Butterflies Fly Free Series:
Debra writes 1920’s Flapper Heroines
Dancing Butterfly; Book Two (Suki’s Story)
Debra is currently at work on book two. Suki’s story.
coming in 2017
Trapping the Butterfly; Book One (Bethany’s Story)
Available now in print, ebook and audiobook!
Bethany is looking forward to celebrating her eighteenth birthday in Hot Springs. If Aunt Margaret and Uncle James have their way she will return from the trip engaged to Mr. Rivalde. Every part of Bethany’s life has been controlled, from the clothes she wears to the food she eats. Bethany can’t wait to cut off her long hair like other girls and to fly free.
Paul studied and chased butterflies when he was a small boy. Now he chases gangsters and he’s in Hot Springs following Al Capone’s gang.
The sight of Bethany amid butterflies, sun streaming down and lighting up her pale skin and long blonde hair, is one that stops Paul Tollick on the spot. She is the most beautiful female he’s ever seen.
But two other men have determined to catch her for themselves and one is a dangerous gangster. Will she fly free or be trapped?
“What have you done?” Aunt Margaret’s eyes darkened to black slits the moment they landed on Bethany. Anger radiated off her like heat from a boiling furnace. She slammed the door. “You little fool.”
Bethany widened her eyes. She’d never seen her aunt this angry. Her fury froze whatever words Bethany might have spoken. She wanted to run and hide as she had when she was a small girl, yet she wasn’t that small girl anymore and she had nowhere to hide, anyway. She never had.
“You gave your word you wouldn’t leave this hotel.”
“I didn’t leave the hotel. They have a beauty parlor right here in the basement.”
“I cannot leave you alone for even one minute.” Aunt Margaret’s face was a mask of fury. “You cannot be trusted.”
“I kept my word. I didn’t leave the hotel.”
“You are a disgrace. You have disgraced this family. How do you expect to go out in society? That hairdo is unladylike. We won’t find you a proper husband with you looking like that. If you were married, it would be grounds for divorce. You’re a fool.”
“I like it, and I’m not the only one. Others have told me it looks pretty.”
“Of course the beautician who cut your hair is going to tell you that. People like that will tell you anything when they want to sell you something. Not only is your haircut unladylike, it makes your face look fat.”
Bethany’s stomach clenched. She wasn’t fat. She wasn’t. Paul thought she looked pretty. She’d known her aunt would be angry, but hadn’t known she’d be this angry. If only Bethany could flee. Anywhere but inside this room. Anywhere far away from her aunt.
“You’ll be lucky if Richard still wants to take you to that movie.” Her aunt paced the room. “Just wait until your uncle sees.”
“Sees what?” Uncle James stepped through the door, and his jaw dropped. He didn’t even close the door behind him as he walked into the room.
Bethany reached up to the back of her hair and fluffed it as Tildy and Paul had done. That felt good, although she knew her aunt and uncle might take it as a defiant move. Paul likes my hair this way. I like it too. I don’t care what they think.
“You’ve cut your hair,” Uncle James said. He wasn’t usually one to state the obvious, and yet he seemed dumbfounded.
She nodded. “Yes, I did.”
“Well.” He slammed the door. “It’s done now.”
PRAISE FOR TRAPPING THE BUTTERFLY:
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” ― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
Hot Springs, Arkansas, 1926: If life had ever been anything other than this, Bethany couldn’t remember it. Between her perpetually sick aunt who never gets tired of criticizing her and her distant uncle she was being starved, poked and prodded into their image of a lady. Soon, she’ll be turning eighteen and will finally gain her inheritance and freedom. Unfortunately, those last few inches to independence are being obstructed by her uncle’s schemes, her rash involvement with Al Capone’s thugs and a cop (Paul) with a love for butterflies who might become everything to her….
An incredibly poignant story about a young girl exiting her cocoon and finding her strength! Beth’s transformation from a meek girl forced to endure tyranny into a daring young woman was beautiful to see. The backdrop of jazz music, the prohibition and gangsters is exciting enough for a reader to imagine an inviting, sensual film unfolding in from of them.
As in most novellas, the length of the story didn’t leave room for everything that needed to be said and shown. Here, the one slighted was Paul, who could almost be seen more as an idea than an actual character. Subsequently, the relationship between him and Beth felt like it happened in a dream, with the edges so blurry all that was clear were the words of love shared and the sense they were, indeed, kindred spirits. Still, four enthusiastic stars! – Mimi Smith, InD’Tale Magazine 4.5 stars
“I flew through this book! Took me back to my own teenage years. Sometimes we walk a very narrow line between excitement and disaster. I kept wondering which way this would turn out!” -Betsy Boza (Amazon)
“I thoroughly enjoyed Trapping the Butterfly. Debra Parmley captured the feel and nostalgia of the roaring 20s along with the mystery and thrill of Al Capone and his gang. Her characters are realistic and relatable even for the age. The coming of age love story is sweet and believable. I loved her heroine Bethany and the struggles she found herself in as she tried to find her own sense of self in an oppressed and repressed household along with overcoming her own innocence and naiveté which of course got her in a bit of a jam. The hero Paul is sweet and perfectly written for the timeframe. He’s a man of honor and exactly the write foil for Bethany. If you love movies/plays like Chicago then this is a book you’ll want to read. – Amazon Customer (Amazon)
Bethany Robinson was taken in by her aunt and uncle after her parents’ death. Although she appreciated everything they had done, she looked forward to her freedom when she turned eighteen. She would no longer have to live under their strict rules.
Taking a trip with them to the Hot Springs Bath, Bethany thought that would be an opportune time to follow her plans. Being on her own while her aunt took her treatments, Bethany began meeting and chatting with other people vacationing at the springs. She met a detective who was watching the Capone clan, a gangster who worked with Capone, and a young lady who was a girlfriend of another gangster.
When she realized her uncle’s business meeting was to arrange a marriage with an older man, she refused, rebelling. Unfortunately, her decision making skills were not up to par, and Bethany seemed to continue to get herself into hot water.
Do not blink while reading this story, a fast paced tale that will snag you the way gangsters corner their prey. This very talented author shows a flair for story telling that is rare and hard to find.
Lauren Calder – Affaire de Coeur Magazine