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The Alpha's Temporary Mate (Fated Match)(10)

By:Victoria Davies

Heat suffused her face.

“There, you see? You blush when I’m close.”

“I don’t,” she denied, lifting her chin.

Kieran snorted. “People will take one look at us and know we’re pretending. If we’d really been lovers for months, there’s no way you’d still look so goddamn innocent.”

“Maybe I’d teach you a thing or two instead. Ever think of that, wolf boy?”

A chuckle rumbled from his wide chest. “Witchling, if you ever want to try and teach me something new in the bedroom, I promise I’ll be a most diligent student.”

Her cheeks were on fire despite her desire to remain unaffected by Kieran. He was right, damn him, she needed to stop acting like a giddy teen when he touched her.

“I’ll work on it,” she growled, pushing at him to force him back. “By tomorrow I’ll be ready. I just need to wrap my mind around all this.” Sidestepping him, she headed back into the apartment.

“I’m going to unpack,” she called over her shoulder. “And there’d better be a lock installed on my door.”

Another low laugh drifted to her ears. “A promise is a promise.”

Kieran ran a hand through his hair as he watched the witch walk away from him. His wolf growled at the sight of her leaving, and he had to strangle the impulse to call her back. Claws ached to spring from his fingertips as the wolf prowled within him. Never before had his other half reacted so strongly to a woman. Though both sides of him loved the chase and enjoyed the numerous females who had tumbled into his bed over the years, none of them had ever lit his blood on fire the way the little witch did.

Purposely turning away from where Chloe had disappeared, he stared down at the trees below. It must be the mating moon messing with his instincts in such a way. All wolves sensed the extra tension this time of year, the heightened realization that a powerful event was drawing nearer. Given they were so tightly tied to the lunar cycles, any fluctuation in those forces could cause mental and emotional disruptions.

Once the moon had passed, his wolf would stop focusing so singularly on Chloe.

It had to.

Shaking his head, he wondered if he should sneak out tonight for a run in his wolf form. He was too contained in his human skin. Maybe a break would help calm his mind.

Because it looked like a run was the only release he’d be getting any time soon. Once his clan saw him with Chloe tomorrow he’d have to be careful to be tied only to her. Wolves did not cheat on those they loved, and for this charade to be successful he’d have to hold to that standard. There’d be no calling any of the women in his Rolodex who’d be happy to help him with a little creative stress release.

He dragged a hand down his face. When he’d come up with this plan, a few weeks of celibacy hadn’t seemed like much of a problem.

But being around the tempting witch, with no outlet other than his hand, was going to be a special kind of torture. For all his teasing, he very much doubted Chloe would let him into her bed, and if he were a better man he’d be grateful for the fact. This relationship was supposed to come with clear lines. Once the moon had passed, he wanted to separate from Chloe with no lingering feelings of attachment. They needed to be partners in this enterprise, and she wasn’t the type of women to treat sex as casually as his kind tended to do. No, she looked at the world with stars in her eyes. He’d bet anything that she hadn’t crossed her first century yet, though he’d come across many supernaturals younger than her with a far more cynical outlook of the world.

Chloe was simply…special. Some people had the power to live through the best and worst the world had to offer without ever giving up their faith in the goodness of others. For all his words to her earlier, Kieran suspected Chloe was the sort of woman who could be in his bed for years without ever losing that air of innocence that clung to her. After the years of battle and death he’d survived, that made her uniquely attractive to his wolf. The damn thing wanted to roll on its back like a puppy any time she was near. Well, either that or strip her down and luxuriate in the skin-to-skin contact he craved.

“Keep your hands to yourself, Clearwater,” he muttered. More was at stake than lusting after a pretty witch. He couldn’t do anything to jeopardize this plan, or he’d end up trying to hold together a disintegrating pack. Wolves took their cues from their alpha, and a mated leader was more stable than a single one. He’d waited far too long to take a mate. Even if he got through this month he’d need to start seriously focusing on finding someone to help him lead. One way or another, his single days would be ending in the next few years. But even so, he wanted to choose his own partner rather than have the pack select a woman for him. And to earn that necessary time, he had to get past this mating moon.