**New serial starts today! Sorry for the delay, life got in the way. Meet Keir, his love of cooking, and the pack of wolves that bring him into the fold. This one is going to be a least a few parts so buckle in! Enjoy!**
I’d always loved cooking. Since the first grilled cheese sandwich I managed to make without burning it at eight years old, I’d been hooked. Most of my free time had been taken up by cooking, creating meals and perfecting specialties. But until today, it was always something I did for fun, for my friends and family or myself. I’d never thought of making it my job.
I wasn’t trained. I didn’t go to cooking school. Hadn’t even taken any classes. It was all instinct and preference and by no means something I should be able to make a career out of. But when a friend of a friend was looking for a personal chef, somehow my name got brought up. And suddenly I had an interview.
With the alpha of a wolf shifter pack.
I’d almost said no. Turned it down flat when Ivy asked if she could give my name and number to Andreas. In fact, I’d started to. But she gave me the big eyes and started waxing poetic about how good it would be for me because I could quit the data entry job I hated. She’d said it would be full time work with great pay, and I could do a thing that I loved. She’d assured me shifters loved to eat, and I’d have my work cut out for me, but that I’d get a lot of satisfaction out of it.
So I caved, and let her pass my number on to some guy she knew who gave it the alpha.
Andreas was a big man, with wide shoulders and beefy arms. But he also had a kind smile, and warm eyes, and the affection he showed his mate was open and loving. Cal was much smaller than Andreas, but he showed the alpha the same kind of loving affection back. It didn’t seem fake or forced and that went a long way to easing my nerves.
I hadn’t had a lot of time to prep for the interview, because once Andreas called me, he’d asked to meet the next day. But I’d done what research I could last night. I wasn’t a shifter. Wasn’t even magical. Just a regular old human who loved cooking. I didn’t know the first thing about feeding a pack of wolves. So I’d spent a good portion of last night researching. Wolf shifters needed protein and carbs in high quantities, to account for the calorie loss they experienced with shifting to their animal form and back again. Apparently fats and sugar was also a go. The articles and blogs I’d found said that most shifters didn’t worry about what kind of fuel they put into their bodies as their metabolism ran at a much higher rate. At least that meant I didn’t have to find substitutions in the recipes I had under my belt.
So now I was sitting in a huge, state of the art kitchen with gleaming appliances at a table that easily sat twenty. The alpha said at one end, his mate right next to him, and two men standing behind. They were both nearly as big as the alpha, but one had warm brown eyes and a quirk of a smile to his lips, while the other looked much more stoic. He had his arms crossed across his chest and didn’t take his gaze off me.
I kept mine fixed on the alpha and tried not to let my nerves show.
“You come highly recommended,” the alpha said, his voice a deep timbre. He slid his hand around the back of Cal’s neck, and Cal leaned into him with a soft hum. The alpha threw a smile at his mate, and then focused back on me. “We’ve been doing the best we can but we have seventeen people to feed and most of us are…mediocre cooks at best.”
Cal laughed, a sweet sound, and snuggled into his mate’s arms. “What my dear alpha is trying to say is that it wasn’t that hard to convince him, or anyone else, that we need someone to feed us. When Jake told us that his friend Ivy knew someone, we jumped at the chance to meet you.”
My smile felt shaky, and I had to clear my throat, but my nerves settled a little further. “Thank you. I’m glad for the opportunity to meet you as well. Ivy did tell you I’m not a professional though, right? I don’t want to sell myself short, I’m very good at cooking, but I want to be honest as well.”
“She did,” Andreas said and I liked to think that his smile meant he approved. “She also made sure to sing your praises and…” He turned to Cal. “What did she say?”
It was the big man with the neutral expression who answered. His voice was so deep it almost reverberated through me. “Keir makes the best damn food she’s ever eaten and we’d be stupid not to give him a chance.”
The other three men laughed, I felt my cheeks heat, and the stoic man didn’t even crack a smile. I suddenly wished I could remember his name. I’d been too frazzled and trying to keep it from showing when we’d been introduced.
“Would you be willing to do a test meal with us, Keir?” Andreas’s voice brought my attention back to him.
“Yes, of course.”
“Great! The kitchen is fully stocked so why don’t you have a look around. See what you can come up with. We’ll eat just about anything and if you need something, I can have someone run to the store.”
I blinked at him. Then again. “R-right now?”
Andreas tilted his head. “Is that a problem?”
“No.” My denial was too fast. I took a breath. “I just wasn’t expecting it. But I don’t have any conflicts at the moment.”
“Wonderful.” Andreas stood and held a hand out to Cal. “We’ll leave you to it. Bram, with me. Eoin, you stay in case Keir needs anything.”
Eoin, apparently, was the stoic man, because he gave a single nod, stepped back, and leaned against the wall. Andreas clapped me on the shoulder as he passed by and Cal offered me a bright smile. A moment later, they were gone, and trying to ignore Eoin. I had to take a second to get my thoughts in order, and then, because the alpha had given me permission, I started poking around.
It was evident when Andreas said well stocked, he’d meant it. It took me several long minutes to inventory the refrigerator and I nearly drooled over the drawer of neatly labeled spices. When I found, and then walked into, the pantry, I actually let out a whistle. The sheer number of dry and canned goods was astounding. There was also a chest freezer in the back corner that was stocked with nothing but different kinds of meat. This place was a chef’s dream.
My brain whirled with the possibilities as I mentally reviewed everything I’d seen. I wanted a meal that would impress, feed a lot of people multiple portions—because wolves ate a lot—but that wouldn’t be too over the top and well balanced. My mind stuck on the several pounds of chicken thighs I’d seen in the fridge.
“Too bad I didn’t find capers,” I muttered to myself, scanning the canned goods again and seeing the shelf of diced tomatoes. “I could do several pans of chicken cacciatore.”
“I can get you capers.”
I squeaked out a yell, then clutched my chest as my heart tried to beat out of my chest. Eoin was suddenly looming in the doorway, still expressionless but with phone in hand.
“Good lord, you scared me.”
“Sorry.” He sounded like he meant it, even if there wasn’t much inflection to his voice. Then he held up the phone he was holding. “Capers?”
“Uh, I guess so?” I cleared my throat again, knowing my nerves were showing. “If y’all want chicken cacciatore, its better with capers.”
He nodded once, didn’t move from the doorway, then tapped on his phone. When he was done, he looked up at me. “Done. You need help carrying any of this stuff?”
Part of me wanted to say no, as though me doing it myself would prove something. But then again, Eoin’s arms were huge and he’d probably be able to carry a lot more than me in one trip.
“Sure.” I started loading him up with the canned goods I would need and Eoin held it all easily. I followed him out with a ten pound bag of rice a moment later, and watched as he set everything on the counter. I added my contribution and then went in search of pans. Without asking Eoin came into the kitchen proper and opened several cabinets, showing off what they already had.
If they liked my food and hired me, I’d see about updating some of the wares, but for now, it would do. I smiled at Eoin and I swear there was a slight quirk to his lips in response. It stood out because, up until that moment, there’d been a distinct lack of expression from him. I couldn’t even explain why that caused my heart to thump.
Pushing that out of my head, I got to work. I had people to impress and a signature dish to prepare.
2 thoughts on “Flash Fic Friday-Saturday Edition”
Chicken thighs barfy. But the rest I approve LOL
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Heh. Same though apparently it’s better with thighs. It’s fine. They’re wolves. :).