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The Alpha's Temporary Mate (Fated Match)(83)

By:Victoria Davies

Just like hers.

“Did you love him?” Vivian asked.

Chloe tossed back the remainder of her drink, enjoying the fiery burn as it slid down her throat. “Yes.”



“Well, take some time off. Do whatever you need to put yourself back together.”

Somehow she didn’t think a week of vacation time would cut it.

“When Abbey got dumped by Lucian you weren’t nearly this nice.”

Vivian shrugged. “Her romance endangered the survival of this agency. Besides, I hadn’t known Abbey for fifty years. I hadn’t built this business from the ground up with her.”

“My, my, Vivian. Does this mean I’m your friend?”

“Probably my one and only,” she agreed, lifting her drink in a salute. “I mean it, though. Take the time you need.”

“I’m not sure how to put the pieces back together,” she said, staring down into her empty tumbler.

Vivian was quiet for a long moment. “It happens gradually,” she said at last. “One day you decide to get up, to go back to your life, and a little piece comes back. After a little more time passes, you smile and another shard returns. There is no magic recipe, Chloe. You can’t cast a spell to numb the pain. Not even a witch as powerful as you.”

“Do you think…”Her voice trailed off.

Vivian waited with uncharacteristic patience.

“Is it possible to have a mate who belongs to someone else?” It was the only explanation that made sense. How else could she explain Kieran meeting her every need without the reverse holding true for him?

The siren sighed. “We tell our members there is one perfect match out there, but in truth, you know as well as I that connections can be missed. Relationships broken. Promises betrayed. I want to believe mates always find a way back to each other.”

“But you don’t really.”

“No,” she said, her face expressionless. “I don’t believe it.”

Chloe set her tumbler onto the desk. “Thanks for the drink. I’ll think about taking time off, but right now I need to be busy. I need…”

“To think about anything else,” Vivian said with a nod. “I’ll send you some easy cases to work on. If Kieran contacts the office, I’ll handle it.”

She inclined her head in thanks, knowing that seeing her wolf would snap the last thread of her dignity.

“I’ll get to work then.” Pushing from her chair, she navigated to the door on autopilot. All she wanted to do was go home to the privacy of her apartment but if she did, she’d fall apart. She needed to keep moving forward. One foot in front of the other. That was the extent of her capability at the moment.

Anything else, and she’d break into a thousand pieces.

She spent the day staring at a single file. Though she’d told Vivian the truth when she’d said she didn’t want to be alone with her thoughts, it seemed that thinking was all she was able to do.

As if on repeat, her brain kept playing the scene of Lisette and Kieran meeting once more.

On the one hand, logically, it was hard to blame him. He’d been very upfront about his intentions when she’d signed their agreement. Hell, he’d even been open about Lisette, eventually. Just because her heart had become involved was no guarantee his would have. He had the right to love whomever he wanted.

But on a far less rational side, she wanted to scream—to break things and make him hurt the way she did. She had thought…

She had thought he was her mate. As illogical and silly as it sounded, she’d thought they were the fairytale. The couple destined to be together. And he had thrown that all away for a woman who had already betrayed him once.

“His loss,” she whispered, trying to focus again on the document before her. It was of a single witch looking for love in the big city. Shouldn’t be too hard to match up.

The idea of finding love for someone else cut like a knife. Kieran hadn’t just broken her heart. He’d ruined a job she had loved.

Tossing the file back onto her desk, she leaned back in her chair and stared at the ceiling. Maybe she really did need that vacation Vivian had offered. She had some money saved up. She could travel. A fling in Rome might push Kieran from her mind.

Except while he apparently had no problem replacing her, she couldn’t imagine letting another man touch her.

The ring of her telephone forced her back to the present. Reaching for it, she tried her best to channel her former sunny self. “Fated Match,” she greeted. “Chloe speaking.”

“Hello, Chloe,” said a female voice—one she’d only heard twice, yet would never forget.