Home > Imperfect (Triple Canopy #3)

Imperfect (Triple Canopy #3)
Author: Riley Edwards


1

 

 

“Luke,” Lauren happily chirped my name as soon as I walked into the reception area at Triple Canopy.

I felt my eyes narrow at her happy tone. Sure, Lauren was friendly, but not overly so, and usually, she saved her cheeriness for clients. Today, she was overly so toward me. I searched my recent memories for a reason for the pretty receptionist’s joyfulness and I came up empty. Not that Lauren shared. She came to work, did her job—most of the time with a smile—then left. But she’d never been overly cheery toward me. Logan sometimes, but I figured it was mostly to get under his skin. Like pulling a tiger’s tail to get a reaction. Lucky for her, Logan didn’t bite—ever. He simply ignored her.

“Lauren,” I returned. “What’s up?”

“Your one o’clock is here,” she informed me.

“My one o’clock?”

“Um. Yeah,” she drawled slowly like I was an idiot. “Your one o’clock with Shiloh Kent.”

“I don’t—” Shit, damn, and fuck. “I forgot I was taking over Brady’s classes while he’s on his honeymoon.”

“We can reschedule.” A feminine voice came from behind me.

A very smooth, husky voice that sounded like sex. Not empty, superficial sex that left your balls drained but your soul cold. A sweet promise to warm you from the inside out. The sound of it rich and soothing.

I felt my body grow tight and I turned, ignoring Lauren’s dirty look. Then I had to look down, way down—the woman was no taller than five-four. A pixie face, pale blue eyes that were so light they were pastel. The stark contrast to her sun-kissed skin made them look luminescent. Blonde hair that was so shiny it looked like she’d oiled it up then brushed it smooth.

Christ.

No, Shiloh Kent was not rescheduling.

“Has Miss Kent signed in?” I asked Lauren and held my breath waiting for a correction on her marital status.

None came and Lauren was back to smiling. The receptionist would be on the phone with Quinn before I made it to the range.

“Yeah, all her paperwork is on file and current.”

“You’ve been here before?” I asked Shiloh, and the sexiest fucking smile tipped her lips.

Lauren snorted and I felt like I was missing a joke.

“A few times,” she confirmed.

“This is Sunny Kent,” Lauren informed me.

“I’m sorry—”

“Don’t be.” She waved me off. “It was nice seeing you, Lauren.”

“You, too, Sunny.”

I glanced down at the rifle case and that sexy-as-all-hell voice floated through the air and slammed straight into my chest.

“Fair warning, if you offer to carry my rifle, I’m gonna kick you in the shin.”

“Come again?”

“Again?” Sunny tipped her head to the side and a playful smirk lit her face. “Hadn’t realized I’d come at all.”

It took a moment to get it. But when it hit, for the first time in a long time I roared with laughter. When I was done, I gave her another once-over. She was cute, no doubt. But that wicked dry humor did it for me.

“All right, Sunny Kent. I won’t offer to carry your rifle. Do you know where we’re going?”

“Yes.”

“Lead the way.” I swept my hand toward the hall.

“You just wanna stare at my ass, don’t you?”

Who the hell is this woman, and where has she been my whole life?

“Yep.”

“Well, at least you’re honest.”

She gave a saucy wink and started down the hall.

Damn. I think I’m in love.

 

 

2

 

 

“That’s a miss.”

I clenched my teeth, slid my finger out of the trigger well, lifted my cheek off the stock of my custom 6.5, and hung my head in frustration.

Third missed shot in a row.

“Call your shot,” Luke continued.

“Left.” I begrudgingly told him something he very well knew since he was looking down range through his spotting scope.

Of all days for me to be off my game it had to be in front of Luke Marcou. I should’ve canceled my range time. Not because my normal spotter when I came to Triple Canopy was on vacation—actually Brady was on his honeymoon which I guess was still a vacation. Not that I’d know anything about honeymoons or vacations since I’d never taken either.

No, I should’ve canceled when I woke up after four hours of sleep and knew today was going to be another shit day. And it was going to be a shit day because I’d had only four hours of sleep after working all night. Work that included being shot at. That wasn’t the shit part—that was par for the job.

The paperwork that went along with discharging my taser and getting my ass chewed out was the shit part. The ass-chewing was the result of me pulling a hotshot move that not only put me in danger but my team as well. I should’ve waited, but the skinny, nineteen-year-old kid who’d barricaded himself in his parents’ house after he’d robbed a grocery store had run out the front door guns-a-blazin’. He’d practically ran into me and I made my move without thinking. Lucky for him, his parents weren’t home and he was in the house alone so there were no hostages. Unlucky for me, my captain was unhappy. As in displeased I’d bum-rushed the kid, and took him to the floor while he was still armed. As they say, all’s well that ends well but it could’ve ended a different way—with me being shot or someone on my team taking a round because my head was jacked-up. That last part was according to my captain and he was giving me a short leash to untwist myself before he took action.

I thought some time at the range would help clear my head. And normally it would’ve helped but today I had two things working against me. I was a little banged up from last night’s activities. Just because the kid was skinny didn’t mean he didn’t fight before I got him to his stomach and J.D. “Gordy” Gordon got to my side to help subdue the suspect. Again, par for the job, so I couldn’t blame my crappy shooting solely on my bruises.

Luke was the more likely cause of my poor concentration. Technically, my concentration wasn’t lacking. I was hyperaware Luke was close. I was acutely cognizant of Luke’s presence and had been for the last hour. But it was just in the last thirty minutes since we’d left the pistol range that my focus wavered. It was a strong possibility this shift happened when he told me to “assume the position and get yourself right.” He gave the order in a light-hearted, teasing manner which seemed to be Luke’s way. It also wasn’t an abnormal order, as Brady had also issued the same with a slight variation—minus the teasing tone—when it was time for me to get on my belly in the dirt and square up with my rifle.

I couldn’t deny it; Luke’s way of delivering the command made me feel all sorts of tingles in places that shouldn’t be tingling. Not only because I was supposed to be practicing my long-distance shooting skills but because the tingle had long since stopped tingling.

That was by design. I worked in a male-dominated field with uber-alpha men and I had to be on top of my game at all times. Deviation from that could be fatal. I worked my ass off to be taken seriously by my fellow officers. I’d worked double-hard to make it to SWAT. Nothing was going to derail my dreams. And feeling the tingle would be a distraction I couldn’t afford. So I no longer felt it. I was solo-sexual. Meaning I only had sex with myself. The unfortunate part was I sucked at it. So I’d given up that, too. So really, I was a practicing nun. That was if nuns worked in law enforcement and shot people, which I didn’t think they did.

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