Bulls Island
  • Bulls Island
  • Bulls Island

Bulls Island

4.0 81
by Dorothea Benton Frank
     
 

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A satisfying tale of honor, chance, and star-crossed love infused with Southern wit, grace, and charm from the New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank

After twenty years, Elizabeth "Betts" McGee has finally managed to put her past behind her. She hasn't been home to beautiful South Carolina and untouched Bulls Island since the tragic

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Overview

A satisfying tale of honor, chance, and star-crossed love infused with Southern wit, grace, and charm from the New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank

After twenty years, Elizabeth "Betts" McGee has finally managed to put her past behind her. She hasn't been home to beautiful South Carolina and untouched Bulls Island since the tragic night that ended her engagement to Charleston's golden boy, J. D. Langley.

And why is that? Really, this is the story of two old Southern families. The Langley family has more money than the Morgan Stanley Bank. And they think they have more class. The Barrett family made their nineteenth-century fortune in a less distinguished manner—corner grocery stores and liquor stores. It's no surprise that when J.D. and Betts fall in love and decide to marry their parents are none too pleased. And when the love affair comes to an end, everyone is ready to place blame.

Now twenty years have gone by and Betts, a top investment bank executive, must leave her comfortable life in New York City to return to the home she thought she'd left behind forever. But spearheading the most important project of her career puts her back in contact with everything she's tried so hard to forget: her estranged sister, her father, J.D., and her past.

Once she's home, can Betts keep the secret that threatens all she holds dear? Or will her fear of the past wreck her future happiness? And what about that crazy gator? All will be revealed on Bulls Island.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Will romance triumph over the feud between the aristocratic Langleys and the slightly lower-in-social-pecking-order McGees in Frank's latest Southern charm-filled romp? Though the answer is obvious from the get-go, the author fills this spirited tale with well-drawn characters, not the least of whom is formidable Charleston doyenne Louisa Langley. Betts McGee and J.D. Langley are uneasily headed to the altar-Louisa has a hard time with her son dating down. When Betts's mother dies in a car wreck, a generations-old grudge-abetted by Louisa-flares up, and Betts flees to Manhattan. There, she raises her son (J.D. didn't know she was pregnant when she left) solo and thrives in the distressed property turn-around business for a good 20 years until an assignment sends her back to Charleston to help develop a former wildlife refuge. The local partner in the venture is none other than J.D., who is now unhappily married and childless. Frank steers through several terrains with great aplomb as the story unfolds from both Betts's and J.D.'s points of view. Frank shines as Betts finds out if there's really no place like home. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061438431
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/08/2008
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

Bulls Island LP

Chapter One

Meet Betts

Trouble. In the charcoal shadows that delivered dawn to day in my Manhattan apartment, trouble lurked like a horrible thief. It would snatch my guilty life out of my pocket. I could sense but not pinpoint the exact location. It did not matter. Trouble would get me anyway. Trouble so practiced and seasoned that I would never know its clammy hand, each fingertip as light as feathers had been there mocking me the whole way to ruination. Except for one telling detail. Before I threw back my bedcovers, before I even glanced at my alarm clock, my left eyelid had begun to twitch in earnest. Always a redoubtable warning of approaching and certain disaster. My heart pounded. Was it a dream?

Moments later, real life began again. My cell phone rang and vibrated against the blond wood of my bedside table. It was my secretary, Sandi, calling to say Ben Bruton wanted to see me that morning. Wonderful. I was to begin my day with an audience with the Great and Terrible Oz. Not to mention I had a scheduled meeting later that morning with a gaggle offast-talking suits from Tokyo.

Swell. No one at my level was called to see Bruton unless he wanted you dead and out of his life—or your status was to improve vastly. I had no reason to fear for my position and no reason to believe I was in line for anything except to continue what I had been doing for the past four years—evaluating and restructuring the distressed properties in our portfolio. Sounds boring? Anything but. Trust me.

I was late, which was unusual. Normally, I'm up at six. My nerves got in between me and everything I hadto do. As I dressed, I pushed my toe through an expensive pair of Wolford panty hose, jabbed my eyeliner into the white of my eye, spilled tea on my shirt, on and on it went until I finally got out the door.

I rushed the nine and one-half blocks from Park and Sixty-first to work dodging traffic, juggling my Tazo chai, my handbag, the Wall Street Journal, and my briefcase. Click, click, click. The heels of my Prada pumps clicked and echoed in my ears as I hurried across the rose-colored, gold-speckled granite floor of the lobby. In my peripheral vision, I spotted Dennis Baker swinging into action, moving toward me like a PI, knowing he had caught my eye.

Why was he always following me? He made my skin crawl. I slipped into an empty elevator, his arm caught the closing door, and I was trapped.

"You look great today. New dress?" he said, exuding enough testosterone to impregnate every female in the five boroughs of New York City.

Except me.

"Thank you." I avoided eye contact and his question.

He leaned against the opposite wall, put his hands in his pockets, and struggled to look adorable. "So, let me ask you something, McGee."

"What?"

"Why aren't you committed to someone who could, you know, see about all your needs? Too risky to get involved?"

"It's not about money, Dennis," I said, looking directly at him without a shred of warmth. "It's about my survival. And since when is my life your business?"

Disbelieving, Dennis Baker's obnoxious eyes surveyed me as though he could not imagine what I struggled to overcome. In his opinion I had no problems because money was the great cure-all. As if I was rolling in it. Would that it were so.

"I've been watching you. And . . . just curious, I guess." Next, with what I'm sure he deemed considerable insight, he said, "Well then, it must be about power. Why you work so hard and why you're such a loner? A relationship might distract your focus and therefore dilute your power. Am I right?"

"Nooooo," I said, assuring him that I had no interest in chatting with him for the minute it took us to rise from the thirty-eighth-floor lobby to the seventieth floor. Any and all conversation with him was exasperating. I stood rooted to my side of the elevator and stared up at the rapidly changing red digital trailer of weather and news.

I said to myself, no, itwasn't about power. It actually was all about survival. Was it easy for a woman to make it in this business? No. You had to be twice as right, twice as qualified, and twice as anything else the assignment required.

Relieved when the doors opened, I left him to slither back to his cubicle on the sixty-eighth floor.

"Have a great day," he said.

"See ya." I said. Loser.

Dennis was like a swarm of gnats at dusk, annoying and confident that he would eventually get to you. He was fortunate that I had not reported him to human resources for sexual harassment and that I spoke to him at all.

Dennis Baker was one of a dozen male and female secretaries with a degree in chiropractic medicine, culinary arts, or medieval literature who hunted the halls like a hungry animal, searching for prey, married or single, with a mid-seven-figure income that could give them a life of ease. Married with children didn't bother them one iota. And they seemed unaware of a greater truth, which was this: Why would anyone of actual significance be interested in anyone so pathetically amoral? Even the occasional drunk partner or lonely associate knew the difference between a sporting screw and a relationship that could cost them a marriage and, not to be overlooked, a painful division of assets. Dennis Baker was a stellar bartender and amateur sommelier, hence his longevity at the firm.

But back to the more important issue. I had been summoned to Ben Bruton's office, or rather I should say the real estate he occupied in the penthouse of the five floors we owned on Fifty-second and Fifth. When his gatekeeper, Darlene, spotted me, she smiled and pressed the button to his inner sanctum, whispering the news of my arrival as though we were gathered in an ICU with a priest. I sat in the waiting area and then got up to pace. What did Bruton want? I was nervous.

Bulls Island LP. Copyright © by Dorothea Frank. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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