Adam sat at Myra’s breakfast bar glaring at Rob. He was angry because Rob and Myra hadn’t woken him before she left for work.
“I told you, Myra was running late to work. We will see her at lunch,” Rob assured his son, placing a large plate of eggs and bacon in front of him.
“Still could have said goodbye,” Adam grumbled, taking a vicious bite out of his bacon. Rob did his best not to laugh at him.
“I have good news,” Rob announced, trying to pull Adam out of his foul mood.
“Everyone will be at Grandma and Grandpa’s for the Fourth of July weekend we are visiting.” Rob waited for Adam to smile, he loved spending time with his cousins. Instead, he got a half smile and a shrug.
“You’re not happy?”
“I do like seeing my cousins.”
“I wanted Grandma and Grandpa to myself.” Rob saw what Adam was hinting at.
“We are going down ahead of everyone. You’ll get to camp with Grandpa on your own. This week you will go to camp at the library and then Monday we leave for Texas. After that Myra and I will finish buying the house. I will ask Uncle Clyde, Matt and Travis to come help fix the house.”
“So they are coming out here after?” Adam’s eyes were alight with excitement.
“If they can come, then yes. We’ll need to design your bedroom.” Rob hoped the thought of designing his own space would excite Adam. He missed his cheerful boy.
“Can I have a gigantic bed like yours with black walls?” Adam rattled off his ideas.
“Yes to the bed, not to the black walls. You can have black sheets and a comforter.” Rob knew Myra would veto the black walls, not like he wanted black walls in his house either.
“What about green?” Adam touched the kelly green shirt he’d slept in.
“Depends on how dark the green is. You don’t want the walls too dark or the room will feel small. We’ll need bookshelves and a desk in your room too.” Rob grabbed a pad and pen to jot down the items they needed.
“Can I get a reading chair like Myra’s?”
“We can get you one. WE’ll see about spacing in your room. If it doesn’t fit, we can put it in the same room as Myra’s. I suspect she’ll want to turn the sitting room into a space to read.”
“What about the TV?” Adam gave Rob a worried look. He chuckled and ruffled Adam’s hair.
“We will still have a TV. We need to watch baseball and football still.”
“Oh, good.” Adam gave him a relieved look.
“Finish eating and take a shower. We can then get more of our things from Aunt Ellie and Uncle Marcus’ house.” Rob watched Adam shovel in his food before announcing around a mouthful of eggs.
“Swallow then go shower. We will leave at that.” Rob pocketed his keys, watching Adam rush into the bathroom to shower. Pulling out his phone, he sent a text to Marcus.
Is Peter with Myra at her job?
Yes. He checked in when she arrived. No one suspicious is around the library.
Good. Now I have to call Mom and tell her about Myra.
Have fun. Rob laughed and dialed his parent’s house. It was eight-thirty in Texas, so he knew they would be awake.
“Hi Rob, you are calling rather early.” His mother’s soothing voice helped settle him.
“I wanted to give you the good news. I found my mate.”
“How wonderful! When did this happen?” His mother demanded, Rob could imagine the glare he was receiving through the phone.
“Thursday.” As he said it, he realized how fast he was moving things along. Already he’d convinced Myra to buy a house with him. Was he moving them too fast? The joy of finding his mate over road everything else.
“What’s her name?”
“Myra Juleston. She is coming down with Adam and me the Monday after next.”
“I see.” Her tone told him she had an opinion, and he would not like it.
“Is she related to Brandon Juleston?” Rob’s blood ran cold.
“I know what her father was researching. His goons tried to steal several newborn cubs before he was killed in that car crash.”
“Did you know he used his daughter as his guinea pig?” Rob wouldn’t allow his mother to think for a second Myra was a willing participant.
“It’s not my story to tell, but I can’t stand the idea you would think my mate could be a part of that given a choice. Can I talk to Dad?” Rob didn’t know if he could contain his anger if he continued speaking with his mother.
“Okay, Rob.” Her voice was soft. He knew she felt bad for her first thoughts about Myra, but he wasn’t ready to forgive her yet.
“Hey Rob, you wanted to talk?” His dad’s deep baritone came through the phone.
“I need all the information you have on Brandon Juleston and Viper.”
“I suppose this has something to do with the mate your mother insulted?”
“Viper has been threatening Myra. Her brother discovered some information that has Viper scared. The brother has until Friday to get it sorted. I want to see if anyone else might know something. Mom sure does, but I can’t talk to her right now.”
“I’ll send everything we know. Is Marcus involved?”
“I have Peter trailing Myra. Viper has broken into her apartment twice. I also witnessed him threaten her. He’s a nasty snake shifter.”
“I know who you are talking about. He’s been causing trouble in Texas. All the leaders have been sharing news about him. He is giving Matt a hell of a headache.”
“Well, he is in Virginia at the moment.”
“Do you think he’ll follow you here?”
“Probably not. He wouldn’t want to take on a whole bear clan. I think he’ll come after us or well Myra, if Ricky exposes him.”
“Ricky is the brother?”
“Dad, I’m ready,” Adam called, coming out of the bathroom, hair still wet from his shower.
“Yes, Ricky is her brother. Anyway, can you email me the information?”
“I’ll get it together. We are glad you found your mate, Rob. We’ll see you in about a week.”
“Bye Dad.” Rob hung up and saw a worried look in Adam’s eyes.
“Does Grandma hate Myra?”
“What? No! She doesn’t know her. When we go down and they meet everything will be fine.” Rob wondered how much Adam overheard.
“Is Myra in danger??” Rob sighed, Adam was only ten.
“No. Her brother Ricky is in trouble. Nothing for you to worry about. Grandpa is helping me.” Rob didn’t want to lie, but as long as Peter was protecting Myra, or she was with Rob, nothing would happen to her.
“I promise. Come on, let’s get our stuff and bring Myra lunch.” Rob wanted to turn his attention away from the danger surrounding Myra.
“What are we bringing her for lunch?” Adam asked, making Rob relax. Adam was going to let it go at the moment.
“How about pizza or burgers?”
“Pizza, meat lovers.”
“Done.” Rob opened the apartment door, rubbing part of his arm on the frame. He hoped the scent of a grizzly bear would warn off Viper’s goons. Rob scanned the area, noting Ricky’s car now had four slashed tires. He would mention it to Marcus the next time they spoke. He knew his brother had a way to contact Ricky. Adam clambered into their SUV without paying attention. Rob saw a black van parked at the end of the row. His bear bristled. They didn’t enjoy leaving the apartment unattended.
“Dad, let’s go!” Adam called. Nothing he could do about the apartment now. He hoped his dad had enough information to know what Viper was up to. He wanted answers before going out of town. Rob climbed into his car and drove across town.
“Marcus we need to talk. Adam, go pack your clothes up,” Rob ordered walking into Marcus’ house.
“What happened?” Marcus’ smile fell from his face when their eyes connected.
“Mom and Dad.” Rob stormed into the office, Marcus hot on his heels.
“What did Mom do?” It was unspoken knowledge when the brothers said Mom and Dad it had to do with their mother.
“She apparently knows about Myra’s father and his research. Her tone when I said we were mates wasn’t accepting. Dad is sending me all the information he has on Viper. I need you to get in touch with Ricky. His car’s tires have been slashed. I know you gave him until Friday, but I don’t think Viper will wait that long. In the few days I’ve known Myra, Viper has made an appearance of some sort in as many days. This needs to end before Viper ends up snatching Myra.” Rob dropped into a chair while Marcus sat behind his desk.
“Can you tell me what you know?”
“Not without betraying Myra’s trust.”
“Hmm, well share the information Dad sends and I’ll tell Ricky about his car.”
“I’ll call Ricky and let him know what is going on here. If what you are saying is true, then Myra is not safe alone. I will tell Greyson to join Peter on protection and I’ll get Owen out here. He is coming off assignment this week. He can be the one to watch her apartment when it is empty. You are at home with her, but I think you should have outside surveillance to help back you up if Viper attacks.” Rob nodded his agreement.
“Sounds good. Adam and I are going to join her for lunch. Then we’ll be at the apartment for the rest of the day.” Marcus nodded and picked up his phone to contact Greyson and Owen.
“How is Owen doing? I haven’t seen him around.”
“I sent him to California to work with a bodyguard team for an A-lister. They don’t need him anymore, and I brought him back home for a break. At least he will get to sleep in his own bed.” Marcus huffed at his statement, making Rob smirk.
“I guess sitting in a car and keeping watch isn’t much of a break for Owen. He is one of your young ones, right?” If Rob remembered Owen was a black bear.
“Yes. He came with me to help Roxie and Xander. He is twenty-four, twenty-five, something like that. His dad asked me to take him on to keep Owen out of trouble. He mentioned Owen was being approached by some guys he thought were doing illegal things.”
“Is Owen from Little Creek?” Rob didn’t remember a black bear clan in the area.
“No. He grew up in Montana. His dad was one of my buddies in the Marines. He retired a few years ago.”
“Stringfellow, Montana?” Rob has a sinking feeling the bad guys approaching Owen were Viper’s goons. How the man got all over the United States was beyond him.
“I don’t know. You can ask him next time you see him.”
“Thanks. I’m going to pack up my clothes. Adam and I won’t be able to take all our boxes just yet, but we can at least empty your guest rooms.” Rob got to his feet, smiling at his older brother.
“No rush. Ellie and I don’t have a need for the bedrooms just yet.” Rob laughed and gave his brother a wink.
“Not for lack of trying though,” he quipped, making Marcus let out a short laugh. Rob left Marcus to his work and went in pursuit of Adam. He found him with the suitcases they’d brought from Texas splayed out around him.
“Here bud, let me help.” Rob knelt on the floor and helped Adam sort out his clothing. They made a pile of give away clothes that Adam had outgrown while sorting. Rob would drop it at the local Goodwill.