Loved Either Way (These Valley Days #2) Read Online Bethany Kris

Categories Genre: Action, Contemporary, Erotic, Romance, Suspense Tags Authors: Series: These Valley Days Series by Bethany Kris

Total pages in book: 146
Estimated words: 141951 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 710(@200wpm)___ 568(@250wpm)___ 473(@300wpm)

Two years have passed since the fire that changed Delaney Reed’s life overnight, but she still hasn’t been able to move on. Not even time, distance, and a whole new city has helped ease the fear she feels about returning to the place that hurt her the most.
Well, until a tall and handsome stranger sits in her salon chair …
Lucas Dalton walks a careful line between the beer brewery heir the public sees, and the man he doesn’t want to be. The private struggles of his family haven’t hit the papers yet, or come to a head, but it’s just a matter of time before it all falls apart.
When tragedy sends Lucas looking for the one person safe enough to get him through it, Delaney can’t say no—even if it bends some of her rules—and neither of them expected to find home in each other in the process.
That’s the thing about love.
It has a way of calling us back where we belong.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************

Chapter 1

“You’re absolutely sure you want to do this?”

Was that a real question?

“Give me something else to look at in the mirror, Margot. I need it. It’s this or a tattoo of my last name. I’ve considered making the appointment.”

Maybe that would get Delaney out of her own damn head. A late birthday gift since she’d gone on like her twenty-fifth was just another Sunday.

Margot’s nose crinkled in disgust. “Really, you’d want Reed … just somewhere? You’ve got more creativity than that, Delaney.”

“I was going to make it cute,” Delaney tried not to whine.

And failed.

“On three?” Margot asked.

Delaney nodded but kept her gaze on the apartment ceiling overhead instead of the redhead looming over the side of the couch.

“Okay—one, two, breathe.”

She gulped in a lungful of air as Margot plunged the needle straight through Delaney’s left nostril.

“And let it out now,” Margot urged.

Delaney did. The pain came and left faster than she remembered it from the first time she’d had the nose piercing done, but that was years ago. Somebody who didn’t know what they were doing had an earring gun and it took weeks for the swelling to go down. Margot had skill and practice on her side, so the second of pain was over before Delaney had even blinked.

Tears raced down her cheek when she did.

“Jesus Christ,” Delaney muttered under her breath.

Margot’s wild curls bounced with her laughter as she reached over Delaney’s prone form on the couch with gloved hands for something she’d sat on the tray. “It wasn’t that bad, come on.”

“I’m crying!”

“Your eye is watering. It always does.” Her friend laughed. Blue latex came back into Delaney’s view, and Margot said, “Sit tight, and I’ll get this hoop in for you.”

She remained still while Margot finished her work, sliding in a hoop at the end of the long needle that nestled nicely around the shell of Delaney’s nostril. After discarding the needle to the clean tray on the coffee table, Margot wiped the river of tears that had trailed down the side of Delaney’s face.

Margot beamed and lifted her eyebrows high. “Wanna see?”

Laughing, Delaney pushed up into a sitting position on the couch. “Yeah, where’s the mirror?”

Margot pointed next to the tray as she rounded the couch and began cleaning up her supplies. Only a little ache remained around the piercing, but more interesting was how Delaney could feel the thin strip of gold looped along the side of her nose. Every flicker of her facial muscles made her more and more aware of the small piece of jewelry.

She hadn’t even reached for the mirror yet.

Margot noticed. “Yeah, that’ll get better. Give it a couple of hours.”

Delaney wrinkled her nose again. “I don’t remember this from the first time.”

“Yeah, probably because you were lucky they didn’t crush your cartilage and your brain could only focus on one thing—like the pain.”

Fair point.

Delaney gave it to Margot.

“Give me a break, I was seventeen and free,” she mumbled under her breath, picking up the mirror.

Margot shrugged. “True enough, but stupid is still dumb, Delaney.”

Yeah, it was.

She admired the gold hoop framing the left side of her nose and how it added to the delicate swoop of her bridge and button tip. It confirmed what she’d believed all those years ago when she dared to get the piercing despite knowing how her mother would scream at her for it the first time she saw it—the look suited her face.

As for her mother all those years ago? Amanda didn’t stop shrieking until Delaney had backed out of the driveway.

Delaney glanced away from the black-haired, hazel-eyed reflection in the mirror that looked so much like her mother’s, thinking, well, she won’t see it to yell about it now.

“You got quiet over there,” Margot noted.

Of course, her friend would notice. Despite being well-liked and having a lot of friends when she was younger, Delaney always kept her circle small. Those people she truly let see her mask slip to find the human waiting underneath. One didn’t need to wait long in adulthood to figure out that being human in public sucked.

People like Margot knew those quiet moments for Delaney were introspective seconds lost in the maze of her mind and hidden thoughts. Not necessarily a pleasant place to be, for what it was worth. Delaney rarely had a choice, though.

“Yeah, I did get quiet,” Delaney admitted, handing the mirror across the coffee table for Margot to take. Not having something in her hands made her edgier. She’d forced herself to stop picking at the beds of her nails by keeping a manageable length set of gel nails on but as soon as those bitches started to grow out, her urge to pick began. It had become a vicious cycle. A sad by-product of the fact she hadn’t smoked a cigarette in two years.