This week I’m sharing a scene from my latest romance novel, The Year of Starting Over.  It follows the adventures of Holly whose beloved grandpa dies and leaves her a small inheritence to ‘follow her dream’ and when her selfish, no-commitment boyfriend Scott goes off on holiday with his mates again, she decides to do just that. She sets off to sunny Spain to stay with her friend, Fiona, armed with a dream list, determined to ‘start her life over’ and stop being a pushover.

What if – to find yourself – you had to run away?

Last year was meant to be when Holly got her happy-ever-after. But stuck in a job that’s going nowhere, and a relationship that feels more like it’s going backwards… this year Holly has decided it’s time to change her life. She just has to:

– End the relationship with the commitment-phobic boyfriend
– Go on a proper adventure
– Learn to be herself again
– Definitely, categorically not fall in love.

Cramming her belongings into her little yellow Mini, Holly drives on to a ferry bound to Spain, to stay at a remote farmhouse near a beautiful village in the Andalusian hills.

But the day she arrives she nearly crashes her car into a gorgeous guy on a motorbike. He’s called Matias and their paths keep crossing, much to Holly’s irritation. Because as she learns to speak Spanish from the locals, finally starts laying out plans for her own design business, and sips sangria in the sunlit village square, Holly is beginning to remember who she is and what she wants.

So she won’t allow herself be distracted by Matias. Because this year – for Holly – there are more important things in life than love. And she won’t let yet another bad relationship ruin everything… will she?

A moving and uplifting romantic comedy about living each moment and learning to trust yourself again, for fans of Jenny Hale, Debbie Macomber, and Sophie Kinsella.

The scene I’m going to share is where Holly has upped sticks and driven to Spain, to join her friend Fiona and her husband Pablo, in their Spanish finca. In this scene, Holly has just discovered that the finca is high up a narrow mountain track. And she’s scared of heights!

Holly studied the location Fiona had sent to her phone then looked at the mountains on her left. According to this she had to take the track up to the left of the middle mountain. And she had to drive for ten minutes.

Ten minutes up that horrendous track!

She took a deep breath. It couldn’t be that bad or Fiona and Pablo wouldn’t live there. And they certainly wouldn’t be thinking of running an artists’ retreat there. No one would want to come to it if they had to travel along a dangerous track high up a mountain, would they?

She got back into her car, opened Fiona’s location in Google Maps, and put the phone into the holder on the dashboard so she could see the map clearly. Stop panicking, Holly. You can do this.

She crossed over to the left and turned up the track, gripping the steering wheel and keeping her eyes focused on the narrow road ahead. She drove slowly, trying not to think about the fact that there were no barriers.

The road went up and up and up and got narrower and narrower. Holly was sweating like mad and her heart was thud-thudding in her chest but she was coping… until she made the mistake of looking to the left. Oh my God! It was a sheer drop down to the valley below. One sharp turn, one swerve to avoid a down-coming vehicle, and she’d be plunging down, crashing into the main road below. And there was absolutely no chance she would survive.

She was trembling so much she felt like she was going to be sick, and her Mini had almost come to a standstill. She gritted her teeth and clenched the steering wheel in a vice-like grip, so tight her knuckles were white. She couldn’t believe she was actually doing this. She hated heights. Fiona knew she hated heights. Why hadn’t she warned her?

She couldn’t turn around so she had to carry on.

Deep breaths, Holly. Breathe in. And out. In. And out. Pretend it’s a normal road you’re driving along. Do. Not. Look. Down. Focus on the road ahead. You can do this. People drive this track all the time so it must be perfectly safe even if it is steep and narrow, she told herself as she slowly, cautiously drove up the track, hoping to goodness that she wouldn’t meet a car coming down.

The app’s auto-voice suddenly broke through her panicked thoughts to tell her that she was to take a turn to the right in 200 metres  then another  turn and she would reach her destination.


She took the turn to the left – thankfully away from the nasty drop and onto another narrow track through some bushes. Now all she had to do was turn to the right and she was there. She relaxed and took the right bend. Oh shit, I’m a little too wide! A motorbike was speeding along the other way and she was heading right for him. Holly slammed on her brakes, screeching to a halt as the biker swerved past, making a rude hand gesture as he did so. Holly was so overwrought, shaken and furious that she wound down the window and shouted back at him, ‘Slow down, you bloody idiot!’

He paused and looked back as if he’d understood what she was saying. Holly briefly had a chance to take in dark eyes and what would have been a handsome face if he hadn’t looked so angry before he zoomed out of sight around the bend.

Charming! Okay, so she felt bad about yelling abuse at him, and yes, she was a bit out to the centre of the track, but how dare he be so rude? He was the one who had come speeding along far too fast for a narrow track like this. It would have been his fault if they’d crashed. What if he’d come along a little earlier when she was going up that narrow bit of the track? He could have gone into her and knocked her right off the mountain. She shuddered. It didn’t bear thinking about.

Want to see if Holly gets over her fear of heights, and achieves everything on her ‘dream list’? You can purchase The Year of Starting Over here:

Amazon: …




Bring a little sunshine into your life with one of my feel-good romances, all set in glorious locations.Check out my Amazon Author Page for details.