GUEST POST ~ Better Latte Than Never by CC Bridges #GuestPost #Excerpt #Giveaway #BlogTour


Welcome to Aunt Rosa’s cafe, where the pastries are always fresh, and the coffee tastes like pure heaven on your tongue. The baristas know your name, and coming here is like coming home.

The cafe in my book “Better Latte Than Never” is fictional, although the town I set the story in is real. I wanted the coffee shop to feel like a character in her own right. I wanted you to feel like you’re part of this world and one of the cafe regulars. I want you to be able to taste the rich nuttiness of the coffee, feel the bite of the crust on a fruit tart, and breathe in the scent of rich aroma.

That’s Finn’s experience the moment he opens the door to Aunt Rosa’s cafe. He’s a writer desperate to be able to put words on paper again after suffering writer’s block for over a year. At the cafe, he finds a comfortable place to write, and so much more.

When you walk inside the cafe, it strikes you as somehow familiar. The tiled floor has been laid in a black and white checkerboard pattern. A mural of the Leaning Tower of Pisa covers one wall. There are wrought iron tables with marble tops. And always the hum of voices, the regulars enjoying their favorite beverages in this cozy atmosphere.

If you’re thinking the cafe looks like a pizzeria, you’d be right. And this is actually something that didn’t make it into the book. Aunt Rosa’s cafe used to be a pizzeria before Rosa bought it and turned it into a coffee shop. That’s why it’s a bit larger than your typical coffee shop.

And who is Aunt Rosa? I based the character a bit on my real aunt who is a fantastic baker. Like the fictional Aunt Rosa, she would probably come at you with a rolling pin if you threaten her family. She fiercely protects what’s hers, and if you’re a regular at the cafe, then that’s you.

One of the pastries mentioned in the book is sfogliatella, although you might have heard it called lobster tails. It’s crispy on the outside and filled with luscious cream on the inside. It’s one of the first tastes Finn has when he discovers the cafe, and is it any wonder he keeps coming back for more?

Of course, it’s not just the food that brings him there every day. It’s the coffee – especially when it is brewed by Enzo. Enzo likes to sprinkle in some of his creativity in his coffee concoctions, and Finn becomes his eager taste tester.

During the course of the book, Enzo and Finn become so much more to each other. Enzo inspires Finn and breaks his writer’s block. Finn helps Enzo discover what he really wants. And, then, they fall in love. It’s not quite as easy as brewing coffee, but like the mixture of flavors in a latte, Enzo and Finn blend together at the perfect temperature.

And it all begins in Aunt Rosa’s cafe.

Better Latte Than Never
by CC Bridges

Release Date: Wednesday, June 21, 2023
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Length: Novel / 67,000 Words / 238 Pages
Primary Plot Arc: Romance
Genre: Romance
Pairings: The main characters are gay, and it is a gay romance. One lead has a best friend who is a lesbian and she has a girlfriend who appears on the page.
Tropes: Age Gap, Coffee Shop, Slow Burn
Keywords/Categories: coffee shop, writer, writer’s block, starving artist, found family, banter, gay, gay romance, MM, MM romance, romance, new release, announcement, book, books, LGBTQ, LGBT, queer, age gap, slow burn, giveaway

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Finn’s love stories always end in death.

He’s made millions writing as author Morgan Heart and his fans can’t get enough of his tragic love stories. But a bad breakup results in a killer case of writer’s block, and Finn needs to try something drastic to fix it, like. . .going to a coffee shop to write. There’s got to be a reason it’s a cliche, and in his world, cliches sell.

He shouldn’t be flirting with the hot, younger barista. He shouldn’t be using said beautiful barista as another character to kill off in his new book. And he sure as hell shouldn’t be getting his heart involved, especially since he’s still keeping his real identity secret.

Working at his aunt’s coffee shop is a temporary thing. . . that’s been going on for eight years now. One day soon Enzo is finally going to make it big with his art and move on. But when Finn walks into the cafe – confident, mature, put together, everything Enzo is not – he can’t help developing a huge crush, even if Finn is a customer.

As their relationship deepens, Finn’s deceptions and Enzo’s insecurities threaten to undermine everything they are starting to build together. If they can each confront their inner demons, then Finn might be writing a happy ending for the first time in his life.

Better Latte Than Never is an m/m age gap, coffee shop romance featuring a slow burn attraction that grows steamier than an espresso machine.

Warnings: Mention of partner betrayal, death of character’s parents in the past


Yeah, the cafe was so damn predictable. Except for this new guy.

Enzo downed his cake and tossed the plate into the trash. He should really square up with his aunt before she left for the day. Still. What if the guy left before Enzo could say anything? He’d make his rounds with the regulars after, but right now, Enzo couldn’t contain his curiosity about the stranger.

He threw on his apron and sauntered over to the corner where the stranger sat half-hidden behind a laptop. If this went wrong, Enzo could claim he’d come over to offer a refill. Not to, you know, see if the guy’s smoldering look when Enzo had walked in the door meant anything.

“Hey.” Enzo cleared his throat. “Thanks for coming to my birthday party.”

The guy looked up from his computer, those gorgeous eyes moving slowly upward in a way that made Enzo want to blush. His jaw was straight and covered with a smattering of stubble. Enzo wanted to rub his hands along it and enjoy the feel of the soft roughness against his fingertips…and in other places. There was an adorable sprinkle of freckles across his sloped nose. But his lips—perfect and pink and a bit too full for a man—were what made Enzo’s thoughts move straight into the gutter.

“It was my pleasure. Enzo, right? I’m Finn.” He held out his hand.

Enzo took it, squeezing tightly. Finn had a firm handshake, but his palm was soft and warm against Enzo’s. When he pulled away, Enzo curled his hand into a fist, wanting to savor that feeling.

“Finn? Is that a nickname?”

“It’s short for Finnegan.”

“Ah, a nice Italian name.” Enzo grinned and, happily, Finn laughed at his joke.

“What brings you to our cafe?” He winced at how terrible that sounded. Apparently Enzo completely forgot how to flirt when it was a customer he thought was hot. He could charm the old ladies like nobody’s business, but a cute guy? Nope.

Finn nodded at his laptop. “Came for the Wi-Fi and stayed for the coffee. And then the surprise party.” He picked up his fork and stabbed the last piece of cake left on his plate. “This cake is amazing.”

“Everything my aunt bakes is amazing.” Enzo watched the bit of chocolate make its way to Finn’s mouth and the sensual way his lips closed around the metal of the fork. That shouldn’t be turning Enzo on right now, but God, if he didn’t want to follow that piece of cake with his own tongue against Finn’s lips.

“So what do you make that’s amazing?” Finn asked with a wink, and that was when Enzo knew they were in business, or at least on the same wavelength.

He could feel the blush creeping up his cheeks. “I don’t bake, but I do brew a mean cup of espresso.”

“I’d love to have a taste.”

“You’ve got—” Enzo gestured to his own face. A smear of chocolate had found its way to Finn’s chin. “Here.” He picked up a napkin from the table and brushed it away.

Finn took the napkin, his fingers tangling with Enzo’s for a moment. His eyes were smoldering. “Thank you.”

Author Bio

CC Bridges spent her childhood visiting other worlds in books, comics, and the starship Enterprise. It’s no surprise that she ended up a librarian, being surrounded by the books she loves so much. She writes about amazing worlds with honorable heroes. Her hobbies include paying money to get locked in a room for an hour so she can solve puzzles to escape, along with the aforementioned reading. She lives with her husband and son on the Jersey Shore. She is currently pursuing an MFA from Southern New Hampshire University

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