Sam’s ex-wife Linda is taken aback when Sam cooks a full homemade dinner for her and son Nick. Linda is ready to head back over to Grey House to sleep, but Nick insists she stay at their house. Sam agrees to one night, but wants to know what Linda has up her sleeve. The next day Linda stops by Cassie’s store looking for help. She is grateful to Cassie for being there for Nick. She needs a birthday gift for her son, and Cassie hands over a special Chinese scroll to consider. The scroll has a message that reads, “Who wishes to fight must first count the cost.” Linda shares that she will be doing a business takeover in Hong Kong. She is thrilled with the gift and decides to take it for Nick. Later, Linda gives Nick his gift and he loves it. She reveals that this is not his only gift.
At the Bistro Café, Stephanie confronts Martha about a rumor she has heard- Java Shed is looking to open a competing coffee shop in Middleton. Martha thinks this would be great for the town, while Stephanie is worried the new shop would take away all of her business.
Ryan stops by Bell, Book & Candle with breakfast for Cassie. There are posters up for the 13th anniversary celebration of the store. They share a tender moment, and are about to kiss when Grace and Abigail interrupt them. Grace looks dismayed, and Abigail asks her if she thinks Ryan and Cassie make a cute couple.
At the café, Stephanie mentions to Cassie that she thinks Linda is up to something, and she has heard that things are heating up between Cassie and Ryan. Stephanie also tells Cassie about the Java Shed rumor.
Cassie runs into Brandon downtown and gives him a tin of goodies for Tara’s return to Middleton. Cassie senses that their love is a great one, and she shares that her recipe for a happy marriage includes communication. The next day Brandon picks up Tara at the bus and they are ecstatic to see each other. At Grey House they look through an old album and laugh at silly photos of themselves. It is clear that they have missed each other.
Abigail is watching the store when Grace stops by. Cassie is out with Ryan (again) and Grace seems concerned about their growing connection. Abigail reassures her that Cassie won’t be gone all the time.
Nick and Linda stop by Sam’s office with news that they are going to Hong Kong-- Linda is taking him on her business trip for a whole month. Sam flatly says no, that Nick has school. He is stunned that no one thought to discuss it with him. Linda argues that the trip will be an educational experience. They send Nick back to the car, and the two parents argue about the trip.
Stephanie gives Martha a bill for her coffee the day before. She is furious that Martha did not tell her the day before that the business plan for bringing in Java Shed was already in the works. Martha tells her that Java Shed will attract other businesses, and that she really wants a big box store!
Sam drops by Grey House and discloses Linda’s plan to Cassie. He is tired of looking like the bad guy. He confides in Cassie that Linda did not initially fight for custody at all, and that if Nick finds out he will be crushed.
Later Cassie and Ryan are sharing dessert at the café when Ryan tells her that since the storm she seems a bit “not there.” He invites her and Grace to come to dinner with him and his parents the following night and Cassie agrees to attend.
Grace and Nick catch up outside of school. Nick seems relaxed and happy for the first time, which Grace likes. He tells her about going to Hong Kong with his mom, and about his mom’s boyfriend Geoffrey. He tells her that Geoffrey tries to act like his stepdad, and although it’s weird, he’s gotten used to it. Grace confides that she doesn’t want things to change between her and her mom. Later, Grace is helping in the kitchen and Cassie invites her to the dinner with Ryan and his parents. Grace does not want to go, and Cassie lets her off the hook. Cassie reassures her that she will always be there for Grace, no matter what.
Ryan meets with Richie, who reveals that Jones has just purchased the building that houses the Bell, Book & Candle. They have a new franchisee who wants to sign a 5 year lease and will pay double the rent. It is Ryan’s job to get the old tenant out and smooth things over.
Cassie finds a note on the door of her store. She shows it to Sam; she has not been able to get ahold of Ryan to help. Her lease has expired, and she does not have a contract to fall back on. Cassie is visibly upset.
At the station, Brandon gives his two-week notice to Derek--he will be relocating to San Francisco to be with Tara. One of them has to compromise, so that their flame will not go out. Derek is disappointed, and tells Brandon that he was grooming him to be his successor.
Linda drops by Grey House to borrow some tea, and talks to Cassie about her plans to take Nick to Hong Kong. She wants to garner support from Cassie, but Cassie is reluctant. Linda reports that Cassie has helped her to see that she can’t back down from the fight with Sam.
Linda and Sam argue again about the trip and about Nick’s well-being. Linda tells Sam that Cassie is on her side and Sam is in disbelief. Nick begs his dad to please let him go with his mom.
Ryan meets up with his parents at the Bistro Café, and Cassie is running late. Ryan’s parents ask about his big announcement, but he does not have one. They thought he had some big news to share, but he defers. Finally he relays that he does have some news, and his parents assume it is about a wedding with Cassie. He laughs and asks why they would think that. He tells them about his new job in Chicago and they seem happy for him.
Sam stops at Grey House as Cassie is on her way out, and wants to know if Cassie in fact thinks Hong Kong is a good idea for Nick. She tells him to consider the source and Sam realizes this is just Linda manipulating him. He tells Cassie that she looks amazing, and she shares that she is about to go to dinner with Ryan. Sam seems tense, and Cassie slows things down. They sit down to have tea and talk some more about the situation with Linda. She advises Sam that there must be a reason for this fight, and that Sam needs to discover what it is so that he may find a solution to his problem.
Tara finally confides her secret to Brandon. He first tells her that he quit his job, and she then informs him that she got accepted into a doctorate program in Cambridge, England. Brandon is floored and upset that she accepted without talking to him about it. It is too far from home, and he can’t leave Middleton- not now. He loves Tara, but this is too much to ask. Later, Brandon asks for his job back. He tells Derek that he needs to stay in town for Cassie and Grace. Derek thinks to be with Tara is just as important, because she is family as well.
Sam shares information with Cassie about her building. He found the person who bought it and offered to buy it back but the new owner won’t budge. The man has new plans for the shop that don’t include Cassie. Sam lets the cat out of the bag- the buyer is Jones, the man Ryan is working for. Cassie is stunned, and Sam apologizes for being the bearer of bad news.
Linda and Nick are looking over photos of Hong Kong when Sam returns home from Grey House. Linda tells him that Stephanie called and she is wondering just how many women Sam has in Middleton. Sam still refuses to let Nick go to Hong Kong. He wants Linda to leave immediately. Nick comes in between them, and tells his dad that he wants to be with his mom. He is not allowed to steal him from his mom twice.
Cassie walks by the darkened Bell, Book & Candle and seems overcome with emotion and memories. Stephanie confronts Ryan at the café about Java Shed and Ryan relays that he was trying to fix the situation. Cassie finally appears at the café to speak with Ryan and they talk about what is happening. Ryan needs Cassie to give him a chance to make this right.
Sam seems to be holding on too tightly to his son. Nick tells him after high school he will leave and never come back. Later, Linda is serious about getting custody and has spoken with her lawyer. Nick does not want to live with Sam. Now it is up to Sam to decide whether or not Nick will get hurt in a custody battle.
The next morning, Sam and Cassie meet up and talk about what Ryan is trying to do to rectify the situation with Jones and Cassie’s building. Cassie explains that her shop is where she and Jake first met, and where she found her roots in Middleton. She is very attached to the space.
Stephanie is back at the courthouse to badger Martha, but Martha has had no success in stopping the Java Shed from coming to Middleton.
Tara stops by the Bell, Book & Candle and expresses her sorrow at Cassie losing her store. She tells Cassie that Brandon is unsure about going to England. Cassie gives her Brandon’s ice skates. Cassie wants to donate them to the ice rink, and Tara offers to drop them off. Later, Brandon meets up with Cassie and they argue about what Brandon should do. Cassie is not okay with him staying in town just for her, but Brandon promised his father that he would watch out for Cassie. Brandon sticks to his guns, and will stay close to his family. Cassie asks him to bring some hot cocoa down to the ice center for the volunteers. At the ice rink, Brandon and Tara meet up and talk about how easy things we were as kids. They share a tender moment together and try to decide what to do about their future.
Sam decides not to fight Linda any longer. He is going to try winning by not fighting this time; he is going to allow Nick to live with his mom.
Stephanie does some recon on Java Shed in Blairsville and realizes that her business has an edge. The Bistro Café is smaller, more personal and focused on service. She can beat them! Meanwhile, Jones is in the café, and angrily confronts Ryan about the news that Java Shed is suddenly pulling out of the deal. Ryan tells him that he did the right thing, and has emailed Jones his resignation. Meanwhile, Martha and Grace are working on something mysterious together.
Ryan goes to Cassie’s shop and happily shares the news that he worked his magic. He reached out to Cassie’s old landlord and found out that he had only agreed to sell to Jones if Cassie could stay indefinitely. The sale had actually not closed yet, and Jones had lied to Cassie. The deal is dead! Cassie can stay as long as she wants. Cassie is thrilled and relieved. Ryan wants to stay in Middleton, and to truly start a life with Cassie. She regretfully tells him that she is not ready to move on, and Ryan wants to know if there is someone else. Is it Jake?
At the café, Abigail has done some online research on Linda and shares her findings with Sam. Sam tells Linda that now he knows why Nick wants to go to Hong Kong- it has to do with the fact that Linda is now single again. Nick is feeling like he has to take care of his mom. Sam goes back on his position; he will do what it takes to protect his son, and he urges Linda to do the right thing. Later that night, Linda stops by Sam’s office and tells him she is leaving town, for now. She will be relocating to Middleton after her Hong Kong trip and Sam laughs her off, but she is very serious.
Stephanie and Cassie are headed out for a celebratory dinner. They stop at Cassie’s shop for something quick and there is a surprise party at the Bell, Book & Candle! Cassie is thrilled and surprised, and so happy to see so many of her supporters. Brandon and Tara share champagne, and tell Cassie that they have decided to stay in town together. Cassie thanks Grace for putting the party together, and that Jake would be very proud.
At the end of the evening Cassie is sweeping up, and Sam has stuck around to help. Sam offers her a celebratory hug, and they linger. It appears as though they may kiss, but when Cassie looks back through the front door, Ryan is there. He has seen the tender moment that Cassie and Sam have shared.