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The Alpha's Temporary Mate (Fated Match)(3)

By:Victoria Davies

Of course, desired or not, you still had to be careful about their voices. Chloe had once made the mistake of taking Vivian to karaoke and she, along with the rest of the bar, had spent the remainder of the night worshiping the ground her boss walked on.

But even though Vivian was driven to succeed no matter the cost, the woman still had some tightly held morals, and Kieran buying a woman would cross all her lines.

“Vivian Sands,” she said to Kieran, holding out her hand.

“Kieran Clearwater.”

Vivian’s eyes widened at the easily recognizable name. Chloe tried not to flinch at the accusation in her blue gaze when it turned her way. A client of Kieran’s standing should have been passed along to Vivian herself, but she’d been busy and Chloe had made the call to handle the intake herself.

Not a mistake she’d repeat again.

“I’ve come to your agency with a unique set of requirements,” Kieran said. Before Chloe could jump in, he laid out the same information he’d just finished telling her.

Chloe listened to the story once more, still having a hard time believing he wanted them to find some poor woman to be his beard for the next month.

“I’ve already told him it’s out of the question,” Chloe said when he finished.

Vivian nodded. “I’m inclined to agree. This agency has been matching mates since 1704. We have a reputation to uphold, and this sort of request goes against our mission. Now, should you wish to locate your mate for real, we’d be more than happy to assist you.”

Instead of looking discouraged, Kieran merely took a piece of paper from the inside pocket of his jacket and handed it to Vivian.

Chloe leaned closer to her boss as she unfolded the offering.

“That’s a lot of zeros,” she breathed as she stared at the check.

“I am serious when I say I want to avoid being mated to someone of my pack’s choosing, and that’s the way tensions are headed,” Kieran said. “That check represents your agency’s payment. On top of that amount, I’m happy to pay whatever the woman you find for me wishes, to compensate her for her time and trouble.”

Vivian’s eyes had not left the substantial check. Chloe could almost hear her able mind whirling through all the possibilities.

“Not enough?” Kieran asked silkily. “I’m happy to write one for whatever fee you require, if you can ensure absolute secrecy and a top notch candidate.”

“Vivian,” Chloe hissed.

The siren blinked and glanced her way. “Please excuse us for a moment, Mr. Clearwater, while I confer with my associate.” Grabbing her arm, Vivian steered them both down the hall and into her personal office.

Chloe didn’t bother to glance at the icy wonderland she’d just entered. The office was easily thrice the size of hers, decorated in silver from the shimmering wallpaper to the massive metal desk to the trimmings on all the colorless furniture.

“You cannot be considering this,” Chloe said.

Vivian sighed. “I agree it’s an unorthodox request, but this is serious money here.” She waved the check.

“We do an excellent business. We don’t need his bribery.”

“Normally I’d toss him out but you know I’ve been considering expansion for a while now.”

“The West Coast office?” Chloe asked, brightening. If Fated Match expanded to other locations, Vivian would have to move with them to ensure the offices were each started up and managed properly. That would leave their New York agency without a leader, and as the longest-standing employee on record, Chloe would be perfect for the job.

“That caught your interest,” Vivian said. “That money could help fund our new office…leaving this one open for new management.”

The trap snapped shut around her. The siren was nothing if not ruthless when it came to getting what she wanted, and she saw no problem with dangling people’s hopes and dreams before them like carrots to ensure the behavior she desired.

“We’ll write up the contract,” Vivian continued. “Make it magically binding. You can do that easily enough. All participants will be sworn to silence and there will be no chance of our reputation being tarnished. Plus, once completed, we’ll have the capital to grow our business.”

“I still think it’s a terrible idea.”

“Enough to give up your dreams of running this office?”

Chloe hesitated. She didn’t like Kieran using his wealth to force them to serve up some woman to him on a platter. But did she object enough to jeopardize her life’s goal?

“This city is full of women who will jump at the chance to be a powerful man’s arm candy for a few weeks for fair compensation. We can add a no sex clause to the contract if you feel strongly enough about it. Make sure everything is above board and fairly handled,” Vivian said. “Think of the opportunity, Chloe.”