The Alpha's Temporary Mate(6)

By: Victoria Davies

“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.

“Of course.” He was happy to agree since the odds of ever needing to work around her schedule were growing increasingly slim.

The silence stretched, and Chloe jumped in once more. “The final week before the full moon will be spent on pack lands which are a few hours outside of the city.”

“Camping?” Aoife asked with an arched brow. “I don’t do camping.”

His inner wolf growled at her flippant tone.

“Cabins will be provided,” Chloe said. “You won’t be in a tent.”

Manicured nails tapped against the desk. “I detest the woods. A week away from work will also hamper some of my projects. Should I agree, I’d expect my sacrifices to be reflected in my payment.”

“I’m sure we can incorporate those realities,” Chloe agreed.

“You will need to play your part convincingly,” he added. “My people are very physical. In public you will need to be comfortable with open displays of affection.”

He didn’t miss the flash of distaste that crossed Aoife’s features, but she inclined her head. “I am aware of your people’s…baser instincts. I am a good actress when I wish to be.”

“Excellent,” Chloe said. “That’s exactly what we’re looking for.”

“I also need to go over the proposed contract before I commit myself,” Aoife said. “I’d like to see all clauses involved.”

“Of course. I have a copy right here.” His matchmaker passed over the papers.

“And you assure me sex is not a requirement of this pretense?” Aoife said, ruffling through the file. Her voice was bland, as if speaking about the weather and not about trading her body for money. “I trust outside of the public eye you will keep your hands to yourself, wolf?”

“Absolutely,” he muttered. On paper this woman might be perfect for him, but both he and his wolf agreed it would never work. No one would believe he was madly in love with her.

They sat in silence while Aoife read.

“Everything looks to be in order,” she said finally. “I’ll expect a fifty percent deposit of my fee up front with the remainder to be transferred after the successful completion of your plan. Should anything go wrong, I’m happy to forfeit the final payment, but I would keep the initial fee to cover the disruptions to my life.”

“Sounds fair,” Chloe replied. “We’ll talk it over and let you know Kieran’s decision before the day is done.”

“Excellent.” She stood with just a cursory nod in Kieran’s direction.

Chloe rushed forward to walk her the short distance to the door. “Thanks for coming in,” she said.

“My pleasure. Sounds like an amusing enterprise. While I have you, Chloe, could you go ahead and set up that meeting with the griffin you mentioned in our last conversation? For after this charade is over, of course.”

“Yes, not a problem,” Chloe replied, her voice betraying a hint of surprise.

Kieran’s lips twisted. The fey seemed to be a busy, efficient woman but even he thought it was a little cold to set up another date in front of a man she was considering moving in with.

“Perfect. Ring me with your decision.” The fey swept from the room without another word.

Closing the door, Chloe moved back to her desk. “So what do you think?” she asked. “She’s pretty perfect, right?”

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