Title: The Angels' Share
Series: The Bourbon Kings #2
Author: J.R. Ward
Release Date: July 26, 2016
#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…
In 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.
Everything has 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?
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 a.m.
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 the highway.
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 future held.
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 raving.
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 church?
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 family.
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 time.
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 scream.
By now, I can say I'm invested in this series. I'm a huge BDB series fan and I'm always looking forward to reading anything by JR Ward.
The Angels' Share starts right after The Bourbon Kings. You must read Bourbon or you're going to be lost.
So what's happening to this siblings?
Lane's still trying to keep the family business afloat. The clan has a huge debt and Lane might need to do some gambling to help out. In the romance department, he's sure of his love for Lizzie and this time he won't let anyone interfere in their relationship. She's the one he wants. She brings him peace keeps him centered.
Edward knows he needs to stop drinking his sorrows away. He also knows Sutton is the woman for him and he knows that she deserves better than the man he has become. Pushing her away could be the only way to save her from failure. Just as with book 1, Edward is still my favorite sibling. I need him to triumph and get his well-deserved happiness.
Gin, the only female sibling, is still going through with the wedding despite hating the man she is engaged to and loving Samuel T. She wishes things could be different but she doesn't feel like she deserves to be happy. She's also trying to fix her relationship with her daughter, Amelie.
Surprisingly, another Bradford sibling has come back to the fold. Max is back but we don't get much info about him. I know he's back to give support to his mother but I know he's hiding stuff too.
I liked The Angels' Share a lot. It had <b>intrigue, suspense, romance</b>, and it reminds me a lot of a TV series like Dynasty or Dallas. So many secrets and forbidden relationships happening. But secrets don't stay secrets for too long. I can see a big one coming out soon.
I only have one question....when is the next book out????
A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
THE ANGELS’ SHARE was one of my most anticipated books of 2016 and it did not let me down. Last year when I started THE BOURBON KINGS (book #1) I was unsure what to expect. It sounded phenomenal but all I’ve read by J.R. Ward was her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Starting a non paranormal book by an author where you’ve only read her paranormal work is a bit weird. You go in expecting something but it turns out completely different. J.R. Ward is not only the queen of paranormal, but she’s now queen of drama.
To begin I want to stress that you have to read the first book or you’ll be VERY lost. So much happens in book one. We learn the family dynamics, we meet characters who make more appearances in this book, we discover the family’s monetary problems. So much information is forged in the first book.
THE ANGELS’ SHARE starts right where book one ended. Lane is still trying to keep the family business running with Lizzie right at his side. Edward is still a recluse drinking too much and Gin is still getting married to an awful man, even though she’s secretly in love with Samuel T., the father of her daughter.
This novel reads like a soap opera. The drama, betrayal, denial, love, hate, murder, death, keeps the plot moving and the story entirely addicting. I was extremely worried I’d forget a lot of information because of the time between book one and book two, but J.R. Ward does a phenomenal job at reminding us what happened and filling in any gaps.
I’m so invested in the Bradford’s story and I can’t wait to see where it goes. There is still so much left unanswered and so much I want to happen. This series will definitely go down as being one of my favorites!
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.