s a man in a rather dorky-looking outfit staring at me. “Miss?”

  “Oh, it’s Maya,” I correct him.

  “Maya. Did you want something?” He’s frowning at me now.

  “What?”

  “Did… you … want… something?” he says, slower, waving his hand around in a circle. “From the concession stand?”

  I suddenly realize there are rows and rows of candy behind the dorky man. “Oh!” I say. “Sorry. Yes, I would like a Milky Way.”

  Dorky Man’s frown deepens. “A what?”

  “Milky Way. A Milky Way. Milk chocolate, caramel, that squishy stuff that I can never remember what it’s called?”

  “I’ve never heard of a Milky Way.”

  “Are you kidding?” I am aghast.

  And barefoot. Suddenly, there is a damp sensation on my toes. I look down and see my pink toenails gradually disappearing into a large puddle forming near the concession stand.

  “Apparently there’s a leak,” I say, po
inting.

  Dorky Man isn’t finished. “And chocolate. What is chocolate?”

  SPLASH! I slip and fall flat into the puddle. I’m gasping for breath. “Chocolate! Chocolate!”

  He apparently doesn’t notice my fall. “Don’t know what that is. Go somewhere else. Next!”

  A dog starts a mournful howl somewhere in the distance that echoes the cry in my heart. He doesn’t know what chocolate is! The dog gets louder. What if my whole life was a wonderful dream, and this is reality? And louder. Now it’s a mournful, yipping bark. What if I am stuck in this puddle forever? What if —

  “SHUT UP!!!”

  I gasp, jumping, falling off the bed and landing with a resounding crack! on the floor.

  Calvin, my beagle, is still barking his head off. I close my eyes and rest my cheek on the cool wood floor.

  It’s 2:24 a.m., Thursday. I don’t have to look at the clock to know this.

  “Ohhh …” Now my mournful moaning is in competition with Calvin’s. With my ear mashed against the floor, I can hear the stomping getting closer. I feel like an Indian in one of those old movies who can tell when the posse is coming.

  “Maya Elise Davis!”

  Jen is not happy on this Thursday early-early morning.

  “Mmm?”

  “Your dumb dog has been going at it every Wednesday night for the last six months, and I’m sick of it!”

  I scoot around on the floor a bit so I can see my wild-haired, pajama-clad roommate and, I guess, former best friend, standing in my doorway, dimly lit by the hall light.

  Poor Calvin is now lying prostrate in front of Jen, head between his paws, making little rooo … rooo … rooo noises.

  “You scared me,” I mumble. “I fell out of bed.”

  “How can you sleep through that?” she huffs. “Whatever. Now that he’s done, I’m going back to bed.” She leaves, flicking the hall light off.

  “Roo … rooo …”

  “She’s gone, Calvin.”

  The dog sighs and then doggy crawls to where my left leg is and rests his head on my ankle.

  I close my eyes again.

  Mmm … Chocolate …

  I sigh. Hot chocolate. No, no! Even better! Mocha.

  “Ohhh …” I lick my lips.

  Opening my eyes, I’m immediately confused. Usually, my first view of the morning is the clouds, rainbows, and little bluebirds I painted all over my ceiling. Today, I’m staring underneath my armoire.

  Yuck. I need to remember to vacuum under here.

  Apparently, I am on the floor lying on my stomach. My head is on my hands, and my left leg is completely asleep.

  I look down and see why. “Calvin.”

  I swear the dog shakes his head.

  “Move, Calvin.”

  He grunts but pulls his long-eared head away from my ankle.

  I push myself to a standing position and immediately groan.

  Sleeping on floor: bad idea.

  I shuffle to the kitchen, eyes half closed, one hand holding my lower back, the other grabbing the high counter.

  Jen, looking smart in a blazer, pants, and heels, shakes her coifed head at me. “Wow. Welcome to life.”

  “I dreamed — I had such a nightmare.” I collapse onto one of the bar stools. “There wasn’t any more chocolate, and a man in a dorky outfit didn’t even know what it was.” I hold my head in my hands. “It was terrible.”

  Jen doesn’t say anything for a minute. “Your cheek has your class ring imprinted into it.” She pokes my face. “Cal-Hudson. 2006.”

  “Swell.”

  “Calvin was at it again last night. I hate that dog. Every Wednesday night, Maya! And why were you sleeping on the floor?”

  “Hey, Calvin can’t help it.” I look over to where the little beagle is emerging from my bedroom, eyes all sleepy. “He just hears something every week. You scared me when you yelled, and I fell off the bed.” I point to my imprinted cheek. “This is your fault.”

  “No, it’s Calvin the Blunder Dog’s fault.” She finishes her cup of blackberry-orange tea and rinses it out in the sink. “What time are you working today?”

  “Ten to close.” I yawn. “I might go in early for a mocha.”

  Ooh. Mocha. Just saying the word makes my whole body crave it.

  Jen watches me, finally smiling. “You are ridiculous. I wish you could see your expression right now, all wistful and sappy looking. And just over the mention of coffee.”

  “Not just coffee, Jen. Mochas”.

  “Whatever.” She rolls her eyes but grins wider. And my best friend is officially back. Jen’s not a nice person until after she gets her tea fix. She’s weird that way.

  “Well, have a good day. I’m off. I’ll be back around six-ish.” She grabs her briefcase and flicks me in the forehead.

  “Ow.”

  “Laters.” The door clicks after her. I look over at Calvin, who sits in the middle of the hallway, staring lazily at me.

  “You do not get to eat breakfast in there. If I have to make it to the kitchen, you do too,” I tell him.

  Calvin huffs.

  “Tough.”

  Letting out another huge breath, he trips into the kitchen and falls in front of his bowl.

  My dog and I are way too alike in the mornings.

  It’s seven thirty, and it’s a gorgeous October day.

  “Eat up. We’re going for a jog.”

  Calvin’s ears perk up at this, and he gobbles up the food I pour in the silver bowl while I go back to my bedroom to pull on some workout clothes.

  The apartment I share with Jen is just perfect for us. It has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a big living room, and a kitchen that is more pretty than functional but fills our microwaving needs.

  Aside from an occasional cookie fiasco, neither Jen nor I is a big cook. Jen claims she’s too tired after legally assisting her lawyer boss all day. I tell the truth and just say I don’t like cooking.

  My plan is to marry Emeril Live.

  And, yeah, I know that’s not his last name. It doesn’t really matter because I have a pretty good feeling that’s not God’s plan for me. So, bam! I’m just going to have to be content with TV dinners.

  Which I am. Sometimes the little chicken nuggets are shaped like flowers, and this makes me happy.

  I flip on the light in my room and flop down on my unmade bed. I slide my Bible and a pad of sticky notes over.

  God has been attempting to teach me to (a) be more thankful and (b) keep my mouth shut more often.

  This is hard because (a) while I am a positive person, I don’t always remember to be thankful; and (b) my second favorite thing to do is talk.

  So, we’re working on this, me and God. Obviously, because today’s Bible reading is Philippians 4:6: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

  I reach for a sticky note.

  Today I Am Thankful For:

  1. Cushioning wood floors as opposed to cement. No broken bones.

  2. Proudly wearing my college and graduating year on my face.

  3. Mochas. Milky Ways. Cocoa Puffs. Hot chocolate.

  Cold chocolate….

  4. Chopping my hair off last week. It will not take forty minutes to dry it today.

  Calvin is back in my room, fed, awake, and, as the Dixie Chicks would say, “Ready, ready, ready, ready, ready to ruuun!”

  “One sec, Cal.”

  Most people assume I named my dog after my school. This is not the case, however. He is named after Calvin Klein and my first pair of $80 jeans — marked down to a gorgeous $23.50. I bargain shop.

  I have on a pair of gray jogging shorts and a bright pink T-shirt. Calvin starts to go ballistic when he sees me pulling on my jogging shoes.

  “Let’s go, bud.” I hook his leash on, and we half-stretch, half-walk toward the door.

  Twenty-four minutes later, we both drag ourselves back into the apartment. I’m sticky f
rom the humidity and coated with a thin layer of dirt, compliments of a Nissan pickup. Little Calvin is wheezing harmonically. He ate a cricket, so I can understand why.

  “Shower. Must shower.”

  Calvin is right on my heels.

  “Yeah, right.” I nudge him out of the bathroom. I turn the faucet on full blast and start shampooing. Yet another reason I’m grateful for cutting my hair. It now bounces right above my shoulders in a curly, layered style. I won’t use half the shampoo I used to when my hair was halfway down my back.

  I yank open the tinted glass door and stop, inhaling through my nose, arching my back, and achieving what my Pilates instructor would call “core stability.”

  French roast.

  I close my eyes now. This is apparently our dark roast for the day. I sniff harder, focusing on the scents. Maybe Italian? I can’t distinguish the medium roast, which disappoints me greatly. But the decaf is definitely my own creation: half decaf French, two sprinkles of cinnamon, and the rest is a light Breakfast Blend.

  Ahhh …

  You know how in those sappy romances, the people are always like, “I knew he was the one because I felt like I was coming home when I was around him”?

  Cool Beans evokes that feeling for me.

  See why I love my job so much?

  “Hey, Nut-job! Close the door.”

  I open my eyes and squint at the tall, skinny, dark-haired guy behind the counter. Jack Dominguez is grinning, wiping his fingers on a towel, and causing a little group of twentysome-thing women sitting at the table closest to the counter to start twittering.

  “Totally ruining the moment, Man versus Wild.” I frown at him a minute longer and then close my eyes again, breathing deeply.

  That’s it…. Feel your navel pressing against your spine….

  I’ve always wanted to ask the perky Pilates lady if she’s ever really felt the inside of her belly button pressing against her spine. I mean, she’s skinny enough that she might have, but really, wouldn’t that sensation kind of creep you out? Like, oh my gosh! Where are my intestines?

  I don’t know. Just a thought.

 
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