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Some Kind of Perfect (Calloway Sisters #4.5)
Author:Krista Ritchie & Becca Ritchie

Some Kind of Perfect (Calloway Sisters #4.5)

Krista Ritchie & Becca Ritchie





A NOTE FROM THE AUTHORS



It is highly recommended to read this book after Long Way Down. Otherwise, it will spoil the entire series. Some Kind of Perfect is meant to be the 10th book in the series. The epilogue novel. The conclusion.





2018



“I’m always going to be a sex addict, but I’m more than just sex.”



- Lily Hale, We Are Calloway (Season 1 Episode 01 – Pilot)





{ 1 }

June 2018

Hale Co. Lobby

Philadelphia






LILY HALE


I’ve never been punched in the face before, but I imagine this is how it feels. Below my eye, the skin puffs and swells with constant throbbing pain. I cover the right one with my palm, afraid if I drop my hand, half of my face may fall apart altogether. Just like Mrs. Potato Head.

That’s me.

Lily Potato Head Hale.

For the moment at least. I’m a mess, and it’s not even my fault.

Lo clutches my wrist, attempting to tug my hand down, but I don’t relinquish that easily. Lest my eyeball pop out of the socket.

“Let me see, Lil.” His amber irises rage hot between concern and anger.

We’re not in private. We stand in the very center of Hale Co.’s pristine lobby, the waxed marble floors reflecting my discomfort back at me. I can’t hide behind the fiddleleaf fig plants, their ceramic pots stationed on either side of the shiny elevators.

I’m not a botanist or suddenly fascinated by foliage, but Connor mentioned their specific name one day. Apparently Cobalt Inc. has English Ivy in their lobby. I didn’t know someone could find a way to be conceited about houseplants, but Connor has lots of talent in making his belongings seem superior.

Maybe because they are.

I shake out the thought. I don’t need the fiddleleaf figs or Connor’s English Ivy. I can stand here. Right here. Out in the open. I know I can.

At the sleek entrance desk, a pretty blonde receptionist watches us like she’s tuned into a television show. She doesn’t even care as my sole eye meets her eye. And she’s not the only one. Hale Co. employees push through the revolving doors and depart from the beeping elevators, and their wandering gazes plaster onto us.

Loren Hale might be the boss, but I don’t show up at his offices that often. Let alone flanked by three bodyguards. They do their best to subdue the crowds outside, which start dispersing. Younger teens hoist posters like: kiss me, Loren Hale! and my cinnamon roll Loren Hale and we love you, Lily! They wait by the curb on the chance that we’ll exit, but they can’t see us through the tinted windows.

It’s not their fault my eye swells either.

My bodyguards couldn’t prepare for the one hostile stranger. It’s usually just one bad apple.

And this apple happened to throw a plastic penis at my face. Which, granted, has happened before, but none have ever made contact.

Now I’m suffering from being literally smacked in the face with a penis, and I’m not sure what hurts more: my face or my dignity.

Probably my face.

It fucking hurts.

Lo cups my cheeks, his features contorting through a series of emotions. “Are you crying?”

“No…my one eye is just watering.” I sniff before my watery eye morphs into full-fledged tears.

His cheekbones cut sharp. “That asshat is road kill.”

It sounds less like a threat and more like a character description. When Lo realizes that I am in no way dropping my hand, he tucks my gangly frame closer to his hard chest.

My tense shoulders nearly melt, but my palm stays its course, keeping my face together. I am one step away from a Picasso painting.

Lo fumes beneath his breath, “A goddamn disgrace to human kind.” His fury is radiating so much that I almost expect flames to shoot out of him like Cannonball from X-Men.

For some reason, I decide now’s a great time to bring it up. “You look like Cannonball.”

“I didn’t realize I have blond hair…oh wait, I don’t,” he says dryly. “And I haven’t checked my ass recently, but I’m really fucking positive fire isn’t shooting out of it.”

Talk of his ass distracts me. I almost sneak a peek, but my long-time bodyguard approaches us. Bald, burly, and extremely tall, Garth is the most experienced bodyguard of them all. As the head of the fleet, he has the unique job of ordering Rose and Connor’s bodyguards around. It’s one of the few things I can hang over their heads with pride.

My bodyguard is better than your bodyguard, ha!

Lo speaks first, his eyes narrowing to scalding pinpoints. “Did security get him?”

Garth nods. “They’re calling the police now.” To me, he asks, “Do you need to go to the hospital?”

Before Lo insists, I blurt out, “No! I’m fine. Seriously I just got punched.” By a penis. What is my life?

Lo stares down at me like I’ve lost my mind. I haven’t. I’m completely sane. None of the guys would go to the hospital for this, and I don’t want to either just because I’m the girl. So there.

Lo can’t read my mind though. “If you don’t need a hospital, then let me see.” He grabs my wrist again, and his other hand coyly slides down the length of my hip. Where is that going?

I watch it, sort of distracted by his jawline, which is closer to me—really his entire body is close to me. His black slacks, black V-neck shirt, arrowhead necklace, soft skin and light brown hair. Just all of him: the entirety of Loren Hale. Ice and whiskey.

But the metaphorical whiskey.

His hand continues to dip down my cotton black dress, which resembles an extra long T-shirt. I feel his palm slip to my lower back, descending and descending—he squeezes my butt!

I startle enough that I surrender. Public displays are frequent between us, but surprise ass-grabs still do surprise me.

With both of my hands clutched to his belt loops, he has free view of my whole face. I watch his expression grind through more dark and stormy sentiments. Then his throat bobs, and his eyes lose all trace of anger.

“Lil,” he breathes, holding my cheek again.

“It’s that bad?” I pat the tender skin with my fingertips. It stings, so I lower my hand.

He shakes his head slowly and then forces out a sharp, “No.” Lo has started doing this thing when he lies: his eyes dart to the side for a millisecond before returning to me. He adds, “Don’t give me that look.”

“What look?”

“The one that says, you’re a lying liar, Loren Hale.”

“Then tell me I look like the best Lily Hale you’ve ever seen.” I try to straighten up to appear like the best version of Lily. I can’t recall what version I’m on. Maybe Lily 8.2.

He grimaces at my eye. “You’re the best Lily—but your eye looks like shit, which is not your fault.”

“I know.”

He nods, more to himself. “Can you see out of it?”

My eyelid droops, and it hurts to lift it up. “A bit.”

Lo nods again, but this time, his gaze flashes murderously. He turns to Garth. “We’re pressing charges for assault. You can stay here with the other bodyguards and wait for our lawyers. When you’re finished, you can meet us at my office.” Lo is so assured, no indecisiveness or need to turn to his father or a friend.

After Garth agrees, we walk to the elevators, and Lo’s confidence never vanishes. I inspect my face in the shiny elevator door while we wait.

It’s worse than I thought. A giant red welt covers half my face. The bottom of my eye took the brunt of the impact. I run my fingers through my shoulder-length hair, at least hopeful that the strands aren’t greasy today.

You’re not a total mess. See.

Lo comes up behind me—and I blink back most thoughts that could easily turn into sexual fantasies. Don’t space out.

It’s not like I have in a while, but I still need to remind myself. He wraps his arms around my waist and sets his chin on my shoulder. I ease back into his chest. “Mmmm.” I freeze. Did I make that sound aloud?