ISBN # RIP0004104
Her great-granddaughter wants to know if Bette remembers World War II for a school project and her questions revive old memories….
Small town school teacher Bette Sullivan's life was interrupted when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941 but her world changed forever when she met Private Benny Levy, a soldier from the Flatbush neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York stationed at Camp Crowder, the local Army base.
Their attraction is immediate and mutual but as their relationship grows their love and lives are shadowed by World War II. As the future looms uncertain the couple comes together with almost desperate need and a powerful love they hope can weather anything, including the war.
“Come on, we can sit here a while if you want,” Bette told him, settling her skirts beneath her as she sat on a step. Ben lowered himself beside her, still holding her hand.
“God, this is really something. We’ve got parks in Brooklyn, some of them nice, but nothing like this. Prospect Park’s got a lake and it’s great, but nothing like this. Whaddya call it again?”
“Everyone just calls it the grotto,” Bette said with a smile. She snuggled closer to him so her dimity dress and his tan khaki shirt touched. His body heat contrasted with the cool of the spring and made her skin tingle.
“It’s peaceful,” he told her, voice just above a whisper. “It’s almost like church. They all told me about the park, how to meet girls here, but no one mentioned this. Thanks, Bette.”
“You’re welcome, Benny,” she replied, his name rolling off her tongue as if she’d used it all her life. Then she recalled he’d said his mother used Benny. “Or do you prefer just Ben?”
Those delightful gray eyes met hers, candid and open. “You know, most people call me Ben and its okay by me. My ma says Benny, my baby name, and so does my kid brother half the time, plus maybe a few old people from the neighborhood back home. I don’t think I’d tell anyone else it’s kosher but yeah, you can call me Benny if you want.”
“Okay, Benny,” she said, trying it out again with permission. She liked the familiarity of the nickname because it fit the connection she felt with him. He must have sensed something similar because he put his arm around her and she rested against him, content.
They sat in easy silence for a few minutes, a comfortable time stretching out sweet and comfortable.
Ben Levy faced her and traced the line of her upper lip with one slow finger. The sensation sent shivers through her with his touch lighter than a butterfly’s brush.
“Do you mind if I kiss you?”
She ached for his kiss. “If you don’t, I’ll probably die.”
“I’ll take that as affirmative,” Ben said as he put his lips over hers.
His mouth joined hers with a soft caress evoking a deep tenderness within. He kissed her like a porcelain doll, fragile and precious. Bette’s emotions kindled as his lips shifted from sweet to heat and she returned his kiss.
Fever sparked between them with heat and the sweetness of the syrup she’d drizzled over her pancakes. Bette tasted both coffee and his Lucky Strike cigarettes, but she didn’t mind. His scent infused her with longing. He smelled like a man, of soap and cigarettes and sweat and just something so quintessentially Ben Levy. She’d kissed a few men, but no other kiss invoked her body and soul the way his did.