When Reverie offers to tend her grandmother’s store the summer after graduation, she gets a lot more than she bargained for. The shop isn’t the problem. The dark eyes and bright smile of two residents complicate her stay almost immediately, and just when she thinks she might have the cousins sorted out, she discovers that the whole town, including her grandmother, have a secret, one that she now shares. Is there any chance all this shapeshifting is just a bad dream? And if it comes with Lucius and Kerwin, does she really want to wake?
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Rev closed the door again and went in search of strong coffee. Grandma had a Kurig, but it just didn’t have enough kick. The bakery across the street probably served it with their breakfast pastries.
Like all the doors in Littleton, this one jingled with bells as it opened. She pushed her sunglasses up onto the top of her head, keeping her hair out of her face at the same time. The bustle and conversation died the moment she stepped into the room.
“Don’t you worry, Love. I’ll come with you.” Flo left the table she’d been sitting at to come to Rev’s side. “I never did get your name, Dearie.” She walked with Rev up to the counter where a woman with long black hair was pouring her coffee fast enough to splash the counter.
“Reverie,” she said. “And thank you, Flo.” She slapped her money on the counter and took her coffee without a word of thanks to the server. It was obvious she wouldn’t appreciate the polite gesture anyway.
“No problem, Reverie. Want to come and sit with me?” She looked to the table she’d been at with two older women, grey streaks woven through their dark brown or black hair. Neither met Rev’s eye, but both used body language, one with her arms crossed and the other twisted in her chair to face away from Rev and Flo, to make it clear they didn’t want her to join them.
“That’s okay, Flo. I need to open shop. I just came to grab the coffee.” She sipped it and then returned to the counter where cream and sugar waited.
“White freak,” someone muttered.
If it hadn’t been so quiet in the bakery, she wouldn’t have heard it. Trying to pretend she hadn’t, she grasped the doctored coffee, squared her shoulders and lifted her chin, and strode confidently to the door.
It opened outward just as she was about to grab the handle and the man coming through the other side collided with her, spilling hot coffee on both of them.
Rev let out a scream that devolved into cursing. “Fuck, I’m so sorry. Oh shit, shit. Are you okay? Dammit!”
Dark Eyes put a finger to her lips, cutting off her words and causing her to inhale sharply. His deep brown eyes seemed to sparkle. Was he laughing?
“It is my fault. Let me buy you another.” His voice, low and mellow, seemed to echo inside her. The reverberation made her tingle.
“Um, no, thank you. I have to hurry home to change so I can open on time. I’ll have to wait and get one at lunch.” She pawed at his shirt, her hand passing over a chest as broad as Lucius’, clad in black with wet streaks and blotches covering it. At least the coffee wouldn’t show on black. She was wearing beige and light green, a total mess. Patting at the mess on his chest, she could feel the softness of hair cushioning it. She could see just one or two hairs escaping at the neck of his t-shirt, dark and curly like the glossy mop on his head. Her fingers itched to run through the locks, and over his chest, too.
Heat filling her cheeks, she turned and ran. Another apology would be too much anyway.
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