Home > Silhouettes Shadows and Sunsets (Summer Lake Silver #5)

Silhouettes Shadows and Sunsets (Summer Lake Silver #5)
Author: S.J. McCoy

Chapter One


“Hey, Nina. See that guy looking through the window? Is that Brian?”

Nina’s heart sank. She knew before she spotted him. An icy finger of dread slid down her back when she saw him, and his gaze locked with hers. She turned away quickly. “Yep.”

Janet shuddered. “I am so sorry that I ever set you up with him.”

“It’s hardly your fault, is it?”

“It’s all my fault. You told me you didn’t want to go. And I thought I knew better. Thought it’d do you good. Instead of brightening your days with some fun, I landed you with your very own stalker.”

Nina glanced at the storefront again, but if Brian was still out there, she could no longer see him. “He’s hardly a stalker.” She didn’t like to think of it that way; that sounded far too sinister. He was just a guy she’d gone on a couple of dates with who was still hoping for another—even though she’d told him no.

Janet blew out a sigh. “Well, next time I see him I’m going to tell him that I don’t want him hanging around the store. And I’ll remind him that you don’t want to see him.”

“Thanks. Hopefully, he’ll get the message soon and give up.”

“I hope so, but if he keeps it up, I’m going to make a complaint about him, report him.”

“Who would you even report him to?”

“The police, of course! We need to have it on record in case …”

Nina’s heart pounded in her chest. “In case what? In case I turn up as a corpse in the woods?”

Janet laughed. “No! That’s not what I meant.”

“Good.” Nina let out a shaky laugh. “It just sounded like … I don’t know. Let’s forget about him, can we? He’s gone.”

“Let’s hope that’s the last we’ll see of him.”

Nina nodded. “We can hope. Anyway, what are you doing after we close up?”

“I don’t have any plans. Do you want to get dinner at the café?”

“Sure. They’ll only be doing the Christmas menu for another week; we might as well get it while we can.”

They didn’t close up until a quarter after six. It amazed Nina that the Christmas in July sale brought so many people into town. The store had been crazy busy all month. Even though it had died down a little over the last few days, Janet said it had been the best month of the year already.

They managed to get a table outside at the café; it had cooled down enough that the evening air was pleasant.

“How’s Abbie doing?” asked Janet after they’d ordered.

“She’s doing great. She’s loving her job at the medical center, and Ivan’s the best thing that ever happened to her. I’m grateful every day that he came into her life.”

Janet smiled. “He sounds wonderful. I can’t wait to meet him.”

“Well, if we could ever take a day off together, you could come back to the lake with me.”

“I know, but you’ve made yourself indispensable in the store. Whenever I take a day off, I like to have you in there.”

Nina smiled. She’d only worked at the store since just before Christmas last year, but she felt at home there. She knew she did a good job and was proud that Janet considered her to be her second-in-command.

“Are you going back there at the weekend?”

“Yes. I want to surprise Abbie. I need to make one more check to be sure that the house is ready. I want to get a few more things out, too. From what Austin said, the guy wants to rent it for the month of August for sure, but then he wants to play it by ear after that. If he decides he wants to stay on another month, I won’t be able to go back in for more of my things. So, I need to get everything I want out now.”

Janet made a face. “If I were renting my house out, I wouldn’t leave any of my belongings there.”

“I’m not thrilled about it. But I’ve brought all my personal stuff up here with me, and everything I wouldn’t want a renter using is locked in the big hall closet. It beats having to pay for a storage unit. And with this first renter, in particular, I’m not worried.”

“Why’s that?”

“He’s some old man who’s retiring from the FBI.”

“Aww. I wonder what he’s doing spending a month at the lake by himself?”

“It sounds like he has friends in town. But whatever his reasons, he sounds like the perfect tenant to me.”

“Yeah, he’s hardly likely to make a nuisance of himself, is he? Are you going to leave here after work on Saturday?”

“I’m not sure yet. I could probably get home before dark if I did, but I might wait and go early on Sunday morning. Don’t worry, though. No matter when I go, I’ll be back in time to open up on Tuesday.”

“I’m not worried about you being here. I’m more concerned about there being enough business to keep us all busy.”

Nina laughed. “You’re kidding? We’ve been rushed off our feet for weeks.”

“Yeah, but once July is over, that’s it. August is the quietest month of the year.”

“Of course.” It’d been easy to get caught up in the madness of the sale, but it was hardly realistic to expect brisk business year-round in a Christmas store. Nina met her friend’s gaze. “Will there be enough work for all three of us?”

“All we can do is hope so.”

She’d been hoping for a more reassuring answer than that. “What happens if not?”

Janet shook her head. “I don’t want to think about it.”

“Let’s hope we don’t have to, then.”

“I’m glad you’ve managed to rent your house out. At least you’ll have some money coming in from that.”

Nina frowned. It was true that the rent would help out a little, but it sounded as though Janet was saying she might not have a wage to depend on. She hadn’t been expecting that. “What do you normally do in August?”

“Jess used to take August and September off.”

Nina’s heart sank. “So, you’re not used to having to pay two salaries through the quiet months?”

Janet shook her head. “Don’t worry. We’ll work something out.”

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