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The Alpha's Temporary Mate (Fated Match)(9)

By:Victoria Davies

Several doorways led to various parts of the house, but she moved toward the natural light and stepped into a very masculine living room. The color palette of Kieran’s home was based on earthy tones. Brown and black leather couches were arranged around the spectacular view of central park. She noted a spacious balcony beyond the windows as well. Given the real estate prices of the city, she didn’t even want to guess at what a home this size would cost.

Her own investments had been doing well in the past decades, but it would take her lifetimes to accumulate the wealth that older supernaturals enjoyed. It made her wonder whether this was Kieran’s money or that of his pack. Wolves had a tendency to share their possessions amongst their clan the way a family would.

“Bedrooms are upstairs,” Kieran said from behind her, as she stared out the large windows. “The kitchen is fully stocked if you’re hungry.”

Unable to help herself, she pushed through the balcony doors and stepped outside.

Wind whipped her hair around her face as she took in the wide patio that extended half the length of the penthouse.

She heard the door opening behind her as she strode to the edge of the balcony. The black iron railing was smooth beneath her hands as she waited for her host to reach her.

“Beautiful view,” she murmured.

His hand appeared next to hers as he leaned forward on the rail. “We don’t like to be away from the forest. My inner wolf is always clamoring for wide open spaces, which can be hard to come by in this city.”

“Wouldn’t it be easier to live outside New York then?”

He glanced at her with a grin. “Perhaps. But there is so much life in this place. Many of my pack choose to stay here. Easier for work, for mingling with other supernatural members of the community. But we do organize several retreats throughout the year to give the pack an excuse to leave the city behind and go somewhere every wolf can be itself.” He looked out over the view. “You’re in for a crash course in werewolves when we head to pack land.”

“I can handle it,” she replied, rolling her shoulders back.

“Yes,” he murmured. “I believe you can.”

Chloe glanced at him to find his dark gaze locked on her. A thrill of awareness shivered through her before she ruthlessly tamped it down. This was a game to Kieran, and she had no intention of being the loser.

Drawing her professional persona around her like a shield, she pointedly looked away from the tempting wolf.

“What’s our next step?” she asked, looking out over the park.

“I’ve arranged for us to go to a gallery showing tomorrow. Several of my pack will be in attendance, and once they see us together, word will spread quickly.”

She nodded. “That works. Vivian has me on the day shift for the duration of our time together, so my evenings will be free.”

“For whatever I need?” His voice was pitched lower, the sound almost a physical caress along her skin.

She leveled her best disapproving look at Kieran and crossed her arms. “So, is this what normally works for you? A dash of charm and all the women trip over themselves to get to you?”

Instead of withering under her stare, Kieran merely curled his lips into an amused smile. “Usually.”

“Well, it won’t work on me.”

Kieran leaned closer, crowding into her space. “It has to, my witch. When my pack is watching, you need to look at me like I’m the only one in the world for you.”

“I can be a fine actress, thank you very much. I won’t give us away.”

He snorted. “I haven’t known you long, but even I know you can’t lie to save your life.”

She blinked at the words. It was true she’d never been very gifted at deception, but that wasn’t an insight she’d expected him to have—not based on their limited relationship. Unease tugged at her as she realized Kieran saw more than she intended him to. It was so easy to write him off as a spoiled playboy, she tended to forget he was much more than that.

The man before her ran a powerful, dangerous pack with an iron fist. He’d weathered challenges to his leadership and threats from intruders. If she ripped open his shirt she had no doubt she’d see scars from his many battles marring his golden skin. She needed to remember Kieran wasn’t a man to be trifled with.

He was a predator, and she very much wanted to avoid being prey.

“I wouldn’t have agreed to this charade if I wasn’t confident I could do it,” she said, swallowing hard.

Kieran moved, trapping her between his arms as he gripped the railing on either side of her body.

“You can’t jump when I touch you,” he breathed against her ear. “You can’t look at me like a wayward schoolboy in need of a reprimand.” He drew back enough to meet her gaze. “We’re supposed to be lovers. There wouldn’t be a single inch of your skin I wouldn’t have run my lips over.”