“Twenty-four hours woman, one of Rage’s women is a chef in another’s bookstore, Penny runs the cafe. We can take a drive over there, and you can chat with Penny, or we can get Penny to meet with us on Sunday. She’ll have more knowledge, we’ll get Sin to come with her, and she can explain how she set up the cafe part of the Reading Nook,” Chance said.
“That would be handy,” Leslie mused, and I could see her turning Chance’s offer over in her mind. Rooster gave us a chin tilt and left abruptly.
“I’m going to think about this generous offer, whatever I choose, thank you, Chance, for considering it,” Leslie said as she got to her feet.
“Thinkin’ you’re the closest thing my girl has to family. Hellfire look after family woman, remember that,” Chance said and gave Leslie a squeeze as she hugged him.
“What do you think, baby?” Chance asked, turning to me.
“I’d love it, but I’m worried about the money, say Hellfire take the risk on us, and we fail,” I gave Chance one of my worries.
“Then you fail, but baby you ain’t gonna fail. Hellfire’s watched how Drake built on the Rage brand, Made by Rage is huge, Hellfire can do similar. We’re as well known in South Dakota as Rage are so it’s time to get off our asses and start earning extra bucks.”
“Okay, but I’d want a complete rundown of costs and any charges that come up extra,” I said, deciding there and then, I was taking this incredible offer.
“No probs with that baby, Rooster will keep you in the loop. He’s secretary which means he handles the finances of the club, if Rooster says we can drop a load on this and not hurt then he’d know.
“Okay, I’m happy with whatever option works best, but I’m leaning towards Hellfire being a silent partner. Then Hellfire gets a return on their investment, not just the repayment, I like the idea Hellfire are a part of the business.”
“Up to you, we ain’t gonna push,” Chance said as he rose to his feet and led me from the shop. He locked the door while I peered at the building next to it.
“What are you plotting with this, installing a brother?” I asked, aware Chance had plans for it because of the hints he’d dropped.
“That’s something I can’t talk about yet baby, not until it’s been put to the vote, once it has then we’ll discuss it.” I stared across the road to where Hellfire MC was and then to their parts store, dead opposite the forecourt. The Hellfire shop was next to that and then my shop was next to that.
Continuing along the street was the empty department store, a gift shop, a pizza delivery place and then two further empty shops. On the side of the forecourt was a Chinese directly next to the Hellfire shop, a clothing shop, butchers and grocers. Three empty shops sat on the corner leading to the principal shopping street.
“Do you own every empty shop?” I asked with a sudden flare of awareness. Chance smirked as he nodded.
“Didn’t take you long to figure that baby, we had a few issues with shop owners so when their businesses went bust, we bought the shop. Been waiting for Diesel to get his finger out but the man’s been busy with his latest flip.”
“Diesel flips houses?” I asked, having no clue who Diesel was and Chance guessed that.
“Diesel is our sergeant at arms, he buys and flips houses, makes a whacking profit, quarter of which goes into the coffers. He runs a small construction team and employs the best. We’ve been waiting for him to get started on the shops so we could rent them out, but he’ll be doing your shop first. His latest flip should be ended in a week or two, so he’ll move straight on to yours.”
“Who else owns other businesses?” I asked curiously. Chance looked awkward, and I wondered what had caused that.
“Shee buys houses and does them up and rents them out, he uses his own team of builders. Big Al owns a pawnbroker, see that shop there,” Chance pointed to a shop I’d missed tucked in between the butchers and grocers. “That’s Big Al’s, he spends a few hours each afternoon there going over the stock and the books. It’s Al’s shop, but he pays a percentage into Hellfire, same as Shee and Diesel, they don’t have to, they choose to,” Chance defended. Ah, now I understand his expression.
“Same as I don’t have to but wish to, let me be part of Hellfire,” I said, putting a hand on his arm. Chance stared at me and swept me up, kissing me senseless again before putting me back on my feet.
“Can sense good things coming out way, baby,” Chance murmured. What a shame that was ruined less than ten minutes later.
When we got back to the clubhouse, the first person I saw was Tatianna, the old lady of Big Al. I’d never paid much attention to her before, but now I did, and I was surprised. She was tall, roughly five foot eight, with a vast Dolly Parton bust and a tiny waist and then flaring hips. Her legs encased in skin-tight jeans went on forever, meeting clunky knee-high boots. Her tee was low cut showing off her admirable cleavage, and her blond hair was teased out around her face. You could say Tatianna was the image of a biker’s woman until you met her eyes.
Innate kindness shone through them, and they were a steady clear blue which you could drown in. There were a few lines around them, and a smattering of freckles on her nose, Tatianna’s age was hard to guess, but I thought she was mid to late thirty’s. She generous mouth curved into a smile as she saw me, and excitement crossed her face.
“Hey, baby! Shopping!” she cried and flung her arms around me, and I was drowned in perfume.
“Hi Tatianna,” I said weakly.
“None of that now, we’re sisters, I finally got me a sister, about fuckin’ time one of them gave it up. Never thought it’d be Chance though, tight as a duck ass that man, but I got me a sister now! You call me Tati, sweetness, we’re going to have so much fun. Chance has given me hisblack AmEx card,that means serious spending. The whole afternoon spending and we’re going to get coffee’s and have sister time!” Tati hugged me tightly a second time, while I stared over her shoulder at Chance. I saw amusement in his eyes and a wariness.
“Tati, that sounds wonderful, I’m sure you know the best places to shop and a black AmEx card? I didn’t even know they did one!” I replied, and the wariness faded to be replaced by approval. It hit me, Tati was over the top but genuine, Chance was worried I’d hurt her feelings. Silly idiot.
“We’ll get your hair and nails done and a facial,” Tati continued blithely ignoring the man standing next to us.