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Heroes and Hearts


Prologue
Isabel opened her eyes with the distinct feeling that something was
wrong. Though it was still dark outside, she could hear voices speaking
quietly in the kitchen. Grabbing her Holly Hobbie doll she slipped out of
bed, the edge of her nightgown brushed the tops of her feet as she padded
over to the door. Her parents were fighting. About what Isabel didn’t know,
but occasionally her mother’s words would drift out when she raised her
voice, words like coward and danger. Isabel tugged on Holly’s braid,
opening her slumbering eyes, as she stepped out of the room. Whatever
was happening, the little girl didn’t want to face it alone. She took another
step, but the moan of a metal chair rubbing against the linoleum floor sent
her scurrying back into her room. Peeking her head out again, the moppet
saw her parents had moved into the living room.
“We can’t come with you, Omar,” her mother was saying as she threw her
arms into the air. “It would put Isabel’s life at risk!”
“Then use the mirror maze and move her. She can stay with your cousins
in Puerto Rico until it’s safe for us to return.”
“And how long would that be? What if something happens to both of us?”
Her mother shook her head violently. “No, I won’t have Isabel thinking we
abandoned her.”
“Just me.”
Isabel thought for sure her parents would be able to hear her heart
pounding in her chest as the silent minutes ticked by. What was
happening? Why were they in danger? Why did any of them have to
leave?
“I was a coward,” her father said so softly she could barely make it out, “a
spoiled, selfish brat who thought only of himself. I let everyone down, but I
was too frightened to care.”
He grasped his wife’s hands and continued.
“You gave me strength, Leticia. You showed me what was right, taught me
how to love. It’s my love for you and for Isabel that makes me strong now
but I need to go back. I need to make amends for what I did. I need to put
a stop to this before you and Isabel get hurt.”
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