Jul 19 2015 9:00am

First Look: Lauri Robinson’s The Bootlegger’s Daughter (July 21, 2015)

The Bootlegger's Daughter by Lauri Robinson

Lauri Robinson
The Bootlegger’s Daughter (Daughters of the Roaring Twenties #2)
Harlequin / July 21, 2015 / $6.50 print, $4.99 digital

Of all the speakeasies, in all the world…

Mysterious city slicker Ty Bradshaw might have won her father's trust, but everyone knows Norma Rose is the true boss of Nightingale's resort. And it'll take more than that charming smile to shake the feeling that Ty is not all he seems…

He walks into hers

Ty is a federal agent on a personal mission of revenge. But he hasn't figured on falling for a bootlegger's daughter. Suddenly, flirting with headstrong Norma Rose seems far more exhilarating than chasing gangsters!

The Roaring Twenties come to delightful life in The Bootlegger’s Daughter by Lauri Robinson; a tale of what happens when two people on opposite sides of a battle come face to face with love.   

It is 1925 and America is in the grip of prohibition. Clever entrepreneurs have found ways around the laws restricting alcohol and are keeping their customers happy by wetting their whistles. Nightingales, a resort in White Bear Lake Minnesota, is one establishment where the scenery is beautiful and the drink always flows. It is an elegant place, with a quixotic but wealthy clientele. Norma Rose Nightingale, oldest daughter of the owner, remembers when it wasn’t always so.

She had witnessed its rise from a run-down homestead with a dancehall and a few rented cabins to a glamorous showcase that rivaled hotels nationwide.

Norma Rose manages the fabulous resort, making sure the food served is excellent, the rooms are always clean and beautiful and the music is always hopping. She is fiercely protective of it.  She knows that the only way to “maintain all the fineries they’d come to enjoy was to keep the resort running.”  Memories of the past are what keep her determined to guard the present and future. She remembers her family having to share one kettle of soup that had to last the whole day.

“No it wasn’t really even soup. It was nothing more than water a few potatoes had been boiled in.”

Ty Bradshaw’s memories of the past contain pain as well. His had been a happy family until his parents and siblings were killed by a mobster.

“Ray Bodine had a cartel of thugs, thieves among other things. He started making businesses pay for his protection, claiming it would keep them from getting robbed. Another big-timer was trying to take over the neighborhood, with the same tactics, but Bodine wasn’t about to let that happen and to prove his point, he killed an entire city block of small business owners, including my parents.”

Ty’s built a career putting away violent gangsters as a result of what happened. Now he is at White Bear Lake, hot on the trail of the man who killed his family. Yet when Ty first sees Norma Rose, a bootlegger’s daughter, he is drawn to her in spite of himself:

A foot appeared, and a second one, covered with black patent leather shining as brightly as the paint on the car. With heels.

Ty was still taking note of that when what emerged next had him licking his lips to wash aside the wolf whistle itching to let loose. A fine pair of legs. Shapely, and covered in sheer silk stockings. He bit down on his bottom lip as the woman completely exited the car. The hem of her dress stopped just below her knees, giving way for plenty to be admired. He continued to admire as his gaze roamed upward, over subtle curves that had him sucking in a good amount of air just to keep that whistle contained. Women were a lot like whiskey. He didn’t need either on a regular basis, but sampling a taste every now and again was something he didn’t mind doing, and Norma Rose Nightingale was one classy dame. The real cat’s meow.

She’s equally struck by her first sight of him.

The door opened wider and another man stepped through, one so dapper looking the air in Norma Rose’s lungs wouldn’t move even while a vibration rumbled through her stronger than if she’d stood on the depot platform as a freight train rolled past. His suit was black with dark gray pinstripes and his shoes were suede, black, like his shirt and tie. The hat band of his fedora was black, too, and silk. She saw decked-out men day in and day out and not one of them had ever made her lose the ability to breathe. This man was big, taller than the police chief, and had shoulders as broad as the men who hauled barrels of whiskey into the basement of the resort. Unlike those men, his hair was cut short, trimmed neatly around his ears, and he was clean shaven.

However, Norma Rose is determined not to fall for his looks and charm.

Men, the entire lot of them, were banned from her mind, at least from that little section she kept for private thoughts. Since she ran the resort, the majority of her dealings were with men in the business realm, and that was more than enough.

When her father hires Ty to find out who tried to poison her uncle Norma Rose is wary. Everything about Ty screams out that he is working for the government and she is afraid that he is out to destroy the resort. For his part, Ty has no desire to get involved with Norma Rose. He’s concerned that the attraction between them will distract him from both his job and his revenge. Yet the two can’t fight what they feel and as they work together to stop Bodine from harming Nightingales, their close association explodes into passion.

The swipe of his lips was as dazzling as it had been on the dance floor, and her eyelids fluttered shut as all sort of wild and outlandish sensations erupted all over again. Instantly transported into the universe she knew nothing about, but wanting to catch a glimpse of it again, Norma Rose wrapped her arms around Ty’s neck and held on as the ride began.

His kiss turned demanding, and Norma Rose accepted the way it called to her very soul. Warm and probing, his tongue parted her lips. She welcomed the entrance into her mouth, thrilled by the feeling and caught up in the vibrations the action sent clear to her toes.

Ms. Robinson weaves a fabulous story of people on the opposite sides of the law falling hard for each other and overcoming obstacles to reach their happily ever after. What makes the tale so engrossing is an action packed plot, the terrifically depicted historical setting and detailed, realistic characters that you can’t help but root for. I found the treatment of prohibition especially well handled. The book isn’t all serious subjects, though. The lively sense of fun that characterized this era is shown as well. I especially enjoyed the dance off.

This was my first book by this author but it definitely won’t be my last.


Learn more about or order a copy of The Bootlegger's Daughter by Lauri Robinson, available July 21, 2015:

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Maggie Boyd, blogger, reviewer, avid reader

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