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The Alpha's Temporary Mate (Fated Match)(88)

By:Victoria Davies

“You can do this,” she whispered to the rearview mirror. “You are a strong, sexy witch who fights for those she loves.”

Even if she did feel like an ant about to get squished.

Drawing in a breath for courage, Chloe pushed from the car.

The cabins were deserted as she walked down the dark paths. Though the lights were on in the main hall, no one was around.

The field. It was the only place close enough that could handle the whole pack all at once.

Her heart thundered in her ears as she changed course. Butterflies erupted in her stomach, fluttering so hard she felt queasy.

As she drew closer, she heard the chatter of a large group of people. Firelight flickered through the trees, guiding her path.

When she caught her first glimpse of the field she drew to a stop under a tree.

The pack formed a ring around the clearing with Kieran standing in the middle. A woman stood by his side that Chloe assumed was the pack priestess able to perform the mating ceremonies.

A couple stood in the center of the circle, holding hands as they grinned like loons at each other. Chloe couldn’t hear what was being said but she saw the priestess’s lips move. The smell of burning sage filled the air as the priestess bowed and stepped back.

The couple threw their arms around each other in a kiss that was so earnest it made Chloe smile, despite her worries.

The pack cheered the newly mated couple. Clapping and howls alike rose into the night air, the excitement palpable.

Moving closer, Chloe scanned the circle until she spotted Lisette. She wore all white again, standing out against the dark background. Her eyes were on Kieran but Chloe assumed if they’d been mated she would be by his side blessing the couples instead of relegated to the sidelines. She was in time.

If only she could figure out how to interrupt the wolves’ most sacred ritual in order to steal their alpha away and declare her undying love.

This was a stupid idea. Just wait until the ceremony is over and speak to him after. As long as Lisette doesn’t walk into the circle you’re fine.

Not a bad plan, actually. She walked toward a tree where she’d be obscured but able to see the proceedings.

And stepped on the loudest cracking branch in the whole damn forest.

The wolves closest turned to investigate the sound. Everyone’s jaw dropped when they saw her.

So much for subtle, she thought, as they started to whisper amongst themselves, drawing more attention to her.

“I’m just going to watch,” she said in a loud whisper. “Don’t mind me.”

But it was too late. The damage was done. The rumor of the alpha’s returned ex spread like ripples in a pond.

Chloe cringed when Niall crossed into the middle of the circle and said something to Kieran.

The brown eyes she’d grown to love swung in her direction, finding her even in the darkness.

Couldn’t let me catch a break, could you, Fate?

An entire field of people turned to look at her. There was no escape.

Well, if I’m going to do this, might as well get this show on the road. Squaring her shoulders, she stepped forward.

The ring of people parted around her, in utter silence letting her pass. She glanced at Lisette to see the other woman watching her with what looked like resignation in her eyes. Not the expression she’d expected to see from her gorgeous rival.

The distance to the middle of the field seemed a thousand miles, yet all too soon she was closing in on her lover. His gaze had never left hers, but his expression gave no hint as to whether he was pleased or annoyed to see her.

The priestess gave her a gentle smile before retreating a few steps to give them the illusion of privacy, as if Chloe didn’t know full well every wolf present would be able to hear them.

With no room left to walk, she stopped before Kieran. Though she’d practiced what she’d say hundreds of times, looking up at him wiped all the words from her mind.

“I forgot something,” she said.

Kieran blinked. “What would that be?”

“Me.” She drew in a deep breath for courage. “I was so focused on being what you needed me to be this week that I forgot something about myself.”

The entire field waited for her next words. Words that would decide if she crawled away alone or took her place at Kieran’s side.

“When I love someone, I fight for them. No matter the odds or the barriers. I don’t run. But that’s exactly what I did when you came to me in New York. I ran. Because I was afraid.”

He took a step forward. “You’ve faced down far more fearsome opponents.”

She nodded her agreement. “They didn’t have the power to crush me.” Drawing in a deep breath, she met his gaze. “I’ll say it first. I’ll say it a dozen times if you need me to. I love you, Kieran Clearwater. I don’t care that you’re a wolf or that you have a perfect woman waiting in the wings to make you happy. She can’t do as good a job as I can.” She reached out to touch him before thinking better of it. Her hand fell back to her side as she said, “I love you and I need you to tell me how you feel once and for all. Do you love me, Kieran? Can you ever? Or have I made yet another mistake?”