Power PLay-Bonus Epilogues
Btu Alumni, Book 1
The Frozen Four.
It was college hockey’s equivalent of basketball’s Final Four.
The coup de grace for puck heads not headed for the NHL.
The intensity of the college playoffs rivaled that of those for the Stanley Cup. Four games were all that stood between a team and the title as NCAA National Champions, each game a do or die through four rounds of elimination games— you lose, you’re out. No second chances, no best of five or best of seven.
Two things were different about this year’s tournament. One, the BTU Titans were not the underdogs going into it, every team was out to knock the reigning champs from their pedestal. And two, Jordan wasn’t watching from a seat hidden on the upper deck. Nope, she was back in her usual seat in front of the glass, next to the Titans team bench, screaming her flipping head off as she watched her brother Ryan tear down the ice on a breakaway toward the Notre Dame goal.
She was on her feet, hand-in-hand with Maddey and Skye, as his lightening fast speed had him in front of the net before either defender was able to get in the way. Ryan deked, the goalie went left, he went right, scooping the puck up and over the goalie’s leg pad lighting the lamp.
Cheers rang out from the Titans fans in the arena, she and her friends banged against the plexiglass in celebration, receiving knuckle bumps through it as Ryan skated past.
“Not to sound like a total fanboy, but I can’t believe I get to say I knew him when, once he’s a hotshot scoring goals and taking names in the NHL next year,” Vince, one of her new friends, and brother to Jase’s girlfriend Rocky, said referring to Ryan.
“Careful,” Jordan cautioned with a laugh. “Don’t fanboy too hard or Jase will get jealous.”
“Yup,” Skye agreed. “And that wouldn’t be good for your bromance.”
“No way. Jase is my boy.” Vince reached over knocking on the plexiglass next to the Titans bench where Jase sat just coming off the ice, sharing a bro nod when her twin looked to his buddy.
Rocky, a physical therapy student who worked with the team, stood behind the bench and caught the exchange between her brother and her boyfriend, mouthing to Vince back off, he’s mine.
Jordan marveled at how much her life had changed in less than a year. She went from hiding from her past at a different college, practically cut off from her family, sneaking in to watch her brothers’ hockey games when she could, to dating another one of their teammates, this time being blissfully in love, and creating a core group of friends she never imagined having.
“Dude. Rock is gonna kick your ass next time you guys spar at the gym,” Rocky’s best friend, Becky, threatened.
“No way,” Vince countered.
“Way,” his cousin Gemma agreed. “God I don’t know how you guys deal with having more than one brother.” Her comment was directed to Jordan and Maddey. “He’s only my cousin and he’s more than enough of a pain in the ass for me to handle.”
Pretty much all her life Jordan had Skye. She was her sista from another mista, the best bestie a girl could ask for— hell she originally left her twin to follow her for college— she never thought she’d find another friend like her, let alone the five more who burrowed their way into her heart so far she constantly had the most epic group text conversations on her phone.
It happened in stages, first meeting Sammy and Maddey when she and Skye attended NYU, then Rocky, Becky, and Gemma once they transferred home to BTU. Now the six girls— and Sammy— ruled the roost when it came to anything with the hockey team and their friends.
After the final buzzer sounded, the Titans beating the Fighting Irish 3-1 to advance to the championship game in two days, their group of spectators headed back to the hotel to wait for their hockey boys to join them.
She knew the moment the team made their entrance into the hotel bar, cheers and clapping rang out as they spread out amongst the family members and supporters.
Jordan cursed her short stature for keeping her from seeing her guy, having to wait for their guys to cut a path through the crowd to the section their group commandeered in the back corner.
When the crush of people finally parted enough for her to get her first glimpse of her boyfriend, she had to grab onto the edges of the table in front of her to keep from melting on the spot at the sight of him.
Jake Donovan in general was hot. He was the quintessential hot jock casting directors all over Hollywood would die for the chance to put in one of their movies. With his dark brown hair that always managed to look artfully messy, his bright emerald eyes, muscular body from all the hours logged on the ice, and of course, one couldn’t forget to mention those dimples that made her stupid— she never stood a chance.
She’d gotten to see him in all manner of dress— and undress— over their nine month relationship. But Jake Donovan in a suit, now that was something else entirely.
She had never been more grateful for the team’s policy for needing to wear suits for games as she was right then watching the way the gray, so dark it was almost black, wool molded to what she knew were mouth watering muscles underneath as his long legs ate up the distance between them.
Based on the wink he sent her way, her salacious thoughts must be broadcasted across her face.
Around them greetings rang out, bro hugs and handshakes were exchanged, yet Jordan and Jake only hand eyes for each other. So when he hooked an arm around her back, tugging her to the edge of the booth, and pulling her body tight against his, she didn’t notice how her brothers kissed their own girlfriends as she got lost in the feel of Jake’s lips on hers. And when his tongue parted the seam of her lips to stroke against hers, it took an Asgardian effort not to drag him up to her room upstairs by the green silk of his tie. Probably not the best move with their parents nearby.
With that thought in mind, she flattened her hands against his washboard stomach, her fingers running along the ridges she could feel beneath the starched cotton, and pushed away enough to see her own thoughts mirrored in his emerald eyes.
“Hey baby.” A devilish smirk played across his lips as he scooped her up, taking her spot in the booth and resettling her in his lap.
“Hey babe.” One arm went around his neck while the other toyed with the fabric of his tie. “Still can’t believe you let Matthews slip one into the five hole on you.” He had played one hell of a game, stopping twenty-three of the twenty-four shots made on goal that night, but she wouldn’t be the couch coach the guys knew her for if she didn’t give him a little bit of shit for the one goal he let slip past him.
“Damn JD. If your man isn’t safe from your commentary, I don’t even want to know what you’re gonna say to the rest of us.” Nick, another one of the Titans, said from across the table.
“Oh you mean how you were letting Michaels cheap shot you all game, allowing for at least three shots on goal that should have never happened?” She could feel the laughter her boyfriend was trying and failing to hold back. “Honestly, I’m surprised Ry hasn’t drilled it out of you. Maybe you guys need to practice more.”
They didn’t, but again, ball busting was a way of life.
“Seriously,” Vince cut in. “You guys have no idea how bad she is watching you guys. I thought my Pops was bad when we watched Blizzards games, but JD is savage.”
“Oh no. We hear Blondie just fine from the bench. She’s not exactly quiet as she’s cursing our mistakes.”
A chorus of male laughter rang out at Tucker’s statement.
“Oh don’t even get me started on you BB3.” The look she gave her boyfriend’s best friend screamed don’t mess with me.
“You had to go and get yourself wifed up with a hockey junkie didn’t you Donovan. Couldn’t have stuck to a bunny.” Tucker tried to sound annoyed but his affection for her bled into his words.
Jake’s arms around her tightened as he hugged her to him. “But she’s so much better than a bunny.” He dropped a kiss to the crown of her head.
“Don’t worry. We’ll get you guys into the gym this summer and make sure you gain that extra edge for next season.” Rocky added, never one to miss an opportunity to give the guys shit either.
“I swear,” Jase slung an arm around his girlfriend’s shoulders. “You guys are worse than Coach. He may be all nervous with Ry graduating and leaving us for the pros, but who needs a team captain when we have slave drivers like you girls in our lives.”
“Dude. You think you guys have it bad. You should hear Rock around the gym. It’s only going to get worse when it officially becomes her job.”
Rocky and Vince Steele were the children of an Olympic Judo gold medalist, turned trainer of MMA fighters. Vince was already working his way up the ranks as a fighter for the UFC. Where Jordan’s family was entrenched in the world of hockey, the Steeles each had a role in the family business. Vince a fighter, Rocky a trainer and one day physical therapist once she graduated, Gemma was working on a degree to be the gym’s nutritionist for fighters while working as a personal chef, and Becky was already running the entire gym while getting a business degree.
“I don’t even want to think about that,” Declan, another fighter from The Steele Maker, said nervously. “They already run most of our lives. I can only imagine how much bossier they’ll get once they actually have their degrees.”
The guys ran down a list of all the way the females in their group dictated parts of their lives. Maddey was the only one they didn’t accuse of being bossy, but she was still guilty because they claimed she could charm any of them into doing anything she wanted.
Eventually, it all turned into a debate between Jase and Vince on whose sister was the bossiest of the bunch and who had it worse.
“No, I do bro. She’s my sister,” Vince declared.
“No way. They are way harder on me. One of them is my girlfriend and the other is my sister— hell my twin— I win. Or I guess lose,” Jase countered.
“You’re both idiots,” Skye stated with agreeing nods all around.
“Oh don’t you even start with us.” Jase warned with a brotherly smile for his pseudo sister.
“You want to know the worst part about all of it?” Vince asked the group. “The way you girls manage to get us to do what you want is sneaky. Getting your way, while we smile and go along with it without even realizing it.”
“Truth.” Jase held out a fist for Vince to bump. “It’s like you guys weave a spell around us.”
“Yeah like a bunch of witches.” Vince paused, a contemplating look on his face before shouting, “You’re like a damn Coven.”
Jake skated out onto the ice for the NCAA Championship game as the starting goalie for the second time in as many years. It was a dream come true when the Titans brought home the championship trophy the year before, but this year the game somehow felt bigger, more important, almost special.
He wanted to say it was because he was close to the seniors who would be leaving them once their season was over, and yes that was true, but he had a feeling it had more to do with a certain tiny blonde who showed up, turning his life upside down, and was currently sporting his jersey from her seat on the other side of the plexiglass.
From the moment he saw her walking into Rookies all those months ago, Jordan Donnelly had owned a piece of his soul he never wanted to get back. She was everything he didn’t know he was looking for.
It was time for him to take his place between the pipes so his team could beat the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs and keep their title as National Champions. As was his tradition— ok superstition, he was a hockey player after all— he skated over to where Jordan sat with the rest of their friends to claim his pre-game good luck kiss. The first time he had rested his mask covered face on the glass in front of her for a game, he was surprised when she leaned up to place a kiss on the glass over where his lips would be behind the cage of his mask.
But the way it made him feel, as well as the answering tug to his heart when she mouthed “I love you” before he settled himself behind the crease, only managed to fire him up. As so the tradition had been born.
She was his unicorn. Supporting him, challenging him, and just straight up loving him against all odds. He wanted to win this game as much for her as he did himself. So this time she could celebrate with her family properly instead of hiding in the background like she did the year before.
Now, with five minutes left in the third period, he blocked yet another shot sent flying his way by a winger from the Bulldogs. As his glove shot out to steal what would have been a goal on most goalies, he thanked every hour his girlfriend made him log playing ping pong.
With the game still scoreless as the final minutes of the game ticked down, the Bulldogs were currently driving to put the biscuit in the basket before the final buzzer rang. His eyes tracked the rubber disk as Jase battled it out against the boards to finally clear the puck out of their zone.
Jake watched as Jase finally managed to get the blade of his stick over the lip of the puck, dumping it back to where Tucker was waiting before both he and Ryan flew up the ice for their own chance of lighting the lamp.
A quick glance to the scoreboard showed less than a minute left. If neither team scored they would be headed into overtime.
The Bulldogs attempted to clear the puck, but Jase was there to keep it in their zone.
The crowd inside the arena were on their feet as the Titans took shot after shot on goal. Ryan skated after one of the rebounds, circling behind the net, and seconds before the buzzer went off, he slipped the rubber disk beneath the shin of the Bulldogs goalie, lighting the lamp, and bringing home the victory for the Titans.
Jake tossed his custom made goalie mask to the ice, skating out to center ice as the rest of his teammates cleared the bench, helmets and gloves raining down like confetti in celebration of doing something so few teams had managed before. Repeating as National Champs.
He could see the girls jumping up and down in front of their seats and the beaming smile on his girlfriend’s face was even better than the trophy the team would be presented with shortly.
Knowing no one would tell him no, he skated over toward where the boards opened up to allow people onto the ice and called for Jordan. As always, his girl could tell exactly what he was thinking, and ran down to meet him.
In sneakers he stood over a foot taller than his girlfriend, so in skates and all his padding he looked like a towering Hulk compared to her.
Not giving one shit to how sweaty he might be from playing one of the hardest periods of hockey in his life, his girl launched herself at him, jumping into his arms, wrapping her legs around him as he skated onto the ice, holding her like she was the fucking Stanley Cup.
Her hands ran over his sweat slicked hair, pushing it from his face and into spiky disarray.
“Holy shit babe. That was epic. You were amazing. I’m pretty sure I have no nails left after that third period.” She bounced in his arms as she went on and on about the game, she was one hell of an ego boost that was for sure.
“Seriously, you were like a brick wall out there. You showed everyone exactly why you won the Mike Richter award this year. I’m so proud of you babe.”
Unable to help himself any longer, he sealed his mouth over hers, claiming a kiss while doing a victory lap around the rink.
“Fuck I love you babe.”
Her teeth flashed in a blinding smile as if shocked by the admission, even though he had been telling her so for months.
“Oh Jake.” Her beautiful hazel eyes softened at his words. “I love you too hotshot.”
And fuck if he wasn’t going to marry this girl someday.
**If you enjoyed Jake and Jordan's story, the next book in the BTU Alumni series is Sammy's story Musical Mayhem available now free in Kindle Unlimited.**