All I Ever Need Is You(Sullivans,book 14)(64) by Bella Andre
Kerry tried not to let her mouth fall open at the way today’s lunch was going. Her mother had always been there for her, of course, but never in such an in-her-face way. “I’m...”
“You look like you’re not sleeping well.” Her mother’s hand came over hers, warm and comforting. “And even worse than that, you look sad.”
Kerry knew she should be coming up with excuses to allay her mother’s concerns. She could blame it on work, or maybe allergies, couldn’t she? But the truth was that all the sleep she hadn’t been getting since the night Adam had loved her one last time was making her brain slow, like mush.
“The last time I saw you, when you were dancing with Adam Sullivan, you looked so different. So happy. At least, until I showed up,” her mother said with a rueful smile. “I didn’t mean to ruin your beautiful moment.”
Kerry wanted to tell her mother that she hadn’t ruined anything. But that was a lie she couldn’t get past her lips. Instead, she told her what she was absolutely positive she wanted to hear. “Adam and I, we aren’t”—she could barely keep her voice from breaking before she got to the final word—“together.”
This was where her mother was supposed to sigh with relief. Instead, she frowned and said, “I’ve always gone by first impressions. A skill that I passed on to you. However, what’s taken me sixty-odd years to recognize is that sometimes those first impressions aren’t right. Sometimes you need to take a step back to take stock of what the actual situation is. Take your father, for example. He swept me off my feet. But the man he turned out to be after those first impressions had faded... Well, you know precisely how that turned out. I don’t always get it right, Kerry. Particularly, I’m afraid, when it comes to the man you were dating.”
“But Adam and I were never dating.”
Only, was that really true? Because even though they’d had an arrangement, hadn’t they repeatedly broken the rules they’d set for themselves?
“Well, maybe we...” Kerry was so tired from fighting her feelings that she nearly laid her head down on the table. “I don’t know what we were.” Her chest was clenched tight as she admitted, “I don’t know what we are.”
“Oh, honey.” Her mother’s arms came around her, holding her tight. “Maybe you should give yourself some room to find out.”
Kerry was officially beyond speechless now. “Wait.” She was sure she had this wrong. “Are you actually telling me to date Adam Sullivan, one of Seattle’s most notorious playboys?”
Her mother brushed the hair back from her face, just as she had when she was a little girl and it had come out of her ponytail. “I love both you and your sister, but the two of you have never been the same. You’ve always had a good head on your shoulders. Whether it’s business or love, I trust you, honey. And I’m proud of you. So for once, instead of promising me to be safe, I’m hoping you’ll make me a different promise. A promise to trust your instincts. And if you fall in love, to let yourself love with your whole heart.”
* * *
Adam left for the lake right after meeting with Kerry’s mother on Sunday. And since the moment he’d arrived, all he wanted to do was call Kerry, hear her voice, and tell her she should be standing on the beach with him, in his arms.
He wanted her back now. Yesterday. Tomorrow.
But he knew she needed time, needed space. The time and space to miss him. And to long for him the way he was longing for her, every second of every day.
Soon, he reminded himself for the zillionth time, she’d be here for three days of wedding romance, not to mention a dozen Sullivan happy-ever-afters all around them. But Adam had never waited for anything in his life, and it was killing him not to speed back to Seattle, charge into her office, throw her over his shoulder, and lock the two of them in one of their fancy hotel suites until she accepted what he already knew for sure—that they belonged together.
For the first time in days, he smiled, thinking of what her reaction to that would be. First cool as she would try to freeze him out, then hot as she would blast him for being so presumptuous. But he’d do anything to get her to consider taking him back.
He was glad that he’d had so much work to do building the gazebo for the past two days, though every nail he pounded, every board he cut, every swipe of the paintbrush made him think of how excited Kerry had been about this addition to the wedding plans. Adam had always been good at carpentry, but he’d never done work this good. He’d never wanted to please anyone more than he wanted to please Kerry, in any and every way that he could.
Normally, when he was at the lake he liked to spend as much time with his family as possible. But since he wasn’t good company right now, he’d tried to steer clear of the happy couple.
There’d been no getting out of the bonfire the three of them were sitting in front of tonight, though. Just as there was no getting away from the concern in Brooke’s eyes as she watched him from across the fire and asked, “Is everything okay, Adam?”
Rafe handed him a beer. “Is one of your projects at work giving you trouble? You mentioned that building last week that was practically falling down when you took it over.”
Adam took a long pull from the bottle, feeling a tug of guilt about not confiding in his brother and Brooke about Kerry. But he’d promised her that it would stay only between them—with his father as the only exception. Adam couldn’t betray Kerry’s trust by telling everyone in his family about them. One day soon, he hoped she’d be here with him, and they’d tell everyone together.
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