All I Ever Need Is You(Sullivans,book 14)(62) by Bella Andre
“I’m planning on fighting with everything I have.”
His father’s arm came strong and warm across his shoulders. With a squeeze, he took Mason from Adam’s arms and left him standing alone in the middle of the backyard that he’d grown up in. Alone with thoughts that grew clearer, more focused, and more determined by the second.
Just as he’d been totally focused on getting Kerry to see him again after the first time they’d met, now he had an even bigger purpose: He wasn’t just going to convince her to start dating him again—he was going to convince her to marry him, damn it, no matter what it took. And given that they were both going to be at the lake for his brother’s romantic wedding, the universe was clearly handing him the chance of a lifetime.
* * *
Everything at the wedding Kerry was putting on at the top of the Sky View Observatory was going like clockwork, thankfully. The newly married couple was very rich and very exacting, and she’d been working her tail off for months to make sure nothing fell through the cracks.
She’d barely been able to sleep since Thursday night, when Adam had loved her one last time and then left her with a good-bye kiss so sweet that she could have sworn it was still lingering on her lips. But even though she should have been exhausted, she felt totally wired and had been glad for such a big and detail-heavy wedding to force her brain to hold focus on something other than Adam.
At least, she shouldn’t have been thinking about him, shouldn’t have been missing his voice, his smile, his touch the entire time. From the vows and the first kiss, from the cutting of the wedding cake to the moment the band played the first bars of the first dance.
In a heartbeat, as the music began to play, Kerry was immediately swept back to another wedding. To another first dance. And all she could do was wish that Adam would magically walk through the doors, pull her into his arms, and sweep her onto the dance floor.
She didn’t realize she’d stood frozen for the entire song until someone jostled her on their way to the dance floor. Hoping no one realized that she’d checked out for the past five minutes, she got back to work.
But no matter how much she tried to push it down, the soul-deep longing for Adam never went away.
* * *
“Thank you for meeting with me today, Ms. Dromoland.”
Kerry’s mother inclined her head slightly and smiled as she chose a bench beneath a leafy tree and sat, looking out at the blue water sparkling in front of them. “This park has always been one of my favorite places to be on a warm afternoon such as this.”
Adam smiled as he sat beside her. “It’s one of my favorite places, too.”
But Aileen Dromoland didn’t smile back as she turned her gaze from the water to him. “I’m assuming you’ve asked me here to discuss Kerry.”
He looked her straight in the eyes and didn’t waste one second before telling her, “I love your daughter.”
“Any man with half a brain would love my daughter,” she said, her expression not having shifted at all despite his profession of love. “But few would deserve to love her.”
“I agree,” he said without any hesitation. Kerry’s mother raised an eyebrow, but let him continue. “I know I have a long way to go to deserve Kerry’s love, but I’m not just going to try to be good enough for her. I’m going to be good enough.”
In just a few weeks, he’d learned so much, so quickly, about love. It wasn’t enough just to try, to hope, to wish. Love meant laying every single thing out on the line and trusting that the other person would lay everything out, too. Without fear. And without regret.
“How exactly are you planning to do that?”
“By always putting Kerry first. By always respecting her. By always appreciating her. By always sharing everything with her. And never, ever hurting her.”
Emotion flickered in Aileen’s eyes, emotion that looked to Adam like a combination of past pain resurfacing—and, possibly, if he was lucky, the first beginnings of new hope for the future.
“If you are expecting me to talk to Kerry and present your case to her—”
“That’s not why I’m here.” He’d present his own case to Kerry, damn it. And he’d shower her with so much love that she’d never again be able to doubt how he felt about her. “I’m here because any mother who cares about her daughter as much as you love Kerry deserves to know how much she’s loved.”
Aileen looked out at the water for a few moments, and Adam followed her gaze. A small tugboat was dragging in an enormous barge. It should have been impossible for something so small to be so strong, but Adam now knew that the smallest things—like a simple word with only four letters, for example—could be the strongest force in the entire world.
“If you love her so much, then why did she break up with you?”
Yet again, he didn’t hesitate to tell the truth. “Because I was an idiot.”
Aileen looked at him with surprise. “Did you just admit you made a mistake?”
“More than one,” he said, nodding.
“And Kerry? Did she make any mistakes with you?”
“Almost as many as I have.”
This time she didn’t look shocked. Instead, her lips seemed to be twitching at the corners. “Are you really sitting here telling me that both of you acted like idiots?”
He grinned, knowing his instincts about Kerry’s mother had been spot-on. Her elegance and self-control might make her seem slightly cold and forbidding at first glance, but beneath that veneer she was clearly as warm as her daughter. “Pretty much.”
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