Review: Cup of Joe – Annabeth Albert
by Annabeth Albert
Series: Bold Brew #1
Also in this series: Puppuccino, Cinnamon Roll
Publication Date: February 25, 2021
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Sometimes an ordinary Joe is all you need…
Newbie barista Levi Miles is having a bad day in the middle of a bad month. He’s trying to figure out post-graduation life, and a recent breakup hasn’t helped. The one bright spot? The charming blue-collar customer with the simple order and reassuring voice.
Electrician Joe Simmons can make anything light up—except his love life. As he gets older, he remains unsure about what he wants from a relationship. But an innocent flirtation with the fresh-faced barista is exactly what his ego needs.Levi doesn’t need a boyfriend. Or a Daddy. But bantering with Joe feels so good, and when their tentative friendship takes a turn for the sexy, a summer fling seems fun. Exploring long-held desires brings them closer with each steamy night, and the idea of parting gets harder.
But Levi’s only in town temporarily, and the end of summer is approaching. Both are reluctant to disclose their feelings, but pushing past their fears may be the only way to keep this special thing going. Can they order up a happy ending before time runs out?
Cup of Joe is a stand-alone novel in the multi-author Bold Brew shared universe centered around an inclusive coffee shop set in a fictional small city. Each steaming hot coffee shop romance can be enjoyed alone, but collect all ten for the most fun! This 53,000 word age gap story contains a reluctant Daddy, lots of fluffy steam exploring new desires, low angst, and a guaranteed happy ending!
Content warnings: View Spoiler »death of MC’s mom (before book starts), MC was unknowingly in a relationship with a married man (before book starts) « Hide Spoiler
When I saw there was a new queer shared series coming out that several of my favorite authors were writing in, I had to pick up the first book. The Bold Brew series revolves around a coffee shop in a Pennsylvania college town that’s a hub for the queer and kink-positive communities.
“Hot, older electrician. Bedroom repair. If it wasn’t for me and my terminal awkwardness, this could easily pass as the start of a porno.”
This book features Levi, a recent college grad who’s working as a barista, and Joe, an electrician. Levi originally moved to the town to be with his boyfriend, but when he found out he was actually married, well, that ended that relationship. But since he’s already there, he figures he’ll stay for the summer before moving back home. Levi and Joe have great chemistry from the moment they meet at the coffee shop, but neither is looking for a relationship. Friends with benefits on the other hand….
“You’re trouble,” I whispered.
“Man, I hope so.” He grinned.
There’s a lot going for this book. It’s high on the sweetness and pretty light on the angst and kink elements. There’s quite a few kinks explored, too: daddy kink, praise kink, and lingerie. It’s also an age gap romance, with Joe in his mid-30s while Levi’s in his early 20s. Levi’s adorably sweet, a complete praise junkie with a bit of a bratty side. While he lets Joe help him out with some minor things, he isn’t looking for someone to rescue him. Joe boosts his confidence without making him feel like less than a capable adult. Joe is firmly settled in Laurelsburg, and while he’s enjoying exploring new kink with Levi (and being reminded that he’s desirable as he is), he’s convinced he’s just a rebound and that he’ll be leaving at the end of the summer. My main issue was that it just moved too fast, from Levi getting over his relationship with his toxic ex to Joe discovering a laundry list of new kinks. Joe excelled at being daddy bear (as one character teasingly called him) but it felt like it was a lot all at once for both characters.
Overall, this was a good introduction to the series, if not exactly my cup of tea. I’ll definitely be picking up the next book!