All I Ever Need Is You (The Sullivans #14)(11)


by Bella Andre

Even better, that knowledge that what she saw was what she’d get with Adam made her feel like she could breathe again.

At least, until they sat down and she realized he hadn’t been kidding about the matchmaking. Because after barely ten minutes of wedding talk, it seemed all Brooke and Rafe wanted to do was prove to Kerry just how compatible she and Adam were.

It didn’t help, of course, when she and Adam ordered the exact same meal, down to the wine they preferred.

“Kerry, last time we met,” Brooke said, “you were telling us about that hike you found just outside of the city. Adam loves to hike, and I’m sure he’d love to know about it, too.”

“I sure would,” he said, looking perfectly relaxed about the setup in progress. “Tell me all about it.”

Clearly, he’d been down this matchmaking road many times before. And just as clearly, she could see that grinning and bearing it was the path of least resistance.

Deciding to take a page out of his book, she smiled at him and said, “It’s straight uphill for four miles, but if you don’t care about being able to breathe, the views are absolutely heavenly.”

His eyebrows went up. “Are you talking about Mount Dickerman?”

“You know it?”

“It nearly killed me the last time I did it.” He looked more than a little impressed. “One surprise after another, aren’t you?”

For a moment, as he looked at her with a mixture of respect—and desire—she forgot there was anyone in the room but the two of them. Thank God the waiter came to remove their starters just then.

“Excuse me.”

With as much poise as she could muster, Kerry left the table and headed for the ladies’ room. She desperately needed a few moments alone to take a few deep breaths and settle down.

After locking the powder room door behind her, she closed her eyes and leaned back against the door, deliberately not looking at herself in the mirror. She didn’t need to see how flushed her cheeks were, didn’t need to confirm that her eyes were bright and sparkling.

The truth that she hadn’t wanted to admit to herself—but now could no longer deny—was that she was filled to bursting with anticipation and need. Desire for Adam had grown from moment to moment, hour to hour, day to day, until she could hardly stand it. When she’d thought she was going to have to cancel on their night together, she’d practically wanted to scream with frustration. And now he was close. So close that still not being able to touch him was the most frustrating thing of all.

Combining all of that with nerves that just wouldn’t quit—how could they when she’d never done anything even close to having a one-night stand before?—and she was a total mess. Top to bottom, inside and out.

Somehow, some way, she needed to tamp it all down until later tonight, when she could finally let herself go for a little while. Just long enough to find out if Adam Sullivan lived up to the late-night fantasies she’d been having about him all week.

Fortunately, she soon felt settled enough to return to the table. Unlocking the door, she was just stepping out of the hallway and into the restaurant when her phone buzzed in her bag.

After a lifetime in the wedding business, she was trained never to ignore a call. But it wasn’t a panicked bride texting. It was Adam.

YOU LOOK BEAUTIFUL TONIGHT IN YOUR DRESS

Her heart jumped even faster as she stared at the compliment. He wasn’t suddenly turning romantic on her, was he?

AND I CAN’T WAIT TO STRIP IT OFF YOU

She would never have thought it possible for her knees to go weak at the same time as laughter bubbled up and out of her. But Adam, it seemed, was turning everything she’d ever known, or expected, completely on its ear.

And when she looked up and straight into his intense yet laughing eyes, she realized what he was telling her—that it was okay to be nervous, but that she didn’t have to be.

Because he would never lie to her or pretend to be someone he wasn’t.

He would stick to every last part of their agreement to have fun in bed without ruining it with the threat of emotional entanglements that would never, ever work out for the two of them.

And most of all, he would make sure she had fun tonight, weak knees and all.

* * *

Adam loved Brooke like a sister, but little sisters could be seriously annoying sometimes. Especially when they got an idea in their heads that they refused to shake.

So while Kerry was in the bathroom clearly trying to regroup from the matchmaking onslaught, he turned to Brooke and Rafe and beat them to saying what were, no doubt, going to be the next words out of their mouths. “Kerry is beautiful. She’s intelligent. She runs a successful business. And I like her a lot.”

“I knew it!” Brooke exclaimed as she grabbed Rafe’s arm in delight.

But Rafe was already shaking his head. “I don’t think my brother is done just yet, sweetheart.”

“One day,” Adam continued, “she’s going to find a guy who is perfect for her. And I really hope she does, because she deserves the kind of relationship that the two of you have found.”

“That guy could be you!” Brooke insisted.

But they all knew better, knew that Adam wasn’t anywhere close to looking for forever with anyone. All of his siblings had been ready when true love came. Brooke’s childhood crush on Rafe had turned into a much more mature love when they’d found each other again as adults. Mia had fallen in love with Ford all those years ago, and when he’d come back into her life last year, the love that had never gone away had rekindled, brighter than ever. Their oldest brother, Ian, was clearly meant to be with Tatiana, even if he’d mistakenly thought he was no good at marriage because his first had been such a mistake. And Dylan had taken one look at Grace and her young son and known they were supposed to be his.

Adam was the odd man out. Which was perfectly okay with him.

Unfortunately, his family was having a hell of a time accepting that he liked flying solo. That he preferred it that way. And that even when a great woman like Kerry Dromoland came along, they would never be anything more than friends with benefits.

Having taken care of telling Brooke and Rafe to back off in the nicest way possible, as the waiter brought their main courses over, Adam had sent Kerry a couple of texts. One meant to reassure her that she shouldn’t let his family throw them off.

He hadn’t been able to see her expression after she received the first text, but fortunately she was well within sight by the time he sent the second.