Always for You:Jack

By: Alexis Morgan

(Sergeant Joe's Boys #1)


Twenty-one shots rang out, and three men in uniform snapped to attention. As the sound faded away on the breeze, a solitary bugler slowly lifted a brass horn to his lips. Within seconds, the haunting strains of Taps brought tears to the eyes of more than a few of the people gathered around the new grave.

A small woman sat front and center, her shaking hands clasped in her lap while soldiers carefully folded the flag that had draped her husband’s coffin. When they were done, they saluted and then presented it to her along with the heartfelt gratitude of the nation and its commander in chief. She clutched the symbol of her husband’s service to their country and held it close to her heart just as she had the man himself.

As soon as the soldiers moved away, the sons of her heart relaxed their stance and gathered her into their arms. She was so proud of the men they’d become, each in his own way a reflection of her husband. They were Joe’s true legacy, the source of the greatest pride in his life. He’d gifted each of them with a sense of purpose, a place to belong, a family.

Now it would be her job to help them find the one last thing they each needed: someone to love them as she’d loved her Joe. If she could do that for her boys, then she would count her own life well lived.

Chapter 1

Two days had passed since the funeral when Jack McShane and his two brothers walked into the office of a local law firm. After they identified themselves, the receptionist led them into a conference room dominated by a heavy wooden table surrounded by ten chairs. “Gentlemen, please make yourselves comfortable. I’m sure Mr. Beaumont will be right in. While you’re waiting, can I offer you some coffee or bottled water?”

Jack answered for all three of them as they took seats at the far end of the table. “Coffee. We all take it black.”

Actually, he didn’t know how his siblings took their coffee these days, but he wasn’t in the mood to listen to a lot of discussion about flavored creamers and sugar versus sweeteners. If there was one thing he’d learned while serving in other parts of the world, it was that the people in the Pacific Northwest took their coffee a little too seriously.

Since neither of the other two protested, either he’d gotten it right or else they also weren’t in the mood to hassle with meaningless details. Within seconds of sitting down, Tino started shifting restlessly in his seat. Jack figured it was the situation and not the chair that was making his middle brother so uncomfortable.

Predictably it was Mikhail who gave voice to their concern. “I wish we knew why this lawyer guy wanted to meet with just us. I still think we should’ve insisted Mom come with us.”

Jack didn’t bother to respond. They’d had this same conversation multiple times since the attorney had called to ask them to come in today. He had assured Jack that their mother was aware of the situation, and they were free to discuss it with her if they felt the need. Hell, yeah, they’d felt the need. There was no way any of them would go behind Marlene’s back. To their surprise, she’d simply verified what the lawyer had told them and said it was best they go alone.

The door opened a few seconds later, and Mr. Beaumont entered with a stack of files tucked under his arm and carrying a small tray containing four cups and a coffee carafe. Jack wasn’t sure why he felt compelled to stand, but at least his brothers followed suit.

“I appreciate your patience, gentlemen, and may I start off by expressing my condolences over Joe’s death. He was one hell of a man, and I was proud to call him my friend.”

Once again, Jack took the lead. “Thank you, Mr. Beaumont. I know he thought highly of you as well.”

One by one, they shook the attorney’s hand before resuming their seats. After passing around the coffee, Mr. Beaumont handed each of them a file folder. Jack noted his was specifically labeled with his name. Interesting.

“Inside those folders you’ll find a copy of your father’s trust or at least the portion that applies to the three of you. We’ll go over the high points here in a minute. Regardless, I would recommend that you study it for yourselves, and Marlene has the complete document for the trust at the house as well. She has already indicated that you are welcome to read over it in its entirety. I will be glad to answer any questions you might have, either now or after you’ve all had time to mull things over.”

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