Sagittarius – Travel writer Holly heads to Tuscany to research her next book, but when she meets Dario, she knows she’s in trouble. Can she resist temptation? And what do her mixed feelings mean for her future with her fiancé?
Gemini – Player Lucy likes to keep things interesting and has no qualms about being unfaithful to her long-term boyfriend. A cardiology conference to Switzerland changes Lucy, perhaps forever. Has she met her match, and is this feeling love?
Holly is the one who links the twelve signs. Are you ready to meet them all?
I’ve always loved Italy. I think my love of Italy began when I was in primary six and my teacher (who spoke Italian, unlike me at the time) tasked each group with a project on a specific country. I remember poring through every book on Italy in our town library, painstakingly copying out every fact I could. It would be so much easier now with the internet, but this was back in the Dark Ages!
I studied Italian at school and then at university for a few years. Ironically, my honours degree isn’t in Italian, but Spanish, French and Portuguese, as I had to drop Italian in second year, or transfer to Trinity College in Dublin to do triple honours, the only place I could study all three (Spanish and Portuguese counted as Hispanic Studies, one subject).
I loved the cadence of the language, its musicality and how happy the words sounded.
A few years after university, I was lucky enough to end up in the Italian team of a customer call centre, even though my Italian, by my own admission, at that point was pants! I’d forgotten everything. But, being immersed in it every day, and having a best friend who’d transferred from the Turin branch to work in Scotland with us, meant my Italian became fluent.
Surprisingly, I can’t remember the first time I went to Italy. It may have been a client meeting in Verona or to visit my friends in Turin. I have been to Italy so many times now I’ve lost count.
So when I was tasked with choosing a holiday destination for myself and seven friends, it was a no-brainer that it should be Italy. I remember booking the villa in Bibbiena, Tuscany. We drove into Rome and by the time we arrived in Bibbiena, around 10.30 p.m. we were lost and exhausted. First of all, I went to the wrong villa. It was next door. When we got to the correct villa, the gates opened, and I remember all of us staring around in awe and giving each other looks that said, ‘Can we actually afford this place?’ I don’t know what I did right, but it was a ridiculously good deal. I’d hired caterers for the first night as I knew we’d be shattered and the agency had suggested it. We felt like royalty. We tumbled into our beds after our amazing meal and wine, and slept until morning.
The gentle sounds of activity woke me. I opened the wooden shutters to blinding sunshine. I could hear the occasional car down in the village below us. We were right on the top of the hill, looking down on the valley below. It was perfect. In the daylight, and without being exhausted, I could take in all the amazing details of the villa: wooden beams, trellises, red-tiled floors, true Tuscan farmhouse feel, and with a fabulous pool, I soon discovered.
When I explored outside, the lush greenery all around me was so soothing. A tractor puttering away in a field in the distance. Rows and rows of vines led up from the side of our villa all the way to the nearest dwelling, which was about 2 miles away by my reckoning. I used that second villa as the setting for the Tuscan wedding Holly attends in Sign of the Times.
We met the villa’s owner, Giampiero, with his 2-year-old son perched on his shoulders, not a care in the world. He was delighted I spoke Italian. They’d only just started renting out the villa a month earlier and I was the first occupant who spoke Italian. He would later return daily with gifts of wine, olive oil, cake. It was lovely, and in fact, I sent him and his family a basket of Scottish gifts when I returned home.
Later that day, we all walked down into the village. It was probably about a mile, but it was a dirt track with bumps and lumps, just like the one Holly walked on when returning from the village in Sign of the Times.
Thank you, Susan Buchanan and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
Susan Buchanan lives in Scotland with her husband, their two young children and a crazy Labrador called Benji. She has been reading since the age of four and had to get an adult library pass early as she had read the entire children’s section by the age of ten.
Susan writes contemporary fiction, often set in Scotland, usually featuring travel, food or Christmas. When not working, writing, or caring for her two delightful cherubs, Susan loves reading (obviously), the theatre, quiz shows and eating out – not necessarily in that order!
Twitter – susan_buchanan
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/AuthorSusanBuchanan/
Website – www.susanbuchananauthor.com
Win Signed copies of Just One Day – Winter and Sign of the Times
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.