How is Chris supposed to choose between his family and the man he loves?
Chris has always known he would become the next alpha. It’s his duty, and there’s no getting out of it.
Or is there?
Jacob and Chris fell in love during the time Chris spent hiding in cete territory. They couldn’t find a way to make things work long term because neither of them was ready to compromise.
Now, they are.
Chris is starting to realize he can’t live for his father. He has choices to make, and for once, he wants to think only of himself. Jacob never stopped loving him, and together, they can build a life that will make both of them happy.
When tragedy strikes, it tears Chris and Jacob apart for a second time. Will they make the right choice and find their way back to each other—forever this time? Or will they allow circumstances to make them miserable?
For some reason, all of Chris’s sisters had decided they had to be home since he and Nico had come back. He didn’t understand why they’d been hanging around, and he wished they would stop. He wanted to get used to being home again the way he had been before, and it wasn’t possible when his three sisters were there.
They were all married, for fuck’s sake. Didn’t they have better things to do? Instead of being home with their husbands and children, they were hanging around Chris and Nico, staring at them as if they’d never seen them before.
Chris glared at them from his favorite armchair. They didn’t seem to care, though. They kept on staring, and Chris had to look away.
He wished he was back at the Bishop house. He wished he’d never left it. He missed Jacob, even though Jacob had rejected him.
He had to stop thinking about Jacob. Nothing would come out of it, and it was in the past now. Chris would probably never see him again. He didn’t have a reason to. Chris was back home, and now that he’d started working with his father again, there was no way for him to see Jacob. Jacob was no one important. Well, he wasn’t important in the big picture. For the badgers, though, he was the head of their security, so he was important.
He was to Chris, too.
“They’re just trying to cheer you up,” Nico murmured.
Nico was sitting on the couch with his legs crossed as he read a book. Their sisters weren’t bothering him, probably because he was faking being busy—or he was busy. Chris wasn’t sure.
Chris, on the other hand, wasn’t doing anything. He was staring out the window, thinking about what he’d lost and what he hoped he could get back.
He knew there was nothing he could do about the situation. He was a bobcat, and he belonged with the clowder. More importantly, he was a future alpha, which was why he should stop thinking about the Bishop house and the time he’d spent there and focus on the future.
The future he wouldn’t be spending with Jacob.
He’d fallen in love. He’d thought Jacob loved him back enough to follow him home once he left. He’d always known his time at the Bishop house and in badger territory would be short-lived. He’d had more of it than he’d expected, and he couldn’t regret it. He did regret putting his heart in jeopardy, though. Now, it was broken, and he didn’t know how to fix it.
Nico sighed and closed his book. “They’re not wrong, you know. You’ve been pouting since we came home.”
“We’ve only been back a few days,” Chris pointed out.
“And you haven’t done anything to get back to our old life. You’re still living in the past. You’re still living in the Bishop house.”
Chris stiffened. His brother had always been able to read him better than anyone else, and he was right. Chris couldn’t stop thinking about the Bishop house, but even more so about Jacob. Who would blame him? He was in love with Jacob, and he’d thought Jacob loved him. Maybe he had, but it wasn’t enough. When Chris had asked Jacob to come with him, Jacob had refused. He couldn’t see himself as an alpha mate, and he’d stayed behind, breaking up with Chris.
And now Chris was alone, and he was facing the rest of his life that way.
Okay, so maybe he was a tad dramatic. Still, it felt that way, and he thought he had an excellent reason to mope, at least for a bit.
The front door opened, making all of them jump. Chris glared at his sisters again, but they still didn’t seem to care. The three of them were sitting on the couch, whispering to each other, peeking at Chris every so often. He was sure they were talking about him, and he didn’t understand when he’d become so interesting. He was very young compared to them. He was nineteen, he and Nico being the babies of the family, while his sisters were thirty-two, twenty-nine, and twenty-four. Why were they were so focused on him?
“Chris?” their father called out from the entrance.
Chris jumped to his feet and rushed to him. At least he wouldn’t be on display for his siblings anymore. “Dad. I’m here.”
His father turned to look at him, smiling. “Good. We have to go talk to the fox alpha.”
Chris blinked. He knew he was supposed to start working with his father again, but he hadn’t expected it to be this soon. That wasn’t a bad thing, though. At least he’d be able to think about things that weren’t Jacob. “Of course. Are we leaving right away?”
“We are. Are your sisters still in the house?”
“They’re in the living room with Nico.”
Chris’s father rolled his eyes. “Those girls, I swear. Don’t they have anything better to do?”
That was what Chris had been thinking, but he didn’t mention it. “I can be ready in five minutes,” he said instead.
His father nodded at him. “Good. I’ll be waiting here.”
Chris wasn’t sure why his father was in such a rush. He supposed he was going to find out on the way to the skulk, hopefully. It wouldn’t be like his father to make it a surprise, especially after everything Chris had gone through. He didn’t know if his dad knew about Jacob, but he suspected that was the case.
He wouldn’t be surprised if his father was trying to distract him. It would be just like him. He wouldn’t want Chris to focus on what he couldn’t have, but rather, on what he was supposed to do.
Chris was the alpha heir. It didn’t matter that he was a carrier, that he was only nineteen, or that he was in love. All of that had to take a step back to his future job.