Mate's Appeal(10)

By: Robbie Cox

Arlin sighed. It looks like I’m here to find out who trashed your cabin, my vivacious vixen. Yet, he knew now was not the time to bring that up, not with the first impression he had just made. His tiger growled, wanting to claim the lady in front of him right there and didn’t care if he did it in front of everyone else, and the awkward part was that at least four of the others knew it as well. Me and my big mouth.


Everglades was a shifter bar in Holopaw, a dive bar, really, and nothing like Shades back in Draven Falls, but it held its own rustic charm. Unless you knew what type of bar it was, anyone looking at it in passing would probably just drive on by, thinking the place needed to be condemned, even with cars parked outside. The ancient wooden structure appeared to be created of discarded planks found in abandoned buildings, rather than the finished wood of a newer structure. The interior consisted of scratched up wooden chairs and tables, appearing as if the place was thrown together in much the same way as the exterior of the building. Weak mirrors and flashing beer logos covered the walls, while serving girls wandered from table to table, taking orders and flirting with the male patrons, whether the men had dates or not. Country music blared from a broken down jukebox, bouncing off the walls, as couples line danced and chugged their beers. It was nothing like a nightclub in the city. Instead, Everglades held the feel of a homier, comfier environment. That was exactly what Eve needed right then, considering her own home was ripped away from her today.

Noel, one of Wes’s serving girls, brought over a tray full of beers and tequila shots, setting them on the table in front of Eve and the others. While quite a bit of alcohol was required to get shifters drunk, since their metabolism is a lot sturdier than humans, it didn’t stop them from enjoying the tastes as well as the social aspects. Right then, Eve needed her Bull Creek sisters to help her get drunk and forget about the ransacking of her place. Noel must have heard about the break-in because the curvaceous blond set an extra tequila shot in front of Eve. “This one is on me,” she said with a wink before walking back to the bar.

Eve thanked the woman as she walked off and then reached for the small glass and downed the fiery liquid, allowing it to burn her throat and warm her belly, before slamming the glass back on the table and picking up the second shot.

“Hey, hey.” Lainie Everest stopped Eve before she tipped the shot glass back. “Let us have a chance to join the festivities.”

“Agreed,” Adira Brennan, Bull Creek’s resident witch, chimed in. “I hate being left out, especially when it comes to drinking shots.”

Alanna picked up her shot glass, the wolf shifter lifting it high in the air. “To finding the ass who tore our girl’s cabin up and kicking his ass.”

All four ladies lifted their glasses, cheered, and downed the tequila, slamming the glasses back on the table when finished. Eve grabbed her beer and took a long pull from the bottle, allowing the cold liquid to contrast in her throat with the burning tequila. Wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, she set the beer bottle back on the table, but didn’t release it. She knew if she didn’t hold onto something, she would be gripping her knife for security, probably not the best thing to do in a bar. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Lainie watching her. Eve continued to stare at the bottle in her hand. “What?”

“I know the code of Bull Creek,” Lainie said. “No one asks nosy questions about why someone else is here. It’s a safe place for those who are escaping something they would rather not discuss.” She shrugged. “Hell, I’m here to get away from my parents and their idea of a perfect mate for me. Still, it seems whatever you’re hiding from has found you. I think it’s time you fill us in so we can help protect you.”

Eve pressed her lips into a thin line as she shook her head. “I don’t need help.”

“Really?” Alanna said, her tone shocked. “We all saw your house, Eve. What would have happened if you were there when whoever did it decided to come calling? I know you love playing with that knife you wear, but even you said you weren’t ready for a moving target. We’re your friends. More than that, though, we’re also shifters and a witch. We can do more than fight like girls, if you know what I mean. We can kick ass like women.”

“I can make you some wards for your cabin, like I put around the area for Bane’s coyotes,” Adira said. “Of course, they would be more effective if I knew what they were warding against.”