Beneath the Light of a Silver Moon is still at the cheap as chips price of around 1.03, one of my few contemporary stories. WARNING: that's not to say the plot is boring. Picture a wife beaten by her husband, and her feeling trapped into staying to keep her stepdaughter safe. But then the man she loved but stupidly walked away from, comes to her rescue like a shining knight on his white stead BWG.
Anyway,if you read it, I hope you enjoy it. It's short but packed full of emotion and angst.
Here's an excerpt:
A sudden rap on the front door caused Kristen Treymore to release an unsteady breath.
She’d heard no car pull into the driveway, no footsteps come up the handful of rickety stairs. But she knew who stood on the other side of the stained wooden door.
Conrad Doyle. Protector and childhood friend.
The one man she’d wronged.
She touched the top of her tender cheekbone—and winced, not needing to see her bruises to imagine how bad she looked. But at least there were no dislocations this time, nothing broken. As her fingertips drifted carefully over her swollen, half-shut eye, the knock thumped again, louder and more urgent.
She swallowed hard before dredging up the tattered remains of her dignity. She didn’t want Conrad to see her like this, didn’t want pity to shadow his knowing gaze.
Bloody hell. His sympathy was the last thing she wanted. Ever.
She pushed to her feet, aware her legs were almost too weak to support her. Shock did that to a person.
“I’m coming,” she croaked. Conrad wasn’t going anywhere. She might as well get this over and done with.
She glanced at the bed, where the heavyset body of her ‘loving’ husband, Jack Treymore, lay almost comatose except for his rhythmic, loud snoring. She curled her lips at the vile bourbon fumes on his breath, at his overhanging paunch fed by too much liquor.
Her bag was packed, money stashed, but until she knew her step-daughter, Melanie, was safe and not returning, she couldn’t leave this hell that had become her life. Melanie, the step-daughter she loved like her own flesh and blood. The child she could never have.
She’d done all she could for the withdrawn teen, but in the end Melanie had run away from the erratic love-hate relationship with her father. The violence. Kristen hoped and prayed she’d stay away.
She staggered to the front door, throwing a bathrobe over her torn silk chemise and untying her hair to help hide at least a little of her condition.
Just about everyone in the tiny, inland Australian town of Mudgebulla had a pretty good idea of what went on behind her closed doors. She shut her eyes, swiping a hand over her face and feeling weary beyond her years. There was a time that everyone knowing about her abuse would have destroyed her.
But it wasn’t just about her anymore. She had Melanie to consider.
She opened her eyes about the same time she flipped on the front exterior light, then pulled open the door—and drank in Conrad as though he was a drug to dull all her pain. He was so tall, so broad shouldered and seemingly indestructible. God, she wanted only to collapse against his strength, his kindness.
She dropped her stare, snapping out of her momentary madness. But not before absently noting his rumpled and sun-streaked hair was long overdue for a cut. Somehow it suited him. “The neighbourhood grapevine is alive and well?” she asked dully.
Conrad clasped her chin with a gentle hand, bringing her stare back to his. “Yes.” His eyes narrowed as he studied the warzone that was her face. “Why do you stay?” His voice cracked, his calmness a facade. “Only a scumbag lowlife would do this to a woman—to you.”
Tears pricked her vision even as her chin lifted, “I have it under control—”
Conrad let out an aggrieved breath. “You know that’s not true. He chooses to drink in just the same way he chooses to hurt you.”
His hand dropped, taking hold of hers and making her yearn for the very thing she’d turned her back on too long ago. With a gentle tug, he pulled her outside and shut the door on Jack’s loud snores that resonated down the hallway.
The deep-sea green of his eyes glittered beneath the glare of a naked bulb, his emotions running strong. “Jack has nothing to hold you here anymore. Melanie is safe now, she won’t be coming back. Believe me.”
Her pulse jumped. “You know where she is?” she breathed.
He nodded. His thumb stroked her palm, a calming touch. “Yes. She’s safe.”
She slumped against him in utter relief. “Thank god,” she said hoarsely. She didn’t doubt Conrad’s word. But she didn’t want to hear where the teenager had gone. Jack had a way of making her talk even when she had no words left. She wouldn’t risk Melanie’s safety for anything.
Now, with her step-daughter safe, Kristen was at last free to leave. Maybe they could start a new life, just the two of them?
As Conrad’s arms clamped around her and tucked her in close, she refused to think on the pain deep within at never seeing him again, refused to think of the ache in her chest knowing his hold was one that would protect and love whoever was lucky enough to get him.
She couldn’t think of him with another woman, full stop.