Read an Excerpt from ONE DAY IN DECEMBER by Josie Silver
About One Day in December
Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.
Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.
Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.
What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.
“Josie Silver writes with a warmth so palpable her characters sneak their way into your heart and stay for a long time.”
—Jill Santopolo, New York Times-bestselling author of The Light We Lost (a Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick)
About Josie Silver
Josie Silver is an unashamed romantic who met her husband when she stepped on his foot on his twenty-first birthday. She lives with him, her two young sons, and their cats in a little town in England called Wolverhampton.
An Excerpt from One Day in December:
I’m three glasses of white in and definitely very relaxed when Sarah finds me and literally drags me from the kitchen by the hand.
“He’s here,” she whispers, crushing the bones of my fingers. “Come and say hi. You have to meet him right now.”
I smile apologetically at David as she pulls me away. I’m starting to see what Sarah meant about him being a grower. He’s made me laugh several times already and he’s kept my glass topped off; I’d just been considering a tiny exploratory snog. He’s nice enough in a vaguely Ross from Friends kind of way, but I find I’m more intrigued to meet Sarah’s soulmate, which must mean that Ross from Friends would be a regret come tomorrow. It’s as good a barometer as any.
She tugs me through our laughing, drunk friends and a whole load of people I’m not sure either of us even know, until finally we reach her boyfriend standing uncertainly by the front door.
“Laurie,” Sarah is jittery and bright-eyed. “Meet Jack. Jack, this is Laurie. My Laurie,” she adds, for emphasis.
I open my mouth to say hello and then I see his face. My heart jumps into my throat and I feel as if someone just laid electric shock pads on my chest and turned them up to full fry. I can’t get any words to leave my lips.
I know him.
It feels like just last week I saw him first—and last. That heart-stopping glimpse from the top deck of a crowded bus twelve months ago.
“Laurie.” He says my name, and I could cry with the sheer relief of him being here. It’s going to sound crazy but I’ve spent the last year wishing, hoping I’d run into him. And now he’s here. I’ve scoured countless crowds for his face and I’ve searched for him in bars and cafes. I’d all but given up on ever finding bus boy, even though Sarah swears I’ve gone on about him so much that she’d even recognize him herself.
She didn’t, as it turned out. Instead she’s presented him to me as the love of her life.
Green. His eyes are green. Tree moss vivid around the iris edges, warm amber gold seeping in around his pupils. But it’s not the color of his eyes that strikes me so much as the look in them right now as he gazes down at me. A startled flash of recognition. A dizzying, headlong collision. And then it’s gone in a heartbeat, leaving me unsure if the sheer force of my own longing made me imagine it had been there at all.
“Jack,” I manage, thrusting my hand out. His name is Jack. “It’s so good to meet you.”
He nods, a skittish half-smile flickering over his lips. “Laurie.”
I glance toward Sarah, crazy guilty, certain that she must be able to sense something amiss, but she’s just grinning at us both like a loon. Thank God for cheap wine.
When he takes my hand in his, warm and strong, he shakes it firmly, politely almost, as if we’re meeting in a formal boardroom rather than at a Christmas party.
I don’t know what to do with myself, because all of the things I want to do wouldn’t be okay. True to my word, I don’t orgasm on the spot, but there is definitely something going on with my heart. How on earth has this colossal fuck-up happened? He can’t be Sarah’s. He’s mine. He’s been mine for an entire year.
“Isn’t she fabulous?”
Sarah has her hand on the small of my back now, presenting me, actually propelling me toward him to hug because she’s desperate for us to be new best friends. I’m wretched.
Jack rolls his eyes and laughs nervously, as if Sarah’s obviousness makes him uncomfortable.
“Just as splendid as you said she was,” he agrees, nodding as if he’s admiring a friend’s new car, and something horribly like an apology creeps into his expression as he looks at me. Is he apologizing because he remembers or because Sarah is behaving like an overeager aunt at a wedding?
“Laurie?” Sarah turns her attention to me. “Isn’t he every bit as gorgeous as I said he was?” She’s laughing, proud of him, as well she should be.
I nod. Swallow painfully, even as I force a laugh. “He certainly is.”
Because Sarah is so desperately keen for us to like each other, Jack obligingly leans in and touches his lips briefly against my cheek. “It’s good to meet you,” he says. His voice matches him perfectly; coolly confident, rich, shot through with gentle, knowing wit. “She never shuts up about you.”
My fingers close around the familiarity of my purple pendant, looking for comfort as I force a laugh, shaky. “I feel as if I know you too.” And I do; I feel as if I have known him forever. I want to turn my face and catch his lips with my own. I want to drag him breathlessly to my room and close the door, tell him that I love him, strip off my clothes and climb into bed with him, drown in the woody, clean, warm scent of his skin.
I’m in hell. I hate myself. I take a couple of steps away from him for my own sanity and grapple with my wretched heart to stop it from banging louder than the music.
“Drink?” Sarah suggests, light-hearted and loud.
He nods, grateful to be thrown a lifeline.
“Laurie?” Sarah looks at me to go with them.
I lean back and peer down the hallway toward the bathroom, jiggling as if I’m in dire need of the toilet. “I’ll catch you up.” I need to get away from him, from them, from this.
In the safety of the bathroom, I slam the door and slide onto my backside with my head in my hands, gulping air down so as not to cry.
Oh God, oh God. Oh God! I love Sarah, she’s my sister in all but biology. But this . . . I don’t know how to navigate safely through it without sinking the ship with all of us aboard. Hope flares bright in my chest as I fantasize running out there and just blurting out the truth, because maybe then Sarah will realize that the reason she’s so drawn to him is that, subconsciously, she recognized him as bus boy. God knows I’ve all but drawn him for her. What a misunderstanding! How we’ll laugh at the sheer absurdity! But . . . then what? She graciously steps aside and he is my new boyfriend, easy as pie? I don’t even think he recognized me, for Christ’s sake!
Lead-heavy defeat crushes the delicate, ridiculous hope as reality creeps in. I can’t do it. Of course I can’t. She has no clue, and Jesus, she’s so happy. It shines from her brighter than the star of fucking Bethlehem. It might be Christmas, but this is actual life, not some crappy Hollywood movie. Sarah is my best friend in the entire world, and however much and for however long it kills me, I’ll never silently, secretly hold up signs to tell Jack O’Mara, without hope or agenda, that to me he is perfect, and that my wasted heart will always love him.