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The Bootlegger's Wife
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It’s 1925 in St. Paul, Minnesota, a haven for hardened criminals—and the women who find themselves trapped in a dangerous game…
Charlotte LeDoux’s nine-year marriage to bootlegging kingpin, Gus “Lucky” LeDoux, is falling apart. The same day Char learns she’s pregnant, she catches Gus in the act of adultery and it’s clear he has no intention of ending the affair. Soon after, their nightclub is raided by Federal agents. As she flees from the chaos, Char becomes separated from Gus and she’s faced with a choice: search out her fugitive husband or change her identity and disappear. With her life in shambles and her future in doubt, she knows what she must do to protect her child.
Char alters her appearance and takes a job in domestic service for a private investigator. At first, living in Will Van Elsberg’s home is quiet, comfortable and safe, but everything changes the day Gus seeks out Will to find his missing wife. As Will’s investigation closes in on her, Char must once again make a decision. Should she run away again or face her violent husband and fight for her freedom? With her back to the wall, Char discovers she has more strength and determination than she ever thought possible.
Book One of the Moonshine Madness series.
As I hurried through the inky darkness in sloshy T-strap shoes and a wet dress, I gradually felt no discomfort, only a strange sense of calm. Pulling my shawl tighter around my shoulders, I thought about what I’d do next. I had no idea where my husband was—in jail perhaps or...dead. Knowing Gus, he was still alive. He hadn’t earned the nickname “Lucky LeDoux” for nothing. To my astonishment, however, I didn’t care one way or the other. I only knew that I couldn’t live this life anymore—as a bootlegger’s wife.
The thought of leaving Gus terrified me, but at the same time, it gave me a sense of hope for my baby’s future. Sadly, I knew better than to believe things could go back to the way they were before Prohibition when Gus worked in his father’s brewery. Once the Volstead Act passed—the eighteenth amendment—the LeDoux Brewery had been forced to shutter its doors, destroying the family income and causing his father, Rene Sr. to suffer a fatal heart attack. Gus’ deep-seated anger at the government for devastating his family and the folks who’d depended upon the brewery for their livelihood had fueled his decision to forge ahead despite the risks. Enlisting many of his former employees, he’d formed a new operation bootlegging Minnesota whiskey and operating La Coquette.
Now, he was a criminal, wanted by the Feds…
Before Prohibition, Gus and I had lived a simple life as an ordinary couple and we were happy together. Nowadays he preferred collecting barrels of money and spending it on women and other sinful pleasures more than he loved me. Even so, he’d never let me go if he discovered I planned to leave him—especially in my present condition. This I knew without a doubt.
Albert’s lifeless form flashed through my mind and I shuddered, wondering if I would ever feel safe again. My eyes smarted with tears. I couldn’t bear the thought of subjecting my child to the perilous life my husband had chosen.
I had two choices—locate Gus and live in constant danger or start a new life for myself and my unborn child. Casting apprehension and excuses aside, I told myself I needed to follow my instincts and do what would be best for my baby. It didn’t take long to choose my path.
Charlotte LeDoux had ceased to exist.
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