Pina and Katie and the Stalker of Albert Hall
Size: 5.50 x 8.50 in
In September 1959 Pina’s got only one thing on her mind at the elite Albert Academy: four years of blissful rooming with her heartthrob Katie, pursuing their taboo relationship of the previous summer—only one thing until Pina stumbles over the lecherous Head Mistress Craney, lurking in the hall. Pina and Katie become obsessed with the blood-curdling game of cat and mouse Craney is craftily staging in every nook and cranny, from the fire escape to the bedclothes. Aided by quirky roommates, Pina struggles to elude Craney’s clutches and her sinister machinations when Craney calls Pina’s bluff in a salacious duel of wills. Must Pina submit? Will the scorned and unrequited Head Mistress expose Pina to her parents, and the eventuality of shock therapy? Who will banish whom?
Publisher: Sapphire Books
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Lesbian
Protagonist 1 Age: Under 18
Protagonist 2 Age: Under 18
Protagonist 3 Age: 46-65
Tropes: Blackmail, Coming of Age, Coming Out / Closeted, Find Love and Come Out, Mind Games, Student-Teacher
Word Count: 72,666
Setting: Prep school, Andover, MA
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
PINA’S SIXTEENTH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
Katie and I clasped each other in a quiet, soft hold and helped each other out of our clothes, feeling our warm, bare arms sliding together between each item and then, our bellies and our breasts. We had never seen each other completely naked before. We moved quiet and slow, just sensing and inviting each other closer and deeper with each glance.
We eased ourselves, legs entwined, onto the bed, more like one than separate bodies. Our hands felt for the borders: where did I end; where did Katie begin? Her small, light hand reached the outline of my breasts, and our hands and breasts melted into one another.
It seems we lost time. How many hours, I didn’t know. I also didn’t know whose throat made those sounds, over and over, or where Katie found this drive and strength. How many times did I feel her weight on me, pulsing and pushing, the breath squeezing out of my mouth, mingling with hers?READ MORE
Sometime after dark, we stumbled off the bed and ravaged our snack supply. We showered together and floated back under the sheets, enfolded asleep in each other’s arms.
In my dream, we were building a wooden house together in Sicily. I smelled the lemon groves, and the sweat dripping off our tanned, taut bodies released its garlic incense. Katie wiped her forehead on her thin, white cotton shirt flapping in the hot, dry Sicilian breeze. I continued to raise my hammer with great sighs, but Katie’s blows were forceful, heavy, and loud. Their banging set off a vibration. The doorframe she was working on shook as did all the walls we had just raised. We joked that it must be Mount Etna erupting, so loud and overwhelming was the rumbling. Louder and louder, all around, from under and overhead, on all sides. Katie’s hand shook me too.
“Get up! It’s...it’s her, at the door!”
“Shoot! Katie, quick, under the bed. Head Mistress Craney! Yes, coming,” I croaked in a hoarse voice as I threw on a bathrobe and doused myself with water.
I cracked the door and apologized. “Running late. So sorry. Please give me five minutes.”
My body felt so alive and velvety after Katie’s touch, and here I was under the focused gaze of Miss Craney on the other side of this thin curtain. Could she really be waiting there? I felt my skin crawl. Ready for battle, I smiled and said, “Okay.”
She sat me down next to her on the bed and produced a discreet, dark green box. She patted my knee and told me to open it. I sat staring at a lush, suede-bound journal. Embossed on the first page were our two names, Mary Margaret Craney and Pina Mazzini, and “To record our dreams.” Did she do this for all the girls?
This was getting creepier and creepier. The only thing that was keeping me from running away was Katie’s presence under the bed. I couldn’t risk having Craney catch her, and if Craney pulled anything, Katie could report her, couldn’t she? I also had to make sure Katie hadn’t died of shock or suffocation.
“Lovely,” I said while I quickly lowered my eyes to check the time—late for chapel—to avoid her eyes. “Oh. We have to go, right?”
Miss Craney sighed and stood to leave. I thought I heard another sigh from under the bed. I imagined that Katie had breathed her dying breath.
Inside Craney’s chambers now, she pointed to a straight- back chair at the small circular table set for two. The formal china and sterling silver place settings lay cold and rigid in their appointed places. I obediently sat in my assigned seat.
“Ahem.” Craney bowed her head to catch my eye. Still holding my gaze, she poured the tea, smoothed her pleated skirt under her bony posterior, and sat opposite me. She smiled as if pleased with her work.
“Please.” She extended a basket of rolls and toast. Her hand grazed mine. My stomach did a flip. “Thank you,” I mumbled, nibbling a small corner of toast just to fill my mouth to stop the watering. “Here. Here’s how we do the eggs benedict.” She stood and approached me from the side. She took my hands in hers and manipulated them to butter strips of toast to slip into the shimmying egg. A dot of butter splattered on my knuckle. She bent her head low over my hand, still holding the knife. I panicked. She flicked the butter from my knuckle into her mouth and slowly licked my finger and hers. I startled, flipping the knife in the air. She jerked back to her full height, erect, a foot away from me.
“I don’t tolerate stains.” Her speech was staccato, my look petrified, I’m sure.
“My dear,” she chortled, “I thought you’d appreciate this. I was wrong?”
I wanted to puke and bolt. Would she block the door? And if I stayed? I almost gagged when I heard the words come out of my mouth. “Oh, I love eggs benedict.” My face must have betrayed my utter disgust.
She now seemed business-like and sort of depressed. She picked at her eggs benedict, forgot the cider, and kept glancing at her watch.
Finally, she leveled a blank look at me from across the table. Two, three minutes passed in silence. I was confused. My mind was racing, trying to figure out on the one hand, if I had disappointed her and on the other, why I wasn’t just relieved that she seemed so distant. I even wondered whether I should make a bigger effort to suck up. But that was crazy and dangerous.
Her voice broke through my dilemma. She regretted that she had forgotten an important phone call she had to make.
I thanked her. She reminded me to “apply yourself fully and play by the rules” as she placed a wispy kiss on my forehead.
Craney had dismissed me.COLLAPSE
Christine Hooker on amazon.com wrote:
Dolores Maggiore has done it again! Just when Katie and Pina think they have found love and a place where they can be together, their dreams are shattered, first by intrusive roommates who threaten the privacy they longed for and then by something much worse: Head Mistress Craney. Armed with prophetic dreams sent by her grandmother and supported by a cast of charming and eccentric friends, Pina sets out to find a place where she can celebrate her love. Love and Lechery at Albert Academy is a tribute to friendship, tolerance, and the power of community to do right. Both a portrait of America before the many successes of the gay rights movement and a story of hope, Love and Lechery at Albert Academy is wonderful read for adults and youth alike.
Karelia Stetz-Waters, author, writing instructor
Barbara L. Murphy on amazon.com wrote:
Pina and Katie's adventures continue as does their quest to be together. The new characters in this book add so much more to the story that made it even more amazing. Of course I was picturing Hogwarts when I thought setting but I am a nerd. Maggiore does not just create a well-paced suspense with numerous twists and turns but also captures the difficulties of being gay in that time. There is so much packed into this story I couldn't put it down. More please!
Christine Hooker, author, editor
Three cheers and a hip-hip-hooray!
Justfinished Dolores Maggiore's LOVE AND LECHERY. I had such a good time rooting for Pina and Katie throughout the story. I was captivated being that proverbial "fly on the wall" as our two budding lovers find and feel their way through the maze and thrill ride of first love. I'm hoping there is at least a third installment of their adventures.
So happy for Dolores' having successfully gone through the arduous process of creating a world and characters that so many of us and so many young people can see themselves in and hope the attitudes displayed by Pina's and Katie's parents can provide a kind of template for current parents.
Barbara Murphy,author & writing instructor