A paranormal category romance from Entangled's Covet imprint...
Good girls shouldn't date bad wolves...
Fated Match has spent centuries pairing supernatural mates together. Witch and matchmaker, Chloe Donovan, takes pride in helping her clients find their happy endings. But when werewolf alpha and millionaire playboy Kieran Clearwater stalks into her office, she may have finally met the one man she can't help.
Kieran has no intention of finding his mate. Love is a weakness he can't afford. But with his pack growing more concerned over his single status he needs to assure them all is well. What better way to do so than to hire a fake girlfriend he can parade around at the annual pack retreat?
Chloe is coerced into becoming the wolf's temporary mate, but she's determined to keep their agreement professional. But her seductive partner in crime has other ideas, and his considerable charm makes it difficult for her to keep her eye on the prize. While these two burn hot when they're together, behind-the-scenes politics work to rip them apart.
|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.61(d)|
Read an Excerpt
The Alpha's Temporary Mate
A Fated Match Novel
By Victoria Davies, Candace Havens
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Victoria Davies
All rights reserved.
"Not a chance."
The man before her arched one dark brow. "I believe you should check with your boss before refusing my offer."
"I don't need to. Despite whatever misconceptions you harbor about this agency, we are in the business of finding true love, not the kind you can rent by the hour."
Anger curled through Chloe as she watched a slow smile cross the werewolf's face. Obviously he was not a man well acquainted with refusal.
Every now and then, men of his ilk crossed the threshold of Fated Match, New York's premier supernatural dating agency. They were on the lookout for a casual encounter that would lead to nothing more serious than an obligatory breakfast. And while she didn't like to judge other people's life choices, she'd spent years working to make this agency a success. That success was grounded in the company's mission to match mates. They strove to find that one person their clients had spent lifetimes waiting for — a fated match that would make eternity far easier to bear.
Chloe was in the business of lasting, permanent love, and she'd seen enough of men to know the wolf before her was more likely to run in the opposite direction of his mate than commit to an eternity with her.
Such a pity. Her boss had been on the hunt for another high profile client, and the werewolf community had been just as hard to crack as the vampire population. With several vamp matches already feathering her cap, Vivian was eager to add a few wolves to her roster. Bringing in a pack alpha like this one would almost guarantee a healthy bonus in Chloe's future.
Though she had to admit, an expanding bank account had not been her first thought when the wolf had entered her office.
She was used to meeting powerful supernaturals, given the nature of her work, but this alpha had seemed to fill the small room. His power had brushed along her skin like a physical caress as he folded his massive frame into the baby-pink chair across from her desk. The juxtaposition had brought a smile to her face that she'd quickly tried to hide. If ever a man had looked out of place in her feminine office, it'd been Kieran Clearwater. The wolf brought visions of ruthless battles and tangled sheets to mind, not the dainty pink and silver accents that decorated all Fated Match offices.
Not that he looked ill at ease. Chloe doubted much rattled him. Folding his hands on her white desk, he leaned forward and fixed his unblinking stare on her.
"You really ought to run this by your boss," he said again, an edge of boredom tingeing the command.
Chloe allowed a tight smile to twist her lips. "Mr. Clearwater, let me see if I understand you correctly. You are not here to register for our services. You have no interest in the usual dating package complete with scheduled introductions and access to our substantial internet database of singles."
"Instead, you'd like me to find you a temporary lover."
A grin flashed over his face, causing her heart to hammer once more. "Perfect."
"Sweetheart, the Clearwater pack is not without resources. Name your price and I'll write you a check."
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."
Chloe's jaw dropped.
"As long as she's not a wolf, I can use the excuse of our cultural differences to avoid any announcement," Kieran said. "We'll part ways after the danger is past, a tragic case of insurmountable barriers tearing us apart."
"And you came here because ...?"
He shrugged. "I can't use any of the women among my current acquaintances, or the charade would never hold up. I need a stranger who will play a part and then disappear. You are a dating agency. Surely you can find a woman to fit my needs."
"You want to buy a temporary lover."
His sharp eyes flicked to her. "I want to buy a temporary girlfriend. I have no need to pay for sex. Write that into the contract if you wish. Along with an ironclad non-disclosure agreement."
"This is so not happening," she replied. "You need to leave."
Kieran heaved a long sigh. "Then, my apologies, but you've wasted enough of my time." He stood, his chair scraping against the tiled floor.
He crossed to her door and stepped out into the hall.
"Who is in charge of this agency?" he bellowed.
Chloe gasped, surging to her feet.
"You cannot simply roar your way into getting what you want!" she declared, tugging him by the arm back into her office. Glancing down the hall she saw shocked faces looking their way from the agency's waiting room. "Did you misplace your manners along with your sense when you came in here?"
Amusement colored his expression as he stared down at her. "You might be cute, little witch, but I'm a busy man. I need your supervisor immediately."
Chloe's brain was still trying to catch up with the unexpected compliment when Vivian appeared in the doorway.
"I believe someone was trying to get my attention," the siren said.
Her tough as nails boss was not usually a figure that inspired comfort, but at the moment, Chloe didn't think she'd ever been happier to see the slender woman. Like most of her race, she possessed a beauty that would drive men to their doom. Long silver hair cascaded to her waist, though today it was pulled back into a tight braid. As always, Vivian chose clothes of silver and white to cover her lithe form. Designer, of course. The image she presented was as striking as it was ethereal. There was a reason sirens were much sought after.
Of course, desired or not, you still had to be careful about their voices. Chloe had once made the mistake of taking Vivian to karaoke and she, along with the rest of the bar, had spent the remainder of the night worshiping the ground her boss walked on.
But even though Vivian was driven to succeed no matter the cost, the woman still had some tightly held morals, and Kieran buying a woman would cross all her lines.
"Vivian Sands," she said to Kieran, holding out her hand.
Vivian's eyes widened at the easily recognizable name. Chloe tried not to flinch at the accusation in her blue gaze when it turned her way. A client of Kieran's standing should have been passed along to Vivian herself, but she'd been busy and Chloe had made the call to handle the intake herself.
Not a mistake she'd repeat again.
"I've come to your agency with a unique set of requirements," Kieran said. Before Chloe could jump in, he laid out the same information he'd just finished telling her.
Chloe listened to the story once more, still having a hard time believing he wanted them to find some poor woman to be his beard for the next month.
"I've already told him it's out of the question," Chloe said when he finished.
Vivian nodded. "I'm inclined to agree. This agency has been matching mates since 1704. We have a reputation to uphold, and this sort of request goes against our mission. Now, should you wish to locate your mate for real, we'd be more than happy to assist you."
Instead of looking discouraged, Kieran merely took a piece of paper from the inside pocket of his jacket and handed it to Vivian.
Chloe leaned closer to her boss as she unfolded the offering.
"That's a lot of zeros," she breathed as she stared at the check.
"I am serious when I say I want to avoid being mated to someone of my pack's choosing, and that's the way tensions are headed," Kieran said. "That check represents your agency's payment. On top of that amount, I'm happy to pay whatever the woman you find for me wishes, to compensate her for her time and trouble."
Vivian's eyes had not left the substantial check. Chloe could almost hear her able mind whirling through all the possibilities.
"Not enough?" Kieran asked silkily. "I'm happy to write one for whatever fee you require, if you can ensure absolute secrecy and a top notch candidate."
"Vivian," Chloe hissed.
The siren blinked and glanced her way. "Please excuse us for a moment, Mr. Clearwater, while I confer with my associate." Grabbing her arm, Vivian steered them both down the hall and into her personal office.
Chloe didn't bother to glance at the icy wonderland she'd just entered. The office was easily thrice the size of hers, decorated in silver from the shimmering wallpaper to the massive metal desk to the trimmings on all the colorless furniture.
"You cannot be considering this," Chloe said.
Vivian sighed. "I agree it's an unorthodox request, but this is serious money here." She waved the check.
"We do an excellent business. We don't need his bribery."
"Normally I'd toss him out but you know I've been considering expansion for a while now."
"The West Coast office?" Chloe asked, brightening. If Fated Match expanded to other locations, Vivian would have to move with them to ensure the offices were each started up and managed properly. That would leave their New York agency without a leader, and as the longest-standing employee on record, Chloe would be perfect for the job.
"That caught your interest," Vivian said. "That money could help fund our new office ... leaving this one open for new management."
The trap snapped shut around her. The siren was nothing if not ruthless when it came to getting what she wanted, and she saw no problem with dangling people's hopes and dreams before them like carrots to ensure the behavior she desired.
"We'll write up the contract," Vivian continued. "Make it magically binding. You can do that easily enough. All participants will be sworn to silence and there will be no chance of our reputation being tarnished. Plus, once completed, we'll have the capital to grow our business."
"I still think it's a terrible idea."
"Enough to give up your dreams of running this office?"
Chloe hesitated. She didn't like Kieran using his wealth to force them to serve up some woman to him on a platter. But did she object enough to jeopardize her life's goal?
"This city is full of women who will jump at the chance to be a powerful man's arm candy for a few weeks for fair compensation. We can add a no sex clause to the contract if you feel strongly enough about it. Make sure everything is above board and fairly handled," Vivian said. "Think of the opportunity, Chloe."
She was. Oh, how she was.
"If I agree to this," she said, not even believing the words were coming out of her mouth, "you will sign a contract as well, naming me as the acting manager of this office upon the opening of a subsequent Fated Match location. This agency will be mine."
"Under my brand umbrella," Vivian agreed. "We'll have to work out the breakdown of profits and what percentage will be owed to me."
The siren inclined her head. "You have a deal. Make Kieran happy and New York is yours."
Chloe arched a brow. "You don't want to oversee this yourself?"
"You'll be just as invested as I, and I need the time to put all the wheels in motion to move on. I hear Seattle might be a good place to set up shop."
She chewed her lip, thinking about the beautiful alpha in her office. All she had to do was find him a gold-digger that met his specification. She already had a few names she could put on the list.
"Fine," she capitulated. "I'll do it."
A cool smile crossed Vivian's face. "Excellent. As long as we do well by Kieran, he'll do well by us. And really, how hard is it to keep one werewolf happy?"CHAPTER 2
"You are impossible to please."
Kieran merely grinned as he reached for the file Chloe had tossed onto the desk between them. "I just know what I want," he replied.
The words were true enough. He'd never been one to take second best. He decided on a target and pursued his goal until it reached fruition. The tactic had served him well in both his professional and private life, and he saw no reason to change now.
Not even for the witch fuming before him.
He supposed he should give her credit for doing her best. She had, after all, come up with a handful of potential candidates to introduce him to. They'd made each one sign a non-disclosure agreement before explaining his plan, and much to his matchmaker's obvious annoyance, not one of the women he'd met had been put off by the proposed ruse. And why would they be? In his experience, few women would turn down an all expenses paid girlfriend vacation and a month spent on his arm.
"Hopefully your candidate today will be a more viable option than your previous attempts," he said, flipping open the file to stare at a photo of an icy blonde beauty.
"Your dreamboat quotient takes a serious beating every time we speak," Chloe grumbled.
Excerpted from The Alpha's Temporary Mate by Victoria Davies, Candace Havens. Copyright © 2015 Victoria Davies. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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