American Star

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Overview

Newly repackaged—classic novels from New York Times bestselling author Jackie Collins!

Power. Sex. Money. Fame. The new Hollywood wives have it all. And if they don’t have it—they want it. And whatever these women want—they get. Ambitious, young, smart, and lethal, the Hollywood wives are back with a vengeance, pushing their way to the forefront. Forget shopping—they’re into achieving everything their famous husbands have and more, and they ...

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Overview

Newly repackaged—classic novels from New York Times bestselling author Jackie Collins!

Power. Sex. Money. Fame. The new Hollywood wives have it all. And if they don’t have it—they want it. And whatever these women want—they get. Ambitious, young, smart, and lethal, the Hollywood wives are back with a vengeance, pushing their way to the forefront. Forget shopping—they’re into achieving everything their famous husbands have and more, and they don’t care how they do it.

Three talented, ambitious dreamers have struggled for super-stardom—and lived hard and fast in a mind-bending whirl of parties, drugs, and sex. Now their fates collide at the plush Los Angeles estate of a powerful music industry magnate, where one man’s secret vendetta will trap them in its sudden, murderous heat....

Nick and Lauren can never forget each other. Teenage small-town lovers—he from the wrong side of the tracks, she the prettiest girl in town—their love was the town scandal, forbidden, sizzling and unforgettable, ending abruptly in a tragedy that sent them into separate orbits. As Nick and Lauren both rise to fame, haunted by the secret they share, they try to live without each other—only to find they can’t.

The author of 14 international #1 bestsellers does it again with this compelling tale of love, sex and murder set against the backgrounds of Hollywood and New York. At its heart are two unforgettable lovers: a brooding superstar of the silver screen and the model of the decade.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The best thing about Collins's latest fictional foray (after Lady Boss ) is that despite its length, it doesn't take long to read: there's precious little in it. Two-dimensional characters, hilariously improbable situations, wooden dialogue and an impossible number of amazing coincidences all ensure that it will win stardom of its own. The story follows three young people from a small Midwestern town who overcome obstacles too numerous to mention on their way to superstardom in three different professions. Nick Angelo, abused son of a shiftless, alcoholic father, becomes Hollywood's most famous male actor. His black half-sister Cyndra finds fame as an international rock star after suffering through rape, incest, an abortion, a disastrous marriage and a murder charge. Poor little rich girl Lauren Roberts, who horrifies her socially ambitious parents by falling in love with the town pariah (Nick, of course), eventually becomes the world's most sought-after model--and she cooks, too. Collins has an effective way of dealing with characters who present obstacles to the minimal plot development; she simply kills them off in a highly dramatic fashion. Any mental effort by the reader is unnecessary and to be discouraged, as it would only prompt irritation with this lamentable effort, which will undoubtedly climb the bestseller lists nonetheless. Major ad/promo; 750,000 first printing; Literary Guild main selection; author tour. ( Apr. )
Kirkus Reviews
Collins (Lady Boss, etc.) returns to Hollywood (and New York and Kansas) in this perfunctory 20-year romantic saga between a small-town princess and a poor, rakish Italian-American stud—nothing new from this author, but then who among her readers cares? Nick Angelo (think black hair, blue eyes, tight pants, dimpled chin) may have grown up on the wrong side of the tracks, but he's always been lucky when it comes to females—as demure Lauren Roberts discovers when Nick moves to Bosewell, Kansas, in the wake of his mother's death. Entering high school with plans to keep his head down and land the first girl willing to keep him warm, Nick is instead inexplicably smitten by prim, comely Lauren—who's unhappily engaged to the richest boy in town. A hot romance soon flares up, causing Lauren's outraged parents to lock her in her room and her would-be in-laws to see that Nick is expelled from school. Vowing to get rich quick and come back for Lauren, Nick takes off for Chicago, but a Kansas tornado, an unwanted pregnancy, and hard times in Chicago separate the couple until each is convinced that the other has given up on the affair. A decade later the two meet again in New York just as Nick Angelo (now Nick Angel, a film actor) is on the brink of success and Lauren, a New York businesswoman, is about to become an extremely well-paid model. This time Lauren's engagement to a wealthy older man and Nick's entanglement in a blackmail scheme stand in the star-crossed lovers' way, and it is many more years, romantic traumas, multimillion-dollar business deals, Beverly Hills parties, and Manhattan penthouse dinners before busy, thirtysomething Nick and Lauren find the time to fall intoeach other's arms once and for all. Standard fare told in plodding, unimaginative fashion—with the requisite sex scenes, career fantasies, and designer outfits all in place. (Literary Guild Dual Selection for June)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671023492
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 2/1/1998
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 688
  • Product dimensions: 4.19 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Jackie Collins

There have been many imitators, but only Jackie Collins can tell you what really goes on in the fastest lane of all. From Beverly Hills bedrooms to a raunchy prowl along the streets of Hollywood; from glittering rock parties and concerts to stretch limos and the mansions of power brokers—Jackie Collins chronicles the real truth from the inside looking out.

Jackie Collins has been called a “raunchy moralist” by the late director Louis Malle and “Hollywood’s own Marcel Proust” by Vanity Fair magazine. With more than 500 million copies of her books sold in more than forty countries, and with some thirty New York Times bestsellers to her credit, Jackie Collins is one of the world’s top-selling novelists. She is known for giving her readers an unrivaled insider’s knowledge of Hollywood and the glamorous lives and loves of the rich, famous, and infamous. “I write about real people in disguise,” she says. “If anything, my characters are toned down—the truth is much more bizarre.”

Visit Jackie’s website www.jackiecollins.com, and follow her on Instagram and Twitter at JackieJCollins, Facebook at www.facebook.com/jackiecollins and Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/jackiejcollins.

Biography

Louis Malle may have branded Jackie Collins a "raunchy moralist," but it wasn't her sense of ethical propriety that had her in a snit when Kenneth Starr dutifully reported to the nation the details of the pseudo-coupling between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. It was her literary pride. "Everybody said that the Monica Lewinsky stuff in the Starr report was like a Jackie Collins book," she told the Chicago Tribune in 2001, "but if I'd written it, the sex would have been better."

Unquestionably. Jacqueline Susann may be the Emily Bronte of the naughty bits, but Collins is surely Charlotte, having filled her books to the rim with skin since her first novel The World Is Full of Married Men appeared in 1968. Since then, there has been a string of sexy Hollywood moguls, sexy models, sexy wives of Hollywood moguls, sexy divorcées and sexy children of Hollywood moguls in such titles as Chances, Lucky and Throb as well as The Bitch and The Stud (both made into movies starring big sister Joan).

The critics, when they take notice at all, tend to sniff. ("While no one expects Lady Boss to be a literary banquet, certainly a yummy little snack is in order" is about the best to expect from The New York Times.) But those who can look past the satin sheets and champagne flutes see more going on in the Collins canon. Hers is a dissection of the vacuous, viperish entertainment class hiding behind designer sunglasses in Los Angeles. Vanity Fair called her "Hollywood's own Marcel Proust.” The Advocate hinted that she might be the Charles Dickens of Beverly Hills. And Joe Queenan, a Hollywood player himself, said Collins's 1993 novel American Star was nothing less than a lament of the American family's demise.

"It would be easy to self-righteously label this book trashy and worthless -- but it's not entirely either," the Detroit News wrote in a review of Collins's 1983 novel Hollywood Wives. "Jackie Collins has a talent for titillation and a knack for wooing the most reluctant of readers into a plot that spends 15 percent of the time peeking at people in the sack and the other 85 percent daydreaming about it. Deliberately or not, she speaks eloquently of emptiness through the lives of people who would seem to have everything: French poodles, Mexican maids, American Express."

And Judy Bass wrote in the Los Angeles Times that Collins's gimlet eye for detail is what makes her novels such a gas: "Collins caricatures the life styles of the rich and famous with devastating accuracy. She spoofs every nuance of their attire, speech and relationships, never allowing tedium or predictability to dilute the reader's fun."

There are a number of recurring characters in Collins's books, though none better known than Lucky Santangelo, the sexy (natch) film studio owner who has appeared in Lucky, Lady Boss, Vendetta: Lucky's Revenge and Dangerous Kiss. The Lucky series bring together all the required ingredients of a Collins cocktail: the rich and famous, the shifty Hollywood shenanigans, scheming opportunists and a bug-on-the-wall vantage point of every -- or every other -- bedroom in the 90210 zip code.

Time once wrote of a Collins novel that it allowed the reader the rare opportunity to watch adverbs mate. Of course. There's a high art to the lowbrow. The Village Voice, writing in 2000, understood that: "The beauty of the trashy novel is twofold: It's a lightning-quick read, and you can howl in smug superiority as you turn the pages. Lethal Seduction, the latest from well-appointed and leopard-print-swathed Queen of Trash Jackie Collins, is a prime example of page-turning, literary-hauteur-stoking fun."

But it might have been People, reviewing Vendetta: Lucky's Revenge, that most succinctly summed up the contradictory seductiveness of the Jackie Collins novel: "embarrassing to pick up, impossible to put down."

Good To Know

Collins makes a mean meatloaf. "It's the herbs and spices," she told Biography magazine, "and my essence."

Collins spends about a year writing each novel, and does so entirely in longhand.

She eschews the stodgy demands of grammar. "I don't basically understand grammar," she is quoted as saying in Contemporary Popular Writers. "I call myself a street writer. I write purely by instinct. I've decided people don't speak in grammatical conversations.... The important thing is I get people into the bookstores who probably wouldn't be there otherwise."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Jacqueline Jill Collins (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 4, 1941
    2. Place of Birth:
      London, England

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One:

New York, December 15, 1992

Mornings were always a bad time for Nick Angel. He lay in bed, eyes closed,
unwilling to surrender the peaceful darkness, fighting the fact that he had to
get up and face another day. Especially this day. His birthday.

Thirty-five.

Nick Angel was thirty-five.

Jesus! The newspapers would have an orgasmic overdose on this one. He was no
longer the boy wonder. Age was creeping up on him.

He lay very still. It was probably past noon, but the longer he delayed getting
up the better, for he knew that once he stirred they'd be all over him.
Honey — his live-in girlfriend. Harlan — his so-called valet. And Teresa — his
faithful karate-champion assistant.

He heard a sudden movement in the room. A subtle rustle of silk and the faint
aroma of White Diamonds — Honey was a big Liz Taylor fan. In fact Honey was a
fan, period.

So. . . why was he with her?

Good question. The problem was there were too many questions in his life and
not enough answers.

Honey was on the prowl. Pretty blond Honey with the lethal body and vacant
mind. He sensed her standing by the bed staring down at him, willing him to
wake up.

Too bad, sweetheart. Get lost. Not in the mood.

As soon as he was sure she'd left, he quickly rolled out of bed and made it to
the safety of his steel and glass high-tech bathroom, locking the door behind
him.

Ah... Nick Angel in the morning. Not the man he once was, although still
handsome in spite of ten pounds of excess flesh, bloodshot eyes and an
altogether dissipated demeanor.

He hated the way he looked. The extra weight he'd put on disgusted him. He had
to stop drinking. Had to get his life together.

Nick Angel. Longish black hair. Indian green eyes. Pale skin, stubbled chin. At
five feet ten inches he was tall without being overpowering. His handsomeness
was not perfect. More brooding... mesmerizing. And in spite of being
bloodshot his green eyes were hypnotic and watchful. His nose, once broken,
gave him the dangerous edge he needed.

And now he was thirty-five.

Old.

Older than he'd ever thought he'd be.

But the world still loved him. His fans would continue to worship because he
was Nick Angel and he belonged to them. They'd elevated him to a rare and crazy
place where nobody could expect to remain sane.

It's too much, he thought bitterly, splashing cold water on his face.
The adulation, the never-ending attention. Crushing... stifling...
suffocating... Too fucking much.

He smiled grimly.

Welcome to the insane asylum.

Welcome to my life.

Reaching for the phone he buzzed the underground garage, connecting with one of
his team of driver/bodyguards.

"I'm on my way down," he said, keeping his gravelly voice low. "Get out the
Ferrari. No driver. And call the airport, tell them to have my plane ready. I'm
taking it up."

"Right, Nick. Oh, an' happy birthday, man."

Screw this birthday crap. He knew he'd hear nothing else all day.

Finishing in the bathroom he dressed quickly in the trademark black he always
wore. Pants, shirt, leather jacket and black tennis shoes. All he had to do now was make it out of
the apartment before he was forced to endure more congratulations.

As soon as he hit the hall they came at him. Honey, all pearly teeth and
rounded breasts encased in a pink angora sweater, her short skid swishing
sexily around her thighs.

Harlan, a crazed black man with wild hair extensions and subdued makeup.

And Teresa, six feet tall with a face like a man.

What a mismatched trio! But they were his. He owned them. He paid for every
move they made.

"Gotta go," he said edgily.

"Where?" Honey asked, thrusting angora-clad tits in his direction. "Where?"
echoed Teresa, staring at him accusingly. "I should come with you.

"Yeah, where ya goin', man?" added Harlan, joining the chorus.

"I'll be back soon.

Maybe.

Maybe not.

Cleverly he timed his words to coincide with the arrival of the elevator, and
before they could nail him further he was out of there, downstairs, in his
Ferrari, driving out of Manhattan as fast as he could.

It took him forty-five minutes to reach the private airstrip where he kept his
two-engine Cessna. Several mechanics greeted him with birthday wishes.

Surprise, surprise. He'd known today was going to be a bummer. He climbed
aboard his plane, settled in the cockpit and guided the small aircraft down the
runway until he was given clearance to take off into the unseasonably blue
sky.

He sighed, a long heavy sigh. When did it all begin to get out of control?

Nick Angel.

Free at last.

But he had a solution. A plan he was about to put into action.

Color me dead.

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, 1969

"Do it!" the young girl cried out, her breath coming in short frantic gasps.
"Do it, do it!"

"I'm tryin'," Nick Angelo replied heatedly. And indeed he was, but to his
dismay the girl was so wet he kept slipping out.

Her voice was shrill and commanding. "Do it!" she insisted, wriggling back into
position. "C'mon, Nicky. C'mon, c'mon, c' monnnn!"

Beginning to panic, he slammed the point of entry yet again, and thank goodness
managed to stay in place.

"Ummm . . ."The desperate shrillness faded from her voice and she began
to sound pleased. "Ooooooh . . ." She continued to sigh sweetly as he
pumped away.

Nick hung on, even though he was sweating and uncomfortable. But he hung on
anyway because jamming himself inside this girl was the most important act in
the entire world.

Vaguely he remembered one of his friends telling him sex was like riding a
horse-mount up, get in the saddle and take the trip.

Nobody had warned him it would be such a dangerous hot sticky journey.

And then it hit him. The most exciting, throbbing, out-of-control feeling he'd
ever experienced. Holy cow! He was coming! And he was inside a real female — his
hand and some dirty magazine had nothing to do with it.

The girl screamed out her satisfaction.

He felt like doing the same thing. But he was cool, a guy had to stay cool —
even if it was his first time.

Nick Angelo was finally making out — and he couldn't think of a more
mind-blowing way of celebrating his thirteenth birthday.

EVANSTON, ILLINOIS, 1973

"Please, Nick, pleeease . . . I can't take any more.

Maybe. Maybe not. But he'd been giving it to her for twenty minutes and she'd
only now started to complain — although it was hardly a complaint, more an
agonized cry of ecstasy.

"Ooh, Nicky, you're the best!"

Yeah? So he'd been told. Now if he could only teach them not to call him Nicky
. . .

Making out was his specialty. It sure beat homework or any of that learning
crap. And it certainly beat spending time at home watching his old man drink
himself unconscious while his mother was out busting her ass working two jobs
to keep the lazy slob in beer.

Family life. Shove it. Just like he was shoving it up Susie or Jenny or
whatever her name was.

One of these days he planned on taking off, getting out of this dump, and
bringing his mother with him. But first he needed a job so he could score some
bucks, then there'd be no holding him back.

Right now he was stuck in school because his mother thought education was
important. Mary Angelo had this crazy fantasy that one day he'd get a
scholarship to college.

Yeah, sure — a make-out college was the only place he'd get in. Mary
wasn't into reality — she was into dreams. At thirty-seven she looked ten years
older. A birdlike woman — slight and nervous, with faded prettiness and wispy
hair. She'd met Nick's father, Primo, on a blind date when she was sixteen and
he was thirty. They'd gotten married exactly one week before Nick was born, and
Primo had hardly worked a day since. A carpenter by trade, he'd soon realized
that picking up unemployment while sending his wife out to work was a far
better deal than actually doing anything himself.

The Angelo family moved often, trudging from state to state, living in rented
houses, always ready to be on the move whenever Primo felt that restless urge.
And he felt it often.

Growing up, Nick couldn't remember being in the same town for longer than a few
months at a time. As soon as he began to settle in, they were on their way
again. Eventually he gave up on any permanent relationships. New town. New
girls to conquer. And on to the next. Now he'd gotten used to it.

"Can we go see a movie tomorrow?" Susie or Jenny or whatever-her-name-was
asked. "It'll be my treat."

"Nah." He shook his head as he got up, pulling on his pants. They were in the
back office of a small automobile showroom — a venue he used often on account of
the fact he sometimes ran errands for one of the salesmen, and in return he got
to borrow the keys.

"Why not?" the girl asked. At eighteen she was two years older than him. She
had short hair, freckles and a well-developed chest. He'd picked her up the day
before behind the counter of a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet.

He tried to come up with a quick excuse. He excelled at sex. Hated to stick
around. Past experience told him she wouldn't appreciate the truth. A screw is
a screw — who needs it to be anything else?

"Gotta work," he said, brushing a hand through his unruly black hair.

"What do you do?" she asked curiously.

"I'm an undertaker's assistant," he lied, straight-faced.

That shut her up.

He waited for her to adjust her clothing, even helped her up. Then he took her
to the bus stop, left her there and walked the mile home.

Currently they were living in a rundown house with Mary's sister — his aunt
Franny — a big woman with dyed yellow hair and a bleached moustache. It was
only a small house, but as long as Primo had a television to watch and a
plentiful supply of beer, he was satisfied.

Nick hoped Mary was home from work. If she was, there'd be a
chance of something to eat. Franny never bothered to cook. She was on a diet of
Reese's peanut butter cups and diet soda — screw fixing meals.

Sure. Franny got fatter and everyone else starved to death.

Sex always made him hungry. Right now he'd kill for a hamburger, but he was
broke as usual, so the only chance he had was working on Mary with his charm.
Not that he'd have to do much work, his mother adored him. She put him before
everyone, including Primo when she could get away with it — which wasn't
often, for Primo demanded most of her attention when she wasn't working.

Nick's goal in life was to have as little to do with his father as possible. He
hated the way Primo treated Mary. He couldn't stand listening to him bitch and
complain about everything. And most of all he despised the way Primo sat on his
big fat can doing nothing.

The truth was that Primo scared him. He was a huge, overpowering man, and
whenever he was in a bad mood Nick felt the back of his hand or the sting of
his rough leather belt across his backside. Mary always tried to stop the
beatings — protecting him as best she could — even if it meant getting beat
herself. Primo didn't care who got in his way — he lashed out good.

rd
Sometimes Nick wanted to kill him. Other times he accepted the beatings as a
fact of life. The rage he felt was muted, buried. There was nothing he could do
— not until he was older, then he'd get him and his mother out.

Halfway home it started to rain. Pulling up the collar of his old denim jacket
he bent his head down and began jogging along the curb, thinking about how
great it would be to have wheels, imagining that one of these days he'd get
himself a car — a gleaming red Cadillac with chrome wheels and a real fine
radio.

Yeah... one of these days.

Primo was sitting on the steps outside Franny's house. Nick could see him as he
approached. He tensed up; something was wrong. Why else would his old man have
deserted his precious television and be sitting outside in the rain?

He approached warily. "What's up?" he asked, stopping and jogging in place.

Primo wiped the back of his hand across his nose and glared up at him,
bloodshot eyes bulging. "Where've ya been?" he demanded, slurring his words.

Nick felt the cold rain trickling down the back of his collar and he
shivered — anticipating bad news. "Out with friends," he mumbled.

Primo heaved a mournful, beer-soaked sigh and hauled himself to his feet. His
shirt was stuck to his body. His thick graying hair fell in greasy clumps on
his prominent forehead. Raindrops continued to drip from the end of his
nose.

"She's gone," he said glumly. "Your goddamn mother went an' died on us.

Copyright © 1993 by Jackie Collins

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Chapter One:Mornings were always a bad time for Nick Angel. He lay in bed, eyes closed, unwilling to surrender the peaceful darkness, fighting the fact that he had to get up and face another day. Especially this day. His birthday.

Thirty-five.

Nick Angel was thirty-five.

Jesus! The newspapers would have an orgasmic overdose on this one. He was no longer the boy wonder. Age was creeping up on him.

He lay very still. It was probably past noon, but the longer he delayed getting up the better, for he knew that once he stirred they'd be all over him. Honey -- his live-in girlfriend. Harlan -- his so-called valet. And Teresa -- his faithful karate-champion assistant.

He heard a sudden movement in the room. A subtle rustle of silk and the faint aroma of White Diamonds -- Honey was a big Liz Taylor fan. In fact Honey was a fan, period.

So. . . why was he with her?

Good question. The problem was there were too many questions in his life and not enough answers.

Honey was on the prowl. Pretty blond Honey with the lethal body and vacant mind. He sensed her standing by the bed staring down at him, willing him to wake up.

Too bad, sweetheart. Get lost. Not in the mood.

As soon as he was sure she'd left, he quickly rolled out of bed and made it to the safety of his steel and glass high-tech bathroom, locking the door behind him.

Ah... Nick Angel in the morning. Not the man he once was, although still handsome in spite of ten pounds of excess flesh, bloodshot eyes and an altogether dissipated demeanor.

He hated the way he looked. The extra weight he'd put on disgusted him. He had to stop drinking. Had to get his life together.

Nick Angel. Longish black hair. Indian green eyes. Pale skin, stubbled chin. At five feet ten inches he was tall without being overpowering. His handsomeness was not perfect. More brooding... mesmerizing. And in spite of being bloodshot his green eyes were hypnotic and watchful. His nose, once broken, gave him the dangerous edge he needed.

And now he was thirty-five.

Old.

Older than he'd ever thought he'd be.

But the world still loved him. His fans would continue to worship because he was Nick Angel and he belonged to them. They'd elevated him to a rare and crazy place where nobody could expect to remain sane.

It's too much, he thought bitterly, splashing cold water on his face. The adulation, the never-ending attention. Crushing... stifling... suffocating... Too fucking much.

He smiled grimly.

Welcome to the insane asylum.

Welcome to my life.

Reaching for the phone he buzzed the underground garage, connecting with one of his team of driver/bodyguards.

"I'm on my way down," he said, keeping his gravelly voice low. "Get out the Ferrari. No driver. And call the airport, tell them to have my plane ready. I'm taking it up."

"Right, Nick. Oh, an' happy birthday, man."

Screw this birthday crap. He knew he'd hear nothing else all day.

Finishing in the bathroom he dressed quickly in the trademark black he always wore. Pants, shirt, leather jacket and black tennis shoes. All he had to do now was make it out of the apartment before he was forced to endure more congratulations.

As soon as he hit the hall they came at him. Honey, all pearly teeth and rounded breasts encased in a pink angora sweater, her short skid swishing sexily around her thighs.

Harlan, a crazed black man with wild hair extensions and subdued makeup.

And Teresa, six feet tall with a face like a man.

What a mismatched trio! But they were his. He owned them. He paid for every move they made.

"Gotta go," he said edgily.

"Where?" Honey asked, thrusting angora-clad tits in his direction. "Where?" echoed Teresa, staring at him accusingly. "I should come with you.

"Yeah, where ya goin', man?" added Harlan, joining the chorus.

"I'll be back soon.

Maybe.

Maybe not.

Cleverly he timed his words to coincide with the arrival of the elevator, and before they could nail him further he was out of there, downstairs, in his Ferrari, driving out of Manhattan as fast as he could.

It took him forty-five minutes to reach the private airstrip where he kept his two-engine Cessna. Several mechanics greeted him with birthday wishes.

Surprise, surprise. He'd known today was going to be a bummer. He climbed aboard his plane, settled in the cockpit and guided the small aircraft down the runway until he was given clearance to take off into the unseasonably blue sky.

He sighed, a long heavy sigh. When did it all begin to get out of control?

Nick Angel.

Free at last.

But he had a solution. A plan he was about to put into action.

Color me dead.


LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, 1969

"Do it!" the young girl cried out, her breath coming in short frantic gasps. "Do it, do it!"

"I'm tryin'," Nick Angelo replied heatedly. And indeed he was, but to his dismay the girl was so wet he kept slipping out.

Her voice was shrill and commanding. "Do it!" she insisted, wriggling back into position. "C'mon, Nicky. C'mon, c'mon, c' monnnn!"

Beginning to panic, he slammed the point of entry yet again, and thank goodness managed to stay in place.

"Ummm . . ."The desperate shrillness faded from her voice and she began to sound pleased. "Ooooooh . . ." She continued to sigh sweetly as he pumped away.

Nick hung on, even though he was sweating and uncomfortable. But he hung on anyway because jamming himself inside this girl was the most important act in the entire world.

Vaguely he remembered one of his friends telling him sex was like riding a horse-mount up, get in the saddle and take the trip.

Nobody had warned him it would be such a dangerous hot sticky journey.

And then it hit him. The most exciting, throbbing, out-of-control feeling he'd ever experienced. Holy cow! He was coming! And he was inside a real female -- his hand and some dirty magazine had nothing to do with it.

The girl screamed out her satisfaction.

He felt like doing the same thing. But he was cool, a guy had to stay cool -- even if it was his first time.

Nick Angelo was finally making out -- and he couldn't think of a more mind-blowing way of celebrating his thirteenth birthday.


EVANSTON, ILLINOIS, 1973

"Please, Nick, pleeease . . . I can't take any more.

Maybe. Maybe not. But he'd been giving it to her for twenty minutes and she'd only now started to complain -- although it was hardly a complaint, more an agonized cry of ecstasy.

"Ooh, Nicky, you're the best!"

Yeah? So he'd been told. Now if he could only teach them not to call him Nicky . . .

Making out was his specialty. It sure beat homework or any of that learning crap. And it certainly beat spending time at home watching his old man drink himself unconscious while his mother was out busting her ass working two jobs to keep the lazy slob in beer.

Family life. Shove it. Just like he was shoving it up Susie or Jenny or whatever her name was.

One of these days he planned on taking off, getting out of this dump, and bringing his mother with him. But first he needed a job so he could score some bucks, then there'd be no holding him back.

Right now he was stuck in school because his mother thought education was important. Mary Angelo had this crazy fantasy that one day he'd get a scholarship to college.

Yeah, sure -- a make-out college was the only place he'd get in. Mary wasn't into reality -- she was into dreams. At thirty-seven she looked ten years older. A birdlike woman -- slight and nervous, with faded prettiness and wispy hair. She'd met Nick's father, Primo, on a blind date when she was sixteen and he was thirty. They'd gotten married exactly one week before Nick was born, and Primo had hardly worked a day since. A carpenter by trade, he'd soon realized that picking up unemployment while sending his wife out to work was a far better deal than actually doing anything himself.

The Angelo family moved often, trudging from state to state, living in rented houses, always ready to be on the move whenever Primo felt that restless urge. And he felt it often.

Growing up, Nick couldn't remember being in the same town for longer than a few months at a time. As soon as he began to settle in, they were on their way again. Eventually he gave up on any permanent relationships. New town. New girls to conquer. And on to the next. Now he'd gotten used to it.

"Can we go see a movie tomorrow?" Susie or Jenny or whatever-her-name-was asked. "It'll be my treat."

"Nah." He shook his head as he got up, pulling on his pants. They were in the back office of a small automobile showroom -- a venue he used often on account of the fact he sometimes ran errands for one of the salesmen, and in return he got to borrow the keys.

"Why not?" the girl asked. At eighteen she was two years older than him. She had short hair, freckles and a well-developed chest. He'd picked her up the day before behind the counter of a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet.

He tried to come up with a quick excuse. He excelled at sex. Hated to stick around. Past experience told him she wouldn't appreciate the truth. A screw is a screw -- who needs it to be anything else?

"Gotta work," he said, brushing a hand through his unruly black hair.

"What do you do?" she asked curiously.

"I'm an undertaker's assistant," he lied, straight-faced.

That shut her up.

He waited for her to adjust her clothing, even helped her up. Then he took her to the bus stop, left her there and walked the mile home.

Currently they were living in a rundown house with Mary's sister -- his aunt Franny -- a big woman with dyed yellow hair and a bleached moustache. It was only a small house, but as long as Primo had a television to watch and a plentiful supply of beer, he was satisfied.

Nick hoped Mary was home from work. If she was, there'd be a chance of something to eat. Franny never bothered to cook. She was on a diet of Reese's peanut butter cups and diet soda -- screw fixing meals.

Sure. Franny got fatter and everyone else starved to death.

Sex always made him hungry. Right now he'd kill for a hamburger, but he was broke as usual, so the only chance he had was working on Mary with his charm. Not that he'd have to do much work, his mother adored him. She put him before everyone, including Primo when she could get away with it -- which wasn't often, for Primo demanded most of her attention when she wasn't working.

Nick's goal in life was to have as little to do with his father as possible. He hated the way Primo treated Mary. He couldn't stand listening to him bitch and complain about everything. And most of all he despised the way Primo sat on his big fat can doing nothing.

The truth was that Primo scared him. He was a huge, overpowering man, and whenever he was in a bad mood Nick felt the back of his hand or the sting of his rough leather belt across his backside. Mary always tried to stop the beatings -- protecting him as best she could -- even if it meant getting beat herself. Primo didn't care who got in his way -- he lashed out good.

Sometimes Nick wanted to kill him. Other times he accepted the beatings as a fact of life. The rage he felt was muted, buried. There was nothing he could do -- not until he was older, then he'd get him and his mother out.

Halfway home it started to rain. Pulling up the collar of his old denim jacket he bent his head down and began jogging along the curb, thinking about how great it would be to have wheels, imagining that one of these days he'd get himself a car -- a gleaming red Cadillac with chrome wheels and a real fine radio.

Yeah... one of these days.

Primo was sitting on the steps outside Franny's house. Nick could see him as he approached. He tensed up; something was wrong. Why else would his old man have deserted his precious television and be sitting outside in the rain?

He approached warily. "What's up?" he asked, stopping and jogging in place.

Primo wiped the back of his hand across his nose and glared up at him, bloodshot eyes bulging. "Where've ya been?" he demanded, slurring his words.

Nick felt the cold rain trickling down the back of his collar and he shivered -- anticipating bad news. "Out with friends," he mumbled.

Primo heaved a mournful, beer-soaked sigh and hauled himself to his feet. His shirt was stuck to his body. His thick graying hair fell in greasy clumps on his prominent forehead. Raindrops continued to drip from the end of his nose.

"She's gone," he said glumly. "Your goddamn mother went an' died on us.

Copyright © 1993 by Jackie Collins

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 24 )
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(19)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2004

    I Couldn't close this book until I read the whole thing!

    This book is amazing it has everything you could want in a book. Theres so many characters and so much going on with each one that you can't put it down you just need to know what's going to happen next. This is my second book I've read by Jackie Collins and I can tell this is going to be my favorite. She's definitly one of my favorite authors.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2014

    Great Book

    I Love this book so much. I've read it at least 5 times.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2014

    Love it.

    I am on a Jackie Collins reading spree. I have NOT found one book that hasn't got me hooked in the first chapter. You can re read them and not get tired. She is the best auther I have ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2014

    Good book

    Jackie Collins writing style is easy to read and has entertaining story lines.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 16, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Another Fun JC novel.

    Another enjoyable read from Jackie Collins. Looking forward to the next one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2014

    Best book ever

    Love it

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 11, 2011

    Awesome!!!!!!!!!

    This book was excellent!!!!!!! It's about a true love that never dies and loyalty beyond belief. It was very well written and engaging. It's one of those books that I know I'll re-read. A rags to riches Nick doesn't let his fame interfere with what's truly important in life. Please buy this book. It's well worth it.

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  • Posted January 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Never Fails

    Jackie Collins has got to be the best author out there. I read this book and it was so filled with suspense. I've always loved her work and I just discovered her about 4 years ago. Normally I feel like she has a lot of characters in her book, and although there were quite a few in this one, they all had a story to tell. I was on the edge of my seat just to see what happened next. This is a must read!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2007

    AMAZING ROMANCE

    I was never a romance novel reader. My college roommate is a big romance novel reader. I was wanting a good book to read and she thought i should read this book. I was a bit hesatent to read it but then i started reading it and loved it. I read it twice and i still can't put it down. Its an amazing story that give hope to people looking for love or still longing to be with that one special person. This gives us faith in love making showing us that there is one true love for everyone.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2005

    The J.C. Book EVER!! I want a sequel!

    I have read many Jackie Collins books (almost all of them) and this was one I couldn't put down until I finished it! It has been dubbed 'THE BOOK' around my house because I locked myself in the bedroom and let hubby and the kids fend for themselves. (which hubby seems never to forget when we get into an argument, LOL) Never have I been so into a book like I was this one. It is by far my favorite book of all time and I would LOVE it if Jackie Collins could muster up a sequel. I hated the fact that this book even came to an end. I wanted it to keep going!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2005

    Grabbed My Heart

    I have read every book Jackie has ever written. This one was one of my favorites, I read the whole thing in one night. You truly feel for the characters and your heart strings will be pulled. Great job Jackie would love a sequel to this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2004

    Best EVER!!!

    I loves this book . though ive read like 25 times i couldnt put it down all the fantasy and action along with NICK!!hes so hot.i just picture him in my head .Love the way she places everything.i lost my copy tho ..if anyone has one for me write ...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2003

    Could Not Put This One Down!!!

    The best Jackie book yet. The house, kids and husband fell down around my ears. I could not put it down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2002

    If this is supposed to be trash, then trash is wonderful!

    This was my second Collins novel, I read Thrill first, and I absolutely love Jackie Collins. She makes every character come to life

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2002

    Steamy! A Definate Page Turner!

    This one has to be the best one yet. Hot, sexy, and definately steamy, I was able to read it in only a couple hours.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2002

    The Best One Yet

    I have all of Jackie Collins books, and I have been reading them since I was a teen. This book is the BEST one by far. The only way it could have been better is if she could have put LUCKY in it somewhere. You won't be able to put this book down, and when you finish you'll want to read it again!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2002

    fun read

    I'm not a big Jackie Collins fan. I read this book just for fun. And it was fun, but kind of long. A great beach book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2001

    JACKIE AT HER BEST

    This was the best Jackie Collins book that I have ever read. I couldn't put it down and I couldn't stop talking about it to my friends. I think that this book should become a movie...It is full of love, lust, power and intensity that would entertain anyone. I didn't want the book to end!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2001

    hot, sexy and a great book

    it was a good book...it had some parts that kinda bored me but hey i am only 15...so i guess and older reader might like that....it was a great book i read it 3 times already.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2000

    Jackie Collins has done it again with a great rate of 5 stars.

    I have read this book over and over again. Each time, I will cry with happiness because Lauren Roberts and Nick Angelo really, truly, madly, and deeply love one another and they try to deny it but can't. I would recommend this book to so many readers because it is all about love. This would also make a great movie.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews

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