On a warm June afternoon, Evelyn sat on the patio of Eloise Zephyr’s home. They had invited her along with her best friend Roxie Austin, Josie Austin, and Elizabeth Jones over for an evening barbeque. She sipped her wine and smiled at her friends. They’d gathered for a girls’ night for the first time since Roxie gave birth to her twins Sophia and Bentley.
“I’m so glad we’re together again!” Josie announced she’d given birth to a little boy named Eli in February.
“Same here, Roxie is anyone helping Xander with the kids?” Evelyn asked, looking at her friend. Roxie had glowed throughout her pregnancy and motherhood looked just as amazing on her.
“Koraline, James and my dad are all over gushing and spoiling them. They’re almost two months old and those three visit every chance they get,” Roxie replied with a laugh.
“Same here, and Eli is five months old. Rhett has Eli and is letting his assistant manager Noah watch the club,” Josie added. Evelyn looked over at Ellie. She was having a baby in October. All these babies and pregnancies made Evelyn’s ovaries clench with jealousy.
“Ellie when exactly are you due?” Evelyn asked she’d become good friends with her through the Mate Me events. Ellie had been a bartender before she married Marcus and focused solely on being a fourth-grade teacher at the local elementary school.
“Beginning of October. We are finding out if it is a boy or girl next week.” Ellie’s eyes shone with excitement.
“I’m so jealous of you. I thought I had found my mate in Anderson, but he refused to slow down traveling for work. Xander even offered him a less demanding travel schedule, and he refused!” she complained, taking a big sip of her wine. The Mate Me events had been a rousing success for everyone but her.
“Anderson is your mate. My brother is being a pansy,” Roxie replied, patting Evelyn’s hand.
“What you need is to show him you will not wait around. Since Anderson, have you gone on any dates?” Josie asked she swirled the red wine in her glass, giving Evelyn an assessing look.
“No. I was attracted to Peter at the Christmas Mate Me event. He was working the door with Hank. We haven’t connected since. I haven’t even seen him around,” she remarked. Peter was the exact opposite in coloring and build of Anderson.
“Peter is doing a job for Marcus. He is coming back next week I can encourage him to go to the next Mate Me event. Peter is sweet and will treat you like a queen,” Ellie shared. She was nursing her mocktail.
“I’m trying something new for our next event. I’m renting out the Clover Leaf Inn. June passed away, and her granddaughter Caroline has taken over. She moved here six months ago and has returned the inn to its former glory. Caroline is a single mom to a three-year-old boy named Liam,” Josie explained, a sad smile on her face.
“Where is his dad?” Elizabeth asked Evelyn turned to look at her old roommate. She looked a lot like Roxie with her blond hair and blue eyes, but had a slimmer build and was the new pediatrician in town.
“Died in action in Iraq two years ago,” she answered, all the women gasped and Evelyn felt her eyes prick. She was blessed with a large supportive family. Her parents were living in South Carolina near Myrtle Beach. Her two brothers had moved north, one to Pennsylvania and the other to New Hampshire.
“How awful, we should invite her over for a whole group barbeque and help her out,” Roxie commented, the others nodded their agreement.
“Now back to your situation,” Josie turned her attention back to Evelyn.
“Yes?” she asked, she didn’t like the gleam in her eyes.
“I think you need to date another tiger. Peter is sweet, but no competition to Anderson. He needs to know other tigers find you irresistible,” Josie explained. She tapped a manicured nail against her sharp chin and looked thoughtful.
“What about Jordan Howard? He is a jaguar shifter, his niece Daisy is four and super sweet,” Roxie offered, but the others all shook their heads.
“He has taken a vow not to fight. Anderson won’t see him as competition, he’ll think Evvy is just dating him to get back at him. We need someone who will get under Anderson’s skin,” Elizabeth remarked.
“What about Marcus’ brother Rob? He and his son Adam are moving here next week. They are staying with us until Rob can find a place he and Adam will be happy in,” Ellie offered. Evelyn scrunched up her nose. Bear shifters were nice, but a little too big for her. Plus, she wasn’t sure she wanted to be a stepmom right away.
“I know!” Roxie exclaimed and set her wineglass down excitedly.
“Who?” Evelyn asked, she loved Roxie but sometimes she had far-fetched ideas.
“You need to date Preston Reese. He and Anderson went to high school together and were constantly competing against each other. They played on the football team together, Preston was the quarterback and Anderson a wide receiver. They competed against each other for grades and girls. Plus Preston is a tiger and a successful business owner, he helped Caroline renovate her inn. I bet he’d go out with you to help you show Anderson what he is missing,” Roxie explained, Evelyn stared at her in shock. She’d never heard such a preposterous plan.
“That is brilliant. I will invite him to the next Mate Me event and tell him I have a woman for him to meet.” Josie latched onto the idea and Evelyn knew there would be no getting them off the topic. She would just politely explain everything to Preston and tell him he didn’t need to be part of this crazy scheme.
“You all are nuts,” she grumbled and drained her glass. She looked at her phone and saw a text from Anderson.
Hey, I am in town for the next three nights. Can I stop by? Thanks to Xander giving her a good paying job, Evelyn had moved into a nicer one-bedroom condo.
I am at Ellie’s. She replied she didn’t have to wait long before her phone buzzed again.
When are you coming home? I am already inside. She shook her head. She needed to get the key back from him or change her locks. They’d broken up over six months ago, and Anderson was still stopping by her place to have sex and then leave on his next business trip.
You need to leave the key on the counter and go home. We broke up Anderson. She knew she needed him to leave her be. She could never move on if he continued to rock her world with mind-blowing sex.
Aww baby, don’t be like that. What we have is good. Come home soon. <3 She couldn’t believe she would go home and have sex with him again, but the minute she saw him she couldn’t resist the pull. Looking up from her phone, she saw her friends all staring at her.
“Who was that?” Ellie asked she had a knowing smile on her face.
“Anderson, he was letting me know he will be in town for the next few days. I told him I needed my apartment key back,” she explained. She left out the fact that he was waiting on her to have sex.
“Do you need to leave?” Roxie asked Evelyn shook her head. Tonight she would make him wait on her.
“No, he can wait.”
“That’s the spirit,” Josie cheered and poured her another large glass of wine. Evelyn settled back in her chair and listened to all her friends talk about babies and the joys of being a mother. Evelyn didn’t have a lot to share, but Elizabeth could share her thoughts about babies because she was a pediatrician.
Leave your comments to let me know what you think of my first chapter!