Excerpts

Exclusive: Five First Chances by Sarah Jost Excerpt

We are so excited to bring you this exclusive excerpt from Five First Chances by Sarah Jost!

About Five First Chances:

What would you do if you had one more chance for the life of your dreams?

Lou feels like she is stuck on the wrong path: alone, in a city far from home, watching other people be happy. When the man she’s in love with announces his engagement to someone else, Lou is consumed by ‘what ifs’.

That’s when she finds herself slipping back in time to a night two years ago, where one small decision changed everything…

Suddenly, Lou has a chance to fix her mistakes. But as her choices lead her down roads she never could have imagined, she finds herself stuck in a time loop of her own making. And with each slip, Lou notices her life intersecting with one person again and again. A friend of a friend who once lived on the periphery, who is slowly becoming the one person who makes her feel like she might finally be on the right track.

Lou is about to realize that our greatest love stories aren’t always the ones we expected, but are the ones we choose to fight for.

For anyone who has ever felt stuck on the wrong path comes a stunning, time-bending love story that challenges what it means to get things “right,” the kind of book that will pull at your heartstrings and make you realize that if you just open yourself up to the possibilities, our world is full of inspiring people poised to change everything…and you might just be one of them.

Frolic-Exclusive Excerpt:

Monday, July 15, 2019

M: I just saw that Romain got engaged. I thought you needed to know.

It’s not so much of a surprise, more like a blow to the head I’d been living in fear of. It doesn’t hurt any less. I close my eyes to blink away this new reality, but when I open them again, the text says the same. My browser tabs are still open. With clumsy fingers, I navigate from Nick’s Facebook page to Romain’s, and here it is: the blue-­and-­white life event, accompanied by a plethora of photos of Romain and Aurélie-­with-­whom-­it’s-­not-­going-­to-­last by the lake, the ring sparkling on her hand laid on his chest. Engaged—­July 15.

I don’t think. I immediately go to my texts, press New, type his name. I don’t know what I want to say. I just want… I need… I need something to happen. I can’t be left with this. The tiny text box opens, above which is the last text in our last conversation. From him. Unanswered by me. I see the date, and my breath freezes in my lungs. No.

It comes back.

“That night, Yuki.” My voice is strangled. My hands are shaking. I speak to her, unable to take my eyes off the screen, glued to it by the coincidence of time, the enormity of my missed chance. “At your birthday, two years ago. Romain texted me. He told me he missed me.”

“And what did you do?”

“I ignored it.”

My heart is beating in my throat as the memories pull me back to that night. It was the first time—­and the last time—­that he’d said it. That he’d reached out like that. Why did I ignore it? I had felt happy, out with Yuki’s friends, then the text came and I panicked. I told myself I was better off building a life here, away from the heartache, that I needed to move on. Now I know I was scared. I was scared of opening myself up to him, of potentially being hurt by him again. Hindsight isn’t such a wonderful thing.

It’s clear now. Yuki is right. That was the point where it all went wrong. That was the point when I decided to shut the door to possibilities. I feel like I’m going to faint—­blood beating in my ears, my vision blurring. Is it the lager suddenly rushing to my head? I feel like I’m fading away, losing contact with reality.

“Shall we…?” I nudge Yuki, securing my beloved satchel over my shoulder despite my hands shaking, despite the room closing in on me like a tunnel.

Yuki’s staring at me. “Are you okay?”

I nod. I’ve never had a panic attack, but I’ve seen some of my students go through one, and I’m pretty sure this is what it’s like. “I…can we just go, please? I’m sorry.” Black flies mottle my vision as I try to control myself long enough to get away. All that missed time, all the regrets and worries I’ve worked hard at keeping under a lid these past two years are spilling everywhere. I’m finally drowning.

“Well, sure, I guess there’s nothing left to say, nothing to be done. It’s too late anyway.” Yuki struggles to retrieve her bag, which she hung on a hook under the bar. With her other hand, she ruffles her hair, and I think she’s crying, so I try to help her. As I bend down, my elbow knocks over the half drink I’ve abandoned, sending great splashes of pee-­like liquid all over the counter and beyond.

They say change happens when something moves. As the glass crashes, the beating of my heart takes over, and everybody turns and watches us, me with my hand extended to catch it, always too slow, always too late; Yuki frozen, drenched in lager. I can’t breathe with the knowledge that I’ve ruined the day, the funeral, everything—­this fifteenth day of July, that other one two years ago, and all the chances in between that I missed due to fear, cowardliness. If only I could erase it, make a different decision.

Time accelerates, slows down, building pressure in my ears as if I were on a roller coaster or a submarine. Seconds start to fizz and bubble away until it’s all mixed up, all the sour regrets, then the pub door opens for me, and I stumble out…

We go back.

About the Author:

Sarah Jost was born and grew up in Switzerland, against the backdrop of Lake Geneva and the Alps. She moved to the UK in her mid-twenties and now lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband Luke and their adorable and fast-running dog Winnie. Sarah writes contemporary book club novels, with a touch of magic, looking at love stories in all shapes, mental health, female characters finding their confidence and quirky pets. Her debut novel One Last Chance (UK, Piatkus) / Five First Chances (US, Sourcebooks) is coming out in April 2023.

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