Cherished by a Bear (Mate Me book 5)

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Myra left Ellie’s house an hour later, hurrying to her appointment with Spike. When Rob told her Adam had broken his nose she’d panicked. The news Adam was hurt shocked her, she hadn’t realized how much Adam meant to her in the few weeks they’d known each other. Seeing Adam fast asleep with bruises on his face hurt her, she didn’t enjoy seeing him injured. It didn’t matter that she knew shifters healed quickly; the bruises brought back terrible memories.

Myra parked her car in the parking lot in front of Spike’s tattoo parlor. Spike owned the place, with a dozen tattoo artists in his employ. He was the only one at the shop who specialized in scar cover-ups. Myra took a deep breath to calm her body. She needed to relax, so the tattoo went quickly. Adam would still be at Ellie’s after she had lunch with Georgia and Caroline. Rob promised he would text Myra when Adam woke up to update her on his status.

She stepped out of her car and into the shop where the whirl of tattoo machines met her ears.

“Myra!” Spike greeted her as he stood up from behind the front desk.

“Hey, Spike.”

“You look different,” he commented, inspecting her.

“Nothing has changed since the last time I saw you,” she replied, looking down at her body.

“It isn’t physical, it is mental. Did you meet someone?” Myra smirked and nodded.

“That is wonderful! Are they your mate?” he asked, leading her back into his studio room. Myra insisted on complete privacy when getting her tattoos done.

“He is, and he has a son who is ten.” Spike raised an eyebrow at the word son.

“Does he now? What do you think about becoming an instant mom?” Spike closed the door and motioned for her to sit on his tattoo chair.

“I connected with his son before I met him. His son comes into the library regularly,” she explained, sitting down and slipping up her dress for him to access the half-finished tattoo on her thigh.

“Congratulations. Ready to finish this bad boy and talk about another one?” Spike pulled up a tattoo picture they’d been using to place the stencil back on her leg.

“Let’s get this one done. I must decide what my next one will be,” she replied, thinking she might add a dreamcatcher like Rob’s.

“Are there any other big scars you still want to be covered?” Spike turned on his machine and set to work on her leg.

“Not sure yet. I spoke with Rob, that’s my mate, and he said I should be proud of my scars. This is the last one that sticks out like a sore thumb on my skin,” she answered, letting their conversation distract her from the constantly stabbing of the needles.

“Each scar tells a different story. Yours are the most I have seen in a long time. That last time I saw scars like this was from a wounded soldier back from Afghanistan.”

“I’m not a soldier, Spike,” she answered, he continually probed for how she got her scars. He would never ask her outright, but he tried to pull her into different conversations about others he had tattooed.

“Does your mate know about these?” Spike continued, unperturbed by her lack of answer about where they came from.

“Yes. He saw them all last night.” Spike looked up and gave her a sly look.

“You go, girl.” Myra laughed and let the conversation fall as Spike worked on the intricate details of the Mad Hatter. They’d used several references to make one she was happy with. Her tattoo took the better part of three hours before Spike wiped it down, put petroleum jelly on it, and wrapped it. Myra was ecstatic with the way it looked.

“Spike I think this is my second favorite, nothing will top the snowy owl,” she remarked twisting in the mirror to get a good look at her new tattoo from all angles.

“Thanks, Myra.” Spike stood behind her smiling with his arms crossed, they connected eyes in the mirror. Myra’s phone dinged with a text message, digging through her purse she saw several messages from Rob and Adam.

Dad told me you stopped by to see me this morning. Why didn’t you wake me up? -Adam.

Send us a picture of your tattoo when it is finished.-Rob

I’m almost at the restaurant. -Georgia

I am coming!- Caroline. Myra pocketed her phone and told Spike.

“I’ll pay now, I need to get to lunch with some friends.” He smiled and led her back to the front where she could pay for her tattoo. While Spike ran her card, she sent a picture of her finished tattoo to Rob and Adam. She didn’t have to wait long for her phone to ping with a response.

So cool! Are you coming over?- Adam. She smiled and sent back a text saying she was having lunch with Caroline and Georgia and would come by to check on Adam after that.

Myra rushed into the cafe she regularly had lunch with Caroline and Georgia at. Both women were sitting at a round table looking over their menus. Myra smiled, they always ordered the same thing, so looking at the menu was pointless.

“Sorry I am late,” she huffed, dropping into a chair across from Georgia.

“We were all running late,” Caroline assured her, setting her menu off to the side.

“What kept you?” Georgia asked, doing the same with her menu.

“I had my leg tattoo finished,” she explained, waiting for her friends to ask about her tattoo, she’d never talked about them before.

“Can we see?” Caroline inquired, curiosity shining in her eyes. Myra shifted so her friends could see her thigh and lifted the hem of her dress. Both gasped and smiled.

“That is amazing, is it your first?” Georgia waved their normal waitress over.

“No, I have quite a few,” she answered, smiling when the waitress brought Myra her normal drink of diet coke.

“Thanks, Helen.”

“Anything for my best customers. Now, what can I get you?” Helen was a woman in her forties with dyed red hair, caked-on makeup with bright blue eyeshadow on her dark eyes.

“I’ll get my normal grilled cheese with tomato soup,” Myra answered looking at her friends.

“My normal too.”

“Same here.” Helen chuckled and took the menus headed back to her computer to put in their orders.

“I’ve heard a rumor from Ellie and want to know if it is true,” Caroline began, Myra looked at her to see a gleam in her eyes and she knew both women had heard about Rob.

“Go on.” Myra motioned with her hand for her to continue.

“She made a comment that you’ve become friends with Adam Zephyr.”

“I suppose you could say that. He’s been coming into the library to avoid swimming lessons.”

“Have you met his dad?” Georgia sipped her sweet tea, pegging Myra with a sharp look.

“We went on a date last night,” she replied and waited for her friends to go into a tizzy.

“You did?”

“Where did he take you?”

“Yes, and we went to Alejandro’s. Then I took him back to my place and well, let’s just say he left this morning,” she remarked, swirling her straw in her drink. Georgia and Caroline gave her gleeful smiles, both reaching over to squeeze her arms gently.

“That is amazing! Is he your mate?” Georgia asked, she’d married Jordan Howard, a jaguar shifter almost two months ago.

“Yes. My lynx went crazy the first time we met.”

“How did you meet?” Caroline wanted to know, leaning back in her seat.

“At the gym, of all places. He startled me on the treadmill, I literally fell into his arms,” she explained, making both of them laugh.

“Gives a new meaning to sweep off your feet,” Caroline joked, making Myra chuckle.

“I suppose it does. Last night at the barbeque Adam broke his nose, and when Rob told me this morning I panicked. Is that normal?” she asked. This time her question was directed to Georgia, who had a new daughter.

“Yes. I was always worrying about Daisy when I first met her. Now that I know she is mine, I think I’ve relaxed a little,” Georgia answered, leaning back as Helen placed their meals on the table.

“I went to Ellie’s house to make sure he was okay before going to my tattoo appointment today,” she admitted making both the women give her identical evil looks.

“Speaking of tattoos. Where are all of yours?” Georgia asked Myra shook her head, Caroline and Georgia were two of a set of triplets and never let things slide. Myra bit into her sandwich to give herself time to think about how she would share about her tattoos. Both women watched but would not let the topic drop. She spent the rest of lunch telling them about her tattoos. She couldn’t show any of them for fear of being indecent in the restaurant. Neither one asked why she had so many, they took it as her being herself and left it at that.

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