“Tell you what, we’ll go by my house and I’ll get some clothes. Then I’ll sleep on your couch tonight,” Eric suggested. “I make a good guard animal.”
“Don’t you mean guard dog?” Anna asked.
“Nope, partial to wolves myself.” Then he waited for her reaction, he didn’t have to wait long.
“I’ve heard wolves live around here. Have you ever seen any?”
“Sure, lots of them,” Eric replied. “Now, about tonight?”
“Oh, well, I suppose it would be okay for you to stay. I have a guest room though.”
“Alright, sounds good to me. Let’s get going then shall we,” Eric said before he closed her door.
Eric gave the others a wave, letting them know he was going with her. Since he lived a long way out of town, it worked to his advantage when Anna once more drifted off to sleep. He lived nowhere near where he’d heard her tell Minnie she lived, and Anna looked like the type to get upset about him going so far out of his way for her. If only she knew just how far he would go for her.
Arriving at his small home, he quickly ran inside and grabbed a duffle bag. Moving fast, and efficiently, he hoped she wouldn’t wake up.
Moving back out the front door when he’d finished, he stopped and growled. Three wolves were up on hind legs peering into his truck at Anna.
“Move away you crazy pups!” Eric snarled.
One shifted into his human form. “Sorry, sir. Mr. Alpha said you met your mate, and we were simply curious. We meant her no harm, and she’s sleeping.”
The second one shifted. “Yeah, we meant no harm, but for a human, she sure smells good.”
He felt a jealous snarl rip from him. The pups whined, quickly shifting, and running off.
Shaking his head, Eric made his way to his truck. Throwing the bag in the back, he climbed inside and quickly headed back to town. Once in town, he decided they should pick up her car, so it wouldn’t be towed and made his way to the Bistro where she’d parked it.
After parking next to the only car left in the small Bistro’s parking lot, Eric shut off his engine. He then reached over and gently shook Anna, murmuring, “Anna? Anna, wake up.”
“Mm… what? What is it?” She asked as her eyes slowly fluttered open.
“I thought maybe we should get your car since we’re going to your house.”
“Oh.” She yawned. “That’s a good idea. What time is it?”
“It’s almost midnight,” Eric told her.
Anna slowly stretched, yawning again. “What took us so long to get here?”
He chuckled. “I’m a slow packer?”
She looked over at him in the dome light after opening her door. “Somehow, I don’t believe that.”
Eric shrugged. “I’ll follow you home.”
Her house was all of five minutes away. Once there, he stepped out of his truck and looked around before taking a deep breath. In doing this, he felt his wolf rise, so he could tune into his heightened senses. Eric neither saw nor heard anything that seemed out of place. Hopefully, the man had cooled off, but he feared it would be only temporary.
Eric frowned, thinking, why had the man looked so familiar?
Eric awakened to the slight sound of whimpering and sat up. He was instantly wide awake, a perk of being a wolf. The whimper came again, and he followed it to Anna’s bedroom door. He quickly took a deep breath but smelled no scents other than his and Anna’s. Carefully listening, he heard nothing. So, walking into her room he looked toward her bed and found her tossing her head.
She was dreaming and almost sobbing as she cried out, “Please, let go, you’re hurting me!”
“Anna? Anna, wake up,” Eric called softly as he slowly sat down next to her.
She whimpered again.
Reaching out, he gently shook her as he said, “Wake up Anna, you’re safe now.”
With a jerk, her eyes shot open and she sat up with a gasp. Then with a sob, she threw herself into his arms, whispering, “Oh Eric, it was awful. I dreamed he caught me and took me home with him.”
“I’ve got you, and I’m not going to let him get you tonight,” he reassured her. “It’s still early, and you’ve not slept long, try to sleep a bit more.”
She tightened her grip on him. “Please don’t leave me.”
Eric made her lay back down before he lay down next to her on top of the cover. Her head was on his chest and he ran his fingertips through her hair until she relaxed. Soon she slept once more and so did he.
Anna woke up warm and cozy, listening to a heartbeat thump under her ear. She lay for a moment enjoying the feel of being held by someone. It was moments like these she missed the most about being half of a couple, though for the most part she was used to it after two years. So, feeling happier than she had in a long time, she turned her head to lightly kiss the furry chest beneath her.
“Mm… good morning to you too,” Eric murmured in a husky baritone.
“Morning. Is it extremely late?”
“Almost nine,” Eric answered after yawning.
“No wonder I’m hungry, I’m usually up by seven,” she murmured, making no effort to move.
“Anna, we need to talk about last night.”
Anna stiffened. Then she began to move away from him, only to have him tighten his grip on her.
“I want to help you, but I need to know things. I need to know who the man was, though he looked slightly familiar.”
“His name is Mark,” she answered. “I know he sometimes works with Ryan on construction jobs.”
Eric stiffened. “Mark Aker?”
“Okay. I do slightly know him. Pete hires out for our electrical work and he’s the new guy working for Henderson Electric,” Eric explained. “Now, tell me what happened last night.”
“Please,” he coaxed her as he kissed the top of her head.
“Fine,” Anna agreed with a huff.
She would tell him, but only because she felt she needed to. It was as if she couldn’t say no to him for anything. Then she told him everything. Starting from how she’d met Mark to what had transpired last night. By the time she’d finished, Eric was almost shaking. She could feel the anger rolling off him in waves.
“A man should never treat a woman in such a way. He’d better hope I never catch him alone in a dark alley!”
Anna once more kissed his chest. She loved how protected he made her feel, yet she felt as if she needed to calm him too. Lips still against his chest, she groused, “Eric, I’m hungry.”
His chest began to vibrate when he chuckled. “I believe you’ve already mentioned that.”
He sat up then, raising his hands high above his head, and stretching.
She watched his back muscles ripple under the smooth skin. She wondered if it were as soft as it looked and if it would be warm. This thought had her reaching out a hand to touch him only to stop when she realized what she was doing. She had no right to touch him, so she quickly turned away to get out of the bed also.
“Breakfast at the ‘Breakfast Nook’, my treat,” Eric said as he stood.
So, with a nod, he headed out of the room. “I’ll give you twenty minutes to get ready.”
Closing the door, Eric left her to dress.