The Alpha's Temporary Mate(8)

By: Victoria Davies

“I disagree.”

Chloe turned back to him with an arched brow.

“I know the woman we need.”

“Then why did you have me call in woman after woman for your review?” she demanded.

“Because I only put all the pieces together a moment ago.”

Her eyes flicked to the wall where he’d just held her, not liking where this was going.

“You, Chloe. I need you.”

A shiver ran down her spine. A secret part of her wished she’d heard those words from a man who meant them in the way she craved. Though she’d been alive close to a century, no one had ever looked at her with the intensity that Kieran did now. No man had ever told her that he needed her.

“I’m sure I misheard you,” she said, trying to appear unruffled.

“Think about it,” he replied as he stalked toward her. “You understand my situation and requirements, plus you’re already invested in this operation running smoothly.” He stopped when he was before her. “Considering what just happened, I know you can handle yourself around werewolves without appearing weak.”

She crossed her arms and tried to stare him down. “I am your handler, not your date.”

He ignored her, taking one step farther into her space. “Most importantly,” he continued. “I can kiss you and mean it.”

The breath rushed out of her. For a split second, the lonely corner of her soul wondered what it would be like to be in this man’s arms, even if it was only for pretend.

“I’ll write whatever check you want.”

The fantasy she’d been spinning in her head crashed back to earth with the ugly reality of his words.

She pushed past him, trying to ignore the hard planes of his chest under her palm. “Let me make something clear, you arrogant alpha. I am not for sale.” She dropped into her chair and crossed her legs, taking comfort in the desk separating them. At least she did until he planted his hands in the center of it and leaned forward to tower over her.

“Everyone has a price.”

“Not me,” she replied. “I’m not interested in being your squeeze toy.”

“You know I have a point. Vivian wants this deal, and she’s convinced you to want it as well. With you at the helm, there is no chance of a slip up. Plus, you can be assured of complete privacy, which protects both my interests and your agency’s reputation.”

The damn man had a point. She’d never been comfortable with the idea of buying another person’s silence.

“With your experience matching my kind, you have the knowledge to blend into the pack and the skills to keep yourself safe. Not to mention, witches are thoroughly compatible with wolves.”

She rolled her eyes at the one. “I take it you’re speaking from personal knowledge.”

A grin tugged at his lips. “Your people tend to have a wild streak that appeals to weres.”

“Not helping your cause.”

The smile widened. “My point is that no one will question me showing up to an event with you on my arm.”

“Oh really? Let me go out on a limb here and guess you usually date supermodels or actresses. I am a very ordinary witch with no special skills that would explain why a man like you would end up with me. Hell, we can’t even offer a logical reason why we met in the first place.”

His smile didn’t slip, but an emotion she couldn’t name moved behind his eyes. “We’ve already established you don’t know me, witchling. My pack has long understood I go for women with fire, no matter what slice of the supernatural world they come from. You’re perfect.”

Her heart thumped, even though she knew he hadn’t meant the words the way they sounded.

“Give me one good reason why you can’t do this.”

Chloe opened her mouth before realizing she didn’t have anything to say. Vivian would be thrilled at this turn of events and give her the time off to see it through. Chloe would both guarantee the agency’s protection and ensure no other woman got in over her head. Plus Kieran had a point—with the time she’d spent researching werewolves for her job, she did already understand the culture and hierarchy of a pack.

She was the right woman for the job, damn the man.

“I want that room with a lock Aoife was talking about.”

Triumph gleamed in his expression. “Absolutely.”

“And you make sure to stick to all points of the contract.”

“Of course.” He straightened as he added, “But you should remember the no sex clause was written to ensure no woman felt she had to sleep with me for money.”

Chloe arched a questioning brow.

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