Tempted by a Tiger (Mate Me Book 3)

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Chapter 12

Saturday morning came, and Evelyn felt like a truck had run her over. All week Evan Matthews ran her ragged and she couldn’t handle one more demand from the man. It didn’t matter how amazing his art was; he was a jerk. Today she had a girls’ lunch scheduled with everyone at Roxie’s. Then she had a date with Preston at Blue Sea Bar and Grill, and if all was right, she and him would go home together. They had done nothing more than a kiss on their dates and she was certain he would want more than that soon. Sitting up the world spun, and she collapsed against her pillows trying to keep herself from throwing up.

She lay there for five more minutes before the urge to throw up went away. Maybe she’d been overworking herself and needed a break with her friends. Sitting up, she heard her phone ring, and she looked to see she had a text message from Anderson.

Can we talk?

She deleted the text message and stepped into her shower. She did not want to open that door; she needed to move on. Anderson was the past, and she needed to focus on her time with Preston. The past two weeks with him had been a whirlwind of fun. They went to movies, local plays and out to eat at nice restaurants in the area. He hadn’t asked her once about coming with her to Philadelphia and her brother’s engagement party for next week. She put in for the Thursday through Sunday to give her time to make the brownies her brother had asked for and travel up to Philly. If tonight went well, she would invite him to come with her.

She got out of the shower and noticed three more text messages from Anderson.

Evvy I have news I want to share with you in person.

I will fly home today and if you have time, I want to meet up.

Please.

She picked up her phone and sent him a text message.

I am busy today. I have a date with Preston. Please stop contacting me. I am trying to move on. Tossing her phone onto her bed, she picked out a pair of shorts and a flowy t-shirt to wear over to Roxie’s. This morning she would clean her apartment from top to bottom. She wasn’t due to Roxie’s until one. Putting on her favorite country music radio station, she dove into first cleaning all the dirty dishes in her kitchen, then onto dusting and vacuuming the apartment. She kept with the same routine every Saturday morning; it gave her a sense of control over her life.

Ring, ring, ring

Her phone rang and Evelyn stopped to see Anderson’s name on the caller I.D. She rejected the call and went back to cleaning her apartment. Why did Anderson want to get in touch now? It had been almost a month since she’d ended their physical relationship. If he wanted her back, he had another thing coming; she was with Preston. Her phone dinged with a voicemail but she resisted the urge to listen to it, if she was to focus on being with Preston, she couldn’t listen to Anderson. Checking the time she grabbed her keys, phone and purse heading out to her car to drive over to Roxie’s.

...

Parking behind Ellie’s blue SUV, Evelyn got out to see Xander standing on the porch rocking Sophia.

“Hi Xander,” she called, shutting her door gently to not to wake the sleeping baby.

“Hi Evvy. Rox and the girls are out on the patio.”

“Everything okay?” she asked, catching his worried look.

“Yep, just waiting for a delivery. With Bentley fast asleep and Sophia asleep here, I don’t want the doorbell to wake them. They haven’t been sleeping very well lately and I want a nap as soon as the delivery shows up,” he explained, and Evelyn gave him a pat on the shoulder.

“I can take her,” she offered.

“No. You go enjoy a girls’ afternoon. I promised Roxie I could handle things for an hour or two,” he replied. She smiled and walked through the house, grabbing the waiting glass of wine from the kitchen counter and stepping out on the patio.

“Evvy!” Roxie shouted, and she could tell her friend was slightly tipsy already. Sitting in the patio chairs were Josie, Caroline, and Ellie.

“Hi Rox. How many sangrias have you had?” Evelyn asked, eyeing the half empty pitcher.

“Maybe two?” Roxie asked, and Evelyn laughed. Leave it to Roxie to get drunk before everyone arrived.

“Anyone else coming?” she asked.

“No. Elizabeth is working. I know you’ve met Caroline at the inn, but have you spent any time with her?” Roxie asked, pointing Caroline.

“Yes, I know Caroline. She has a sweet little boy, Liam. How is he?” Evelyn asked Caroline.

“He is good. Marcus offered to watch him while I came here. He said something about getting practice in for when he has his own little one,” Caroline answered, and Evelyn felt her eyes prick with tears. She blinked and took a large sip of her wine, and then immediately regretted it when she felt like she would puke. Taking deep breaths, she set the glass down and decided maybe drinking was a bad idea.

“You okay?” Ellie asked she was sitting on a patio chair and Evelyn had to do a double take. She had popped overnight.

“Yes. I’ve been feeling a little nauseated today. I woke with a massive headache and upset stomach. I think I overworked myself this week with Evan. I sometimes get really sick to my stomach when I am stressed out,” she explained, sitting down with the others.

“Makes sense. Evan Matthews is a diva if I ever met one. Any little noise from outside that isn’t nature, and he is demanding I move his room. He’s been in every room this week and settled on the room I originally placed him in. Evelyn here has been at the inn at least three times a day with meals, snacks, and supplies for the man. I am impressed, because I am ready to toss his ass out,” Caroline replied, and the women laughed.

“He is awful,” Evelyn agreed.

“Why?” Josie asked.

“I think it is having a woman in charge of him. He has some backwards views on women. He tells me to get in the kitchen and make him a sandwich regularly. I ignore him and go about taking care of the others are at the inn,” Caroline explained.

“Have you told Xander?” Roxie asked, pouring herself another glass.

“No. I can handle him. His show is on Wednesday and then I can care less what he does. I am headed up to Philly on Friday for Luke’s engagement party,” Evelyn explained.

“Are you sure you shouldn’t tell Xander? I don’t like you getting so stressed by the man you are throwing up,” Roxie replied, and Evelyn shook her head.

“No. I am fine,” she lied. She be damned if the man would beat her. She would see this show through and then she would spend a long weekend with her family. She missed her family and was happy for Luke and Alexis.

“Ellie has Rob and Adam moved here yet?” Evelyn asked, changing the subject.

“Next week. They will stay with us until Rob can find a house for him and Adam. He doesn’t want to stay at a hotel and he won’t settle for an apartment. Marcus and I have the space and I love spending time with the two of them so we offered. Adam starts fourth grade in the fall and will be at school with me. They have offered me the reading specialist position come this fall too,” Ellie answered with a soft smile. Evelyn smiled at her friend. She had jet black hair and chocolate eyes that saw everything.

“What does Rob do for a living?” Caroline asked.

“He is a website designer, he and his twin brother Matt started the company out in Texas. Marcus’ dad is retiring and Matt is taking over as alpha of the bear clan. Rob wants to find his mate and Marcus and I suggested coming out here. Josie has been successful at finding mates for so many of us we thought she might help him. He said he wanted to give Adam a chance to settle in here before he searched for his mate.”

“Do you think he would mind helping me with my website? I want to modernize it and make it easier for people to book rooms and streamline the payment service,” Caroline asked.

“I’m sure he would be happy to,” Ellie replied, and Evelyn could see the wheels turning in both Ellie and Josie’s eyes.

“Speaking of mates, have you heard from Anderson?” Roxie asked looking back at her.

“He has sent me a couple text messages and left me a voicemail I haven’t listened to,” Evelyn replied.

“Why not?” Josie wanted to know.

“I am trying to move on. If I give in to talking to him, I won’t be able to focus on Preston,” she explained.

“I thought you were dating Preston to make Anderson want you back?” Ellie asked.

“I’ve decided to move on. Anderson doesn’t want children, and he doesn’t want to get married. I need a man who wants those things.”

“Do you know why he doesn’t want those things?” Caroline asked.

“No. He refused to explain his reasons to me and I’ve given up trying to get him to share,” she answered.

“My brother is being an idiot,” Roxie explained with a shake of her head.

“So you are dating Preston then?” Josie asked sipping at her own sangria. Evelyn took Josie in. She was wearing her typical maxi dress of a bright neon color, today’s was pink. Her dark skin and almost black eyes shone against the coloring. Her hair today had been swept up into a bun her braids wrapped up without a hair out of place.

“Yes. We have a date set tonight, actually. We have been out at least three times this week and tonight I am hoping we might do more than just make out,” she added and the women all cheered.

“That’s the spirit!” Roxie cheered sloshing her drink over the edge of the glass.

“Okay, I think that is enough,” Evelyn said, taking her glass and setting it off to the side.

“Do you have anything to eat?” she asked her friend.

“There is a platter of cheese and salami in the fridge,” Roxie replied, and Evelyn got up to get the food. She walked in to find Xander on the phone and overheard.

“Yes, Evelyn is here. Roxie is having a girls’ afternoon. Why?” Her ears perked up, and she slowed her walk to the kitchen.

“No, you cannot barge in on girl time. I promised Roxie no drama and besides she doesn’t know you want the job.” Who was he talking to? She inches closer and bumped into the wall causing a thud. Xander turned to look over his shoulder. She ducked into the kitchen and quickly grabbed the food. She wondered what job Xander was talking about and to who. She would have to wait to find out because Xander moved into his office and closed the door.

“Here is the food!” she announced setting the platter down on the table between the women and sat back to watch her friends laugh and eat while she thought about Anderson and why he wanted to talk to her again.

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