Must Love Coffee
425 Madison Series
by Leigh Lennon
I was stripped of all my own desires and wants when I was married to my ex-husband. I now carry a list with me—a list that will help me choose a man that will put me first in life. Then the storm cloud of an entitled millionaire appears in my life and knocks me off my axis. This man sends so many mixed signals, my body either quakes with anger or passion when I’m around him.
I’m his son’s teacher and his tenant, but I find myself wanting more.
My life is run with precision with little regard for others until a woman in crazy clothes challenges me to be a better father. She’s one of the few people that puts me in my place and maybe for this very reason—I want her more than I can articulate. With her failed marriage and list of requests she needs from her next partner, I know she’s my future. My life is less than perfect, and with it—baggage that follows me everywhere. Does she want my kind of crazy in her life?
I’m her landlord and an a**hole, but I find myself wanting more.
Where to begin? For starters, you must love coffee…
After all, 425 Madison Avenue is the perfect place to fall in love.
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She immediately looks down, placing her coffee on the table. The smile that has been on her face is now a frown. “Oh, shit … Leo. I can’t go out with you.”
“Why? Because you’re Teague’s teacher? If that’s the case, I know all the policies. It’s not against the rules for teachers to date parents. We would have to disclose it to Mason, though.” Of course I’m on the board, I know this. “Or is it because Luna and Olive are friends?” I add. Those really have to be the two main reasons other than … “Unless, you’re not attracted to me?”
She lifts her eyes to my gaze. “Um, no, that’s not the reason. None of those are, especially the last.”
Giving her a slight smile at the compliment and her confession, I ask, “So, what is it?”
She steeples her fingers together, now not meeting me in the eye. “This is going to sound funny, but Dwayne took so much away from me all the way down to things as simple as a basic cup of coffee. I swore when I started to date again, I’d have certain expectations of things that my partner would accept from me.”
I cock my head to the side, greeting her with a lopsided grin. “And what is that, Gwen? Believe me when I say, what’s important to you, will become important to me. You’re worth more than that crap of a marriage your husband forced you into.”
“Well, the number one reason—the one thing I wouldn’t change, you don’t like.”
I lean back now, my gaze narrowing in on her. “And what’s that? What do you require I must like?” My tone is playful.
She rolls her neck around, stretching it, like this conversation is very taxing on her. “Okay, like I said, you’re going to find this funny.”
“Hit me! And just so you know, I take this—me asking you out—very seriously.”
As she nods her head in agreement, I’m shocked over the reason she claims she can’t date me. “It’s simple, you must love coffee.”