Protected by a Bear (Mate Me Book 2)

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Chapter 8

The rest of the night went by quickly, Marcus kept his eye on Eloise as he watched others come up to place their last orders. He noticed she dove back into work easily, mixing cocktails with her tiny hands. She did it all while keeping up with the conversations around her. He saw her laugh several times as a waiter came up to hand her orders. His bear bristled,

She is ours! Make him stop talking to her.

That is not how humans work, we cannot just lock her away to keep for ourselves. We would be acting like that coyote shifter. He replied and his bear roared at the idea of being like a coyote.

“Closing time!” Rhett yelled, soon people were filing out of the club and to their cars, a couple people needed cabs called to drive them home after indulging too much. Marcus stood at the door making sure those who were too intoxicated, made it into their cabs, and their keys stored behind the bar. He watched Eloise wipe down the bar, and mark the keys with customer names.

“Ellie you can go home, you’ve been here the longest,” Rhett told her, Marcus watched her tense and knew she was thinking about walking to her car in the dark.

“I’ll walk you out,” he offered, he could see the relief pass through her dark eyes, before she nodded her agreement.

“Marcus, thank you for tonight, it went splendidly. If you are agreeable, I would like to see about hiring some of your men full time. We can meet about it after the holidays,” Rhett offered, and Marcus nodded. He was relieved to hear Rhett was pleased with how the evening had gone, and it meant he could see Eloise if he personally saw to being one of the bouncers. He waited while Eloise gathered her things, slinging her massive school bag over her shoulder and coming out from behind the bar.

“I’m ready,” she told him, without thinking he reached for her bag and took it, siding it over his shoulder, he was impressed she had even lifted the thing.

“I can carry it, I do it on a daily basis,” she argued, he shook his head.

“Let me be the gentleman, from the sounds of things you haven’t had enough of that in your life,” he replied, and walked away with her bag. He enjoyed seeing the look of bewilderment on her face when he had turned away.

She is our mate! You need to tell her!

We need to tread lightly. She was attacked by a shifter and is skittish around us. You saw her try to hit us with the bat when we surprised her. He warned, he wanted to get to know this intriguing teacher. She seemed very down to earth, but her refusal to go to the police worried him. She’d been stalked before and nothing terrible happened, but the kid had been eighteen. Now she was probably close to her thirties if not just about thirty, and if the stalker was a shifter she could be in grave danger.

“Thank you for walking me to my car,” Eloise said, stopping at a beat up little Toyota. Marcus took one look of the car and had to stifle a groan; this car looked one good kick away from falling apart.

“My pleasure, I will meet you at the police station at ten,” he replied, opening her back door and placing her school bag down.

“See you there at ten.” She slipped into her car, turned it on and drove off. Marcus stood watching her drive away in the cold night air, being a bear, he didn’t get cold as easily as a human would.

“Are you going to protect Ellie?” Josie demanded, when he stepped inside to make sure his men cleaned up and went home.

“I want to, but I’m not sure how to make her see reason. She didn’t think this was anything to worry about. I fear her last experience with stalking had been harmless teenage puppy love. This time, with the hints she made about the notes I am worried something worse could happen to her,” he replied. Josie was round with her first child, and he didn’t want to cause her undo stress.

“Just leave that to me, I can convince Ellie to do practically anything.” Josie’s eyes gleamed and suddenly, Marcus was worried about just how Josie was going to get Eloise to agree.

“Just be nice,” he replied with a wry smile, and Josie laughed.

“She is my best friend, of course I won’t,” she joked and he shook his head. He didn’t have any sisters, but he had three sister-in-laws. Women always confused him, he just wanted someone straight forward about their feelings. It made it much easier for him to know if he should pursue the woman or let her be.

“I am meeting her at the police station at ten tomorrow,” he explained.

“Good, she should go to the police and tell them there is a stalker in our town. I don’t like the idea of this person getting so close to her, especially at school. Schools have a very strict visitor policy after so many shootings,” Josie shared, and he nodded his agreement.

“Maybe I should check out her school too?” he suggested, Josie nodded and added,

“I’ll call Sheila, she is the principal, and explain what is going on. She won’t like that someone was sneaking into her school without her knowledge. There is a week before break begins for the next two weeks. Ellie is supposed to work again tomorrow night, we don’t have a Mate Me event though. This was the first one she agreed to come back to, she didn’t want to be around a large group of male shifters on the prowl for a mate after what Jimmy did.”

“I don’t blame her, especially when she tried to take my brains out with a baseball bat,” he replied, nodding as Greyson, Troy and Peter went home.

“I want my best friend to feel comfortable again, I need you to make it happen. I saw the way you watched her all evening; I know you two are mates. It is up to you to convince her she is meant for you, and I need you to get rid of her stalker,” Josie informed him, he was taken aback by her assessment of them being mates. He thought he’d hid his fascination with her pretty well.

“I know when people are mates, it is just a sixth sense I have always had. Can you come back to work tomorrow night?” she asked.

“Sure, I can help around here a while, at least until her stalker is taken care of. I have a couple other men who will be working the Mate Me events once they come back from assignment,” he informed her. He could feel her relief radiate in waves when he promised to work security for the club.

“Good, see you tomorrow then.” She turned away to walk over to Rhett.

“See you tomorrow.” He bid them goodnight and walked out to his truck. He loved his truck more than anything, he kept it clean and well taken care of. He knew everything there was to know about fixing his truck, he didn’t trust anyone with it. Starting the truck, he drove out to his home in White Valley. He lived on the edge of the national park so he could take his bear out for evening rambles.

His home was two stories, with a basement, laundry room, and an unfinished space he planned on turning into a playroom for his nieces and nephews when they came to visit. The upstairs had four bedrooms and two full bathrooms, plenty of space for his family to come visit. Stepping inside he instantly thought about Eloise and how much he wanted her to live with him. They would cook in his large kitchen, eat at the kitchen table his father carved for him, then settle in the main room to watch a movie or sit near the fireplace and cuddle. He wanted Eloise with a ferocity that scared him, no one had affected him this way.

He walked around the house as was his normal routine to make sure nothing was out of place then went upstairs to shower and go to bed. He set an alarm to get up in time to call the police station before Eloise and he made their visit. He wanted to impress upon Sheriff Ling how important it was to take this situation seriously and find the man stalking his mate. After their visit to the station he hoped she’d go to lunch with him and he could get to know her outside of work.

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