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The Vivandiere
Book One of the MacIness Trilogy

Sandra J. Dugas
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Shot and left for dead, Abigail O'Connor has lost her father, her home, and is about to lose her life, until Major Malcolm MacInnes arrives to save her. The handsome cavalry officer brings new hope to her shattered heart, but then she discovers he is engaged, and her dreams are dashed. Determined to make a new life for herself, she decides to join the army, and enlists as a private--a vivandiere. But she cannot forget the handsome major who still resides in her heart, especially now--since she is under his command...

“Five inches deep and shipped all the way from New Orleans!"

“It’s beautiful, Mrs. Handelman.”

“And it would look so nice with that blue dress you’re making. Ja?”

It would indeed, but...Abigail released the delicately scalloped lace she’d been fingering and shook her head. “Thank you, Mrs. Handelman, but I--I can’t afford it. What with our winter crops doing so poorly...”

The plump woman patted her shoulder. “Na, do not worry over that. Papa and I want you to have it. Come, let me wrap it up for you.”

Abigail’s eyes widened with pleasure, but just as quickly an image of her father's disapproving scowl evaporated her elation. She shook her head again. “I couldn’t possibly--”

“You can, liebchen, and you will. Here now--you wait right here une Augenblick.” Winking, Mrs. Handelman pulled the bolt from the shelf and trundled off behind the counter to disappear in the back.

Abigail could scarcely suppress her giddy grin and, clasping her hands together, she pressed them to her lips to stifle a giggle. Just what she needed to finish her dress in time for Peter’s return. And what a dress it would be.

Thinking of the silky blue satin gown awaiting her under a dust cloth back home in her bedroom, she slid one hand over the bodice of her plain, green cotton gingham. She'd never owned anything so fine, so expensive, so fashionable as that satin dress. She smiled to think her father would likely have an apoplexy over the bodice, cut daringly low, but it was the style women were wearing these days, and she was near enough a woman. She traced her full bust approvingly with her hand. Eighteen years and eight months...and every bit as shapely as the women she'd seen at Mrs. Barnaby's House of Repose, a place for men of certain vice.

Strolling to one of the freestanding shelves laden with toiletries, she picked up a bar of soap and lifted it to savor the sweet lavender scent. Just as hushed voices from the other side reached her ears, and pricked her feelings.

“Imagine that! Alma Handelman giving her all that lovely lace.”

“Well the woman never had any common sense.”

“I've never understood how Alma can dote on her. Everyone knows what kind of a girl she is."

“Yes. Wild and wanton as any of those ladies at Mrs. Barnaby's. Abigail O'Connor is a trollop, that’s what she is, and it’s too bad her poor old Papa doesn't know it. She's going to disgrace him, and put him in an early grave--”

“Oh, you're so right, dear. Look how she's been chasing after that Gallagher boy. Why, I've heard she's already given him what he's after and that's what keeps him sniffing around her door.”

“Well, he'll never marry her.”

“He most certainly will not. You did hear, didn’t you, Iris dear? He's become engaged to a girl over to Halifax County way.”

“Peter Gallagher is engaged? I hadn’t heard.”

“Oh my, yes! His parents are simply delighted with the girl. She comes from a very good family. Her father is involved in cotton or peanuts, or some such, and they’re very well off.”

“Well, won’t Miss Abigail O’Connor be shocked to hear about this.”

“Hmphf. No surprise to me. I knew he would never have her.”

“And what gentleman would? She’s a tramp.”

“That’s right. And why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”

Sandra lives on a 32 acre Arabian horse farm in rural King and Queen County, Virginia with her husband, son, two cocker spaniels and more rabbits than she can count. Her passions, aside from writing, include horseback riding, sewing and oil painting. She loves to hear from readers and you can send her a message through her website: www.sandradugas.com.

Fiction Books :: Romance Books :: Historical Books

ISBN: 1590889940
ISBN(13-digit): 9781590889947
Copyright: 2008
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
Binding: Perfect
No. of Pages: 506
Paper Weight (lb): 21.0

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