Skip to product information
1 of 7

Lorana Hoopes

Rescue My Heart

Rescue My Heart

Regular price $2.99 USD
Regular price $4.99 USD Sale price $2.99 USD
40% OFF Sold out
Shipping calculated at checkout.
Style
  • Purchase the E-Book/Audiobook
  • Receive Download Link via Email from BookFunnel
  • Send to Preferred E-Reader and Enjoy!

Can she save her sister in a race against time?

Detective Al Parker' hasn't spoken with her sister in weeks, but when she finds out Nicole has gone missing, she'll do whatever it takes to find her. However, she didn't plan on having to team up with the man she thought was out of her life forever.

Grant Dickson thought he'd left his past behind and it would never resurface, but when he's forced to return to the place that broke his heart, will he be able to do his job?

Find out in this gripping romantic suspense by USA Today best-selling author Lorana Hoopes. Fans of Alana Terry, Susan May Warren, and Margaret Daly will love this spine-tingling ride filled with danger, intrigue, tension, and the tough topic of Human Trafficking.

First Chapter

Al sighed as she pulled into the parking lot of Fire Dreams. It wasn’t that she wasn’t excited for Ginny’s party, though she didn’t know the woman well, but she was tired of attending these events alone. 

For the longest time, it had been her partner Jordan attending everything with her. She’d convinced herself they belonged together and were more than partners, but that was before he’d found Cassidy. The beautiful female firefighter had stolen his interest faster than gasoline fueled a flame, and before she knew it, Al was left without her automatic plus one.

But she couldn’t fault Cassidy. Not only was the woman beautiful, but she was nice too. She was like that obnoxious girl in high school who won everything but you couldn’t hate her because she was so modest and kind. And if Al were honest, Jordan and Cassidy were good together. Better than she and Jordan would have been. Besides, knowing her luck, if they had dated, something would have happened to end the relationship. Then, Al would have been left without a boyfriend AND without a partner, and if she had to make a choice, she’d rather have Jordan by her side while on the job even if it meant she had to attend these events alone now.

It wouldn’t even be so bad if it were just Jordan and Cassidy together and everyone else was stag like she was, but that hadn’t happened either. Jordan and Cassidy had been like a romantic catalyst, setting off a chain reaction that sent Cupid flying through the air and shooting everyone in sight. After Jordan, it had been Brody and Tia, then Bubba and Makenna, Graham and Ginny, and most recently Cara and Cole. Half of those people hadn’t even lived in Fire Beach a year ago, so their small group of friends was quickly growing, making Al feel even more like a third wheel. 

The crazy coupling phenomenon reminded her of a time in college when everyone around her had been getting married and having children. “Don’t drink the water,” her roommate had said, and Al had laughed and agreed at the time, but now she kind of wished she could drink the water. Or at least that she could taste the water, but the glasses coming her direction were all either empty or filled with sand.

It wasn’t that she hadn’t dated anyone in the recent past, but none of them had been the right one. Well, there had been one that Al had thought was the right one, but it had ended, and while he still made appearances in her dreams occasionally, he never made appearances at her door anymore, so it was obviously not meant to be. Regardless, while she could date, she wasn’t looking for Mr. Right Now, she was looking for Mr. Right, so she would just have to suck it up and be patient.

Her eyes flicked to her reflection in the visor mirror, and she attempted to give herself a pep talk. “You can do this.” Yes, she could do this. She could make it through another dinner alone, but she could not hide the trace of sadness that resided in her hazel eyes like a layer of dust on a long forgotten book. Too bad it was evening and she couldn’t keep a pair of sunglasses on. Still, this was Ginny’s night and no one was likely to notice Al’s eyes. Besides, she could fake a smile with the best of them. She was getting pretty good at that. Flipping up the visor, she pulled her keys from the ignition and exited the car. 

The sun was just setting, sending lovely arcs of reds and pinks across the sky, and Al took a moment to enjoy the image as she approached the front door. This was her favorite time of year - the end of summer when the days were still longer but the air was just beginning to hint at the chill to come. Squaring her shoulders, she turned from the artistic sky painting behind her, took a deep breath, and placed her hand on the metal door handle. 

Though the restaurant was closed to the public for the night, the jumbled noise of lively conversation met her ears as soon as she stepped inside. Jordan and his brother Graham, who owned the restaurant, had pulled together several tables to create one long table and most of their group of friends were already seated around it. Ginny and Graham sat at the head of the table. Jordan and Cassidy sat on Graham’s right and Tia and Brody sat across the table from them on Ginny’s left. Bubba and Makenna occupied the seats next to Cassidy and Nick and Ivy enjoyed the seats across. That left four open seats near the end of the table. Two were for Cara and Cole, who hadn’t arrived yet, and one of the other two was for Al. The remaining empty seat mocked her as a reminder that she was single, though in truth Nick and Ivy were also single - unless they’d started seeing each other, which Al couldn’t really fathom. 

Al didn’t know Makenna or Ivy that well, but she chose the seat next to the peppy paramedic in hopes they could at least bond as the two single women at the table.

“They’re going to start needing more tables if we get much bigger,” Ivy whispered to Al as she sat down.

Al smiled and nodded, but she doubted she would be the one increasing the number anytime soon. Ivy was much more likely to snag a guy. Blonde, petite, and perky, her slight accent was as cute as her smile, and her job was less demanding than Al’s though not by much. It was possible that Nick might be the next to find love. He was also a doctor, but very different from the more serious Brody. In the short time Al had known him, she’d seen him with seven different women. She decided she had a slightly better chance of not being the final third wheel than Nick did.

The door opened behind her and Cara’s boisterous voice filled the room. “Happy belated birthday, friend.” Cara was former military, but she still carried herself as if she were active, and she had the voice of an instructor when she wanted to. With a wide smile, she threw her arms around Ginny. Of all of them, Cara knew Ginny the best; she’d offered the girl a room at her bed and breakfast and a new lease on life. 

“Thank you, Cara. I’m so glad you guys could make it.” She turned to Cole. “I know I don’t know you well, but I hear that you’re staying in town, so hopefully we can remedy that.”

“Uh, yeah sure.” 

Al barely knew Cole, but he appeared uncomfortable being in the spotlight even for just a moment. His hand tugged at his collar, and his weight shifted just slightly from one foot to the other.

After handing off the gift, Cara and Cole took their seats - Cole next to Makenna and Cara next to Al. Al wondered briefly why Cara had chosen to sit next to her instead of next to Cole, but before she could ask, her phone buzzed and danced on the table. 

Flipping it over, she tapped the message to read it. Her mouth fell open as her eyes scanned the words. She’d expected it to be Captain Stone or someone else from the unit, but she hadn’t expected it to be her mother.

“Are you okay?”

Cara’s whisper pulled her back to the present, and Al shook her head. “That was my mom. My sister is missing.”

At those words, the conversation around the table immediately ceased, and every eye at the table turned her direction.

“What do you mean she’s missing?” Jordan asked.

“I don’t know what that means,” Al snapped. She wasn’t mad at Jordan, but the fear racing through her squeezed at her heart. Her younger sister was a handful, impetuous and headstrong, but Al thought she had finally settled down in the last few months. She’d seemed more grounded, focused. 

“I’m sorry,” Al glanced around the table, “I have to go.”

Jordan pushed back his chair. “I’m coming with you.” 

“No, you should stay,” Al protested. “I’m sure it’s nothing. Nicole probably just forgot to charge her phone or something and doesn’t realize Mom is trying to reach her.”

“Maybe, but what if it’s more?” Jordan lifted a brow at her. He was the only one at the table who knew Nicole. He alone knew of Nicole’s scatterbrained ideas, her lofty ideals that rarely turned out as she planned.

Al pursed her lips together as she stared at Jordan. She didn’t want to have him leave, but if Nicole was in trouble, it would be stupid to go charging in by herself. “Okay, fine.”

Jordan nodded and squeezed Cassidy’s shoulder as he stood. “You guys enjoy the party. I promise we’ll keep you informed.”

The looks on the faces of their friends had Al doubting if any of them would be able to relax and enjoy the party which she felt bad about, but if there was one thing this group was good at, it was helping each other out.

“Let’s take my car,” Al said as they pushed open the front door and stepped into the quiet darkness. The sun had completely set and shadows danced across the sidewalk as the wind blew through the trees. Normally, Al enjoyed the night - the peace it brought, the stillness - but tonight she couldn’t help focusing on the other part of the night - the unknown, the hidden, the dangerous.

“It’s going to be okay,” Jordan said as he pulled the passenger door shut and buckled his seatbelt. Al wasn’t sure about that, but she nodded. There was no use getting worked up until she knew more.

Nicole’s house sat twenty minutes from Fire Dreams with no traffic and Al pulled into the driveway just a hair past that. Nicole’s car was nowhere to be seen.

“Did she tell you she was planning a trip?” Jordan directed the question at her, but his eyes scanned the area. Like Al, he was often on high alert, especially when they didn’t know what they were going into.

“No, but I haven’t talked to her in a while.” Al thought back to their last conversation. It had been about a month ago, and it hadn’t ended well. 

“Are you crazy? Posing as an underage person online is dangerous. Some of those people are crazy, and they won’t be happy when they find out you misled them - especially if it leads to their arrest. What if they know someone who could trace it back to you?”

“It’s worth the risk,” Nicole said, folding her arms across her chest and lifting her chin in a defiant manner. “You don’t see these girls like I do. They reach out because they feel like they have nothing, like no one is there to help them, and when these men are done with them, they toss them away like used pieces of trash.”

“You’re wrong. I do see those girls.” In fact, Al knew many of them who had turned to a life of prostitution after being let down by men who promised one thing but offered little in reality. She also knew of the other young women who showed up and then were beaten, taken, or killed. That was what she wanted to protect Nicole from - those men who had more than lascivious thoughts on their minds.

“Then you should know that someone has to help them.”

“Yes. Help them. Not pose as them and become a target yourself. Why can’t you start a charity or go work with one of the places that already exists? Or maybe go into counseling? That would be the way to really help these girls.”

Nicole shook her head. “That only puts a bandaid on the problem. Unless we can stop the issue at the roots, it will always continue. The more of these men I can help put behind bars, the fewer there will be online to lure these girls away.”

If only it were that easy. Perhaps Al was jaded due to all the crime she saw, but she knew that removing one man would just open up the way for another one to take his place. There would always be men seeking paid sex out there, and as long as there were, there would always be people willing to profit off enslaving someone else. That, unfortunately, was a fault of sin, and it would not go away completely until Jesus returned.

“I’m not helping you,” Al said, returning to the problem at hand. “It’s not a good idea, and I will not place you in danger.”

“I’m not a kid anymore,” Nicole rebutted. “I will do this. With or without your help.”

Had she been serious? Nicole had left that night angry, but Al hadn’t really thought she would go behind her back and continue the hare-brained idea. “I should have never let it go so long.”

“Hey,” Jordan said, placing a hand on her arm, “we can’t fix the past, so let’s just focus on the future.”

Al swallowed the lump that was forming in her throat and nodded. If anything happened to Nicole, she would never forgive herself, but Jordan was right - she needed to focus on the present first.

Drawing their weapons, they exited the vehicle, taking care to close the doors as quietly as possible. Both paused a moment, listening for any sound of movement, any hint of something amiss before approaching the darkened house, but there was nothing.

Using hand signals, Jordan motioned that he would go around to the back of the house and that Al should take the front. With a nod, she gave him a few seconds to make his way to the back before climbing the front steps and trying the knob.

It was locked, as she expected, but Al had a key. Keeping her eyes peeled for any sign of danger, she reached into her pocket and removed her keys. A moment later, the front door was open, and she stepped into the darkened living room.

The house, like the area outside, was still and quiet. Could Nicole have gone out for the night? Maybe spending the night with a boy? It was not what Al would have hoped for her sister, but at this point, that option would be better than the other scenarios playing center stage in her mind. 

She flicked on her flashlight and scanned the area, making sure to keep her gun aimed in the same direction. With the living room cleared, she moved on to the kitchen. It too was quiet, and she quickly opened the back door for Jordan.

“Anything?” he asked.

“Nothing yet. No signs of forced entry. Front door was locked too, but I had a key. Living room is clear which just leaves the bedroom, bathroom, and a few closets.” Her sister rented a one-bedroom house which she often claimed was too small, but Al was thankful for the lack of hiding places at the moment.

“I’ll follow your lead,” he said.

Al began the cautious walk down the hallway, pausing at the bathroom entrance before swinging into the entry, gun drawn. It too was empty. She turned next toward the hall closet, motioning for Jordan to take position as she opened the door. He shook his head when it too was devoid of anything other than a few jackets and bags.

That left only the bedroom, and while also dark, Al could see the door was ajar. The tiniest sliver of light escaped the entrance, probably due to a light from outside shining in the window. With one hand, she pushed the door open further and trained her gun inside. 

The room was also sparse - Nicole was the neater version of Al. While Al’s house was often messy, Nicole’s was pristine and everything had its place. In this case that meant the bed, which sat in the middle of the room, and the dresser, which faced it from the opposite wall, along with a small nightstand on either side of the bed.

Unless someone was hiding under the bed, which she doubted, or in the small closet, the room was clear. When both places were checked, Al flipped on the light and began to scan the room for clues - any sign of where her sister was.

“There’s a few empty hangars in here,” Jordan said from the closet where he was poking around. “Any chance she took a business trip?”

“I doubt it. She works at a youth center. I’m not sure what kind of trip they would need to take.” At least that’s where her sister had worked the last time they’d spoken. Though doubtful, it was possible that Nicole had gotten a new job in the last month.

Al closed the dresser drawers and moved to the nightstands. Nicole would never have allowed dust, but Al couldn’t help but feel that something was missing from the nightstand. She just couldn’t put her finger on what.

She pulled open the drawer. There were a few books her sister must have been reading inside, but it was what was on top that caught her eye. She pulled the paper out and sank onto the bed.  

“You got something?” Jordan asked from behind her.

Al shook her head. “I don’t know. Maybe. It’s a sheet of ways to get involved to help with human trafficking and Grant gave it to her.”

Jordan’s brow furrowed as he stepped closer to her. “Grant like your ex, Grant?”

“The same.”

“Maybe it’s old? From when you guys dated.”

It was possible, but it didn’t look that old to Al. No, this looked to be fairly new. No creases, no fading, not even the mildest fraying on the edges. “Regardless, I think I better have a chat with Grant and find out what he knows.”

View full details

Lorana Hoopes

Lorana Hoopes is a USA Today Best Selling Author and now an Award Winning Author as well. She's had two books earn a Page Turner Award Finalist badge and she recently won the Reader's Favorite Book Award for Romantic Suspense.