Cherished by a Bear (Mate Me book 5)

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Myra sat with her sisters-in-law laughing at Rita telling her a story about a disastrous date with Travis.

“He took me on a picnic which would have been romantic and sweet if it hadn’t started pouring in the middle. He scooped me up and rushed me under a tree to keep me from getting even wetter. Unfortunately, the wind was whipping around hard enough the tree wouldn’t protect me no matter what. He panicked, threw me over his shoulder, and booked it to his car.”

“Was this your first date?” Myra asked as Adam came running up.

“Mom, can we go to the lake?”

“No. You need to stay close. Make sure Dad or your uncles can see you and all the kids,” she answered, watching him process her words.

“Okay.” Adam’s shoulders slumped, but he ran off to tell the rest.

“It was the day Travis proposed to me. He did it in the car,” Rita replied, making Myra sighed in appreciation.

“So Myra, how many tattoos do you have?” Dana asked, sipping her glass of wine.

“The last count, I have twenty-seven. Some I count as two because there are multiple parts to them.”

“Okay, which is your favorite?” Quinn asked, she had a look of fascination in her eyes.

“The snowy owl I have on my right hip. It was my first.”

“Is it visible when you wear shorts?” Rita wanted to know.

“The wings are, depending on how short my shorts are. I rarely wear them.”

“I can understand that. What does Rob think about all of them?” Dana asked this time. Myra enjoyed talking with her sisters-in-law.

“He loves them. He wants me to show them off more. Earlier he told me every time he sees them it reminds him how strong I am.” All the women smiled at her then glanced behind her. She looked over her shoulder to see Rob making his way back to her.

“Hello ladies, mother says time to come in for dinner.” The women stood, folded their chairs, and went inside. The children followed, exclaiming their surprise when they saw Grayson, Owen, and Peter standing in the living room.

“All children need to wash up!” Beth called, ushering the kids upstairs.

“Hi Grayson, Peter, and Owen,” Myra greeted the men who had become a part of her world protecting her from Viper.

“Hi, Myra. How are you doing?” Peter asked, coming over to give her a hug. Peter had become a fixture for her in the library as she worked.

“I am happy. Did you see anything going around town?” she asked, keeping her voice low to not alert Adam.

“We can discuss everything after the kids go to bed. You know little ears hear everything,” Marcus interrupted when Peter was about to answer. Peter nodded his agreement and stepped back.

“Dinner is ready, come on,” Beth called, motioning for everyone to gather around her extended dining room table. It impressed Myra. The adults fit around the table. They had set the children up in the kitchen. Talk passed around the table about home lives, their plans for tomorrow, the Fourth of July, and other summer vacation plans. Myra let it all flow around her, enjoying the comfortable atmosphere. She remembered dinner parties with her adoptive family’s home. The people were stiff and nervous around each other. This was different. The men joked, and the women laughed as wine and beer were passed around. Rob pressed his shoulder against hers, bending down to whisper for her ears only.

“You look happy.”

“I am,” she answered, looking into his blue eyes seeing love for her. Myra felt the surrounding danger, but also knew she’d be safe.

“Good. I love seeing you happy.” Rob kissed her temple before diving back into a conversation with his brothers about renovating their home. When they flew back home, they would sign the papers, and the house was theirs. Myra watched as the men argued over the different wood for flooring. She chuckled when Beth remarked,

“Don’t you think Myra should have a say in what flooring you are putting in her home?” Myra let out a laugh and nodded.

“I want dark wood floors, that way we can pick lighter colors for the walls and cabinets,” she answered, getting stares from everyone except Rob. They’d been talking about plans for the house all week and had most of their choices figured out.

“What about the master bathroom?” Dana asked, leaning forward with a spark in her eye. Myra learned she was an interior designer and helped Clyde with his renovation projects.

“We are still working on that one. I want a tile that looks like wood but gray and Rob isn’t so keen on it.” Dana nods her understanding and answers,

“Woodgrain tile is very popular right now. It is a classic look too.”

“I just don’t want the entire bathroom to be covered in that tile,” Rob interjected, squeezing her hand gently.

“You could do the wood tile on the floor and pick a cool one to go on the wall in the shower,” Dana suggested with a shrug of her shoulders. Myra liked Dana, she offered her opinion without being pushy about it.

“I might have you come out and help me pick it all out. I heard a rumor Clyde and Travis were coming out to help us fix the house,” Myra replied with a smile. Dana caught Clyde’s eye, and he gave her a sheepish grin.

“I was going to talk to you about it tonight,” Clyde explained, leaning over to place a gentle kiss on Dana’s lips.

“It is fine with me as long as I get to come too. My parents have been asking when the kids will come to see them. Maybe we can set it up so the kids stay with my parents and we come out to help with the house?” Myra smiled, watching the two work it out without raising their voices.

“Anything you want, dear.”

“Dessert?” Beth asked, breaking into the conversation holding up an ice cream scoop. While they’d been talking, she’d slipped out to get ice cream for all the kids.

“Where are the kids?” Myra asked, noticing the house was quiet.

“Outside eating ice cream.” Beth motioned outside and Myra felt a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. Saying nothing to Rob, she hurried out of the house and started counting kids. Her eyes scanned the group, searching for Adam and Vincent. Neither boy was with the group.

“Do you all know where Adam and Vincent are?” she asked the kids hanging around the fire pit.

“They went to the cornfield chasing a snake,” Gregory mentioned pointing to the field. Myra’s heart sank, and she took off for the cornfield, shouting for the boys.

“Vincent! Adam!”

“Myra, what’s wrong?” Rob called, running to catch up with her.

“Gregory told me Adam and Vincent went after a snake into the cornfield.” She frantically looked around, trying to see where their footprints were headed.

“You have the best eyesight at night when you are shifted. Can you shift?” Rob asked her, standing next to her at the edge of the cornfield.

“Yes, but you come with me in human form. I want you to go and tell people what is going on,” she answered stripping out of her clothing, not caring who saw her as she shifted into her lynx’s form. She had a horrible feeling the snake Adam and Vincent chased was Viper.

“Dad!” Rob yelled as Myra shifted. She saw Trip shift into his bear’s form without taking his clothes off. He came to the side of Myra and waited for her to start. Myra took a moment to sniff the ground. She didn’t have the best sense of smell, but as a shifter, it was better than a human’s. She caught Adam’s scent along with Vincent with a third that made her blood run cold. She was right, Viper lured the boys away. Taking off she didn’t care if Trip and Rob could keep up, Viper had her boy. Following their footprints, she went about ten minutes before she caught sight of the third set of footprints. The footprints became trampled among multiple adult feet, and the boy’s tracks were gone. Myra followed the trail through the cornfield until she came to a dirt road. Car tracks led out of the field, but they left a track of oil behind. Myra growled, pacing around the space until Rob caught up. She saw the look on his face when he realized what happened.

“We follow the trail. Dad, I need you to go back and tell the guys what happened. The trail leads toward Rex’s home. I think Viper may have taken over Rex’s home. Meet us at Rex’s house. We won’t attack until everyone is with us. Have two of them take the ATVs so we can bring the boys back,” Rob ordered, Myra shivered in appreciation of his leadership abilities, maybe the wrong brother was given the alpha position. Trip gave a nod and rushed off. Myra stared up at Rob.

“Lead the way, I will stay human so one of us can carry the clothing.” He held up her clothes. She nodded her head and took off the way down the trail of oil, making sure she didn’t move faster than Rob could as a human. She was anxious and worried about Viper hurting her son or nephew. The man had no sense of mercy toward people whether they be an adult or child.

“We will get him, Myra,” Rob whispered as if he understood her worry. Myra let out a little growl in annoyance. Viper had crossed the line, the man stole her son, he no longer deserved to rot in prison. He must die. Myra continued another half hour on foot until they stopped at the edge of the road, staring at a massive farmhouse. She saw a fleet of cars, all black SUVs somehow she knew wasn’t the normal cars Rex would have at his home. Farms had trucks and tractors, not mafia cars. She shifted back and took her clothing from Rob. Slipping it on, she looked up at him.

“Viper has our son and Vincent,” she announced in a soft whisper. Rob nodded with a grim expression on his face.

“You can’t rush in. We need to wait until everyone joins us. If we bullrush in he will kill Adam and Vincent. We need to go in with a plan,” Rob reminded her, taking her hand in his. She felt the shake in his hands. He was scared for Adam too.

Let me know what you think! I think the updates will be about once a week for a while. I'm overwhelmed with the holidays coming up and teaching for the next few weeks.

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