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The Alpha's Temporary Mate (Fated Match)(2)

By:Victoria Davies

Long legs encased in dark-washed denim folded beneath her desk, and Chloe had fought the urge more than once to shift her own legs to brush against his. Were they standing, she doubted she’d reach much higher than his shoulder. The thought sent a shiver of awareness down her spine. Given her own height, few men could make her feel small.

But his striking looks only made his request that she set him up with a temporary girlfriend all the more bizarre. Surely a man like Kieran needed no help finding a lover.

“I regret that we are unable to help you, Mr. Clearwater. Now if you please, I have another appointment to get to.”

Instead of looking chagrined or taking her hint to leave, Kieran leaned forward. “Do you know much about wolves?”

Chloe blinked. “I’m well versed in all the species we represent.”

“Then you know all about the mating moon.”

When her hesitation gave her away, his knowing smile widened.

“The mating moon,” he instructed, filling in the gaps in her knowledge, “occurs one night a year, when newly coupled wolves go before the clan and make their intentions to one another clear. Once they’ve made their announcement, pairs are considered mated.”

“Like a wolf wedding,” she mused.

“Precisely. Some couples are together for years, lifetimes even, but without an announcement on a mating moon they are not recognized as truly mated.”

“Interesting custom, but I don’t see where Fated Match fits in.”

“This year’s mating moon is a month away.”

Chloe met his dark gaze. “So?”

“So, my pack is pressuring me to participate.”

She shrugged. “Congratulations.”

A low growl rumbled from his throat, raising the hairs on the back of her neck. “I have no desire for a mate. Managing one of the largest wolf packs on the East Coast is enough of a hassle without throwing a woman into the mix.”

“Then again I say, you are in the wrong building.”

“What I need,” he continued, ignoring her interruption, “is a decoy. My pack wants to see that I’m committed to someone, that I’m not spinning out into lone wolf territory, which would leave them vulnerable to an enemy clan. Unfortunately, tensions are naturally high around the mating moon, and as pack creatures, that heightened unease has started to cause ripples through my community. I need a woman who will pretend to be my lover to get me through the mating moon so that my pack doesn’t start questioning our security or my leadership.”

Chloe’s jaw dropped.

“As long as she’s not a wolf, I can use the excuse of our cultural differences to avoid any announcement,” Kieran said. “We’ll part ways after the danger is past, a tragic case of insurmountable barriers tearing us apart.”

“And you came here because…?”

He shrugged. “I can’t use any of the women among my current acquaintances, or the charade would never hold up. I need a stranger who will play a part and then disappear. You are a dating agency. Surely you can find a woman to fit my needs.”

“You want to buy a temporary lover.”

His sharp eyes flicked to her. “I want to buy a temporary girlfriend. I have no need to pay for sex. Write that into the contract if you wish. Along with an ironclad non-disclosure agreement.”

“This is so not happening,” she replied. “You need to leave.”

Kieran heaved a long sigh. “Then, my apologies, but you’ve wasted enough of my time.” He stood, his chair scraping against the tiled floor.

He crossed to her door and stepped out into the hall.

“Who is in charge of this agency?” he bellowed.

Chloe gasped, surging to her feet.

“You cannot simply roar your way into getting what you want!” she declared, tugging him by the arm back into her office. Glancing down the hall she saw shocked faces looking their way from the agency’s waiting room. “Did you misplace your manners along with your sense when you came in here?”

Amusement colored his expression as he stared down at her. “You might be cute, little witch, but I’m a busy man. I need your supervisor immediately.”

Chloe’s brain was still trying to catch up with the unexpected compliment when Vivian appeared in the doorway.

“I believe someone was trying to get my attention,” the siren said.

Her tough as nails boss was not usually a figure that inspired comfort, but at the moment, Chloe didn’t think she’d ever been happier to see the slender woman. Like most of her race, she possessed a beauty that would drive men to their doom. Long silver hair cascaded to her waist, though today it was pulled back into a tight braid. As always, Vivian chose clothes of silver and white to cover her lithe form. Designer, of course. The image she presented was as striking as it was ethereal. There was a reason sirens were much sought after.