Authors: Amy Clipston
Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel
For Alicia Mey, who gave me the inspiration for this
new series. Your friendship is a blessing to me!
annah Glick pushed the cleaning supply cart down the hallway and toward the next hotel
room door. She knocked three times and then called, “Housekeeping!”
She waited a few moments for a response, but the room remained silent. She pulled
the master key card from her apron pocket. When she slid the key into the slot, the
lock beeped and the light flashed green. Hannah pushed the door open while looking
down. She stepped into the room, glanced up, and gasped when she found a tall, bare-chested
man staring at her, his brown eyes wide.
” Hannah cleared her throat and averted her eyes by studying a lighted sconce on the
wall. “Excuse me, sir. I thought this room was empty.” She stumbled toward the hallway
while avoiding his own shocked look. “I’m so sorry for disturbing you. I’ll come back
later to clean.”
Hannah rushed into the hallway and slammed into the supply cart on her way down the
hall toward the vending machine room. She slipped through the door and leaned against
the wall. Her hip throbbed where she’d hit the cart. She rubbed her injury while the
Coca-Cola machine hummed beside her.
She’d never walked in on a hotel guest before. And the man was half-naked! The situation
couldn’t have been much worse.
“Hannah?” Linda Zook’s voice rang out in the hallway.
“I’m in here,” Hannah called.
Linda stepped into the vending machine room and raised her brown eyebrows. “You look
Was iss letz?
“You won’t believe what happened to me. I knocked on room 345 and didn’t hear a response.
When I unlocked the door, I walked in on a man.” Hannah paused. “And he wasn’t dressed.”
Linda’s cheeks flushed. “You mean he was …?”
, he was shirtless.” Hannah shook her head. “I’ve never been so embarrassed in my
life. I quickly excused myself. Hopefully he’ll be gone before I go back out in the
“It was an honest mistake, Hannah. He must’ve not heard you knock. Maybe he was in
“I don’t know how I can face him again. He must think I have no manners at all.”
“I imagine he was embarrassed too.” Linda shook her head. “I can’t imagine that happening
to me.” Her cheeks continued to flush. “I probably would have passed out from the
shock of it.”
“You would have.” Hannah nodded in agreement. “You’re flustered when a man says good
morning to you.”
“That’s very true.” Linda pointed toward the hallway. “I was just coming to see if
you wanted to join Carolyn and me for a break.”
idea.” Hannah ran her hands over her apron and then pushed her prayer covering ties
over her shoulder. “Maybe he’ll be gone from his room by the time we’re done.” She
followed Linda into the hallway. “I’ll go get my cart.” Hannah
rushed over and pushed the cart toward the elevator while hoping she wouldn’t run
into the guest again.
Trey Peterson stared after the Amish woman as she hurried out of his room, bumping
the supply cart on her way down the hallway. It had all happened so fast that he hadn’t
had a chance to react. He thought he heard a sound at the door just as he was turning
off the water in the sink, and then when he stepped out of the bathroom, the door
whooshed open to reveal Hannah.
When she looked up, her eyes were wide with surprise, and her cheeks were blushing
as red as the roses he’d spotted in the lobby. He’d wanted to tell her that it was
only an honest mistake, but she’d averted her eyes and stumbled out of his room before
he could say a word.
Trey had researched the Amish culture when he’d planned to sell his New Jersey home
and move to Lancaster County. He’d found it intriguing when he spotted the Amish housekeepers
working at the exclusive Lancaster Grand Hotel in Paradise, Pennsylvania. It was ironic
to see the women wearing their prayer coverings and clad in their plain aprons and
dresses while standing under the sparkling chandelier in the lobby. They were a stark
contrast to the elaborate woodworking on the fireplace and the rare paintings.
The housekeeper who’d barged into his room had caught his eye yesterday when he had
checked in. She looked to be in her mid-to-late thirties, and had flame-red hair sticking
out from under her prayer covering. She hadn’t noticed Trey while she brushed a brown-colored
feather duster over the base of a
grandfather clock. Yet he found himself studying her ivory skin and bright green eyes.
And now she’d rushed out of his room horrified after walking in on him when he was
shirtless. Trey shook his head and grabbed a shirt from the dresser. He pulled it
on and straightened the collar.
His eyes scanned the hotel room, taking in the genuine solid cherry dressers, king-size
bed frame, and tables. A large, flat-screen television sat across from the bed and
in front of a leather sofa. The other side of the room held a bar with two stools,
a sink, a microwave, and a small refrigerator. The room was elegant and modern, one
of the nicest he’d stayed in while traveling for his bank work, but it was nothing
compared to the home he’d left in New Jersey.
Trey crossed the room and picked up a framed photograph he’d placed on the dresser
next to the television after he’d unpacked yesterday. He studied the image of his
beautiful wife of twenty years, Corrine, and their eighteen-year-old daughter, Samantha.
Sammi was the mirror image of Corrine with her light brown hair and powder blue eyes.
If only he’d listened when Corrine had begged him to stay home instead of going to
yet one more conference, the one in Baltimore. Then his family would still be alive
Trey couldn’t bear to stay in the house after carbon monoxide poisoning had taken
the lives of the two most precious people in his life just over a year ago. The memories
and regret still haunted him. He’d spoken with his pastor and prayed about it for
months. The only choice he had was to sell the house and leave. He yearned to build
a new life in Pennsylvania after his wife’s love of the Amish community had called
to him, like a
prayer whispered in the night. By moving here and opening up a bed and breakfast,
he could keep Corrine’s dream alive. He’d promised to retire early from the financial
industry and give her that dream, but he never got the chance. Now he
to do it. For her.
He placed the photograph back on the dresser and fetched his shoes from the closet.
While he pulled them on, Trey thought about the Amish woman again. He hoped she had
recovered from their awkward first meeting.
ater that evening, Hannah placed a basket of homemade rolls on the kitchen table.
“Andrew, is your
planning to stay for supper tonight?”
Her ten-year-old son raced toward the back door. “I’ll go ask him.”
Hannah smiled. Andrew had followed Joshua around like his shadow ever since her husband,
Gideon, passed away from a sudden heart attack four years ago. She was thankful Joshua
continued running their co-owned horse business with her after his older brother’s
“What do you think?” Lillian, one of Hannah’s sixteen-year-old twins, placed a platter
of chicken and dumplings in the center of the table and then pushed her glasses farther
up on her little nose.
” Hannah inhaled the aroma. “Very
, it smells
.” Amanda, Lillian’s fraternal twin, smiled. “Lillian just wants to learn how to cook
so she can impress Leroy King.”
“That’s not true.” Lillian’s ivory cheeks flushed. “We’re only
“If you’re only
, then why did I see you flirting with him at the youth gathering last night?” Amanda
wagged a finger at her sister.
“We were only talking.” Lillian jammed her hands on her hips.
“Girls, please stop.” Hannah gave them a sharp frown. “Please finish bringing out
the food. Your
will be inside soon.”
The table was set by the time Joshua and Andrew stepped into the mudroom and shucked
their boots. Joshua entered the kitchen first with Andrew in tow. Andrew gazed up
at his uncle, and Hannah couldn’t help but smile. A stranger could mistake the two
for father and son since Andrew shared his uncle’s dark brown hair and blue eyes.
Andrew was also the spitting image of Gideon.
“Hannah.” Joshua nodded, crossing to the kitchen. “
for inviting me to stay for supper.” He revealed a bouquet of wild flowers from behind
his back. “I saw these and thought of you.”
“Oh, Joshua.” Hannah smiled as she took the flowers. “These are lovely.
” She always appreciated Joshua’s small gestures of thoughtfulness. She could just
about guarantee he would bring her flowers at least once a week. She retrieved a small
vase from the cabinet, filled it with water, and then placed the flowers on the table.
“You know we enjoy having you stay for supper.” Hannah sat at the table. “Besides,
doesn’t like you fending for yourself at home.”
He rolled his eyes while washing his hands at the kitchen sink. “I cook pretty well
for a bachelor.” He glanced at the table. “Is that my favorite?”
,” Amanda said, sinking into her usual seat next to Hannah. “Lillian made chicken
and dumplings. She’s practicing her cooking.”
recipe.” Lillian’s serious green eyes held a hint of pride.
recipe?” Joshua dried his hands and then sat at the head of the table as if he belonged
in the seat. “That sounds
Hannah’s stomach tightened as she once again fought the urge to ask Joshua to move
to another chair. That was Gideon’s place, not Joshua’s.
.” Lillian nodded her head, causing her loose locks of red hair to frame her face.
“I’m trying to learn her recipes.”
They all bowed their heads in silent prayer before reaching across the table to grab
the platters and bowls like a giant octopus stretching its multiple legs. Forks and
spoons scraped the plates while conversations flew.
Joshua filled his plate with chicken and dumplings and then turned to Hannah. “How
was your day?”
” Hannah tried not to think of the
she’d seen without his shirt. She could never share that humiliating story with anyone
other than her coworkers. “How was yours?”
“Fine.” He buttered a roll while he talked. “It looks like Daniel King may work for
“Daniel King?” Amanda asked.
Lillian’s eyebrows shot up to her hairline. “Leroy’s
Joshua nodded. “That’s right.”
“How about that?” Amanda asked her twin. “Maybe someday Leroy will work here too.”
Lillian glared at her sister, and Hannah swallowed a laugh
before turning back to Joshua. “That’s
news. I think we’re ready for you to hire someone. I was looking at the books earlier.
We’re doing much better since the horse business started picking up this winter season.
My job at the hotel has really helped our finances too.”
Joshua shrugged. “
, but I wish you didn’t have to work at all.”
“I don’t mind. I meet some interesting people.” Hannah’s thoughts went back to the
man in the hotel room and her stomach clenched.
didn’t begin to describe all the people she met. She looked at her blond daughter.
“How was your day, Amanda?”
” Amanda spooned a pile of applesauce onto her plate. “The store was very busy all
day. I love it when I get to meet a lot of customers. It makes the day go by so fast.”
She turned to her uncle, and her smile faded. “But you know,
Josh, I can help you on the farm. I was talking to Cameron Wood, the vet who lives
across the street, and he told me he’s looking for an assistant. I wonder if he could
pay me more money than I’m making at the store. If I worked for him, then I could
learn how to take care of our horses when they’re ill. What do you think of that?”
Joshua shook his head and wiped his mouth. “I think you’re doing fine at the store,
Amanda. Nancy’s parents need your help, and we help the members of our community.”
Hannah watched Amanda’s shoulders hunch as she studied her plate. She wondered why
her daughter suddenly wanted to work for the neighbor instead of helping out at her
best friend’s family’s deli.
“If we’re listing our accomplishments, I finished the laundry today,” Lillian said.
“I helped her fold,” Andrew added with a mouthful of bread.
“You need to finish chewing that
and then swallow before you speak, Andrew.” Lillian scolded him as if she were his
that you helped your
,” Hannah said. “
for being a
“I didn’t have a choice.” Andrew grimaced. “She made me.”
Hannah chuckled and shook her head. How she loved her children!
The conversations continued to circle while they finished supper. Once the plates
were empty, Hannah and her daughters cleared the table and began cleaning up.
Josh,” Amanda began while scrubbing a dish, “can you stay for Scrabble tonight?”
Joshua glanced at Hannah. “What do you think?”
Hannah shrugged. “Why not? It’s been awhile since we played. We can finish cleaning
up after the game.”
“Great!” Amanda rushed to the family room and returned with the game.
Andrew frowned. “But you can only have four players with Scrabble. What about me?”
Hannah touched his arm. “You can help me.” She wagged a finger at him. “As long as
you whisper. You can’t give away our letters like you did last time, okay?”
Andrew grinned. “Okay.”
The family gathered around the table, and Hannah sat next to Joshua.
“I’m going to beat you this time.” Joshua grinned as he picked up a tile.
“No, you aren’t. You won’t get away with making up words this time.” Hannah laughed.
“Right,” Lillian agreed. “Just having consonants and vowels doesn’t make your play
Amanda stood. “I should go get the dictionary.”
Hannah nodded. “I agree. We have to keep your
Joshua sighed. “Now you sound like Gideon.”
Hannah smiled at him as memories flooded her mind. Gideon loved playing board games,
especially Scrabble. They’d spent many happy hours seated around the kitchen table
playing games. She was glad Joshua liked to join them even though Gideon was gone.
Joshua rubbed his hands together. “Okay. I’m ready!”
For the next hour, they played Scrabble. Hannah enjoyed watching Andrew figure out
words, and she laughed frequently as the children and Joshua teased each other.
Lillian tallied up the score. “I won.” She smiled at her uncle. “And I didn’t have
to make up words.”
Joshua shrugged as he gathered up the tiles. “Making up words is more fun.”
Hannah shook her head. “You’re so
Joshua raised his eyebrows. “I’d like to think of myself as creative.” He stood. “
for the game. It was a lot of fun.” He started toward the back door.
Josh!” Andrew followed Joshua to the mudroom. “I’ll help you finish up outside.”
Hannah watched Andrew and Joshua talk while they pulled on their boots and hats before
heading outside. She couldn’t stop thinking of Gideon, and her smile faded. It seemed
yesterday her then six-year-old Andrew was trotting out to the barns behind his father.
” Amanda asked while scrubbing a dish. “Are you okay?”
” Hannah dropped a pile of utensils into the frothy water.
“Were you thinking of
Amanda’s question stunned Hannah for a moment, leaving her speechless. “How did you
Amanda shrugged. “Sometimes
Josh reminds me of
“I see the resemblance too.” Lillian dried a plate. “He looks like
and sometimes he even sounds like him.”
Hannah wiped the table. “
, he does sometimes.”
But he’s not my Gid.
The thought made tears fill her eyes. She cleared her throat. “Who’s hosting the
youth gathering on Saturday?”
“Katie Esh,” Lillian said.
The girls discussed their friends while Hannah finished cleaning the table. She enjoyed
listening to them discuss their social lives and hearing their excitement when they
talked about attending singings. As she listened, she thought back to when she was
their age. She also attended singings, which was where she fell in love with Gideon.
Hannah was sweeping the kitchen floor when Andrew and Joshua returned from outside.
for your help, Andrew.” Joshua touched Andrew’s head. “You’re a
See you tomorrow!” Andrew trotted through the kitchen.
“Get ready for devotions, Andrew,” Hannah called after him.
“I know!” Andrew’s voice echoed from the staircase.
Joshua chuckled. “I wish I had his energy.”
, I know.” Hannah smiled. “Would you like to stay for devotions?”
“Thanks for the offer, but I need to get home.”
“Okay. I’ll walk you out.” Hannah followed him to the porch where they stood by the
steps. “Are you going to talk to Daniel tomorrow?”
” Joshua leaned against the railing and towered over her by a few inches. “He wanted
to discuss it with his parents, but he was
with the salary.”
” Hannah folded her arms over her apron. “He’s a
young man. I’m certain he’ll work hard for you. You’ve needed help for a long time.”
.” He frowned. “But I wish you didn’t have to work so that we can pay him. Gideon
would not be pleased that you have to be away from your
” She dismissed his comment with a wave. “Things are different now that Gid is gone.
The girls are older. Lillian only teaches on days when I’m home, so she’s here for
Andrew when I’m working. I like my job, and the pay is
It’s important that you have a man working with you out in the stables. The horses
are our bread and butter.”
“I know, but I’m certain Gideon wouldn’t have approved.” Joshua’s eyes studied her.
“You know I love your
like they were my own. I would do anything for them.”
Hannah shifted her weight from one foot to the other. “I know, and the
love you too.”
“If you ever need anything, you know I will be here.” He stepped toward her. “Anything
at all, Hannah.”
“Danki.” Hannah took a step back toward the door. “It’s late, Josh. I’ll see you tomorrow.
Joshua headed toward his buggy, parked by the barn, and Hannah watched his lanky body
move through the shadows of the early evening. Although Joshua had been a wonderful
support to her and her children since Gideon had died, he didn’t warm her heart as
her husband had. She often sensed a longing in his intense blue eyes, but she couldn’t
feel more than friendship for him.
Hannah contemplated her husband and brother-in-law while she watched Joshua’s horse
and buggy bounce down her rock driveway toward the road. She’d grown up and gone to
church and school with Gideon and Joshua. Gideon was two years older than she was
and Joshua was a year younger. But it was Gideon who’d stolen her heart when she turned
sixteen and joined his youth group. She couldn’t resist his infectious laugh and warm
smile, coupled with his sense of humor and bright blue eyes the color of the sky.
He’d rented this land and the house from his parents and then asked his brother to
be his business partner when he opened the horse farm.
Hannah stepped into the kitchen and locked up for the night. While snuffing out the
lanterns, she thought back to her early years with Gideon. She’d married him when
she was twenty-one, and the twins came along a year later. After several heartbreaking
miscarriages, Hannah thought they’d only be blessed with the girls. Yet their family
was complete when Andrew joined them. Hannah could still remember the joy in Gideon’s
eyes when they’d welcomed their son. Although he adored his girls, he’d hoped they’d
someday have a son to help
him run the business along with his brother. But Andrew never had the chance to help
his father run the business. Gideon died when Andrew was six.