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The Alpha's Temporary Mate (Fated Match)(80)

By:Victoria Davies

Lisette had told her she’d wanted to get Kieran back. Apparently she was true to her word.

He’s with me now. He doesn’t want her. Disaster followed that relationship.

And love. A love powerful enough to make Kieran think it couldn’t be replaced.

“What are you doing here?” Kieran asked, the words floating back to where she stood.

“I should think that was obvious.” Her gaze shifted over his shoulder to lock on Chloe’s. “Sorry, dear. I forgot your coat.”

Accusing eyes turned toward her, including Kieran’s.

“I didn’t know it was her,” Chloe tried, stepping back with raised hands. Because she hadn’t asked. She’d just assumed no one in the pack would purposefully manipulate her, but Lisette was doing just that—making it look like she’d had forewarning and not bothered to share it with the pack. Or worse, with her lover.

“You are not welcome here,” Kieran said, shifting so he was between Lisette and her.

“It’s my pack, too.” She stepped forward, moving within touching distance. “I missed you, Kieran. Did you miss me?”

“This isn’t fair, Lisette.”

“No,” she agreed. “But it isn’t just you I need to apologize to. I hurt the whole pack with my behavior. They deserve to hear my regret.”

“We’ve been fine,” he said. “Go back to whatever corner of the world you ran to.”

“That’s the point, my darling. I ran as far and as fast as I could and still I couldn’t erase you from my mind. From what I hear of your exploits, I know it was the same for you.”

“Those days are over.”

“Do you know what I’ve spent decades doing, Kieran?” she asked, taking another step closer. “I’ve meditated in monasteries. Gone on vision quests and participated in every journey toward self-discovery I could find. I know I wasn’t what you needed all those years ago, but things are different now. I’m different. I found a way to be both true to my wolf and strong for you.”

She raised a hand to his face. “I lived in exile for lifetimes to prove I can be what you need. I can put the pack first. Are you really telling me I’m too late?”

Yes, Chloe fists clenched. Tell her she’d far too late. Tell her you’ve found someone better. Tell her you love me.

Kieran didn’t move. Not when Lisette’s triumphant gaze flicked to her. Not when the woman closed the distance to her former lover, and certainly not when she rose on tiptoe and pressed her mouth to Kieran’s.

No. Pain tore through her. All around wolves alternated between watching the couple on the field and looking at her—the outsider witch whose position had just become superfluous.

Humiliation raged through her. She’d signed up to be a fake lover. It was Kieran who had pushed her to cross boundaries that should never have been crossed. He’d promised her she was more than a body, more than a replacement, and obviously hadn’t meant a word of it. She’d wondered who Kieran would pick if he had the chance. Looks like she’d found out.

If hearts really could break, she was sure hers was in pieces.

Chloe took a step back, then another. Turning, she ran from the field as fast as she could. She didn’t want to be there when Kieran wrapped his arms around another woman, didn’t want to see him kiss her back. And she sure as hell didn’t want to be there when he looked around to tell her they were over. The last thing she needed was to see the gloating in his advisors eyes as she was faced with incontrovertible proof that there was no place for her in this pack. She should have learned her lesson. Lifetimes of disappointment made it very clear she would never find a family of her own.

A mate of her own.

The camp was empty as she raced toward her cabin. Slamming through the door, she grabbed every piece of clothing she’d come with and threw it into her duffle. She needed to be anywhere but here.

Bag packed, she ran outside and stopped. They’d taken Kieran’s car here. She had no way of getting back to New York. At least, not until the pack showed up with car keys, ready to take her to the nearest bus stop.

Collapsing on the steps she tunneled her fingers through her hair. There were no choices to be made. She couldn’t strike out over miles of Clearwater territory. She’d have to wait. Which meant she’d have to face Kieran and listen while he described all the reasons why he was going back to Lisette. After all, the gorgeous wolf was all the things Chloe would never be. She fit into this pack, knew the people and the customs. And worse, she was the damned embodiment of any man’s fantasy. Whereas Chloe was always the girl who was just a bit too short, a touch too plump. She couldn’t compete with this woman from Kieran’s past. Lisette was dazzling while she was…average. Boring. The perpetual Plan B.