Sunday, April 20, 2014

Anything but Safe by Moira Keith:Spotlight with Excerpt



Wallace “Ace” McGregor ran off to chase the rodeo, but not before playing the knight in shining armor to his best friend Cheyenne Murphy after a tragic assault left her pregnant. With his latest injury leaving his chase for rodeo gold in the dust, he finds himself back home. Haunted by the past and trying to do what he thinks is right, he will have to mend his relationship with the best friend he all but abandoned in her time of need and the older brother he left holding the bag.

Cheyenne Murphy’s life hasn’t been easy. And with Wallace back on the ranch, keeping her feelings at bay is a challenge like no other. When Garth Sawyers, the man who left her broken and pregnant, re-surfaces and threatens to destroy the safety and family she’s found with the McGregor's by taking her son, she will do whatever necessary to ensure they are all safe, even if it means relying on the parents that disowned her.

When everything is on the line, will Wallace and Cheyenne come to realize that in life and love, they are anything but safe?



The night air welcomed Wallace when he stepped out onto
the porch. The scent of the Texas Star flowers washed over him.
They had been his mother’s favorite plants, now cared for by
Cheyenne as if she’d been the one to nurture them from seedlings.
As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he found her standing under
the large oak tree off the eastern corner of the house. Her back was
turned toward him, as she faced the old shed he and his brothers
had converted into an art studio for her. Once upon a time, she’d
spent countless hours painting and developing photographs in the
little space. The only members of the McGregor family who’d ever
been allowed beyond the doors had been his mother and his sister
Delsea. She’d talked of starting her own photography business, but
those discussions died quickly after she got pregnant.
“Cheyenne,” he called out as he approached her. She didn’t
answer. When he got closer, he saw the wire from her headphones
trailing down and disappearing into the front pocket of her shorts.
Eyes closed, she swayed slightly along with whatever music was
playing just for her. Wallace stopped and took in the sight before
him. Her hair was pulled back into a haphazard twist. Loose
strands of soft hair danced lazily around her delicate face and
swept across the nape of her neck. The green eyelet tank top she
wore left her shoulders bare, too much visible flesh enticing him.
Awakening want within him he’d struggled to keep buried for a
long time. The dark scar branding her flesh, a reminder of the past
she usually tried to hide, served as a warning of what happened the
first time he’d ignored his feelings for her. No matter the outcome,
walking away was no longer an option. The past had no intentions
of letting go. He’d just have to go where his heart led. He waited,
enjoying the moment and taking in everything from her hair all the
way down to her long lean legs and bare feet. When the moonlight
caught her face just right, he could see the shimmer of tears on her
Every fiber of his being wanted to take her in his arms. To
kiss her until the pain of the past no longer haunted her and the
ghosts were gone for both of them. “Cheyenne, honey—”
When she still didn’t answer, he reached out and lightly
touched her arm, and a blood curdling scream escaped her.
“Wallace!” Cheyenne pulled the headphones free and
draped them around her neck. “I didn’t hear you.”
Wallace heard the screen on the front porch slam open. The
fear in Quinn’s voice rang out through the night, “Wallace!”
“It’s all right, Quinn, I just scared her.” Wallace waited until
he saw his brother’s dark silhouette retreat back into the house.
“Don’t worry.” She brushed the tears away from her face.
“I’m not losing my grip. Just been a rough couple of days. Thank
you for today. Holden had a great time.”
“And you?” The trip to the pond had been a chance to
recapture a piece of the past — a time when things were better for
both of them. Having Holden there simply added to the experience.
It helped clear the fog he’d felt looming over him since he’d
returned home. He’d wanted it to help Cheyenne though, not
dredge up things she fought so desperately to keep from
consuming her.
“Of course, I had a good time too.” She rose up on tiptoes
and kissed his cheek with just the barest touch of her lips. Friendly.
Not at all what he wanted from her. Perhaps she didn’t want the
same thing. Or maybe she was scared. He was. Every muscle in his
body trembled from the mix of fear and restraint.
The music faded out as the song she’d been listening to
ended. The next one started and was loud enough he could just
make out the tune. A slow country song with a man and woman
singing about how people break like glass. Were truer words ever
sung? Life was hard, fear and hate ruled, and love rarely seemed to
conquer all. In his experience it only made people vulnerable and
often times reckless or stupid. He’d experienced all three with
Cheyenne. Hoping there could be more to experience, Wallace
pulled her into his arms and started swaying back and forth with
her to the song he’d heard coming from her room every morning
since he’d been home.
“I thought it would be nice for us to be able to remember
happier times.” He pulled her closer and slid his arms around her
waist. “Guess it wasn’t the best idea I’ve had.”
“It was good. Yes, it brings up less happier times, but I think
we all needed today.” She rested her cheek against his shoulder as
they moved together in the darkness. “Do you ever wonder how
different our lives would be if that night never happened?”
Every night he lay in a motel room far away from her, he’d
asked himself the same thing. The nights when he came home and
let the fear, anger, and guilt consume him, he thought about it. And
when he couldn’t bear to be near her and not feel the softness of her
skin under his fingertips or smell the sweetness of her perfume —
he ran back to the rodeo and tried to imagine a different life for the
both of them.
He couldn’t say more. His heart beckoned him to, but the
words were lodged in his throat. The edge of sadness in her voice
gripped his heart like a vise and the desire to not add to her pain
forced him to bite his tongue.
“What do you think our lives would be like?” Her voice
dropped to a whisper. “Would we be happier?”
“I don’t know. There’s this part of me that wishes we could
turn back time and change the past but...” He paused, remembering
a conversation he’d had with his mother after bringing Cheyenne
home. “A world without Holden in it just doesn’t seem to be a
world I would want to be a part of. Would you?”
“No. That’s not what I meant. You know I wouldn’t give
him up for anything.” They stopped dancing and she looked up at
him, eyes glittering with fresh tears. “I just wish I could enjoy life
with my son without looking for the bogeyman around every
corner or in every shadow. For once, I want to wake up and feel
like I’m still the girl I once was — the girl who leapt without fear.”
“That girl is still in there. She makes rare appearances when
you’re playing with Holden and you think no one’s looking. In
those few precious moments you’re at peace — content in this place
and time with a boy who was born out of the worst circumstances.
A boy who has this uncanny knack of bringing out the best in all of
us, whose laughter is infectious, and who is ultimately a ray of
sunshine this family needed.” And Wallace admired her for what
she’d done. She’d made the best of it. Struggled to maintain hope
and a belief there was good in the world and in people, all while
trying to protect those she cared about at the expense of her own
“I don’t see her anymore when I look in the mirror.”
His curiosity was piqued. “What do you see?”
“Pain. Ugliness. Fear. Hate. Every single bad emotion I’ve
had has built up inside of me since that night; I’ve locked them all
away until it’s all I see in myself.” She reached for the tree trunk
behind her and leaned back. “I just want...I don’t know what I want
“When I look at you, I don’t see those things.”
She brushed a loose strand of hair from her face. “What do
you see?”
If he wanted to try to chase away the demons haunting her,
this was his chance. Don’t overthink. Just leap. He might not get a
better opportunity. He’d passed enough of them up in his lifetime.
Wallace took one step toward her.
“I see strength.” He took another step, slowly closing the
distance between them. “Compassion and genuine love.” Another
step. “And beauty. I’m left starstruck and fighting to catch my
breath every moment I’m in the same room with you.”


Moira Keith is a lover of shoes, a connoisseur of Guinness, baker of cocktail themed cupcakes, and an overall complete mess!

She lives in the glittering sea of neon known as Las Vegas, but is a proud Texan by birth (and true Southern girl at heart). Her twin sons, three parakeets, and a turtle keep her company.

Her stories are often filled with the magic of love and the mayhem that ensues, which always threatens to keep her couples apart. She writes paranormal romance, urban fantasies, and contemporary western romances.

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