Book Review: Dancing Butterfly by Debra Parmley

Dancing Butterfly by Debra Parmley

Butterflies Fly Free 1920’s Flappers Series, Book 2

Belo Dia Publishing Incorporated; 1 edition (March 29, 2018)

Historical Romance


“Shimmy hard enough and nothing can hurt you.” – Suki 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 gangster’s 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?




An entertaining read about a 1920’s flapper with worries of barely making rent, much less having money to pay for food and heat her apartment.  She catches the eye of one of Al Capone’s men and they have a strong, immediate attraction. Suki is spunky and no pushover but she soon finds herself tied to Frank. She longs for more independence and is attracted to a man she met on the train but as a gangster’s moll you don’t simply stop seeing him. Frank is a dangerous man, an enforcer in Al Capone’s gang.  He’s protective of Suki. He saved her life, took care of her, and spoiled her. He also puts limits on her, becomes bossy and controlling and sometimes treats her like a child.  While she likes that she has no more money worries, she longs to dance again and finds herself sad and drinking more and more. The 1920’s is much about gangsters and guns and I think these flapper stories are wonderful and give us another glimpse into that time. Written so that you are transported back to that time by the descriptive writing and conversations. I could picture in my head how they were dressed and talked. Wonderful, interesting characters.

Dancing Butterfly is book two in the Butterflies Fly Free series. The romance series features a different flapper in the 1920’s. The women in the series are featured in the other books. One of the things I liked about Dancing Butterfly is that Bethany (from book 1, Trapping the Butterfly) is featured and we now have Suki’s point of view of that meeting (which we read from Bethany POV in book 1).



Debra Parmley spreads love, one story at a time. A multi-genre, hybrid author, fascinated by fairy tales and folktales ever since she was young, she has always ended her stories with a happy ever after. Every story she writes turns into a romance. She started out writing gritty western historical romance, always with a damsel in distress, back before self-publishing was an option. Her first book, A Desperate Journey, was published in eBook in 2008 and in print in 2009. An Air Force veteran’s wife, she now writes military heroes. Montana Marine, part of Elle James Kindle Worlds Brotherhood Protectors series, is her most recent contemporary military romantic suspense. Debra enjoys travel and her work as a travel consultant gave her the opportunity to visit many countries. Her luggage often carried home folk tales from the countries visited and you will find her travel experiences scattered throughout her books.





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