Continuing my “blog hopping" with Goodread's Baby Boomer Lit group, here is the 5th excerpt from Boomerang, the first novella in the GIRLFRIENDS trilogy. After Mary Jo began receiving funds monthly from an anonymous benefactor, she invests in her best friend's wedding- planning business, “The Better Way.” She and Melanie find a wonderful property in the Temecula wine country and expand Melanie's already-successful business.
Check out other writer’s excerpts at http://boomerlitfriday.blogspot.com
Melanie and Mary Jo chose to specialize in reverse destination weddings with brides coming from all over the world. It was to be a full-service business that catered to the bride’s every whim. They would be picked up at the airport in a limousine and brought to the mansion where private suites awaited them. Everything was under one roof: fittings, rehearsals, rehearsal dinners, transportation, outings (such as wine tasting, golfing and trips to the casino), wine cellar, hair salon, spa, fitness center, jewelry, shoes, and accessories. Additionally, there would be a Bridal shop, bakery, florist, and photographer on the grounds run by experts who would fit into their enterprise. Hiking trails and tennis courts would be available for their guest’s enjoyment. They even planned to build individual cottages scattered throughout the grounds for guests of the bride and groom.
After escrow closed, they spent $1,000,000 renovating the mansion. It was mostly cosmetic indoors, but they left no stone unturned for the grounds. 30 acres were planted in grapes and the house set on 20 acres. While about five acres were nicely landscaped, “The Better Way” wanted it to be more than nice; they wanted it to be spectacular! There were beautiful, mature trees throughout the grounds with manicured shrubberies in maze-like formations. They developed the rest of the 20 acres into different divisions. One section had monolithic shrubs, which gardeners pruned into figures of every geometric shape. One section was devoted to a simulated rainforest while another was a beach where a large pond was re-purposed into a tropical paradise with white sand and palm trees.
Other parts of the grounds were devoted to unusual weddings as well: There were gothic settings, gazebos and scenic areas among the vineyards for the ceremonies. In addition there were fountains and cascading waterfalls in various locations. Garden paths were laid out among a profusion of flowers of every genus and a prolific assortment of fruit trees. Swings were hung in oak trees and picnic areas dotted the property with streams meandering throughout. It was a majestic estate that was popular from the first website they set up and the first ad that appeared in “Brides Today.” But when it was mentioned on “Oprah,” the business almost spiraled out of control. They had weddings scheduled every weekend for the following year. Fortunately, Melanie’s staff was very well trained, so they were promoted to management positions while they added more assistants to handle the daily grinding labor.