Always Yours (Half Moon Lake #1) Read Online A.J. Ranney

Categories Genre: Romance Tags Authors: Series: Half Moon Lake Series by A.J. Ranney

Total pages in book: 80
Estimated words: 74136 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 371(@200wpm)___ 297(@250wpm)___ 247(@300wpm)

She’s the one that got away. But I’m the guy who let her go.
I’ll admit it, I’m an idiot.
I walked away from the only girl I’ve ever loved.
I messed up. I know I don’t deserve a second chance, but I would give anything to make it right.
It’s too late. Bella’s made it abundantly clear those feelings died a long time ago. Why does she get so angry when all I’m trying to do is move on? It’s as if she’s suddenly interested in us again. Even if she is, I’m torn. The last time we tried, it almost destroyed us both.
She’s leaving soon, and my small town life is crumbling around me. I have to try. I have to see if there is still an us. I can’t let her get away again.
Given the option, she will forever be my always.

Author’s Note: Always Yours is a full length, standalone, best friends to lovers, second chance, small town romance. Join this single mom and restaurant owner and their funny meddling family on a journey to their happily ever after. Content warning found on author’s website.


Chapter One


I glanced down at the long fingers threaded through mine. My gaze traveled from our clasped hands resting on my knee, up to Rhett’s muscular forearm. I didn’t remember when he’d rolled the sleeves of his pressed white dress shirt to his elbows, but it had been an excruciatingly long day. It was hard to believe that less than eight weeks ago, my mom and I were shopping for dresses for the fall homecoming dance and now… now…

“Bella?” Miranda softly repeated, still hovering over me.

I forced my eyes to meet hers. “I’m sorry. What were you saying?”

Her eyes glistened with a sheen of tears.

Please, no. Not you too.

Between the funeral and the reception at our home, I had no more tears left to cry.

“Can I get you something to eat?” she asked again, this time crouching down in front of me. Her son Rhett and I were sitting on the sofa in my living room. The exact spot my mom and I had spent plenty of nights curled up, watching movies.

“No, thanks.” I shook my head. The thought of food made me queasy.

Miranda hesitated for a second, then her gaze turned to her son. “You know she’ll only listen to you, so try and get her to eat something?”

“Yeah, Mom. I’ll try.” Rhett eyed me while giving my hand a tight squeeze.

I stole a glance his way, expecting him to convince me to eat. His jaw clenched as his eyes searched my face. I knew he felt helpless, fussing over me all day. Trying to fix my pain. But there wasn’t a fix, and the look of vulnerability on his tanned face constricted my chest in a completely different kind of ache. He had been my best friend for as long as I could remember. I think my mom knew I would need him now more than ever.

“Bella bug, you and Rhett have that special bond.” She reached for my hand as she struggled to speak. “It’s a once in a lifetime type of thing. Cherish it.” Her coughs overtook her before she continued. “Protect it. Fight for it when you need to, because I promise you baby girl…” Another cough and shallow breath as she whispered, “Nothing that special will ever come easy.”

That was a week ago, while her frail body struggled to fight off the pneumonia.

Rhett’s warm breath against my ear pulled me back to the present, and I inhaled sharply. I found comfort in it. A reprieve from the pain I had felt all day.

“Do you want to go for a walk?” he tentatively asked.

I glanced around the room full of people to search out my father’s tall, lean frame. “Sure, just let me tell my dad. I don’t want him to worry.”

My eyes landed on him as he ran one hand nervously through his thick chocolate-brown hair. He was speaking to a familiar elderly woman, one of many who had come to pay their respects.

“Bella Buchanan.” She reached out and cupped my cheek. “My, how beautiful you are. Looking more and more like your mother every day. We will miss her dearly; she was always as bright and exquisite as those flowers in her shop.”

The ripple of pain that swept over me made it even harder to breathe.

I need to get out of here. Now.

“Thank you, Mrs. Adams,” I said politely before I turned toward my dad, Allen, and continued with, “I’m going to get a little air. Is that alright?”

Worry clouded his dark eyes. “Is Rhett going with you?”

“Yes, we won’t be long.”

“Okay,” he said to me before turning and addressing my best friend. “Rhett, make sure she eats something, please.”

How do they expect me to eat when everything hurts?