The No-Show hits shelves on April 12.
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Beth O'Leary is steadily building a name for herself as the author of achingly romantic fiction.

Her debut novel The Flatshare became a bestseller and is about to become a series for Paramount+ starring Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey) and Anthony Welsh (The Great). On April 12, O'Leary's next book, The No-Show, hits shelves, bringing readers into a new tale of romantic misunderstanding and longing.

The No-Show follows three women, Siobhan, Miranda, and Jane, who are all waiting on the same man — Joseph Carter. When he fails to show up for three dates he has planned with them over the course of Valentine's Day, they begin to wonder what's happened to him. The No-Show is a story of missed connections and a firm reminder that when it comes to love, timing is everything.

EW has an exclusive excerpt from The No-Show. Check it out after the image below.

Beth O'Leary, The No-Show
'The No-Show' is bestselling author Beth O'Leary's new book
| Credit: Holly Bobbins Photography; Penguin

Carter is waiting on the platform when Miranda arrives in Winchester.

For a moment her eyes slide over him: he's not got his glasses on and he's wearing a wooly jumper jeans, and boots, with a coat open over the top that she's not seen before. She's so accustomed to him coming to hers after work in a suit that it seems strange, like meeting a different Joseph Carter, his denim-wearing double. His face breaks into a huge grin when he sees her, and she can't help hers doing the same. There's something so contagious about a smile from Carter, as if it's not just a sign of how he's feeling but a cue for everyone else.

"Hello," he says as she approaches him. "You look lovely." He kisses her chastely on the lips, an I'm-not-sure-if-I'm-allowed-to-kiss-you sort of kiss; Miranda resists the urge to deepen it and pull him closer. She may not think he's a serial killer, but he's still not in her good books.

As they leave the station Miranda turns left, into the car park, the way she's always gone before when visiting Carter. The pavement shines with recent rain, and Carter's coat is damp against her arm, but the sky has cleared to a beautiful tissue-paper blue. "Ah, no," he says, reaching to touch her arm. "I've moved." She falters mid-step. "You've moved? Since when?"

He looks uncomfortable. "Back to my mum's house," he says, nodding in the other direction, toward the center of town. "Last week." Now we're getting to it, Miranda thinks, and her stomach hitches. Carter's family history is a little mysterious to her—he's mentioned that his dad wasn't around a lot when he was growing up, and she knows he doesn't have any siblings, but he's never told her much about his mother.

"Okay," she says. "Lead the way."

The house isn't far from the station. It's built of pale-gray brick, with a sharply pointed roof and a Gothic arch above the black door. Grand, but not especially big. It looks a little out of place on the street, which is mostly new builds; across the road there's a gym and an undertaker, and despite herself Miranda thinks of Adele's body-burying theory again and winces. "Look, I should . . ." Carter pauses as they make their way up the steep concrete steps to the door. There is a little front garden on either side of the steps: leggy lavender that needs cutting back, a small hydrangea. "I should prepare you."

Miranda swallows. "Okay?" she says. "You're about to meet my mother," Carter says. "And it might be a bit of . . . a shock." Miranda's brain takes a few flying leaps. A shock how? Is his mother someone famous? Or is it something tragic—is she horribly injured by whatever happened on Valentine's Day?

"She's not very well," Carter says, and Miranda's heart melts. "Oh, Carter, I'm so sorry," she says, reaching for his arm. He turns his face away. "It's okay." His voice is a bit unsteady.

It's unsettling to see Carter emotional again. He's usually so relentlessly positive; nothing irritates him, not queue-jumpers, not people who say btw out loud, not even Adele. They're in new territory: Miranda's never had to look after him before, and she feels a twinge of anxiety.

"What's she . . . What is it?" Miranda asks eventually. This immediately feels like a very insensitive thing to say.

Behind them the traffic crawls by, and a bus pulls up at the nearby stop. A pair of teenage girls stare openly at them as they step off the bus. "Let's go in, Carter," Miranda says, her hand still on his arm. She can't see his face, but the tendons in his neck are standing out like cords. "Carter?" "Yeah," he says, moving at last.

He ducks his head as he rummages in his coat pockets for the house keys. When he finally looks at her there's no sign he's been upset, and he gives her his usual warm, reassuring smile before unlocking the door.

The hallway is dark. Post slips beneath Miranda's foot—a neutral white envelope, official-looking, addressed to Mrs. Mary Carter. She bends to pick it up, and when she straightens there is a woman standing right in front of her. Miranda breathes in sharply, hand flying to her throat, post and all—she feels the envelope slice at the skin under her chin.

The woman is in her seventies perhaps, and wearing a long, loose dress that has an air of the 1920s about it: three-quarter-length sleeves, black beads at the neckline. She's very pale and thin. Her eyes are hazel, like Carter's, and her hair is bright white. For a long moment everyone is very quiet, and then Mary Carter seems to spring to life.

"Darlings!" she says, breaking into a smile that makes her relation to Carter unmistakable. It is the perfect hostess's smile. "Welcome!" She kisses her son on the cheek and Miranda hears her quietly say in his ear, "Which one is this, Joseph?"

"This is Miranda," Carter says.

 "Miranda!" Mary exclaims. "Oh, how lovely, a Shakespearean name. Come on inside, darling, let's take tea in the living room."

Miranda follows Carter through. Which one is this? Miranda frowns; what did that mean?

Excerpted from The No-Show by Beth O'Leary, published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2022

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