Fortis is an alpha wolf living in North Leland. He and his best friend, Keesh, are incredibly close and part of Fortis would love more with him. But Keesh is a beta, and as much as Fortis wants him and cares for him, there is part of Fortis that still craves mating with an omega. When Fortis is tasked with returning an unmated omega to his home with the Western Pack, Fortis knows being alone with Owen isn’t the best idea. He would never pressure Owen into anything, but Fortis also knows that if Owen goes into heat, he may not be able to stay away. So Fortis suggests that Keesh come along as well. As a beta, Keesh is nuturing and caring and would be a great person to help escort Owen home along with Fortis.
Owen is a prince of the Western Pack who came to North Leland to mate with Crown Prince Devin. But it turns out that despite having sex with Owen, Devin wasn’t actually interested in claiming his as his mate. Now that he is no longer a virgin and has been rejected by an alpha, Owen fears he has nothing of value left. He is embarrassed to have been rejected and knows his father will be upset about the failed mating. As the men start their journey, it is clear that Owen has lived a very sheltered life and is unfamiliar with hunting or traveling through the woods or many other wolf activities. Fortis and Keesh are determined to help Owen learn some skills and independence so he has a chance at a better life when he gets home. Even more, both men think that Owen would do better moving someplace like Central Pack, where Keesh was born. There omegas are given more rights and freedoms, and Owen is beginning to think that might be what he wants as well.
As the men travel, the attraction among all three intensifies. Keesh and Fortis continue the feelings that have grown between them over the last five years, but both know that they would never be totally happy together. Fortis needs an omega, and Keesh needs an omega or other beta to care for. Each man is also attracted to Owen, and he to them in return. But any one pairing seems to leave each man missing something vital. Now Fortis, Keesh, and Owen have to figure out where their futures lie, and if there is a way they can all find happiness together.
Omega Returned is the fourth book in Tanya Chris’ Omega Reimagined series, an engaging, non-mpreg, omegaverse series. One of the hallmarks of this series for me is the interesting way Chris explores different “caste” dynamics and relationship structures. In each book so far, the alpha/beta/omega dynamics of the particular relationship have been different and explored characters who wanted relationships outside of the traditional or expected roles. In this case, we have three men who all care for and want one another, but what each wants is bigger than what one person can provide. Keesh and Fortis have long had feelings for one another, but each wants someone to care for and tend to as well, and they know they won’t find that with each other. Adding Owen into their dynamic suddenly opens things up and completes them in a way they couldn’t as a pair. For his part, Owen has been sheltered and taught his only value is in his virginity; now that it is gone, he feels worthless. He has also been sheltered to the point of barely being able to function on his own. So for Owen, the growth here comes in recognizing that even as an omega, he has his own agency, both about his life and his sexuality. It is nice to see him come into his own over the course of the story and learn skills and strength and confidence.
The book also touches again on a recurring theme over the series, and that is Prince Devin and his horrible behavior. He clearly manipulated Owen, making him think he was interested in claiming him so they could sleep together, but then discarding him quickly. I expect that things will eventually come to a head with Devin and the leadership of the pack, though we only touch on it all briefly here.
This story is light and easy and sexy, with some nice growth for Owen and a chance to finally find happiness together for Keesh and Fortis. It is an enjoyable installment in the series and I am looking forward to more.