All I Ever Need Is You(Sullivans,book 14)(59) by Bella Andre
Had she really thought there would be no tears shed for Adam Sullivan? What a fool she’d been…
She closed her front door behind her and put her head in her hands. There was no point in locking it, she knew. Not when—
Adam’s knock came at the same time as he said, “Kerry, let me in.”
As she turned to open the door, she couldn’t stop herself from bracing as if for battle. And from the look on Adam’s face, he was clearly itching for one.
She decided not to pretend nothing was wrong. There was no point even trying to do that with Adam when he was one of the most direct people she’d ever known.
“I know you’re angry with me.” The second she’d asked him to explain to his cousin that they weren’t really a couple, she’d seen the frustration move across his face. Frustration that seemed to have amped up several levels since then.
Now, she struggled to make herself say the words she needed to say. It’s over. We can’t do this anymore. It’s been fun, but I can’t get in any deeper with you.
But none of them would come, even though he was walking inside and closing her door behind him. The sound was loud enough with her already brittle nerves to make her jump.
He looked worried, then frustrated again as he ran a hand through his hair. “I’m not angry with you, Kerry. I’m angry with the whole damned situation. With continuing to play this game.”
Finally, her tongue came unstuck. “It’s not a game, it’s an agreement. An agreement we made together.”
“Call it whatever you want,” he said as his brows came down low over his dark eyes, “we need to change it.”
Surprise came first—surprise that he’d want to change what she’d assumed would be most guys’ perfect arrangement with a willing woman.
And then, close on its heels, came longing. A desperate longing to have a real relationship with Adam.
But then, a beat later, panic swept in. Panic that gripped her just as tightly as longing did.
“No.” She needed to take a step back from him, needed to have more space between them to be able to say, “We can’t change it.”
Even as his frown deepened at her refusal, she watched stubborn determination light in his beautiful eyes. Eyes that she’d felt were seeing all the way into her when they were making love and he was taking her to places she’d never even dreamed existed.
“Yes,” he said in just as firm a tone as her no had been. “We sure as hell can change it. We don’t need to sneak around anymore. We don’t need to pretend to my family—or yours—that we’re not an important part of each other’s lives. We don’t need to do things like ask my cousin not to tell anyone that he saw us together, or have you jump out of my arms when your mother finds us dancing.”
“Why are you saying this? Why would you want this?”
“Kerry.” He moved closer again, reaching out to stroke her cheek. “You know why. You know why I want to take a chance on you. Because you want to take a chance on me, too.”
“No.” Her voice sounded strangled as she repeated the two-letter word. “My mother took a chance on a guy like you and ended up all alone with two babies. My sister took a chance on a guy like you and drank herself into worse and worse situations every weekend until he finally deigned to come back home to her for a little while.”
“Do you really think I’m like those guys?” He looked disgusted by the thought. “Don’t you know me at all by now?”
“Of course I know you, Adam. You’re a great person. You’re a great friend. But you’ll never be relationship material. You were the one who was totally clear with me from the first moment about not wanting a relationship. About not wanting a girlfriend, or God forbid, a wife.”
“Well, maybe I’ve changed my mind!”
“Maybe?” His voice had boomed out across her foyer, where they were still standing, but so did hers as she shot the word back at him and whirled out of his arms. “That’s exactly why I’ve tried to be so careful not to fall in love with you. Because I refuse to ever be any man’s maybe!”
He reached for her again, even as she moved farther away. “I said the wrong word, Kerry.”
“No, you said exactly what you think. What you feel. And I’m glad you did, because I’ve never wanted the two of us to lie to each other.”
“Then we’d better not lie about this.”
Before she could blink or breathe or move, he kissed her again. And then again and again, until her head was spinning from the taste and feel and wonder of him.
When he finally dragged his mouth from hers, his voice was raw as he said, “There’s no maybe about the heat between us.”
She stared into his eyes, dilated to an even darker brown now, and admitted, “I know.” But focusing on the ridiculous amounts of heat they’d always generated together wouldn’t help get them back on level ground. So she made herself push the heat back, and bring the prudence that she’d always lived her life by until meeting Adam back into the forefront again.
“Meeting your cousin at the hotel tonight really drove home the point that things can’t be weird between us at the wedding next week. So I think it’s for the best that we end things as friends. Friends who had great sex for a little while. But in the end, just friends. And since you’ll be heading up to the lake this weekend to work on the gazebo, it’s probably best if we just end that part of our relationship now.”
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