MORE THAN A SOLDIER
by Irene Onorato
Genre: Inspirational Romance
Pub Date: 6/6/17
There’s more than one way to be a hero . . .
Former Special Forces soldier Hank Fleming is living a safe, quiet life in upstate New York, but there are days he isn’t sure he’s going to make it. The sole survivor of a devastating grenade attack in Afghanistan, he is still scarred, physically and emotionally. He hangs on to his faith and tries to keep moving forward, waiting for the day that something—or someone—can make him feel whole again.
Cindy Giordano is searching too—for her biological family and a fresh start. When her journey to find her brother, Edward, leads to Hank’s front door, she is instantly drawn to Hank . . . and instantly wary. With her ex-fiancé’s betrayal still fresh in her mind, friendship is about all she can muster.
When shadows from Cindy’s past threaten, Hank’s protective instincts shift into high gear, and he realizes everyone has their own battles to fight. But the road to healing would be much sweeter with the right person by his side . . .
More Than a Soldier is the second installment of the Veterans Heart series, an inspirational romance with a touch of suspense in the tale. The mix of the character's growth in their faith in God, their struggles and triumphs in life, and the developing romantic relationship are all well mixed together in an intriguing storyline.
Former Special Forces soldier Hank Fleming is easy to like. He is kind, considerate, fun, protective, a good man, who doesn't seem to take himself too seriously, likes to be active and laugh. He is an attentive son, a good brother, and a friend you can count on. The events in the army that caused his disability are hunting his sleep. He is struggling to find his place, and worth, after the military life, and grow in his faith in God.
Cindy Giordano is a sassy daredevil who loves to be challenged physically. But currently, it is her life that is challenging her to the max. She is heartbroken and devastated for the reasons of her broken engagement. She lost her job, she is fighting with her family, and she seems to have a violent stalker after her.
Cindy and Hank have a great connection. They click, they got each other, understand each other, there is a lot of fun and laughter, 'non-dates' where they get to know each other. I liked the chemistry between them, how their friendship was founded first until the deeper feelings took a hold of their hearts.
When the danger Cindy is in escalates, and the fear intensifies, the story starts to move at a rapid pace. With all the stress Cindy is in, it is no wonder that she is a bit of a mess, and acts out of character that causes a conflict between her and Hank.
It was effortless for me to connected with characters, understand their struggles, feel their pain, hope, and joy. All the different aspects of the story, Cindy finding her brother, the developing relationship with Hank, the suspense, and danger from the stalker, the character development, both as a person and in their faith made an alluring story that was easy to get lost in and enjoy immensely. I wish there would have been more to the ending, it seemed abrupt to me and left some questions in my mind.
A poignant, encouraging, and touching story about trust, faith, and love that touches the emotions, entertains and inspires.
~ Four Spoons
Hank Fleming peeled off his cold, wet T-shirt and tossed it aside in
the dark. The nightmare clung to his psyche even as he stood at his hotel
room window staring into the night illuminated by only a stingy sliver of
moon. Whitecaps danced like ghostly apparitions across the pitch-black
ocean surface, adding to his uneasiness.
Was this reality, here, now, with his toes deep in the plush carpeting
of a resort hotel in Miami Beach with the air conditioner humming? Or
was the real Hank Fleming still lying on the ground in Afghanistan, a
soldier bleeding from multiple wounds with his left eye dangling off his
cheekbone by a few threads of nerves?
If only he could erase the images. The sounds. The RPG blast. The
roaring fire consuming what was left of the truck he’d been driving with
four men inside. But most of all their horrible deaths.
Hank willed his breaths to an even cadence and reined in his galloping
heart. The rat-a-tat of M4 rifles, acrid smell of burning rubber, and the unit
medic’s face started to dissolve as if being sucked, particle-by-particle,
feature-by-feature, back into another realm.
Hank brought his fingers to the eyepatch that covered his left eye socket
and pressed the fabric into the hidden void. Reality, harsh and merciless,
stung him to the core. He’d lost an eye, hearing in one ear, and bore fading
scars where the explosion had hurled shrapnel into his flesh. But, he’d
survived while four of his fellow soldiers perished.
Hank lifted his gaze to the crescent moon. “Why, God? Why?”
Irene Onorato was born and raised in Bronx, New York. Her father, a first-generation American whose parents were born in Italy, was an Army veteran who had served with the 178th combat engineers during WWII. He told numerous stories of battles, hardships, tragedies and triumphs. The glimpses he gave into the hearts of many American warriors would later become the inspiration for much of Irene’s writings.
In 1972, a few months after graduating high school, Irene met James Onorato, a soldier who had just returned from Vietnam. After dating two weeks, they married, raised three children, and are still happily married today.
Irene and James, both radiation protection technicians, retired from the nuclear power industry in 2014 and now reside in Louisiana. Readers can visit Irene’s website at ireneonorato.com, and find her on Facebook.
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