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Prologue

Deanna had a heavy feeling as she headed to work. Maybe it was just those extra bills that had come due. She had been sending a large portion of her paycheck back home to her folks ever since she came to the city. There really wasn’t that much paycheck to go around. She hadn’t been prepared for that assessment the landlord passed on to his tenants for the boiler repair. There just wasn’t any place else where she could cut spending. She already walked to and from work, never went out and spent money with her friends, and she even bought day old breads and produce rather than fresh. She counted her blessings on a daily basis that she had a job and a roof over her head, no matter how meager, but she found herself bordering on frustration every time she balanced her checkbook.

She made up her mind, today she was going to ask Rob if there was any way he could raise her salary a bit. She was willing to take on extra work; she just needed to be able to keep sending money home. The hurricanes had pretty much devastated parts of Louisiana over the last few years. The resulting tornadoes hit surrounding areas and wiped her folks out. There was no way they were able to rebuild their home and the business. She graduated high school out of a makeshift building before the last round of storms hit. Her original plans were to remain at home for a while and maybe find a job down there. Her parents had always figured she could come into the shop with them but there was no more shop to generate money.

Deanna decided to go someplace where she could earn some money to send home to them. Deanna made the move to New York City and had been trying to build a life for nearly a year. A trailer sat on the site near where Deanna remembered her favorite tire swing ever since Katrina and Rita ravaged the area. Her parents didn’t complain. There was no way she wanted to let them know how tight things were for her. She let them believe that money was rolling in or they never would have accepted the money she sent back home.

Clutching her purse tightly to her side, Deanna entered the bank. She was supposed to get some smaller bills for the register this morning on her way into work. She didn’t like walking around with so much money, but Rob insisted that he trusted her to take care of things. Deanna wasn’t naïve; she knew that her neighborhood wasn’t exactly the most crime free in the city. She worried about the responsibility of carrying that much money. If she lost it, there was no way at all that she’d be able to replace it. There never had been any temptation to take what didn’t belong to her but she did allow herself a brief fantasy during the night that the wad of bills in her purse was really hers.

She stepped in line with about half a dozen other customers. She stood behind a very broad shouldered man in a suit and she had to stand on tip-toe to try to look around him to see how fast the line wasn’t moving. He turned towards her and smiled as he adjusted his glasses. His brown wavy hair and bronze complexion stood out against his light brown suit. The ends of his hair brushed his collar. Deanna smiled back politely while hoping she wouldn’t encourage him into a conversation.

He was very attractive and she kept looking towards him when he wasn’t looking at her. Under other circumstances, she wouldn’t have minded trying to engage him in a conversation. But as it was, she needed to be at work soon and she couldn’t forget the money she was carrying. He kept checking his watch and she wondered if he was late for some important business meeting. Deanna checked her own watch and hoped she could make it to the store in time to open the doors on schedule.

Finally the gentleman in front of her was the next in line. Suddenly there was a shout and a scream. Deanna turned and saw two men –and then a third–with stocking-covered faces waving very large and frightening handguns.

Everybody get down! And keep your faces to the floor.”

All of the bank’s customers obeyed immediately. When Deanna raised her head to watch what was happening, the man who had been standing in front of her gently pushed her back down.

“Do as they say,” he cautiously whispered to her from his own position on the floor.

She could see the feet of the frightened tellers as they were ushered toward the front of the counter to join the rest of the customers. One poor young man was stopped and dragged back behind the counter to empty the cash drawers into a sack. Deanna heard muffled sobbing around her.

One of the masked robbers was moving through the mass of people on the floor demanding wallets, purses and jewelry. Perhaps foolishly, Deanna decided she wasn’t going to give up the store money without some kind of protest. She also slid her grandmother’s birthstone ruby ring off of her hand and slipped it down her bra front for protection.

“Open your purse.”

“No.” He grabbed for it and she wouldn’t let it go.

“Damn it, it’s not worth dying for.” The man spoke to her again in a harsh whisper. She saw that he was eagerly handing over his own wallet.

The purse was wrested from her hand. “No. Give it back!”

He heard the gentle twang in her voice and was intrigued by it. “Don’t be an idiot!” he grumbled under his breath.

Deanna raised her head and her voice in anger. “Will you just be quiet! Ow!” She felt her head being yanked backwards by the hair and she found herself staring at the stocking face of one of the robbers.

“Stand up!” She was forced to her feet. “You want to fight?” A gun was pressed against her ribcage. “I’ll give you something to fight about.” He started to push her towards one of the office doors.

“Where are you taking me?” Sudden terror seized her. She tried to break away but found his grip on her was too strong. “Please. I’m sorry…” Her imagination ran wild with horrible possibilities. Tears began to sting her cheeks.

“Well gee, I got me Scarlett O’Hara, boys.” The bank robber laughed as he announced his find to his cohorts.

“Let her go.” The man from the front of the line made a meek plea for her safety.

“Mind your frigging business!”

Deanna continued to struggle and finally broke free. The robber lunged for her. Faster than she was aware, the suited customer was standing and pushed her protectively behind him. He blocked the robber and they scuffled. She stepped backward and was terrified to see the robber gain the advantage and hold the gun to the man’s temple. One arm wound its way around the would-be rescuer’s neck and he was quickly subdued.

She stood trembling. “Oh Gosh, I’m sorry…”

No one else wanted to take a risk. Everyone obeyed the robbers’ demands. The young teller finished filling the bag, customer pockets were emptied of valuables. The gun was still being held on the attractive stranger.

“Get back down on the floor!” The robber commanded Deanna to lie down on the floor.

She was shaking with fear and with guilt. “Please let him go.”

“Lie down!”

She hesitated briefly and then did as she was told.

“Now everyone just remain where you are. Count slowly to three-hundred. If I hear any police sirens or see any cop cars, I will kill this man.” The robbers began to back out of the bank with one of them dragging the struggling man with him.

Deanna couldn’t let them just take the man with them, not after he had risked himself to save her. She looked up and saw a large ceramic demonstration piggy bank on the counter; as soon as she saw the robber look away, she jumped to her feet and grabbed it. She ran after the robber holding the hostage and struck him in the back of the head.

The robber stumbled. “Run!” She screamed at the stranger. He stared at her in disbelief. “Run!” Finally he made a hasty retreat to the street.

Before Deanna could get safely back into the bank, she found herself being grabbed again and this time the gun was held to her head.

“You little bitch.” The robber’s voice was raspy. “You’re coming with us instead, then.” He dragged her pleading out the doors and threw her into a van just outside on the street.

Another one of the assailants grabbed her to tie and gag her as the vehicle made a hasty retreat. About a block later, the van made a quick stop and Deanna was surprised to see the suited customer step into the van.

He looked at her in anger. “You couldn’t leave well enough alone, could you?”

To purchase:

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June is Audiobooks Month &
Vanilla Heart Publishing
has a BUNCH!

including books by Chelle Cordero

Karma Visited

Within the Law

A Chaunce of Riches

Hostage Heart

Bartlett’s Rule

Hyphema

Courage of the Heart

Final Sin

&

The Many Faces of Chelle Cordero

*(click on each title to hear a FREE sample)
~~~

Click HERE for more fantastic Audiobooks
from Vanilla Heart Publishing Authors

Charmaine Gordon
Tamara Philip
Malcolm R. Campbell
Angela K. Austin

Have you stopped by Weekend Writing Warriors
or Snippet Sunday (on Facebook) lately?

Every weekend a whole lotta’ authors get together to share tantalizing snippets from their works, some published and some not, and we all comment and offer critiques and encouragement on each. It’s Writers hanging out with Writers.

Even if you aren’t a writer you are welcome to come and sample our work — it will be like enjoying a passed hors d’oeuvre party. Just click on the links above to find the snippets.

In the meanwhile:

I posted snippets from Hostage Heart,
you can read them by clicking on the links below:

The bank robbery ~ 02/08/15

Danger ~ 02/15/15

Miss Goody Two-Shoes  ~  02/22/15

No money for ransom ~ 03/01/15

Because they sleep together ~ 03/08/15

Mamere called it vibrations – 03/15/15

Confusion – 03/22/15

Temptation  ~  03/29/15

Foreboding ~  04/05/15

Death – 04/12/15

We have a problem ~ 04/19/15

Three months later ~ 04/26/15

Read my books on your computer in convenient .PDF files
from Payhip

Bartlett’s Rule

His Lucky Charm

Within the Law

Courage of the Heart

Final Sin

Hostage Heart

A Chaunce of Riches

Common Bond, Tangled Hearts

Hyphema

Karma Visited

Payhip 01222016

…and just in case you need

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC Download | Free PDF viewer

 

 

The contest is over! Thank you all for entering.

The winners have been chosen (& notices sent out)

Paula M won an audio copy of Hostage Heart
Karen M won an e-book copy of Hostage Heart
Stella M won an e-book copy of Hostage Heart

HH 3way

Every week I participate in a blog hop hosted by the Weekend Writing Warriors (also shared by the Snippet Sunday Facebook group) – Writers post 8-10 sentences from one of their stories (poems or blog posts as well) and readers hop around reading tantalizing snippets and are welcomed to comment – we encourage comments from all!

Anyway, since today is the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in New Orleans and my book Hostage Heart was inspired by stories of rescue and aid, I am posting the links to snippets I posted from the book. Please enjoy:

The bank robbery
Danger
Miss Goody Two-Shoes
No money for ransom
Because they sleep together
Mamere called it vibrations

Confusion
Temptation
Foreboding

Death
We have a problem
Three months later

And if you like what you read, please enter my Rafflecopter contest and maybe you’ll win a FREE Audio Book or one of two E-books of Hostage Heart!

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It’s been ten years since Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita ravaged the coastal communities off of the Gulf of Mexico. The devastation in Louisiana and especially New Orleans was heartbreaking and frightening. More than 1500 people died in Louisiana as a result of the storms and flooding.

My husband spent six weeks as a first responder down there giving medical aid and other assistance. When he came home he was filled with stories about the resiliency of the people who lived down there, about their remarkable spirit and their determination.

His stories inspired me to write Hostage Heart – to commemorate this event I am giving away a free audiobook download of Hostage Heart to one person who comments on my Author Facebook Page post about Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Just follow this LINK to be entered in the drawing

Win a FREE Audio Book or one of two E-books

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My Rafflecopter giveaway is LIVE – There are THREE prizes: An audio-book of Hostage Heart and TWO (1 each) e-books of Hostage Heart. Earn points (entries) by following the simple instructions

Mother Nature spawned two daughters in the late summer of 2005, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. The devastation to the coastal communities off of the Gulf of Mexico was substantial thanks to storm surge and high winds. In the City of New Orleans, which was buffeted by Category-3 hurricane force winds (125 mph) and rain; aging levees designed to protect from rising storm waters broke and an estimated 80% of the city was flooded. Homes and lives washed away.
All in all more than 1500 people died in Louisiana (more than 120 people are still listed as missing) and a total death count from the storm amounted to over 1800 (including Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi). The loss of beloved family pets, some dead and others forever lost in the chaos, weren’t even counted and families still mourn. The death toll rose with “indirect” fatalities which included a heartbreaking high percentage of stillbirths from the flooded parishes of Louisiana. Katrina made landfall in Florida on August 25, traversed the warm Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in Louisiana on August 29.


“Hurricane Katrina (2005). A Day That Shook The World . With the power of a nuclear explosion, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana on the 29th August 2005. 125mph winds caused widespread devastation.”  (uploaded by British Pathé Aug. 1, 2011)

The massive loss of life, immense property damage, the failure of the levee infrastructure, and the lack of adequate evacuations pointed to dismal shortcomings in disaster planning. The dedication of public servants was questioned, communication between agencies responding to the emergency was confused, people who needed food and basic supplies were mixed with looters, charitable donations and rescuers were originally denied access to the areas of need by the National Guard for safety concerns, and heads of state were accused of delayed response.

Assistance and donations came from around the world to a country known so often for aid to others. Hurricane Katrina (followed quickly by Hurricane Rita) monopolized headlines and forced major overhauls in disaster planning and response. But even now, ten years later, destroyed homes still sit abandoned and thousands of people displaced during the storms never returned. There has been some re-building and the spirit of those remaining still shines strong, even so the scars will always be there.

People came from all over the country as part of organized Federal teams to render aid – rescue, medical, mortuary… My husband spent about six weeks in New Orleans helping to administer health services in tents set up in hospital parking lots; most hospitals were totally destroyed, others had minimal facilities available, and the patients overwhelmed those limits. During his tenure there he slept in tents, in a mobile van converted for administrative work, and in a firehouse on a barrier island (the firehouse had flooded and equipment destroyed); the teams he worked with shared supplies and sent messages home via satellite phones.

Spouses of the team members sat at home listening to every news report and waiting for those short 45-second calls from our loved ones. When he returned home he was filled with remarkable stories of strength and determination. People who had been through hell were inspirations in survival and compassion. The people of New Orleans were grateful for the help and eager to assist. When he came home he was a changed man for the better after spending that time with such amazing people.

 HH 3way

Hostage Heart

Life was hard after the hurricanes swept through, destroying her parents’ home and livelihood…

An errand for her boss – a chance encounter with a crew of bank robbers – a kind man who tried to help her … a man who isn’t all he seems… no, he is so much more

(From the acknowledgments for my novel Hostage Heart)

To my husband
For inspiring me with the stories he brought home from Louisiana after the storms…

And to DMAT teams around the country who rendered aid after hurricanes devastated parts of the Gulf Coast. And to the resiliency of the folks who met these hurricanes firsthand.

FathersDay

 

For the past year and a half I have participated in a weekly blog hop called The Weekend Writing Warriors #8sunday; a few weeks ago I added #SnippetSunday posts on the FaceBook group. Actually the posts are the same for both, it’s just a matter of who you follow and who follows you; WeWriWa limits your posts to eight sentences, snippets CAN be a little more.

Every week writers post snippets on their blogs and then we “hop” around and leave comments on each others’ snippets. Everyone is welcome to participate. We have just about every kind of genre and story line and it is entertaining to following along with a story and a new installment every week. Sometimes the snippets come from works-in-progress, sometimes they are already published. The comments we receive help to improve our writing.

I look forward to participating every week.

I just recently posted a few months of snippets from my novel Hostage Heart – if you would like to see what this blog hop is all about AND enjoy some tasty tidbits, visit any WeWriWa or SnippetSunday author’s blog on Sundays. Or you could always check out my Hostage Heart snippets.

Listed below are the Hostage Heart snippets in order with the most recent on the bottom:

The bank robbery 

Danger 

Miss Goody Two-Shoes 

No money for ransom 

Because they sleep together 

Mamere called it vibrations 

Confusion 

Temptation 

Foreboding 

Death 

We have a problem 

Three months later

HH 3way

Hostage Heart  by Chelle Cordero is available as an AUDIOBOOK and in All Ebook Formats and  Print Editions.

 

 Life was hard after the hurricanes swept through, destroying her parents’ home and livelihood…Deanna did the only thing she could do. She moved to New York City, found a job, worked hard, scrimped and saved to send what little she could manage back home to Louisiana to her parents.
An errand for her boss – a chance encounter with a crew of bank robbers – a kind man who tried to help her and deserved her courageous help in return… But he wasn’t the man she thought he was…no, he was so very much more!

 

Review
Hostage Heart is a captivating read… I really enjoyed Chelle Cordero’s ‘Hostage Heart.  It read quickly and kept my interest until the very end. I would highly recommend this book and I plan to read all of the author’s other books. It took me along on the adventure. I enjoyed the romance. ~LDB, on Amazon

~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

This Chelle Cordero sampler is free for your enjoyment. All of Chelle’s great books are available in both print and ebook editions for every reading device, through online retailers and in select bookstores around the world. Audiobooks available at Amazon, iTunes, and Audible. Four chapters each of Ten Chelle Cordero Novels…

Karma Visited 

Do you believe in karma? Annie Furman has a gift that allows her, while she sleeps, to visit people in their time of need – but who will be there for her when she needs help? Undersheriff Dave Turner is investigating a series of home invasions and homicides. He has no idea that solving this case will lead him to the woman of his dreams.

Hyphema

Hyphema: Bleeding in the eye caused by trauma… Matt Garratti, a paramedic from New York, moves his wife and son to North Carolina to work at his dream job as a flight medic. Pakistani born Sudah, his wife, receives frosty stares and insensitive comments from their new neighbors… Matt wonders if he is pursuing his dream or bringing his family into a nightmare from which they may never wake.

His Lucky Charm

What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas… this time it follows Brandon and Caitlyn across the country and into a world of espionage and danger. The one thing that Brandon knows for sure is that he can’t afford to lose his lucky charm, Caitlyn.

Common Bond, Tangled Hearts

Layne Gillette’s world is turned upside down when a man she has never met shows up to lay claim as the father of her 6-year old son. When Layne’s abusive “ex-husband” shows up, they are torn apart by danger, kidnapping and lies.

A Chaunce of Riches

Ben Johnson was hired as a bodyguard for a rich widow and her kid, but he never expected to be working for the woman who had abandoned him just when he had needed her the most. Damn it all, he still wanted her. Samantha Chaunce never thought she would have to explain why she married the rich man instead of Ben. Or that her husband had been murdered…and Ben was the prime suspect.

Hostage Heart

Life was hard after the hurricanes swept through, destroying her parents’ home and livelihood… An errand for her boss – a chance encounter with a crew of bank robbers – a kind man who tried to help her … a man who isn’t all he seems…no, he is so much more

Final Sin

Deputy Sheriff Commander Jake Carson has his hands full… investigation of a brutal multiple homicide, a troubled son and a vindictive ex-wife. He meets young, free-spirited paramedic Julie Jennings. When Julie becomes the subject of an obsession, it puts both of them in danger…

Courage of the Heart

Sometimes love is the only cure for the very deepest of emotional wounds. The story of the two lovers takes a series of unexpected and fast paced turns where lives, sanity and love are put in jeopardy. Their commitment to one another results in a spirit that binds them together and helps them to overcome physical and emotional dangers.

Within the Law

Tom gave up on ever falling in love again the day that he buried his high school sweetheart and fiancé. He started a career in law enforcement just so that he could find her murderer and rapist. Just when he is about to see justice done, he meets Alli Davis-the defense attorney for the murdering rapist who took his love from him.

Bartlett’s Rule

Bartlett’s Rule shares the story of Lon and Paige’s love affair; a romance filled with hardship, emotion, danger and triumph. Falling in love was never the challenge; being there for each other, knowing just what to say and making it work is the real test. Paige and Lon are real; they are human, they cry and they laugh. Paige has to learn to trust. Lon has to learn to be patient.

 

Living, Breathing, Writing [Kindle Edition]

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