Cover image for Savannah
Title:
Savannah
Author:
Miller, Linda Lael.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Sonnet Books, 1999.
Physical Description:
144 pages ; 17 cm.
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780671026851
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Savannah is a dance hall girl who, despite her profession, is a virtuous woman...but that's not how most of the world sees her. Newly arrived in Springwater, she expects the same treatment she's always received. Instead, to her surprise, she finds friendship -- and love.


Author Notes

Linda Miller was born in Spokane, Washington and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She began writing when she was 10 years old after a teacher praised her for a story she had written. Through a correspondence course, she sold over 30 stories to magazines like True Confessions and True Romance. She sold her first novel, Fletcher's Woman, in 1983. Her first hardcover novels were Pirates (1995) followed by Knights (1996). She has written over 80 contemporary and historical romance novels. She is the author of numerous series including Stone Creek series; Montana Creeds series; The Women of Primrose Creek series; and Springwater Seasons series. In 2007, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Romance Writers of America.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter One Summer, 1875 The girl moaning on the opposite stagecoach seat was painfully young, by Savannah's astute reckoning, not more than seventeen. She was probably very pretty under normal circumstances, with her thick chestnut-colored hair and wide-set violet eyes, but for now, with her belly swollen nearly to the bursting point under the front of that tattered calico dress, and her face contorted in an agonizing effort not to scream, she just looked small and scared and very much alone. Savannah nudged the dark-haired, beard-stubbled man slouched on the seat beside her, gazing out the window as if he were trying to will himself away to someplace far from the interior of that smotheringly hot, cramped, and bouncing stagecoach. He wasn't much past thirty, but he might have been Methuselah's older brother if you went by the look in his eyes. "Do something," she commanded, in an impatient whisper. She knew he was a doctor of some sort, for all that he'd spent most of his time in the smokier recesses of the Hell-bent Saloon, having turned up in Choteau a week or so before. He'd promptly lost his horse in a faro game, and Savannah had taken it as a bad omen when he'd suddenly boarded that same stage. She'd planned on having it to herself, at least as far as Springwater station. He smelled of whiskey, old cigar smoke, and a soul-deep sorrow, his dark hair was rumpled, and he was sorely in need of a shave, as well as clean clothes, a decent meal or two, and a good night's sleep. He'd taken the seat across from Savannah and kept his thoughts to himself, at least until the driver had stopped the rig somewhere along the trail -- quite literally in the middle of nowhere -- to pick up the pregnant girl. He'd moved to Savannah's side then, with a desultory sort of courtesy, to make room for the newcomer. Savannah nudged him again, for she was used to having her orders obeyed, and promptly. "Did you hear me?" she whispered, though there was, of course, no hope that the girl wouldn't hear as well, jammed in knee-to-knee with her fellow passengers the way she was. "This child needs your help!" "I'm not that kind of doctor," he ground out, with a long breath. He carried a time-beaten medical bag at his feet, his only visible baggage, a flag of his profession, though his clothes were sorry indeed -- scuffed boots, Army issue no doubt, dark trousers worn to a shine, a once-white shirt of good linen, and black leather suspenders. He had especially fine teeth, Savannah noticed, for the first time, and, under all that self absorption and debauchery, his features were aristocratic ones, finely carved. His jawline was strong and square, his mouth sensual and expressive. "I don't care if you're a horse doctor," Savannah snapped back, ready to elbow him again, and with a lot more force, if necessary. In fact, she was quite prepared to open her beaded drawstring bag and ferret out her derringer, should matters come to such a pass, and insist that he do his duty as a physician. "Either you look after this girl or you'll have me to deal with." "She's going to have a baby," he answered, as though this clever diagnosis should suffice to settle the entire matter once and for all. Savannah might have struck him with her derringer weighted bag, if there hadn't been such a dire need for him to remain conscious. "Jupiter and Zeus," she swore, "any fool could see that!" She paused, trying for a semblance of diplomacy. "She needs some help getting it done, Doc. And we're all she's got at the moment. You and me." The girl sank her teeth into her lower lip, gasping and clutching her protruding stomach with a pair of grubby hands. She looked as though she'd just come from weeding some vegetable patch or mucking out a pigpen and she didn't smell a whole lot better. The doctor sighed and sat forward. "What's your name?" he asked, with a sort of gruff gentleness that raised Savannah's opinion of him, though only a little, and briefly. "Mir-Miranda," she said. "Miranda Leebrook." He reached down for his bag, lifted it onto his lap, and rummaged inside. Taking out a bottle and a bit of surprisingly pristine cloth, he doused his hands with a pungent chemical of some sort, and wiped them clean. "Where did you come from? I understood there weren't many homesteads out this far." It seemed to Savannah that Miranda attempted a smile, though it might have been a grimace of pain. "My pa and me had words, and he put me out to make my own way. We was headed toward Butte in the wagon, me and Lorelei and him." "What about the father of this baby?" the doctor asked crisply, but without judgment or rancor. "Where's he?" Tears glistened in Miranda's expressive pansy-purple eyes. "He's a long time gone," she said. "Won't never be back, neither." Savannah's heart constricted at this, but she was used to hearing stories, all sorts of stories, and she'd learned a long time ago that it didn't pay to go wading too deep into other folks' troubles. She said nothing, but simply pounded hard on the roof of the coach with the handle of her parasol. The driver brought the coach to a bone-jostling stop, while the conversation between doctor and patient continued, quiet and calm on his part, breathless on hers, and interwoven with frantic cries. A broad, dusty face, rimmed in an aura of ginger hair, appeared at the window opening. "There a problem back here, ma'am?" the young driver asked. Savannah held her temper. "Yes," she said, putting a fine point on the word nonetheless, and aiming for a soft spot. "One of us seems to be giving birth. The doctor here is prepared to deliver the child, but it would help if the coach weren't rolling and pitching the whole time." The driver looked regretful, and tugged at the brim of hat. "We ain't but three miles from the station, ma'am. It's just the other side of Willow Creek." He glanced in a westerly direction, tracking the sun. "We got to keep goin'. It'll be dark soon, and that's no time for decent folks to be out and about." Savannah was beyond exasperation. "Can't you see that this girl -- " The young man shook his head and settled his hat again. "I'm sorry, ma'am. Miss June-bug McCaffrey, up ahead at Springwater, she'll take good care of the whole matter. We got to press on." With that, he was gone, the coach bouncing on its springs as he climbed back into the box to take up the reins again. The doctor was already engaged in a thorough if awkward examination of his patient. Savannah looked away quickly, but not quickly enough to spare herself a burning flush of embarrassment. For all her reputation, she was not a loose woman, and she had the appropriate sensibilities. "Can't you say something to the driver?" Savannah demanded. She had little to contribute at the moment, but for her opinions, which seemed unwelcome. The physician shrugged one sturdy shoulder. "Sounds to me like he's got his mind made up," he said, and gently covered Miranda's legs with her skirts again. He got out the chemical and another cloth and began to wash his hands once more. "Besides, I think you've said enough for all of us." "Is my baby going to be all right?" Miranda asked, in a tiny voice. He pulled the stethoscope from around his neck and tossed it back into the ancient bag. Then he flashed a smile, so unexpectedly, ferociously charming that Savannah was taken aback, though for just the merest moment. "I'd wager a good deal that that child is just fine," he said. "Eight pounds, maybe ten, with the constitution of a mule." Savannah recalled the perfectly good horse this man had lost at faro and refrained, for Miranda's sake, from pointing out that wagering was clearly not his greatest talent. The stagecoach lurched forward again, pitching and rolling over the rocky ground, nearly sending both Savannah and the doctor hurtling across the small gap between seats onto the girl. "Can we make it as far as the stagecoach station?" Savannah hissed, though there was, of course, no hope that Miranda hadn't heard. He raised one dark eyebrow. "We can," he said, "but there might be four of us by the time we arrive." Panic roared into Savannah like floodwaters into a gulch, swirling and splashing and tearing things up by their roots. In her eventful lifetime, she'd helped her father, a barber and erstwhile undertaker in Kansas City, Missouri, to remove everything from common splinters to bullets, arrows, and buckshot from human flesh, and her grandmother had been a midwife of sorts, full of tales and legends. For all that, the idea of actually wittnessing childbirth made her light-headed. She swayed slightly, and pressed the fingertips of her right hand to one temple. The doctor's face darkened. "I'm fresh out of smelling-salts," he told her, in a sharp whisper. "So don't you go falling apart on me." Savannah was incensed at the suggestion, even though there had been some merit to it. She stiffened her spine and shot him a look fit to pierce a dartboard. "I am quite all right, thank you," she said. Miranda perspiring profusely now, began to whimper. "It hurts," she said. "It hurts real bad." He shoved a hand through his mussed hair. "Yep," he said, resigned. "I imagine it does." Savannah was once again seized by the desire to strike the man with something heavy; instead, she moved over to sit beside Miranda, draping one arm around the poor little creature's thin and quivering shoulders. "We'll be at the stagecoach station soon," and though she was speaking gently for the young woman's sake, she was gazing at the doctor, and she knew her eyes were snapping with fury. "There'll be a nice clean bed for you to lie down in. Everything will be all right, you'll see." "Where were you headed, anyway?" asked the doctor, ignoring Savannah's displeasure to watch Miranda face with narrowed eyes. "No place in particular," Miranda gasped out, her back arching, seemingly of its own volition. "I reckon me and the babe would've died out there, if it weren't for this stage coming along just when it did." Savannah spared a bitter thought or two for Miranda's uncaring father, but the present situation was far too desperate to allow for much distraction. "What about your mother?" the doctor pressed. "Didn't she try to intercede for you?" "I don't guess I know what that means," Miranda confessed, pressing each word, separate and distinct, between tightly clenched teeth. "For somebody to 'intercede,' I mean. Anyway, my ma's been dead a long while now. The woman my pa took up with -- her name's Lorelei -- doesn't have much use for me." "Take it easy," he said, giving the young woman both his hands, which she squeezed fiercely against the pain. "Breathe slowly and deeply. We're going to look after you, Miss -- er -- well, this lady and I." "It would comfort me some to know your right names," Miranda said. "I'm Savannah Rigbey," Savannah responded gently, wishing there were something, anything, she could do to ease the girl's suffering. "Parrish," the doctor added, and though his tone was cordial enough, the glance he spared Savannah was a mite on the grudging side. "Prescott Parrish." The coach hurtled downhill, careening wildly from side to side, fit to fling open both doors and toss them out; and then it splashed into axle-deep water. Savannah peered out at Willow Creek with alarm, half-blinded by the late-day light dancing on the water. She might have prayed then, if she hadn't given up on God a long time before. It wasn't deep, that stream, but she had a swift and terrifying vision of the coach turning over, trapping all of them inside. "We're almost there," Dr. Parrish said, while the girl continued to grip his hands. Miranda flung back her head and shrieked like a mountain cat. Her teeth were bared and she writhed, as leanly muscular as any lioness. When she got her breath she cried out to God for help and mercy, and Savannah and the doctor exchanged yet another look, not heated this time, but somber. The team scrambled up the opposite bank of the creek, dragging the half-rolling, half-floating coach behind. The ride was so rough after that that Savannah half-expected the baby to shake loose of Miranda's insides and bounce right out onto the narrow floor. The mother-to-be alternated between screaming her lungs out and making a pitiful, keening sound, something like a long, unbroken sob. Her colorless dress was nearly wet through now, though when Savannah gave Parrish a questioning glance, he shook his head. "Water hasn't broken," he said. Savannah hoped that was a good sign, but she didn't think so. She recognized the quiet worry in Prescott Parrish's dark eyes, even if Miranda couldn't. At last, at last, the driver shouted something to the horses, a coarse and unintelligible roar, and the brakes screeched against the iron-rimmed wheels, grinding the coach to a halt in a great surging billow of gritty, yellow-brown dust. "Springwaaaater staaation!" he called out, as though there might be some confusion on the part of his passengers. Dr. Parrish thrust the door open and jumped down, pulling Miranda off the seat and into his arms. "Bring the bag!" he commanded, and Savannah complied, hurrying after him through the roiling dust. A tall man with very dark hair and kindly eyes awaited them on the porch of the station house, arms folded. "Best get her bedded down right quick," he said. "Straight through the dining room, at the far end of the hall." Parrish nodded and strode on, and Savannah followed, coughing from the dust. Springwater station was her final destination, for the moment, since Trey Hargreaves and his new wife were already occupying the space over the Brimstone saloon. She would rent a room and stay on here until she and her business partner could work out some other arrangement. "Jacob McCaffrey," said the tall man when she was inside. He offered a large, work-gnarled hand in greeting. "Savannah Rigbey," she responded, watching out of the corner of her eye as Parrish disappeared down the indicated hallway. "I understand your wife might be able to assist the doctor -- " McCaffrey shook his head. "She's on the mountain, my June-bug, tendin' to Granny Johnson. The old lady's laid up with rheumatiz." Savannah felt her knees go weak. "Isn't there someone -- ?" "Miss Rigbey!" Parrish bellowed, from somewhere in the back of the station. "Kindly get your bustle in here!" She looked desperately up at Mr. McCaffrey, but he merely shrugged. "Jupiter and Zeus," Savannah muttered, unpinning her hat and setting it aside, then shaking the dust from her skirts as best she could. "I'm coming!" she called back, and after straightening her spine and squaring her shoulders she marched toward the distinctly unsettling sounds of childbirth, bringing the doctor's bag along with her. Parrish had laid the girl on the pristine sheets of a wide bed, and was shoving up his sleeves as Savannah entered the room. He didn't spare her so much as a glance. "Get me hot water, and all the clean cloth you can find," he commanded, his voice a brusque bark. Had things been different, Savannah would have told him what to do with his orders, but this was the exception. Whatever her private views might be regarding Parrish he was a doctor, and therefore badly needed at the moment. She set the bag down within his easy reach and hurried out to obey. The baby, a strapping boy with bunched fists and pumping feet, was delivered less than half an hour later. Parrish cut the cord competently, washed and bundled the infant and handed him to his breathless, beaming mother. "He's right handsome, isn't he?" she said. Savannah, still struck by the messy splendor of the experience, couldn't help wondering what would become of the two of them, Miranda and her brand-new baby, alone in a remote place like this, with no money and no prospects. She blinked back uncharacteristic tears and averted her eyes. "I told you he'd be big as a mule," said the doctor, scrubbing his hands at the basin by then. He nodded to Savannah, indicating that he wanted the linens changed on Miranda's bed, and she proceeded to comply, skillfully managing the task without disturbing mother and baby overmuch. He went out then, without another word, and Savannah supposed he'd board the next stagecoach, come the morning, and move on to wherever he'd been headed in the first place. She certainly wouldn't miss him, but she was grateful that he'd delivered Miranda's baby, however unwillingly, and she wished him well. When both Miranda and the baby were sleeping comfortably, Savannah left the room and asked to be directed to her own chamber, which turned out to be a small nook behind the kitchen stove. Two buckets of hot water awaited her there, along with her few bags, and she undressed behind a scarred folding screen and washed herself from head to foot, then put on fresh clothes, a blue bombazine skirt and white shirtwaist, deceptively prim. Gazing into the small, cracked mirror affixed to the inside wall, she arranged her mass of red-gold hair in a neat cloud around her face, and pinched some color into her wan cheeks. For all her effort, her light blue eyes revealed her weariness, and a lot more besides. She made herself leave the tiny room and join Mr. McCaffrey and Dr. Parrish at the table nearest the fireplace. They were drinking coffee and talking in low tones, but when Savannah appeared, they both stood, McCaffrey readily, with the easy, practiced grace of a gentleman, Parrish causing the bench legs to scrape against the floor as he thrust himself to his feet, a moment too late for good manners. "Evenin'," Jacob McCaffrey said. Only then did she notice the fair-haired boy and the beautiful Indian girl playing checkers on the hearth nearby. Both of them looked up at her in mild speculation. "Good evening," Savannah said. She played at being a lady whenever she could, but it was a facade, with no substance behind it, and she suspected everyone else in the room knew that as well as she did, even the children. She'd stepped off the narrow path -- or, more properly, been dragged off -- a long time before. "Toby," McCaffrey said, in his rumbling, summer-thunder voice, "fetch Miss Rigbey some of them dumplin's and a little chicken. I reckon she's hungry by now." Savannah hadn't eaten since the night before, having left Choteau very early that morning, well before the woman at the rooming house where she'd stayed since her arrival in the territory was willing to serve breakfast, but she found she had no appetite. She shook her head. "I'll just brew a pot of tea, if that's all right." The Indian girl scrambled to her feet. "I'll do that for you," she said, with cheerful resolution. "You must be my pa's partner." Savannah smiled, finally realizing that this was Trey's daughter, the child he had spoken of so often during their long association. "Yes," she said. "And you're Emma!" Emma nodded. "I don't think he's expecting you," she said. "He got himself married a while back, you know. A year ago last spring." "I had word that he meant to take a wife," Savannah said, well aware that Parrish and the stationmaster, and probably the boy, too, were watching her with new interest. "I hope they'll be very happy together." Emma was intent on ladling water into a big kettle with a spout and setting it on to boil. With the easy skill of a grown woman, she built up the fire and adjusted the damper. "They're happy, all right," she said. "Pa's going to build us a big house, the kind you send off for. The boards and windows and things are supposed to get here any day now. Then well all live together, me and Pa and Rachel, like a real family." Her smile broadened. "We got us a mortgage!" Savannah laid a hand on the girl's shoulder and smiled gently. "You must miss living with your father," she said. Emma looked up at her with shining eyes. "I don't mind staying here. Me and Toby, we play checkers most all the time, and do our schoolwork together. Besides, I see my pa every day, and Rachel's our teacher -- she's my stepmother, but I have to call her 'Mrs. Hargreaves' at school -- so I don't get lonesome for her, either." She lowered her voice confidentially. "Except sometimes late at night, when I can't get to sleep." The men had gone back to their quiet talk, making Savannah feel less self-conscious. "I'm sure it won't be long," she said to Emma, "until you're all together again in your big new house." Emma's brow crumpled with concern. "That lady in there was screaming a lot, while she was having her baby. It must have hurt something powerful." Savannah saw no point in lying. "That's so," she admitted. "But it's over now, and she's got the child to show for her pains." For all the good that would do a scrap of a girl, alone and penniless in the wilds of Montana Territory, she added to herself. "Miss Rachel -- I think she's going to have a baby, too," Emma said, in that same confidential undertone. "I don't reckon me or my pa could stand seeing her hurt like that, though." Savannah gave the child a gentle squeeze around the shoulders. "Don't you fret," she said. "It's a natural thing. Your stepmother will be just fine, and so will the rest of you." She couldn't imagine what made her speak with such authority, given her utter lack of experience with such matters, except that she liked Trey's daughter and didn't want her to worry. "You'd better have yourself some of these chicken and dumplings," Emma said wisely, lifting the lid of a cast-iron pot and peering inside. "Jacob made them, but they aren't halfways bad." Savannah laughed, more relaxed than before. "Maybe I'm a little hungry after all," she admitted, and soon she was seated at one of the tables, far from the men, consuming a plateful of food. When she'd washed her dish and utensils and put them away, she went in to check on Miranda and the baby. The girl was awake, admiring her little son, and her eyes shone with a queer mingling of pride and sorrow when she looked at Savannah. "He's the image of his daddy, Jack Worgan." Savannah drew a deep breath and let it out slowly, searching for words. In her line of work, she'd heard just about every story there was, and she figured that Worgan was either dead, married, or just plain gone. She had a personal rule against prying, so all she said was "That's nice." Tears pooled along Miranda's lower lashes. "I don't have the first idea what we're going to do, my baby and me. I been asking God for help right along, but there sure hasn't been any clap of thunder nor burning bush." Had she been a religious woman, which she wasn't, Savannah might have pointed out that some folks would construe the stagecoach's coming along when it had as an answer to prayer. The same might have been said of Dr. Parrish's help, too, slow as he'd been to give it, and of the waiting shelter and safety of Springwater station. "We'll think of something," she said, and it was bravado, pure and simple, for Savannah knew full well just how limited a woman's choices really were. There was teaching, and even if that appointment hadn't been held by Trey's wife, Rachel, Miranda clearly wasn't qualified. There was marriage -- prospects seemed a bit scant, Springwater being smack in the middle of the wilderness -- or household service, which wasn't so different from being a wife, except that a body could expect to be paid for her drudgery. No grand houses around, either, in need of servants. The last choice was whoring, in all its many forms. That was how most people saw Savannah's way of earning a living, as a form of prostitution, even though she'd never in her life slept with a man for money. "I can work hard as any man," Miranda said anxiously. "If somebody'll just give me half the chance -- " Savannah looked away. She could have offered the girl a job of work herself, entertaining the men at the Brimstone Saloon -- but of course that would be no favor. And what would become of the child, growing up in such a place? She forced herself to meet Miranda's gaze again. "Let me make a crib for that baby of yours, she said. Then she removed a drawer from the bureau, set it carefully across the seats of two straight-backed chairs, and padded the inside with a blanket. That done, she gently took the sleeping infant from Miranda's arms and laid him down in the improvised cradle. "What are you going to call him?" she asked, hoping, for a reason she couldn't explain, that it wouldn't be "Jack," after his absent father. "I want to give him a good, solid, Bible name," Miranda said, settling into the fluffy feather mattress with a yawn. "Isaiah, maybe. Or Ezekiel." Savannah smiled. "Shall I bring you a plate? Mr. McCaffrey made chicken and dumplings." Miranda shook her head and yawned again. "No, thanks, ma'am," she said. "More than anything, I want to sleep a spell." "A good idea," Savannah agreed gently, and started toward the door. "Wait," Miranda said quickly and with a note of soft urgency in her voice. Savannah stopped. The room was filled with twilight now; soon, it would be pitch dark. She expected the girl to ask for a lantern. "I'm grateful," Miranda said. "To you and to the doc and to that stagecoach driver, too. I guess me and little Isaiah or Ezekiel would be in a grievous plight by now, if it weren't for you folks." Savannah merely nodded, not trusting herself to speak, and slipped out, closing the door softly behind her. "You look mighty sorrowful," Mr. McCaffrey remarked, when she turned to find him leaning against the mantel of the big fireplace, drawing on a pipe. There was no sign of the children or, for that matter, of Dr. Parrish. No doubt he'd already struck out for the Brimstone Saloon, there to spend whatever money he might have left on liquor and games of chance. "I'm worried about Miranda, she admitted, though not until she was well away from the doorway leading to the hall, lest the girl should overhear. "She's got no folks to look after her, no man either." "I kinda figured that," McCaffrey remarked. "I've got an idea my June-bug will be able to come up with a solution or two, though. She has a way of makin' places for lost sheep. You may have noticed we've got a stray or two around here already." Savannah sagged onto one of the benches and rested her elbows on the tabletop, propping her chin in her palms. "Emma and the boy -- Toby?" "I wouldn't consider Emma a stray, exactly. Her papa loves her somethin' fierce. But Toby, now, he was alone in the world, for all practical intents and purposes, until we took him in. And then there's Christabel -- with June-bug, lookin' after Granny. She's got one lame foot, Christabel has, and a heart that's bigger than she is. Anyhow, I don't imagine Miss Miranda and her baby will be that much more trouble." "You mean, you'll just let them stay here, indefinitely?" "I don't see what else we can do. Wouldn't be right nor proper to turn them out, after all." Savannah dashed at her eyes with the back of one hand, much heartened by the man's kindness. She hadn't seen much of that kind of charity in her own travels, had almost given up hope that it existed. "Thank you, Mr. McCaffrey," she said, with a sniffle. She was just tired, she reasoned to herself, that was all. She'd long since corralled and tamed all her emotions -- it was safer not to care too much about anything or anyone. "Jacob," he corrected her, with the slightest shadow of a smile. She hadn't known him long, but it was clear that when Jacob smiled, it was an occasion in itself. She put out her hand, as though they were meeting for the first time. "Savannah, then," she insisted, and sniffled again. He set the pipe on the mantel and came to sit down across the table from her. "You don't look much like a saloon-keepin' woman," he observed. "More like a schoolmarm, or the lady of a big, fancy house." Coming from anyone else, the remark might have stung, but Savannah knew Jacob was merely curious. Although she suspected he could be stern when the situation called for it, his was a benign and gentle spirit. She heaved a sigh. "My story is a long one, Jacob, and it's complicated. I'm not sure I'm ready to tell it just yet." "That's fine," Jacob answered easily. The station door opened just then, spilling a shadowy chill across the smooth plank floor. "We all got our secrets." Dr. Parrish came in, looking sober if no neater than before. He pushed the door closed behind him. What secrets, Savannah wondered, what scandals and sorrows, had made him what he was? Copyright © 1999 by Linda Lael Miller

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