The New York Times
Dangerous Kiss (Lucky Santangelo Series)by Jackie Collins
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She's the seductively beautiful, street-smart survivor who fought for fame and power in Hollywood and happiness in marriage. She's the strong, exciting woman who dares to take chances -- and always wins. Now, driven by raw fury/b>/i>/b>/big>/b>… See more details below
IS BACK IN
SCINTILLATING NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
She's the seductively beautiful, street-smart survivor who fought for fame and power in Hollywood and happiness in marriage. She's the strong, exciting woman who dares to take chances -- and always wins. Now, driven by raw fury when a member of her family is randomly gunned down, Lucky hunts for a killer throughout glamorous Los Angeles. But her quest for revenge is complicated by the sudden return of a man from her past -- a man with a
...will it destroy everything she has?
The New York Times
Read an Excerpt
Finally Lennie said the magic words. "Cut. Print. That's a wrap everyone.
"Thank goodness," Mary Lou said, rushing to her trailer, unbuttoning the suit she'd worn in the scene on her way.
Terri, one of the wardrobe assistants, ran behind her. "Can I help?" Terri asked. She was black, overweight, and out of breath, but full of enthusiasm. Like everyone else on the set, she adored Mary Lou and would do anything for her.
"Yes!" Mary Lou said. "I need to be ready like an hour ago!"
"You got it," Terri said. "I'm here to assist."
"How's that little brother of yours?" Mary Lou asked as they reached her trailer.
"Doin' okay, thanks," Terri answered, marveling that Mary Lou even remembered her confiding about her sixteen-year-old brother, who'd recently gotten arrested for vandalism. "They gave him three months' probation."
"That should teach him a lesson."
"My mama taught him a lesson," Terri said, rolling her eyes. "She paddled his ass so fine he couldn't sit down for a week!"
"Good," Mary Lou said. "Now he'll think twice next time he plans on getting out of line."
"Ain't that the truth," Terri said, hanging up Mary Lou's skirt after she stepped out of it.
"Y'know," Mary Lou said, opening the small fridge where she'd hidden her heart-shaped diamond earrings and necklace -- anniversary gifts from Steven -- "If you like, I can arrange for my husband to see him, give him some advice about how not to get into trouble."
Terri's expression perked up. "Really?"
"Steven's great with kids. He occasionally talks to boys at a school in Compton -- helps them with career tips, that kind of thing. They think he's the greatest."
"Sometimes we have a few of them over for a barbecue. Steven knows how to motivate. He makes them want to get an education and do well."
"Sounds like exactly what my little brother needs," Terri said, carefully removing Mary Lou's white, shimmering evening gown from its protective plastic covering.
"I'll arrange it," Mary Lou said, unhooking her bra and reaching for her dress.
"You're so slim," Terri said enviously, watching as Mary Lou navigated her way into the slinky gown.
"It's called hardly ever eating!" Mary Lou said ruefully. "In my job you have to be thin. I'd much sooner be pigging out on fried chicken and grits. But I figure one of these days -- way, way in the future -- that's what I'll do. Right now it's important I keep my figure.
"Look at me," Terri said with a helpless shrug. "I'm eighty pounds overweight."
"Make a goal," Mary Lou said. "Promise yourself you'll lose four pounds a month. Take it slow and easy, and in less than two years you'll be down to the weight you want."
Terri laughed at the thought. "I can't do that."
"Yes you can," Mary Lou said. "We can do anything we set our minds to."
"Gee, I wish that was true," Terri said wistfully.
"Do I look all right?" Mary Lou asked.
"Fine as silk," Terri said with a sigh, zipping the back of her dress.
"Thanks," Marv Lou said, quickly applying a thin coat of lip gloss. "Now, I promise I won't forget about your brother. I'll talk to Steven tonight."
"You're the best," Terri said.
"No I'm not," Mary Lou said. "It's just that I understand when someone needs guidance. One day I'll tell you how Steven and I first met. Boy! Did I need guidance then! Actually, it's quite a story."
"Tell me now," Terri pleaded.
"No time now," Mary Lou said, laughing. "Sit with me at lunch tomorrow and I'll reveal everything. Oh yes, and tomorrow you're starting your diet -- right?"
"If you say so."
There was a knock on the trailer door, followed by Lennie calling out, "You ready?"
"Just about," she said, quickly putting on her spike-heeled silver shoes as Terri opened the trailer door.
"Let's get going," Lennie said. "If I don't make it in time for her speech, Lucky will kill me." He took her arm and helped her down the steps.
"'Bye, Terri," Mary Lou said, waving.
"Don't you look something," Lennie remarked as they made their way to his car.
"Like my dress?" Mary Lou asked, doing a little twirl for him.
"Love it," he said. "But you'd better prepare yourself -- Steven'll have a heart attack when he sees you. He's too old to have a wife who looks like you."
"Great!" Mary Lou said, laughing. "Don't tell him that, he's already experiencing a midlife crisis."
"He thinks he's getting fat and boring."
"C'mon. Mister Handsome?"
Mary Lou giggled. "I told him he can turn into the fattest, most boring man in the world, and I'll still love him."
"What a woman!"
"He's the best."
"So are you."
"Thank you, Lennie. I appreciate that."
"Hey," Lennie said, as they trekked down the street. "I'm afraid it didn't occur to me to hire a limo for tonight. I prefer driving myself. But what with you looking so outrageous, I realize I should've gotten us a car."
"Don't be silly," Mary Lou said. "I'm happy as long as we get there. And the sooner the better." She smiled softly. "Y'know, it's so funny; Steven and I have been married almost nine years, yet when I'm away from him, even if it's only for a day, I still miss him."
"I know what you mean," Lennie said. "Sometimes I look around at all the miserable marriages in this town, y'know -- people playing musical beds and getting divorced -- and I think how happy I am with Lucky. She's my everything. Yes, I'm into working, but coming home to her at the end of the day makes it all worthwhile."
"That's how I feel," Mary Lou said, wide eyed. "We're exactly alike."
"Yeah, except you're a little bit younger than me," Lennie said.
"Just a tiny bit," she said, smiling.
Buddy caught up with them on their way to Lennie's car. "Baby, you look hot!" he said to Mary Lou, checking her out admiringly.
"Why, thank you, Buddy," she said, well aware of his respectful crush. "Coming from you that's a real compliment."
"What's that mean, 'coming from me'?" Buddy said, putting on the charm big time.
"Well," Mary Lou said, half smiling, "everyone knows you're the campus superstud."
"Yeah?" he said, preening. "I got myself a reputation, have I?"
"Let me see, Buddy," she said, pretending to think about it. "Since we've been making this movie I've observed at least three different girls visiting you on the set."
"My sisters," Buddy said, grinning.
She grinned back. "Your sisters, my ass!"
"And a fine ass it is too, if I may say so."
"C'mon," Lennie said, opening the passenger door of his Porsche and hustling Mary Lou inside. "You two can flirt tomorrow. Right now we gotta get going."
She settled into the front seat, fastened her seat belt, and gave a little wave to Buddy, who hovered by the car.
"Does your husband know how lucky he is?" Buddy said, as Lennie ran around and started the car.
"I hope so," she said, blowing him a kiss.
"Baby," Buddy sighed. "If you ever decide you want bigger and better, I am waiting!"
"There's no such thing as bigger and better than my Steven," Mary Lou said. "Sorry to disappoint you."
"Oh, baby, baby," Buddy said, shaking his head. "You are something else."
The Porsche took off. Mary Lou closed the window and grinned. "I hope he makes me look good on screen."
"Buddy's the best," Lennie said. "And considering he has a thing about you, you will look sensational."
"It's so much fun to be making a movie with you, Lennie," she said. "I never imagined we'd work together, and now it's even better than I thought it would be."
"Hey -- you're a pleasure to work with."
"Coming from you that's a big compliment."
"I'm bummed we had to run so late tonight," Lennie said, adjusting his rearview mirror. "D'you think Lucky will be pissed?"
"Lucky never gets pissed at you."
"Oh yeah?" he said, knowing his wife. "It's almost eight-thirty. By the time we get there it'll be past nine. Trust me -- tonight she will be pissed."
Copyright © 1999 by Chances, Inc.
The boy threw himself into the jeep, adrenaline coursing through his veins, vision blurred. The girl wasn't far behind, giggling insanely.
"How many didja get?" she asked, falling into the passenger seat.
"Four," he said, heart pumping wildly.
"Chicken," she said. "I got six. We'd better get outta here before they send a guard after us."
The boy didn't need to be told twice. He started the jeep, and they roared out of the parking lot, practically colliding with a blue Toyota driven by an elderly man who shook his fist at them.
The girl reached for a beer, cracked one open and handed it to him. He was already drunk, but who cared? He felt like he could do anything. He wasn't stuck in the house, he was out and free. Freedom was a good thing. Freedom ruled!
The girl knew how to enjoy herself, she always had. When they'd been small and growing up together, she'd always taken the initiative, showed him the way to go. Sometimes she'd even stood up for him.
"Let's see what you got," the girl said, fumbling in his pockets.
"Didn't know I was supposed to choose. Grabbed anything I could."
"Crap," the girl said, disgusted. "You're supposed to get stuff we want." She pulled a CD out of his pocket. "Céline Dion!" she exclaimed. "Who listens to her?"
"I told you," the boy said, embarrassed. "Wasn't looking."
"Dunce!" the girl said, reaching under her sweater and pulling out a CD of Ice-T. "Put this on."
He slipped the disk into the player, and throbbing, loud rap filled the jeep.
The girl began moving her body to the beat, then she reached in her pocket for a cigarette, lit up, took a drag, and handed it to him.
"Don't smoke," he mumbled.
"You're such a wuss," she muttered. "New York sure didn't wise you up."
"I smoked grass there," he boasted.
"Ooooh!" she said mockingly. "What a bad motherfucker you are. How about coke -- you ever done that?"
He shook his head. His dad was against drugs, having once been a major user of anything he could get his hands on.
"Wanna try?" she suggested. "I got some, y'know."
"Where'd you score coke?" he asked.
"Don't you worry 'bout that," she said with a sly smile. "I can score anything I want. I got friends in all the wrong places."
Copyright © 1999 by Chances, Inc.
"Where's that husband of yours?" Gino asked.
"I wish I knew," Lucky replied, tight lipped as she wondered the same thing herself.
"Has he left the location yet?" Venus asked, leaning into their conversation.
"Yes," Lucky said. "I called the production trailer. He and Mary Lou took off ten minutes ago."
"Where were they shooting?"
"Downtown. It'll take them at least half an hour to get here."
"Not the way Lennie drives," Steven interjected. "I hope Mary Lou remembers to buckle her seat belt."
"Are you accusing Lennie of being a bad driver?" Lucky sniffed.
"He's a road warrior," Steven said, sounding amused. "Thinks he's the only one out there."
"He's a defensive driver," Lucky explained. "And certainly better than you, Steven. You drive like an old lady, huddled over the wheel like it's gonna jump up and bite your ass!"
"Seriously," Lucky said. "What shall I do? My speech is already half an hour late, but I refuse to give it without Lennie being here."
"Why?" Steven asked.
"Because I can't, that's why."
"He must've heard it? Didn't you rehearse?"
"No. It's a surprise. Okay?"
"Well, maybe you could read it to him later. Y'know, like when you're in bed."
"Brilliant bad idea," she drawled sarcastically.
"Don't get uptight. Go tell the organizers to delay it."
"They're already on my case. My speech was supposed to be before dinner. After dinner there's entertainment."
"Why don't you tell 'em to serve dinner, and by the time it's finished, Lennie will be here, and you can make your speech."
"Oh, great!" Lucky said. "When everyone's stuffed and complacent, I get up."
"Hey, listen -- it's your problem, not mine. If I were you, I'd give it now."
"No, Steven. I'm going to wait, okay?"
"Whatever you want."
Right, she thought. The story of my life. I've always done whatever I want.
She was mad at Lennie. Oh sure, he was shooting a movie, but he was the director, so if he'd planned it right he could've wrapped early.
She got up and went to talk to the organizers, stopping at several tables along the way, greeting friends and acquaintances in the movie business. Oh yes, they were all nice to her now because she owned and ran a movie studio. But when she wasn't in the movie business, would it be true what they said? That in Hollywood, if you didn't have a hit, people crossed the street to avoid you?
Maybe, maybe not. She couldn't care less, because she'd always walked her own road. Lucky was not conventional in any way. Perhaps that was why she and Venus were such good friends.
The organizers threw a fit when she told them her plan. She stood firm. They finally agreed. Since she was the star of the evening, they had no choice.
Alex joined her as she made her way back to their table. "Husband running late, huh?" he said, taking her arm in a proprietary fashion.
"Hey -- nobody knows better than you what it's like when you're in production," she said coolly.
"True," he said. "But if it was me, and I knew it was your evening, I would've wrapped early."
Alex was voicing her thoughts, and it aggravated her. He had an uncanny way of tuning in to what she was thinking.
"How's your mother?" she asked, knowing exactly how to set his teeth on edge. Alex had an extremely domineering mother, the French-born Dominique, who up until the last few years had ruled his life with an iron fist, or at least tried to.
"Fine," he said noncommittally.
"Still interfering in your life?" Lucky asked.
"Y'know, you've got it wrong," Alex said calmly. "She gave that up a while ago."
"Hmm..." Lucky said disbelievingly. "One of these days you'll admit it. You know you're always trying to please her."
"I hardly ever see her anymore," he said.
"Have it your way," she said. "I've no desire to get into your personal business. And perhaps you'll do me the same favor."
"I like Lennie," he objected. "Just because he's acting like a rude jerk tonight, I don't hold it against him."
"He's not acting like a jerk," Lucky countered, furious at his criticism. "He'll be here any moment."
"Okay, okay. In the meantime allow me to escort you back to the table so you don't have to stop and talk to every asshole who grabs you."
"Thanks, Alex. I'm sure this will make the gossip columns very happy."
"What do you mean?"
"Lucky Santangelo Golden being escorted across the ballroom by bad-boy director Alex Woods."
Alex laughed. "Big fucking deal."
"Where's Pia?" Lucky inquired. "And where exactly did you come up with this one?"
"You seem to be under the impression that I only date bimbos and actresses," Alex said. "Well, let me tell you, this one's a very capable lawyer."
"She is?" Lucky said, trying to keep the amusement out of her voice.
"What's the matter with you?" Alex said irritably. "Don't you think an attractive woman can function as a lawyer?"
"Sure I do. And if this one's so smart, maybe she'll last longer than five minutes."
"You can be such a bitch."
"I can be a good friend too. Never forget that, Alex."
"There is something I'll never forget."
"What?" she said, before she could stop herself.
"Remember that one special night long ago and far away?"
"No, Alex, I do not remember it. We both promised we would forget it ever happened. And if you ever tell Lennie, I will personally slice your balls off with a blunt knife. Do you get the picture?"
"Yes, ma'am," he said, thinking that only Lucky could come up with such a descriptive phrase.
"It's not funny," she said sternly. "I am quite serious, so quit with the shit-eating grin and let's go back to the table, where I'll try to be nice to Mia or Pia, or whatever her name is."
"If I didn't know you better," Alex said, fixing her with a quizzical look, "I'd think you were jealous of all my girlfriends."
"I told you the problem, Alex. I've got to talk to them; you get to fuck 'em."
"Hey," he said, straight faced. "You think it's fun for me? One blow job and they expect me to return the compliment."
She shook her head. "You're absolutely incorrigible."
"Thanks," he said, with a big crocodile grin. "I love it when you talk dirty!"
Copyright © 1999 by Chances, Inc.
What People are saying about this
When she was 12 years old she remembers watching her father snatch a plate of food and threw it at her mother.
That incident changed Jackie Collins forever. The glamorous and successful author of 22 books says, "To me that was a pivotal event because it showed me the inequality between the sexes."
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