I am proud to report that I have completed the first draft of my debut novel, Coffee-to-Go. So what’s next? Right now the manuscript is in the hands of my alpha readers. They will give me their first impressions for the story before I begin to edit. I plan to edit the novel extensively before I even considering to publish, so it may still be some weeks (maybe months) before it’s available.

On that note, I don’t want to keep people waiting forever, so I present to you the opening scene of the novel. In the coming weeks and months I will continue to release short excerpts until the novel has been published. Enjoy!

Leo was wiping down the counter after the morning rush when the door chime made him look up. Striding towards the counter was Coffee-to-Go, running late as always.  His long, dishwater blond hair was pulled back in his normal, messy fashion while he still had those puffy dark circles under his eyes. As he reached the counter, he plunked down the $2.53 and made his usual order. “One large coffee-to-go, please!”

Pouring the coffee into a large paper cup, Leo felt the warmth as it radiated into his hand. He grabbed and pressed a lid on before turning back to the tall, lanky man. The first time he’d come in several months earlier and made the order, Leo could hardly refrain from rolling his eyes. Who orders just coffee anymore?

“Here you go,” Leo said as he handed over the cup. Coffee-to-Go’s fingers briefly brushed his, lingering almost a second too long, as he took the cup from him. The hint of a blush bloomed on the man’s cheeks as he pulled away.

“Thanks!” Coffee-to-Go said with an appreciative smile before he rushed off.

Leo sighed and rang in the order as he put the money into the register. Looking around the shop, he made sure all his patrons seemed content before he went back to wiping down the counter. Now was the time to get as much as he could clean before the inevitable mid-morning rush. He didn’t know what it was about Coffee-to-Go, but the man always looked harried and sleep deprived. Leo was surprised to realize that it made him worry about the man.

What did Coffee-to-Go do for a living? It was difficult to tell as he was always dressed in a pair of jeans and some nondescript hoodie, with a backpack slung over his back. The man looked too old to be a student. Besides, his coffee shop rarely had students during the week because it was too far away from campus to be convenient. Nearby were several other shops, office buildings, and the hospital. Coffee-to-Go could work at any one of them.

The first group of his mid-morning rush customers entered as Leo finished washing and rinsing all his brew pitchers. Further thoughts of Coffee-to-Go would have to be filed away until later.