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   Chapter 8 Storm Chaser

Storm Chaser: Book Two of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 11755

Updated: 2018-02-26 14:23

Chapter 8

"Lisa you know I can't do that, " Elena said with a laugh. She shook her head at the good natured protest Lisa made. "I'm glad you want a sneak peek, but if I let you into the store early then Tina will want to go in. Then Marcie and Greg and then all of my regular clients will want to know why they weren't invited to the sneak peek and it will be a mess."

"Fine, " Lisa responded. Elena could tell she was pouting, but wouldn't take the rebuff personally. She just wanted to see if it would work.

"So how was your trip? Meet any interesting guys?" Lisa asked. Elena thought about Benjamin Valentine.

"Interesting, yes. Datable, no." She told her friend.

"Oh well it isn't like you have a shortage of men at the moment anyway not with that super sexy designer and the oh so yummy business partner around."

"I'm not sure I would actually describe Peter Baranov as yummy, " she said coming to a stop at the light.

"What would you call him?" Lisa teased. Mentally Elena ran through a list of terms. Dangerous. Devious. Determined. Demented.

"I would have to term him definitely not dateable." She replied sticking with the ds. "And as a business partner it would be bad even if he was."

"I noticed you didn't protest the super sexy designer."

"You mean the super sexy designer who is technically working for me and is the cousin of my business partner?" Elena countered.

"Aggh, " Lisa let out an exaggerated sound of exasperation. "Forget it. You are impossible." Personally Elena was having a little bit of trouble forgetting about Andre. The fact that he was rapidly becoming a friend and working with her as more of a partner made it very difficult to remember all of the reasons she shouldn't be looking at him. Even if she ditched propriety of mixing her business life with her personal life, there was still Peter. Elena made a face at the phone.

"I'm not impossible Lisa, just kinda swamped. I appreciate the scenery but don't really have time for a hike."

"Honey, we should all make time for a hike."

"That wasn't what I meant, " Elena said blushing. "I hike." Elena turned on to Pine Street and mentally debated stopping by her apartment before going to check on the stores while Lisa dissected Elena's last hiking partner Calvin. As Elena passed by the street her apartment building fronted she glanced over. While the street was not usually a deserted one most people didn't spend large amounts of time lingering outside in the damp February chill. So seeing a couple of people merely standing across the street from her apartment tweaked her paranoia bone. Apparently it had just gone into hibernation while she was on the Docking Facility. Her garage was on the next street over. Normally she would have pulled in and then just gone through the back entrance. Elena decided to go by the store first in case something was waiting at home.

"Hey, Lisa, " I'm going to have to let you go. I'm almost to the store. I'll see you Saturday at the opening?"

"Of course, " She said. "We have to see why you've been so busy lately. Neither Tina nor I have seen you since the housewarming. And since you won't let me in for a preview I'll have to show up at the gala opening." Lisa laughed letting Elena know there were no hard feelings.

"Great. Can't wait to see what you think." Elena made her good byes and pulled into a spot on a side street near her store. There was a spot closer but it didn't seem right to park in front of her own b

t was needed. Apparently the world works just fine without me, but they are more than willing to hold the paperwork until I get back."

"That's what you get for being the boss, " Andre replied.

"I suppose. Do you have anything you need help with?" Elena asked Roger.

"I think we are doing pretty well, " he replied. His voice was a warm baritone and she knew he had once had operatic ambitions. "You will be here tomorrow for the training? Some of your notes were a little…" Roger trailed off, unsure how to finish the sentence without implying criticism. Elena laughed.

"I believe, messy, sporadic and at some points illegible would all qualify to finish that thought."

"I would have gone with sparse, " Roger said smiling.

"Sparse? How diplomatic. I'll be here tomorrow. And I was thinking. It would be a good idea to let the staff taste what they will be selling. That way they have a better grasp of what they are selling. It is one thing to know something tastes of citrus, but quite another to have tasted it. I can pick up some bread and crackers as well as some seltzer for mixing some of the drinks this evening to bring in."

"I can bring in one of the folding tables from the back, " Roger said looking around for a place to put it.

"Maybe we could just use the conference room upstairs. That way we won't have to risk any of these fabulous displays. I can't believe the work you did while I was gone." Elena commented making a slow circle to take in the new displays.

"Andre was a huge help, " Roger said. "An artist's view to mix with my retail one."

"Seems to have worked, " Elena said. She and Roger quickly went over the schedule for the rest of the week. While he didn't have nearly the amount of paperwork Susan had handed her, he did have a list of invoices and itineraries to add to her stack.

"While you are checking up on things, " Andre said when she was finished. "I have a couple things to run past you. No paperwork though, I promise."

"Then I would be happy to look it over." Roger returned to his displays and Elena looked around for Spin. The kitten, tired of meandering had curled up on a red and gold cushion and was watching Roger through slitted eyes, unsure if he were friend or foe. Elena let her be and followed Andre up to the conference room and his work area.

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