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When a small-town coffee shop owner, Raine Hanford< is involuntarily put in charge of organizing the town’s Halloween bash, her friend’s brother, Keaton Andrews, jumps in to help, and it’s not long before sparks, and kisses, fly. As the leaves begin to fall, Raine wonders if she should risk taking another chance on happily ever after, especially with a man who has dreams and goals so far away from Silver Falls and her.


The bell on the front door jingled.

Raine wiped her hands and stood behind the cash register with a cheerful smile. She glanced at the person approaching the counter and did a double take.

She hadn’t expected to see Callie’s brother Keaton walking toward her with a worn-leather laptop bag, something he’d carried with him each time he came into the coffee shop.

Raine had met him last Christmas. He’d returned to Silver Falls for six weeks this summer. Callie wasn’t a fan of her brother’s smarter-than-you attitude, but Keaton tipped well, didn’t say much while he worked, and provided some nice eye candy while Raine worked.

“What are you doing in Silver Falls?” she asked.

“Visiting family.” He strode to the counter with a grace more fitting of an athlete than an academic. He was taller than his brothers and thinner. His thick plastic glasses gave him a nerdy vibe. Nerdy, but geeky cute. Probably why Callie’s nickname for him was the brainy professor.

He was the most attractive of the three Andrews brothers, but the antithesis of Raine’s usual type. She had a thing for biker bad boys. Even if her exes only dressed the part, something about that look drew her in.

Today, Keaton’s Henley and faded jeans made him look younger, more approachable than when he wore a bow tie, dress shirt, tweed pants, and suspenders. She liked the casual style on him.

As her muscles relaxed, her smile came naturally. “I didn’t think you were coming back until Christmas.”

His attention jerked to hers. He may have even shrugged. “Change of plans.”

Surprising. He seemed more like a person whose plans had plans than an impromptu type. At least based on what Callie had mentioned.

Keaton stared at the menu.

Another surprise. “You’re not ordering an Americano?”

He’d ordered those during every visit, even when Callie wanted to order Christmas cocoas for her family in December.

“Seeing what’s new,” he said.

“Fall’s here, so I added pumpkin spice drinks to the menu.”

“Guess you can’t avoid that this time of year.”

“Nope. It’s a cup of autumn. People love it.” Raine thought the flavor was overrated, but her customers drank it up, so she created more for them to order. “Anything call to your taste buds?”

“Something with pumpkin spice,” he said finally. “Surprise me.”

O-kay. That was strange, but he was the customer. She wrote his name on a cup. “Callie was in yesterday. She didn’t mention you were in town.”

“I arrived last night. I’m staying with Margot. Figured that would be better than staying with—”



Raine remembered conversations. That was how she knew what customers drank. She set the machine.

Something about his visit felt off. It wasn’t his casual clothes or letting her pick his drink. And then she remembered.

“You’re on the quarter system, right?” She wished Summit Ridge University wasn’t on semesters or Timmy would be working his usual shifts.

“You’re correct.” He might not look like a professor, but he sounded like one. “Classes begin today. I’m not teaching this quarter.”

Weird. She remembered him excited about revamping the curriculum. He’d been so enthusiastic and mentioned a few foreign words. One had sounded like a superhero character. “Taking time off for research?”

His expression froze. It thawed two seconds later, but his eyes had dimmed. “Something like that.”

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