The Alpha's Temporary MateBy: Victoria Davies
Chloe clenched her fists under the table and did her best to exude calm disapproval. “Our clients are members of the supernatural community looking for love. They come to us with the understanding that anyone they meet is just as serious about forever as they are. We are not a procurement agency. If that’s what you’re looking for I’d recommend trying a one eight-hundred number.”
There was no mistaking the mockery that flared in his eyes. “Do I look like I’m in need of such a hotline?”
No. The damn man probably walked into a bar, snapped his fingers, and had women willing to follow him anywhere.
The supernatural community had an advantage over humans when it came to physical beauty. Hell, most of her girlfriends were mated to men that rivaled gods, and the wolf before her was no different. Kieran could easily have walked into any modeling agency in the world and wound up on a magazine cover. His auburn hair curled around his ears, with a cowlick falling across his forehead that her fingers itched to brush away. Equally dark eyes focused on her with a sharp awareness that told her Kieran wasn’t a man who missed much.
He had the full lips and high cheekbones many women would envy—not that anything about him was the least bit feminine. Especially not when one’s gaze dropped below the breathtaking face.
As a species, wolves tended to be larger and more muscular than many of the other races, and this alpha was no exception. His black T-shirt stretched across a massive chest she wished she could run her fingers over. Thank God his leather jacket hid a more detailed view or she wouldn’t have been able to form a single sentence about work. There was only so much one witch could take, after all.
Long legs encased in dark-washed denim folded beneath her desk, and Chloe had fought the urge more than once to shift her own legs to brush against his. Were they standing, she doubted she’d reach much higher than his shoulder. The thought sent a shiver of awareness down her spine. Given her own height, few men could make her feel small.
But his striking looks only made his request that she set him up with a temporary girlfriend all the more bizarre. Surely a man like Kieran needed no help finding a lover.
“I regret that we are unable to help you, Mr. Clearwater. Now if you please, I have another appointment to get to.”
Instead of looking chagrined or taking her hint to leave, Kieran leaned forward. “Do you know much about wolves?”
Chloe blinked. “I’m well versed in all the species we represent.”
“Then you know all about the mating moon.”
When her hesitation gave her away, his knowing smile widened.
“The mating moon,” he instructed, filling in the gaps in her knowledge, “occurs one night a year, when newly coupled wolves go before the clan and make their intentions to one another clear. Once they’ve made their announcement, pairs are considered mated.”
“Like a wolf wedding,” she mused.
“Precisely. Some couples are together for years, lifetimes even, but without an announcement on a mating moon they are not recognized as truly mated.”
“Interesting custom, but I don’t see where Fated Match fits in.”
“This year’s mating moon is a month away.”
Chloe met his dark gaze. “So?”
“So, my pack is pressuring me to participate.”
She shrugged. “Congratulations.”
A low growl rumbled from his throat, raising the hairs on the back of her neck. “I have no desire for a mate. Managing one of the largest wolf packs on the East Coast is enough of a hassle without throwing a woman into the mix.”
“Then again I say, you are in the wrong building.”
“What I need,” he continued, ignoring her interruption, “is a decoy. My pack wants to see that I’m committed to someone, that I’m not spinning out into lone wolf territory, which would leave them vulnerable to an enemy clan. Unfortunately, tensions are naturally high around the mating moon, and as pack creatures, that heightened unease has started to cause ripples through my community. I need a woman who will pretend to be my lover to get me through the mating moon so that my pack doesn’t start questioning our security or my leadership.”