INSTANT thủ đô new york TIMES BESTSELLER A GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICKTheir lives began together, but their worlds couldn"t be more different. After thirty years of missed connections, they"re about to lớn meet again...
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Minnie Cooper knows two things with certainty: that her New Year"s birthday is unlucky, and that it"s all because of Quinn Hamilton, a man she"s never met. Their mothers gave birth to them at the same hospital just after midnight on New Year"s Day, but Quinn was given the cash prize for being the first baby born in London in 1990and the name Minnie was meant to lớn have, as well. With luck like that, it"s no wonder each of her birthdays has been more of a disaster than the one before. When Minnie unexpectedly runs into Quinn at a New Year"s các buổi party on their mutual thirtieth birthday, she sees only more evidence that fortune has continued lớn favor him. The gorgeous, charming business owner truly seems lớn have it allwhile Minnie"s on the brink of losing her pie-making company and her home. But if Quinn & Minnie are from different worlds, why vì chưng they keep bumping into each other? and why is it that each fraught encounter leaves them both wanting more?A moving, joyful love story, This Time Next Year explores the way fate leads us to the people we least expectno matter what the odds.
Product DetailsSophie Cousens worked as a TV producer in London for more than twelve years & now lives on the island of Jersey in the UK, balancing her writing career with working for an arts charity và taking care of her two small children. This Time Next Year is her first novel.
Read an Excerpt
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 lớn 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 khổng lồ get a drink before midnight. I don"t even know where Lucy"s buổi tiệc nhỏ is," said Greg.
He pointed upward, indicating they should try to lớn push their way upstairs to lớn the terrace on the mezzanine above. Minnie looked at her watch-it was ten lớn 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 lớn bed early? Then she remembered that her heating had been cut off-she"d come out to lớn keep warm. & Greg had been determined to lớn go lớn his work friend"s party; she would have felt lượt thích 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 lớn a more manageable decibel.
"Watch it!" Greg said, pushing a drunk guy out of his way. Greg glared at the man, trying to lớn make him notice he"d spilled 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 lớn 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 các buổi party two seconds khổng lồ midnight when everyone"s high on moon juice & . . . Come in, Star Command?" Greg lifted a finger khổng lồ his ear, pausing to listen to an imaginary transmission. "Mission control says we"re not even at the right party."
"Permission to lớn abort the mission?" Minnie asked hopefully.
"Denied," said Greg.
Minnie và Greg had been dating for five months. They"d met at a march outside đô thị Hall, protesting the lack of affordable housing in London. Greg was the journalist covering the story & Minnie was there supporting Mrs. Melvin, a lady she had been delivering food lớn since the early days of her business. Minnie & her friend Leila had made a sign for the march that read housing is a human right, but they"d used too much paint on the first H so it looked a bit lượt thích an M. On the march, Minnie, Leila, và Mrs. Melvin found themselves walking next to lớn a group of people dressed as large cats wearing monocles & top hats. One wore a T-shirt that read say no to the fat cats! Greg ran over to lớn take a photo of Minnie"s sign with the fat cats in the foreground. He shook his head, laughing as he snapped away.
"Why are you laughing?" Minnie shouted crossly.
"Maybe the cats are so fat because of all the mousing?" Greg said, pointing lớn her sign. Leila looked và laughed. Minnie rolled her eyes.
"It doesn"t say mousing," she said, hand firmly on her hip.
"It does look like it says mousing, Minnie," said Leila.
"Minnie Mouse, this photo will make a great front page," said Greg with a sly smile.
"You"d better not," said Minnie, trying not to laugh. She liked men who could make her laugh. She was instantly drawn to lớn Greg"s sarcastic manner và his angular features. He had a neatly trimmed brown beard & distinctive, dark-rimmed glasses. Once they started dating, Minnie discovered that it wasn"t just for work that Greg liked to trang điểm headlines-he enjoyed captioning everything she did. When Minnie tripped on a step he would say, "Stunner trips on stairs: Stairs seek legal advice; chances are they"re going down!" Or when she took the last banana in his fruit bowl, he"d pipe up in an American drawl, "Fruit bowl homicide still unsolved: Did victim go bananas? Cross the lime? Or was it simply a case of sour grapes?" Puns were his thing. But Greg wasn"t making any jokes this evening.
"Look, you stay here," he said with a sigh, looking around the balcony, "I"ll go back through & try to lớn find this private room."
"OK, well, if an asteroid lands in your absence, I can only say good-bye, I told you so, and happy New Year," Minnie replied, trying khổng lồ sound upbeat.
As Greg walked away, Minnie turned khổng lồ look out at the London skyline và shivered. The thành phố exuded a sense of serenity in sharp contrast to lớn the atmosphere of the club. The buildings were bathed in silver moonlight and the night sky was still và cloudless. Minnie wished she could transport herself to lớn the đứng đầu of another empty skyscraper just to lớn 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 over of the year had khổng lồ be marked with the ridiculous convention of everyone locking lips in unison. People behaving lượt thích lemmings, following the herd. "Four, three, two, one, HAPPY NEW YEAR!"
An explosion of fireworks erupted in the sky, illuminating the thành phố beneath in a shower of multicolored lights. Huge bursts of energy ignited in the darkness, miniature universes flaring into existence only to fade khổng lồ 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 và swerved through the crowd. Light shone into grimy corners, full of cigarette butts & discarded plastic glasses. A group of girls tottering about in high heels pushed into her and Minnie had to lớn grab the railing to lớn stay upright.
"Happy birthday lớn me," Minnie said quietly khổng lồ herself. Then she felt a warm, wet sensation as one of the girls vomited down her back.
By the time Greg returned, the terrace had thinned out and Minnie was sitting on the floor by the railings waiting for him.
"What are you wearing? Where"s your top?" asked Greg. Minnie had folded her sodden shirt into her bag and was now only wearing a gray tank vị trí cao nhất with frayed spaghetti straps.
"Someone was sick on my shirt," she said, hugging her arms around herself.
"Oh dear. Well, it"s a bit X-rated like that." Greg cupped a hand in front of his mouth to lớn make a pretend microphone. "Weather report in-there"s a storm in a D-cup presenting itself."
"Well, it"s this or vomit-couture," Minnie said, pulling up her đứng đầu self-consciously. She"d never dream of wearing an outfit this revealing in public. She felt very exposed. "Did you find the buổi tiệc ngọt or not?"
Greg nodded. He led her back through the club, up another staircase, và then through a double door covered in red velvet, pillared by two bald security guards.
"I was here just a minute ago-we"re here for the birthday party," Greg explained. The security guard waved them through, glancing at Minnie"s chest as she walked past. Minnie folded her arms in front of her.
The party on the other side of the red velvet door was everything that the room they had come from was not: The music was at a normal volume, the crowd looked beautifully dressed and sophisticated, waiters were topping up champagne & nobody was being sick over anyone. The exterior curved wall of the room was floor-to-ceiling glass, giving an incredible 180-degree view of the đô thị of London beyond. Minnie immediately felt intimidated. This was a rich person"s party, a đen tie one at that-she couldn"t look more out of place. Minnie had cooked for enough rich people khổng lồ know how they reacted lớn people lượt thích her; they would patronize her or, worse, look right through her. If she had been wearing the right armor she could have done a good impression of someone who didn"t care, but her skimpy vest vị trí cao nhất was not it.
"Greg! You didn"t tell me it was black tie," she hissed.
"Black tie is a bourgeois construct, Minnie. I wouldn"t wear it to lớn my own funeral." Greg scanned the room and then waved to a tall blond girl in a tight red dress. "Lucy!" The girl turned, gave a smile of recognition, then started making her way through the crowd toward them. "Better late than never, hey," Greg said, reaching out to touch her arm. "This is Minnie. Someone was sick on her shirt on the way in."
"Hi," said Lucy. Her pillowy lips closed over perfect straight teeth into a sympathetic smile. "Sorry about the sick. It"s ridiculous they make you wade through all the plebes to get up to the VIP suite."
Minnie shook her head, shrugging it off.
"Quite a party," she said, looking around at all the free-flowing booze. How much would a tiệc ngọt like this cost?
"It"s my boyfriend"s birthday on the first. We thought we"d use it as an excuse to lớn throw an excessive New Year"s Eve bash," Lucy said with a flick of her hand. Then she turned khổng lồ Minnie with a beaming smile. "Hey, didn"t Greg say you were a first of January baby too, Minnie?"
"Oh, happy birthday," Greg said hurriedly. Lucy turned to lớn look at him wide-eyed.
"Greg, you didn"t even wish her a happy birthday yet? Dump him, Minnie!" Lucy laughed & nudged Greg in the ribs. Greg blushed và looked at his feet.
"I"m not big on birthdays." Minnie smiled weakly.
They stood in silence for a moment.
"So, um, Lucy is the food columnist at the paper," Greg said. "I"m queuing up for a jammy gig lượt thích that. I saw you were at La Petite Assiette Rouge last week. So bloody jealous, Luce."
"It has its downsides, darling. I"m getting fatter và fatter the amount of Michelin-star dinners I"m being forced to eat. I feel lượt thích a foie gras goose being stuffed to lớn bursting," said Lucy.
Minnie glanced down at Lucy"s svelte, gym-toned figure in the skintight look-how-thin-I-am dress.
"Oh, diddums, such a hardship," said Greg, nudging his elbow into hers. "Smart, beautiful girl force-fed fine food: Human rights campaigners on standby!"
Lucy threw her head back and gave a half-snorting, half-silent laugh, then she clutched Greg"s arm, as though she might fall over.
"You must have an absolute hoot with this one, Minnie."
Minnie nodded, though she wondered if Greg"s hilarious newspaper headlines might be starting to get annoying.
"Mins is in the food world too," said Greg, standing a little taller. "Runs her own catering business in the charity sector."
"That sounds interesting," said Lucy, looking over Minnie"s shoulder và waving to someone behind her.
"I don"t think making pies for the elderly counts as being in the "food world," but thanks for bigging me up, hun," Minnie said, rubbing Greg"s back.
"Do you cater events? Maybe I"ve come across you?" asked Lucy, turning her attention back to lớn Minnie.
"No, we just bởi savory pies for the elderly. The company"s called No Hard Fillings, it"s a bit lượt thích Meals on Wheels."
Lucy blinked her eyes a few times.
"No hard feelings?" she said.
"No," said Minnie. "No Hard Fillings, as in pie fillings. It"s, um, supposed to lớn be funny."
"Oh, I see. Ha-ha," Lucy said, wrinkling her nose và giving another silent laugh. "Well, that must be very . . . Fulfilling."
Greg let out a snorting cackle. "Good one, Luce." He tapped his elbow khổng lồ Lucy"s. "See, the thing is, Minnie"s company would be a lot more successful if she didn"t keep giving stuff away for miễn phí and employing a load of time bandits with zero work ethic."
"I don"t, & that"s not true," Minnie said, bowing her head.
"Well, it sounds jolly rewarding," said Lucy. "I find old people so sweet, don"t you?"
"Some of them are sweet, some of them are total knobs, same as the rest of us," said Minnie. Greg coughed loudly and Minnie gave him a firm pat on the back.
"But you"re planning to branch out, aren"t you, Min?" Greg said, recovering his composure. "That"s her current customer base, but she could easily expand-do weddings, corporates, high-caliber events, all sorts. Maybe Lucy could hook you up with some contacts?"
"Sure, sure, happy khổng lồ help," Lucy said, waving at someone across the room and starting lớn move away. "Listen, I must go mingle. Make yourselves at home; drink our champagne-we ordered way too much. Và don"t worry about arriving late, the party"s hardly started."
Lucy cocked her head & flashed them both a well-rehearsed hostess smile, then with a swish of long silky hair she turned lớn go. Minnie watched Greg"s eyes follow her across the room.
Seeing them standing empty-handed, a waiter came over lớn offer them champagne. They both took one & went khổng lồ clink glasses but missed, Greg"s champagne flute bumping into Minnie"s wrist. He quickly retracted his hand & took a large swig of drink.
"Happy New Year," said Minnie.
"Happy New Year," said Greg, then after a pause, "and happy, er, birthday, for real. I, um, I have a present for you back at my flat. Sorry, I didn"t have a chance lớn wrap it."
"Don"t worry. I said not lớn get me anything."
Greg shuffled his weight between each foot, his eyes flitting around the room.
"She"s a useful person lớn know, Lucy Donohue. I told you it would be worth coming tonight. She knows everyone who"s anyone in your sector. You should never underestimate how far good contacts will get you in life, Minnie."
"I doubt she knows everyone who"s anyone in the pie sector," Minnie said, then, affecting a posh voice, "unless it"s pastry chefs making choux pie-ettes out of foie gras at La Petite Rue de la Frenchy French." She stuck out her tongue and then laughed.
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"I don"t know why you always bởi vì that," Greg said. "I"m trying khổng lồ help you."
"You"re right, I"m sorry," said Minnie, feeling chastised. She didn"t need Greg khổng lồ point it out. She could always hear herself sounding bitchy when she felt insecure, và ultimately it only made her feel worse. She bit her lip và fiddled with the pendant on her necklace. Greg pouted, a muscle twitching in his jaw.