Defended by a Jaguar (Mate Me book 4)

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Chapter 8

Georgia spent her week yelling at her supposed lawyer, finishing her painting of the bathroom, and starting on a new proposal for White Valley Publishing. Thursday evening Caroline called to remind her of her girls’ night. She’d missed the previous one by working on her book.

Walking up to Roxie’s house, she caught sight of a dragon taking off into the sky. He was all red. How did she know it was a he? She didn’t. Pausing to think. What if her next set of children’s books focused on life as a shifter child? Not just one or two, but a group. She could take inspiration from her own life. Liam was a shifter, but Caroline wasn’t sure which one. Somehow Jonas had kept it a secret from Caroline, although their romance had been a whirlwind. Then there was Daisy and Jordan, they were jaguars, who knew who else she would meet.

“Are you going to stand there all night? We’ve been waiting for you.” Roxie stood on the porch, hands on her hips, a smile on her face. She was a plus-sized woman with blond hair and blue eyes. Georgia spied paint on one of her hands and smiled back.

“Sorry, a book idea popped into my head,” she admitted and walked up the porch steps.

“No car?”

“Turns out I’m about a half-mile walk. I figured why waste the gas. Plus, I’ve been cooped up in my house all week and I needed the fresh air,” Georgia explained and Roxie laughed.

“Spoken like a genuine artist. Come in, we just opened the wine.” Roxie led the way into the house. Georgia stripped off her hat, gloves, scarf, and coat, hanging them on an empty hook by the door.

“Everyone but Evelyn is here tonight. She went into premature labor and is being kept on bed rest,” Roxie shared showing her into a gigantic living room. Georgia took in the house around her. They adorned the walls with art she recognized from many artists. There were pictures of babies and a handsome man with hazel eyes. He was nice to look at, but no Jordan. The furniture was a mix of cozy and classic, something she wondered if Roxie and her husband compromised.

“Is she okay?” Georgia asked, she didn’t know Evelyn but premature labor sounded bad.

“Yes, just bored. The doctors want her to go another week before they let her have the baby. They want the lungs to fully develop,” Roxie explained with a laugh. Evelyn sounded like she didn’t enjoy settling down and doing nothing.

“Georgia!” Caroline cheered when she walked in behind Roxie.

“Sit with me,” she ordered, patting the spot on the sofa next to her. Accepting the glass of wine from Roxie, Georgia sat with Caroline.

“Let me introduce everyone. You know, Roxie. Next to her is Josie, you saw her on Sunday. Roxie is married to Xander Austin and Josie is married to his brother Rhett. Then the dark-haired one next to Roxie is Ellie. She married Marcus Zephyr. Elizabeth is the other blond, she is Roxie’s sister. Everyone this is my triplet sister, Georgia Stevens. She writes a best-selling children’s series.”

“Which one?” Ellie asked.

“Bethany and Felix,” Georgia replied and Ellie smiled.

“Very popular with our first and second graders,” Ellie responded.

“I’m happy to hear that.” Georgia smiled, sipping her wine, and took Ellie in. She was plus-size like Roxie but shorter with a dark caramel complexion, dark eyes, and long hair.

“I hope I didn’t scare you off from Jordan,” Josie cut in and Georgia set her glass down, turning to the other woman. She again was wearing a bright dress, this one vibrant orange with a deep v cut neckline.

“I was a little sad, but Jordan found me and explained you were only friends from college,” she shared and Josie gave her a surprised look.

“Josie what did you do?” Ellie demanded crossing her arms and glaring at Josie.

“All I did was check on Jordan,” Josie defended herself.

“Was he talking to Georgia?” Ellie asked Georgia could tell they were good friends. Ellie wasn’t giving Josie any slack on her behavior.

“Maybe. I was just so excited he came to an event. How was I supposed to know he’d found his mate?” Josie gave a pout, and Ellie huffed at her.

“You almost caused another Jessa situation. You need to slow down and be more observant.”

“Fine.” Josie frowned and drank her wine.

“It’s fine, Jordan, and I talked,” Georgia interjected, not wanting to cause a fight.

“Don’t worry about it. Ellie and Josie go all the way back to college too,” Roxie added, grabbing a cracker with cheese.

“How are your babies? The last time we worked together you were still pregnant.” Georgia turned the conversation to something else.

“Sophia and Bentley are nine months now. Both are crawling and Bentley is pulling up. Xander and I are quickly baby proofing the house.” Roxie latched onto the new topic with zeal.

“Eli started walking last week. Rhett has been chasing him all over,” Josie added.

“How is Ava?” Caroline directed the question to Ellie.

“She is a cheerful baby. At four months we’ve entered the time of teething.” All the women hissed and Georgia smiled.

“Elizabeth do you have kids?” she asked, turning to the silent sister sipping her wine.

“Nope. I have no plans to have kids. I’m a pediatrician and see plenty of children during the day,” Elizabeth laughed.

“I can see that. Plenty of women I work with don’t want kids,” Ellie added, and everyone smiled.

“What about you Georgia?” Josie asked, and she looked over to see her giving her an assessing look.

“What about me?” she asked, curious what Josie wanted to know.

“Kids, have any? Want one?” Josie questioned and Georgia could see how protective she felt over Jordan.

“I like kids, I have plenty of nieces and nephews. I’d like to have a few of my own one day,” she answered and laughed when Ellie rolled her eyes.

“Jordan is a grown man. If his jaguar says Georgia is his mate, then you need to trust his judgment. Georgia didn’t come here to be the center of an inquisition,” Ellie grumbled.

“Jordan is like a brother to me. I feel protective over him,” Josie explained. Georgia laughed and looked at Josie.

“I understand. I have five older brothers and sisters. I’m used to overprotectiveness from others. Jordan and I have a date set for tomorrow. We are taking it one day at a time and moving at our own pace. I'm thirty and have been a published writer for ten years. I’m used to my independence,” she shared and saw Roxie and Ellie nod their understanding.

“Neither of us has given up our lives for our mates,” Roxie shared.

“Marcus has been very supportive when I went back to work last month. He has taken this month off to be with Ava. I haven’t found a daycare where I feel comfortable leaving her. We have a meeting with Roxie’s daycare this week. They’ve had an opening come available. If we don’t like them, then we are looking into a nanny,” Ellie explained. Georgia stared, bewildered. She hadn’t realized how stressful it was to pick the right daycare.

“Where does Liam go?” Georgia asked Caroline.

“He goes to Happy Day Preschool. They start at three years old,” Caroline shared and Georgia relaxed.

“Jordan’s niece Daisy is at the same preschool,” Caroline added and Georgia wondered why that made her feel better.

“Georgia, why did you move here?” Josie inquired, turning the conversation again to her. She watched all the women raise their eyebrows.

“I’ll play along with your game, Josie. I moved here to get away from the city. I am renovating my house. I get to control how it looks, something I haven’t been able to do when I rented an apartment. I’ll say one thing Josie and then let the issue drop. I like Jordan, but we only just met. I’d like you to respect this is our relationship, not yours. I get you want what’s best for him but you acting like the overprotective, never good enough for my brother, sister act is getting old. Try to get to know me the normal way,” Georgia replied, worried she’d made an enemy of Josie.

“You’ll fit in just fine,” Roxie interjected, laughing and refilling her glass.

“Tell us about renovating your house. Who is helping with the work?” Ellie shifted the conversation to her updating the house.

“Have you spoken with Preston Reese? He is a contractor and can help,” Roxie suggested.

“He is helping me add on to the inn. Last summer I was booked solid and wanted to add on three more rooms,” Caroline shared and Georgia saw all the women smile.

“So there is something between you and Preston!” Georgia cried, clapping her hands. Caroline had been alone for three years. She deserved happiness.

“No. It is strictly professional,” she objected, and Georgia raised an eyebrow.

“What does Preston look like?” she asked the group.

“Tall, green eyes, tiger shifter, light brown hair, dreamy to look at and listen to speak,” Josie rattled off and Georgia smirked.

“That is totally your type, Caroline! Remember Rick?” she commented, and Caroline shook her head.

“Who is Rick?” Elizabeth asked and Georgia launched into a tale of their senior year in high school. The night flew by and soon Caroline was driving her home before picking up Liam from Ellie’s place. It turned out Marcus’ brother Rob and nephew Adam moved in with them last summer. Liam loved Adam and always wanted to hang out with him. Marcus offered to watch him on girls’ night.

“Thanks for the ride home. Are you and Liam coming for dinner Sunday?” she asked when Caroline pulled into her driveway.

“Yes, I’m bringing dinner. You’re supplying dessert,” Caroline replied.

“I can do that. I want to check out that new bakery you all told me about tonight.”

“Mia’s is amazing. Her chocolate tart is Liam’s favorite.”

“Good to know. See you Sunday.” Georgia climbed out of the car and walked up to her door. They had left a package at her door. Seeing the return address of Bluemont Press, she put it off to the side. Hopefully, it would be the end of her fight, but she wasn’t holding her breath. She would deal with it tomorrow. Pulling her phone out, she texted Jordan to let him know she was home.

I’m glad. I’ve heard from the guys it can get rowdy.

Josie tried to probe into my background so I told her to leave off. Georgia went upstairs to her bedroom. She loved how the room turned out. Her master bath had a standing shower, with a separate jet stream tub, double vanity sinks, a dark wood grain tile, and pale gray walls. The upstairs she’d had wood floors put in to keep her allergies down. The walls in her bedroom were two-toned. The top two-thirds were ivory and the bottom third navy blue.

Did she do anything? I asked her to stay out of our relationship. She smiled at the text.

Just asked questions. I told her to stay out and get to know me in a normal way. Stripping her sweater and jeans, she turned on her shower.

I’m sorry. She did that when I had a girlfriend in college.

Would that be Jesse? Ellie brought her up.

Yes. She broke up with me because she thought Josie was too much.

I can see that, but I’m thirty and don’t scare easily. I cannot wait for our date tomorrow. What did you have in mind?

How do you feel about dinner and a movie?

I like it. What movie? Georgia tested the shower water growing when it was too cold. Turning the faucet to hot all the way. The water became tepid.

Do you have a preference?

No scary movies. I like superhero movies. She put her phone down and messed with her water taps. Her water heater must be having issues. She’d have to call a plumbing company to check it. She knew enough about water heaters to not mess with them. Resigning herself to a lukewarm shower. She sped through her shower and out again, wrapping a towel around her body.

How about the new superhero movie?


Georgia? She read through the texts and apologized.

Sorry, I hopped into the shower. We can go see the new movie. She slipped into a pair of sweatpants and a baggy t-shirt.

Was your shower good?

No. I have to get someone out here to check my water heater.

I’m sorry. Do you need to borrow a shower? She smiled at his text and crawled into bed, burrowing under her thick comforter. She hated being cold, and the next thing on her list was to replace all windows in the house with energy-efficient ones.

No, I’ll use Caroline’s if it comes down to it. How was your day? Her phone buzzed in her hand, and she looked down to see Jordan calling her.


“Daisy is asleep, and I wanted to hear your voice,” Jordan admitted and she chuckled.

“I like our phone calls before bed. I hadn’t wanted to push for one tonight because it is late,” she answered, laying against her pillows.

“I will always stay up to hear your voice. What’s wrong with your water?”

“It wouldn’t get hot. Last night I had a warm steamy shower. Tonight it felt like the tepid water from a children’s pool,” she explained and heard him chuckle.

“What,” she asked, shifting to get more comfortable.

“You really are a writer. You could have said lukewarm, and I’d have understood,” Jordan replied with warmth in his voice telling her she didn’t mind.

“Sorry.” She gave a sheepish reply.

“No, I loved it. I cannot wait to see you tomorrow.”

“Me either! Where should I meet you?” she asked, thinking about his amazing green eyes.

“I wanted to pick you up after I dropped Daisy at Ellie’s. She offered to watch her for me.”

“Aww, what time should I be ready?”

“I was thinking we do a movie at four then we can have dinner after,” he suggested.

“Perfect, I’ll be ready at three forty-five. I promise to set an alarm.”

“I have court at eight but expect my case to be finished by two. Tomorrow is closing remarks and then the jury will deliberate.”

“Good luck then. I’ll say goodnight so you can be well-rested for court.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow. Sleep well,” Jordan bid her goodbye.

“Goodnight Jordan.” Georgia hung up and plugged her phone in to charge. It took her longer to fall asleep than usual, her excitement over her date keeping her awake.

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