Hear the first chapter of the audiobook for The Curvy Side of Life by Suzie Carr @girl_novelist on this episode of Book Clips, the mini podcast that gives listeners a taste of a book.
Listen to this episode here
With her divorce finally behind her, Faith Miller is ready to move forward. And then, life tosses her a few unavoidable curveballs. Before long, she finds herself traveling down to her sister’s house on the coast of Rhode Island with her seven-year old daughter. What she hoped might be a reflective time for her turns into a whirlwind adventure, thanks to her sister’s live-in in-laws and the gorgeous pet and house-sitting neighbor, Candace. Candace is sexy and fun, and pulls on Faith’s heart. Faith, trying to stay focused and get her life back on track, attempts to ignore her growing feelings for Candace to no avail.
What starts out as a casual and steamy interlude evolves into something more serious. Will Faith decide her heart is better closed off from potential heartbreak or will she open it back up again to see what this new love has to offer?
please note this transcript has not been edited and is automatically generated meaning certain words will be incorrect
you are listening to book clips a mini podcast in which authors and erasers do readings from novels check out the show notes for the synopsis and by links for this book the curvy side of life written by Suzie Carr read by Stephanie Murphy chapter one never in faiths Miller’s wildest dreams did she imagine her life could end up so out of control that first drop of trouble over a year ago compounded and then all certainty in life buckled collapsing faster than she could put it back together it all started when her spouse of ten years fell in love with a woman they worked with at the university next came the basement flood after that Faith’s layoffs as a public relations specialist at the university happened whoa and then the squirrels the squirrels on a drizzly morning faith sat on a sidewalk curb half a mile away from her house she waited for a tow truck which had already surpassed its promise of a 30-minute arrival she stared at the smoldering giant nest on her car engine and groaned twigs crunchy leaves and white puffs of scratchy mattress stuffing smothered her engine she expected a family of squirrels to pop out of its womb at any moment she brushed a piece of lint off the sleeve of her new business suit and laughed at the absurdity of her situation her only interview since her layoff and there she sat in the rain with no choice but to call and cancel a few minutes later the squeaking of the tow trucks brakes brought faith out of her wallow she climbed to her feet pushing aside memories of her former life with its full bank account and ego intact and opened her eyes to the fowl diesel truck that would tow her broken car down the interstate an eagerness rested on the kind face of the man who walked toward her she latched on to it grateful to see a friend the familiar person third time’s a charm huh he said shaking her hand faith could only shrug mothballs didn’t work this time they caused my lungs to freak out and I ended up clinging to an oxygen mask in the emergency room so no no to mothballs he offered an apologetic nod well I’ll get it hooked up then we can get you off to the mechanic again again faith sat back down and watched as he examined the nest like the other two times he pulled the nest apart and placed its contents into a trash bag the squirrels worked hard on this one faith understood too well how hard those squirrels worked to keep their home intact and how easily it could be destroyed that afternoon her sister Danielle called for their monthly checkin why don’t you and Bristol come spend some time down at the lake house this summer you’ve never seen it and it’s been so long since we’ve gotten together faith guzzled wine and stole a glance at herself in the mirror by the patio door despite having smooth her layers with a large barrel curling iron that morning her natural waves too dark and drab from lack of low lights lately spiraled more than usual around her shoulders I need to find a job I have the Internet here we’re not all sand in Beach loungers we even have a stove refrigerator and get this electricity way to win me over faith said wiping the smeared mascara from underneath her swollen dark eyes seriously says you’ve got the summer off and it would do you good to get away from that place for a while she hadn’t taken an extended vacation in over a decade well before graduate school I don’t know I could use the help at the salon faith laughed I haven’t cut hair since high school if I visited and that’s a big if I’m not cutting hair I’ll need to be sending out resumes so I can earn some income fine send out resumes and in between will be silly well drink wine and you can watch me cut hair can you put my life back together while you’re at it Oh think about it faith looked at her watch Stuart should have returned Bristol half an hour ago he was probably helping a nice old lady put groceries in her car I have to get going Bristol will be home any minute and I need to cook her dinner how’s my little cutie pie nice doing confused as ever hmm she’s doing fine well give her a hug from her aunty and tell her I have a big beautiful lake she can enjoy this summer if her mother decides they should each have some fun will do and sis Danielle said have faith she smiled at her sisters favourite closing line love you as the next hour passed and she waited on Stuart to bring Bristol home she mulled over her sister’s invite although a trip would do them good and maybe even Danielle’s magical soothing ability could get Bristol to start opening up again to the outside world she needed to focus one day when she’d put her life back together they’d take that trip an hour later than scheduled Bristol bolted through the front door with Stuart in her wake mommy look I’m wearing lipstick her seven-year-old daughter had painted her tiny lips glossy pink you look beautiful sweetheart she hugged her daughter and kissed the top of her golden head of hair she was a mini Stuart with her light hair and blue eyes so daddy bought you lipstick huh he didn’t buy me lipstick right daddy she backed out of faiths embrace Stewart’s cheek flinched then it turned red no then where did you get it faith remained cheerful for Bristol’s sake Jilly gave it to me her cheeks pink tup enjoy innocent in her admiration for the woman who stole her daddy from her mommy faith glared at steward over Bristol’s head he began raking his hand through his thick head of hair screw him hey guess what faith smiled down at Bristol taking her first bold step since the divorce we’re going to take a trip to Rhode Island to see aunty Danielle’s lake house this summer for the whole summer Bristol asked for as long as we like faith chucked at crystals hand come on let’s get you some dinner you can’t take her away for as long as you like Stuart said faith stopped and tightened her squeeze around her daughter’s hand sure I can but what about my Saturday visitations simple you and your little girlfriend can drive down to see her on Saturdays ah that’s not fair it never is faith tugged bristol along with her down the hallway he mumbled something about the contractors needing time anyway to fix the basement flooring in the walls from the flood they’d suffered for days later she and Bristol packed a parental and headed to Rhode Island they both needed the trip she recited this to herself for the entire two-hour trip south from Boston time away from the problems of the failed marriage and her job loss would offer clarity according to her best friend Sally faith hope she was right by noon as she maneuvered the curvy roads of Rhode Island’s South County she relaxed the air smelled as if it had been kissed by the sea the plush green grass suede on the front lawns of quaint Lake homes with oversized porches adorned with colorful impatiens the American flag waved at them from in front of every bay window children chased one another and dogs barked the Sun sparkled on the gorgeous leaves of maples and Oaks faith forgot how special and welcoming the streets of Rhode Island could be in the summer time she hadn’t visited often since leaving nearly 13 years before to attend graduate school in Boston Stewart disliked Danielle’s in-laws faith liked Danielle’s mother-in-law Lucia but Danielle’s sister-in-law Martina was hard to take with her overbearing personality with nothing but time on her hands now she returned to her home state seeking nourishment something she knew she would never find in this cement landscape of downtown Boston with each bend in the road she prayed somewhere on the other side of those curves that her problems would disappear and she’d begin to reclaim a piece of herself in the rearview mirror Bristol looked so small like a scared pup wanting to remain in the comfort of a crate her baby blue eyes scanned the unfamiliar homes and people this is going to be a great summer she said to Bristol I hope auntie Danielle lets me play with the turtle Ralph the turtle they had pictures of him all over the side of their fridge Danielle would send one with each letter she wrote to Bristol I’m sure if you ask her she’ll say yes faith caught her daughters glum stare through the rear view mirror her heart sank poor kid was afraid to speak to anyone besides her and Stuart Bristol deserved more than a set of divorced parents and a future filled with uncertainty anything could happen and that level of surprise freaked faith out when they arrived at Danielle’s faith flung open her car door and crawled out to stretch her cramped legs her sister ran toward her with open arms and her happy dimples deepened along her cheeks her long thick hair now colored with a touch of golden brown camouflage the grey hair coming into her center part Danielle’s hippie style reminded faith of better times filled with ice cream cones roller skates and hopscotch I’ve missed you so much Danielle whispered as they embraced faith gulped back restrained tears she fell deeper into her sisters hug comforted by her familiarity and safety Danielle pulled away and sought out Bristol yanking open the back door Danielle smiled doubled in size oh my goodness look at you she extended her hand and to faith surprise Bristol took it when she climbed out of the car Danielle bent down to her eye level you are so grown-up she ran her fingers through Bristol’s golden curls your hair I’m so jealous you didn’t get these curls from me Bristol’s eyes warmed as she took in the welcome faiths heart ballooned Danielle put her arm around Bristol shoulder and urged her up the driveway how old are you again Bristol shrugged faiths heart deflated on a quick puncture every since the marital tension began with Stuart two years ago Bristol stop talking to people would she ever find her voice again she’s seven faith answered for her in a singsong voice even though Danielle already knew that’s a great age Daniel continued leading her up the driveway toward the double garage where her Mercedes shined under the fluorescent lights When I was your age I liked being a great listener too I can tell we’re going to get along just fine you and me she squeezed her shoulder and then set Bristol free only Bristol remained close to her aunts side as she let them past the Mercedes and up a set of wooden stairs to the door once inside the scent of maple and sugar greeted them aside from the ticking of the second-hand on the hallway clock the house sat silent they proceeded down a side hallway passing a bathroom at a laundry room then the hallway opened up into her grand kitchen area where beautiful copper pans hung above an island that included five large gas burners and an indoor grill tasteful brick dressed the walls and offered a cozy country charm to what would otherwise be too large of a space to call home this is a far cry from Elm Street faith traced her finger along the granite countertop when you said you bought a lake house I thought she met one of those cottages we stayed in as kids at Spring Lake I do miss those lumpy bunk beds and even the mildewed windows the good old days Danielle’s voice filled with laughter as she picked up a plate of golden cookies and offered some to Bristol Bristol looked to faith with arched eyebrows go ahead sweetie if you want a cookie you can have one Bristol snatched one up and then smiled at Danielle enjoy Danielle whispered it’s so quiet faith whispered and her voice echoed against the page sealing for now Daniele smirked and bit into a cookie but she handed one to faith faith bit into the decadent crunchy sugar cookie and circled her gaze around the open rooms peace and tranquillity sifted its treasure on them this trip would be exactly what they needed I should get the bags faith turned toward the garage door and noticed the desiderata poem hanging on the wall she had sent it after Danielle’s husband Lucas passed away ten years prior faiths note of encouragement hung next to it they caught each other’s eye and in that moment a tinge of sadness curled up around the sharp take of the clock everyone missed Lucas and no amount of cookies smiling or laughter would fill that loss I’ll help Danielle nudged faith forward Bristol I left you a little surprise in your bedroom your room is up the stairs to the second landing first door on the right I hope you like pink rooms it’s very pink Bristol remained planted in the kitchen nibbling on her cookie and steering wide-eyed at the vaulted ceilings Danielle turned to faith with a question sitting on her lips she’ll be fine faith grabbed her sister’s arm she needs time to warm up Danielle’s mouth twisted she’ll come around especially if you let her hang out with Ralph she gets a kick out of how he wanders around the house like a dog Danielle stopped walking there’s no more Ralph no more Ralph he escaped how does a turtle escape Lucia thought it would be a good idea to create a sanctuary for him on the side of the deck the place he could son himself and be in the wild sort of that I mean as wild as he can get in Rhode Island so she placed huge flat and planted tall marshy grasses she even dug a shallow hole and placed a plastic pool in it from Walmart one day out there and he escaped Danielle’s zany mother-in-law Lucia was a hoot Lucia must have freaked she put signs up with a reward a man called us and told us he found a turtle matching Ralph’s description on the side of the street so not wanting Ralph to be run over he brought him to the creek at the end of the cul-de-sac and released him so anyway Cheers to Ralph’s freedom she raised her hand up as if offering a cheer freedom faith asked he lived his entire life in a bathtub being fed fish food the poor little fellow isn’t going to know what to do out there on his own well we looked for him Lucy a dove into the creek knee-deep in mud searching for ours huh faith headed out the garage door she couldn’t wait to see that turtle a few moments later they arrived at the back hatch of her rental SUV Danielle hugged faith again I am so happy you came it’s been too long since we’ve seen each other well never again I missed you too much they stood at arm’s length and grinned it’s good to be here the frantic yelling of a woman chasing a tall lanky hound dog in the street cut their reunion short the dog stopped in front of the house next door it sniffed a flattened plastic bottle the dark-haired woman wearing a pair of tight orange shorts and a black tank top fastened a leash to the dog’s collar and released an exacerbated sigh she waved to them then turned and jogged with the dog back up the street that’s yoga goddess Danielle watch them disappear over the hill yoga goddess yeah my guess the neighbors must have hired her to walk their dog no one ever tells each other what’s happening anymore everyone’s so secret around here not at all like where we grew up on Rhodes Avenue where everyone knew everyone’s favorite drink or television show why yoga goddess Lucia Martina and I see her doing yoga every morning in the grass Martina Danielle nodded she lives down here with us before now after her divorce it got lonely for her in that big house and Lincoln with her working at the salon it’s just easier for her to be here rather than dealing with summer traffic besides my kids love having her around she and Emmie go shopping a lot and Christian adores working with her at the salon now that he’s got his cosmetology license faith groaned uh she’s so over the top I don’t know how long I’ll be able to deal with her she’s harmless Danielle patted her arm so anyway tomorrow morning when we have our coffee on the deck will point yoga got us out to you faith would not need her to be pointed out she’d spot that long torso and firm but with no effort faith bent over into the SUV and tugged on a suitcase I packed for a trip around the world nice car I love the color Danielle helped her guide the heavy suitcase to the ground it’s a rental which by the way I need to return to Avis tomorrow Stuart got the car in the divorce no the squirrels did Danielle grunted and pulled on the suitcases handle long story best told over tall glasses of wine very tall well I can’t wait to hear this story Danielle wheeled the suitcase away from the SUV we’re going to have a blast this summer maybe you’ll even find someone interesting down here she winked why on earth would I want to find someone else Daniel waved her hand up and down the length of faiths body because he got the curves going on and he got robbed on the first go around faith couldn’t say the same about the curves for Danielle with not an ounce of fat on her bones she could eat anything she wanted unlike faiths who only had to look at a sugar cube to gain five pounds it’s been a year for me I need to get my life in order before I can even consider treating myself to a manicure let alone a date what’s your Excuse I already had the best of the best no one gets that lucky twice in a lifetime but you you haven’t had the best yet faith stopped Danielle from willing her luggage up the driveway it’s been ten years since Lucas died it could be 20 but time is irrelevant I have no desire so that’s it you’re going to dry up and never date again for the next 40 or 50 years I have friends I have Lucia I have Emmy and Christian I have the salon and now I have you and Bristol I’m happy a peaceful glow rested on her golden face oh and I also have tree-removal faith scanned her sister down to her long polished fake fingernails what are you talking about I cut up dead trees and used the wood in my fireplace buying what is expensive not that I’m hard up for money but I hate spending money on things that I don’t have to like firewood yep Danielle continued to pull the luggage my friend Alan and I hunt for fallen trees Alan huh Danielle laughed my friend Alan we run the Bible studies at st. Joe’s on Friday nights turns out he loves wood as much as me it’s hard not to mention unsafe to cut trees alone in the woods and he has a pickup truck so it’s a thing we do hmm a thing you do faith took control of the luggage she gripped the handle and climbed the steps is she talking about shopping would Lucia said coming around the garage entrance carrying a planter box filled with petunias she lowered it and opened her arms wide exposing her muddy checkered blouse and freckled chest Lucy’s hair poked out in all directions the way it had last time faith had seen her plump and wrinkled she wore her happiness like a charm hey Lucia faith placed her heavy bag on the steps and walked down to accept the Welcome Lucy has squeezed her and then stepped back you look like you could use some coffee a few days in this house and we will have those bags under your eyes gone like they never existed come Lucia took her hand and led her toward the steps and by the way I II think the wood cutting is a cover-up but she won’t admit it Alan and I are just friends who liked to cut wood together we have a tree to cut up this weekend it’s an old oak that toppled over in someone’s front yard a few streets over wanna help hauling wood burns calories lots of them Danielle winked faith sucked in her stomach self-conscious of her growing curves and now apparently dark circles under her eyes faith found Bristol lying on her back on her pink bed hugging a teal journal to her chest what do you have sweetheart she sat up and placed the journal on her lap it’s a diary faith glanced at the heart sticker from Danielle I used to love my diary faith sat down next to her I used to write myself a note every night Bristol traced her finger on the sparkles what did you say in it I’d write about happy and sad things or when your aunty and I would get mad at each other faith giggled Bristol smiled up at her revealing her missing front tooth I liked her all tension from the past year released from faiths shoulders she’s a good person she makes the best cookies she sure does Bristol lifted a napkin from beside her and revealed a pile of them they both laughed and then munched on more cookies do you think auntie knows I can’t talk in front of her faith weighed her daughters frustration I’ll be sure to explain it to her and to Lucia Bristol bit into her cookie yeah tell her to faith shoved the rest of her cookie into her mouth I will she shifted onto her knees no pressure if you don’t want to talk you don’t have to if you do then you do okay faith looked around to the pink room Danielle didn’t skimp on the decor from the lacy curtains to the miniature table set with tea cups to the adorable stuffed pink teddy bear on the rocking chair next to the canopy bed the room lifted her spirits it smelled like fresh rain on a sunny day where’s Emmie Bristol asked she’s with her aunt Martina at the mall faith tapped Bristol’s nose I hear she likes to make puzzles to panic hung in her daughter’s eyes faith wished she could carry her daughter’s fears for once she wished she could ease the words out of her she wished she could create that safe place where words flowed and her shyness evaporated under the sun’s warm in good time the counselors said patience and time want a race to see who can eat a cookie the fastest faith handed her a fresh one before faith could grab one for herself Bristol had already begun shoving hers into her mouth I’m winning Bristol mumbled as cookie crumbs rained down onto her lap they busted into giggles forgetting the uncertainty and emotional baggage for the time being after leaving Bristol’s room faith ventured into hers she sat on a white wicker chair in the guest bedroom admiring the piece for a few more minutes before she headed back down to join her sister and Lucia the antique white framed bed with its charming louvered accents boosted sophistication everything dead down to the delicate touches of matching washcloths and bath towels her sister had put out for her she picked up a copy of Rhode Island monthly magazine and thumbed through it Rhode Island had small-town charm with all its local restaurants that hosted happy hours festive pathways decorated with overflowing flowerbeds and mature thick branch trees and concerts on the bustling waterfront in Providence maybe the trip would help her figure out what the hell she should do with the rest of her life you have been listening to book clips check out the show notes for the synopsis and by links for this book if you are interested in showcasing your novel then check out the show notes for more information [Music]