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Sharing a Mate (Brides Of The Kindred #22.7)
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**This is a M/F/M romance with a tiny bit of M/M in the plot*
Dr. Kayla Smith is a strong, independent woman with several prestigious degrees in Xenobiology and Chemistry. She lives and works on the Mother Ship and shares a lab with her two best friends, Dr. Bron–a huge Beast Kindred who is also a decorated microbiologist and Dr. Sorin, a Blood Kindred and award-winning virologist. The three of them work and play together but Kayla is afraid to act on her feelings for either Kindred because she knows that picking one means losing the other.
Then comes the Great Needing.
When Xi-46, a virulent aphrodisiac, is introduced into the Kindred Mother Ship through the air vents, Kayla is one of the women affected. Her desperate need can only be slaked with the help of a male and she gets help from both of her friends. Afterwards, they expect her to choose between them…but Kayla can’t–she loves them both.
Now they must go on a desperate mission to find the source of Xi-46 and try to create an antidote. But the further they go, the more Kayla realizes she needs both men in her life…and they need each other as well, though neither one wants to admit it.
***Author’s Note and WARNING:
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Doctor Kayla Smith wished she was dead.
She was a renowned xenobiologist and chemist with several prestigious degrees to her name. She had a bright future, living and working on the Mother Ship, studying alien samples from the other planets the Kindred visited. As a member of an elite, three-person team, she was breaking all kinds of scientific boundaries and making amazing new discoveries every day. In short, she had everything she could want in her personal and professional life.
And right now, she wanted to die.
“Oh God, how could I let myself do that? How? How?” she whispered, pulling her knees up to her chest as hot water dripped down her nose. She was sitting in the shower stall in her suite in the Mother Ship, taking what had to be her twentieth shower in two days. She wished she had a bathing pool in her suite but those were only for mated couples and she most definitely was not mated.
She didn’t want to be mated, either, Kayla told herself. She wanted to stay single and be married to her work. Unlike a lot of single women who came up to the Mother Ship from Earth, she hadn’t come with the intention of finding a husband or earning her “Mrs. degree” as her Auntie Feenie jokingly put it.
“I’m a respected scientist,” Kayla whispered to herself, pushing one of her long black box braids behind her ear. Her hand was trembling as she did so—she hadn’t eaten in days. Not since…the incident. “Or I was a respected scientist, anyway.”
But it wasn’t the respect of the wider scientific community she was worried about losing—it was the respect of the other two members of her team. The two Kindred warriors she worked with.
Bron was a huge, muscular Beast Kindred with shaggy black hair and a black mustache and goatee he wore braided and bound with a silver band—a symbol of the wild tribe he had come from on his home planet of Rageron. He had the molten gold eyes of his kind and a deep, growling voice to match. What Kayla liked most about him was his loud, funny sense of humor and his tendency to say “fuck” a lot or curse in his native dialect when he got upset. He was also one of the finest microbiologists she had ever met.
Then there was Sorin, an award-winning virologist and the other member of their team. He was a Blood Kindred with sleek, silver-blonde hair and pale blue eyes that Kayla sometimes felt could see directly into her soul. She loved Sorin’s quiet, quick wit and his way of whispering sly comments to her and Bron when they were out in public that cracked them both up. He had been raised on Tranq Prime, the Blood Kindred home world, in what he dryly described as a “repressed family,” though he wouldn’t say much more about his past.
The two of them—Sorin and Bron—were best friends and had been long before Kayla had come along. But the moment she had walked into the Mother Ship’s science department Christmas party the year before, the three of them had just “clicked.” The two big males had fit her into their life and it wasn’t even a month before the three of them were working on a group project and sharing a private lab, just big enough for three.
That had been almost a year ago and since then, Kayla had grown closer to both Kindred. They ate meals together, went out to see movies and plays together, and of course, the weekly Wednesday night poker games at Bron’s suite were a must. They took trips to other alien worlds to collect specimens to study. Kayla had even taken the two of them back to Earth with her to give them a taste of Earth culture—and a little of her Auntie Feenie’s soul food.
“Girl, when are you going to pick one of those fine men and get me some great-grandbabies?” her aunt had demanded, after pulling her aside to talk in the kitchen. Since Kayla’s grandmother had passed on, Auntie Feenie—who was actually Kayla’s great aunt—had stepped in to take her place.
Kayla had shaken her head and laughed.
“Never, Auntie Feenie. These two are a matched set—I can’t break them up. Besides, we’re all just good friends and colleagues.”
“You might say that, Kay-kay,” but I see the way their eyes follow you around the room.” Auntie Feenie had made a two-fingered gesture towards her own eyes and nodded solemnly. “You might just be thinking of them as friends but they’re thinking a whole lot more about you than that. You better believe it.”
Kayla had felt her cheeks get warm. It was true that she had sometimes sensed her guys, as she thought of them, were watching her in a shall-we-say less than professional way. But she also knew that neither Sorin nor Bron would ever act on any kind of attraction they might have towards her.