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Army Wives Blog

Read a Juicy Excerpt from "Army Wives" by Tanya Biank

By CaitlinBergmann Tue., Sep. 9, 2008 ,2:33 pm EDT

"Army Wives" author (and real-life Army wife) Tanya Biank dished the dirt on all the behind-the-scenes news from the set of "Army Wives" as a guest blogger, but how many of you have read her book that inspired the hit series? Now's your chance!

Read a juicy excerpt from "Army Wives" and find out what you've been missing:

 

"Army Wives" by Tanya Biank

That night at the Lafayette Ballroom, after dinner, songs from the 82nd Airborne Division Chorus, a video clip, and speeches, the dancing finally began. As Andrea Lynne headed across the room, a married col- onel caught her by the elbow. Colonel Lance Mifton was drunk, and he looked Andrea Lynne up and down as if she were a dessert.

"You're going to dance with me later, right?" he said.

Andrea Lynne was caught off guard. "Sure, just come on out on the floor and grab me," she answered. But the colonel wouldn't let go of her arm.

"Are you horny?" he asked.

Andrea Lynne was mortified. She laughed uneasily, but the colonel motioned to the horns on her head. Andrea Lynne still was not amused; she hated that word. She turned to the colonel and moved in close. "Oh, I've never been that," she said. "Rennie never gives me a chance."

Turning abruptly, she walked away. The colonel came up behind her and whispered in her ear, "Promise me a dance?"

"You wish," she muttered and kept going.

Later that night, Major General McNeill stopped Andrea Lynne in the middle of the ballroom. "What are we going to do about Rennie going to Vietnam?" he asked. He seemed to want her take on the matter, maybe even her permission, Andrea Lynne thought.

Here's my chance, she said to herself, but her pride in Rennie and the MIA mission wouldn't allow her to take it. Besides, she already knew there were no jobs now for her husband at Fort Bragg. Across the room she could see Rennie watching her. She smiled broadly at him, put on a brave face, and answered the general, "It's an honorable mission, and we are becoming very committed to it."

She went on to tell him how much confidence she had in her husband for this assignment. Andrea Lynne's father had served twice in Vietnam, Rennie's four times. Both she and her husband ached for the men who died in that war and the families they left behind. Her comments seemed to surprise the general, who wanted to continue the conversation, but Andrea Lynne begged off when she noticed another colonel beckoning her.

Withdrawing first gave her the edge, she knew, but she touched the general's arm affectionately—something she normally wouldn't do. She wanted to let him know gracefully that his offer of assistance was now beside the point. It had been Andrea Lynne's experience that no one had ever really helped Rennie in his career, and she wasn't about to put either of them in an uncomfortable situation now. Besides, the opportunity to get her husband husband out of the assignment had already come and gone. Someone had to go to Vietnam. What difference would a conversation make? she thought.

Someone had to go to Vietnam. What difference would a conversation make? she thought. Late that evening Andrea Lynne passed through the foyer—where young bachelor infantry lieutenants stood with loosened bow ties and spat tobacco juice into their beer bottles—on the way to the restroom, where she freshened her lip gloss. When she went into a stall, she suddenly felt dizzy and nauseous. Thinking she was about to vomit, she rested her head on the porcelain. I’m going to ruin my dress. What am I doing? A pain shot through her abdomen. Was it food poisoning? What about the martinis? She had ordered three, but the second was cleared when she was dancing, and she hadn't even touched the third.

Her friend April Thornal found her semiconscious, with her face on the floor. April grabbed the club director, then located Rennie. When he couldn't wake her, he got April's husband, and they quietly carried her out. April didn't want anyone to think Andrea Lynne was drunk. Oh, what rumors there would be!

By the following afternoon Andrea Lynne was in the ICU with a diagnosis of diabetic ketone acidosis. It had all been so sudden—one minute at the top of her game, the next minute weak and helpless.

When Maureen McNeill got in to see her, the general's wife was visibly upset. No one knew Andrea Lynne was this sick.

"Rennie can't go to Vietnam," Maureen said.

The best anyone could do was to transfer Rennie to Fort Irwin, California. And a move was the last thing Andrea Lynne needed, not only because of her health. For a couple with a senior in high school and a daughter in college, that kind of transfer only caused more headaches.

They declined the offer.

 

From ARMY WIVES by Tanya Biank. Copyright (c) 2007 by the author.
Reprinted by permission of St. Martin's Griffin.

 

"Army Wives" by Tanya Biank is available online and at your favorite bookseller now.