Pearls of Wisdom – April 23, 2012 – ISBN: 9781476158617
A long-simmering love. A proper proposal. One incredible night.
Billy Wingate has never been with a woman. He’s never held a gun. In fact, he’s never been outside his home state of Indiana. But it’s 1942. The world is at war, and Billy’s life is about to change forever.
On the eve of departing for the war, Billy finally gathers the courage to ask his dream girl, sexy town librarian April Collins, to be his bride. But when his proposal turns into a steamy night of passion, Billy is determined to make every moment count. They both know his first time may be his last. . .
A short, H-O-T historical romance, Pearls of Wisdom is 15,000 words (about 35 pages).
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"Pearls of Wisdom is a gem of a novella, with a hot yet romantic storyline that stays with the reader long after the story is over. Chantilly White takes two great characters -- a virgin hero going off to war and a sexy librarian -- and adds a wonderful dash of spice and sweetness. There's unexpected depth to this story, too, that moved me to the edge of tears. I *highly* recommend Pearls of Wisdom to anyone looking for a short, sexy, sweet, emotional read." ~Anthea Lawson, RITA nominated author of Passionate, All He Desires, and more
"This wonderfully written, romantic tale is a sexy blend of sweet and very, very spicy. It definitely left me wanting more...much more." ~Amazon reviewer
". . . amazingly steamy, shockingly real. . . and even more moving and emotionally tender than the first story. At this point, even if Ms. White's next book is her grocery list - I'm buying it, no questions asked." ~Amazon reviewer
". . . this story is hot, hot, hot. . . An absolute must-read." ~Amazon reviewer
Extra Info For Pearls of Wisdom:
Pearls of Wisdom is a coming-of-age romance dedicated to the servicemen and women of the United States military—past, present and future—and their loved ones.
Billy Wingate: A young soldier—and a virgin—on the eve of leaving to serve in World War II.
Biggest fear: That he waited too long to make his intentions known to April.
April Collins: Widowed town librarian, and the object of Billy's desire.
Secret regret: That she sent her first husband off to die in the war in anger.
Settings & Locations
This romantic tale takes place in Waterside, Indiana, a charming (fictional) small town along the shore of Lake Michigan, during World War II.
The Waterside town library: The library is small and intimate, a popular meeting place for the citizens of Waterside, where nearly everyone knows everyone else.
The home of April Collins: April's little yellow house sits beneath a giant sycamore and is surrounded by red and yellow roses. It's a warm, inviting home, just behind the library where she works.
Waterside, Indiana ~ May, 1942
The pearl-and-diamond engagement ring weighed like a thousand-pound, shining beacon in Billy Wingate's breast pocket.
Billy tried and failed to regulate his breathing as he adjusted his straight black tie, stalling on the walk outside the tiny town library. A riot of flowers bloomed along the edge of the lawn, throwing scent into the air like confetti at a Fourth of July parade, and the glass library doors sparkled in the late-afternoon sun. The glimmering light made him squint.
His new khakis, as close to the uniform he'd soon receive as he could find, were heavily starched and sharply creased. They fit snugly over the toned body of a man full-grown, but the doors reflected the same boyish face he'd stared at in the mirror all his life. The one that had earned him his most-hated nickname—Pretty Boy Billy—a taunt he'd tolerated with good-natured grins and silent groans for years.
Billy frowned. After all this time, did Miss April still see him as a boy?
Show her you're a man. Don't be a coward.
Signing his life over to Uncle Sam had been a snap compared to asking Miss April one simple question.
Faking confidence, Billy strode through the doors and swept his gaze across the familiar front counter, the stacks of books and small row of tables.
Leaning over Mrs. Dennis's shoulder to point out some bit of information, Miss April had her back to him. She wore a summer dress as red as Pop's Chevy Cabriolet, with tiny white polka dots all over it. It skimmed her back and narrow waist and flared over her hips to swirl to her knees. Leaning over as she was, the skirt drifted up a bit in back. Billy swallowed hard as his eyes traced the smooth, shapely muscles along the backs of her thighs where the skirt's hem flirted with lightly tanned skin.
His heart thudded, heavy as cannon fire, and the rolling waves of Lake Michigan, washing the shore across the street, seemed to rush into his ears. Sound ebbed and flowed with the rhythm of his nerves. He followed his line of sight down curvy calves to delicate ankles and all the way to her feet.
She wasn't wearing any stockings.
The tie at his neck suddenly felt tighter. It was choking off his breath, but his gaze stayed glued to April. Red high heels gleamed in the library's ceiling lights, one heel kicked over the other, her free foot swinging lightly to some inner rhythm.
What does her skin feel like right there, in that little hollow below her ankle?
He wanted to run his fingers over that spot, trace a circle around her ankle and stroke up the side of her calf to the back of her knee. He broke out in goose-bumps just imagining the feel of her skin beneath his questing fingers.
April was speaking to Mrs. Dennis, but Billy couldn't hear her words over the thumping of his heart. He shifted a bit, aware of the growing bulge in the front of his trousers and wishing he'd thought to grab the folder off the backseat of the car to cover himself. A book, his jacket, anything.
Every damn time! He saw her nearly every day. He should have developed some immunity. And at twenty, he should have better control.
April's velvety laugh stroked the air and all the nerve endings in his body lit up. He wiped an unsteady hand across his brow. It came away glistening.
"Good afternoon, Billy."
"Huh-wha?" Billy stuttered, his attention snapping to the little white-haired lady in front of him. "Oh, hello, Mrs. Richardson. How are you?" He wondered if she could see the hard-on tenting his trousers.
"Just on my way home, dear. Don't you look handsome! Practically in uniform already. Betsy heard from your sister just this morning that you were heading out. Your parents must be so proud."
"Yes, ma'am, thank you." Billy straightened his spine, hoping April would look at him with the same respect and admiration as Mrs. Richardson. "How's Walt?"
"His father and I had a letter just yesterday. He expects to ship home in another week or two." Mrs. Richardson's eyes were proud and fierce. "He'll go back once he's cleared for active duty. You keep a sharp eye out for him when you get there, hear? And be careful."
"Yes, ma'am, I will. Give my best to the family, and to Walt. And. . ."
"What is it, dear?"
"It's only—could I ask you to check on my mother from time to time? Pop's okay, but she—"
"Don't you worry about a thing. We'll make sure your mama's looked after."
Relieved, Billy smiled at her. "Thank you."
Mrs. Richardson patted him on the shoulder and made her way out of the library, her books clutched tightly in her hands and muttering about vile Germans under her breath. Billy stared after her gratefully. Talking with her had tamed his ferocious erection.
"Why, William! When did you sneak in?" April had straightened away from Mrs. Dennis. Her voice, throaty and sensual, wrapped around Billy's body, rooting him to the spot. His ears seemed to fill with cotton and his tongue felt thick and unwieldy in his mouth.
Yeah. Every damn time. Seeing her still blasted the wits clean out of his head. She moved toward him in what seemed like slow motion, her red and white skirt swaying with the movement of her hips.
Billy licked his lips. "I, um, j-just now, Miss April." Don't stutter, damn it.
He tried hard not to let his gaze fall into the deep V over her breasts, settling instead on the pearl necklace around her slender throat. Matching pearls glowed on her delicate earlobes. Billy took the pearls as a good sign, matching the ring the way they did, even as their reminder had his stomach muscles jumping like a landed trout.
He made himself skip over her full, lush red lips to look into her eyes like Pop had always taught him. Show respect, meet people's eyes. She had the most beautiful eyes. Big and blue, surrounded by long dark lashes. Sometimes, looking into their starlit depths, Billy forgot to breathe and would have to cover the subsequent gasp for air with a fake cough.
Those big, tilted eyes traveled over him now, taking in his mocked-up service uniform. A look he couldn't understand passed through the blue.
"What's this, William?"
"I, uh," stop stuttering! He cleared his throat, resisting the urge to tug at his necktie. "I'm-I'm enlisted."
"Enlisted," she repeated, her body going still, guarded. Her breasts rose and fell on a shallow, hitching breath. "I see."
Did he imagine the quiver of her chin? No. It trembled again, and her lips wobbled when she smiled. Billy stared, paralyzed by the threat of imminent tears, but before he could think what to do, April straightened her shoulders. Her usual composure dropped back into place, though her expressive eyes were shuttered.
"I thought—" Billy began, then stopped. He needed to regroup, get back to his plan, his speech. His question.
She canted her head at him, her satiny, chocolate-brown hair glistening. She had it pulled back and rolled in one of those complicated styles his younger sister was always trying to copy. The style made April look even older, elegant and mature. Out of his league.
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