Cherished by a Bear (Mate Me book 5)

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Myra paced her small apartment as she waited for Rob. She’d left her hair down after all the work she put into straightening it but added a touch of a curl. It had taken her over an hour to decide what to wear. Settling on a maroon dress with black trim, she sighed. If he said to dress fancy, she would need to wear heels. With the weather being nice, Myra opted for a cute strappy heel. She hadn’t worn them out yet.

Knock. Knock.

Butterflies jumped to life in her stomach. It was Rob. Tonight was the start of a new life with her mate. Myra had a mate and wanted to hold on to him and Adam for dear life.

“HI.” She opened the door and her heart skipped a beat. He was sex personified. Taking a moment, she looked him over. He wore all black with a light blue tie.

“You look beautiful,” he whispered, bending down to place a kiss on her lips. Tingles erupted down her spine, reigniting her desire for him. Her hands slipped around his neck, pulling him close. The kiss became heated when his tongue probed her mouth. Pulling him into her apartment, he shut the door with a flick of his foot. Her knees met the armrest of her couch, tumbling them both down. Their lips parted and she let out a laugh.

“What?” Rob looked at her with a sparkle in his eyes.

“I feel like a teenager. My hormones are controlling my actions,” she explained, running her fingers through his silky soft hair.

“The raging emotions running through me do not compare to anything from my youth,” Rob admitted, lowering his lips to nibble on her neck. Myra’s body burned with desire. Her lynx wanted to mate him that very minute.

Take him! He is ours! His son is our cub!

Not until he knows the truth. Myra let go. She needed to breathe and think. Looking at Rob, she saw his bear pushing for control, his eyes were glowing with his animal. Taking a breath through her nose and letting it out through her mouth, she calmed.

“Sorry. Let’s go to dinner before I carry you to the bedroom.” Rob held out his hand, helping her off the couch.

“Yes.” Myra took his hand and let him pull her up. She ran a hand through her hair to smooth it down and grabbed her purse. Rob kept hold of her hand and walked her out of the apartment. She locked the door and smiled at her mate. The trip to the restaurant took ten minutes, Rob spent that time telling her about his job.

“I just completed an overhaul on Mia’s website and Marcus has asked me to look at his.”

“That sounds like a lot of work. Is Adam interested in web design?”

“No. He is a reader. Adam differs from I was as a child. I hated being inside and avoided school work.”

“Haha. You sound like my brother Ricky.” She placed a hand on his leg.

“Is he a lynx shifter too?”

“No. Our father was human so Ricky didn’t inherit the shifter gene,” she explained, Rob gave her a surprised look.

“I haven’t heard that before.”

“No one else who is a shifter has heard that either when we talk about it,” she replied, frowning. Her family continued to leave her with more questions than answers.

“Here we are,” Rob announced, parking the car.

“I’ve heard wonderful things about this place. Joy told me about it when she and her husband went for their anniversary.” Myra exited the car, taking his hand to walk inside.

“I’ve taken Adam here once.” Rob put a hand on her lower back and opened the door for her to enter.

“It is beautiful.” She took a moment to admire the open floor plan of the restaurant. Around the edges were booths, the center held large tables for big parties.

“We have a seven-fifteen reservation under Zephyr,” Rob told the hostess. The young girl gave him a flirtatious smile. Without her consent, Myra’s lynx growled at the girl. Rob let out a smothered snort as the hostess’ eyes went wide. Rob took her hand, and they followed the hostess to their booth. Myra settled across from Rob, suddenly nervous. She needed to tell him about her life. If she wanted Rob as her mate, she needed to tell him everything. She originally intended not to say anything about her scars, but he needed to know.

“Hello, my name is Silas and I’ll be your waiter for the night. What can I start you with?” Rob looked at her and she answered,

“Water with a lemon wedge, please.”

“I’ll take a coke and we’d like a bowl of your white queso,” Rob added. Silas nodded and left.

“So what brought you to White Valley?” Rob asked, turning his captivating blue eyes on her.

“I graduated, spent a year working for the library at my college waiting to hear from multiple libraries. White Valley reached out, needing a head children’s librarian. I dove at the chance and have been here for six years. What about you?”

“Marcus and Ellie. Almost a year and a half ago, Marcus brought Ellie to Little Creek. I saw how happy they were together. Marcus suggested I move here and find my mate. Turns out he was right.” Rob winked, and she chuckled.

“I am glad you moved here. I saw you at a Mate Me event a few months ago. You were very popular with the ladies,” she replied, giving him a bright smile.

“How come you didn’t say hello? We could have met earlier.”

“I didn’t want to risk rejection,” she admitted, he smirked and leaned over to kiss her.

“No rejection here,” he assured her, and she frowned.

“I think we should talk about Ricky,” she began. Silas came back over.

“Have you decided on your meals?”

“I’ll have the chicken enchiladas with the white sauce,” she told him.

“Rice and beans for your sides?”

“Black beans, please.”

“And you sir?” Silas turned to Rob.

“I’ll take the steak and chicken fajitas. Please bring me extra tortillas.”

“Excellent choice, sir. I’ll put this in and bring you refills.” Silas left and Myra turned to face Rob again.

“What is going on with Ricky?” Rob asked, playing with his straw.

“I’ll start with my dad. His name is Brendon Juleston. He changed jobs frequently until I turned thirteen/ Then he found a job for supposedly a government contractor. He started working with Viper as their security. Well, my parents were killed in a car accident five years ago. Ricky is a scientist, and he is in trouble with Viper. He took something from Viper and now the man is mad. When I got home from work on Thursday, I found a severed pig’s head on my kitchen floor. A note attached said You’re next if Ricky doesn’t return what he stole.”

“Oh my god, Myra, why are you still in your apartment? They broke in!” Rob took her hands in his, squeezing gently.

“I am not afraid of that snake. I got out of his grasp when I went to college.”

“Brave. Has anything else happened?”

“Ricky left his car in my parking lot saying he has information to bring Viper down. He also said Viper isn’t part of the government, which I could have told him. Viper is nothing more than a gang leader trying to make money any way he can.”

“I ran into Ricky at Marcus’ house. He wanted protection for you,” Rob shared, she paused.

“What is he thinking?” she asked, picking at the meal in front of her. Silas had silently placed their meals on the table while she talked.

“He wants you to be safe. Marcus gave him until next Friday to tell you what is going on. That is all I know,” he replied. Myra realized he’d eaten almost half his meal already.

“How dangerous is Viper?” he asked after a few minutes of eating. She’d been processing Ricky going behind her back.

“Extremely dangerous. I can’t prove it, but I’m certain he killed my parents. When Ricky and I packed their house after they had torn the place apart, Ricky knew our father kept his important research locked in a hidden safe. He took it home with him to see if any of it was worth publishing or continuing.”

“What do you think Ricky found?” he asked. Not looking him in the eye, she shrugged. She had to tell him about the scars, but she didn’t want to do it here in the restaurant.

“You must have an idea,” he urged, and she sighed.

“I’d rather talk about it in private,” she answered. To his surprise, he nodded and dropped the subject.

“Adam read half the book before I made him join the barbeque Ellie and Marcus are hosting at their home.”

“That is outstanding. I’m glad he is enjoying the book. Does he only have to read one?”

“Only one for the project, but he’s an avid reader. I’m more worried about him getting outside for physical activity.” Myra smiled, remembering her time as a kid.

“Sounds like me. My mother was forever shoving me outside. I started hiding books under our deck to read when she did,” she explained, making him laugh.

“I can see you doing that. It is nice to hear about your childhood. You said your father bounced jobs. Did that mean you moved a lot?”

“At least twice a year. We stopped moving right after my first shift.”

“How come?”

“That has more to do with our talk later,” she answered and he nodded, taking her hand.

“Let’s get our check and we can talk back at your apartment.” Rob waved down Silas for their check. He brought it over and Rob left cash to pay for their meal.

“Keep the change,” he told Silas.

“Ready?” he asked. She nodded and let him help her out of the booth. The entire way home she thought about what she would say to him. She told no one, and her tattoo artist knew not to ask about them. Six years ago he’d tsked upon seeing them and asked which one did she want to tackle first.

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