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Still Me by Jojo Moyes – An Excerpt

Jojo Moyes, the author of bestsellers Me Before You and After You brings the third Lou Clark novel, Still Me. The third book sees Lou arrive in New York to start a new life. What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to meet someone who’s going to turn her whole life upside down. Because Josh will remind her so much of a man she used to know that it’ll hurt. Lou won’t know what to do next, but she knows that whatever she chooses is going to change everything.
Let’s read an excerpt from the book, Still Me.
‘Reasons for travel, ma’am?’ The moustache twitched with irritation. He added, slowly: ‘What are you doing here in the United States?’
‘I have a new job.’
‘Which is?’
‘I’m going to work for a family in New York. Central Park.’
Just briefly, the man’s eyebrows might have raised a millimetre. He checked the address on my form, confirming it.
‘What kind of job?’
‘It’s a bit complicated. But I’m sort of a paid companion.’
‘A paid companion.’
‘It’s like this. I used to work for this man. I was his companion, but I would also give him his meds and take him out and feed him. That’s not as weird as it sounds, by the way – he had no use of his hands. It wasn’t like something pervy. Actually in my last job it ended up as more than that, because it’s hard not to get close to people you look after and Will – the man – was amazing and we . . . Well, we fell in love.’ Too late, I felt the familiar welling of tears. I wiped my eyes briskly. ‘So I think it’ll be sort of like that. Except for the love bit. And the feeding.’
The immigration officer was staring at me. I tried to smile. ‘Actually, I don’t normally cry talking about jobs. I’m not like an actual lunatic, despite my name. Hah! But I loved him. And he loved me. And then he . . . Well, he chose to end his life. So this is sort of my attempt to start over.’ The tears were now leaking relentlessly, embarrassingly, from the corners of my eyes. I couldn’t seem to stop them. I couldn’t seem to stop anything. ‘Sorry. Must be the jetlag. It’s something like two o’clock in the morning in normal time, right? Plus I don’t really talk about him anymore. I mean, I have a new boyfriend. And he’s great! He’s a paramedic! And hot! That’s like winning the boyfriend lottery, right? A hot paramedic?’
I scrabbled around in my handbag for a tissue. When I looked up the man was holding out a box. I took one. ‘Thank you. So, anyway, my friend Nathan – he’s from New Zealand – works here and he helped me get this job and I don’t really know what it involves yet, apart from looking after this rich man’s wife who gets depressed. But I’ve decided this time I’m going to live up to what Will wanted for me, because I didn’t get it right, before. I just ended up working in an airport.’
I froze. ‘Not – uh – that there’s anything wrong with working at an airport! I’m sure immigration is a very important job. Really important. But I have a plan. I’m going to do something new every week that I’m here and I’m going to say yes.’
‘Say yes?’
‘To new things. Will always said I shut myself off from new experiences. So this is my plan.’
The officer studied my paperwork. ‘You didn’t fill the address section out properly. I need a zip code.’
He pushed the form towards me. I checked the number on the sheet that I had printed out and filled it in with trembling fingers. I glanced to my left, where the queue at my section was growing restive. At the front of the next queue a Chinese family was being questioned by two officials. As the woman protested, they were led into a side room. I felt suddenly very alone.
The immigration officer peered at the people waiting. And then, abruptly, he stamped my passport. ‘Good luck, Louisa Clark,’ he said.
I stared at him. ‘That’s it?’
‘That’s it.’
I smiled. ‘Oh, thank you! That’s really kind. I mean, it’s quite weird being on the other side of the world by yourself for the first time, and now I feel a bit like I just met my first nice new person and –’
‘You need to move along now, ma’am.’
‘Of course. Sorry.’
I gathered up my belongings and pushed a sweaty frond of hair from my face.
‘And, ma’am . . .’
‘Yes?’ I wondered what I had got wrong now.
He didn’t look up from his screen. ‘Be careful what you say yes to.’

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