* * *
“Yay, I’m so glad you’re here!” Brooke rushed inside to give Kerry a hug. “Rafe and I saw your car and wanted to make sure to welcome you properly.”
It was clear to Adam that Kerry was glad for a few moments to try to gather her composure while she hugged Brooke and Rafe hello. From the moment he’d turned to see her standing on the threshold of the kitchen, he’d been able to see the wheels of her mind spinning like crazy.
“I got in late last night,” Kerry explained after the greetings were done. “I’m actually supposed to be staying at the Inn on Main Street.”
Guessing that she felt that she needed to justify why she’d clearly spent the night here with him at his parents’ lake house rather than at her planned lodging, Adam added, “I could see that she was tired from the drive from Seattle, so I convinced her to crash here last night.”
Kerry shot him a grateful glance, and he went to pour her a cup of coffee. Every second of the night after leaving her alone in the bed, he’d wanted to go back to her bedroom. But though he hadn’t gotten any sleep, he was glad to see that she looked far more rested than she had last night. It had worried him to see her that tired—and to know that he had to be the reason for it.
He’d meant it when he told her mother all he wanted was to make her happy. The thought of making her sad destroyed him.
But though she’d initially been flustered, both by seeing him in the light of day after their long night of lovemaking and then by Rafe and Brooke showing up at the door, he was impressed by the way she shifted back into professional mode. This was his brother’s big wedding weekend, and no matter how much Adam wanted time alone with Kerry to give everything he had to convincing her to be with him, he would never forgive himself if he did anything to ruin his brother’s wedding. At this point, he was just grateful to be near the woman he loved for the next three days.
Patience, which had never been his strong suit anyway, was nearly killing him this week.
“How are you both doing?” Kerry asked Brooke and Rafe, her slightly flushed cheeks the only sign that she was at all ruffled by Adam being in the room with her. “I can’t wait to go over everything with you today.”
“We’re good,” Rafe said as he drew Brooke close and kissed his bride, then kissed her again before letting her go. “Real good.”
Kerry beamed at them. “I’m so glad to hear that.” Tires crunched on the gravel outside just then, and she looked at her watch. “That must be the delivery trucks with the rental furniture. Let me just direct them where to put everything, and then the three of us can sit down to run through the plan for the weekend.” She turned to include Adam. “We should also figure out exactly where to put the gazebo. It’s absolutely amazing, Adam, and I want to make sure we have it in just the right spot.”
Kerry hadn’t quite made it to the still-open front door when his parents, rather than the delivery people she’d been expecting, stepped onto the porch.
“Rafe! Brooke! Adam!”
His mother and father looked thrilled to see them, just like always. It didn’t matter if only twenty-four hours had passed since the last time they’d been together. Adam never had to question his parents’ love for him.
But Kerry had done exactly that for more than twenty years with her father. And, now that he knew her so well, it wasn’t hard to guess that losing her father’s love had made her feel as though she should question everyone else’s love for her, too. Not only that of her mother and her sister, whom she was continually afraid of disappointing—but Adam knew his love was the biggest question of all for Kerry.
Max and Claudia Sullivan both turned to Kerry at the same moment, and Adam made the introductions before anyone else could. “Mom, Dad, this is Kerry Dromoland.”
His mother held out her arms, and Adam was glad to see how readily Kerry walked into them. “It’s so nice to meet you, Kerry. I’ve heard such wonderful things about you.”
His father stepped in next, holding out his hand to shake hers. “It really is a pleasure to meet you. Truly.”
Quickly pulling herself together yet again, Kerry smiled at them both. “I’m sorry we haven’t met before this. I’ve really been looking forward to meeting both of you, too. I know you must have heard this a thousand times before, but you have extraordinary children.”
Adam’s mother looked very pleased with Kerry, and Adam knew she was already trying to figure out what her grandchildren would look like from a combination of Kerry’s and Adam’s features.
Normally, that would have bothered him. But now? Hell, he was wondering the exact same thing. More than wondering, actually—more like ready to get going with making those kids with Kerry and starting the family that he’d never wanted before, but now couldn’t see a future without.
“We don’t want to get in your way, Kerry,” his father said, “but anything you need help with, I want you to promise that you’ll let us know. Anything you need, no matter how big or how small—don’t hesitate. As far as we’re all concerned, you’re one of the family this weekend, and we couldn’t be more pleased about it.”
Kerry continued to smile at his parents, but Adam was so attuned to her that he felt the emotion well up in her as if it were his own. “Thank you so much. That means the world to me.” When the actual delivery truck came just then, she rushed out.
Rafe and Brooke followed her, leaving Adam with his parents.
“She’s beautiful, Adam.” His mother was still watching Kerry from the living room window. “Even from meeting her for a few minutes, I can see that her beauty isn’t just on the outside.”
“I agree,” his father said, but the questions in his eyes for Adam were crystal clear.
“No one knows about us,” Adam told them both. “No one but you two.” He ran a hand roughly through his hair. “And right now, honestly, there isn’t anything to know. I’m crazy in love with her, but—” He bit back a frustrated curse.
His mother came to put her arms around him. “The way you look at her—and the way she looks at you when she doesn’t think anyone else can see. Honey, I don’t have one single doubt that you two belong together. She’ll see it soon, too. I know she will. Some things just take time to work themselves out. Just try to have a little patience. And faith that what your heart knows is true really is.”
“Patience.” Adam growled the word as though it were the worst thing in the world, and his parents both laughed.
“Come on,” his father said. “Getting that heavy furniture set up according to the plan your beautiful wedding planner came up with is sure to help keep your mind off things for a little while.”
But even though Adam knew his parents were right about having patience and faith, they were totally wrong about one thing.
Nothing could pull his thoughts away from Kerry.
Kerry felt like she’d blinked, and suddenly the big family dinner was about to begin.
It had been one of the busiest days she’d ever spent getting ready for a wedding. Not only because of the work she’d had to do to get things in place for the huge family dinner on the beach tonight and for tomorrow’s wedding, but also because she’d met so many famous—and best of all—truly nice Sullivans that her head was spinning.