✍🏻 Ready for more Busy Bean Covers from the Sarina Bowen True North Universe? Check out Rachel Blaufeld’s Friendzoned, L.B. Dunbar’s Studfinder, and Teralyn Mitchell’s Doubletalk ✍🏻

Are you ready for more stories inspired by Sarina Bowen’s True North series? Check out the covers for the next three Busy Bean stories, coming from Rachel Blaufeld, L.B. Dunbar, and Teralyn Mitchell.


Release Date: May 24, 2021

Purchase here:
Amazon: https://geni.us/FriendzonedAmazon
Apple: https://geni.us/FriendzonedApple
Kobo: https://geni.us/FriendzonedKobo
Nook: https://geni.us/FriendzonedNook

All the links in one spot: https://shor.by/busy-bean
Add to Goodreads here: http://bit.ly/3anB3ZJ Series page: https://hearteyespress.com/wotn#/busy-bean/
Cover Design: Elle Maxwell Designs


When Murphy Landon, the New York socialite, runs off to Vermont with her bruised reputation and stylish wardrobe in the trunk of a used car, it’s the first time in her life she’s dared to turn her back on her high-society parents. 

Used to grabbing a gourmet coffee whenever the urge strikes, Murphy finds herself on the other side of the counter, fumbling strangers’ orders…until a sinfully handsome thirty-three year old version of Ben Rooney from high school walks in.

The pair met years ago at a prestigious boarding school and became friends, but only behind closed doors. She’d been a spoiled brat, and he was a football player on scholarship. Ben tried to hide his crush on her, and Murphy set firm boundaries. After a prom night gone wrong, they’d gone their separate ways.

Now their circumstances are reversed. Ben is a successful surgeon. He’s come a long way from his parents’ humble maple syrup business. And Murphy is pouring his coffee? Is this a joke?

His first thought is that she should drive her gorgeous self right back to New York, where she can’t possibly break his heart. His second one is deep concern. His third thought is he wants a do-over of prom night. A very adult one… 

With plenty of secrets between them, copious pure maple syrup, Ben and Murphy are in for a wild and sticky ride.


Release Date: August 2, 2021

Pre-Order Links: COMING SOON!

All the links in one spot: https://shor.by/busy-bean
Add to Goodreads → http://bit.ly/3cspRh3
Series page: https://hearteyespress.com/wotn#/busy-bean/
Cover Design: Elle Maxwell Designs

Who does that sexy silver fox think he is, sitting in her spot in the Busy Bean Cafe?

Over forty, with zero filter, Rita Kaplan loves her coffee, her hiking boots, and her law practice. Life hasn’t always been carefree, though, and Rita’s past holds the scars of poor decisions after deep loss. She survived, though, and no smirky silver fox is going to get in the way of her happiness. Even if he knows how to use his drill, screwdriver, and every other tool in his box to tempt her . . .

Former arson investigator Jake Drummond could add ex-con to his resume if he had one. Instead, he’s serving the final year of his sentence on probation. This involves mandatory AA meetings, hosted by a feisty local attorney, and working on a renovation project, supervised by the same annoyingly attractive whirlwind, who also believes she owns the exclusive rights to a comfy couch in his new favorite coffee shop. Soon she’s everywhere, including the few places she shouldn’t be–like in his bed and in his heart. 

Can opposites lower their walls and construct something everlasting . . . or will their connected past lead to demolition for two hearts in need of a rebuild.


Release Date: September 13, 2021

Pre-Order Links: COMING SOON!

All the links in one spot: https://shor.by/busy-bean
Add to Goodreads → http://bit.ly/2MFT3pU
Series page: https://hearteyespress.com/wotn#/busy-bean/
Cover Design: Elle Maxwell Designs


Basketball has always been his one love, until now . . .

Zeke Armstrong never imagined he’d be back in Vermont, but here he is, living in Colebury and trying to rehab an injury that could mean an early retirement from pro basketball. Running into his former classmate, Mallory Barrett, shouldn’t be a distraction. It shouldn’t mean anything, so why is he accidentally on purpose showing up at the coffee shop where the beautiful writer spends her time? 

Mallory Barrett has met a guy. Well, she hasn’t met him yet, except for on the dating app she almost refused to download. “Coby” sparks her interest and gets her jokes–and gives the romance-novel heroes she loves so much a full-court run for their money. When their first date doesn’t work out, she decides to give him another shot . . . just as a man she despises reenters her life. While her interest in the mystery man on the app grows, she clashes constantly with Zeke in real life. She can’t forgive him for humiliating her in high school, yet she can’t deny she’s drawn to him now. 

She’s somehow gone from confirmed bachelorette to the tie-breaker between two men.  Meanwhile, Zeke has a secret–one that will cost him the game if Mallory finds out . . .

✍🏻 Emma Lee Jayne’s Heart Smart, book 2 of the Work For It series in the Smartypants Romance universe, is LIVE. Ready for some workplace fun? ✍🏻


“Okay, people, you do not want to miss Heart Smart by Emma Lee Jayne! It’s fun and flirty and the chemistry crackles. Warning, though! It will keep you up past your bedtime!” – New York Times bestselling author J. Kenner

From Smartypants Romance…Heart Smart, an all-new enemies to lovers contemporary romance from Emma Lee Jayne is now available in Kindle Unlimited!
★★Read for FREE in Kindle Unlimited!★★

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2IYAhYZ

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3m020af

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2J1C8g0

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/3fpR6YQ

Amazon Print: https://amzn.to/3joCMlj

Audiobook: http://bit.ly/3bc7ziO

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/3b0S9yw

★★ BLURB ★★ ⁣⁣

Dr. Maximillian Ramsey has a problem ….

I’m a jerk. Everyone I know or have ever worked with agrees. “Misanthropic asshole” is the term I hear most often.

I don’t care what other people think as long as they leave me alone to focus on my research on soil microbiology. Plus, I walk with a cane thanks to a childhood accident. I have scars on my face. And if that isn’t enough to scare people off, my bad attitude and general grumpiness seal the deal. Which is just the way I like it.

Except, I’ve been short listed for one of the most prestigious academic fellowships around. To win it, I’ll have to give a series of speeches. On a stage. With an audience. While being filmed.

Yeah. None of that is going to happen.

Unfortunately, my boss has a plan. He brings in one of the communications lecturers to give me a “make over,” help me write the speeches, and manage my social media.

But the last thing I need is some nosy, bossy, gorgeous woman meddling in my life.

And Holly is the solution…

I’m a mere communications lecturer at a prestigious research university. I’m used to being outclassed and under-educated compared to the PhDs who surround me.

But I’m good at what I do. Brilliant, actually.

When Max’s boss (who happens to be my ex-husband) begs me to help transform this beast of a man into someone worthy of the fellowship, I have my work cut out for me.

It’ll take a lot of badgering, blatant manipulation, and some outright thievery to get Max to cooperate. All of which I handle with the enough professionalism and restraint that should earn me a fancy grant.

What I can’t handle is how unexpectedly attractive I find the stubborn and brilliant man. 

This is a battle of wills and wits, and neither is prepared to admit defeat …

‘Heart Smart’ is a full-length contemporary romance and can be read as a standalone. Book #2 in the Work For It series, Educated Romance World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

✍🏻 Need a good laugh today? Download Aly Stiles’s Street Smart, and get ready to laugh out loud. ✍🏻


“Aly Stiles delivers rom-com gold in Street Smart. Her witty banter and clever writing are beyond superb. I dare you not to snort-laugh with this one!” – Author Hazel James

From Smartypants Romance…Street Smart, an all-new workplace romantic comedy from Aly Stiles is now available in Kindle Unlimited!

★★Read for FREE in Kindle Unlimited!★★

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/39avw9W

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/35XP67i

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/3l1Gctw

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/3m2imPU

Amazon Print: https://amzn.to/3twktiY

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2WZD6wL

Audiobook: Coming soon!

★★ BLURB ★★ ⁣⁣

What could go wrong—four words MBA student Marcos Oliveira ignored when he accepted a prestigious internship at Reedweather Media, a subsidiary of the legendary Sandeke Telecom empire.  ⁣
What did go wrong? Everything.  ⁣
And when Marcos stumbles upon incriminating documents that signal corporate espionage against Sandeke’s son Martin, he suspects his strange intern wormhole has just exploded into chaos. When his alluring boss Eva draws him in to thwart the plot, he knows it.  ⁣
After spending their lives overcoming adversity, can Marcos and Eva handle this latest threat? Even more perilous might be their losing battle against forbidden attraction.  ⁣
His Ivy League education didn’t prepare him for spy games and illicit flames. Good thing he has the street smarts to work for it.   ⁣
‘Street Smart’ is a full-length workplace romantic comedy and can be read as a standalone. Book #1 in the Work For It series, Educated Romance World, Penny Reid Book Universe.⁣

✍🏻 Are you ready for Lucy Score’s next book? One of my favorite authors of rom-com has just released Forever Never. Run and grab this one. ✍🏻

Title: Forever Never
Author: Lucy Score
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: March 4, 2021
You don’t fall for your brother’s high school sweetheart, your boss’s daughter, or your ex-wife’s best friend. Especially when they’re all the same woman.
Under Brick Callan’s mile-wide chest beats a loyal heart with a few cracks in it. He’s the steadfast, overprotective type. Especially when it comes to the one woman he can never have. It’s a long, complicated history punctuated by fights, friendship, family, and an attraction that strains his iron willpower.
When Remi Ford returns to Mackinac Island in the dead of winter with a secret, Brick makes it his mission to find out what put the shadows in those green eyes. Even if it means breaking down the walls he’s built between them. Even if it means falling for the one girl he’ll never get over.
The free-spirited artist just needs to lay low for a few weeks so she can figure a way out of this nightmare. She’s definitely not staying. Not when the man who broke her teenage heart into splinters keeps showing up at her parents’ dinner table. Remi doesn’t need broody, bearded Brick riding to her rescue…again. Not when it will put them both in danger, costing them much more than their hearts.
Author’s Note: Frenemies-to-lovers. Opposites attract. Slow burn. Girl in danger. Glorious, glorious banter. Fighting as foreplay. Small-town shenanigans. Big, grumpy, pining, overprotective hero. Wild-child, trouble-finding heroine who keeps on pushing the hero’s buttons. Steam Level: Lava. Suspense: Nail-biting. Feels: Big time.


Lucy Score is a Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author. Small town contemporary rom-coms are her lady jam and she enjoys delivering the feels with a huge side of happily ever after.
Her books have been translated into several languages, making readers around the world snort laugh, swoon, and sob. Lucy lives in Pennsylvania with the devastatingly handsome Mr. Lucy and their horrible cat. In her spare time she enjoys sleeping, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and reading all the romance novels in the universe.

✍🏻 Have you grabbed Meghan Quinn’s The Wedding Game yet? ✍🏻

THE WEDDING GAME by Meghan Quinn
Release Date: March 1st
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Montlake Publishing

Add to Goodreads:

FREE in Kindle Unlimited!!
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/30aMBKz
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Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/3iYLned

USA Today bestselling author Meghan Quinn’s latest bauble is the charming story of a crafting queen battling a jaded divorce lawyer on a wedding reality show.

Luna Wu is a veritable crafting genius—she can bedazzle and bead so hard her Etsy site is one of the hottest in the world. So it’s only natural that Luna would convince her brother and his husband-to-be to compete on The Wedding Game, a “do-it-yourself” TV show, for the title of Top DIY Wedding Expert.

As a jaded divorce lawyer, Alec Baxter scoffs at weddings and romance. But when his recently engaged brother begs him to participate in The Wedding Game, Alec grudgingly picks up a glue gun and prepares for some family bonding.

Both fierce competitors, Luna and Alec clash on national TV as harsh words and glitter fly with abandon. But as they bicker over color swatches and mood boards, they find themselves fighting something else: their growing mutual attraction. While Luna is torn between family loyalty and her own feelings, Alec wonders if he might have been wrong about love and marriage all along…

“Are you ready?” Farrah says, coming from behind me and massaging my shoulders. I move my head side to side while we both hop up and down. “Did you do those finger exercises I told you about?”

I flex my fingers and nod. “Yup, all warmed up.”

“Do you have your game face on?” Farrah spins me around and grips my shoulders as I mean mug it at her. “Ooo, you’ve been practicing in the mirror. I can tell.”

“When I brush my teeth. I really feel like I’ve mastered the scowl.”

“Honey, you mastered the scowl years ago. Now you’re just coming into your own with it.” She holds up her hands, and I start boxing into them as we leap around the apartment. “Quick on your feet, quick on your feet.” Farrah swings her hand at me, and I duck. “Focus, hone your attention.”


“Tell me, who’s going to kill it today?”

“I am.” I bob back and forth and then give Farrah a one-two punch to her hands.

“Who’s going to do anything necessary, even sit on someone’s face if you need to, in order to win today’s challenge?”

“I am. Show no mercy. My ass is coming for your face.”

Farrah pauses, winces. “I’m not sure I like that.”

“Just go with it.”

“Okay, Luna’s ass is coming for your face.” She shrugs. “Next week let’s work on your trash talk.”

“Might be necessary.”

Circling again, I box at Farrah’s hands, feeling light on my feet and ready for anything that comes my way. “You’re going to ignore all conversations from Mr. Snobby Shoes.”

“I don’t even know he exists.”

“Your eyes are on the prize. And what is that prize?”

“Giving Cohen and Declan the best wedding possible.”

“Exactly.” She lowers her palms. “Quick, flash me your hands.”

I lift my hands, and she inspects them carefully.

“You lotioned—good. Nails are clipped to a perfect length, and those fingers are stretched and strong. Rotate your wrists for me.” She lowers her ear to my wrists as I circle them around. “Perfect, no cracking, no tension.” She points to the ground. “Fast feet.”

My feet start bouncing up and down, like in those football movies, and I hold my hands at my hips, ready for the call . . .

“Draw!” Farrah shouts.

I pull my glue gun from my hip and point it at her. “You’ve been glued.”

Farrah claps her hands. “Reaction time was spot on. You’re ready.”


She nods. “You got this, girl. This competition is yours for the taking. And remember what we talked about: don’t focus on what you think will win . . .”

“Focus on what will bring Cohen and Declan joy.”

About the Author:
USA Today Bestselling Author, wife, adoptive mother, and peanut butter lover. Author of romantic comedies and contemporary romance, Meghan Quinn brings readers the perfect combination of heart, humor, and heat in every book.

Connect with Meghan:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/meghanquinnauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7360513.Meghan_Quinn
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authormeghanquinn/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorMegQuinn
Website: http://authormeghanquinn.com
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/meghan-quinn
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2LitE4x

✍🏻 Professor Romance’s 4 1/2 ⭐️ Review: Stacy Travis’s Second Chance At Us ✍🏻

Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 1/2

Stacy Travis’s Second Chance At Us is my favorite book from her to date. This is a story about forgiving and embracing what life brings you. We meet Becca, the heroine of this story, in her previous book, Trouble with Him, because she is the brother of the hero in that book. Becca is the family loose cannon so to speak. She’s a labor and delivery nurse who finds comfort in working the graveyard shift and living at night instead of during the day. Stuck in a bit of a rut, her siblings are all about forcing her out of her routine. This book begins Travis’s Berkley Hills series of standalones that will feature her various siblings. 

Second Chance At Us follows Becca as she inadvertently reunites with a friend and potential love interest from high school, Blake. Since this is a second chance, hate to love romance, Travis carefully vacillates back and forth between their past and their present. They reunite when Blake shows up on Becca’s labor and delivery floor with a woman on the verge of giving birth. Seeing him again brings up many memories from a specific moment in high school when the possibility of a relationship between them is great. Unfortunately, Blake makes an unwise decision and hurts Becca terribly. Now, in the present, Blake realizes how much he has pined for Becca over the years, and Becca realizes that she has never let go of Blake. Is it possible for Becca to move beyond her hurt feelings to give Blake another chance? That is the question of Travis’s story. 

There are so many lovely parts of this book. For one, I love how Travis has set it in the Bay Area in California. As a Californian, I love the nod to San Francisco and its surrounding cities because it is an identity of its own in Blake and Becca’s relationship. Travis is careful to mark specific moments of their journey with various parts of the city, which makes this Californian ecstatic to read this persona. 

Additionally, Becca and Blake, while beautiful people, are far from perfect. They both are insecure in their own way, and it’s lovely to read about fictional people who read like real people. It feels like Travis cares for the veracity of her storytelling as she carves out people who have foibles and make mistakes. 

Lastly, the way in which Travis frames this story is one of my favorite writing techniques. To end where you begin gives me chills, and Travis’s ending will make you smile and give you goosebumps. 

If you’re like me and LOVE hate to love, second chances where the hero or heroine must work hard to remedy a past mistake, then you ought to be reading Stacy Travis’s newest book, Second Chance At Us. You will NOT be disappointed, and it will set you up for the next book of this new series.

In love and romance, 

Professor A

✍🏻 Professor Romance’s 5 ⭐️ Review: Devney Perry’s Dotted Lines ✍🏻

Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

“This was her. This was my Clara. And I’d kiss her every day for the rest of my life.”

Do you ever read a story and want to cry, not from the story itself, but rather from the telling of it? As you read Devney Perry’s newest Runaway series book, Dotted Lines, that feeling screams at you as you journey with Karson and Clara, the last two of the six teens who lived in a junkyard. It’s Perry’s quiet style, her simplicity in the telling of the stories that feel heavy with the depth of emotion. Dotted Lines is like the other stories in this series: heartfelt, charming, and surprising in the simplicity of its telling. 

I wasn’t sure how I would feel about Clara and Karson’s coupling as we first learn of Karson as Londyn’s boyfriend in Perry’s first book of the series, Runaway Road. Yet, she is so careful and thoughtful in the development of her characters and their stories that you need not worry. She takes the time to show the differences between a best friend and a soulmate in her characterizations of Londyn and Clara. There is no question that Karson and Clara are fated for each other because the abiding love she crafts as part of their story is clear. 

I love the zeitgeist of emotion found in Dotted Lines, and the rest of this series reminds you of Devney Perry’s talent at writing small-town, inspired stories. When you finish Karson and Clara’s book, you feel sated by this series, already nostalgic for more of Perry’s storytelling. This series is so astonishingly lovely and perfect in its simplicity. 

In love and romance,

Professor A

✍🏻 Professor Romance’s 5 ⭐️ Review: Penny Reid’s Marriage and Murder ✍🏻

Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

I stand in my truth: Billy Winston is still my favorite Winston brother. It’s just an undeniable truth. If you had told me in Engagement and Espionage that I would grow to like Cletus Winston, well, I would have chuckled, patted you on the back, and said, “okay…sure”, a comment that would drip with hints of sarcasm. I mean, I don’t have anything against Cletus. It’s just…he’s not my cup of Winston Brother tea. It’s that need for revenge at any cost, the reality that if there was an award for Most Petty Winston Brother, he would win, that oftentimes makes me roll my eyes and turn the page without a care for Cletus. But now, Penny Reid went ahead and ruined my mild disdain for her hero. In Marriage and Murder, her newest book, she wrote a Cletus that feels like the other Winston brothers, a hero who takes his treasuring of his fiancee to a whole other level. I mean, it’s easy to do with a heroine such as Jennifer Sylvester. The wide-eyed, seemingly innocent, Banana Cake Queen really comes into her own in this book. But, for me, it’s Cletus’s mild evolution from Petty Betty to protective hero that won my heart. Now, add to that a caper that twists and turns and (sometimes) loses you a bit, along with that strong familial sense that you find in any Winston siblings book, and you cannot possibly put down Penny Reid’s newest book to her booklist. In this book, Cletus finally transcends the minutiae of revenge to fall more madly in love with his soulmate, the ever-sweet Jennifer. 

I loved…that Jennifer recognizes her $ex kitten ways. In this book, Jennifer questions her almost oppressive Christian ideas about $ex and embraces the truth that she loves it, especially with Cletus. The fire between Cletus and Jennifer burns HOT in Marriage and Murder

I loved…that, through the Winston family, Jennifer finally gets the sibling relationships that she needs since her brother Isaac has turned his back on her. There is a very sweet moment between Jennifer and Billy that pops a tear.

I loved…that Penny keeps you guessing with the suspense of the story. There are Papa and Mama Sylvester in this story, and the fore-knowledge we have about their storylines finds development in this book. 

I loved…that I would really love more Solving for Pie stories. Cletus and Jennifer’s story does feel wrapped up in the end, but it also feels like there is more tomfoolery in Cletus and Jennifer’s lives. 

I loved…that I can never get enough of the Winston siblings. Penny brings them “all to the yard” in this book, and it continues to remind me why I adore their series and the subsequent Smartypants Romance books. Penny Reid’s stories just feel like family. As a reader, you belong. I want to live in Green Valley, Tennessee with all of these interesting, quirky characters because I feel like I might have a spot there. 

If you haven’t read Penny Reid yet, what are you waiting for? Entwined in all the qualities I’ve listed above are ideas about life, about how we treat each other, about how we live. There is a humanity in Penny Reid’s “smart romance.” And she has clearly done it again with Cletus and Jennifer’s Marriage and Murder. There is always room for Penny Reid on your TBR…and you won’t regret it. 

In love and romance,

Professor A

✍🏻 Do you love second chance, enemies-to-lovers romance set in the city by the Bay? Then you’ll love Stacy Travis’s Second Chance At Us, which is LIVE today! ✍🏻

Second Chance At Us, an all-new must-read enemies-to-lovers romance from Stacy Travis is available now!

In high school, I was the bubbly cheerleader and he was the quiet debate guy I didn’t even know existed.

But Blake Fulton made me believe in love after just one day.

Two weeks after my dad died, I was spiraling out of control and my friends had gone AWOL. Blake had never spoken to me before, but suddenly he was there. We ditched school, he bought me a burger, he made me laugh. And he kissed me better than any of those football guys ever did.

Then he ghosted me and broke my heart.

Fifteen years later, he’s back in my life. He wants to apologize and explain. He wants to prove he’s a better man now.

All I want is to resist.

But there’s something about him… the way his gorgeous gray eyes see me like I’m the only woman in the room, the way he ignites a fire that burns only for him, the way he knows what I need even before I do.

I could fall for him all over again.
I’ve never believed in second chances. Will he be the one to change my mind?

Download your copy today, or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3tJ4JJG
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/secondchanceatus

Add SECOND CHANCE AT US to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3a5ljeK

About Stacy Travis

It’s a rough world out there, and we all sometimes need a good, romantic beach read, even if we can’t make it to the beach. I’ve spent many lazy days walking the streets of Paris and other gorgeous European cities, and if I’m doing it right, I’m bringing you a dash of romance and a vacay fantasy.
I can’t sit still, so when I’m not hiking, biking or running, I’m playing a very average game of tennis. Background music for writing undoubtedly features some U2, Lizzo, Billy Joel, Pink, Taylor Swift, and Led Zeppelin. Not necessarily in that order. And if I could only eat one food group, it would be cheese. Or wine. Or bread. Are those food groups? Whatever.

Connect with Stacy
Facebook: https://bit.ly/2UbPlWv
Instagram: https://bit.ly/2xdBd62
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Uw1bcD
Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2QBKcEU
Stay up to date with Stacy by joining her mailing list: https://bit.ly/2y6nYod
Website: https://stacytravis.com

✍🏻 Professor Romance’s 5 ⭐️ Review: Sarah Mayberry’s Sweetheart ✍🏻

Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

When you enter Sarah Mayberry’s Sweetheart, you believe you’re entering a story about a young woman attracted to her sister’s ex-boyfriend. You know that the story will exist in Sarina Bowen’s True North World, specifically in the Busy Bean. What you find quickly is a charmingly brutal story about mental illness and its impact on the people who love and surround a person with mental illness. And you recognize Mayberry’s capacity to both enlighten you while making you fall in love with her characters. This was my first Sarah Mayberry book, and based on Sweetheart, it won’t be my last. 

Sweetheart tells the story of Haley, a young woman who has recently been hired at the Busy Bean. An experienced barista and waitress, Haley is excited for this new job. However, Haley’s passion lies in creating “bespoke” shoes, belts, bags, etc. Haley instantly finds herself a second family at the Busy Bean with Roderick, Zara, and Audrey. After a couple of weeks of working there, Haley realizes that the Busy Bean has lost its coffee patronage. After some investigating, she determines that the Colebury Diner has copped their clientele because they have begun using a new coffee roaster. When Haley finds out the name of the business, she visits it to negotiate with them to sell to the Busy Bean to be met with her sister Jessica’s ex-boyfriend. Haley adored Daniel Beck from afar, never believing that he could ever have eyes for her given that her sister is gorgeous and charismatic. What she finds on meeting him again is someone who wants to avoid her.

Meeting Haley brings Beck back to the difficult time with her sister. At first, he lies to her explaining that they have no room on their clientele list for the Busy Bean. However, after his brother and business partner finds out about his lie, he agrees to deliver to the Busy Bean. Very quickly, Beck and Haley find themselves drawn to each other beyond explanation. However, Jessica’s shadow threatens their potential future. 

Both Beck and Haley are romantic characters that are easy to love. From the beginning of the story, my heart bled a little bit for Haley as she has lived in the shadow of her sister’s life. I find myself drawn to characters such as Haley, empathizing with their feelings of insecurity born of comparisons to an older sibling. As Beck rejects her over and over again as his own personal protection, your heart hurts for Haley. She’s compassionate, hardworking, tenacious, brilliantly creative, and kind. Everyone who knows her loves her, and yet, you can see her pain in Beck’s rejection. At first, you don’t want to like Beck because his spurning of Haley feels painful. However, as we find out more about his relationship with Jessica, his actions make sense. Eventually, the true Beck is shown as he recognizes that he and Haley are perfect for each other. Once they recognize the perfection of their coupling, Beck becomes protective of her and he encourages her towards her dream, cementing himself as the epitome of a swoony hero.

The story becomes most important as we understand Haley’s sister’s mental illness. Mayfield aptly and deftly crafts a story that shows the co-dependency of a relationship with someone with a mental illness, the difficulty of this relationship as family members and friends struggle with walking the line of intervention and allowing the person with mental illness to maintain their authority/autonomy. For much of the story, Mayfield brilliantly illustrates the impossibility of these relationships. Thankfully, she allows Beck to speak truth to Haley and her parents, and Mayfield offers a beautiful epilogue that shows the results of communication and breaking the cycle of co-dependency. 

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from Sarah Mayfield’s Sweetheart. I knew that I would read anything in Sarina Bowen’s True North World because the characters and their stories are beloved. Sweetheart, in my opinion, has cemented itself as a perfect addition to this universe. It’s an important reminder that romance can be more: more than the world in which it exists, more than the physicality of two romantic characters, and more than just a simple romance. It can be a reminder that fiction is simply a keen reflection of our own world, and it can challenge us to make better choices to live more abundant lives. I loved Sweetheart, and I think you will too. 

In love and romance, 

Professor A