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   Chapter 14 Storm Chaser

Storm Chaser: Book Two of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 11382

Updated: 2018-02-26 14:27

Chapter 14

'Breathing is the easy part, ' Elena thought to herself as the new staff of Nibbles filed in. There weren't that many of them and she interviewed each personally. She smiled at them and realized that her employee count just doubled. Sitting shyly a little off to the side was Duncan. He was TJ's cousin's child and was still in high school. While Andre designed the website and would supervise the posting of new items, Duncan would put in some part time hours making sure the internet orders were filled and answering whatever questions came across the comments line in a timely manner. Duncan helped out in the stock room a time or two and Elena smiled at him. Andre was also working on a similar site for the imports store. Elena took a deep breath. 'Just remember to use the new names and we will be fine, ' she told herself.

"Welcome, " she said and the small talk died down and people took their seats. Elena felt like a teacher. It was an odd feeling and in his chair off to the side she saw Andre's lips quirk up in a half smile. His shoes she noticed were still tucked away under the table, his feet still clad only in socks. "Before we get started with the general orientation and layout of the store we figured it would be a good idea to let you taste some of the products you will be working with, " She indicated first Roger and then the food. "Why don't we start with the drinks?" Roger moved to the side and mixed the first of the mixers with the fizzy water. Elena smiled, realizing he had chosen the daask first.

"We are starting with something called Starlight, " she began. "While both today and for the in house testing it is being mixed with Pellegrino it can also be added to more alcoholic contents. A drop or two of Starlight actually works very well in champagne." The small knot of tension that had tied up her innards began to relax as the group tasted the daask with no noticeable qualms.

"Seems like it would go better with dry champagne rather than sweet, " commented Faith, a petite woman with a twist of blonde hair tied back from her face.

"I agree, " Elena said with a smile. "It is slightly sweet in itself. That is a good thing to remember." They moved through the drinks and into the food, comments and questions flowing more freely as everyone became more accustomed to the atmosphere.

"Yes, the allergy warnings are placed on the bottom of the jar, " Elena said picking up an unopened jar of Garan, officially named Decadence Spread. "As you can see this one contains nuts. The allergy warnings will also be clearly written on the signs by every food we offer during tastings."

"It is kind of like vegetarian pate, " George commented nibbling a small roundel of bread liberally smeared with the stuff. Elena nodded.

"Good point. It is labeled as no animal products or by-products on the label as well. I like the vegetarian pate line though."

The tasting went smoothly and when it was concluded, with the lids put back on jars and the used plates and cups tied up in a trash bag, the tour went downstairs. Elena turned this part over to Roger and merely followed along at the back. Occasionally a comment was needed by her, but for the most part she just coasted. Roger had this part well in hand. He covered the store layout, ran them through daily operations and concluded with the posted schedule in the break ro


"I am so glad. And hopefully we will be able to chat then. I'm dying to know what your mother-in-law thought about the armoire. Unfortunately, I am running late for a meeting at the moment so I have to dash."

"Of course, " the woman said. "I don't mean to keep you."

"Great. See you Saturday." Elena waved her off and strode out the door. 'Not too bad, ' she told herself as she walked briskly down the street. 'A bit brusque perhaps.' Elena felt she would probably be making up for that by listening to what would no doubt be a saga of Gracie Edwards continuing attempts to please the mother-in-law of doom. Elena reached her building and walked behind it to the garage to retrieve her car. Her neighbor Kiera was just pulling in and Elena waved.

"You are back, " Kiera said by way of greeting.

"I am, " Elena responded with a smile. "Will you be around tonight?"

"Yup any time after about six." Elena nodded and calculated time in her head.

"I have a meeting that might run late, is seven or eight too late to stop by?"

"Nope, " Kiera said. "I'll be in all night." Kiera frowned. "Um, there were some people looking for you while you were gone." She paused and dropped her voice to a stage whisper. "Military people." Elena sighed.

"They had business with some of my family and were hoping I could help since I'm local, " Elena said trying very quickly to come up with an explanation for Smith. "I hope they didn't bother you."

"Bother, " Kiera said. "No not really." She looked relieved by the explanation. She shivered and Elena realized she wasn't wearing a coat.

"You might want to get inside before you freeze. I'll catch up later."

"Of course, " Kiera said. With a smile and a wave she dashed across the distance separating the garage from the back door of the apartment building. Elena got into her car and started the engine. A frown creased her face as she drove out of town. Kiera seemed spooked by the military. "More so than would be typical, " Elena commented to herself. "I wonder if it is because Smith did something or if she has something to hide." Either way she was going to have to come up with a better story for the military's continued interest in her before she picked up her mail.

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