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Laura Marie Henion
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Antoinette Savanio tried her hardest not to become part of the "neighborhood". She worked hard at college, obtained her degree, and became a respected teacher, leading a respectable life. But life doesn't always go so smoothly.
Her future was dictated to her when her father died suddenly in a car accident—she now was the only one who could support her family. When offered a lucrative job at a night club, owned by a well-known Mafioso, she is reluctantly tossed into a world of modern day gangsters and organized crime. Her brother winds up dead, and she and her mother are living in fear. They survive an assault and attempted murder, but how much longer can they survive?
Then a stranger—a cowboy—comes to town. Out of loyalty to an old memory, he offers to bring Antoinette and her mother back to Texas, promising safety. But will her past hunt her down? Jack Coltry, Texas Ranger, desires Antoinette. He wants to help her. Can he gain her trust? Will he save her in time?
Sometimes a hard headed woman needs a hard headed man.
“Now I bless you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Go in peace to love and to serve the Lord,” Father Martinez said as he blessed the parishioners who filled St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church.
There was standing room only as usual this morning so Antoinette cut through the side wooden exit door and into the fresh, warm spring air. The old church emitted an aroma of wet, mildewed wood, stale and sometimes offensive, especially on warm, rainy mornings.
In spite of the fact that her clothing would reek for a good hour afterwards, she found it important to begin each Wednesday morning attending the seven-thirty am mass to rejuvenate and lift her spirits. Antoinette Savanio needed that middle of the week fix. It was her time with God to silently ask forgiveness for the sins she wanted to commit, the spontaneous behaviors that she fantasized committing but never saw through. Sometimes she just wanted to give up. That just wasn’t her style. Responsibility held her captive. She came last in everything she did and her continued sacrifices laid such a heavy burden on her heart. She had no choice and she conditioned herself to be self reliant, to put her family and their needs before hers. She was accustomed to it, unaware of any other way of living. Her focus in life was her family. Her mother desperately needed Antoinette’s support and assistance both emotionally and financially.
She loved her family deeply and took on the burden of being the breadwinner with open arms. Her Mamma couldn’t work; she suffered from asthma and depression. Antoinette’s father never wanted his wife to work. He was afraid she would become ill. If only Antoinette’s mother could just stop mourning her husband and move on with her life, just maybe things at home would improve. Antoinette understood how difficult it was for her mother. Even Antoinette was still mourning and often prayed to her father, Tony, for encouragement.
But to Mamma, Tony Savanio was the love of her life. They had known one another since elementary school. He joined the Navy, became a Seal, served his country and returned home to her unharmed physically but scarred emotionally. He didn’t want the same life for his son never mind for his daughter. He was a hard worker and Antoinette recalled him leaving early every morning, before six am. She knew Mamma was up with him, making him a big breakfast.
Antoinette closed her eyes a moment recalling the smell of fresh baked Italian bread, bacon or sausage, whatever Papa wanted. Her mother would pull out the white center of a thick piece of Italian bread, place it in the frying pan then crack an egg in the middle. It was delicious. Nowadays, Mamma cooked less because Antoinette didn’t eat so heavy in the morning and Antonio, her brother, wasn’t always home. All of this added to her depression and Antoinette just wished her mother would snap out of it. She was only fifty years young, a stunning woman more than capable of falling in love again. Her Mamma wanted no part of it.
At least she took care of her physical appearance. Antoinette smiled to herself thinking about the other day when Mr. Cissetti had asked about Mamma. It was obvious to Antoinette that the man, also a widower was interested. Poor Mamma. She didn’t seem to care or even notice. She stayed home all day, only leaving the house to get groceries or take a short walk. She even refused to go to the bakery or the butcher’s.
They lived in a close-knit neighborhood; most of their neighbors were of Italian decent and somehow related or connected in one way or another.
Antoinette had cousins and a few aunts and uncles, but Mamma seemed to push them all away or upset them in one way or another. Antoinette’s Mamma hadn’t been invited to any family gatherings in a while. The family knew she would refuse.
Hard Headed Woman by Laura M. Henion is a story full of suspense and action that makes you wonder how Toni survives throughout the book. I for one liked Toni for even though her life was in danger she never slowed down however was afraid for her mother more than her own life. Now Jack was a man who although he has been a Texas Ranger all his life, feels overly possessive of Toni and to making sure she is safe at all times. Danger is nearby and Toni does everything she can to survive but is it enough to keep the man she has come to love? Laura M. Henion did a beautiful job of keeping the suspense and maintains a romance throughout the book making you wonder how she does it with her great imagination. Great job.
Reviewed by: Lena C. from Fallen Angels
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 220
Paper Weight (lb): 9.4
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