“Eloise, what are you doing?” Her friend Josie exclaimed walking over. She had papers spread across a table at Club Cerulean. Rhett had asked her to come in at five to get the bar ready for the event that night, it put her behind on her grading and she disliked when she felt rushed.
“I’m grading math tests and then I need to look at word study journals. Rhett is cutting into my grading time asking me to be here two hours early. These need to get back to the kids so they can do corrections over the holiday break,” Eloise explained. Before Josie had met Rhett she’d been a teacher along with her.
“You need a boyfriend. Then you wouldn’t be so stressed.” Josie put her hands on her hips, she’d really popped in the past week. Eloise knew she had another two months until she gave birth.
“Are you and Rhett still sticking with waiting to find out the sex until the baby arrives?” Eloise asked. The best way to avoid a conversation about her love life was to ask Josie about the baby.
“Yes, and nice try. Why not come to the event tonight as a participant and not just a sexy bartender?” Josie offered.
“No, I need the money to pay off school. I don’t have an amazing husband to pay off college.” Eloise loved being a teacher, but what no one said was the crippling amount of debt from four years undergrad and a year and a half of graduate school she had to pay. She’d been working for the past seven years to pay it off. She had six more months to finally be debt free, putting every spare penny into paying back her debt early.
“I don’t miss being stressed out trying to pay the bills.” Josie patted her on the shoulder and walked away to talk to some of the people helping set up the Christmas themed party.
“Ellie, you need to clean that up.” Rhett came over eyeing her piles. He was dressed in his regular three-piece suit, tonight it was navy with a red tie to accent the crisp white shirt he always wore. His dark hair had been pushed back away from his face by impatient fingers.
“The bar is set up. What else do you need?” she asked, keeping the irritation from her voice. She really did need to get this done and being bothered by Rhett was getting in the way.
“I want you to meet the new bouncers for the club.” Rhett motioned to four larger than life men by the door. One in particular caught her eye, he had red hair, was at least four inches taller than any of the others and a bulky build. She could tell it was all pure muscle rippling under his tight black shirt. He wore black jeans and a pair of black boots. She couldn’t tell his eye color because he was half turned, talking to the blond haired man next to him. Feeling a rush of dread pass through her body she nodded. The Mate Me events made her nervous after a particularly scary incident occurred. She’d never been afraid of shifters until then, now she was wary around anyone she didn’t personally know.
“Be there in a minute, I need to pack this up.” Eloise started to stack papers and tuck them into a large bag by her feet. Tomorrow night she had to work a shift too which meant she’d need to buckle down and grade all day. She couldn’t wait for the holiday break to come, so she could catch up on sleep.
Standing up, she swung the heavy bag over her shoulder and walked over to the group. At five feet four inches she was dwarfed by the men and easily had the darkest complexion. She loved her tan skin, it was one of the things she liked about herself best. She knew she was on the big side of being a female, but her curves were who made her, her. She wouldn’t trade her body for anything, but it had taken years of work for her to be confident and comfortable with herself.
“Eloise, meet Marcus Zephyr, he is the owner of Zephyr Protection,” Rhett introduced the redhead to her, she had to stifle a gasp when he trained his grass green eyes on her. Her body felt as if it were melting into a puddle of lust, she struggled to contain her reaction to him. She saw his eyes flash for a brief moment before he spoke.
“Hello Eloise, nice to meet you,” his voice a soft tenor, did nothing to alleviate the puddle growing in her panties.
“Hello, call me Ellie, everyone else does,” she replied with a soft smile. Her mother had named her after her grandmother and her grandmother didn’t particularly like her because Eloise had been an accident.
“Eloise, this is Peter and Troy Hoffman and Greyson Worth. They will be helping around the club. If you need any support you call on one of them. Can you show them around the club? I am needed by Josie to help move tables.” Rhett left her, immediately she felt slightly intimidated by the stares of the four men. She took a good look at Peter and recognized him.
“You come here often,” she remarked looking at Peter.
“I’m flattered you remember me.” Peter gave her a charming smile, one she knew made the ladies fall into bed with him. One of her bartender friends Leena had slept with him and couldn’t stop fawning over the wolf shifter.
“I always remember a persistent flirt,” she shot back, feeling more like herself with a smirk on her face.
“He has been assigned the door so he won’t be bothering you,” Marcus explained, giving her an intense stare. She felt a shiver race down her spine when their eyes connected. She could just picture his sensual lips kissing their way down her body to suck and bite, making her beg for more. His large hands slowly stripping her of her clothing, until he had her naked moaning his name. Cool it Eloise! She berated herself.
“Where are the others to be placed?” she asked, trying to keep on topic and stop her brain from stripping Marcus of his clothing. She’d start with his shirt, she wanted to see what his muscles looked like, underneath his tight black shirt. Then, she’d move to his pants, slowly pushing them down to torment him or her, she wasn’t sure. Last, she’d unleash his cock, a man that size had to be packing. Her last boyfriend had been all talk and never satisfied her.
“Troy and I will be on the floor moving around and Greyson will be at the back door. Can you show me any places people might be able to hide out of sight?” Marcus looked around the main space of the club. She blinked and thought for a moment, her brain trying to get back on track.
“There are several VIP rooms upstairs and the bathrooms are a blind spot for Hank and Lionel.” She pointed out the darkened hallway leading to the bathrooms and stairs.
“Will you show me what you mean?” Marcus motioned her forward, she paused to appreciate the graceful gesture. Nodding she walked away, not trusting her voice to come out as more than a squeak. She had been around Marcus for ten minutes, already wanting him to pin her against the wall, kiss her and take her home. Shaking her head over her foolish thoughts, she decided she needed to get out, if staring at Marcus made her fall apart. The first handsome man to cross her path in over a year and she was having dirty fantasies about him. Nothing in their conversation should have her thinking about Marcus as anything more than a bouncer. Yet, every time their eyes connected, she felt there should be more between them.