Protected by a Bear (Mate Me Book 2)

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Chapter 4

Eloise sighed, she kept trying to focus on the work in front of her, but found her eyes constantly drifting to look at Marcus. He’d followed her around, letting her show him the club. He hadn’t assumed he knew everything about the club and let her share her opinion with him.

She hadn’t known a man who valued a woman’s opinion. Her own father dismissed her as soon as she turned eighteen. He had a second family with her step mother and they were all boys. He told her she was on her own and needed to leave his house. Her mother had been a single mom struggling to provide for herself and Eloise. She hadn’t been upset and had expected him to do something like that to her. She got a job waiting tables, then bartending while working her way through school. Her jobs paid for food, books and her apartment, not her tuition.

She hadn’t felt comfortable around an unknown shifter since the danger with Jimmy. Marcus had an easy presence; she could sense the power radiating off him but she also saw control. It didn’t hurt, Marcus was the most attractive man she’d ever seen with his bright red hair and green eyes. He had the beginnings of a beard on his chiseled jaw which gave him the air of someone mysterious. His eyes hadn’t roved her body when they walked around either, which told her he would be someone she might have a conversation with. Honestly, she wanted to do more than talk, she wanted him to ravish her, like all the men in her romance novels.

“What are you working on?” Came a deep voice, one she recognized and sent a shiver of desire down her back.

“Math tests.” She slowly looked up and swallowed, he was even better looking close up. His deep set eyes, hawk like nose, which fit his face perfectly, and plump lips made her panties damp.

“Why do you work two jobs? I thought you had to go to school to become a teacher?” Marcus gave her a confused expression and she smirked.

“It does, what no one tells you is teaching doesn’t pay as well as any other profession where you need a master’s degree to work.” She’d answered that question fairly often, whenever she had her grading out.

“That doesn’t seem right.” Marcus gave her a concerned look and she laughed.

“Price of being a public servant. Is everything ready for the event tonight?” She set her pen down, knowing she was going to be up late finishing. She didn’t mind because she wanted to talk to him.

“Yes, although we are going to be short on men around the club. I spoke with Rhett and he is trying to get Xander down here.”

“Oh? I’ll be surprised if he comes, Roxie is pregnant and he doesn’t like her overdoing her painting sessions.” She smiled thinking about Roxie. She’d met her at the first Mate Me event and heard the story of her and Xander from Josie. Josie was ecstatic about them being her first match.

“That is what Rhett said, is being pregnant really that delicate of a condition? I have quite a few nieces and nephews, I don’t remember my brothers being overprotective,” Marcus remarked, she laughed.

“No, but the first three months are the worst typically. My step mother had horrid morning sickness and was tired all the time.”

“Hmm, I haven’t been around any of my sister-in-laws when they were pregnant.”

“Where were you?”

“Deployed in the middle east.”

“Wow, thank you for serving our country.” She patted his large hand, which had been laying on the bar. His hand was warm, instantly she felt heat spread through her body. She saw his eyes flash gold and a pleasant rumble passed through his chest.

“Thank you.” He smiled at her, it lit up his face softening the sharp edges.

“Ellie put your stuff away, the event is starting in five,” Rhett yelled from the doorway. Standing next to him, was Xander with his arm around Roxie. She shook her head, Rhett never understood her constant grading. Josie had been a lower grade teacher and gave it up for him.

“How much time do you work outside of work?” Marcus asked, and she gave him a confused look.

“Do you mean work a second job or do teaching things outside of work?”

“Both.”

“Well I work twenty hours a week here, Friday through Sunday and then I am usually at school until six or seven during the week. If I can’t get it done at school, it comes home with me and I work until ten or on the weekends, I don’t go out usually.” She tucked away her work and picked up the extremely heavy bag to place it behind the bar.

“That is a lot, aren’t you tired? I’m former Marines and your schedule sounds hard.” Marcus gave her a bewildered look, as she placed the bag down with a thunk.

“I don’t usually bring my work here but Rhett asked me to come in early. It cut into my grading and the kids need their math tests back before we go on winter break,” she explained. She hadn’t had someone interested in her work before, usually they smiled and said at least you get summers off. What they didn’t know is that she didn’t get paid over summer. Her summers were not her sitting at home, she took classes to expand her own education and she taught summer school. Plus picked up extra shifts at the club.

“You do what you need to, let me know if I can help. I’ll be walking around the floor. Just flag me down, looks like people are arriving.” Marcus gave her a small wave and walked away. Eloise took that moment to appreciate his backside as he walked away. His black pants sculpted his body perfectly, she bet if she threw a quarter it would bounce right off.


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