In the heart of Napa Valley, California, there is a bed-and-breakfast and winery called The Golden Leaf. The Beemers, Robert and Laura, own and run it. They have a daughter, Chelsea, and two Great Danes.
Robert suffers a heart attack and crosses over, and Laura is left to run the bed-and-breakfast. A man comes to stay for a few days at the inn, and his name is Ferris Lockman. Upon meeting each other, Laura and Ferris feel a strong attraction. Ferris, however, is a Navy SEAL and has one last tour of duty in Afghanistan before retiring.
After his tour of duty is over, he comes back to the inn, and he and Laura fall deeply in love and get married. Ferris suffers with PTSD because of losing his first wife and son in the 9/11 towers attack and his tours of duty in the Middle East.
This is a tender love story that shows the courage and strength soldiers have in protecting our country. Too often we forget how they gave their lives or pieces of their lives to keep us safe.
Join the Lockman family at the Golden Leaf and Winery, and enjoy their celebrations of life and love in beautiful Napa Valley.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.51(d)|
Read an Excerpt
The Golden Leaf
By L. M. Henderson
Balboa PressCopyright © 2015 L. M. Henderson
All rights reserved.
Napa Valley, California, August 2012 The Golden Leaf Bed-and-Breakfast
"Push, Kelly! I see the head. You just need to push a little harder," Laura Beeman said nervously.
"I am!" Kelly Larson cried. "Oh, God, this hurts."
"Here it comes! Oh my — it's a girl!" Laura beamed.
Michael Larson leaned down to give his wife a kiss. "Oh my God, she's beautiful. Just beautiful. You did so well, my love."
"Do you want to cut the cord, Michael?" Laura asked.
"Sure. Just show me what to do."
Laura turned to her daughter hovering near the door. "Chelsea, please get me another towel."
Chelsea left the room and fetched one from down the hall. She was nervous and a little grossed out, for she had never seen a live birth before.
"Here, Mom. How're they doing? Are they okay?"
"Yes. Mother, father, and baby are doing fine," Laura said with pride.
Michael wiped the sweat off his brow. "Thank you so much for helping us like this. I guess you never know for sure when babies are coming."
Laura smiled. "Just another of our services here at the Golden Leaf."
Kelly added, "I don't know what I would have done without you. I'm so sorry to put you out like this."
"Don't worry," Laura said. "Robert called an ambulance, and the EMTs will take you to the hospital and make sure you and the baby are doing well. It was my pleasure to help. Do you have a name for the baby?"
"Angela," Kelly said, and she glanced up at her husband. "She's named after Michael's mother, Angela Claire Larson."
"That's beautiful. I wish you a long and wonderful life with your new child."
Chelsea and Laura left the room and went to the reception area to greet the ambulance.
"Wow! That was awesome!" Chelsea exclaimed. "I felt a little squeamish, but it was amazing. You did good, Mom. Have you ever helped with a birth before?"
"Once. When your father and I first bought this place, a woman and her husband came here to stay for a week. After two days, she started to have contractions about two minutes apart. No time to get her to the hospital. When a baby wants to come, it does just that. Babies have their own timing. Thanks for your help. You were also awesome."
The ambulance arrived, and as the Larsons headed out, Laura said, "Before you leave, I want to give you this gift certificate for a weekend on us in the future."
"Thank you," Michael said, hugging Laura and Chelsea. "You guys are wonderful. We'll definitely come back."
From start to finish, the birth had taken only one hour in total. It was fast.
"How are you doing, my dear?" Cora Schultz asked Laura.
"Okay," Laura answered. "I'm exhausted, though. It's a great responsibility to help with the birthing process. I'm glad it doesn't happen very often."
"That's okay," Cora said with love in her heart for her employer. "You're a very capable woman, and I think you should go and relax and let me take care of things for now. There's only one more family due here around two in the afternoon. I'll sign them in and get them settled. Go take a nap, and rest up. That's an order!"
Robert Beeman nodded. "That sounds great, honey. Do what Cora says. She's knows what she's talking about."
"Okay. I'm gone for an hour or so. Thanks, guys." Laura yawned.CHAPTER 2
Robert and Laura Beeman had purchased the Golden Leaf eighteen years before. The property's fifty acres included a vineyard that produced prizewinning wines. Their daughter, Chelsea, had been eight months old at the time. The Beemans had always wanted to run a B&B, although they hadn't realized how many hours of work one required to keep it running smoothly. They were always exhausted by the end of the day.
Robert was forty-five years old, and Laura was thirty-seven. Chelsea was now eighteen and planned on getting married in the near future to David York. His parents owned a restaurant in town, but he spent most of his time at the Golden Leaf.
The best thing the Beemans had done was to hire Cora and Dieter Schultz to help run the place. They were from Germany. Cora, fifty-five, and Dieter, sixty-five, were unbelievable workers. Dieter was the gardener, and Cora greeted people, signed them in, and did anything else that needed to be done at the B&B.
To make things more interesting, the Beemans had two Great Danes named Daisy and Taylor. The five-year-old dogs had been part of the same litter. Everyone who visited the B&B loved them, especially the children. Some children were a little intimidated by them at first because of their size, but the Danes were playful and loved all the attention they received from everyone.
The inn itself had one main house with four guest rooms, a kitchen, and a living room for guests to enjoy. Dieter and Cora lived in a separate cottage, and the Beemans lived in a separate three-bedroom house all on the same property. Full breakfasts were served each day for the guests. Laura was a wonderful cook, and she was always baking muffins, scones, and other delicacies. The inn had many repeat customers because of its hospitality, gardens, and food, not to mention their wines.
Kids were always welcome at the Golden Leaf, and Robert and Dieter had built a play area for them that included a swing, a slide, a sandbox, and an oversize playhouse furnished with a small table and chairs and a cot. Here kids could sit, read, have snacks, and take a little nap if they wanted to. It was a safe area, and parents didn't worry about their kids when they stayed at the inn.
A few days after Laura delivered the baby she asked Cora, "How many guests do we have today?"
"Well, my dear," Cora answered, "we have a full house. Two families with kids, and two couples without kids."
"Have you checked the rooms to make sure everything is ready? I made new curtains for one of the bedrooms, and I just finished them yesterday. It's hard to keep up," Laura lamented.
"I know it is. Don't worry. I've checked all the rooms, and everything looks beautiful. I've checked the bathrooms too. There's soap in them, and the towels are clean and fresh."
"I'm sorry. I know you check everything all the time. I've just been so tired lately, and I want things to run smoothly. They always do, thanks to you and Dieter. I love you guys." Laura gave Cora a hug.
"What's bringing all this on? Is everything fine with you? Are you feeling okay?"
"I'm fine; just a bit overwhelmed lately. This is such a busy place. That's a good thing, though. Isn't it?" Laura smiled.
"Very good. I hear the dogs barking. That must mean our guests have arrived."
Dieter was out in the yard pulling weeds and planting new flowers. The landscaping always received compliments.
Robert and Chelsea, who happened to be outside, greeted the guests as they arrived. It was Bill and Marge Hollstrom from San Francisco. They loved coming to the Golden Leaf. Daisy and Taylor also greeted them with barks, and they welcomed them by leaning against their legs. The Danes now always greeted guests this way, although they had sometimes jumped up and placed their front legs on the shoulders of a guest, almost knocking him or her over. Robert had put a stop to that kind of greeting because it wasn't always welcome.
"Welcome. Come in and relax." Robert reached for a suitcase. "Here, I'll take your luggage for you."
"Thank you so much," Marge said. "I couldn't wait to get here.
I always enjoy your gardens, and the food is fabulous."
"How much luggage did you bring, Marge?" Bill asked.
"Well, we're here for a few days. I wanted to make sure I had what I needed," Marge replied.
Bill rolled his eyes at Robert, and they all went inside so the Hollstroms could sign in.
Cora greeted them with a smile. "Hello, you two. It's always nice to see you again."
"It's always wonderful to be here," Marge exclaimed. "The weather is marvelous."
"Tell me what room they're in, and I'll bring the luggage upstairs for them," Robert said.
"Room four." Cora turned to the Hollstroms. "Please sign in, and then you can go upstairs and relax. Would you like me to make dinner reservations for you?"
"Please," Marge answered. "We'd like to go to that Italian restaurant in town. I think it's called Facinelli's."
Laura chimed in, "Oh, that's a wonderful place. Most of our guests love to go there. Robert and I have been there several times, but we're too busy to go out to dinner very often."
"You guys need a break. We can run things here while you and your husband go out," Marge teased.
"Ha! I can see that happening," Bill chimed in.
The Beemans loved the Hollstroms. They were kind and fun and always good conversationalists.
A family of four arrived an hour after the Hollstroms. They were the Hoopers, Joe and Kelsey and their two loud and bratty kids, Drake and Diana. Drake was seven, and Diana was nine. They constantly fought and were spoiled. Their parents didn't have much control over them. They bribed the kids with candy to make them stop arguing and being loud. Laura and Robert had threatened never to accept them at their B&B again, but when the Hoopers called, they couldn't say no. At least this time.
Cora tried to be friendly. "Hello, everyone. Please sign in. Your room number is two. Hello, kids. How are you?"
The kids didn't answer and went back to bickering. Their parents ignored them and acted as if the kids weren't making any disturbance. After signing the ledger, the Hollstroms went up to their room, a suite with a little room off the main bedroom with twin beds for the kids and a separate bathroom. It worked out fine for a family.
"Those kids are intolerable," Cora said. "Why do you keep letting them stay here?"
"I don't know." Laura mused, "I guess when they call and say they want to stay here so badly, I don't have the heart to say no. But I will next time. I'm getting tired of them also. Did you notice how Taylor and Daisy went up to the Hollstroms when they came but went off to hide when the Hoopers arrived? Interesting, isn't it?"
As they were talking, the Hooper kids made a racket in the play yard. The dogs barked, indicating that they too wished that the kids would go somewhere else.
"When are the other two couples coming?" Laura asked.
"They should be here in about half an hour," Cora responded. "It's the Carters and the Goldblums. They're always fun and very polite guests to have. We have a lot of repeat guests, and that's saying something. Don't you think?"
"Yes, I agree. I'm going to take a quick bath to freshen up. I need to relax. If you need anything, call Robert."
"You've got it, sweetheart. Relax and lose the stress. You'll feel much better."
Soon all the rooms were occupied, and everyone was settled down for the weekend. August was a busy month for guests at the B&B.CHAPTER 3
At eight o'clock in the evening, Robert and Laura sat quietly in their house's living room waiting for the Hollstroms to return from dinner so they could talk. They enjoyed their company. They heard a car pull up at the guest house, so Laura went out and invited them into the home.
"Are you sure?" Marge asked. "You must be tired with a full guest house and all."
"No, Robert and I would love to catch up with you guys. Come on in and join us for some cabernet. We've come up with a new variety, and it's wonderful."
"We can't say no to that," Bill commented.
"Hello, welcome," Robert said when they entered. "How was the dinner at Facinelli's?"
"Fabulous," Marge said. "We're stuffed, but a nice small glass of wine sounds heavenly."
Robert did the honors of pouring each of them a glass of the new cabernet. As they sipped the wine, both guests made favorable comments.
"You guys have the best wines, on top of your wonderful breakfasts and hospitality," Bill added.
"Thank you. We work hard at it," Laura said. "I have to ask: are the Hoopers' kids making more noise than you can tolerate?"
"No. We haven't heard anything. At least not yet," Marge answered.
"Are they troublesome guests?" Bill asked.
"Yes," Robert stated. "I think next time they call to reserve a weekend, we're going to have to say no. We've had complaints about those people in the past."
"That's too bad. Some parents don't have control of their children," Marge said. Well, guys, we have something to tell you. Bill's mother is quite ill, and we have to pack up and move to Ohio next week to take care of her."
"Oh no," Laura said. "I'm sorry your mother is sick, Bill. How old is she?"
"She's eighty-nine now," Bill answered. "She's had a couple of bad strokes, and we don't want to put her in a home. We've bought a condo, so we'll have her live with us and will hire a nurse to help her. The important thing is that she'll be with us and not some strangers in a rest home somewhere."
"That's a wonderful idea. You're lucky you're in a position to be able to do that for her," Robert said with concern in his voice.
"I guess this means we won't see you for quite a while. We'll certainly miss you guys," Laura said sincerely. "You're a delight to have as guests in our B&B."
"Oh, we'll miss you terribly," Marge said. "Bill and I look forward to coming here and being with you guys. We love your dogs also. Daisy and Taylor are like our own dogs. Where are they?"
"They're sleeping in our room. Want me to get them? They love you guys a lot." Robert got up and went to the bedroom.
A few seconds later Taylor and Daisy bounded out of the bedroom and happily greeted Bill and Marge with sloppy kisses.
"They love you more than all of our other guests combined," Laura stated. "They sense something positive about you. They'll miss you terribly; I hope you know that."
After more wine, more hugs and kisses, Laura and Robert wished Marge and Bill all the luck in the world. The Hollstroms were leaving early in the morning after breakfast and probably wouldn't be able to talk to the Beemans easily with other guests there, so they said their good-byes tonight instead.
"I'm going to miss them so much," Laura said after the Hollstroms retired. "We've been lucky through the years that we've met some wonderful people through this business."
"That's right. We both work hard, and it pays off with guests like them." Robert picked up the bottle of wine and poured the last of it into his glass. "That wine was wonderful. I think we have a hit here. We'll have to promote it and get it out there. I'm beat; let's go to bed."
"I would, except I have to get some blueberry muffins in the oven for tomorrow morning," Laura said, exhausted. She stretched and yawned and rubbed her eyes. "I didn't get a chance to bake them today. You go on ahead, and I'll be back here in a while."
Robert leaned over and kissed Laura and gave her a big hug. This relieved some of her tension, and she let out a big sigh and smiled at him. She kissed him back.
Laura went to the kitchen in the main guest house and started preparing the batter for the blueberry muffins she was famous for. Her special ingredient was a little red wine, although people couldn't place the wonderful flavor until she told them.
She filled the muffin cups and put the pan it in the oven. After about twenty-five minutes, they were done. As she lifted the pan out of the oven, her wrist gave way, and she dropped the pan.
"Damn!" Laura uttered, trying to be quiet.
Luckily, only two muffins dropped out and onto the floor. As she picked up the mess, Cora came in and asked what was going on.
"Oh, I'm baking muffins for tomorrow's breakfast, and I dropped the blessed pan on the floor," Laura lamented. "Only two muffins popped out, thank goodness."
"Here, let me help you, love," Cora offered. "Dieter and I will take those two muffins and eat them for a snack. I happen to know that this floor is spotless, except for a few crumbs from the muffins."
They both laughed quietly about the situation. They hugged each other, and Cora took the muffins and said good night with a wink and blew Laura a kiss.
When Laura finished the last batch, she was now ready for a good night's sleep.CHAPTER 4
Chelsea Beeman and David York had been engaged for one year. They'd fallen in love at first sight: The Beemans had been eating in David's parents' restaurant, Facinelli's, where David was a waiter. Every time he had come to their table, Chelsea had turned red and seemed nervous. David had noticed. At the end of the meal, he had asked Chelsea out on a date, and she had accepted eagerly.
The restaurant was called Facinelli's when the Yorks bought it, and they kept the name to honor the Italian family that had opened it. It was now August 2012, and Chelsea and David planned on getting married in June 2013 at the Golden Leaf with the reception to be held at Facinelli's. They enjoyed the wedding preparations.
Even though Laura and Robert had been to Facinelli's only a few times, they got on well with David's parents and savored the food. They approved of Chelsea's marrying David, as they thought him a wonderful young man, and they could see how much Chelsea loved him.
Excerpted from The Golden Leaf by L. M. Henderson. Copyright © 2015 L. M. Henderson. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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