Authors: Anitra Lynn McLeod
Seven Brothers for McBride 3
Nothing tastes as sweet as forbidden fruit…
As McBride struggles to hold his world together and makes sacrifices that block him from any chance of happiness with the eldest Morgan brother, he’s still determined to buy all his men mates. He’s stunned when Ollie Morgan rejects his thrall, insisting that he wishes to be alone. Determined to get to the truth, McBride is furious when he finds out there is an interloper on his land.
Jonas Davenport is a landed gentryman who has made tremendous sacrifices to be with Ollie, but just because he’s given away all his wealth doesn’t make their relationship anything but forbidden.
Their love is stronger than any law, but will the two men ever find a way to be together?
Alternative (M/M or F/F), Futuristic, Paranormal
Seven Brothers for McBride 3
Anitra Lynn McLeod
Siren Publishing, Inc.
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First E-book Publication: January 2013
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Seven Brothers for McBride 3
ANITRA LYNN MCLEOD
Copyright © 2013
McBride was beyond pleased with his latest thrall. After the issue with the one he’d purchased yesterday, the merchant was more than willing to give McBride a deal he simply couldn’t refuse. He’d gotten a pink-collared thrall for a yellow-collar price. The young man sat in front of McBride with his shoulders relaxed, his black hair gleaming, and his excited attention darting all around the prairie. There wasn’t much to look at out here on the outskirts of Woven Spire, but he managed to find amazement in the smallest detail. He asked a dozen questions that McBride tried to keep up with, but he was barely answering one before Easton was on to the next. Given his bubbly nature, he thought he would be a perfect companion for Ollie.
Ollie Morgan was the third-youngest Morgan brother. He’d been decanted just minutes after his twin, Gannon, but the two couldn’t be more different. Their faces and bodies were exactly alike, but everything else—their hair, manners, overall personalities—were very different. Ollie was fastidious in his person and his home where Gannon was a total slob. Ollie was punctual and detail oriented where Gannon was more casual. Although, McBride was happy to note that Gannon’s new thrall had cleaned up his house and him. He only hoped the change wasn’t short lived.
Ollie was the only one of the Morgan brothers who actually cooked his own food rather than use the cookbot provided for in his little mechanical house. McBride had shared a meal with him last night that he wanted to have for lunch today, but he wasn’t quite sure how to ask. Just because he owned Ollie didn’t mean he had the right to commandeer his food. Which reminded McBride that he was going to ask Ollie if he’d like to leave the field behind and work in the big house as McBride’s cook. It seemed a shame to let his talent with food go to waste. With the profits off the last sale of fibers, McBride could afford to hire him just to cook.
Since it was midday, McBride expected to see all hands out planting
, but a quick head count revealed someone was missing. At this distance, McBride couldn’t tell who was absent since most of the brothers looked alike. He stopped looking altogether when his hungry gaze landed on Caleb, who always stood out since he was the biggest. All he wore was a pair of shorts that showed off his massive body with perfection. As McBride came down the long drive, he took the left fork toward the cul-de-sac where the seven brothers had their homes arranged in a semicircle around the street.
His gaze strayed to the stocks in the center of the road. Should one of his slammers defy him, McBride had the right to toss him into the stocks and brutally rape him. Thankfully, McBride had never had to punish any of the brothers that way. The only rebellious one was the eldest, but McBride had found less harsh ways to keep Caleb’s fury in check. However, in taking a lighter hand with Caleb, McBride found himself mired in an inappropriate relationship that was also illegal. Technically, he hadn’t crossed the line, not fully, but he’d been skirting the edge of the regulations since the day he’d inherited the seven men.
By law, McBride could use his slammers for blood and labor. He had no right to use them for sex or anything above and beyond a normal day’s work. Slammers were not slaves. McBride owned them, but slammers had rights. They could earn money, they could buy themselves luxuries, and they could refuse to do something that was dangerous, illegal, or unethical. In addition to those rights, McBride had granted them others, such as more privacy and a greater discretion in what they did in their off hours, of which they had plenty. McBride didn’t believe in working them beyond a normal day. That was a quick ticket to unhealthy and unhappy slammers. McBride didn’t indulge them to win their favor, but to keep them healthy, happy, and far more acquiescent to his needs. All the Morgan brothers willingly bared their necks for him when he was hungry for blood. All but the eldest. Caleb fought and groused and just generally made the simple procedure unbelievably complex when it didn’t need to be. Somehow, that had translated into McBride developing a curious kind of longing for him. There was something about Caleb’s refusal to submit that intrigued the hell out of McBride. He’d sworn off him more times than he could count yet always found an excuse to go back. It was madness. McBride knew he had to rein it in.
Since his attempts to curb his behavior had failed so dismally, McBride realized he had to take drastic action. If he didn’t, he would end up going too far with Caleb. Breaking the law was one thing, but ruining an innocent man’s life was another. McBride’s greatest fear was that his indiscretion could get Caleb taken away, or worse, killed. That was a burden his conscience simply didn’t need.
Now that he was nearer to where the field was being planted, McBride realized Ollie was the missing brother. Unlike his twin, Gannon, Ollie always wore a hat. Since McBride didn’t see a single hat on any of the heads, he knew Ollie wasn’t in the field. Had he stayed in today waiting for his thrall? McBride had been getting the brothers mates as quickly as he could. He’d decided to go from youngest to oldest, so Ollie was next in line. But Ollie taking an entire day off didn’t sound like Ollie at all. He loved to work so that he could buy interesting foodstuff when his turn to go into town came. Although, until McBride knew the details about the cause of a violent attack, he wasn’t letting anyone go into town, not even himself. Breaking that news to Ollie was going to be unpleasant to say the least.
Frowning, McBride climbed down off his six-legged
then offered out a hand to Easton.
“Where is my mate?” Easton’s eyes were bright, his expectations high.
“I think he’s in his house.” McBride hoped Ollie wasn’t ill. With the situation at the Larsden place still hanging over him, McBride was overly anxious about any illness plaguing his slammers or the officers who worked for him. Since those in authority were the highest on the blood-drinking chain, any blood-borne pathogen could decimate the structure of society. Centuries had passed since the plague that had claimed all the women and horses, but those who’d emerged on the other side of the storm were terrified of a repeat event.
Easton dutifully followed behind McBride as he walked up to Ollie’s house. He noted that all the drapes were closed, and that wasn’t like Ollie at all. In fact, McBride couldn’t remember a time when Ollie had his drapes shut. He loved the light that spilled in through the windows. Even in the summer, when they days were long, Ollie loved to have the light wake him rather than his alarm clock. Ollie was a man who woke with a smile and practically flung open his door to greet the day. Melding him and Easton should be easy enough that McBride could turn his attention to other matters today. Given how behind he was with his personal and professional issues, having a day to himself would be a blessing.
Even though McBride had the right to simply stride into his slammers’ homes, he didn’t. He gave them their space and a certain measure of privacy. He found treating them with all due consideration made them more willing to work diligently and give up their necks when his blood hunger called.