Protected by a Bear (Mate Me Book 2)

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Chapter 23

Sitting at his round kitchen table with Eloise, Marcus didn’t think he could be any happier. He watched her bring the baking dish over and smiled. This felt right, Eloise was the one for him and he needed to prove it to her.

“That smells amazing,” he announced, taking a deep sniff of the air.

“Thanks, once we can get to the grocery store, I’ll make you pasta sauce from scratch. You won’t ever go back to jarred sauce again.” Eloise placed it on the table and held out her hand for his plate.

“Sit, I’ll serve.” Reaching for the serving spoon he noted her surprised face. Placing a third of his normal portion on her plate he motioned for her to sit down. While she sat down, he served himself and watched her place a napkin on her lap.

“Thank you,” she replied and took a bite of dinner. He followed and hummed his pleasure, this was the best meal he’d had in a long time.

“Amazing,” he complimented her shoveling another mouthful in.

“I’m glad you like it.” She gave him a smile and continued to eat.

“What’s it like being a teacher?” he asked, once he’d eaten one serving and began on a second. He wanted to get to know her outside of the amazing amount of sex they’d had in less than a day.

“A lot of fun, but challenging. I have thirty students in my class, twenty boys and ten girls.”

“That is a lot of boys,” he remarked sipping his wine, one item he kept on hand was good red wine and beer.

“They have kept me on my toes. I’ve had to be very creative in my teaching. We do a lot of movement and hands on activities,” she explained, taking another bite of her meal.

“Any challenges this year?” he asked, he knew from working, all jobs had hard moments.

“Some, this year I have one boy who has been a bit of a problem. His dad hasn’t been helpful at all and his mother isn’t in the picture. I’ve had to call the dad about several fights and his dad only smiles and nods at me. He doesn’t seem to care that his son has been suspended for a week after breaking another boy’s nose.” Her mouth formed a frown and he worried she might get hurt.

“Has he ever gone after you?”

“No, he and I get along well. It’s all the other students he seems to have an issue with,” she explained, downing her glass of wine, he reached over and refilled it.

“Do you teach shifter children?” he wanted to know. He went to an all shifter school because his town was a shifter colony.

“Some, I’m not sure about each individual child. I know some are because of Josie and Rhett. They’ve had dinner parties and I’ve met a few of the families. The school doesn’t make them identify themselves to protect their privacy,” she shared, it made sense even though shifters were known in the world, it didn’t mean they weren’t hit with opposition.

“Is this child a shifter?” Marcus asked, could his father be the stalker?

“Not sure,” she replied, sitting back from the table, nursing her glass of wine.

“Want to finish our movie from before? We can bring the rest of the wine and I promise we will finish the movie,” he suggested gathering their plates and taking them to the kitchen, Eloise followed with the rest behind him.

“Sure, let’s do the dishes and then we can watch the rest of Operation Petticoat,” she replied, turning on the hot water.

“No, no I can do them. You made dinner,” Marcus argued, gently lifting her out of the way, she weighed practically nothing to him.

“We made dinner together,” she countered, picking up the rest of the cups and utensils from the table.

“Fine, you put all the dishes in the dishwasher, I’ll wash the pots and pans,” he relented, and dove into the soapy water to get cleaning.

“Are you really taking me to see your family at Christmas?” she asked, bending over to put in the plates. Marcus had to bite his lip and count to ten to keep from grabbing her and making love to her again in the kitchen.

“Yes,” he replied, and paused to think about what that would mean.

“What will we tell them?” she asked, putting a hand on her hip and leaning against the counter. God, she looked so sexy!

“We can tell them whatever you are comfortable with,” he answered, he wanted to say they were mates but wouldn’t push her into anything. She bobbed her head back and forth thinking and asked,

“When are you going down?”

“The twenty-third, I have a plane ticket set to leave at seven am. I’ll call the airline and change my reservation to two tickets.” He rinsed and set the baking dish off to the side to dry.

“I’ll pay for my ticket. You weren’t expecting to be bringing someone with you.”

“No, I told you I’d help with expenses, and this counts as an unexpected expense for you. You are coming to meet my family and there are a lot of them. You are going to be thrown into the thick of things. My mom is the quintessential mama bear, she protects her own and loves her boys.” He wasn’t worried about his mom loving Eloise, she was amazing and easy to talk to.

“Are you sure?” She looked worried and he nodded quickly, he didn’t want her to ever think she was a burden on him. It was his pleasure to care for her in any way she would let him.

“Very, come let’s go watch the rest of our movie.” He held out his hand and she let him pull her back into the main room.

“Sit, I’m going to stoke the fire.” Marcus pushed her toward the couch and crouched to do up the fire. He wanted to make sure his mate was warm and well cared for.

“We never decided, what do we tell your family?” Eloise snuggled down under a throw blanket, he groaned wishing it was him she was cuddled up against.

“I’d like to say you are my mate, but we can tell them we are dating. I know humans don’t have an animal telling them they’ve found their mate.” He came over and pulled her into his arms, he pressed play and their movie picked up from where they left off.

“Let’s keep it at dating and see where this takes us. I’m already falling hard for you and it’s only been a day.” She leaned over and kissed him, she let go of his lips way too soon to his liking.

“Sounds good, I’ll call home tomorrow and let my mom know you are coming. I’m also going to need a class list, I want to look into your students’ parents,” he told her, laying back with her between his legs.

“Why?” She leaned into his chest looking up at him.

“I want to eliminate as many possible shifters. I can easily get your coworkers information from Cody Ling at the police station. Greyson is my best background investigator, he’ll be very discreet,” he promised, feeling her body mold against his was pure torture. She was temptation wrapped into a curvy petite body, he was going to be a gentleman tonight if it killed him.

“Okay, I can pull my list up tomorrow and we need to let my principal know what is going on,” she added.

“Wait, she doesn’t know?”

“No, I didn’t want to alarm anyone.” Marcus felt her tense and he rubbed up and down her arms comforting her.

“Don’t worry, we’ll do it together. When you go back to work, I’m driving you. I need to get the layout of your school. I need to figure out how your stalker managed to get to your desk,” he explained, she nodded and turned her attention back to the movie. This felt right, watching old timey movies, curled up on the couch. All he ever wanted was lying between his legs, the only thing that would make this better, was if Eloise were pregnant with his cub. He felt her body soften underneath his further, sleep was settling in for her and he loved it, she felt safe enough to fall asleep around him.

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