I’m delighted to share an extract from This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens today. Although I wasn’t able to read in time for today’s post, I’m thrilled to be participating in the paperback blog tour on publication day on 15th October, so do come back then to see what I thought of the book. My thanks to Rachel Kennedy at Penguin Random House for inviting me to take part in these launch celebrations.
Published by Penguin imprint Arrow on 1st August 2020, This Time Next Year is available for purchase through the links here.
This Time Next Year
Get ready to fall for this year’s most extraordinary love story
Quinn and Minnie are born on New Year’s Eve, in the same hospital, one minute apart.
Their lives may begin together, but their worlds couldn’t be more different.
Thirty years later they find themselves together again in the same place, at the same time.
What if fate is trying to bring them together?
Maybe it’s time to take a chance on love…
An Extract from This Time Next Year
New Year’s Eve 2019
The Night Jam was rammed. Pounding music pulsed through the club and the walls felt sticky with sweat, alcohol and likely worse. Minnie held tightly to Greg’s hand as they jostled through the crowd near the door.
‘We’re never going to get to the bar,’ Greg shouted back to her.
‘What?’ Minnie yelled back, her ears adjusting to the heavy bass.
‘We won’t be able to get a drink before midnight. I don’t even know where Lucy’s party is,’ said Greg.
He pointed upwards, indicating they should try to push their way upstairs to the terrace on the mezzanine above.
Minnie looked at her watch – it was ten to midnight. So far,this whole evening was only validating her hatred of New Year’s Eve. Why hadn’t she stayed at home and gone to bed early? Then she remembered that her heating had been cutoff – she’d come out to keep warm. And Greg had been determined to go to his work friend’s party; she would have felt like a bad girlfriend if she’d made him go alone.Minnie let herself be dragged through the throng of pulsating bodies. Finally, they emerged from the crush,stepping out into the cool night air where the thumping bass from the club settled to a more manageable decibel.
‘Watch it!’ Greg said, pushing a drunk guy out of his way.Greg glared at the man, trying to make him notice he’d spilt his beer on someone, but the man was too far gone to care.
‘I did warn you about spending New Year with me,’ said Minnie.
‘Will you stop with this jinxed stuff?’ said Greg, shaking his head.
‘Honestly, it’s a thing; bad things happen to me at New Year’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if this whole building went up in flames before the night’s out. Or perhaps a very small asteroid lands right where I’m standing.’
‘I don’t think we’re having a terrible night because you’re jinxed; I think we’re having a terrible night because you dragged us to dinner at weird Alan’s house on the other side of the galaxy. Now we’re arriving at a party two seconds to midnight when everyone’s high on moon juice and . . . come in Star Command?’ Greg lifted a finger to his ear, pausing to listen to an imaginary transmission, ‘Mission control says we’re not even at the right party.’
‘Permission to abort the mission?’ Minnie asked hopefully.
‘Denied,’ said Greg.
‘Look, you stay here,’ he said with a sigh, looking around the balcony, ‘I’ll go back through and try to find this private room.’
‘OK, well, if an asteroid lands in your absence. I can only say goodbye, I told you so, and Happy New Year,’ Minnie replied, trying to sound upbeat.
As Greg walked away, Minnie turned to look out at the London skyline and shivered. The city exuded a sense of serenity in sharp contrast to the atmosphere of the club. The buildings were bathed in silver moonlight and the night sky was still and cloudless. Minnie wished she could transport herself to the top of another empty skyscraper just to lie down on the flat roof and gaze up at the stars, unfettered by other people.
‘Ten, nine, eight . . . ’ People were starting the countdown.‘Seven, six, five . . . ’ Minnie looked at all the couples pulling together in anticipation of the midnight kiss. She was glad Greg wasn’t there to kiss her. She never understood why the end of the year had to be marked with the ridiculous convention of everyone locking lips in unison. People behaving like lemmings, following the herd. ‘Four, three,two, one, HAPPY NEW YEAR!’
An explosion of fireworks erupted in the sky, illuminating the city beneath in a shower of multicoloured lights. Huge bursts of energy ignited in the darkness, miniature universes flaring into existence only to fade to extinction moments later. Minnie wondered at all that effort for such a fleeting display of brilliance. The city buildings below looked still and stately, unmoved by the frenzy of activity above them.
On the balcony of the club, the fireworks cast ugly shadows onto the spaced-out faces of intoxicated people, as they swayed and swerved through the crowd. Light shone into grimy corners, full of cigarette butts and discarded plastic glasses. A group of girls tottering about in high heels pushed into her and Minnie had to grab the railing to stay upright.
‘Happy Birthday to me,’ Minnie said quietly to herself. Then she felt a warm, wet sensation as one of the girls vomited down her back.
What a place to end eh? I can’t wait to read This Time Next Year and find out what happens!
About Sophie Cousens
Sophie Cousens worked in TV in London for over twelve years, producing The Graham Norton Show, Big Brother and Ant and Dec. Sophie has previously published an eBook only romantic comedy novel How To Get Ahead In Television which was shortlisted for the 2015 Romantic Novelist Association Awards. She relocated from London to Jersey and balances her writing career with working for an arts charity, taking care of her two small children and enjoying small island life.
You can follow Sophie on Twitter @SophieCous.
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