All I Ever Need Is You(Sullivans,book 14)(63) by Bella Andre
A flash of a smile moved across Aileen’s face, but just as quickly, it fell away. “Last week, my other daughter made a personal decision that I found extremely difficult to accept. So difficult that I asked—begged, actually—Kerry to make me a promise to be careful so that she would never put herself in the same terrible position as Colleen. But now—” For the first time, Kerry’s mother looked her age. “Now I’m wondering if I might have gotten things wrong.”
“I suspect there are very few things you’ve ever gotten wrong.”
She studied him for a few moments, and he could see where Kerry came by not only her beauty, but her intelligence, her strength, and her compassion, as well. “I’d like to think there aren’t too many,” she finally said, “but you’ve certainly surprised me. And I’m not surprised very often anymore. Particularly when it comes to love and relationships.”
“Your husband,” Adam had to tell her, “was a fool to have left the three of you.”
“Yes,” Kerry’s mother agreed with a little catch in her voice, “he was. A terrible fool. And I was an even bigger one for not seeing it until it was too late. But then—” She quickly pulled herself back together. “I wouldn’t have traded him for anything if it meant not having my girls. They mean absolutely everything to me.”
“I would do anything for my family, too.”
Again, Kerry’s mother studied him, so closely that he wondered if she was actually trying to read his mind. “I can see why you grew on Kerry. Despite your devil-may-care reputation, family is clearly important to you. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that you aren’t hard on the eyes. But I’ve never known Kerry to be swayed by a pretty face. If anything, I’m going to guess that she was harder on you for it.”
He laughed out loud at that extremely accurate statement and held out his hands. “I’m pretty sure she only let me off the hook because I had nothing to do with the way my face is put together. That’s entirely down to my parents.”
“I met your mother and father many years ago. I believe they were going through one of life’s rough patches at the time, but when they spoke about you and your siblings, it was as if everything was perfect. That’s how I knew they’d come through all right. Because you had each other to lean on. I’m glad to know that I was right and that each of you has had extraordinary success in your careers. All of your brothers and your sister are either engaged or married now, aren’t they?”
“They are,” he confirmed, even though it was clear that Aileen had done her research on him and his family. Which wasn’t hard to do when most of them were either famous or spectacularly wealthy.
“Why are you the only one left? Were you even looking for love when you met my daughter?”
“No.” Just as he would never be anything but honest with Kerry, he would never lie to her mother, either. “Love was the very last thing I was looking for.” He paused and smiled. “And the very best thing I’ve ever found, accidentally or otherwise.”
“I’ve always believed that nothing in this world is more beautiful than true love.” She held Adam’s gaze. “The two of you were beautiful when you were dancing together at the wedding. I’ve never seen Kerry look so happy.”
“I want her to be happy,” he said. His throat grew as tight as his chest had been ever since he’d made himself walk out of Kerry’s apartment three days ago. “Kerry’s happiness is all I want. Her happiness is everything I want.”
“This morning, before coming here to meet you, I was worried that you are a man who quite obviously always gets precisely what he wants. But now?” Aileen Dromoland smiled at him, a smile that told him more about her change of heart than any words ever could. “Now I’m glad.”
* * *
Kerry and her mother both arrived at the waterfront restaurant at the same time. They’d always been on track like that, and it was nice to know that some things never changed.
“You look wonderful, Mom,” she said as they were shown to their seats beneath a colorful awning.
“I’m so glad you could squeeze me in for lunch today, honey.”
“And I appreciate you saving me from lunch at my desk behind my computer,” Kerry said with a smile. One that nearly faltered as she watched a couple embrace. They couldn’t take their eyes—or hands—off each other. For a little while, that had been Kerry. With Adam.
“Have you heard from Colleen since she came back from Las Vegas?”
Her mother’s question knocked Kerry back to her seat on the deck over the water. “Yes, she emailed me the pictures of their ceremony.” Carefully, so that she wouldn’t set her mother off, Kerry added, “She looked happy.”
“She did.” Kerry was still reeling at her mother’s shocking agreement when her mother added, “Hopefully, a miracle of miracles will happen and it will last this time. But I actually didn’t come to lunch to talk about Colleen.”
Assuming her mother wanted to be caught up on the business, Kerry said, “Things have been so busy lately that I haven’t checked in with you nearly enough. But I can give you a quick rundown of our most recent weddings if you’d like.”
“There’s no need for that,” her mother said with a shake of her head. “You’ve always done far better than I ever did with the business. I don’t need to know how work is. I need to know how you are.”
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