Defended by a Jaguar (Mate Me book 4)

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Chapter 10

Georgia couldn’t seem to focus on her writing all day. The HVAC company came first thing in the morning. It turned out she needed a new water heater.

“How much will that cost me?” she asked, worried it would be more than she had allotted for repairs.

“The new unit and labor will cost you around twenty-five hundred dollars,” Chuck the plumber told her.

“How soon can you have it done? I don’t want icy water for long, it is February.”

“You’re in luck. We had a client request a different brand heater for installation so we have a spare on hand,” Chuck replied.

“Perfect, can you do it today?”

“Yes ma’am. Give me an hour to get my materials and assistant.”

“Thank you, Chuck.” She saw him out and sat at her computer to work on her next book. The idea for her new series kept niggling in the back of her mind. She needed to get her idea fleshed out before she could focus on Bethany and Felix. She also kept having Jordan’s eyes pop into her mind. She wondered what their date might be like and what might happen after dinner.

The stories Caroline and Virginia told when they dated their respective shifter husbands astonished her. She knew shifters were sensual, passionate creatures. When the mood struck, there was no stopping it. It worried her; she was the queen of over-analyzing relationships. Her last one ended when she wouldn’t sleep with him after three dates. If she were honest, the man never affected her the way Jordan did. One look from him was enough to melt her bones.

Ding! She looked down to see Jordan sent her a text.

I’m on my way to get you. Georgia panicked, she wasn't ready! Where had the day gone? Where was her timer? Rushing, she ran into her bedroom and changed into a pair of dark wash jeans, sky blue tank top, and an oversized cardigan in navy blue over top. Georgia hated being cold in movie theatres but found wearing her winter coat was too bulky. Running into her bathroom, she put on light makeup and pulled her thick hair half up with a clip and called it good.

Ding dong! Georgia felt butterflies erupt in her stomach, Jordan was here! Taking her time, she went to answer the door. She didn’t want to seem desperate.

“Hi,” she said, opening the door. Jordan stood with a smile on his face. Georgia had to take a deep breath. His brilliant green eyes were captivating.

“Hello, you look lovely. Ready to go?”

“Let me get my bag and jacket. Come on out of the cold.” She waved him into her home. He walked in and closed the door. She watched him look around.

“This place looks amazing. I remember seeing it in the summer when I came to visit Roxie. It looked like a haunted house.”

“Thanks. I told you before I have a hobby of renovating. I’m in the process of finishing my half bathroom. I'm waiting for my plumber to put in the vanity sink.” She pointed to the small bathroom at the end of the hallway.

“Can I look?” he asked.

“It is gutted right now. The only thing I left was the toilet. I painted this week and this weekend I’ll put in the tile,” she explained.

“Would you like help?” he offered and her heart softened toward him.

“What about Daisy?” Daisy was a worry, she didn’t want her to get hurt.

“If you don’t mind, I’ll bring her and a few toys. She is very good at playing on her own,” he shared, and Georgia couldn’t find it in her heart to say no. She loved kids, and Daisy was adorable.

“Okay then, come over whenever tomorrow,” she replied, putting on her black winter coat and gloves. They left the house and climbed into his car. To her surprise, he headed out of town.

“I thought a drive-in movie theatre would be more fun. This way you can watch the movie and make comments without bothering others. Daisy and I came here to see the new princess movie,” he explained, leaving the town of White Valley behind.

“I’ve never been to a drive-in movie. This will be fun.” Georgia smiled and watched the scenery go by. It took about half an hour to get to the drive-in. Along the way she explained her issue with Bluemont Press and Bert. The package she got yesterday was a formal hearing to decide if Bert breached her contract or not.

“I’d have to look at your contract. Did you keep all emails between you and your agent? We’ll have to prove he gave away your idea.” Jordan handed his tickets to the gate person and drove down a lane to reach their speaker box.

“I have everything saved from him. He was good at his job, but I never felt I could one hundred percent trust him. I know he enjoys being able to take a cut off my book sales and I’m his best-selling author at the moment.”

“Did he give away your idea before or after you moved?” he asked, parking his car.

“Before, it was part of the reason I left. Shelley Mansfield announced her new book series. The best part was she used my plot summary but changed the names. Shelley has been trying to transition from picture books to early chapter books in her writing,” she explained, looking around the drive-in. There were four screens for cars to park near. She spied a concession stand and bathroom near to where they parked.

“I hope you don’t mind, I picked an action film. When you said you liked superhero movies, I thought this would be a safe choice,” he said his cheeks turning red.

“This is perfect. Do you need to roll down your window?” She pointed to the speaker box, and he shook his head.

“In the winter they have the movies connected to a radio station. I brought a battery-operated electric blanket if you get cold.” He pulled a green fleece blanket from the back seat.

“You are so sweet. I’ve always wanted to do a drive-in, but this one is the closest to my home and I never found the time to drive two plus hours to get here,” she replied unbuckling and taking the blanket.

“So Jordan, tell me about your family,” she probed if they were to be mates she wanted to know more about him.

“Not much to say. I’m the youngest of two boys. My parents live in Orlando where they run an ice cream shop.” Georgia saw she hit a sore spot for him.

“You don’t have to tell me, but how did you end up with custody of Daisy? I heard her call you Uncle Jordan.” Georgia placed one of her hands on his. She sensed there was a sad tale.

“It’s not a fun tale to tell.” She saw the sadness in his eyes and squeezed his hand.

“Why don’t we start with something easier. How long have your parents owned an ice cream shop?” Georgia gave him a bright smile when she saw the light come back to his eyes.

“It was their retirement project. My father was a corporate banker for years, my mother a lawyer. They wanted something different and fun, so they partnered with another retired couple to open Pirate Island Ice Cream.”

“Have you gone to visit?”

“I took Daisy down last summer. We went to their shop and an extensive theme park for her to meet all the princesses. I wish we could go down more often but I can’t afford to fly it and the drive is long for one person.”

“We did a big family trip down there a few years ago to celebrate my parents’ anniversary.”

“That must have been fun.” He placed an arm around her shoulder, and she leaned her head against his chest. Being in his arms didn’t invoke all her insecurities as other men did. She knew she was a plus-sized woman, she had always been that way. Many of the men she dated wanted to “help” her lose weight and would suggest the low-calorie option wherever they went for dinner. Not Jordan, although they hadn’t gone out to eat yet. She knew in her heart he wouldn’t say anything about her weight.

“It was fun, but I recall my sisters and sister-in-laws being very busy focused on their kids while the men went off to have fun on their own,” she remarked and looked up to see a frown on his face.

“The men did not help?” he asked, and she shrugged.

“My brothers didn’t. Owen, who is married to my sister Virginia helped, he took her older two on the rides while she went around with her two daughters to all the princess stops. I mostly helped her and Caroline.”

“Owen is the gorilla shifter you told me about?” he asked and she nodded.

“Sounds like the divided and conquered. Tell me about your nieces and nephews,” he coaxed, and she launched into telling him about her fourteen nieces and nephews. By the time she was done, the opening credits and ads were over, and the movie began. To her surprise, Jordan placed the blanket over both their laps and held her in his arms for the whole movie. Occasionally they would break the comfortable silence with a comment on the movie, but both were content just to be with each other. Georgia felt this had to be the most relaxing date she’d ever been on. All the men she dated wanted to go into D.C. and hit up fancy restaurants and the loud night clubs. The country suited her much better than a bustling city.

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