Most of the day Rob watched Myra chat with his sisters-in-law and brothers. The children came up periodically to talk with her. He watched Adam proudly tell his cousins in a loud voice that Myra has a ton of tattoos and she is a librarian. Rob wondered what Myra would do when Adam brought his cousins over.
“Mom, can they see your tattoos?” Adam asked, pointing to the back of her shirt. Rob winced and watched.
“Sure.” Myra lifted the lower portion of her shirt to let the kids look. Each of them exclaimed with excitement as they pointed out characters they knew from books they had read.
“Your mate is quite a woman,” Matt remarked, handing him a beer. Rob took the beer and smiled at his twin.
“She is amazing. Now I know what you all meant about mates. She completes our family. We bought a house together before we left for Texas.” Rob popped the top of his beer and took a sip.
“Impressive. How do you feel about her past?”
“What do you mean?” Rob didn’t want to misunderstand his brother, but if he meant anything negative by it, he would beat him.
“Well, Adam’s mom had issues with drugs. Does Myra have any issues with that because of the pain her father inflicted on her?”
“If you are asking me if Myra abused drugs, I am going to kill you.” Rob’s bear let out a loud growl at Matt.
“All I want to know is how well do you know Myra?” Matt asked, glaring back.
“Matthew, you ask that again and I will let Rob kill you,” their mother ordered, smacking Matt on the back of his head.
“Myra is Rob’s mate. He questioned none of you when you brought your mates around. You trust him, that is what a good alpha does,” their father added. Rob sighed, telling his bear to calm down, feeling relieved his parents backed him.
“To answer your question, no Myra is not addicted to drugs. She has gone through a lot of therapy to work through everything that was done to her. Those tattoos you glimpsed when she shows the kids are her way of dealing with everything. They cover the hundreds of scars left on her. I won’t tell you what her vile adoptive father did to her, but she is braver than everyone here.”
“That she is,” Marcus added, coming to sit with them.
“I’ve read the report because Ricky sent me a copy too when he didn’t resurface. That is how I knew to check with Orion. Myra has been through a lot and she is family. We protect our family,” Marcus continued before chugging his beer.
“I see.” Matt sat back, sipping his beer. Rob watched his brother, he knew Matt was embarrassed by being put down by their parents and one of their older brothers.
“I know you didn’t mean any harm.” Rob patted his arm before getting up and going over to Myra. He settled next to her, this time sitting in the grass. He wrapped a hand around her ankle, offering her his support. Myra was telling the ladies about being a librarian and how she met Adam and Rob.
“I met Adam first. He came into the library hiding from his swim lessons. Rob can you remind me when we get back he needs to get signed up for them again. Anyway, Adam and I hit it off reading Harry Potter.”
“How did you meet Rob then?” Quinn asked, Hannah, sat in her lap.
“We met at the gym. I’d seen him at a couple of Mate Me events, but women always surrounded him. He came up to me while I was running on the treadmill. I tripped, and he caught me.” All the women turned their eyes onto him with a shake of their heads.
“You made her trip?” Rita asked with a small smile on her face.
“Not on purpose. My bear wouldn’t let me stay away any longer. She told me no to dating at first, by the way.”
“What! But you are a shifter. You know when you find your mate,” Ellie remarked in shock.
“I had issues with Ricky. I hadn’t heard from him in a while.”
“He was the man who came to Marcus not long after that,” Rob added, rubbing Myra’s leg.
“What changed your mind?” Rita asked.
“I didn’t want others to dictate my choices anymore. I left that behind when I went away to college. I wanted to be happy, plus my lynx wouldn’t leave me alone.”
“Interesting, none of us are shifters,” Rita remarked, leaning forward to refill Myra’s wine glass. Rob watched his mate interact with his sisters-in-law being welcomed into the family. Even if Matt still worried about Myra’s past the women had accepted her. Rob knew no one would change their minds. Getting to his feet, Rob went off to find Adam and the other children. He found them in the field with Travis and Clyde watching over them, drinking beers.
“See anything?” he asked, standing next to Travis.
“No one we don’t know. Jay and Nick are in the fields,” Travis replied, motioning to the two bear shifters hanging out in the cornfields.
“I think Helena and Brenna are in the woods along the property line where Rex’s land connects to ours,” Clyde answered, sipping the last of his beer.
“All capable defenders. Thanks.”
“I like your mate,” Travis remarked, watching the boys wrestling each other.
“She is a strong woman for going through that. I don’t know all of what Brandon did to her, but I can see it haunts her still.”
“She has been to therapy to help her work through what happened to her.”
“Good, then she knows how to handle it when those nightmares come back. With everything going on with Viper, she is bound to remember things from her childhood.”
“No doubt.” Rob was curious where his brother was going with this.
“You’ll be there for her, yes?”
“Of course I will.”
“I never told you all this, but the reason Rita wouldn’t mate with me immediately was because her father was a compulsive gambler and his debtors constantly threatened her. She didn’t want me involved.”
“I convinced her father to go to a place where he could work through his gambling addiction. Then we moved to where we are now. He passed away five years ago from lung cancer, unfortunately,” Travis shared with a sad frown.
“I am sorry to hear that.”
“The point is, we all have a past. We all have shit we have to deal with. Myra could have rejected you because of Adam and his drug-addicted mother. You two are mates and we will always protect our mates and family,” Travis explained, clapping Rob on the shoulder.
“Thanks, Travis. Matt was giving me a little crap about Myra. He thought she might have a drug addiction because of what she went through for five years.”
“Then shame on Matt. Myra is your mate and family. As Travis said, we protect our family,” Clyde remarked with a shake of his head. Rob smiled at his older brothers. They were showing their support for Myra, and he appreciated it.
“Thanks, guys. I’m going to head back over to Myra.” Rob turned around and went back to his mate.
Let me know what you think! I might struggle to update consistently, life is getting crazy around the holidays.