Sometimes the life you planned isn’t the one you get to live. Sometimes the pain of the past overshadows the future. And sometimes to start over you have to go back to where it all began. That’s how it was for Joe Masters. That’s how he ended up back in New Hope. And that’s why he was in his thirties and had nothing to show for his life. He needed a complete overhaul, just like his father’s old house. Instead of a fast track, he had slowed down and was on a ten year plan. These days that was more his speed. And as much as he tried to fight the inevitable, he was learning to accept and surrender.

Martha had weathered her fair share of storms in Vermont, was accustomed to the cold, both the chill in the air and the cold shoulder in her marriage, but after the miscarriage she felt like she would never get warm again. So she did the research from the laptop while sitting in front of the fireplace. She knew what she needed when she Googled hope, she just never imagined that it would bring her to New Hope, South Carolina. She never imagined that her husband would trick her into leaving and never follow. She never imagined that a southern storm with all its force and fury could be so destructive. But after the storm, the land is washed clean. It’s perfect for a fresh start, a clean slate, and a new love.


“He threw his hands up in the air. “I give up. You want “to lay tile?” A smile spread across her face. “Fine. We will lay tile. We will even lay tile tonight if you’d like. I can’t have you there during the day distracting the guys. Meet me later.”

She smiled and picked up her phone. “I guess you aren’t as sick of me as you thought.”

He glanced over and saw Laurel eyeing them. His hot sauce was on the line. He could feel it. And he wouldn’t be able to even buy a cookie again if he wasn’t careful. Still, he refused to let her think that he missed her. “Are you insane? Today was pleasant. It was wonderful. There was no drama. I was able to go to work and relax for the first time since you came to town. In a perfect world, I’d have been able to enjoy a nice quiet lunch, too, but instead…you’re like kudzu!”

“The website?” She asked, confused.

“There’s a website?” He shook his head. “NO, not the website. Kudzu the plant. Why would I know about a website?”

She shrugged. “Good point. It isn’t porn.” 


Nicki has lived in Charlotte, North Carolina with her children for the past eleven years and her husband for the past three years. Her journey has barely begun and she loves every minute of it. Every day of her life seems to bring new adventures, some bigger, better, shinier and prettier than others. She's still getting used to that new life smell she's experiencing, a combination of hope, love, and happiness. (The perfect scents to build a new life on...)

For fun, she spends time with those she cares about, cooks, reads, writes, and especially lives to travel. The current travel goal: visit every Margaritaville. Two down! (Eleven to go?)

In addition to writing on Suddenly Single Journey, Nicki is a contributor for Project Underblog. Her writing can also be found on Shine, where she is a Shine Parenting Guru and an award winning Yahoo! Contributor on YourWisdom as the relationship and dating expert. And she has been published by McClatchy News in their syndicated papers.


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