Tempted by a Tiger (Mate Me Book 3)

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Chapter 18

Anderson watched Evelyn all day, something was wrong with her but he couldn’t get close enough to figure it out. His tiger was content to watch their mate for the moment. When he had held her in his arms at the framing store he felt whole again. Everything that had happened today was confirmation he was an idiot and needed Evelyn in his life. The only thing holding him back from making her his mate, was her want of children. He still panicked at the thought of her being pregnant with his child and dying while giving birth.

“Is everything okay?” Xander asked him when they were getting into their tuxes for the event.

“Yes, why?” Anderson slipped on his dress pants and tucked his dress shirt into the waistband. Evan was getting dressed in his own room, Evelyn and Lauren were in her office getting ready.

“You and Evelyn. I expected fighting or a passionate reconnecting, but you two are being very professional,” Xander explained doing his bowtie in the mirror.

“You told me to keep it away from work. That is what I am doing. She and I are going to go out to dinner next Friday and I am going to apologize for being an idiot and ask her to start dating again,” he answered fixing his own tie.

“And you think she is going to take you back?” Xander asked. Anderson paused in fixing his hair to look at his best friend.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, you told her no marriage and no babies. Now you are changing your mind because your tiger is depressed. She has been dating Preston for the past two weeks, what if she is happy with him?” Xander questioned and Anderson’s heart sank. He was right, Evelyn was human she didn’t need a mate to be whole.

“Then I will prove to her I am better than Preston Reese. He is a stuck up jerk anyway,” he replied, suddenly feeling uncertain of his chances of getting Evelyn back on Friday.

“I wish you luck. Maybe talk to Roxie and have her butter Evvy up at their girl night this week,” Xander suggested. Anderson thought about it and shrugged, he didn’t know if he wanted Roxie meddling. This was such an important conversation he needed to have with Evvy he didn’t want Roxie to tip her off.

“You know Roxie, she is going to somehow let it slip. I know every time I spoke to her on the phone she kept bringing up Evvy and her dating Preston. I wanted to tell her to shut up, but I know she had her heart in the right place and wanted to keep me up to date on everything going on in her life,” he replied and didn’t catch the look on Xander’s face.

“Are you two ready?” Evelyn’s voice floated through the door and Anderson had to calm his tiger before he could reply.

“Almost,” he answered and checked himself in the mirror before he opened the door. His tiger roared when they took in their mate. Her hair had been gently curled and she wore subtle makeup. She was beautiful and he wanted nothing more than to pull her into his arms and kiss off her pink lipstick. She wore a gown of deep purple, one strap wrapped across her chest and up onto the opposite shoulder to hold the bodice in place. The skirt flowed to the floor and he knew she was in heels, she was taller than usual.

“The show starts in five minutes and Evan refuses to come out of his dressing room. I need Xander to go in and yell at the brat. I am so over his behavior, he has been spoiled for too long,” she told him and Anderson lifted an eyebrow.

“I’ll go. It will be my job starting tomorrow,” Anderson offered and slipped passed her, her subtle perfume caught his attention and he took another sniff. It was a different one than she’d worn when they dated.

“Preston gave me a perfume he liked,” she explained and walked away to check on the catering company. Anderson walked over to Evan’s dressing room and knocked on the door.

“Go away Evelyn!” Evan yelled through the door and Anderson sighed.

“It is Anderson,” he said through the door. He heard the shuffling of feet and then the door unlocked.

“Care to tell me why you are acting this way?” he asked trying to keep his temper in check. He didn’t like Evan treating his mate so rudely.

“I have the wrong socks,” he explained glaring at Anderson. Anderson sighed and crossed his arms.

“What is wrong with the socks? Are they the wrong color? Size?” Anderson asked.

“The wrong brand,” he replied and Anderson fought to keep from rolling his eyes.

“Do you remember our chat in the truck on our way up here?” He reminded the young man and Evan’s eyes widened.

“I forgot.” Evan’s eyes left his and stared at the floor.

“So do me a favor and try on the socks. If they are uncomfortable, then we will figure something out. If you like them, then we move on. Either way, you owe Evelyn an apology. Yelling at the people helping you be successful is the quickest way to lose business. It has started to get around that you are a difficult artist to work with. If that continues, no gallery will want to show you and then where will you be?” he asked.

“I hadn’t thought about my behavior being a problem,” Evan commented, and Anderson sighed.

“Go put the socks on and let me know if they will work,” he ordered, Evan stepped back into the room and not a minute later came out wearing his socks and shoes. Anderson took him in, he was wearing a black tux with a crisp white shirt. His dress shoes were polished black, and he wore a colorful tie. Anderson gave him a nod of approval and motioned for him to go over to Evelyn. Evan nodded, squared his shoulders, and walked over to where Evelyn was speaking with the caterers.

“Miss Tate,” Evan said, Anderson watched her shoulders tense, and she turned around.

“Yes, Mr. Matthews,” she replied and Anderson knew she was angry, she only used formal names when she was trying to control her anger.

“I want to apologize for acting like a spoiled brat. You were doing your best, and I was rude,” Evan said. Anderson watched as Evelyn stared at Evan in surprise.

“Thank you. Were the socks satisfactory then?” she asked.

“Yes. I am ready for my show to begin,” he answered, and she smiled. Anderson had to control his tiger when Evelyn touched Evan’s arm. She was just showing him where he needed to be standing to greet his guests.

She is ours! His tiger roared.

Calm, we need to take this slow or she will never be ours. We already screwed up once. I don’t want to do it again.

You screwed up. I’m the one who knew she was our mate from the second we saw her at Roxie’s. Anderson had to shake his head, he couldn’t believe he was having this argument with his tiger again. He walked towards Evelyn, but she put on a bright smile and watched as Preston Reese walked into the gallery. Preston bent his head and placed a kiss on her cheek. Evelyn didn’t pull away. Anderson’s heart sank.

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