A Chat and A Contest,

“Matt, why are you angry? Sudah shook her head gently. “She was just making conversation.”

“She didn’t even give you the courtesy of asking you the question.”

She shrugged. “They see the color of my skin and my scarf. I’m different. They do not mean any harm.”

“You’re my wife Sudah and I want people to respect that.”

“Maybe they worry I don’t speak English?”

“If they bothered to speak to you they would find out that you do.” His wife always made excuses for people; she never wanted to see bad in any of them. But even her positivity wasn’t enough to dispel his foul mood.

Matt was feeling edgy all day. He was very aware of the hostile looks they received earlier in the day while touring some nearby towns. One old man even called Sudah an Aaa-Rab and made fun of her head covering. Matt almost lost his temper with the old man, but Sudah’s light touch on his arm calmed him. When she politely told the man she was Pakistani, the old guy guffawed and said “same thing.” Later, Sudah explained to Matt that she didn’t think it was worthwhile to argue. “We will not change a man’s mind unless he wants to hear something new.”

Earlier in the day he drove to the college campus with them so that Sudah could see the route she would have to take. He also wanted to see the area she’d be spending so much time in for himself and make sure that it was safe for her. That’s when he first got an uneasy feeling that they were being watched, but he didn’t see anyone specific. Matt convinced himself that it was just more of those hostile looks keeping him on edge. There was a small mosque in the student center and Sudah told him that she would pray there. Matt hoped she wouldn’t be harassed because of her faith. The campus advertised that childcare was available but neither of them were impressed with the facilities. That was when they started exploring and finally wound up in the diner on their way back home.

Sudah fed Aden creamed corn from a small jar while they waited for their orders. The waitress put heaping platters of food in front of each of them. She made sure to thank the waitress.

Matt bit into an overstuffed club sandwich with turkey and ham Sudah chewed slowly on her grilled cheese sandwich while she helped Aden hold his bottle.

“I am happy the drive to school will not be long.” She took time to chew the bite of sandwich she just put in her mouth.

He nodded. “It’s a pretty direct route. That’s good.”

“Matt, thank you for bringing us here.”

He took a gulp of lemonade. “Oh baby, I hope you’re happy.”

“Yes, I am happy.” She smiled at him. “You give us a nice home. You are taking care of your family.”

The three left the diner with their stomachs full and his foul mood dispelled a bit by his wife’s optimism. Matt stayed off of the highway as they headed back towards their home in order to see a little more of the area. Driving along a street of one and two million dollar homes, Matt tried to imagine coming home to Sudah and their son in one of those luxurious estates.

“One of these days…”

“One of these days what, Matt?” Sudah asked about his barely audible statement. Her own voice was low because of the sleeping infant in the rear seat.

He chuckled. “One of these days I would love to afford one of these homes for you and Aden.”

She looked out of her passenger side window. “These homes, they are so big.”

“Yeah. They’re beautiful.”

“But Matt, compared to the house I grew up in, our home is a,” she paused to come up with the right word, “a… a big house.”

“Like a mansion?” He was amused by his wife’s naivety about the language and expressions.

“Yes, a mansion. It is a mansion to me.”

He pulled the car to the side of the road and put it in park. A wisp of hair had escaped the scarf she wound around her head. Reaching towards her, Matt tenderly brushed it behind her ear. “Baby, I want to give you so much. I want to do so much for you and Aden.” He wanted to be the perfect husband and father, everything his own father wasn’t.

She smiled demurely. “You have given me everything. You are everything that I need.” Looking around quickly to make sure they were not being observed, Sudah leaned forward and placed a light kiss on his lips. “You have made me very happy. I never thought that I would find a man like you for me. I am so lucky.”

When Sudah looked at him like that, she made him feel successful. “I’m the lucky one.” He gently pulled her forward to kiss her again. “Would you mind if we went home?” He knew she wasn’t comfortable with public displays and it was a lot more than simple kissing that he wanted to do with her at that moment.

“I think that might be a very good idea.”


Okay – here are the contest details…

Fabulous Vanilla Heart Publishing authors are on Coffee Time Romance’s yahoo group today. Stop by, say hello, and ask a question! http://t.co/JTlVmvK

My latest release, HYPHEMA, is a murder mystery set in North Carolina, one of my main characters is a Muslim Pakistani immigrant and the book deals with a lot of post-9/11 sentiment.

Ten years ago the world changed, nearly three-thousand people lost their lives and the lives of millions more were irrevocably changed. Recent news has been filled with families of the victims telling us how they have tried to do “positive things”, honor their loved ones, keep the memories alive, and work towards a brighter future.

So here is the contest opportunity – Tell me what POSITIVE thing you plan to do this September 11 to honor the memories of those that perished and work to make this world better. You have all day to post on the Coffee Time Romance Yahoo group , entries will be accepted until 10pm EST (please include your email address).

I’ll post some of these planned POSITIVE acts here on my author blog to appear on 9/11/2011 AND I will choose one random entry for a free ebook of HYPHEMA (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/54453)

A Minute from Bartlett’s Rule

I’ve been inspired by fellow authors reading from their works online…

This is the first of my “Minute Reads” series (& now that I’ve said it, I’ve really got to do it!)
And if this intrigues you (the story – NOT the acting!), read an excerpt from Bartlett’s Rule for yourself right here online


Bartlett’s Rule is written from the heart of one who understands fear and courage, the power of love, and the intricacies of relationships just beginning to unfold.” ~Brenna Morgan

Buy Links:

Amazon- print
Amazon – Kindle
Smashwords – ebook formats

A special piece of jewelry

I recently entered a contest (and lost) where the grand prize was $1500 worth of jewelry. We had to write about a special piece of jewelry that we owned and its significance. This was hard for me to do, I don’t often wear jewelry – I usually wear even my wedding ring only when we are dressed and going out! But I do have a few very meaningful pieces… my wedding ring, my (& his) high school rings, a gold filigree Star-of-David ring I bought for myself in Miami while vacationing with my parents, a diamond heart pendant from hubby and a few more pieces. Then I thought about the “promise ring” Mark gave me in 1974

When my hubby first proposed to me he wanted to buy me a promise ring because he thought it was a romantic notion, but I was ever the pragmatic one and we were just 2 kids from financially challenged families – I wanted to save the money for all of the dreams we were weaving, besides he insisted that he would also be buying me a diamond engagement ring later on.

We walked into a “five-and-dime store” and he purchased a pretty piece of costume jewelry I liked – the gem, made to look like a 1 1/2-carat emerald cut diamond, was plastic and the pseudo-white gold band was cheap metal, but I was in love with it.

The “promise ring” was eventually replaced with a beautiful 1/3 carat (genuine) diamond in white gold engagement ring. Then came the gold band followed by the house in the suburbs and two magnificent offspring. He still gives me “diamonds” now and then – sometimes real, sometimes cubic zirconium – and he always gives me his love.

Thirty five years later, the costume jewelry promise ring still sits in my jewelry box – it still shines beautifully and reminds me everyday that the only thing we’ve ever needed was each others’ love.

In my novel Hostage Heart, Deanna Blair has a very special piece of jewelry that helps to show how very close she was with her maternal grandmother – it was her grandmother’s birthstone ruby ring.

The name of the gemstone in her grandmother’s ring, Ruby, was taken from the Latin word for Red, Rubens. “Two magical elements are associated with the symbolism of this colour: fire and blood, implying warmth and life for mankind. So ruby-red is not just any old colour, no, it is absolutely undiluted, hot, passionate, powerful colour. Like no other gemstone, the ruby is the perfect way to express powerful feelings. Instead of symbolising a calm, controlled affection, a ring set with a precious ruby bears witness to that passionate, unbridled love that people can feel for each other.” (from the International Colored Gemstone Association)

The ring was all that Deanna had left that had belonged to her mamere after the hurricane flood waters devastated New Orleans; those flood waters had also taken the life of the old woman whose body was never recovered. Deanna learned the Cajun ways of her heritage from her grandmother, it was a heritage she was fiercely proud of.

She smiled broadly when she saw the book and flipped it over to read the book jacket description. “Thank you.” She had been raised with lots of Creole and Cajun customs especially at her mamere’s house. Deanna even spoke some of the old Creole language her grandmother had taught her. She hoped to pass many customs of her heritage on to her daughter one day. She read the card. “Thank you Ryan. This was so sweet of you.” Deanna sounded genuinely happy. She leaned over the table and gave him a quick kiss on the lips. “My roots do mean a lot to me.”

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

In print or e-book

Hostage Heart is also available at any Barnes & Noble Information Desk (or ask if it is ON their shelves), and in Rockland County NY at
Raider Bookshop at 99 Lafayette Avenue in Suffern &
Arts Alliance of Haverstraw at 91 Broadway in the Village of Haverstraw

Tell us about YOUR special piece of jewelry…

A Four Cup review of A Chaunce of Riches

A Chaunce of Riches was reviewed on Coffee Time Romance

(read the full review)

A Chaunce of Riches
By Chelle Cordero

The day that Ben Johnson was hired as a bodyguard for some rich widow and her kid, he never expected to be working for the woman who had abandoned him just when he had needed her the most so many years before. Damn it all, he still wanted her. Samantha Chaunce never thought she would see him again. She never thought she would have to explain why she married the rich man over the man she had sworn she once loved. And she certainly never expected to find out that her rich husband had been murdered and fingers were pointing to her former lover.

also available in e-book formats

A Review of Hostage Heart


Deanna Blair works in a bookstore and is from Louisiana. She is living and working in New York so she can help to support her parents.

Ryan Hunter is a hot shot FBI agent who has no idea that his life is about to change in a very drastic way. He is instantly attracted Deanna.

When Deanna goes to pick up a large sum of money for her employer at the local bank, she is less than enthused. She is never comfortable with carrying large sums, but she needs the job and so does so anyway. One morning when she goes to pick up the money, the bank she is in is robbed, and instead of handing over her purse she fights with the bank robbers. In the ensuing scuffle she gets taken as a hostage, and discovers that the handsome man she was trying to help is in cahoots with the bank robbers. Needless to say Deanna is less than happy. Fortunately for her Ryan is not all that he seems, and her intuition tells her that he is a good man. When she sees him shot in front her, and is told he has died, she is devastated. Deanna tries to get on with her life, but when she discovers she is pregnant with Ryan’s child, she knows her life has been irrevocably changed by her two encounters with the handsome Ryan. What will she do when Ryan comes back seemingly from the dead? Will she accept his story, or will she walk away?

I enjoyed reading Hostage Heart. It is a well written story with characters that are realistic. While it was hard at times going through the ups and downs in Ryan and Deanna’s relationship, it certainly kept me turning pages to find out what would happen next. The descriptions of Louisiana, and Deanna’s Cajun heritage were obviously well researched and gave the book a great ethnic flavor. I especially liked the parts about Deanna’s grandmother. For those who love to read about sexy FBI agents saving damsels in distress, this book is definitely for you!

Regina, Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

Hostage Heart
By Chelle Cordero

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!