Protected by a Bear (Mate Me Book 2)

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Eloise ran around her house like a madwoman with a broom and a mop. She wanted the place to look spectacular. Bending over, she scrubbed hard at the floors to make them shine. She wanted all traces of what had happened several days prior to be gone. Every time she looked at the knife block, her blood ran cold at the thought of using one of the knives. Maybe she needed to get rid of it and buy a new one? Marcus had fixed the door locks and added security cameras around the house to help her feel at ease. Today was the first day he had left her alone in the house, and it hadn’t been by choice. They needed beverages for the party and she needed to be in the kitchen minding the food.

Her friends were coming over with their mates for a New Year’s Eve party. She’d sent Marcus to the store to purchase sodas, wine, and beer. All day she’d been busy cooking up a feast for those coming. They’d invited all of Marcus’ company and her friends, she knew Josie and Rhett, Roxie and Xander, Jordan and Daisy, Evelyn, Greyson, Peter, and Troy were coming. She worried Troy was pushing himself too fast with his recovery, but Marcus had put her at ease.

“He is a grown man, Eloise. He doesn’t need us fussing over him. His mom has already had him confined to his bed, and he wants to get out,” Marcus told her. She’d laughed at the thought of Troy being kept to a bed. She remembered meeting their mother at the hospital when she went to visit the next day. She was a petite woman, maybe five feet tall with snow-white hair and piercing blue eyes. Eloise hadn’t stayed long after she glared at her for interrupting Troy’s sleep.

“I’m back!” Marcus called walking into the house ladened down with bags of drinks. Eloise put the mop away and went to greet her mate.

“Was it packed?” she asked, reaching out to take some of the bags, Marcus pulled back and bent down to give her a kiss.

“Yes, I almost lost an arm to a jaguar shifter trying to get a case of beer,” he replied and she gasped.

“What happened?” Eloise followed him into the kitchen and started to put away the drinks to make them cold for the party.

“I apparently was blocking the way to his preferred beer brand. Instead of asking, he pushed my cart out of the way and shouldered his way to the shelf. Mind you I had my hand on the cart and was bending over to check the price on the beer case next to his,” he explained as he pulled out a large cooler to put the ice in.

“What did you do?” she asked, walking over to the oven to check on her massive baked ziti and several loves of homemade garlic bread. Happy with their progress, she moved on to the two crockpots full of cocktail meatballs.

“I politely explained that he pushed my cart and if he needed me to move, he should have just said something.” Marcus dumped three bags of ice simultaneously, she took a minute to marvel at his strength.

“And?” she prompted knowing there was more to the story. Marcus was hard to anger, but that didn’t mean others around him were just as even-tempered.

“He told me to fuck off!” Marcus exclaimed, and she laughed.

“That’s it?” she asked, doubling over in laughter, the look on his face said it all. He was shocked someone would speak to him in that manner.

“He was rude,” Marcus grumbled, he started to shove sodas and beer cans into the ice.

“True, let me make you feel better.” She walked over and wrapped her arms around his waist. Looking up at him, she gave him a sweet kiss. He growled into the kiss and picked her up. She wrapped her legs around his waist and pushed the kiss deeper. Parting her lips she tangled her tongue with his, shocks of desire raced through her body. She needed him to make love to her.

“Marcus...” she began, but the doorbell rang. Sighing, she released her hold on him and let him place her on the ground.

“Our guests are here,” she said, and with one last kiss walked over to the door. She was surprised to see almost everyone was on the front porch.

“Wow,” Marcus said behind her.

“We all wanted to get a good look at your home,” Josie explained and Eloise laughed. Pulling Josie in for a hug she pushed open the door to allow everyone to come in.

“Is it only to see our house?” she asked and Josie gave her a sly grin.

“I want details about your time in Texas and your kidnapping!” she exclaimed and along with Roxie and Evelyn, they moved into the kitchen. Eloise laughed and knew her friends wouldn’t let her go without the full story. She grabbed drinks for them all and they settled at the kitchen table while the men grabbed beers and moved into the living room. She launched into telling them about her time in Texas, Marcus’ proposal and William’s kidnapping.

“I am so glad you are home safe,” Josie said patting her hand. Eloise nodded and looked at her friends. She prayed the danger was gone for them all and they could enjoy becoming moms and in Evelyn’s case find a mate.

“Evvy, when are you going to find a mate?” Eloise asked, and Evelyn gave her a surprised look.

“Why me?” Evelyn asked.

“Because you are the only one without a mate,” Eloise pointed out.

“What about Jordan? He is coming tonight with his niece Daisy. He is such an amazing man with his niece. He took her in when his brother became unfit to be her parent,” Roxie explained. She’d struck up a friendship with Jordan thanks to him helping her get a court order for her artwork.

“I don’t know...” Evelyn trailed off, Eloise could see she was thinking of someone else.

“You are still hung up on Anderson,” she accused her friend, Evelyn had the good graces to blush.

“I broke up with him,” she replied.

“Doesn’t mean you still don’t love him,” Eloise pointed out.

“I gave up on him, remember?” Evelyn argued and the three women laughed.

“Gave up on who?” Daisy asked prancing into the kitchen.

“Don’t you worry about it. What brings you here?” Eloise asked, picking up Daisy and putting her on her lap.

“Uncle Jordan told me you would have milk for me,” Daisy explained.

“I can do that.” Eloise set her down on the chair and got up to get her a glass of milk.

“How was your day?” Evelyn asked Daisy.

“I had to go to daycare, Uncle Jordan worked,” she shared and all three women gasped.

“How awful, maybe when I am home on my school breaks your uncle can drop you off here and we can play? What do you think?” Eloise suggested handing her a plastic cup.

“That sounds fun,” Daisy answered and Eloise smiled.

“I’ll talk to him later,” she promised, and the women along with Daisy sat and talked until dinner was ready. Eloise enjoyed a wonderful evening until midnight came. She and her friends were sitting in the living room with all the men watching the ball drop. Daisy had passed out and was asleep upstairs in a spare bedroom.

“Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one!” Everyone cheered and kissed. Marcus pulled her tightly into his arms and kissed her thoroughly.

“I love you, Eloise,” he whispered against her lips.

“I love you, Marcus,” she replied and kissed him once more. She looked around at her friends with her arms wrapped around Marcus. Life was going to be amazing and she couldn’t wait to see what this next year would bring.

And with a heavy heart, here is the end of Marcus and Eloise. Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

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