All I Ever Need Is You(Sullivans,book 14)(24) by Bella Andre
“You’re a good sister. Tell me, how does she do on Thursday nights?”
“Pretty good, usually.”
“Then how about you and I aim to make it really good?”
Her breath caught in her chest. “Yes, let’s.”
* * *
The skies were clear and blue on Thursday afternoon as Adam stood with his father, Max, in front of a big old Queen Anne that had seen better days. In fact, at this point, it actually felt like knocking it down would be putting it out of its misery. But something about the place kept pulling at Adam, so he’d decided to get a second opinion from the man he most respected. It didn’t hurt, of course, that Max Sullivan knew wood carvings better than pretty much anyone.
After his father had lost his job a couple of decades ago, when he’d come home from another crappy interview, he’d disappear into his workshop in the backyard and would carve wood until he was able to smile again. Adam and his siblings all joined his father in there over the years—even Mia, who ended up with some mad carving skills—and Adam was glad for what he’d learned from his father. But a job like this, with turned porch columns and hand-cut trim around the eaves and windows, needed a specialist’s opinion.
In his typical way, his father hadn’t said much as Adam took him through and around the outside of the house. They’d both worn hard hats, and although that hadn’t helped when his father’s foot went through a stair riser, it had made Adam feel a little safer walking through the place.
The neighborhood had been quiet when they’d arrived a couple of hours ago. Now, as kids got out of school, it wasn’t quiet anymore. But it was a good kind of loud—kids having fun, moms and dads chatting as they wheeled strollers past each other, dogs barking excitedly as their little owners finally came back home to play with them. It reminded Adam of his childhood neighborhood, where his parents still lived on the other side of town.
And yet, at the very end of the street where the pavement turned to forest, this house had been left neglected. He hadn’t dug too far into its history yet, but from what he could tell, it looked like a fairly standard story. The couple who owned it hadn’t had any children and the nieces and nephews they’d left it to hadn’t lived close enough to want the house, nor had their heirs been able to agree on what to do with it. Over the years, it had been left forgotten until someone in the family had finally realized they were sitting on valuable Seattle property in a great family neighborhood. The house was being sold as a teardown, but when Mia had emailed the listing to him from her realty office, she’d told him to take a look before he made up his mind.
Even as an adult, Adam relied on his family for so much. Not only their professional support, but support on every other level, too. Friendship. Respect. Love.
All of which brought him back to Kerry, the way so many things had since he’d met her a little over a week ago. She’d taken care of her sister without even a moment’s hesitation, just as he would have any of his siblings.
But that was where the similarities ended. Because his siblings had never been as cruel to him as her sister had been to her. If they had, he wouldn’t have stood there and taken it. Of course he would have helped them get back home and into bed—but he also would have told them where they could shove their crappy attitude.
His chest hurt every time he thought about the way Kerry had withstood Colleen’s harsh words, and his jaw clenched every time he thought about the fact that she hadn’t seemed at all surprised by them. He’d wanted to find out what else her sister had said to her so that he could tell her none of those bad things were true, and that she should never believe what someone so messed up had to say about her.
Only good things. All good things. That was what he wanted for Kerry—all the good and beautiful things that she gave to everyone she planned weddings for.
Actually, more sizzling-hot sex was right at the top of the list, too. Especially when five days had turned out to be way too long to go between their hotel meet-ups. Hell, given how good they’d been together, they could have spent the last five days naked together in the penthouse suite without needing more than a little food and water every now and again.
His father cleared his throat, drawing Adam back to the sidewalk they were standing on and the house in front of them.
“If you take this on, Adam, it’s going to be a hell of a lot of work.” His father turned away from the house to look at him. “You’re looking for a challenge, aren’t you?”
Again, Adam found himself thinking of Kerry. He hadn’t thought he was looking for a challenge with her, but from the first moment he’d set eyes on her and realized she wasn’t like any other woman he’d ever known, he’d immediately wanted to find out more. The more he found out, the more he wanted to know. Not just because the sex had been mind-blowing, either. But because she continued to fascinate him in every way.
“I’ve got more than enough on my plate right now,” he told his father. “Too much to even be considering taking on a house like this, where something tells me I’d have to give it one hundred percent focus.”
Adam always worked on multiple projects at once. When he started to get a little bored with one, he could jump to another. He’d never actually focused on only one building, figuring that split-focus was just who he was. But could he change for this house? Or, rather, could this house change him?
Despite its current wrecked state, there was something about it that told him once upon a time it had been someone’s special place, and he couldn’t quiet the voice inside that wanted to make it special again.
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