Marcus inwardly swore, he had hoped he wouldn’t run into her while he was home. Looking at her, he had no idea what he had been thinking at eighteen. She had a hard look in her eye, he could smell the anger coming off her body.
“Who is she?” she asked, a sneer on her face.
“Wendy Tramp meet Eloise Rucker, my mate,” he announced, secretly enjoying the flash of fury come across her features.
“I thought you didn’t have a mate?” she asked, hinting to her rejection of him when they were teens.
“Turns out I was wrong at eighteen. My bear and I are madly in love with Eloise.” He reached over and took Eloise’s hand in his.
“Nice to meet you Wendy and thank you for telling Marcus no. I’ve found my happy beginning and wouldn’t trade him for all the money or status in the world.” Eloise gave her a sweet smile and Marcus had to hide his surprise. He’d never expected her to jab at Wendy.
“Did he tell you he is a massive grizzly bear who will eat you the second he gets a chance?” Wendy wanted to know. He was shocked, he had no idea she felt that way about him.
“Yes, I’ve met his bear. He is amazing and beautiful. I feel honored and proud to be with this man. It is people like you who project the image that shifters are dangerous. They are no more dangerous than anyone else,” Eloise shot back, coming to his defense. He remembered the first time he showed his bear to Eloise.
By Thursday evening of their week together his bear was itching to get out for a ramble in the woods. He didn’t want to leave her alone in the house but knew she would be nervous around his bear. She had every right to feel that way, Jimmy Duggen had used his shifter strength against her.
“You okay?” she asked him, they were curled on the couch watching a movie.
“I’m fine,” he lied, she turned to face him full on.
“Liar, your bear doesn’t sound happy. I can feel the grumbling,” she pointed out.
“I need to shift and I don’t want to leave you alone in the house,” he replied. She gave him a confused look.
“Can I come with you?”
“I don’t want my bear to scare you. I am an eight-foot grizzly bear,” he explained. Peering into her eyes he saw hers soften.
“I might be a little nervous, but I trust you.” Placing a hand on his cheek she leaned forward and kissed him. He felt his bear push for them to shift and show off.
“Okay, go get bundled up. It is cold outside and dark.” She smiled at him and ran off to get ready for the snow. Marcus admired her body as she put on her wool coat, hat and gloves.
“Ready?” he asked, when she turned to face him again. Sauntering over to him, she tugged on his shirt until he bent his head. Her lips found his in a heated kiss.
“I’m so ready to meet your bear.” Taking her hand he walked her to his backyard. Stripping down to nothing, he smelled her arousal.
“When we get back, I promise to make love to you.” He took a deep breath and let his bear take over. With a series of cracks and pops he was his bear. Watching her, her eyes were wide open, a hand over her mouth. He worried that maybe he was too much for her. then her hand reached out and she asked,
“Can I touch you?” His bear nodded and her hand touched the top of his head. He leaned into the touch and rumbled his enjoyment. Her hand pressed harder and scratched behind his ears. This was heaven! His mate rubbing the spots he couldn’t reach. Going down on his knees, he motioned with his head for her to climb on. It took her a minute to understand what he wanted. She clambered up onto his back, resting behind his neck. Her hands gripped his fur, he couldn’t wait, and took off into the woods, letting his bear stretch his legs.
Their ramble through the woods ended faster than his normal treks. He was worried about her being too cold. Walking to the back of his house he bent to let her down. She slipped off and stood on the porch clutching his clothes. He shifted back and reached for his clothes. Instead of releasing them, she grabbed him and kissed him passionately.
“Let’s get inside,” he growled against her lips. Picking her up, he tossed her over his shoulder. She shrieked and laughed, he ran up to his bedroom and proceeded to make love to her well into the night.
“I am glad you found a mate,” Wendy replied, she turned away to take care of the children behind her.
“Well she is pleasant,” Eloise commented, Marcus chuckled.
“She has five children and is married to a man who runs the local hardware store. She is not where she thought she would be at this point in her life,” Marcus explained, he didn’t want to make excuses for her but he understood she was unhappy.
“No excuse to be rude about being a shifter. What are we going to do for the rest of the day until dinner?” she asked, he bobbed his head back and forth and thought about it. He had a surprise coming to the house and wanted to keep Eloise out until it was ready.
“How do you feel about poking around our local mall?” he suggested, she smiled and hopped off the barstool.
“I think that sounds great, I could use this time to pick up a few gifts for your family,” she replied.
“Don’t worry about it, I can put your name on all the gifts I brought with me. You were not expecting to come here for Christmas.”
“I know, but I want to do something, maybe add a small piece to each gift,” she argued.
“Only if you let me buy you a gift too,” he countered, she had told him not to worry about getting her a Christmas gift, since they couldn’t get out of the house for a couple of days due to the blizzard.
“Fine, but it has to be small,” she agreed. He leaned down and kissed her once more, pulling back he preened when he saw her eyes go cloudy with desire. Taking her hand he walked her out to their rental car and drove over to the mall.