sweet victory-Bonus Epilogues
Btu Alumni, Book 3
Bonus Epilogue 1
Vince had lost count of how many times he had proposed to Holly over nearly a year only to have her shoot him down. Every. Damn. Time.
He was done playing games. Come hell or high water, he was going to have his rock on her finger before the end of the year. Time to bust out the big guns.
Once again, he swallowed his pride and sought out the advice of The Coven.
Back in college, he and Jase thought they were so clever when they nicknamed their favorite group of girls. No one made more Coven references than the two of them, and they certainly didn’t expect it to come around and bite them in the ass all these years later.
Because now, not only were their sisters members, but so were the women they loved. Super screwed.
Also, since Holly was a full-blown member of the crazy girl squad, it was difficult to get them all in one place without her around.
As he let himself into the Donovan house, he double-checked his phone, making sure he had enough time before Holly finished at Espresso Patronum and showed up.
He was on a mission and would not fail.
As always, he was first greeted by Navy and Stanley, the two dogs weaving between his legs while Jordan reminded them to stay quiet as she walked past with a passed out baby Logan on her shoulder.
The remaining seven girls were spread out around the living room, laughing at god knew what. He'd learned early on it was better not to know what was discussed when they got together.
“Hey, bro,” Rocky called out when she spotted him.
“Hey, sis.” He dropped a kiss to the top of her head as well as his nephew, Ronnie’s. And yes, his Harry Potter-loving sister and husband named him after one of the main characters.
“Is Jase with you too?” Melody, the newest Covenette, asked.
“No.” He shook his head as he flopped onto the couch next to Rocky. “He’s with the guys. I’ll be meeting up with them soon but I needed to talk to you all before Holly got here.”
“How have you not figured this out yet, cuz?” Gemma asked with a knowing smirk.
“Figured what out?” Beth asked.
Seven sets of expectant eyes watched him as they waited for his answer. No one spoke. They knew damn well what he was talking about, but they were going to make him say it. Enjoying the torture a little too much. Karma’s a bitch. How much shit have you given them through the years?
Gah. Even his subconscious was on their side.
“Fine.” He slapped his thighs. “How do I get Holly to finally say yes when I ask her to marry me?”
“Vin.” Becky leveled him with a you’re an idiot look. “You really do have me questioning if you took too many hits to the head.”
“For reals. Can you check that out, Rock?” Skye asked.
“His brain is fine.” The mischievous look in his sister’s eyes told him he wasn’t off the hook with her either. “He just suffers from a condition know as being a man.”
“Thanks, Rock. I’m really feeling the love.” He reached out and took his nephew from her, needing support from the only other male in the room, even if he was six months old.
“Vin, don’t you know by now if you ask a stupid question you’re gonna get a sarcastic answer from us,” Jordan said, joining them and placing a baby monitor next to her.
“And besides,” Beth cut in, “you’re the one who keeps coming to us for advice. You’d think you’d be used to it.”
Holly. Remember you’re doing this for Holly.
He grumbled to himself and rubbed at the tension building behind his brow.
“Vin.” Maddey spoke his name softly, waiting until he lifted his eyes to hers before continuing. “Do you want to know why Holly hasn’t said yes to any of your proposals?”
He gave her a why else would I be here look.
“Come on, Vin.” Maddey tapped a finger to his forehead. “Use that romance junkie brain of yours.”
She sighed at his blank expression.
“Romance, Vince. You’re missing the romance. The grand gesture.” She put her hands up like she was putting the words on display. “You have to woo her in a way that she can’t say no when you ask her.”
“Remind her why you guys are best friends,” Jordan added as the dogs started barking, announcing a new arrival.
A moment later, the subject of conversation arrived, cutting off any further discussion.
Holly placed a platter of cookies on the coffee table and collectively greeted the room.
Vince pulled her against him, kissing her long enough that the girls started to catcall, then he left them to their girl time.
He may have spent his time at the Donovan house getting picked on, but it paid off—he knew what he needed to do.
Bonus Epilogue 2
Holly directed Deck and Ray where to place their boxes of Christmas decorations, while Vince and Gage wrestled with getting the tree set up in the corner.
“You know, I used to think you guys went all out for the holidays before,” Nick said, carrying in his own container of ornaments, “but this is like Christmas on steroids.”
“It’s awesome, isn’t it?” She clapped her hands in front of her.
“I don’t know why you’re surprised, bro,” Damon said, clasping Nick on the shoulder.
“For real,” Ryan agreed. “Look at how much she went out for Halloween.” He held up the skeleton lantern he was about to pack for emphasis.
“You guys are such babies. It’s awesome and festive. So stop complaining and get to work,” Becky commanded.
As Sammy cranked up the Christmas mix he'd put together for their tree trimming party, Holly looked around at all the people who had made up her new family. There were way too many people stuffed into the space, but they wouldn’t have it any other way.
An arm fell around her shoulders, and she let herself be pulled against Kyle’s side. “It’s like a movie, isn’t it?”
She tipped her head back to meet her oldest friend’s eyes, a smile she was sure was almost cartoonish spreading across her face.
“No.” She shook her head, looking at the room. “It’s better.”
Who would have thought two kids from elitist, blue-blood families would escape and find their true place with the same group of friends.
The past year had been like something out of a storybook, and a lot of it had to do with the hunky man pulling her from her best friend’s arms and into his.
“Cupcake.” She flushed as she recalled him drawling her nickname the same way in bed that morning.
Vince bent and captured her lips with his, tangled his hands in her hair, angling her head back, kissing her long and deep like they weren’t standing in the middle of a room filled with people. But that was her Vince, her alpha man, her Muffin. He did what he wanted without apology.
Snaking her hands between their bodies, she clutched at his shirt, making sure to give as good as she got.
And when Vince sucked her bottom lip into his mouth, she was ready to say screw decorating and drag him into the closest room available.
He moved back, the dimple in his left cheek revealing he knew exactly where her thoughts had gone. Knowing bastard.
“Later, baby,” he promised.
She whimpered as he pulled away.
His stubble scratched along the shell of her ear, sending tingles down her spine, as he bent to speak so only she could hear. “I promise once this is over and everyone’s gone, I will do things to you that will put us permanently on Santa’s Naughty List.”
Oh my Frosty.
Another whimper escaped, and he chuckled.
“You excited?” he asked, tucking her against his side.
In her old life, things like Christmas trees and other holiday decor were handled by professional designers, but not anymore. This would be the first year she got to decorate a tree, and she got to do two, the guys giving her free rein over theirs next door as well.
“Ewww. Eww, eww, eww,” Jordan cried, running in from the guys’ apartment across the hall. “So gross.”
“What’s wrong, babe?” Jake asked, going to his wife.
“Relax, JD,” Jase said, also making his way from next door.
“Don’t tell me to relax, Jason Richard.” She jabbed an aggressive finger at her twin.
“Oh, shit, she must be pissed if she’s middle-naming you, bro.” Ryan clutched his stomach as he bent over laughing.
“Haven’t you heard of knocking?” Jase asked Jordan.
“Haven’t you heard of locking a door?” Jordan countered.
“Must have forgotten in the heat of the moment.” Jase shrugged his shoulders as Melody buried her face against his chest in embarrassment. All the eyes in the room were ping-ponging between the two twins.
“Nothing worse than walking in on your sibling getting jiggy with it,” Justin said sympathetically.
“Oh, don’t even go there, Just. It’s not my fault you came over uninvited and entered my house without knocking,” Maddey said from her perch on her husband’s lap.
“Aren’t you glad you’re an only child?” Vince asked Holly, reaching out to bump knuckles with Jase as Jordan advised the room he should change his sheets.
It may be true that she didn’t have any blood siblings, but this insane group of people was the family of her heart.
* * *
Hours later, Vince still hadn’t managed to get his nerves under control. He racked his brain for the perfect way to ask Holly to marry him before he figured out what he’d been doing wrong—he’d never asked.
He was an idiot.
It was like trying to get her to date him all over again. He’d gotten better at asking for things instead of demanding, but it looked like old habits died hard.
What he came up with might not be all that grand, but he thought it would be perfect for Holly.
She was putting the finishing touches on the Christmas tree in the girls' apartment—it was now or never.
Moving into position, he retrieved the box he’d hidden earlier. “You missed an ornament, Cupcake.” He held out the unassuming white box.
“Oh, whoops.” She took the box from him, joy radiating from her.
There was nothing cuter than his girlfriend in the holiday spirit.
Box in hand, she returned her attention to the tree.
With her back now to him, he dropped to one knee, holding his breath while he waited.
A gasp, followed by an “Oh my god,” filled the now silent room as she whipped around to face him.
Those whiskey eyes he loved to drown in widened when she saw him down on one knee.
“Vin?” There was a wobble in her voice as she said his name.
“Cupcake.” He had to pause to clear the emotion from his as well. “I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve asked you this.”
A chorus of laughter filled the room as their friends didn’t even attempt the hide their amusement.
“But I realized I never really asked you.”
He reached out, cupping his hands around her hips and tugging her closer.
“So…Holly, baby, Cupcake. I only have one thing on my Christmas list this year, and that’s to have you finally say yes. What do you say? Will you make all my wishes come true? Will you marry me?”
“Oh, Muffin.” Her head fell forward, the purple tips of her hair obscuring his view of her beautiful face.
His heart sank as he prepared himself for another rejection.
Without warning, she launched at him, knocking him back, both of them tumbling to the floor along with the ring box.
“Is this your new way of telling me no? Because I gotta say, it’s a little better than the others, but still not what I want.”
He rolled them, propping himself on his elbow to see her. With his free hand, he brushed the hair from her face, trailing a finger down her jaw and across her bottom lip.
He was really starting to hate that two-letter word.
“I will get you to say yes to me one day.”
Her hair fanned out as she shook her head side-to-side. “No, my answer isn’t no.”
“Vince.” She playfully smacked his chest. “Now is not the time for dirty talk.”
He gave her a wolfish grin, knowing he had spoken those exact words to her that morning.
“It’s always time for dirty talk.”
“Not when I’m trying to accept your proposal, it isn’t.”
His heart leaped from his chest at the words, soaring with Santa and his reindeer as they registered.
“About fucking time, Cupcake.”
“The same can be said about you, Muffin. Took you long enough to actually ask.”
His mouth was on hers in an instant, not even the raucous round of applause from their friends enough to break them apart.
“See, babe.” Jake’s voice was the first thing to finally register. “We aren’t the only ones to get lost in the moment and forget about the ring.”
“Oh my god.” Holly pushed him back and sat up abruptly. “The ring.” She frantically patted the ground, looking for the box.
He spotted it down by her leg, scooped it up and lifted the custom engagement ring from the foam it rested in. The round ruby winked at him, the emeralds inside the twisted band the perfect complement for his Christmas-inspired piece.
“You sure?” He paused before slipping the ring down her finger. “This is permanent, you know?”
“So’s this.” She flipped her hand over to reveal the Muffin’s tattoo she had inked on her skin almost a year ago. The girl may have made him work for her to say yes to his proposal, but she had always been his.
Hell, she’d been his from the moment he locked eyes on her.
“I love you, Cupcake.”
“I love you too, Muffin.”
**If you enjoyed vince and holly's story, the next book in the BTU Alumni series is jase's story puck performance available now free in Kind