This is the first 14 chapters. If you would like to read the book in full, it is available on Amazon. Written by S.M.Merrill
Marcus sat behind his desk and listened to Rhett Austin explain his need for extra help at his club. His mate Josie had started a Mate Me business and used Club Cerulean as her gathering place. The last event had two bear shifters getting into a fight over a young woman. He’d heard about it at the bar he liked to go to with his buddies.
“I want to make sure we keep everyone safe. I have several female bartenders, and one of them is human. She is Josie’s best friend, and I was told in no uncertain terms. If Eloise gets hurt, I’m sleeping outside,” Rhett explained. He wore an expensive black Italian suit; he had his hair gelled back to give him an intimidating appearance. He had dark brown almost black hair and sharp blue eyes, he looked similar to his older brother Xander.
“I get it, my brothers have human mates. They are very protective when we bear shifters get together around them. How many men do you think you’ll need?” Marcus opened a file on his computer to pull up his current payroll. He didn’t have too many of his bodyguards available at the moment.
“I’d like one at the front and back doors along with at least two on the floor.”
“I have three available and I can be the fourth until Orion gets back from assignment. I’ll assign Peter and Troy two wolf shifters and Greyson, a lion shifter,” Marcus explained, giving Rhett each man’s profile to review.
“Will wolf shifters be enough against the bears and dragons who come to these events?” Rhett looked skeptical, and he understood, wolf shifters were better at talking people down than fighting them off.
“Both Peter and Troy are former navy seals, you have nothing to worry about. If you are satisfied with these three, I just need a list of the next few events you would like worked.” Marcus sat back and watched. He and Rhett knew each other through mutual friends, being a bear shifter himself; he lived longer than the average human. Rhett had been an easy friend who didn’t expect more than a friendly chat over a beer occasionally.
“Trial basis, the next Mate Me event is Saturday, starts at eight. I’d like your men there at six to get the lay of the club and meet the bartenders. They are the ones yelled at most, because they know when to cut off alcohol to someone.” Rhett stood and held out his hand. Marcus stood and shook it. If Saturday went well, he might have some regular income for his business.
“Everyone will be there at six,” Marcus assured him. Rhett nodded and left the office. Immediately, Marcus sent off emails to Peter, Troy, and Greyson, letting them know of a potential regular gig and to come into the office to discuss details. Marcus’ office was located in the back of his four-bedroom home. He’d built it with his own two hands when he moved to White Valley. He’d done the same thing in Texas at eighteen when he thought he had found his mate. Turned out at eighteen he was stupid and had fallen in lust. After being thoroughly rejected by her, he joined the Marines and never looked back.
Now at thirty-three he’d gotten out of the military and opened his own protection agency. The business took off instantly, and over the past year he’d built a reputation for being the best. He’d recently helped Xander and his mate extract her artwork from a nasty ex. Thankfully, everyone made it out without the fire harming anyone. They hadn’t been able to save the other art after the fire started.
“You summoned us?” Peter asked, walking in, followed by two other men. Peter was tall at six feet, blue eyes and blond hair, his brother Troy the same. Being wolves, they were lankier in build than he was as a bear. Greyson had golden blond hair kept long in a low ponytail. He stood taller than the other two, by two inches. His gray eyes took in everything.
“Rhett Austin came asking for extra protection at Club Cerulean when he hosts the Mate Me events,” he began.
“I’ve heard it’s been a rousing success. In the several months the events have been happening a dozen shifters have found their mates,” Troy interrupted.
“You are not there to find your mate. You will work making sure no fights break out and keeping the humans safe. Rhett told me one particular bartender is Josie’s best friend and cannot get hurt. With Josie in such a delicate condition he doesn’t want her upset.” Marcus mentally shook his head over how protective Rhett was being. Josie was pregnant not terminally ill.
“Which bartender?” Greyson asked.
“Ellie! She is the best! Hot too,” Peter interjected, his eyes going dreamy.
“Is she? I’ve never been to Club Cerulean.” Peter’s reaction intrigued Marcus.
“Yes, she has jet black hair and big chocolate brown eyes. Her curves are a shifter’s dream. She tells everyone no, she won’t date any of the men who come to the club. Always tells me she is too busy teaching for a boyfriend,” Peter explained. Marcus sighed and stared at the wolf shifter.
“It sounds like you need to be on front door duty if Eloise will be a distraction. Troy, you cover the floor with me and Greyson you will do the back entrance. Rhett wants this event to go smoothly. Everyone needs to be at the club Saturday at six. We will go over the layout and make sure there aren’t any weak spots,” Marcus explained their orders, the three men nodded.
“Good, see you Saturday.” Marcus dismissed them and they left him to think about Eloise. She sounded beautiful from Peter’s description, but why was she a bartender if she was a teacher too? He knew you needed a college education to become a teacher. Wouldn’t that pay enough to live on?