As a teen I lived on the wrong side of town, in a flat above a laundry. It was a great community on the outside, but the walls of our maisonettes were paper thin. I soon knew all about the things Charlie Rich didn’t explain about what goes on ‘Behind Closed Doors’!
I lived in Flat 71. Next door, in Number 72, a respectable shopkeeper made his family’s life misery - but only after hours. The whole place shook with his rages, and you could hear every word. One night, he threw his family out, locked up and went to bed. It was during a very hot summer, so all the windows were wide open. We took the family in until they could hear their father snoring, then the youngest son climbed out of our window, crept along a narrow ledge twenty feet above the ground, clambered into their own flat and unlocked the door from the inside.
The nice twentysomethings living on our other side in Flat 70 worked from home. They kept themselves to themselves, and the only thing anybody knew for sure was that they must feel the cold really badly. Why else would our party wall be warm to the touch all year round? That was in the days before the police got thermal imaging cameras. It wasn’t until that lovely couple did a moonlit flit leaving behind an enormous unpaid electricity bill that we all found out what their cottage industry was - growing tropical plants of the smokable kind.
In my latest book The Italian’s Blushing Gardener, Kira has escaped a disastrous affair and has found her perfect home - a tiny cottage in the beautiful Italian countryside. The last thing she wants is rich, self-made Stefano moving into the neighbouring villa. He promises to be the neighbour from hell - but there are surprises in store for both Kira and Stefano.
The Italian’s Blushing Gardener is a November Modern Romance for Harlequin Mills and Boon. It will be released in the USA after Christmas, as a Harlequin Presents Extra called The Master of Bella Terra, but if you visit my website, http://www.christinahollis.com right now I’m running a competition with signed copies and other goodies as prizes. Click on the ‘My Books’ link and you can get a sneak preview of the book and its lovely new style cover, too.
Have you ever had trouble with the people next door?
Christina Hollis writes Modern Romance/Presents Extra for Harlequin Mills and Boon. Since moving out of town her human neighbours are all from heaven, but the squirrel, deer and wild boar in the surrounding forest can be demons if they break into her garden! You can follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/christinabooks and Facebook at http://bit.ly/9ry4df