Defended by a Jaguar (Mate Me book 4)

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Chapter 31

“What is going on?” Caroline asked, once were on their way to her dress appointment.

“Jordan received a call from his brother Scott yesterday threatening to come after Daisy,” she explained, Caroline gasped, putting her hands over her mouth.

“Can he do that?”

“No. Daisy is mine and Jordan’s. He made sure Scott couldn’t lay a hand on Daisy when he was released from jail. From what I understand, Scott has never met his daughter. He didn’t even know he existed until recently,” she shared rubbing her eyes. She hadn’t slept as well as she wanted last night, tossing and turning with worry.

“So why do you have Troy then?” Caroline wanted to know.

“He doesn’t want Scott to go after me too. He knows his brother, he doesn’t think he will be able to stay out of trouble. This will be temporary and we’ll go back to our lives.”

“What happens if he keeps coming after Daisy and you?” Caroline asked, and Georgia took a moment to think through her answer.

“We will have to find a more permanent solution. This is to keep us safe until Jordan can go after Scott legally. I know he is putting a restraining order on him.”

“I am glad Jordan has your safety in mind too. So Troy, why did you get chosen to pick out dresses with us?”

“It was either me or Grayson. Peter is out on assignment. He would have been the best choice, but I can play the part of a friend without drawing suspicion,” he replied, looking at them in the rearview mirror.

“You are being sworn to secrecy, you cannot tell Jordan what my dress looks like,” Georgia ordered. Troy gave her a smile.

“My lips are sealed, do you have any idea what you want?”

“I have an idea, but I want to see if it will work. We want to get married outside behind the inn,” she answered, turning to Caroline to talk logistics. The two spent the two-hour drive to D.C. talking about plans for the inn. Caroline mentioned she might renovate the manager’s cottage she’d been sleeping in. Before their Aunt June passed away and left Caroline the inn, she’d let her manager live in the cottage. It was a suitable place for someone single, but not for a mother with a child. Caroline shared her plans to add a complete second floor to the home. This way she could have a proper home.

“What about Preston?” Georgia asked and Caroline shook her head.

“I told you. I don’t want another mate.”

“You might not want one, but what if you are his? Would you put that man through what happened to Anderson?”

“We’ve never spoken beyond the renovations she has done on the inn,” Caroline argued, and Georgia shook her head.

“The night I met Jordan, I saw the way Preston watched you. He comes to the Mate Me events because he wants to see you. What about Liam? I’ve heard him talk about the construction,” she countered. Caroline frowned and shrugged.

“Liam has become interested in all things construction. He asked for a toolset for his birthday,” she replied, and Georgia smiled. She wouldn’t push her sister. Caroline jumped in without thinking with Jonas, and she lost him too quickly from a roadside bomb. It was understandable she wanted to take things slow, but this was too slow. Georgia decided to invite Preston over for dinner and talk to him about adding an addition to her home for Jordan’s office. She would invite Caroline and Liam over too. She wanted to see the two of them interact up close.

“We are here ladies!” Tory announced, pulling into a parking deck. The bridal shop was a block away.

“Thank you, Troy.” Georgia and Caroline climbed out of the car waiting for Troy. He walked around the parking deck before nodding for them to come with him. The three made their way to the shop and saw Virginia waiting outside.

“Who is this?” she asked, hugging her sisters hello.

“Troy, he is here to keep me safe. Long story short, Jordan’s older brother Scott is a drug addict. They have released him from jail and told Jordan he would come for Daisy. Jordan wants to keep Daisy and me safe,” Georgia explained, pulling her sisters into the shop. She wanted to start trying on her dresses.

“Hello, we are here to shop for a wedding dress,” she told the young lady behind the counter.

“What is the name?”

“Georgia Stevens,” she answered. Suddenly butterflies filled her stomach. This was it! She would be searching for her dress.

“Right this way,” the woman said motioning for her to follow. Her sisters and Troy followed her to a small seating area where they would wait for their consultant.

“Jana will be with you in a moment.” Georgia looked around the room, seeing hundreds of dresses along the walls and a few displayed on mannequins. Since her wedding would be in a garden, she wanted nothing overly big or detailed. Something simple, with a sheer overlay.

“Hello, who is my bride?” Jana, a woman in her fifties, asked, coming over to their seating area. She had black dyed hair and bright hazel eyes, a soft smile on her face.

“I am.” Georgia raised her hand.

“Excellent. My name is Jana and I will help you find the perfect gown for your wedding day. When is the date?” she asked.

“We would like it to be in April, but it depends on the dress and alternations,” Georgia explained. Jana gave her a smile.

“I will pull dresses I know we can get in quickly with alterations.”

“I’m looking for something simple. The wedding is being held on the edge of the woods at an inn,” Georgia explained.

“Do you have an idea of the dress shape?”

“I think cap sleeves, an empire waistline.”

“What about beading?” Jana asked.

“I think I’d have to see it on me to decide. I don’t think it should be covered in beading. This is an outdoor wedding,” she explained.

“Budget?”

“None.” Georgia wouldn’t spare expense on her wedding day, she knew she would only get one.

“I think I have several in mind for you. If you will undress in the fitting room, there is a robe for you to put on.” Jana opened the door to the changing room and left Georgia to change. She did so quickly, she didn’t want the woman walking in while she was midway undressed. It took ten minutes for Jana to come back. In her hands, she held a stack of dresses.

“I pulled everything that fit your description,” Jana explained, hanging the dresses and opening the clear bags for her to get a better look at them. She saw one that caught her eye.

“I’ll try this one,” she answered, pointing to the one she liked. Jana gave her a knowing smile and helped her into the dress. It had sheer cap sleeves, with a top layer that opened at her bust line. The fabric was ivory underneath the sheer overlay. Checking her reflection in the mirror, Georgia gasped. She looked amazing!

“Go on out and show your friends. I assume the man with you isn’t your fiance?”

“No, just a friend.” Georgia walked out of the dressing room and onto the center stand. She waited for her sisters’ reactions.

“Georgia that is gorgeous!” Ginny announced, breaking the spell over everyone.

“Yeah?” She took a moment to appreciate her reflection. This dress looked wonderful on her.

“I love it.” Caroline gave her a smile, their eyes connecting in the mirror.

“Okay, so we know this is a front runner. Why not try some others?” Ginny motioned for her to try another one. Georgia did as she was told and tried on dress after dress. Every time she stepped out of the dressing room her sisters would dissect the dress, deciding it wasn’t better than the first one.

“This is the last one,” she announced, coming out. It had been almost two hours of them going through the dresses.

“I hate it.” Caroline shut it down the second she stepped out of the room.

“Okay. I will put the first dress back on and I want your help deciding if it is the best,” she replied and went back in changing quickly. Coming back out in the dress, she caught Troy’s eyes. He had an enormous smile on his face.

“You like it?” she asked, and he nodded.

“I think it is perfect for you and Jordan. He has never been a man all about material things. He didn’t think about taking Daisy, he just did it. He became her guardian, not knowing anything about raising a child. The smile on his face he has had for the past two months has been something I hadn’t seen in a while. You look beautiful, Georgia,” Troy assured her. She blushed and looked at her sisters. They both nodded their agreement.

“How quickly can we get this one?” she asked, looking at Jana.

“I can get it rushed in three weeks, the alterations will take about a week. If we order it today it will be here and ready for the last weekend in April,” she replied.

“Then let’s get this one ordered.” Jana clapped her hands and helped Georgia out of the dress before walking to the counter to help order the dress.

“Don’t you want to know the cost?” Ginny asked and Georgia shook her head.

“I have so much money, I don’t care.”

“That must be nice to not have to worry like that,” Troy commented, and she gave him a soft smile.

“Perks of being a well-known children’s author.” Georgia walked over to the counter and paid in full for her dress. The group made their way to a restaurant and ate lunch before parting ways and heading home.


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