The Rebel Daughter

By: Lauri Robinson

Chapter One



White Bear Lake, Minnesota, 1925

Twyla Nightingale swore she’d been reborn. Released. Free. Like a bird that had just learned to fly, or a dog that had finally chewed through the rope tying it to the porch. Excitement hummed through her veins. The smile living on her lips was there when she woke up and still there when she went to bed. It was real, too. As genuine as a new bill. At times her cheeks hurt from grinning.

And she loved it.

L-O-V-E-D. It.

Rightfully so.

Just a few weeks ago she’d have been watching out the bedroom window or crouched down peering through the spindles of the staircase that led from the ballroom to the second floor of the resort. But now she was front and center, wearing that cheek-aching grin while greeting guests, as men in neatly pressed three-piece suits and dapper hats escorted their ladies through the double front doors of the resort. The latest fashions these women wore were as elegant as the men escorting them. Floppy hats and feathered headbands matched their fringe-covered flapper dresses and two-piece skirt outfits in the most popular colors. Teal, burgundy, gold and green.

Green.

Now that was a color. Twyla’s favorite. The color of money. Lettuce, kale, clams, jack—whatever you wanted to call it, it was all money. Even before tonight she’d loved how money had changed her life. She gave her father the credit for that. A few years ago he’d been a brewery worker, bringing home barely enough money to keep his family clothed and put food on the table. Now she and her sisters were dressed in the height of fashion and Nightingale’s resort served finer food than some of the most famous hotels in the world.

Life was so good she wanted to skip instead of walk. Just standing here her feet itched with excitement. She’d imagined, but still couldn’t believe how wonderful things had become since she’d stopped living on the sidelines.

In many ways she had her sister to thank for the life-changing transformation. If Norma Rose asked, Twyla would get down and kiss her sister’s toes. That’s how appreciative she was, and she would do anything and everything to keep things going just as they were this very minute. One of the largest parties of the year was taking place at the resort tonight, and she was the hostess. Well, one of them. Norma Rose and another sister, Josie, were here, too, but in many ways that only made things better.

Smiling brightly, and elegantly waving a hand with brightly painted nails, Twyla greeted another couple and directed them toward the elaborately carved wooden front desk, where Josie would write them a meal receipt. They would then be directed to the ballroom and adjoining dining room, where the celebration of Palooka George’s fiftieth birthday would soon begin.

Up until two weeks ago, Josie, younger than Twyla by two years, and Ginger, younger by five years, had also been living on the sidelines. Norma Rose, the oldest at twenty-five, had been the only one permitted downstairs during parties. Mainly because until recently she’d run Nightingale’s all by herself, ever since it had been transformed from a dance pavilion to an expansive resort catering to those with wads of cash to spend. Their father, Roger Nightingale, claimed he ran it, but everyone knew that Norma Rose did, while Roger oversaw his bootlegging business. Her father’s profession didn’t bother Twyla in the least. Without bootlegging, she’d still be wearing Norma Rose’s hand-me-downs, which had been someone else’s hand-me-downs before Norma Rose had acquired them.

Folks could hate Prohibition all they wanted; Twyla loved it.

She loved the glitzy and glamorous parties, the racy freedom and even the wild and wicked underground world that flourished more every day. No one could have guessed her life could change so fast. Especially not Twyla. It had all happened when Ginger had run away with Brock Ness, and Ty Bradshaw had shown up searching for some gangster. Although everyone thought Ty was a lawyer, Twyla now knew differently, but her lips were sealed and would remain so. He’d caught the hoodlum he was after out in Wisconsin, or so Twyla had heard, but that wasn’t what had changed things. Norma Rose had. Shortly after Ty arrived, Norma Rose turned a proverbial corner. Love, that’s what had done it. Ever since falling for Ty, Norma Rose wasn’t focused on running the resort by herself.

Finally, thank heaven above, she’d asked her sisters to help run the place.

Twyla had jumped at the chance to step up, and so had Josie. Ginger was still in Chicago and Twyla didn’t expect her to return home anytime soon, but that opinion she kept mostly to herself—except when she was with Josie, who felt the same way. The two of them had discussed that Ginger had been in love with Brock for some time. Neither Twyla nor Josie were looking for love. They had other seeds to sow.

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