Since he was rescued from the lab he’d been locked up in, Kanan hasn’t been living—he’s been surviving. He can’t trust anyone, not completely, and it’s easier to hide away in his room, away from life.
Titus lost everything—his father, his tribe, his best friend. He knows Jarah and Neriah did the right thing, taking the tribe away from him, but it doesn’t make accepting that any easier. Yet when Jarah asks him for help, he decides he’ll do what he has to do to keep his best friend and the pack where some of his old tribe members live safe, even if that includes killing the Los Angeles pack’s alpha.
Kanan never expected to meet his mate, not when he spends so much of his time in his room. But when he meets Titus in the woods, he knows he can’t hide away from their bond—and he doesn’t want to. Will he manage to get through the anger Titus has shrouded himself in? And will Titus find a way to break the thick walls Kanan built around his heart?
Kanan bopped his head to the music, his headphones in his ears as he walked down the path between the trees. Britney was singing that she’d done it again, and whatever it was she’d done, he wished he’d done it too. His life might not be as boring as it was if he had.
Of course, his life had been anything but boring before Craig had rescued him from the lab he’d been locked up in, so maybe a boring life wasn’t as bad as he thought. He just wished he had what most of the people living in pack territory had—good friends, and even more, a mate, or at least someone special to share his life with.
Kanan shrieked when something tapped his shoulder from behind. He twirled around, his hands coming up to punch whatever was touching him, or to try to anyway. Jarah was faster, and he grabbed Kanan’s wrists before Kanan could actually hit him.
Jarah’s lips moved, but Kanan couldn’t hear anything, since Britney was still singing in his ears. He pulled on his headphones with his free hand. “That was close. Sorry.”
Jarah let go of him. “It’s okay. I shouldn’t have surprised you that way, but you couldn’t hear me.”
“Yeah. Sorry.” Kanan turned his iPod off and tucked it into the pocket of his jeans. He felt awkward, something he hated, but he and Jarah weren’t exactly friends. He didn't know what to say apart from sorry, and he’d already said that.
“Where are you going?”
“I was just walking around. You know, gotta lose the love handles winter left me with.” Kanan wanted to kick himself. His love handles? Really? Why did he have to bring attention to his not-hard-enough stomach, especially Jarah’s attention? Not that Kanan was ever going to try anything with Jarah, since Jarah was with someone—with his mate—but that didn’t change the fact that he was hot and Kanan didn’t want Jarah to look at him with disgust. He’d already been through that enough times, albeit not for the same reason. Those people, the scientists, hadn’t been his friends, and they’d been disgusted because of what he was, not because of his slightly bigger than average stomach.
Jarah arched a brow. “You don’t look like you need to lose weight to me.”
Kanan chuckled nervously. “Thanks for the compliment, I guess. But hey, walking also means I’m not in my room staring at the ceiling.” And Kanan wanted to kick himself again. Not only had he told Jarah he was fat, but also that he was a loner with no friends. His ceiling didn't count as one, no matter how much Kanan stared at it.
“Do you want to walk with me?” Jarah asked. “I’m going to Ethan’s house.”
Kanan didn't know Ethan. Well, that wasn’t true. He knew who Ethan was, of course, since Nuallan was just about the only friend he had. He’d even talked to Ethan, but that didn't mean they were friends. Maybe acquaintances, if even that. Nuallan might be as close to a best friend as Kanan had, but they were both painfully quiet. That didn't make for lengthy or meaningful conversations.
Still, it would be better than walking around on his own, so he nodded. “Sure.” He could find Nuallan and spend some time with him. That way staring at the ceiling wouldn’t feel so dull.
They started walking in silence, but Jarah broke it after a few minutes. “You’re Nuallan’s friend, right?”
“Yeah. As much as I have friends, anyway.” He could feel Jarah’s gaze on him, but he didn't turn to look back. With his luck, he’d end up flat on his face if he got distracted.
“You’re quiet, like him.”
“You don’t have many friends.”
“Why do you have to bring up the obvious?”
“Sorry. I was just wondering why you were so closed off. I know Nuallan’s past is involved in his skittishness, since we’ve known each other for years. You’re more of a mystery.”
Kanan snorted. “I’m not a mystery. I’m boring. Trust me, you don’t want to know more about me.”
“Still. I think you’re good for Nuallan. He’s been less closed off since you two started spending time together. I hope he’s doing the same for you. As far as I know, no one knows much about you here, which is weird considering how long you’ve been living with the pack.”
They followed the path as it took a turn, and Jarah stopped, his gaze locking onto a man who stood in the middle of the path next to Kameron. Shawn. Kanan remembered Zach calling him that when they’d met at the theater.
“Shawn. I didn't know you were going to come look for me,” Jarah said.
“I hadn’t been planning to.”
The way they talked told Kanan they were close, and from the gossip he’d heard flying around the pack—living with Zach and Kameron had its uses—he knew Shawn and Jarah were mates. He wasn’t sure if they were bonded, but it didn't matter.
“Oh?” Jarah asked as they stopped in front of Shawn and Kameron, who was standing next to Shawn. “What’s wrong?”
Kameron didn't usually hike in the forest in the middle of the day for no reason, so Kanan immediately felt worried. .
“Where were you, Jarah?” Kameron asked, looking grim.
“I went home to change.”
“Can you tell me exactly what you did?”
Jarah looked mildly surprised at Kameron’s question. “I left Shawn at Ethan’s house and shimmered to Titus. I tried talking to him, but he told me to fuck off. I went home, showered, dressed, cleaned up the hut, then left. I met Kanan on the way here.”