When Nester joined Murdoch’s coven a couple of years back, Murdoch knew they weren’t beloveds. That didn’t stop him from falling hard and fast for the hazel-eyed vampire, who seems to return his affection. Bringing in a donor for threesomes happens often and keeps the spice in their relationship. Murdoch is ready for the next step—family—and Nester claims to be, too. They agree to a surrogate and artificial insemination. Except, then Murdoch ends up running late to an appointment to meet the surrogate at the facility and walks in on Nester banging the woman. His lover claims it’s no big deal, but it is to Murdoch. If Nester was willing to do that with their surrogate, who else had he been involved with behind his back? Murdoch takes a step back from Nester, trying to get some perspective, angering the other vampire. A guest at the dude ranch—Malakai—offers to listen to Murdoch and offer advice. Murdoch finds himself extremely attracted to the gorgeous male, although his lack of scent confuses him. An unexpected accident allows Murdoch to taste Malakai’s blood, revealing that not only is the male his beloved, but Malakai is also an angel. Can Murdoch come to grips with the revelation—and why Malakai had hidden their connection from him—before Nester figures out a way to sabotage any hope for their future?
Trotting up the steps, Murdoch headed into the dining hall. He’d just finished untacking the nine horses he and Boyd had used on the late-morning trail ride. Boyd, his fellow wrangler and vampire, reached past him and opened the door for him.
“Thanks, man,” Murdoch rumbled. Grinning at his friend, he added, “I’m starved.”
Boyd nodded. “Me, too, and we have that private ride to prep for right after our afternoon ride.” His brows furrowed, and his lips pinched. “Who paid for that again?”
Murdoch groaned. “Damn. I completely forgot about that.” He paused in the foyer and hung his black Stetson on a hook, noticing Boyd doing the same with his brown one. “It’s gonna make me late.”
“Late for what?” Boyd asked as they both turned toward the men’s room.
“Nester and I have a meeting with our surrogate this evening,” Murdoch told his friend, unable to keep the grin off his face. “We’re discussing whose sperm to use.”
“Damn,” Boyd responded as he followed Murdoch into the restroom. “You’re really going ahead with that, and with Nester?”
Murdoch nodded, happiness filling him. “Yep.”
As they washed the dirt and horsehair off their hands and arms, Murdoch noticed the way Boyd’s brows furrowed, and the scent of his concern filled the room.
Pulling a couple of paper towels from the dispenser, Murdoch turned to face his friend. “What is it?”
Boyd cleared his throat as he dried his own hands. “It’s just”—he met Murdoch’s gaze squarely, revealing the worry filling his blue eyes—“Nester’s not your beloved.”
Murdoch shrugged. “I know, and we’ve discussed that. If we run into our beloved, then we’ll separate amicably.”
After tossing the towels in the garbage, he rested one hand on Boyd’s shoulder and squeezed. In truth, Murdoch couldn’t imagine how it would feel to move on from Nester. The vampire had entranced him from the moment he’d joined the coven over two years before.
Holding Boyd’s gaze, Murdoch continued, “But we love each other. We’re in the same place in our lives, wanting to start a family.” Excitement coursed through him at the prospect of raising a child. “We’ve already received permission from Master Jaymes to move into a two-room suite.”
“Oh, wow.” Boyd’s features lost some of their tension, although not all of it. “Well, I’m happy for you, man.” Patting his upper arm, he added, “I sure hope it works out.”
Murdoch turned toward the door just as it began to open. Stepping back, he waited for whoever to enter, wondering why Boyd seemed so worried. While his friend and Nester got on about as well as oil and water, Murdoch had been in a relationship with Nester for almost two years.
Seeing the man who entered, Murdoch nearly swallowed his tongue. The guy was, in a word, stunning. He towered over Murdoch’s own six-foot-one height by at least five inches. His shoulders were broad and his hips narrow, filling out his dark-blue polo shirt and chinos in all the best ways.
The man had thick, shoulder-length hair framing his aristocratic features. With the way the locks shown in the bathroom’s bulbs from medium to light brown, it appeared he had highlights. Then the man pinned his intense and unique aqua-colored gaze on him, and Murdoch felt a rush of heat flood his body.
For an instant, Murdoch felt certain he spotted a flash of interest in the man’s eyes. Then the large male turned away and headed toward a urinal. Murdoch couldn’t help scoping out the man’s backside, which was just as fine as his front.
Boyd jostling against his side to pass him and exit the room yanked Murdoch out of his admiration of the guy.
Swallowing the moisture that had pooled in his mouth, Murdoch followed Boyd out of the bathroom.
Once the door had closed behind them, Boyd arched one brow as he muttered, “You just eye-fucked the shit out of that guy.”
Even as Murdoch squashed a fissure of guilt, he claimed, “Nester and I take donors to our bed as a third several times a month.” Shrugging, he smirked as he added, “Can’t blame a guy for looking at that sexy specimen. He was hawt.”
Barking a laugh, Boyd asked, “You gonna approach him then?” Then he cocked his head and added, “Did you notice his lack of scent? Think he’s a paranormal?”
“No, I didn’t notice,” Murdoch admitted.
“Too busy checking him out,” Boyd replied knowingly.
Murdoch shrugged again. “Guess so, and in answer to your question, with his size, he very well could be.” Since they’d reached the buffet and there were a few of their dude ranch’s human guests around, Murdoch lowered his voice. “Maybe a big shifter, but why would he hide his scent?”
“Maybe he didn’t realize we were a coven when he booked a vacation here,” Boyd guessed. “You could ask Royce. He might know more about him since he helps in reservations.”
“Naw,” Murdoch said with a shake of his head. “He didn’t look the type to do threesomes, and if he’s hiding his scent, I’m not gonna mess with him.”
For some reason, just the idea of sharing that man with Nester caused Murdoch’s stomach to churn with…something. For the first time in over two years, he didn’t want to share someone with Nester. If Murdoch were to bed that man, he would want him all to himself.
That means I have to stay far away from him.
No sense screwing up my relationship with the guy I love for someone just passing through.
With those thoughts firmly in his mind, Murdoch focused on eating his lunch.