Pearl’s a Sinner is being put into audiobook form by the brilliant Louisiana-born California resident known variously as Dixie Capone and Missy Cambridge (neither of them, as you may have guessed, her real name). I just listened to Dixie’s recording of Chapter 1 and it’s brilliant. She captures the people, the motivations and the actions perfectly. I’m really looking forward to being able to announce the completion of the finished work.
The book, of course, is already available for Kindle, including the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. If you haven’t already found it, here’s a little extract:
At ten o’clock, Uncle Martin drove up to the house.
He’d come to make sure she was all right, she knew that. He was an old family friend and a member of the church and the well-being of every church member was important to every other member. But knowing that didn’t stop her from fantasising. Fantasising that he had come to ask for her virginity and fantasising that she would surrender it to him. Eagerly. Without even the pretence of resistance.
When she opened the door, she knew that she was blushing. ‘Hello,’ she said, and could have kicked herself when she heard how faintly – how shyly – it came out. ‘Mummy and Dad have gone to look after grandad.’ He was carrying a small bag and she wondered what was in it.
‘I know that, sweetheart. I came to see you. Make sure you’re okay.’
‘Oh.’ She stood back to let him in. He walked straight into the kitchen, where he had sat so many times with all four of them, and sat down. ‘It’s coffee time,’ he said. ‘Don’t you think?’
‘I…yes. I was just going to make some.’ She hadn’t been but now it seemed such an obvious thing to do. She filled the kettle and switched it on. As she stood with her back to him she was conscious of how short her skirt was (though to the girls at college it would have ranked almost as a midi) and how her bottom flared beneath it. She put chocolate biscuits on a plate and set it in front of him.
‘Thank you.’ He opened the bag and took out a bottle of champagne, still so cold from the fridge that beads clung to the outside like dew. Pearl put her hand to her mouth. ‘Oh, my goodness. Is that…?’
‘Champagne. I know your grandfather is in hospital and that’s a dreadful thing, but you just left college, you’re eighteen, you’re about to go to university which will change your whole life and I worried that no one was paying enough attention to you. So I thought we’d forget for a while the trouble your parents are attending to and have a little celebration of all the good things in your life. Can you find a couple of glasses?’
Pearl took two tumblers from a cupboard. ‘I’m sure these aren’t right, but this is all we have. Champagne isn’t drunk in this house.’
Champagne wasn’t drunk in that house. Martin knew that, all right. The elders didn’t ban alcohol as long as you drank it in moderation but they preferred that you went without. Just as they preferred that there be no salt in your food or excitement in your life. Those were preferences. They had other things that were more than preferences; they were rules to be insisted upon, and Martin intended to break one of those rules today. If he could. He wouldn’t use force because he wasn’t going to be accused of rape but he’d watched this girl grow from a child to where she was now – trembling on the verge of womanhood – and he couldn’t help himself. If he could have her without forcing the issue then have her he would. If anyone was to blame it was her for being so beautiful and her parents for keeping her so innocent. It was always the woman who was to blame; political correctness meant that you weren’t supposed to say so any more, but everyone knew it was true. A man was helpless in the face of leggy coltishness like Pearl’s. That skirt hugged her in a way he was sure her mother had never intended when it was bought. Beneath the skirt would be virginal white cotton knickers and beneath the knickers…