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The Alpha's Temporary Mate (Fated Match)(13)

By:Victoria Davies

Because unlike many of their kind, she didn’t have anyone looking out for her. Added to her troubles was her species. Some types of supernaturals could live in rivers or go for months without food. Witches, on the other hand, were painfully human in too many ways. Though they could tap into ancient magic, they still needed food, water, and shelter to live, just as any mortal would. During her early years she’d had trouble finding all three.

“I’ve seen most of North America though,” she added. Traveling from town to town in search of work and safety counted, right?

The unexpected feel of his fingers tracing over her cheek made her freeze in her seat. “Incredible,” he murmured. “You have not had an easy time of it.”

She glanced at him before leaning away from his touch. “Made me into the woman I am today. Wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“For a were, being cut off from one’s pack would be unimaginable.”

She nodded, understanding the bonds weres formed, especially wolves. As arguably the strongest of the shifter supernaturals, they were far more susceptible to some of the largest weaknesses. Isolation could be used as physical torture on their kind. Being incredibly tactile creatures they needed constant contact with others. One of the reasons wolves had earned their reputation as playful seducers was their driving need to touch. And it didn’t have to be just in a romantic setting. Platonic touch could be just as important to them as a sexual caress.

“Lucky I’m not a wolf then,” she said, saluting him with her wineglass.

Still, her flippant words did not erase the pity in his eyes. Taking a large swallow of wine, Chloe decided this was the reason people didn’t talk about their pasts. If their stories involved any bumps in the road they were met with unwanted sympathy.

“Keep looking at me like that and I will turn your spaghetti into worms,” she warned as she twirled some pasta around her fork.

He hesitated with his fork halfway to his mouth. “You wouldn’t.”

She leveled a bland stare his way. “Care to try me, big bad wolf?”

That drove the pity from his eyes. Unfortunately it was replaced by a hunger that had nothing to do with food.

“Darling,” he purred, “if only you meant those words another way.”

She swallowed, looking away from him. “Well, I didn’t. So behave.”

He gave a mock shudder. “Never.”

“Focus. Is there anything I need to know about tomorrow night?” she asked as she shoveled more of the tasty pasta into her mouth.

“We’re heading to the Draven gallery,” he replied. “I’d expect as least three of my senior pack members to be there.”


He nodded. “Wolves have a hierarchy, and I’m at the top.”

“Thanks, but I’m not that much of a simpleton. Did figure out that part on my own.”

“Hush,” he teased. “Werewolves 101. I’m at the top, then next comes a group of dominant wolves that help me rule, and ensure the stability of the pack. Many of them are older, have more life experience. It is rare that a young wolf would be dominant enough to break into the senior ranks of a pack.”

“So in other words, tomorrow I’ll be meeting people who have known and worked with you for years.”


“Decades,” she amended. “And we’re supposed to fool people who know you so well on our first night out?”

He leaned closer. “Yes.”

“What if we slip?” she asked, anxiety rising. “What if I do something stupid like flinch or blush or stumble on my words?”

A breathtaking smile curved his lips. “I have to admit, I’m becoming partial to that blush of yours.”

Good, because she could feel her cheeks heating. “You know what I mean.”

“They’ll think you’re charming,” he breathed. “And what’s more, they’ll love that you have a good head on your shoulders. I don’t tend to date women so…”

She arched a brow. “Normal? Practical? Boring?”

“Wholesome.” His fingers trailed over her hand in a light touch.

A shadow flitted over her growing interest. Wholesome. Was that what she brought to a relationship? Simple Chloe. The witch men settled for when they tired of sexy, sophisticated partners.

A deep, secret part of her wished she were the kind of woman who could drive a man mad. Someone who was the opposite of wholesome and predictable. One that Kieran’s packmates would look at and think, here comes trouble, rather than that their alpha was finally ready to cast aside his wild ways.

But that was obviously not her. Kieran wouldn’t have picked her for this assignment if it were.