My latest book The Pieces of You & Me publishes in a little over 5 weeks on 21st February (ebook only – paperback publication is 30th May) and to celebrate the fact that the publication date was brought forward, here is a sneak peek at the opening paragraphs of the book!
It was his laugh that I recognised first. That low rumble was as familiar to me as my own, even after nearly a decade. I was at the bar talking to Gemma when I heard it. I froze, the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. I watched as recognition dawned on Gemma’s face too. As she looked towards the space behind me her eyes widened and her perfect eyebrows arched in surprise. She put her cocktail down on the bar beside her and slipped off her stool.
‘It’s him isn’t it?’ I asked quietly.
‘We need to go,’ I said. But even before the words left my mouth Gemma was halfway across the pub, and more than halfway to drunk if her swaying was anything to go by.
‘Oi, Tremayne,’ she shouted. ‘Long time no see.’
I must have turned around at the same time as he looked up. When our eyes met I felt twenty-one again. I hadn’t seen Rupert Tremayne for ten years.
‘Gemma,’ he said, holding out a hand to steady her, smiling as he took in the tacky plastic veil and L-plates she was wearing. ‘I’m assuming by your natty attire that this is your hen night and you’ve found some poor fool to marry you.’ If he was surprised to see us, he didn’t show it. He acted as though he’d only been gone for a week, not a decade.
As he leant down to kiss her on the cheek, his eyes caught mine again. I knew then that I couldn’t avoid this, that I couldn’t avoid him. My stomach was twisting itself into knots of anxiety as he walked past Gemma, towards me. I felt as though the whole pub was watching us.
He stood in front of me, a foot taller than I was, looking down into my eyes. His blond hair was still a little bit too long, greying at the temples; the collar of his jacket was turned up. He looked the same but different – as though he had become slightly worn over the years. But his eyes were still the eyes of the boy I used to know. He didn’t speak, and my mind went blank, my mouth dry. Neither of us knew what to say.
‘Jessie,’ he said eventually. I couldn’t tell whether he was pleased I was there or not. Nobody had called me Jessie since he left.
‘I thought you were in America,’ I replied quietly, remembering the last time I saw him – walking away from me at Heathrow airport, leaving me with that strange sense of lightness on the ring finger of my left hand.
‘I came back,’ he said.
The Pieces of You & Me publishes on 21 February 2019 and you can preorder for jut £1.99 here:
If you use Netgalley for reviewing you can request a proof copy of the book here!