#1 New York Times
bestselling author J. R. Ward delivers the second novel in her Bourbon
Kings series—a sweeping saga of a Southern dynasty struggling to
maintain a façade of privilege and prosperity, while secrets and
indiscretions threaten its very foundation…
Charlemont, Kentucky, the Bradford family is the crème de la crème of
high society—just like their exclusive brand of bourbon. And their
complicated lives and vast estate are run by a discrete staff who
inevitably become embroiled in their affairs. This is especially true
now, when the apparent suicide of the family patriarch is starting to
look more and more like murder…
No one is above
suspicion—especially the eldest Bradford son, Edward. The bad blood
between him and his father is known far and wide, and he is aware that
he could be named a suspect. As the investigation into the death
intensifies, he keeps himself busy at the bottom of a bottle—as well as
with his former horse trainer’s daughter. Meanwhile, the family’s
financial future lies in the perfectly manicured hands of a business
rival, a woman who wants Edward all to herself.
consequences; everybody has secrets. And few can be trusted. Then, at
the very brink of the family’s demise, someone thought lost to them
forever returns to the fold. Maxwell Bradford has come home. But is he a
savior...or the worst of all the sinners?
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the drama! The Bourbon Kings series takes me back to the soap opera
world! The Angels' Share is another great read that reveals all the
Bradford-Baldwine family secrets. The lies, secrets, the affairs and the mystery surrounding the death of the Bradford father keeps you turning the page till the very end.
A little tip before jumping in this book-- refresh your memory of who is who in from the first book. I actually had to review the first book to remember how each of these characters are connected and once I was good to go, I couldn't put the book down!
So everyone from Charlemont is back and unfortunately the death of Lane's father is no longer considered a suicide and finding the truth causes a lot more hurt and mystery for the Bradford family. But having Lane's love, Lizzie, by his side keeps Lane going and finding out the truth on why his father has run the Bradford Bourbon Company to the ground!
The book still focuses on Lane and he finds himself in charge of the family, when the Bradford's money situation comes to light. Everything changes for the family. Not only financially, but who they can trust. We get introduced to some new characters who help shed light to the mystery and some who also keeps adding to the drama and lies. So without spoiling the secrets, I will say this book is entertaining with lots of romance between Lane and Lizzie. And is there more? I'm dying to know!
Toyota trucks were not supposed to go seventy-five
miles an hour. Especially when they were ten years old.
At least the driver was wide awake, even though it was four
Lizzie King had a death grip on the steering wheel, and her
foot on the accelerator was actually catching floor as she headed for a rise in
She had woken up in her bed at her farmhouse alone.
Ordinarily, that would have been the status quo, but not anymore, not now that
Lane was back in her life. The wealthy playboy and the estate’s gardener had
finally gotten their act together, love bonding two unlikelies closer and
stronger than the molecules of a diamond.
And she was going to stand by him, no matter what the
After all, it was so much easier to give up extraordinary
wealth when you had never known it, never aspired to it—and especially when you
had seen behind its glittering curtain to the sad, desolate desert on the far
side of the glamour and prestige.
God, the stress Lane was under.
And so out of bed she had gotten. Down the creaking stairs
she had gone. And all around her little house’s first floor she had wandered.
When Lizzie had looked outside, she’d discovered his car
was missing, the Porsche he drove and parked beside the maple by her front
porch nowhere to be seen. And as she had wondered why he had left without
telling her, she had begun to worry.
Just a matter of nights since his father had killed
himself, only a matter of days since William Baldwine’s body had been found on
the far side of the Falls of the Ohio. And ever since then Lane’s face had had
a faraway look, his mind churning always with the missing money, the divorce
papers he had served on the rapacious Chantal, the status of the household bills,
the precarious situation at the Bradford Bourbon Company, his brother Edward’s
terrible physical condition, Miss Aurora’s illness.
But he hadn’t said a thing about any of it. His insomnia
had been the only sign of the pressure, and that was what scared her. Lane
always made an effort to be composed around her, asking her about her work in
Easterly’s gardens, rubbing her bad shoulder, making her dinner, usually badly,
but who cared. Ever since they had gotten the air cleared between them and had
fully recommitted to their relationship, he had all but moved into her
farmhouse—and as much as she loved having him with her, she had been waiting
for the implosion to occur.
It would almost have been easier if he had been ranting and
And now she feared that time had come—and some sixth sense
made her terrified about where he had gone. Easterly, the Bradford Family
Estate, was the first place she thought of. Or maybe the Old Site, where his
family’s bourbon was still made and stored. Or perhaps Miss Aurora’s Baptist
Yes, Lizzie had tried him on his phone. And when the thing
had rung on the table on his side of the bed, she hadn’t waited any longer
after that. Clothes on. Keys in hand. Out to the truck.
No one else was on I-64 as she headed for the bridge to get
across the river, and she kept the gas on even as she crested the hill and hit
the decline to the river’s edge on the Indiana side. In response, her old truck
picked up even more speed along with a death rattle that shook the wheel and
the seat, but the damn Toyota was going to hold it together because she needed it to.
“Lane . . . where are you?”
God, all the times she had asked him how he was and he’d
said, “Fine.” All those opportunities to talk that he hadn’t taken her up on.
All the glances she’d shot him when he hadn’t been looking her way, all the
time her monitoring for signs of cracking or strain. And yet there had been
little to no emotion after that one moment they’d had together in the garden,
that private, sacred moment when she had sought him out under the blooms of the
fruit trees and told him that she’d gotten it wrong about him, that she had
misjudged him, that she was prepared to make a pledge to him with the only
thing she had: the deed to her farmhouse—which was exactly the kind of asset
that could be sold to help pay for the lawyers’ fees as he fought to save his
Lane had held her, and told her he loved her—and refused
her gift, explaining he was going to fix everything himself, that he was going
to somehow find the stolen money, pay back the enormous debt, right the
company, resurrect his family’s fortunes.
And she had believed him.
She still did.
But ever since then? He had been both as warm and closed
off as a space heater, physically present and completely disengaged at the same
Lizzie did not blame him in the slightest.
It was strangely terrifying, however.
Off in the distance, across the river, Charlemont’s
business district glowed and twinkled, a false, earthbound galaxy that was a
lovely lie, and the bridge that connected the two shores was still lit up in
spring green and bright pink for Derby, a preppy rainbow to that promised land.
The good news was that there was no traffic, so as soon as Lizzie was on the
other side, she could take the River Road exit off the highway, shoot north to
Easterly’s hill, and see if his car was parked in front of the mansion.
Then she didn’t know what she was going to do.
The newly constructed bridge had three lanes going in both
directions, the concrete median separating east from west tall and broad for
safety purposes. There were rows of white lights down the middle, and
everything was shiny, not just from the illumination, but a lack of exposure to
the elements. Construction had only finished in March, and the first lines of
traffic had made the crossing in early April, cutting rush-hour delays down—
Up ahead, parked in what was actually the “slow” lane, was
a vehicle that her brain recognized before her eyes properly focused on it.
Lane’s Porsche. It was Lane’s—
Lizzie nailed the brake pedal harder than she’d been
pounding the accelerator, and the truck made the transition from full-force
forward to full-on stop with the grace of a sofa falling out a second-story
window: Everything shuddered and shook, on the verge of structural
disintegration, and worse, there was barely any change in velocity, as if her
Toyota had worked too hard to gain the speed and wasn’t going to let the
momentum go without a fight—
There was a figure on the edge of the bridge. On the very
farthest edge of the bridge. On the lip of the bridge over the deadly drop.
“Lane,” she screamed. “Lane!”
Her truck went into a spin, pirouetting such that she had
to wrench her head around to keep him in her sights. And she jumped out before
the Toyota came to a full stop, leaving the gearshift in neutral, the engine
running, the door open in her wake.
“Lane! No! Lane!”
Lizzie pounded across the pavement and surmounted barriers
that seemed flimsy, too flimsy, given the distance down to the river.
Lane jerked his head around—
And lost one hold of the rail behind him.
As his grip slipped, shock registered on his face, a flash
of surprise . . . that was immediately replaced by horror.
When he fell off into nothing but air.
Lizzie’s mouth could not open wide enough to release her
by arrangement with New American Library, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC,
A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © J.R. Ward, 2016.
J.R. Ward is a #1 New York Times bestselling author with more than 15 million novels
in print published in 25 different countries around the world. The books in her popular Black Dagger
Brotherhood series have held the #1 spot on the New York Times hardcover, mass market, eBook, and combined
print/eBook fiction bestseller lists and have debuted in the top 5 on the USA Today bestseller list. Prior to her writing career, Ward worked as a
lawyer in Boston and spent many years as the Chief of Staff of one of Harvard’s
world-renowned academic medical centers.
Ward currently lives with her family in Kentucky where she has learned
to enjoy and appreciate all things Southern.
Connect with her online at www.jrward.com, Facebook.com/JRWardBooks, and Twitter.com/JRWard1.