Scroll down to read your exclusive bonus epilogue!
Want to download the bonus epilogue to your device instead? Click the button below to access the Bookfunnel download page.
SOUR LOLLIPOPS ARE MY SALVATION, especially when my hairstylist is tugging at my head like I’ve insulted her mother and she intends to rip my scalp right off. Jackson is snapping pictures of us in between checking himself out in the mirror, and Nadia’s doling out glasses of champagne.
I refused to get ‘Bride Tribe’ embroidered on anyone’s dressing gowns, but they’re still my tribe.
And I’m the bride.
Nervous butterflies tickle the inside of my belly as the stylist curls my hair into soft waves. The door to my dressing room opens and Jackson’s friend, Missy appears. She gives me a broad smile as she drags her big, black makeup artist’s kit behind her.
“Hello, gorgeous!” She sings to me.
“Hi, darling,” Jackson replies, then laughs. “Oh, you weren’t talking to me.”
“You’re gorgeous, too.” I grin as the hairdresser fluffs my hair one final time. I tug my dressing gown around my body, adjusting myself in the chair before standing up to stretch my body out. I glance outside at the Black Estate gardens below, shifting to look at the darkening sky. I swear a minute ago, it was blue skies and sunshine.
Missy starts opening up her makeup kit, and I prepare myself for more time sitting in this damned chair. All of this is more than I intended on doing for my wedding. I just wanted to go down to the courthouse, but slowly and surely, my wedding grew, and grew, and grew.
I’ve seen it happen to countless brides, and I thought I’d be immune.
How naive of me.
Now, my wedding has turned into a whole ordeal, with flowers and centerpieces and catering. We even have a chocolate fountain, for some reason. I didn’t even know I had a hundred friends and family, but apparently there are a hundred people attending my wedding. Cousins and friends and old coworkers. Even Finn and his skydiving partner, Sweeney got an invite—but only after they promised not to cause any trouble.
Missy gets to work on my makeup, and I take sips of champagne whenever her hand leaves my face. Jackson snaps pictures. Nadia stays on champagne duty. I try to keep up with what everyone is saying, but my thoughts keep drifting to what’s about to happen.
In mere hours—minutes, even—I’ll be marrying the love of my life. The man of my dreams. The future father of my children, hopefully.
I don’t even know why I’m nervous. I’ve wanted to marry Sacha since I was seven years old, maybe even younger. I’ve drawn hearts around our names in every notebook I’ve ever owned. I’ve dreamed of him since I was a teenager.
Now I’m doing it. For better or worse. ’Til death. The whole nine yards.
I was wrong about one thing: my heart is most definitely not dead. It’s not a black hole. It’s red-blooded and thumping madly in my chest, reminding me of how much emotion is coursing through my body.
Missy finishes the simple makeup look I’ve asked for, and I turn to the dress hanging on the wall of the room. Nadia smiles, clapping her hands, and Jackson moves to take it off the coat hanger.
It’s a tea length, whimsical dress with a lace bodice and a full skirt. I’ve chosen colorful, floral heels to go with it, as an homage to the color Sacha’s brought back into my life.
It feels good not to wear black to a wedding, for once. I helped plan this wedding, obviously, but I’m not working today. I’m just marrying the man I love and celebrating our life together with a hundred of my closest friends.
I slip into the dress and stare at myself in the mirror, sucking in a deep breath. By the end of the day, I’ll have gained a husband.
“It’s time,” Nadia says, handing me a bouquet of flowers she put together herself. “You look amazing.”
I’m ushered downstairs to where our guests are waiting in their seats, in the rolling lawns of the Black Estate. The whole front gardens have been set up for our wedding. I look out at the beautiful flowers in full bloom, standing in the foyer of the house that used to be full of bad memories and pain.
Now, it’s the opposite. It’s the happiest place I’ve ever been to, and it’s nearly time for me to walk down the aisle. But as I glance out at the gathering clouds, I wonder if I’ll even be able to make that short walk.
This morning, the sun was shining.
Now? A couple of hours later?
Jackson grunts, staring up at the sky. He glances at me, arching an eyebrow. “Doesn’t look good, Willow.”
“Maybe we’ve got time to do the wedding before the storm comes in,” I answer, already knowing it won’t be possible.
“They say it’s good luck,” Nadia offers, ever the optimist.
It’s already drizzling out, and I can see guests looking up at the opaque, grey sky as they try to cover their heads with bags and jackets. Thunder cracks right overhead almost at the same time as lightening rips through in the sky. A few guests shriek. Nadia jumps beside me.
I just sigh.
Of course this is happening. Wouldn’t be a wedding without at least one thing going wrong.
What starts as a light drizzle turns into a deluge within seconds. Guests come running toward the building as a whip of wind tears over the cliffs. All one hundred of them come bursting through the doors as Nadia and Jackson help me shuffle to the side of the tight foyer.
Sacha is the last to come in through the doors, drenched from head to toe. His hair is plastered to his forehead, and his expensive, tailored suit is soaked.
His eyes find mine right away, and a smile splits across his face. Sacha’s laugh warms my heart and he crosses the distance between us in three steps. Reaching his arms toward me, Sacha grabs me by the waist and spins me in a slow circle.
Jackson yelps, screaming something about getting my dress wet and ruining my hair.
I don’t care. It doesn’t matter.
Rain? What rain?
All I see is my soon to be husband, a little wet around the edges.
My hands are on Sacha’s shoulders, and my eyes are glued to his. He sets me back down on the ground and crushes his lips to mine, ruining my lipstick and messing up my carefully styled waves.
I press my body to his, soaking the front of my fancy white dress.
And it’s perfect.
Sacha’s lips are warm. His gaze is hot. His hands are made for touching me, and my heart beats only for him. Outside, lightning flashes. Thunder booms a second later, making everyone jump as Sacha and I fall apart.
My eyes stay glued to his, and I reach up to push his wet hair off his forehead.
“The weather isn’t cooperating,” I note, stating the obvious.
“I don’t care about the weather,” Sacha responds. He leans his head down to brush his lips against mine. “You look incredible.”
“You look soaked.”
Sacha grins, wrapping his arms around me to make sure I absorb as much water from his clothes as possible.
“Just like you’ll be later tonight.” He wiggles his eyebrows.
Laughing, I push him away. This is the man I’m marrying. Rain or shine. Soaked or dry. Fairytale wedding or rained-out disaster.
It’s him. He’s the one for me. Any day of the week.
He threads his fingers into mine and turns to face the guests, who are doing their best to dab their clothing dry with towels the staff are handing out.
Staring at us, the officiant arches an eyebrow and glances outside. “Well, what do you want to do? Should we wait for the storm to pass?”
“I’ve been waiting my whole life,” Sacha says, shaking his head. “Make Willow my wife, storm or no storm. It doesn’t matter.” He turns to me and whispers softly. “Our storm has already passed.”
So, we shuffle into the nearest living room, and Sacha and I get married. Max stands beside us, and our friends and family crowd around.
There’s no walk down the aisle. There’s no gauzy fabric and perfect Instagram-worthy photos. There aren’t even any flowers in this room.
But there’s a great deal of love, laughter, and good memories.
When Sacha kisses me for the first time as my husband, my heart nearly explodes from happiness. Max produces a bottle of champagne from who-knows-where, popping the cork and yelling out as the rest of our loved ones cheer and clap.
Sacha holds me close, touching the tip of his nose to mine.
“I love you, Willow.”
“And I love you, Sacha.”
I smile. “Forever.”
Sacha arches an eyebrow as a grin tugs his lips. “You believe in forever?”
“I believe in forever with you,” I answer.
And it’s true. Forever with Sacha Black is the only type of forever I’ll ever want. Together, we’re better.
Rain or shine.
Thunderstorm or clear blue sky.
Aisle or no aisle.
He’s mine, and I’m his.