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.
And her reaction was so freaking hot—from the way her cheeks flushed to the little stumble she made in her heels—that if they’d been having dinner with anyone else, he would have blown off the rest of the meal and taken her upstairs right then and there.
Adam stood and held out her chair for her. Her voice was a little husky as she murmured her thanks, and he was rewarded with the faintest trembling of her muscles against his fingertips when his hand accidentally brushed the middle of her back.
Jesus. He hadn’t been lying when he said he couldn’t wait to strip off her gorgeous dress. Every remaining minute at the dinner table with his brother and Brooke was going to be pure torture.
Kerry, however, remained the consummate dinner conversationalist. “You know how much I love your chocolates, Brooke, and all of my friends are getting hooked, too. Especially now that you have stores in the city. You must be thrilled by how much your business has grown in the past year.”
“I am,” Brooke said with a huge smile. “I honestly never thought my chocolates would be anything more than a small business by the lake.”
“I always knew,” Rafe said, giving his fiancée another one of his adoring looks. “Your chocolates are the best I’ve ever tasted.” He was full of pride as he turned back to Kerry. “Brooke and her business partner are going to be opening several more chocolate truffle stores throughout Oregon and California soon.”
“Oh, that’s wonderful! You deserve every bit of your success.”
“So do you. Your weddings are legendary.”
Kerry laughed. “Promise me you’ll say that to my mother if you ever meet her. She was so brilliant at planning weddings that sometimes it feels hard to live up to the legend.”
Brooke smiled in a commiserating way. “As long as you promise to tell my mother how much you love my chocolates at the wedding.”
“When we spoke on the phone last week I mentioned it at least a half-dozen times. And she agreed with me every single time.”
“She did?” Brooke looked a little stunned by this news.
“She’s clearly as addicted to your chocolates as the rest of us,” Kerry said, instinctively knowing exactly what the bride needed to hear before spending time with her mother at her wedding.
When the waiter came to clear away their plates, then left them with the dessert menu, Kerry licked her lips in a completely natural—and extremely sexy—way. “Am I the only one here who wants one of everything?”