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.
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.
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 . . .
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?”
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.
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.
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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