A little of Chantelle Rose

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At the age of twenty-four, Chantelle Rose has all a city girl can expect: a tiny bed-sit in South London, a lousy poorly-paid job, a tyrannical boss, and quite a few exes added to an ever-growing list.Desperate for change, she becomes an extra in a seedy crime film. When that leads to the opportunity of a lifetime – a role to play with a million dollars to win and seemingly nothing to lose – she accepts without thinking twice. After all, what could possibly go wrong? In any event, she´ll earn enough to buy her dream home, set up her own business and never worry about money again.And what about love? Two men have won her heart: Robbie – sultry, silent, mysterious; and Lionel – Hollywood heart-throb, charm, wealth, adventure.But who can she trust? Who is bent on scaring her away, and why?There seems to be more at stake than just her heart. Will a million dollars be worth it?
***

My elation over the cottage vanished in a flash as I read and re-readthe note. It was just seven words long, but each made me shiver.Cut-out newspaper letters had been strung together to form themessage:

HOLLYWOOD
BITCH, YOU ARE NOT WANTED HERE.

My legs wobbled slightly as I glanced around me, wondering if thesender was watching me from the dense woods. Despite my thumpingheart, I had to pretend I was calm. Despite tears of fright wellingup inside, I had to pretend that I wasn’t on the verge of breakingdown and crying. Pulling myself together, I opened the car door,which I’d left unlocked, and before I got in I held my right arm highand stuck-up my middle finger, swinging it around in a clear gestureof FUCK YOU. I hoped that if the crazed stalker was stilllurking around, he or she would get a clear view of my cool,unimpressed and bravo attitude.

Boy, was I scared. I whammed the door of my Mini shut so forcefullythat the whole vehicle vibrated. I punched down the lock on the doorand mumbled over and over as I fumbled for the car keys.

“Please, please, please God, let the car start first time…

Then it dawned on me, with a wave of pure and utter dread, that I’dleft the car keys on the windowsill in the master bedroom on thefirst floor as I’d tried, unsuccessfully, to open the window.

I peered through the car window at the surrounding woods. I reallydidn’t fancy going back into the house, or even getting out of thecar. I’d a good chance of getting attacked by the lunatic who’dfollowed me out here.

Where was my showy spunk now? So much for sticking my finger up inthe air in a bravado pretence that I didn’t care.

I took several deep breaths and braced myself. This is when I seewhat I’m made of! With that I swung the car door open and pelted upthe driveway towards the house, practically hurdled the gate and tookthe doorsteps in one flying leap. My hands shook uncontrollably as Ilet myself into what I now began to think of as a dark and sinisterhouse. I shot across the living room like a bullet and took thestairs two at a time. I swerved into the master bedroom and drew adeep sigh of relief on seeing my car keys glinting in the sunlight. Ipounced on them and as I was about to turn to leave I heard adistinct noise from down below. At least I thought I did, but myheart was pounding so hard that I could hardly hear anything exceptthe thump-thump, thump-thump as blood pulsed through my veins.

Then I heard a voice.

“Chantelle?
Where are you?”

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Author

Cristina Hodgson

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