Sometimes you write something you like so much, you don't want to take the chance that it may be months, years, or an eternity before someone reads it. That's the case with this short little scene from "Helium Wars," a book I'm co-authoring with my friend Todd Hewey. No need for a setup or backstory here. I just wanted to share a snippet of something I enjoyed writing. Enjoy!



Tom smiled and took her hand, pulling her out of the flowing crowd and into a small coffee shop. The smell of ground coffee blasted them as they entered, a heady and intoxicating aroma that Tom had all but forgotten thanks to hours spent in Starbucks. Here, in this independently owned bar, the grinding machines weren’t encased in sound-proof shells. This meant that the place was loud in that all-encompassing, comfortable cocooning sort of way that only true coffee shops can produce. It also meant that fine particles of roasted beans were aspirated into the air, drifting on the mild currents of air conditioning until they came to be inhaled by patrons with a true appreciation of the art of coffee.

Of course, Tom would be considered the lowest form of pagan in an establishment like this. A man willing to douse his brew with as much cream and sugar as he could get into it without tipping the balance past its saturation level would hardly be welcome here. Still, it smelled nice.

And more importantly, it was the kind of environment where two people, huddled intimately close together at a far corner table, could go both unnoticed and unheard as they talked about things best left unsaid in public.

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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at


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