Yankee Girl

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“She knew she was taking a foolish chance, but she felt compelled to test herself.”

Mistreated by her family, seventeen-year-old Wanda Wayne disguises herself as a boy and runs away to join the Union Army, expecting to have a great adventure. She and Zack become best buddies, but he wonders about his “deviant” feelings for her. “Wayne” maintains her secret, but after she is wounded, a nurse, Clara Barton, learns her true gender and arranges for her discharge. After the war, Zack looks up his army buddy and now understands their relationship. Her struggles to keep her secret, her disillusionment with war, and the friends she makes are interwoven with authentic, historical events.

Excerpt from Yankee Girl

Chapter 1

  “Home is the girl’s prison and the woman’s workhouse.”
George Bernard Shaw

Wanda Wayne Colter wearily cleared the tables in Boar’s Head Tavern. She stared into space as she stacked the glasses to wash the next day. Pa had been drunker than usual when he’d gone off to bed and left her to lock up. The noise of his snores from the back room shook the walls.

Pushing a heavy lock of dark hair from her face, she blew out the lamps and walked over to bolt the door. A noise from a shadowed corner made her turn. Before she could scream, a hand covered her mouth and strong arms pinned her. She twisted like a trapped animal.

“Gotcha now, girl. You can’t get away. Just stop fighting and enjoy it.”

She knew that rank odor and slimy voice. He handcuffed her wrists with one hand, hauling her arms up over her head. The stench of his sweat made her heave with nausea. Panic rose in her stomach as he lifted her off her feet and threw her to the floor. She kicked frantically, bringing one knee up fast. His hands and arms went limp as he gasped for air. She scrambled through the door and ran through weeds higher than her head, knowing, without looking back it was Clyde Snively. He had been waiting for a chance like this.  Cold air pumped in and out of her lungs. She didn’t know if she could find her voice and dared not waste any breath on screaming. She had only herself to count on for escape.

Her foot kicked a rock and she fell, Clyde right behind her. His fat sausage fingers reached for her ankles. With each gasp of breath, she felt his grip tighten.   Hand over hand he pulled his repulsive body up over her. Greasy hair fell on her mouth as he ran his dry, cracked lips back and forth on her bare neck.

“C’mon now, girly girl. I ain’t gonna to hurt you.” he coaxed, panting. “Don’t tell me you don’t want me to taste you a little.”

She fought with a fury borne of hatred and desperation to escape, not just from Clyde Snively, but from the tavern, her family, her whole life. She kicked out and tore at him, pounding his groping hands and slobbering face with her fists. He would have no claim on her body. They rolled, elbows jabbing, hands grappling.

She heard Bear, a snarl before she saw him. Clyde turned Wanda loose to fight off the wild slashes of the dog’s teeth.

She found her voice and screamed, “Ma! Pa! Help. Oh God, help.”

Bear needed no encouragement. Wanda could see, even in the dark, that Clyde’s hand was bleeding as he tore free and ran down the road, his pants in shreds, the dog close behind. When Bear finally gave up the chase and came to her side, she was heaving into the grass, unable to stop the screams she’d finally let loose, even as she realized Bear was her only help.

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