Free Fiction Thursday – For a Few Lattes More

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Middle of October already.  Boy, how did it get to be so late in the year?  I don’t know about you, but it gets harder and harder for me to get up in the morning when it’s still dark outside.  I’d rather stay in bed, snuggly comfy under the covers.  Nope, I’m not a morning person at all, and I’m not alone judging by the long line at the Starbucks drive-thru.  The baristas are certainly busy this time of year.

This week’s free fiction Thursday story features a Starbucks barista who encounters a whole different kind of customer — a guy who looks like he rode straight out of one of the old Clint Eastwood spaghetti Westerns.  I hope you enjoy “For A Few Lattes More.”


For a Few Lattes More

Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Copyright 2011 Annie Reed

The cowboy parked his horse in the handicap spot in front of Starbucks.

Terri almost dropped the Halloween coffee mug she’d just tagged with a second red clearance sticker.   Ten minutes to closing.  Of course.  The strangest people always came in right before closing.

“You see that?” she asked Leon, who was sweeping the floor on the other side of the clearance display.

Leon craned his neck around a shelf full of travel mugs decorated with glow in the dark ghosts and goblins to look out the plate glass storefront.  “Huh,” he said.  “That’s a new one.”

Terri watched as the cowboy in the battered hat and leather duster got off his horse and wrapped the reins around the freebie community newspaper stand in front of the handicap spot.  The cowboy was tall and thin and wore his hat low over his face.  Thanks to the overhead lights in the strip mall parking lot, he was little more than a silhouette and totally out of place.  Who in his right mind rode a horse in the middle of town?

“He’s really going to leave his horse right there,” Terri said.

“I’m not cleaning up after it,” Leon said.  “No way.  Cleaning the bathrooms is bad enough.”

He had a point.  Picking up horse poo wasn’t in either of their job descriptions.

Terri and Leon saw a lot in the way of weird walk through the doors of this particular Starbucks.  Three blocks from the casinos, liquor stores, tattoo parlors and pawn shops of downtown Reno and a block away from the biggest dorm on the University of Nevada campus, it wasn’t all that unusual to see frat pledges in penguin suits chilling in line next to black leather wearing bikers.  Terri got propositioned by the frat boys on a weekly basis.  The bikers went straight to offering Terri a free peek at tattoos on body parts she didn’t want to think about, much less see.  And that was on a slow night.  Throw in a holiday, like Halloween or New Year’s Eve or the anniversary of Elvis’s death, and anything at all might walk through the door.

Like a cowboy straight out of one of the spaghetti westerns her dad used to watch when Terri was a kid.

“Just wait,” Leon said.  “He’ll want a latte.”

(read the rest of the story here)

Free Fiction Thursday – Thief

Good morning, everyone!  Happy July 5th.  For those in the U.S., I hope you (and your pets) survived the holiday and all the associated fireworks.

On this first Thursday in July, I’m happy to announce that my publisher Thunder Valley Press is participating in a month-long promotion over at Smashwords.  What does that mean for my readers?  Half-price novels and story collections!

To celebrate, this week’s free fiction Thursday story is from my brand new collection IT’S A CRIME.  “Thief” marks the first appearance of private detective Abby Maxon back when she was still Abby Preston, college student.  If you enjoy “Thief,” you might also enjoy my novel PRETTY LITTLE HORSES, the first in my Abby Maxon Mystery series.

Happy reading!


Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Cover art Copyright © Gualtiero Boffi |

Cover and layout Copyright © 2012 Thunder Valley Press

The Frisbee missed the top of Abby Preston’s head by a mere inch, if that.  She ducked, even though by the time her head moved, the Frisbee was already skimming the green grass of the quad behind where she sat trying to concentrate on her Sociology 101 assignment.

“Hey!”  She looked up at Ryan in mock annoyance.  “Watch where you’re throwing that thing.”

Ryan leaned down and kissed the top of Abby’s head.  “That’s not what you said last night,” he murmured just loud enough for her to hear.

Abby felt the heat rise in her cheeks.  She’d only been dating Ryan for a month and sleeping with him for two weeks, and she wasn’t quite comfortable yet with the newness of their relationship.  College life was tough enough without complicating it by throwing a boyfriend into the mix.  Then, of course, there was the whole “don’t worry, dear, you’ll find someone to settle down with in college” thing from her mother.  That, more than anything else, was why she’d resisted Ryan Maxon’s attempts to flirt with her for as long as she had.  The last thing Abby wanted to do was fulfill her mother’s expectations.

“Are you going to make out with your girlfriend or play Frisbee?”

The question came from Jimmy Fisher, Ryan’s best friend.  Abby’s cheeks grew warmer.  That was another thing.  Dating Ryan didn’t mean just hanging out with Ryan.  It meant tagging along with Ryan and Jimmy while they did their ex-high school jock thing.  In their case, it meant watching them try to beat each other at whatever sport happened to catch their fancy. Today it was tossing a Frisbee around the University of Nevada – Reno quad.  The afternoon before, it had been killer tennis on the university courts.  The day before that, touch football with some guys from one of the frats.

“Both, of course,” Ryan said.

(read the rest of the story here)