My Kind of Perfect (Trillium Bay #3) - Tracy Brogan Page 0,1

say, “I told you so, Lilly,” because I’d been cautioned—repeatedly—that the relationship was a mistake.

“She’s all set, you guys! Oh my gosh, are you ready?” my niece, Chloe, called out excitedly from the top of Gigi’s stairs, where Emily—the middle Callaghan sister and Chloe’s mother—was waiting to model her bridal gown. She was getting remarried in a few months, and this big-reveal moment was exclusively for me because Gigi, Brooke, and Chloe had already seen it. I’d missed the wedding dress shopping excursion because I’d been in California with Tag, and the regret still stung. I hadn’t been home when my sister had gotten engaged, either. I’d missed Christmas with my family because we’d been on a Caribbean vacation. Even the courtship of Brooke and her boyfriend, Leo, who was now a deputy with the Wenniway Island Police Department, had blossomed without me around to share in the joy of it, but still, it was the dress shopping that seemed to rattle me the most. I’d missed all the feels and the aahs and the oohs and the giggles and the cheers and the saying yes to the dress, and for some reason that really bothered me.

Emily’s first marriage at nineteen had been a spontaneous runaway elopement, so the entire family had missed out on that one. I was only fifteen at the time, and there’d been no dress shopping or cake tasting or bridal shower attending. No bouquet toss or champagne toast or vision of my father walking her down the aisle—a point of contention that had created a fair amount of friction between the two of them that they’d only recently resolved. So this wedding was meant to make up for that wedding. Emily tying the knot with Ryan was going to be an event, with all the matrimonial fanfare, frothy tulle, fragrant white roses, and tuxedoed harpists that my sister could wrangle together. And of course, most importantly, there would be the Perfect Dress. The dress I hadn’t helped choose but was eager to see nonetheless.

“We’re ready!” called out Brooke, and Gigi began to hum a pitchy version of the “Wedding March.” Thirteen-year-old Chloe’s laughter preceded her as she bounded down the wooden stairs in sneakers, sounding more like a basketball player galloping across center court than the slender girl she was. She rounded the corner and skidded to a halt, shoes squeaking and hair swirling, before turning back toward my sister.

Emily descended with far more grace and solemnity, the swish of chiffon nearly drowned out by Gigi’s off-key humming as my sister floated her way down the steps and into the kitchen. She did a slow Cinderella-quality turn with one hand holding out the soft white fabric of the gown. She smiled at me, her cheeks pink with excitement. Her red-gold hair was twisted up in a simple knot, her blue eyes sparkling. I pressed my hands to my own instantly warm cheeks as fat tears full of mixed emotions puddled in my eyes.

“Well?” she asked tentatively. “How’d I do?”

“Yeah, how’d we do?” demanded Chloe, the mini-version of her mother right down to the red hair and smattering of freckles.

It was well established that I was the most fashion conscious of the three Callaghan sisters, although admittedly the bar was low. Dark-haired Brooke lived in jeans and sweaters, even though she was the mayor of our town, and strawberry-blonde Emily leaned more toward nicer jeans and nicer sweaters, but I was the one who paid attention to the latest trends. Thanks to a brief (and disastrous) stint in the pageant world, I knew how to play up my assets, accentuate my best features, and pose to look five pounds lighter.

But Emily didn’t need any of that.

“Oh my gosh, Peach,” I said on a big exhale. “You’re so beautiful.”

“Am I?” she asked, laughing.

“You are stunning. The dress is perfect, and you are gorgeous. Oh my gosh. Give me another twirl,” I said, rising from my chair. I needed to get a closer look. Her gown was snowy white with a sweetheart neckline and cap sleeves trimmed in just a hint of sparkly rhinestones. Just right for her.

Emily obliged my request, turning a full spin and then rotating back in the other direction before stopping to face me. Her grin was wide and blissful—for about five seconds. Then she burped, slapped a hand over her mouth, rushed to the kitchen sink . . . and puked.

I gasped in stunned surprise, but Gigi just admonished her to not get