Honey on White Bread
When seventeen-year-old Claire Flanagan is wrenched from her father and deposited at the Good Shepherd's Home for Wayward Girls, all dreams for Hollywood stardom are lost. But when twenty-year-old Benjamin Russell helps secure her release, she starts to believe in a happy future with him…until she discovers his ex-girlfriend is pregnant.
In this post WWII coming of age novel, Claire discovers the silver screen can't compare with the fight she takes on for the leading role in her own life.
“Hello, Benjamin.” I smiled, flipping the hair from my neck.
“Hey, Hollywood.” He nodded. I swore he said it seriously this time, not teasingly like a couple of days ago. My dinner churned in my stomach. His gaze was steady, creating a roadblock between my mind and mouth until Paulie tugged on my arm.
“Let’s get a cola.”
I ignored her directive, looking to Laura for a reason to stay in breathing distance of Benjamin. “Why, Laura, your dress looks quite stunning. I do think brown is your color.” I spoke to my friend, keeping my face slanted toward Benjamin, obsessively avoiding giving him a profile view.
“Uh, thanks. Your blue dress is…lovely.”
I tipped my chin in acknowledgement of Laura’s attempt to match my mature manner.
“It looks great with your hair.” She ended on a high note, pleased with her social banter.
Paulie elbowed me as she rolled her eyes. “`Scuse us, Ben.” She shook her head, giving Laura a nudge. “Let’s go get a cola, you guys.”
“You two go ahead.” I waved them off. “I’ll join you in a moment.”
“What do you mean you’ll join us in a moment?” Paulie set her hands to her hips.
I whirled around, facing her. “I have something to discuss with Benjamin. Go get colas and bring me back one.” I kept my voice low, dismissive.
Paulie clutched Laura’s elbow. “Oh, for Pete’s sake, let’s go. Claire wants to shoot the breeze with my brother.”
Clasping my hands behind me, I studied the toes of my oxfords for a moment before looking at Benjamin. When I did look into his face, he smiled as if he might say something.
“What?” I asked.
“I was thinking.” His glance skimmed me briefly from head to toe. “You do look nice in blue.”
I caught my breath, his assessment a visual caress. Shaking tresses of curls from my face and blinking to regain my composure, I managed a reply. “Why, thank you, Benjamin.” I dipped my chin, peering into his dark lashed blue eyes.
He nodded his head and took a drink from his beer. His other hand was casually tucked into his jean pocket, and he stood with one leg crossed over his ankle. I let my gaze wander along his arm, watching the muscle flex below the roll of his shirtsleeve as he brought the bottle to his lips. Struggling to breathe in a normal fashion, the rate of my heart was anything but normal. Could he hear my heart, see the heat flaring across my chest and neck?