Me Before You

By: Jojo Moyes

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Thank you to my agent, Sheila Crowley at Curtis Brown, and to my editor at Penguin UK, Mari Evans, both of whom immediately saw this book for what it was—a love story.

Special thanks to Maddy Wickham, who encouraged me at a point when I was not sure whether I could, or should, actually write it.

At Penguin USA, I would like to thank my fantastic editors Pamela Dorman and Julie Miesionczek, as well as Clare Ferraro, president of Viking, who has been such a strong supporter of this book. At Penguin UK, I would also particularly like to thank Louise Moore, Clare Ledingham, and Shân Morley Jones.

Thanks to the wonderful team at Curtis Brown, especially Jonny Geller, Tally Garner, Katie McGowan, Alice Lutyens, and Sarah Lewis, for enthusiasm and fine agenting.

Huge gratitude to all on the Writersblock board—my own private Fight Club. Minus the Fighty bit.

Similarly to India Knight, Sam Baker, Emma Beddington, Trish Deseine, Alex Heminsley, Jess Ruston, Sali Hughes, Tara Manning, and Fanny Blake.

Thanks to Lizzie and Brian Sanders, and to Jim, Bea, and Clemmie Moyes. But most of all, as ever, to Charles, Saskia, Harry, and Lockie.







Prologue



2007

When he emerges from the bathroom she is awake, propped up against the pillows and flicking through the travel brochures that were beside his bed. She is wearing one of his T-shirts, and her long hair is tousled in a way that prompts reflexive thoughts of the previous night. He stands there, enjoying the brief flashback, rubbing the water from his hair with a towel.

She looks up from a brochure and pouts. She is probably slightly too old to pout, but they’ve been going out a short enough time for it still to be cute.

“Do we really have to do something that involves trekking up mountains, or hanging over ravines? It’s our first proper holiday together, and there is literally not one single trip in these that doesn’t involve either throwing yourself off something or”—she pretends to shudder—“wearing fleece.”

She throws the brochures down on the bed, stretches her caramel-colored arms above her head. Her voice is husky, testament to their missed hours of sleep. “How about a luxury spa in Bali? We could lie around on the sand…spend hours being pampered…long, relaxing nights…”

“I can’t do those sorts of holidays. I need to be doing something.”

“Like throwing yourself out of airplanes.”

“Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.”

She pulls a face. “If it’s all the same to you, I think I’ll stick with knocking it.”

His shirt is faintly damp against his skin. He runs a comb through his hair and switches on his mobile phone, wincing at the list of messages that immediately pushes its way through onto the little screen.

“Right,” he says. “Got to go. Help yourself to breakfast.” He leans over the bed to kiss her. She smells warm and perfumed and deeply sexy. He inhales the scent from the back of her hair, and briefly loses his train of thought as she wraps her arms around his neck, pulling him down toward the bed.

“Are we still going away this weekend?”

He extricates himself reluctantly. “Depends what happens on this deal. It’s all a bit up in the air at the moment. There’s still a possibility I might have to be in New York. Nice dinner somewhere Thursday, either way? Your choice of restaurant.” His motorbike leathers are on the back of the door, and he reaches for them.

She narrows her eyes. “Dinner. With or without Mr. BlackBerry?”

“What?”

“Mr. BlackBerry makes me feel like Miss Gooseberry.” The pout again. “I feel like there’s always a third person vying for your attention.”

“I’ll turn it on to silent.”

“Will Traynor!” she scolds. “You must have some time when you can switch it off.”

“I turned it off last night, didn’t I?”

“Only under extreme duress.”

He grins. “Is that what we’re calling it now?” He pulls on his leathers. And Lissa’s hold on his imagination is finally broken. He throws his motorbike jacket over his arm, and blows her a kiss as he leaves.

There are twenty-two messages on his BlackBerry, the first of which came in from New York at 3:42 A.M. Some legal problem. He takes the lift down to the underground car park, trying to update himself with the night’s events.

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