Authors: Anitra Lynn Mcleod
Seven Brothers for McBride 7
He thought they were finally free…
Sheriff Dillion McBride’s struggle to resist the eldest Morgan brother has finally ended. With the world drastically changed by a new virus, the old laws no longer apply, and he can love without repercussion. But just as he and Caleb stand on the verge of moving ahead together as mates, new complications threaten to destroy the happiness they’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Being seen as the bad boy has always had its perks, but when Caleb needs trust and understanding, he has only himself to blame when he finds neither. Still, Caleb is willing to do anything to protect his brothers and McBride from the band of marauding slammers, even sacrificing himself.
Now that their struggle to resist one another is over, will they have what it takes to stand strong and overcome new and far more deadly threats?
Alternative (M/M or F/F), Futuristic, Paranormal
Seven Brothers for McBride 7
Anitra Lynn McLeod
Siren Publishing, Inc.
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IMPRINT: Everlasting Classic ManLove
Copyright © 2013 by Anitra Lynn McLeod
E-book ISBN: 978-1-62242-387-3
First E-book Publication: February 2013
Cover design by Les Byerley
All art and logo copyright © 2013 by Siren Publishing, Inc.
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To all the faithful readers who held with the series this far. Enjoy!
Seven Brothers for McBride 7
ANITRA LYNN MCLEOD
Copyright © 2013
Dillion McBride had just poured out his heart to the man he loved only to be struck by a headache so crippling it almost dropped him where he stood. If he hadn’t gripped the edge of the dining room table, he would have collapsed on the floor, but he was hanging on by his fingertips. To make matters worse, his butler just informed him that the marauding slammers were back for round two, but this time they’d brought more men and better weapons. As if this wasn’t bad enough, the more tender men at the table erupted into fear-compelled babbling that was high-pitched and feeding his headache until his entire body exploded into agony.
“We need to get everyone armed and stationed at the best vantage points.” Even though talking just about killed him, this was his land and he was the one everyone looked up to for orders. There were fourteen at the table, including himself and the man he just professed to love, but Caleb hadn’t had time to share his feelings before everything started falling apart. McBride peered through the pain at his face, but Caleb went from looking shocked by his announcement to curious about his stance.
“It’s back, isn’t it?” Caleb rose to his feet, and every gaze at the table swung his way. It was difficult not to stare at Caleb. He’d dressed for dinner in a white shirt that showed off his tan and black pants that displayed his considerable assets. Since he’d left his long, black hair unbound, it gleamed over his shoulders, enhancing the danger in his sage-green eyes.
“I’m fine. I want everyone—” Another wave of agony cut off his command. McBride had to press his hands flat to the table and lean into it to stay upright. Praying for the firestorm in his head to abate only inspired it to crush harder. Eventually, he’d just collapse in on himself like a distant star, but at least he’d be out of his agony.
In rapid-fire, clipped commands, Caleb instructed his brothers and their thralls to get their belongings from their small circle of mechanical houses and bring them into the big house. He did all this while striding toward the head of the table.
“We need to get armed, not worry about keepsakes.” McBride clung to the tabletop, praying that the pain would stop. The last time his mysterious illness struck he’d been out for almost two days. If ever there was a worst time for it to return, now was that time. He needed to stand tall so they could show a united front. Looking weak would be like an invitation for the slammers to think they had a chance to take control of the farm and everything on it, including his men. Even if they failed tonight, they would simply amass more men and keep trying. McBride needed to put an end to this now.
“I’ll get everyone armed once I’ve got you settled.” Caleb wrapped his arm around McBride. His strength and his scent embraced him, giving him far more comfort than he thought possible. As much as he wanted to lean on him, he also felt a perverse alpha streak to be as strong as he could, even if doing so hurt him. Gentrymen genes were hardwired with an amazing amount of macho nonsense.
“We have to do more than just scare them off this time. We have to kill some of them so they decide attacking us simply isn’t worth it.” McBride realized his mistake before was in not launching a violent assault. If the slammers thought they were weak, or easy to exploit, they would keep coming back. McBride believed his men could hold them off no matter how often they returned, but doing so would be unduly stressful, and eventually they would run out of stores. The food garden the men had worked so diligently to plant would die without proper care. If the slammers had any kind of intelligence at all, they would decimate the farm and destroy all the outbuildings. McBride and his men could rebuild, but after a few times of doing so it would prove too much.
“I’m aware of the strategy we should use.” Caleb was trying to move McBride up the stairs, but he refused. “It’s what I wanted to do last time, but I was too concerned about Quintus getting killed in the fray.”
“You were worried about him?”
“I thought he was to be your mate.” Caleb’s voice was soft as he darted a quick glance at his brother and Quintus, who were now eternally bound by blood.
McBride and Caleb had made a bigger mess of their relationship by trying to protect the other than by actually talking to one another.
“I know that now.” Caleb pulled McBride away from the staircase and toward the parlor. “Like everyone else, I got a ringside seat to hear all your confessions.”
McBride had arranged the dinner so that he could tell everyone at the same time the truth about why he’d hung on to the idea of having Quintus as his mate. Like himself, Quintus was a gentryman, and in the old world, that was the way things worked. Gentrymen paired off with other gentrymen. Slammers paired off with thralls. But in the new world, with an illness devastating the population and turning slammers against gentrymen, men met and fell in love regardless of social class. Now that the entire planet was in chaos, McBride could be with Caleb. Or he could be, if only Caleb forgave him for all the lies.
“You never answered me.”
“Now isn’t the time.” Caleb tightened his grip as he moved McBride toward the parlor. “Stop fighting me.”
“I’m fine. I need to get up to the cupola so I can see what’s going on.” McBride was convinced that if he just had a strong enough will, he could keep it together and keep going through the pain. Every step he took, even with half his weight on Caleb, made a mockery of that notion. He wasn’t able to stand up and take a leak at the moment.
“You’re not fine. You won’t be any use to us up there. It’s clear to me that the pain is so bad it’s interfering with not only your ability to see but your ability to think clearly. Now let me help you.”
“I can help myself.” McBride wasn’t going to sit idle while men tried to take over what had been his family land for generations.
“I can see that whatever was making you sick is back, and I’m not going to let you stand here trying to run things while you’re in agony.”
“Why weren’t you this talkative after I confessed everything?” McBride had decided the time had come to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. All he’d gotten in answer was Caleb’s look of stunned surprise. Well, there had been another reaction, but McBride wasn’t certain what to make of Caleb’s nipples hardening below his smoothly tailored dress shirt. Either he’d felt a chill, or it had simply been an autonomic response.
Rather than answer, Caleb scooped McBride up and over his shoulder. Lowering his voice so only the two of them could hear him, Caleb whispered, “Now be good, or I’ll have to punish you.” He patted McBride’s ass—again, he did this stealthily so no one could see—then took him into the parlor. Caleb placed him on the long couch, ensuring there was a pillow under his head. “Stay here.”
“I’ll sit on you.”