Jacob wants nothing to do with his father, but he's not fitting in with his birth pack anymore. When his father sends for him, Jacob's pack urges him to go, giving him little choice in the matter. Colorado is a far cry from Boston, and he just wants to find somewhere he fits in, wherever that may be.
Miles is finally settling into life with a good alpha at the helm. He's learning what it means to be an omega and that he has a definite place in the pack. Jacob is a complication in ways he doesn't understand. He wants to be close to Jacob, but he's also afraid of what that means.
Jacob had never been to Glenwood Springs, but after driving in, he was pretty sure he wasn't missing much. It was all mountains and trees. He'd seen plenty of trees growing up on the east coast, and the mountains weren't that impressive. What was worse, he'd tried shifting and running early that morning and had quickly lost his breath. The altitude would take some getting used to. It didn’t seem right.
But he didn't have a choice about where he wanted to be, unfortunately. He wasn't welcome in his birth pack anymore, and his alpha had sent him to go live with his father, since the Glenwood Springs pack was starting to be re-established. His mother had tried to convince him that maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing. Maybe he wouldn't hate it as much as he thought he would. Only he didn't know his father at all. And he definitely didn't want to be in Colorado. Especially not when snow could blow down at any time and make life in the mountains miserable. It was almost the middle of May, and he'd barely made it into the mountains with the sudden snow storm that closed the roads and made it hard to get around, even on four legs. It was worse than Boston winters, which he was used to.
He needed to start over. He needed a new place, a new pack, a new set of friends. And his father's pack was as good a place to do that as any. Jacob had never been close to him. Harlow was his father, but he was little more than a sperm donor. Harlow had never tried to be a father to him, at least as far as Jacob could remember. He wasn't even sure how his reception into Harlow's pack would be. He hoped it would be good—after all, Harlow had invited him out to come live with them—but Jacob was nervous all the same.
Jacob took a steadying breath and slipped into the forest. He leaned against a thick tree trunk, kicked off his boots, and then pulled off his socks. He took off his pants, too. He wrapped them up into a ball and set them into the backpack he’d picked up at the big box store after he’d rented the car, which he’d left in Glenwood Springs. He put his wallet and phone in one of the pack pockets so he could get to them easily if he needed them. Having to carry the backpack was inconvenient, but he had things he hadn’t wanted to leave behind or have shipped out. It was enough that he was changing so much of his life. He didn’t want to lose everything he held dear.
He touched the carefully wrapped package in the bottom of the pack. It was a piece of scrimshaw he’d made when he was ten. It was the first piece he’d ever done, and there was no way he was going to leave it behind. Old Shamus, the pack beta, had taught him the ancient art before he’d been killed while fishing in a storm that hit the coast five years earlier. Shamus had been more of a father to him than Harlow ever pretended to be. The old wolf had taken the time to learn who Jacob really was and tried to bring out the best in him.
After his body had washed up on shore, it was like a huge part of Jacob had been torn away. He knew he’d been distant and hard to deal with, but he felt like his mother and Stephen were being overly tough on him sending him away. He was one of the strongest young wolves in the pack, he just had no interest in moving up, which confused everyone, including himself. But after Shamus died, none of it really mattered.
He shoved the rest of his clothes into the pack, careful of his treasure. For a moment he looked at the mountains and wondered what it would be like to vanish into them. There were wild oneform wolves in the Rockies. He might be able to just disappear and live off the land. Long ago, werewolves did that all the time. It was part of what the humans feared about them, their ability to survive where humans couldn’t. But Jacob needed pack around. He might not reach out to them the way his mother and alpha might’ve liked, but knowing they were there helped him get through each day, though none of them were a replacement for Shamus. Even when he’d started fooling around with the other young males, he hadn’t found the same feeling of caring he’d felt when Shamus was teaching him art.
He shook his head. The one thing he’d hoped for in moving across the country was not being constantly reminded of the old Beta. There wasn’t a shoreline in Colorado. It didn’t have the same crowded feel or the human history that Boston had. It was new and rugged. He desperately wanted to embrace that and find a way to fit in.
He only hoped the new pack would accept him. His father’s message that went out to all the other packs in North America had been vague as to what had happened, only that he was now the alpha of the Glenwood Springs pack and was looking to rebuild it and was open to other wolves who wanted to come make a new start in the rugged mountains.