Trapping The Butterfly – Butterflies Fly Free Book 1by Debra Parmley

Trapping the Butterfly
Butterflies Fly Free Book 1
Debra Parmley


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.

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This book is a journey into the 1920’s with the Hot Springs and Al Capone’s crew and of course our main character Bethany.

Bethany lives with her Uncle James and Aunt Margaret. Her aunt is strict and very old fashioned. When her uncle announces the trip to Hot Springs for her aunt to have treatments, she looks at it as an opportunity to do a few things she hasn’t dared before.

Her uncle also has a business deal that he’s working on, and he and her aunt expect Bethany to be on her best behavior. The business partner Richard Rivalde was her uncle’s age and well dressed. To top it all off it seems her aunt is playing matchmaker. She couldn’t turn him down when he invites her to see a showing of ‘The Sheikh’ she really wants to see that movie.

Detective Paul Tollick is deep in thought following a Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly when he sees Bethany sitting on a bench alone. He finds her beautiful, if naïve and enjoys talking with her among the butterflies. He also warns her to stay away from the fourth floor of their hotel where Al Capone is staying with his men.

The first chance she gets, Bethany heads to the salon and gets her hair cut into the style of the day. She’d never cut her hair her aunt wouldn’t allow her. With her eighteenth birthday just days away she is going to break free from those restrictions.

She’s surprised when Paul approaches her as she gets a drink from a fountain in the lobby.

This is a favorite scene.

Paul Tollick couldn’t believe his eyes. Was that Bethany walking across the lobby?

She’d cut her hair.

So that was why she hadn’t been in her usual spot today. She’d planned this. The haircut was why she’d said she might be late.

She paused to take a drink from the drinking fountain. He moved closer, as if waiting to take a drink, all the while taking in the people around him.

She stood and wiped the back of her hand across her lips. Then she saw him, and her blue eyes widened. Her whole face lit up. “Oh, Paul.”

“Bethany.” A slow smile spread across his face. He cupped the bottom of her hair and fluffed it as his gaze roamed from her eyes, to her face, and then back to her hair.

She didn’t move.

“I like it,” he said. “It’s much more touchable.” His smile deepened. “And so soft.”

She blushed.

“It looks good on you.”

“Thank you.” She paused. “My aunt will have a fit when she sees me. I might not be at the park tomorrow if she gets angry.”

Nervousness and uncertainty about what she’d done filled her eyes. The nervousness flitted over every inch of her skin, reminding him of the flitting, fragile wings of a butterfly. She seemed so young. Had she never gone against her aunt’s wishes before? Never stood up to her?

“You’re old enough to wear your hair however you like. It’s your hair, not hers.” He cocked his head to reappraise her new haircut as more uncertainty and even a bit of fear came into her eyes. “I love it.”

Her sudden smile could have lit up the ballroom of the hotel. He hoped to see more of that smile and less of the uncertainty.

Breathlessly she asked, “You do?”

“Yes, Bethany. I do.”

“I’m glad.” She gazed up at him, and he thought of kissing her. Doing so had been on his mind since he’d first met her yesterday, but the hotel lobby wasn’t the place to kiss young women, especially those not yet of age with restrictive guardians. She deserved soft, lingering kisses beneath an arbor, not kisses stolen in dark corners of a hotel, however grand.

He wasn’t in the habit of stealing kisses or anything else from women. He took nothing they didn’t freely give. Women offered themselves to him more and more, the jazz and bathtub gin creating a boldness he now realized he’d grown accustomed to experiencing.

Bethany, the complete opposite of those women, needed to be wooed and won. No, she deserved to be wooed and adored. He would enjoy every minute of wooing her.

He enjoyed having her near. It was that simple.

“I thought you didn’t want me to speak to you here.” Her blue eyes showed her confusion, and she kept her voice so low he had to lean forward to hear her.

He gave her a slight smile. “Yes, I know. We’d best go before we attract attention.”

Despite telling her to act as if she didn’t know him if she saw him at the hotel, he’d been drawn to approach her. She was too young, and in her naiveté could cause problems with his ability to go unnoticed, and yet he’d still gone against his own advice. He simply couldn’t stay away from her. No other woman had ever affected him like this, and that worried him. She could mean trouble… and when it came to his job, he couldn’t afford trouble.

“Tomorrow in the park?” Her soft voice struck him as unsure.

He bent down to take a drink of water from the water fountain while pretending to ignore her. “Perhaps. Now go.”

“Goodbye,” she whispered, confusion pouring off her in waves.

He didn’t answer but continued to drink as she walked away.
Parmley, Debra. Trapping the Butterfly (Butterflies Fly Free Series Book 1). Kindle Locations (587-613). Belo Dia Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Her aunt is livid with her haircut and her uncle isn’t pleased either. Yet this is just the beginning for her, as she makes a new friend as she window shops for dresses.

Suki is the girlfriend of one of Capone’s men and gives her a dress she doesn’t wear anymore. It this dress she wears to the movie with her uncle’s friend.

From here things get even more complicated as Paul watches from the background, unable to make a move to stop what’s unfolding before him.

I felt like I was in the 1920’s as I read this book. The clubs the illegal drinking the horse racing and so much more. I love the way Paul courts Bethany, even as he does his job of surveillance. Truly a fun read.

5 Contented Purrs for Debra!

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Debra Parmley

Debra Parmley writes military romantic suspense, contemporary romance, western historical romance, holiday romance, fairy tale romance, and 1920’s romance. She has 28 romance books out. She also writes fantasy, young adult, and children’s books as Debra Bishop. A Gemini, she thrives on writing more than one genre.

She lives in a motorhome full-time with her husband as they travel the U.S. and shares her adventures on her Beautiful Day Traveler blog. Debra has sold travel, walked the plank of a pirate ship off the coast of Grand Cayman, swum with dolphins in Moorea, and set foot in 13 countries. Debra is the founder of Shimmy Mob Memphis which raises funds for the local domestic abuse shelter. She was the host of Book Lights on Blog Talk Radio and interviews cover models on Cover Model Corner. Debra believes that “Every day we are alive is a beautiful day. “

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