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Hollie (I mean…Sunny)

Two years later

     “This is it. It’s perfect.” 

     I laugh as Trent sizes up the tree we’ve decided on. “You’re right babe. It’s the perfect tree. Now can we go?” 

     After two hours and three laps around the Christmas tree farm, we have finally found our tree for the year. Apparently, some things never change. Only this year, our pickings were limited considering we’re cutting down our tree two days before Christmas Eve. 

     “Why are you so impatient?” he asks, dropping the ax and taking a few steps toward me. “We have nothing to do for the next two weeks. Our calendars are clear until the New Year.” 

     “Because,” I say with a tinge of whine to my voice, “I’ve been on the road for weeks and all I want to do is go home and curl up with you and Doug and eat wings.”

     “I’m honestly surprised you let me bring you right here before going home and seeing him.” 

     “I knew I wouldn’t leave if I did. He puts me under a spell I swear.” 

     No, we did not get into a throuple after I decided to make Rolling Hills my home base. Doug is the puppy Trent gave me on that fateful day two years ago. His full name is Douglas Firdinand. 

     Like our tree. 

     Yes, we really are that cheesy. 

     Trent laughs and kisses me on the forehead. “Ask and you shall receive. Let me go find one of the workers to help me with this monstrosity and we’ll head home.” 

     He gives me one more quick kiss as he jogs toward the cabin. It used to be that the two of us could handle cutting down the tree and wrapping it up. That was back in the day when a six-footer was plenty big for Trent’s living room. 

     It’s a little different when you’re trying to cut down and tie up a 10-footer. It is the only size that is going to look right in our new home.
     After roughly a year and a half at Trent’s, we decided we wanted to start fresh. A place that was ours from the beginning. A place that was just a few more miles away from his mother and her tendency to pop up announced. It was just our luck that there was a piece of property not far from where Hazel and Knox built. So we bought it and now we get to spend our first Christmas together there. 

     I look up at this tree, knowing it’s going to look perfect in our new living room. I can picture it now, perfectly situated in the corner of the room next to the fireplace. Our stockings are ready to be hung from the mantle. The lights outside are going to bring in a soft glow. 

     It’s going to be perfect. Just like one of my Christmas movies. 

     I know I said that I was going to do more with my acting career. And I have. Since I officially told Adored that I was no longer going to work with them, I have been in two streaming movies, accepted the starring role in a sitcom that begins shooting next year, and have increased my endorsements, including a campaign for Left for Love. But I couldn’t just let Christmas movies go by the wayside. Turns out I missed them. So last year, with a brand new network, I starred in Kissing Christmas. It was such a success, we did a sequel this year. 

     Turns out you can take the girl out of Christmas movies, but you can’t take the Christmas movies out of the girl. 

     Oh, and because Adored technically owns the rights to my past movies, they started replaying them. They also haven’t made a new original movie in two years. Rumor has it, the network can’t get any actress to sign exclusively with them. Apparently, no one wants to work for them after how they treated me. I love it. They have to play my movies, but I don't have to have any affiliation with them. I just get to receive royalties for all the years of work I did for them.

     It’s how I’m affording the dog spa in the house for Doug. 

     I still have my house in Los Angeles for when I have to go out there and shoot. But the best part is that Hazel has made it so that Trent can travel with me if I’m away for long periods of time. He’s even been able to expand the influencer division because he has Los Angeles contacts now. 

     It’s nice to be in California, but it always feels like home when I return to Rolling Hills. 

     Yes, Trent is my home. He’s my safe space and I don’t know what I did in this life to deserve him and his love, but I count my blessings everyday. And of course, the other blessings in my life are my friends. Friends are the family you get to choose. And I’ll say this, I think I chose the best. 

     I turn back and look at the tree while trying to imagine this stage of my life without Hazel and Whitley. Heck, even blackhearted Izzy has become a staple in my life. These three women love me because of me, not because of what celebrities I know or how much money my face can bring to their product. I consider them true friends, girlfriends like I always wished I'd have, and I love them.  

     “It’s really going to look beautiful, isn’t it?” 

     I turn at the sound of Trent’s voice, only he’s not alone. 

     Standing behind him, but way off to his side are Whitley and Jake, along with Knox and Hazel. 

     “It is,” I say, feeling very confused as Trent takes a few more steps toward me. “What’s going on?” 

     Trent grabs each of my hands. And I don’t know why this is what I see, but out of the corner of my eye I notice Whitley crying.

     “Sunshine, it has been two years since you changed my life. Two years of love. Two years of figuring out how to navigate this life that we have created. Two years of me thanking whatever higher power dropped you into my lap. Every day I wake up and wonder how this is my life. Then you roll over, give me a kiss, and I say a silent thank you that you’re here with me. I know those pictures upended your life two years ago, but without them, I don’t know if we would have met. You being on the naughty list was my best Christmas present.” 

     I laugh, because he’s right. At the time, I thought it was going to ruin my life. Turns out it was exactly what I needed to start the life I truly wanted. 

     Just as the laughter ends, I suck in a breath as I watch Trent go down to one knee. 

     Is this really happening?     

     “Sunny Berry. Hollie Berry. Sunshine. You’ve had all of those names since we got together. Will you do me the honor of adding one more to that list? Will you be my wife?” 

     “Yes,” I say immediately. “Yes I will be your wife.” 

     Our friends cheer as Trent puts the ring on my finger, happy tears pouring down my face. He quickly stands up, cups my face and brings my lips to his. 

     I’ve made a lot of hard decisions in my life. Whether or not to leave Adored. Whether or not it was smart to live somewhere other than Los Angeles as I was trying to reboot my career. Heck, even the decision of whether or not to stay a red head had a long pro-con list. 

     But this? Marrying Trent? That’s the easiest decision I’ve ever had to make. 

     I’m still kissing Trent as I feel our friends starting to gather around us, bringing the two of us into a massive group hug. 

     “I can’t believe this happened!” Hazel says. At least it sounds like her. I’m getting squished. 

     “We’re all getting married!” Whitley yells. You can’t mistake her accent from anywhere. 

     They let us go and the girls immediately grab my hand to check out the ring. I laugh as I look at Trent take a moment with his two best friends, each of them congratulating him in their own way. 

     “Alright I have it all! Can we go to the bar now?” 

     I turn to my left where I see Izzy stepping around a Christmas tree, cell phone in hand. 

     “What are you doing back there?” I ask. 

     She holds up the phone. “Getting it on video. Now, I was told there is going to be a celebration, so please, take me to the bar so I don’t have to watch all of you love birds be happy while sober.” 

     Everyone laughs and walks away, leaving Trent and I by our tree. 

     “I don’t know how you keep doing it?” 

     He quirks an eyebrow. “What’s that?” 

     I loop my hands around his neck and he does the same around my waist.  “You keep giving me Christmas memories I thought only existed between the pages of a movie script.”  

     He smiles. “You watch enough of them and you pick up a thing or two.” 

     I lean up and kiss him again. I wish we weren’t at a Christmas tree farm because that means eventually, I have to stop. 

We naturally pull apart, but neither of us move. 

     “What would ours be called?” 

     He tilts his head. “Our what?” 

     “Our Christmas movie. What would ours be called?” 

     Trent thinks about it for a second, though I see the moment he comes up with it. I swear his eye started to twinkle.” 

     “Run Run Rudolph would obviously be the first part,” he says. 

     I smile. “Perfect. But what about the sequel? People would obviously want a sequel. 

     “Easy. A Christmas Wedding.” 

     My eyes grow wide. “Here? 

     Trent nods. “What do you say. This time next year, right here, we say I do?” 

     I stretch on my tip toes to give him one more kiss. “Sounds perfect.” 

     And it is. Just like us.  

Thank you so much for reading this bonus chapter for Trent and Hollie! 

And what about Doug's name. Isn't it just the best? 

If you're still in the holiday mood, then check out Off the Market at Christmas. The childhood friends to lovers, opposites attract story is a perfect, light, holiday read. 

Ready for more Rolling Hills? How about a new set of friends who will all vie for your love as your next book boyfriend? Then pick up The One I Want, a single dad, nanny, age gap romance. 

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