All I Ever Need Is You(Sullivans,book 14)(55) by Bella Andre
But at the same time, the other part of her couldn’t get Colleen’s words out of her head. “You’re so in love with Adam. Anyone can see it in the dreamy expression on your face when you’re talking about him. Anyone can hear it in the way you say his name, like it’s the most beautiful word in the world. Why won’t you just admit it?”
Kerry’s brain—and heart—were whirling around and around, faster and faster, as she stepped out of the café. Three and a half weeks ago, everything had seemed so clear. Until Adam Sullivan had come into her life and everything had started changing from one smile, one kiss, one night in his arms to the next.
Just then, her phone rang with her mother’s ring tone. Kerry already had a splitting headache, probably from gritting her teeth so hard while trying not to punch out Payton. But that was no excuse not to pick up her mother’s call. Especially when Kerry knew exactly why she was calling.
“Have you talked to your sister?” her mother said without preamble.
“Yes, we just spoke.”
“I’m beside myself,” her mother said. “Absolutely beside myself.”
Kerry could already hear that her usually unflappable mother did indeed seem to be coming unglued. “Mom,” she began, even though she wasn’t sure what to say to make everything better, “I know how worried you are, but—”
“But nothing! After all he did to her, now she’s going back to him? I tried to talk some sense into her, but she refused to listen to me. She’s always listened to you, Kerry. You need to talk to her, tell her not to walk back into the arms of a man who has already proved that he can never be faithful.”
Kerry knew better than to take sides, especially if Payton was going to be in Colleen’s life for a while. She wouldn’t lose her sister over him. But she couldn’t upset her mother, either. For so many months she’d been teetering on a tightrope by covering for Colleen’s dangerously wild Friday nights. Knowing the tightrope had just become even higher and thinner made her head throb so hard she felt sick.
“From the conversation we just had,” Kerry said as gently as she could, “it sounds like she’s made up her mind. But she knows we’re here for her if she ever needs us.”
“You’re right. She’s a lost cause. His hold over her is too big. Too strong. But, please, Kerry,” her mother said in a desperate voice, “please promise me you’ll never make the mistake your sister’s making. I knew the first time I met Payton that he was trouble. He’s had too many women. Had too much of a reputation. Just like your father.” Her mother didn’t say, Just like Adam Sullivan, but Kerry swore she could hear the words anyway. “Heartbreak is all men like that have to give. Promise me you’ll keep being smart and sensible and wait for a nice man to come along. Promise me!”
Kerry’s head was pounding so hard, and her chest was so tightly constricted that she was having trouble taking a full breath. Her mother’s plea to promise me you’ll never make the mistake your sister’s making was getting all tangled up in her head with Colleen’s admission that I know my relationship with Payton isn’t perfect, but I still love him, so I have to go back.
In their family, so much pain had come from—and would likely continue to come—in the name of love. Before Adam, Kerry wouldn’t have understood how her sister could go back to her ex the way she had. But now that Adam had shown her such joy and pleasure, she could see all too clearly just how easy it would be to fall into the trap Colleen was in.
The easiest thing in the world if it meant you could have a few extra precious days or weeks of pure happiness—even when you could see that a horrible fall was up ahead.
Kerry hadn’t wanted to look too closely at any of her recent meet-ups with Adam. But she could no longer deny the awful truth that she’d been burying her head in the sand for far too long. She’d just wanted to let herself enjoy and appreciate it. Now, she finally forced herself to take out the microscope and face what had actually happened.
Things had probably started going off track on their very first night together, when he’d effortlessly made her feel so good. But it was the night they’d spent on her couch having pizza and watching a movie, rather than keeping to hot sex in hotels, that had truly started to knock away at the clear-cut boundaries they’d set up. At which point she’d doubled down on her mistakes by going to his house to be together—and then tripled down by staying the night curled up against him. Even when she’d tried to be smart and pull back, she’d simply been unable to resist dancing with him at the wedding, forgetting about everything but him for those few precious minutes in his arms.
So many times she’d had a chance to stop herself from going too deep and taking things too far, and each time she’d completely blown it. But none more so than the night she’d waited for him to come “home” from his late night on the job, as if they were a real couple. Just because their temporary home for the night had been a hotel didn’t make it any different. Because when he’d finally come to their suite and found her asleep at the table, then carried her to the bed and made the sweetest love imaginable to her? Well, there were no words to describe their connection that night other than making love.
Kerry’s stomach twisted as she finally accepted that, somewhere along the way, she’d let Adam become far more to her than just a friend with benefits.
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