Trapping the Butterfly –
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Synopsis: Trapping the Butterfly is book one in Debra Parmley’s Butterflies Fly Free series about flappers and gangsters in the 1920’s. Each book focuses on a different flapper.
Hot Springs Arkansas in the 1920’s is where the wealthy go to “take the baths” for medicinal purposes and where gangsters lay down their Tommy guns while on vacation. Bethany and her aunt and uncle have gone to take the baths hoping to cure her aunt of her illness. Bethany, excited to be celebrating her eighteenth birthday at the Arlington Hotel, can’t wait to cut her long hair into a bob and to raise her hemline and learn to do the Charleston. Her life has been controlled, from the clothes she wears to the food she eats as her aunt and uncle have kept her–and her inheritance–very close. If her aunt and uncle have their way she will return engaged to his new business partner.
Little does she know Al Capone has rented the entire fourth floor of the Arlington where she is staying with her family, and Suki, the flapper who befriends her, is one of the gang’s molls. One of Al’s men is quite taken with Bethany and wants to make her his girl.
Detective Paul Tollick chased butterflies when he was young. Now he chases gangsters. His job plunges him into the harsh underworld of gangsters, bootleggers, and fast women. He’s captivated by the sight of innocent Bethany, sitting in the park surrounded by butterflies. He hopes she will be his girl.
But two other men have determined to catch her and one is a dangerous gangster who is part of Al Capone’s gang. Will Bethany exit her cocoon; and then find the strength to fly free or will she be trapped by one of these men?
Coming of age in the 1920’s is not so easy at it might appear, especially for a young naïve girl who has been sheltered.
Dancing Butterfly –
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Synopsis: Suki aka Susan Chesterfield, is finally being asked to dinner by Frank Omato, one of Al Capone’s enforcers, after finishing her dance number at the Green Mill in Chicago, when gunmen enter the club with their Thompson submachine guns, ready to take out Al and anyone else in his gang or in their way. Frank saves Suki’s life, pushing her out of the way and she escapes down the secret stairs behind the bar only to fall and break her foot. Everyone who knows how is escaping down the tunnels underneath Chicago’s streets which were used to deliver hootch to all the speakeasies on the route. But Suki can’t make her way out alone. She needs someone to help her and to get her to a doctor who can look at her foot. Frank comes to the rescue once again, making sure a doctor looks at her foot. She’s broken her talus bone in half and it will be weeks until the cast can come off and she’s able to dance again. How is she going to pay the rent? Frank comes to the rescue more than once, but there’s a catch. There always is, when a gangster is involved and wants you to be his moll. There is safety in being a gangsters moll. No one messes with Frank’s woman. But will she still be free and independent now that she’s Frank’s girl?
Falling for Frank, it is oh so easy to say yes. But the life of a moll isn’t an easy one. How will independent Suki handle being Frank’s moll? She’s itching to dance again and to break out of that cast and be free. But she knows she has to wait and to “live in the now.” “The right now.”
A rival gang paid for a hit on Al and the shooting at The Green Mill is one of several attempts against Al and his men. After four weeks of being cooped up in her apartment leaves Suki feeling restless, Frank surprises her by telling her he’s sending her to Miami, Florida on the train. Al and his men are going to Miami so Al can see the horse races at the new Miami Jockey Club in Hialeah. Knowing she is restless, Frank sends Suki down early on the train so she can recouperate at The Flamingo Hotel, the first grand hotel in Miami. She travels by train to Miami, first class all the way, courtesy of Frank, who will join her when he comes down with Al and his men.
But train travel isn’t without dangers. Something happens she can’t tell Frank about. How can she when she had three rules to follow and broke the first two even before she’d been gone twenty four hours?
The rules are harder for a flapper to keep than she’d thought they’d be. She wasn’t supposed to leave her compartment until she reached her final destination. That was the first rule she broke and kept on breaking. He’d be angry if he knew she’d been exploring the Jacksonville Florida train station instead of heeding his words She doesn’t dare tell him what happened to her, or about meeting Phillip in the dining car.
Phillip, is traveling on the same train as Suki and is seated at her table in the dining car when there are no other open seats. He recently moved to Miami from Barcelona, Spain and enjoys telling Suki all about his new home. Suki, who has never traveled anywhere until now, is fascinated by the well traveled and educated gentleman who seems to see right into her, noticing things few do. He promises to introduce her to his twin sister, Phyllis, who he believes will be a good friend to Suki.
Once she reaches Miami, her restlessness is even worse. She can’t wait to get the cast off and to be free of Enzo, Franks man, who Frank assigned to meet her at the train station and to help her with whatever needs. But is he there to help or to watch her and report back to Frank?
Phillip keeps his promise, introduces her to Phyllis and they become fast friends. By the time Frank arrives, Suki is ready to dance up a storm with Phyllis. Will Suki break out of her cast to be free and independent again? Or has she been caged?