Hayes is fine with his life, no matter what his mother thinks. He's a mutant now, and he can't ignore that or the fact that the labs are still a reality—a reality he and the other mutants can change. There's no going back to his old life, and while the future feels complicated, Hayes is surrounded by friends and family and is proud of the work they do.
Rikar didn't hesitate to welcome the mutants into his tribe. The tribe has been rescuing people from the labs for decades, and the mutants have the same goals. Plus, they needed a home, and Rikar's small town has plenty of that.
When Rikar sees Hayes and realizes the mutant is his mate, he doesn't know what to do. Hayes is still dealing with the consequences of what was done to him in the lab, and Rikar leads a very large tribe.
But when Hayes crashes through Rikar's roof, Rikar can't avoid telling him about the bond that links them together. But as they try to work things out between them, Hayes and the mutants find a lab experimenting on children, and one of them latches onto Rikar.
Rikar wasn't prepared for a mate and a child. Hayes wasn't prepared for any of this. What are they supposed to do now?