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The Alpha's Temporary Mate (Fated Match)(5)

By:Victoria Davies

“They were perfect,” she said defensively. “You, on the other hand, are just too choosey.”

“The dryad was as flighty as a feather. Could you imagine me taking her into the woods? She’d spend the time talking to trees and sleeping under bushes.”

“She was lovely and kind.”

“And I need strong and deadly. My people aren’t exactly cuddly, Chloe, and the woman I bring into the pack will be tested and scrutinized. They won’t want to believe a non-wolf is good enough for their alpha.” Whomever he took into the woods needed to be strong enough to handle his overly protective pack. It would take a special woman to make his plan a success.

“That’s just narrow-minded prejudice,” Chloe said with a wave of her hand.

A grin crossed his face. “Fair enough. But you have to admit, not every species is up to competing with werewolves. We tend to be more…demanding of our lovers.”

Pink blossomed high on her cheeks, and with fascination he watched the blush spread. The immortal before him had to be rather young to still be rattled by such talk. Those longer into eternity tended to be far more jaded and worldly.

Her gaze never dropped from his, despite her heated cheeks. “Have you ever stopped to think perhaps the problem is you? With your people’s reputation for being rough around the edges, maybe these women are looking for something you just can’t offer, no matter how deep your pockets?”

“A woman my checkbook can’t sway? Show me such a creature and I’ll marry her.”

Chloe rolled her eyes, unaware his words were probably the most serious ones he’d ever exchanged with her. In his experience, there was very little in the world money couldn’t buy.

“Lucky for you, Aoife is just as cold and practical as you are. I’m sure the two of you will have a lovely future together.”

As if summoned by her words, a knock sounded at the door.

Brushing past him, Chloe opened the door to admit the fey beauty waiting on the other side.

“Aoife, so nice of you to come.”

The lithe woman, dressed head-to-toe in Dior, smiled as she stepped into the office. “I’d never refuse you anything, Chloe. You know that.”

Chloe closed the door as Aoife took her seat beside him. He examined the fey’s long blonde hair and pixie-perfect features. She was striking to be sure. Aoife met his gaze with a calm self-assurance that told him she probably had the backbone to do fine with his rough and tumble pack. Still, there was something about the woman that made his wolf whine in complaint.

Taking her seat, Chloe slid the non-disclosure agreement to the other woman. “Before we move forward, you’ll need to sign this document I spoke to you about.”

“Of course.” The fey signed her name with an elegant flourish before tucking a stray lock behind her delicately pointed ears. “Now, want to fill me in on the particulars?”

He stayed quiet as Chloe described the situation, using the time to allow his gaze free rein to take in the woman before him. Stunning, powerful, perfect. What was it he was objecting to?

“I think I understand,” Aoife said when Chloe finished. “I have no objections to playing this role, though I do have several questions. My work is my top priority, so I’m sure you can understand if that takes precedence over a fake relationship.”

“Of course.” Chloe was quick to agree. “We want to impact your life as little as possible. For the next few weeks you’d be in the city and able to conduct your life as usual. All that would change is the need to spend several evening with Kieran in the public eye.”

“And to move into my penthouse for the duration,” he cut in.

Chloe glanced at him sharply. Even he wondered at the request. It hadn’t been his original intention, but now that the words were out, there was no doubt they were necessary.

Aoife turned calm blue eyes to him. “Why?”

“Many of my clan live in the city,” he said, voicing his thoughts. “I’ll be watched if I step out with a non-wolf on my arm. If I were serious about a woman you can be sure I’d move her into my home at the earliest opportunity. It will be suspicious if we live apart.”

Aoife tilted her head as she considered. “I have no problem with that, provided my room comes with a locked door.”

“I assure you there is no need, but whatever makes you comfortable will be provided.” No need at all. The thought of crawling into the fey’s bed was about as appealing as cuddling an icicle.

“You will also understand that I may have to work a number of late nights. We’d have to arrange our appearances around my schedule,” Aoife said.