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The Alpha's Temporary Mate (Fated Match)(81)

By:Victoria Davies

But the fact she didn’t measure up didn’t mean she had no pride. She wouldn’t absolve Kieran and wish him well as he went back to his former flame. He’d made her a promise that apparently only held out as long as she was the only show in town.

That’s not true. He didn’t look at anyone else while you were together.

So maybe she had been special. Just not special enough.

The sound of a car flittered past her morose thoughts, and she raised her head to see a gray sedan park in front of her. The door opened, and the last person she expected stepped out.

Darrel stared up at her, arms crossed.

“Come to gloat?” Chloe demanded, raising her chin.

“No,” he replied and held out his hand. Car keys rested in his palm. “I thought you might like an escape.”

She dragged a hand over her eyes before pushing to her feet. “Why would you help me?”

“I’m not. I’m helping the pack. This situation will be hard enough to navigate without having the witch our alpha wronged floating around camp like a heartbroken ghost.” He looked away. “For what it’s worth, you have my sympathy. I may not have wanted you for Kieran, but I don’t approve of the way Lisette is handling things.”

“You mean lip-locking another girl’s man in front of the entire pack?”

“It was not well done.” He pressed the keys forward. “Take them and find your way home. You can leave the car parked at Kieran’s building, and I’ll fetch it when I’m back in town.”

Gingerly she accepted the offering.

“Thank you,” she said.

“I’m sure at some point you will hear them in person, but on behalf of the Clearwater pack you have my apologies.”

She didn’t want them. Didn’t want anything from this pack.

Moving around Darrel, she tossed her duffle into the car and climbed in. She didn’t glance in the rearview as she drove away. There was no use in looking back. Not when the cabin she left behind represented a future she’d so desperately wanted.

Lips pressed against his. Lips that weren’t Chloe’s. There was no scent of lavender and magic, no contented sighs from his inner wolf. If anything, the damn creature was throwing fits that Lisette was daring to touch him.

His initial shock receded long enough for his hands to wrap about Lisette’s arms and push her off.

“What are you doing?” he demanded, holding her back when she moved to press against him once more.

“Isn’t it obvious?” she murmured. “I’m proving to you we can be what we once were. I swear to you, Kieran, I will never again make the mistakes I once did. The pack comes first.”

“Does it?” he demanded. “You came here to ignite a brand new drama.”

“No. I came for you.”

He shook his head. In all the years that had passed, her antics remained the same. “You could have spoken to me privately. We could have discussed this like civilized people. Instead you ambush me in front of a field of our people.”

Sorrow filled her eyes. “Maybe my actions were wrong,” she said. “But my motives weren’t. Think of it. We could be a true ruling pair. Alpha mates.” She shook her head, reaching for him. “Why do you think I picked now of all times to come home? I’m ready, Kieran. I can be what you need.”

Years ago he’d have given anything to have Lisette standing before him, saying these words. He’d mourned the loss of her like a death of a loved one. She’d turned him into a ghost of the man he’d wanted to be.

And she hadn’t been the one to put him back together.

“Chloe,” he breathed. How could he have forgotten his pack had not been the only ones watching Lisette’s display?

Spinning around he scanned the section of the field she’d been standing in.

The space was empty.

He’d taken a single step when Lisette’s hands were on him once more. “Let the witch go,” she urged. “She’s not one of us.”

He looked back at his former lover and whatever she saw on his face had her taking a step back.

“Chloe is more of a leader than you will ever be, Lisette.” He realized the truth of his words the moment he said them. “You aren’t what this pack needs, but she damn well might be.”

Glancing around at the frozen faces watching him he shook his head. “You’re a member of the Clearwater pack and it’s your right to be here. But I don’t have to stay and listen to you wax poetic about a life we will never live.”

Leaving her behind, he stalked toward Chloe’s last location.

“Where is she?” he demanded.

The wolves before him cast out their arms, signaling their lack of an answer. Pushing past them, he strode toward the cabin. If Chloe was going to run, she’d pick a place she felt safe. He’d bet every cent he had that was were she’d be.