Welcome back, Alex Jane! I won’t intrude too much, since Alex has been a guest before with previous installments of her fab Alphas’ Homestead series and she has a very important announcement for us. Take it away, Alex!
Here it is! Finally, the last installment of the Alphas’ Homestead series.
I can’t believe it’s been three and a half years since I started this. Home Is Where You Are was my first published novel and I always intended for it to be a standalone…except, of course, I’m the worst person in the world for letting go of my characters.
Six books on and we have finally come to the end.
I’ve actually been planning Ephraim’s story right from the get-go. I remember writing Returning Home, the second story, in flood of tears thinking about how a scene would be remembered by Thaddeus and Ephraim as adults. All the time I was writing about Seth, Martha, Thaddeus, Caleb and Jacob, I had one eye firmly on Ephraim and how his story was playing out in the background. And now we’re here and it’s done.
I’ve really enjoyed writing this series, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it too.
On to the next adventure!
Every time he’s gotten close, events have risen up to shatter what little comfort he finds in the world.
After the trauma preceding his brother’s departure from the homestead, his long-time lover lays close to death in the half-built house that should have been their happy-ever-after. As Ephraim nurses Joshua—doing everything he can to keep his mate from slipping away—he thinks back to their life over the last twenty years.
From meeting the captivating sheriff’s son his first day in Lastford, to their final exchange before the accident, Joshua has been there for every high and every low in Ephraim’s life. And sitting at Joshua’s bedside, Ephraim doesn’t know if he’ll be able to go on without him.
With all the trials and tribulations happening at the homestead over two decades, it was no wonder everyone missed the epic love story going on right under their noses until it might be too late.
I was always here, waiting for you to love me. What took you so long?
Excerpt from Always Here by Alex Jane
Ephraim jolted awake and nearly fell out of the chair he was slumped in. It took him a second to realize where he was. The low light in the room didn’t hide much. Martha sat in the corner, sipping tea and looking done in. Thaddeus was there, crouched down, quietly stacking wood next to the fire. He looked over apologetically to his brother and whispered, “Sorry. Did I wake you?”
Ephraim scrubbed a hand down his face and shook his head. “No,” he rasped. He leaned forward and rested his chin on his hands, looking over the still body on the bed.
“He hasn’t woken,” Martha whispered, sounding reassuring for once. There wasn’t much she had said in the last couple of days that hadn’t left Ephraim in despair.
Ephraim only nodded. There was not much else any of them could do. Only sit and wait and nod quietly in the dark until Joshua woke, not even having the strength to scream anymore.
Thaddeus finished piling the wood. He stood, brushing his hands against his trousers before rolling down his sleeves. The serious look on his face, complete with frown, made Ephraim want to laugh; he looked so much like Caleb. But all he said was, “Shouldn’t you be packing?”
“We’re done.” Thaddeus shrugged. “Well, Samuel did most of it. I just want to make sure you have everything you need before…”
Ephraim felt a little bad for his brother but Martha had no such sympathy. “Do you think me totally incapable of looking after them?”
Thaddeus smiled. “No, of course not—”
“You’re acting as if Eph will be all alone. I’ll be here, so will Joe soon enough, and there’s Caleb and Jacob. And Patience. I thank God every day for Patience.”
The brothers hummed in agreement.
“We’ll be all right, Tad,” Ephraim said gently.
Thaddeus didn’t look convinced. “I don’t have to go. I could put it off for another week or so—”
But Ephraim was already shaking his head. “No. You can’t. This is your job now. Your duty.”
Thaddeus nodded and stepped back, sitting down in the chair when it hit the back of his legs. He was quiet for a second, only touching his lips, before whispering, “What if I don’t want to?”
Ephraim sighed and stood up. It took some effort. His body was aching and stiff from inactivity. But he managed to walk across the room and crouch down at Thaddeus’s feet without groaning like an old man. “If this hadn’t happened, you would. You would have been on that train yesterday.”
Thaddeus stared at him, but Ephraim knew he’d won out when his brother had to look away and mumbled, “I know.” Except then he followed it more assertively with, “But it has happened. I just don’t know if I can leave you.”
“So help me, I will carry you to the damn train if I have to, Thaddeus. Do you understand?”
Thaddeus might have been an Alpha, and one day would be Ephraim’s Alpha in place of Caleb and Jacob, but he still had the good grace to nod and whisper, “Yes, sir.”
Ephraim stood slowly, pausing to plant a kiss on Thaddeus’s forehead as if he was still a child to be coddled. But, once he’d straightened, he delivered a pat on the shoulder to remind Thaddeus he was a man.
“I’ll write,” Martha said, “so you’ll be kept up to date. Although, I’ll expect a reply once in a while.”
She was teasing but Thaddeus frowned. “I write,” he scowled, then wistfully added, “I suppose David will be my secretary now, so I’ll be able to dictate a reply.”
It was a silly thought but at the same time so saddening. David had been their grandfather’s secretary, so the fact of it only reminded them of their loss, as well as the fact Thaddeus was leaving them.
“Hey, do you remember that time—?” Martha started but both men huffed out a laugh before she was even done and said, “Marbles,” in unison. The memory put a smile on all their faces. They had so many happy memories of visiting their grandparents and the pack in New York; the three of them, thick as thieves. It wasn’t the place that made them that way. Even at the homestead, they would always play together, and when they got older, they worked together too. Their own little wolf pack, with Joe and Daisy and Joshua tagging along for the ride. It was one thing when Martha had left for school, then Joe going with her, but now that Thaddeus was leaving, Ephraim could see it was never going to be the same again.
“I do hope he’s forgiven us for that,” Thaddeus said, looking a little worried. “Or he’s at least forgiven me. I don’t want to be picking retaliatory tacks out of my shoes or anything.”
“Surely David is a little old to be up to that kind of nonsense?” Ephraim said.
Martha and Thaddeus looked at each other and shook their heads, replying together, “No. Not really.”
They laughed quietly but obviously not quietly enough, as Joshua stirred. They held their breaths as he shifted, hoping he would sleep through the disturbance, but his eyelids fluttered open and he took a shuddering gasp.
About Alex Jane
After spending far too long creating stories in her head, Alex finally plucked up the courage to write them down and realized it was quite fun seeing them on the page after all.
Free from aspirations of literary greatness, Alex simply hopes to entertain by spinning a good yarn of love and life, wrapped up with a happy ending. Although, if her characters have to go through Hell to get there, she’s a-okay with that.
With only a dysfunctional taste in music and a one-eyed dog to otherwise fill her days, Alex writes and walks on the South Coast of England—even when her heart and spellcheck are in New York.
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