by Julieann Dove
Publication Date: March 7, 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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Brian and Marcie were supposed to live happily ever after–they repeated vows that stated that very sentence. So no one, especially Brian, could have predicted that Marcie would file for divorce. It was difficult to fight the situation, finding that all his possessions were packed and waiting by the door when he came home from work that Thursday evening.
Kate Moore sat in a stupor for a month. Unlike any other breakup she had experienced, this felt more like a drive by shooting, with her ex holding the smoking gun as he sped away. What happened, she asked herself, knee-deep in peanut butter cups and bags of cheese doodles. Oliver was the man she was going to marry…she’d already pinned a secret board of wedding dresses and honeymoon destinations.
1247 Sycamore Street, Apartment A and B respectively, is where Kate and Brian find themselves after their tumultuous breakups. An unlikely relationship would soon ensue between these shattered souls, and ‘what ifs’ would slowly rise to the surface of their attraction for one another. But, what would happen to their budding relationship when their ex’s want a second chance?
Kate ran into her apartment, searching for her ringing phone. She couldn’t remember where she was when she checked her Facebook on it an hour ago. Ah, the bathroom! She dashed to the small room down the hall and grabbed it off the sink. “Hello.”
“Hey girl. I’ve been calling you. Where have you been?”
It was her only friend from the city, Carlee. “I was helping a new guy into the building.”
“Oh, do tell. Is he cute? Tall? Have money? Can he take you off to Paris to paint the Eiffel Tower?”
“Um, he, sort of, I’m not sure, and I’m content to stay in the States, thank you very much.”
“Sure you are. That’s why…never mind. So tell me about him. What’s he like? Single, I hope. You need someone single, Kate. Married men are nothing but trouble. Trust me, I just dumped one.”
“Carlee! You are incorrigible. And I do not need a single man! Technically, he’s not single, anyway. He and his wife are taking a break.”
“Say no more,” Carlee interrupted. “He’s single. He just doesn’t know it yet. ‘Break’ is code for ‘getting divorced.’ That also makes him complicated. Stay away from that one. Does he have kids? You never want to date someone with kids. Trust me.”
“I have no idea if he has kids. And don’t get me started with complicated. I lived with someone who was complicated. Trusted my gut on complicated. I know to run from complicated.”
“You did that profile, didn’t you? I can’t tell you how many guys I meet on Mingle.com. It’s just out there, waiting for you to sink that line into. Trust me.”
“Even the name of the site scares me.”
“Why? That’s all we want to do, right? Mingle? Screw the commitment crap. Guys don’t know how to.”
“That’s the truth.”
“Have you broken the news to your mom yet?”
“Um, no. Why would I do that? I don’t want her to start worrying again. When I moved here, she had two anxiety attacks. Of course, she packed my bags and said this was the only way out of Buckingham County to realize my dream. But it gave her nightmares to think I’d get mugged or murdered. I don’t want her to worry. At least when I was with Oliver, she said she was more at ease knowing someone was taking care of me. Ha! Someone taking care of me, all right.” Kate threw a sock at the wall.
“She might notice when you don’t come home for Thanksgiving with Oliver, don’t you think?”
“I’m working on that strategy, thank you very much.”
“Work on your profile and you might be safe.”
“What does that mean?”
“You said you never sent any pictures of Oliver to her, right?”
“She doesn’t have Facebook, and she refuses to get a smartphone. She says if they can’t wait until she gets home to talk to her on the house phone, that’s their problem.”
“Okay, so get a stand-in for Oliver. Take him home and problem solved.”
“You make it sound so easy. I doubt anyone wants to do that. Especially guys on Mingle.com.”
“Yeah, guys are jerks. You’d have to promise money or your body to get someone to go home and pose as a boyfriend.”
“Neither of which I have much of.”
“Oh please, girl. Oliver couldn’t get enough of your body. And money will start to come. Get working on those pictures. I can get you space at the next show.”
“I’m so excited. I haven’t painted since…well, since you know.”
“Yeah. And you haven’t had a decent date since then either. Get on Mingle.com right now and get that profile done. You need to stop thinking about Oliver and get on with your life.”
“I know. I will.”
“Okay. Take care and I’ll talk to you soon.”
Kate hung up and went to her computer. Computer dating? She’d officially sunk to an all-time low. If the guys back home could see her now. No one used a computer to date there. You just pulled up to the Tastee Freez and shared a booth with whoever tickled your fancy. But she was determined not to go back there. At least not to settle down. New York was in her blood now. The plays, the subways, the crazy taxi cab drivers—she loved it all. She just wished she wasn’t so lonely. Tastee Freez had its drawbacks, but she could always count on when she went inside, Dawn, the waitress, would always talk her ear off about everyone in town, and who was dating who and who was on heart pills and couldn’t eat bacon anymore. And the smell…she could smell the fatty cheeseburgers now frying on the griddle. Leon made the best cheeseburgers. When she dated Rod, they went there for dinner every Friday night. That was before he’d take her to see whatever was playing at the cinema downtown. It was usually something that premiered everywhere else in the world a month ago. It was only four bucks, what did they care?
No, she couldn’t get trapped in that picture…those memories. New York was where she longed to live. Where she begged her dad and mom to let her come after college. They put the deposit on her crappy apartment that was as big as her entire bedroom at home. She couldn’t give up on her dream now. Loneliness would wear off eventually. Oliver was nothing more than a bump in the road. She’d feel better soon and begin to realize her dream of being someone’s favorite artist.
ABOUT JULIEANN DOVE
Julieann lives in Virginia, where she loves collecting houseplants, sewing cute little quilts, and writing about messy love. She fell in love with reading at a young age, after following Nancy Drew in solving the mysteries of the world. This carries on today, as crime shows are among her favorite to watch. Well those and the Hallmark channel love stories and mysteries. Keeping busy with soon-to-be six children, she needs time to unwind!