Drop Dead Beautiful

Drop Dead Beautiful

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by Jackie Collins
     
 

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The bestselling author of Lovers & Players returns with her 25th fabulous novel and her most beloved character...Get ready for the scandalously scintillating read only Jackie Collins can deliver! Lucky Santangelo is back with a vengeance--still every bit as strong, sexy, and seductive as ever! But Lucky is older and wiser, and hot to reclaim her powerSee more details below

Overview


The bestselling author of Lovers & Players returns with her 25th fabulous novel and her most beloved character...Get ready for the scandalously scintillating read only Jackie Collins can deliver! Lucky Santangelo is back with a vengeance--still every bit as strong, sexy, and seductive as ever! But Lucky is older and wiser, and hot to reclaim her power position in Las Vegas. However, a deadly enemy from her past has resurfaced--a person determined to take everything from her, including the family she holds so dear: two sons and an out-of-control teenage daughter who is just as outrageous as Lucky herself. Like mother, like daughter. And if that old saying holds true, it's going to be one wild ride.Internationally bestselling author Jackie Collins marks her twenty-fifth novel with "another page-turning tale packed with intrigue, revenge and romance," (Publishers Weekly on Lovers and Players). Aren't we lucky?!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

It's not easy being rich, gorgeous, successful and a happily married mom, but Mafia princess turned Hollywood producer and real estate mogul Lucky Santangelo, last seen in 1999's Dangerous Kiss, again proves up to the challenge. In Collins's latest vendetta romance, Lucky plans her father Gino's 95th birthday bash while building a Las Vegas megaresort, unaware that family foe Anthony Bonar (né Bonnatti) is plotting revenge. In turn, Anthony is unaware of wife Irma's sexual awakening in the arms of their Mexican gardener, who in turn is unaware of Irma's affair with a federal drug enforcement agent. Meanwhile Lucky's 16-year-old daughter, Max, tells her parents she's with friends when she's really headed to a rendezvous with a man she meets on the Internet. That date provides the novel's fast-paced action, while Irma provides the novel's best sex and violence. Less gripping subplots include the on-again off-again relationship between Lucky's business partner, Alex, and his jealous girlfriend, as well as the off-again on-again romance between Lucky's best friend, the diva Venus, and her star-stud boyfriend, Billy. Collins delivers Lucky's usual mix of celebrity fantasy and godfather justice while Max promises to grow up in future sequels as troublesome and triumphant as her glitzy mom. (June)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal
For her 25th novel, Collins brings back Lucky Santangelo, who must contend with a teenaged daughter as out of bounds as she is and an enemy determined to wipe out everything she's got. With a national tour. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Collins' 25th is a silver-anniversary sleaze-fest starring "Lady Boss" Lucky Santangelo in a supporting role. Somewhere around 40-plus (nobody knows how plus), Lucky stopped aging. Long married (by Tinseltown standards) to soul mate Lennie Golden, she's abandoned movie moguldom and reverted to her roots: ruling Vegas. Her mammoth resort/condo/casino, The Keys, is about to open. But Lucky is preoccupied with the 95th birthday bash she's hosting for her father, ex-mob boss Gino, at her Bel Air mansion. Elegant hand-delivered missives instructing Lucky to "Drop dead Beautiful" are mere annoyances compared to worries about her teenage daughter Maria, aka Max, who hasn't returned from a supposed outing with friends in time for Gino's party. Lucky's Vegas banker has also disappeared, after a blind date with drug lord Anthony Bonnatti, aka Bonar, grandson of mob matriarch Francesca Bonnatti. Francesca is after Anthony to blow up the Keys and win the long-running (six books so far) Santangelo-Bonnatti blood feud. Leaving the pyrotechnics and banker body disposal to the experts, Anthony must contend with two mistresses who feign orgasms (not that he cares) and whiny wife Irma, a virtual prisoner at his Mexico City villa. After bearing him two children, now spoiled teenagers running designer-shod over their nanny at Bonar's Miami digs, Irma is of no further use to Anthony. However, lately she's taken up with a handsome gardener-no feigning required. In a remote cabin, Max is shackled to a bed by a man she met online, Henry Whitfield-Simmons, heir to a fortune-if only his uncooperatively healthy 70ish mother would kick the bucket. Henry blames Lucky for destroying his acting chances when she hiredthen-unknown Billy Melina to star opposite arch-diva Venus, in an Oscar-magnet director's new flick. After her harrowing escape, Max is grounded forever, at least until the Keys opening, where the plot lines and characters converge in fireworks galore. Despite phoned-in thrills, a breathless hurtle to the "explainer" epilogue. First printing of 400,000

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429917209
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
06/26/2007
Series:
Lucky Santangelo Series
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
512
Sales rank:
43,936
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

Drop Dead Beautiful


By Jackie Collins

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2007 Chances, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-1720-9


CHAPTER 1

Drop Dead Beautiful. The three little words were scrawled on the Cartier card Lucky Santangelo had just opened. Hand-delivered, the note had been brought up to the house in Bel Air by Philippe, her houseman, who'd discovered it in the mailbox at the end of the driveway.

Drop Dead Beautiful. No signature, no return address.

Was it an invitation to an upcoming event too clever for its own good?

Whatever. One quick glance at the card, and Lucky tossed it in the trash.

Lucky Santangelo. A dangerously seductive woman with blacker-than-night eyes, full sensuous lips, a tangle of long jet-black hair, deep olive skin, and a lithe body. Wherever she went, Lucky still brought a room to a standstill, for not only was she wildly beautiful, she was also a powerhouse—a woman to be reckoned with, a force of nature. Street-smart and forever savvy—Lucky Santangelo had it all.

In her past, she'd built hotels in Vegas, owned a major movie studio, and been married three times. She'd also survived much heartache. Her mother, Maria, had been murdered when she was five years old. Her brother, Dario, was shot to death and tossed from a moving car. Then finally her fiancé, Marco, was gunned down in the parking lot of her Vegas hotel.

Eventually Lucky had found out that the man who'd ordered the brutal killings was her godfather, Enzio Bonnatti, a man she had always respected and trusted. The information devastated her. Filled with vengeance, she'd lured Enzio into a carefully planned trap at his home, and shot him dead with his own gun, claiming that he'd tried to rape her. It was deemed a clear-cut case of self-defense.

Self-defense. Sure. She'd made it look like Bonnatti had been about to rape her, and the D.A. had bought it all the way. No surprise there. Her father, Gino, had major connections.

The real truth was that she'd shot the son of a bitch because he'd deserved to die, and she'd never regretted doing so. Justice had taken place. Santangelo justice.

Don't fuck with a Santangelo—the family motto.

Grabbing her purse from a shelf in the luxurious dressing room, Lucky headed for the door. Everything was large and luxurious in Bel-Air—the privileged enclave of the very rich and famous. The house she and her husband, Lennie, were living in was a short-term rental. Recent storms had wreaked havoc on their home in Malibu and they'd been forced to leave while repairs were being made.

The beach was more her style. Bel-Air was too cut off from real life with its winding hillside streets and enormous mansions hidden behind vast gates and high walls of impenetrable greenery. People existed as if they were living under siege, surrounded by multiple security guards and vicious attack dogs. That way of living was not for her. She enjoyed feeling unprotected and free, which was one of the reasons she'd opted out of running Panther Studios several years earlier.

Being the head of a Hollywood studio was no nine-to-five job. She'd found herself working seventeen-hour days, leaving no time for family and friends. One morning she'd woken up and thought, That's it, I'm out. She'd had enough of dealing with ego-inflated stars, nervous-for-their-jobs executives, fast-talking agents, neurotic directors, fat-assed producers, and anyone else who thought they could make it in the movie business—which was most people in L.A.

So she'd quit running Panther, and after producing one movie, Seduction, starring Venus Maria, and her new discovery, Billy Melina, she'd sold the studio and gotten out of the film business altogether.

Lennie was in the movie industry. That was enough for one family.

Besides, Lucky had other plans. She was getting back into the hotel business in Vegas—the place where it had all begun for her. Several years ago she'd put together a syndicate of interesting and colorful investors to develop a huge multibillion-dollar complex called the Keys. She'd been working with architects and planners for the last five years, and in less than a month they were about to celebrate the grand opening. Since the hotel project was her baby, she was beyond excited.

"Mom!" Max burst into the dressing room without knocking. Max, her sixteen-year-old wild child. Tall and colt-like with smooth olive skin, green eyes, an unruly tangle of black curls, and a killer bod, Max was a showstopper. She was also a rebel, playing truant from school on a regular basis.

"Here's the thing," Max announced, bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet. "There's no way I can go to Grandpa's party."

"Excuse me?" Lucky questioned, attempting to remain calm.

"Y'see, there's this big blowout for one of Cookie's best friends up in Big Bear," Max blurted, speaking too fast. "A whole crowd of us wanna go, so like I can't let Cookie down."

"You can't, huh?" Lucky said coolly.

"Nope," Max answered, tugging on a stray curl. "Cookie's my best friend an' this is like essential."

"You are not missing Gino's birthday," Lucky said firmly. "No way."

Max stared balefully at her mom. "Huh?"

"You heard me," Lucky said, heading for the door.

"I can't believe you'd be this mean," Max complained, trailing behind her.

"Mean?" Lucky sighed. This was major déjà vu. It reminded her of all the times she and Gino had gone head to head, and there were too many to remember.

"Why do I have to stay for Gino's stupid party?" Max demanded. "It's not as if he'll miss me."

"Of course he'll miss you," Lucky insisted, hurrying down the stairs.

"He'll like so not," Max grumbled, right behind her.

Lucky turned around, shooting her daughter a warning look. "You're getting on my bad side, so stop it."

"But—"

"No, Max," Lucky said, walking out the front door. "I'm not interested, don't want to hear it."

And with those words she got into her red Ferrari and roared off down the driveway.

"Crap!" Max shrieked as her mother's car vanished into the distance.

"Whassup?" questioned her younger brother, Gino Junior, rounding the corner from the tennis court.

"Mom sucks!" Max complained, ignoring Gino Junior's two leering friends, both of whom she knew had a total crush on her.

"What she do now?" Gino asked. He was only fifteen, but he was already six feet tall and built like a football player.

"She won't let me get out of Grandpa's lame party. That's so pathetic."

Ignoring her, Gino Junior raced into the house, followed by his two friends, who couldn't take their eyes off her.

"Horny little pricks," she muttered under her breath. "Go jerk off someplace else. Like Siberia."


Lucky drove like a race car driver, skillfully weaving in and out of traffic. She turned the CD player on full volume—Usher blasting.

Lately Max's behavior was becoming quite a challenge. Everything seemed to turn into an argument. Lucky sighed. It wasn't easy being a parent, especially when in your head you were hardly any older than your own child.

A frosted and Botoxed blonde in a shiny new Mercedes cut in front of her, causing her to hit the brakes. "Shit, lady!" Lucky yelled. "Whyn't you learn to fuckin' drive?"

Not that anyone could hear her, but shouting at other drivers eased the tension, although if Lennie happened to be in the car, it made him crazy. "One of these days someone's gonna get out their car and shoot your ass," he was always warning her.

"Yeah, sure," she would reply. "I dare them to."

At which point Lennie would shake his head. In his eyes there was no taming Lucky Santangelo. She walked her own path, and that's exactly the way he liked her.

CHAPTER 2

Movie star Billy Melina was over six feet tall, tanned, with shaggy, bleached-by-the-sun hair, and a body straight out of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog. At twenty-eight Billy was in spectacular shape, with sharply defined abs that rippled as the star-struck young girl kneeling in front of him bobbed her head up and down, servicing him with sticky lips and a busy tongue.

"Suck it!" Billy commanded, pressing his hands down on top of her head. "Suck it, suck it hard!"

She was doing the best she could. What more did he expect?

"Aarghh ..." He let out a long, agonized groan. "That's it, sweet thing, that's it! I'm coming ... I'm coming."

The girl attempted to pull away.

"No! No!" Billy yelled, pressing down even harder on the back of her head. "Swallow it, suck it all down." He groaned again, then mumbled, "Go, baby. Go. That's it! Yeeeah!"

For a moment there was silence while the girl tried to decide if it was now okay to release his massive dick from the confines of her mouth.

He decided for her, pulling away with a sudden jerk, immediately stuffing himself back into his tight white Calvins and pulling up his jeans.

They were standing next to the pool in Billy's Hollywood Hills house—a house that the Realtor had assured him had once been rented by Charlie Sheen. A house that had cost him three million dollars, and who the fuck had ever thought he would be able to afford to buy such a house?

Certainly not his old man, Ed, who'd laughed in his face when Billy had informed him, eight years ago, that he was off to Hollywood to become a famous actor. Certainly not his alcoholic stepmother, Millie, whose parting words had been, "Good riddance, Billy boy. Doncha bother comin' back anytime soon."

He'd shown them, hadn't he? Oh yeah, he'd certainly shown them. He was Billy Melina. Hot-shot twenty-something movie star. Yeah—a freakin' movie star. He was on a very exclusive list of young actors who had the clout to open a movie. DiCaprio, Depp, Pitt—although Brad wasn't so young anymore. And then there was Billy Melina.

Yeah! Get off on that, old Ed and Millie pissface.

The girl, clad in denim cut-offs and a skimpy yellow tank, got off her knees and stood up. "Was that okay?" she asked matter-of-factly, as if she'd just served him an omelette.

"Sweet," he replied, wondering how fast he could get rid of her.

Earlier in the day he'd picked her up at Tower Records on Sunset. When the girl had spotted him, she'd sidled over and requested his autograph. He'd noticed her nipples, pushing to escape her barely-there tank top. Then he'd noticed her legs, long and tanned. Her face was pretty—nothing special, but he was feeling major horny, and since his call to the set was not until three that afternoon, he'd invited her up to his house for lunch and a fast blow job. Not that he'd actually mentioned that a blow job was part of the deal—but they'd both known what would happen.

Quivering with excitement, she'd jumped in her truck and followed his sleek Maserati up the winding streets to his house, barely keeping up in her beat-up old truck with a broken taillight—a truck similar to the one he'd driven to Hollywood eight years earlier with two hundred bucks in his pocket and no prospects.

"Hey," he suggested as they stood beside the pool. "How about I give you an autographed picture so you can tell your friends you met me?"

"That'd be cool," she said, acting shy—as if his cock hadn't been in her mouth minutes before.

"Wait here," he instructed sternly. "I'll be right back."

When Billy had first arrived in Hollywood, he'd called women "ma'am," and been full of respect and good manners. Stardom had gotten him over that particular hump, although he still had a chivalrous streak.

He darted into his house through sliding glass doors, feeling ever so slightly guilty on account of the fact that he had a girlfriend—a gorgeous, famous movie star thirteen years his senior—and if she ever found out that he wasn't exactly Joe-faithful, she'd be well and truly pissed. But hey, a blow job wasn't cheating—everyone knew that. Jeez—President Clinton had declared it wasn't sex on national TV. How could anyone argue with that?

Ramona, his Hispanic housekeeper, was singing to herself in the kitchen, quite oblivious to the goings-on out by the pool. Kev, his assistant/best friend from the old days, was on the loose somewhere, running errands or picking up girls. He'd certainly get off on this one.

Billy rifled through the stuff on the coffee table in his den and located a stack of glossy eight-by-tens mixed up with unopened bills, pornographic fan mail, a half-smoked joint, well-thumbed car magazines, and an empty candy box. He grabbed a pen, hurriedly scrawled his signature on the photo, and raced back outside, eager to get her off the premises.

The young girl had divested herself of her cut-offs and tank, and was swimming bare-assed naked in his pool.

Shit! What was he supposed to do now?

"Hey," he said, chewing on his thumbnail.

"Didn't think you'd mind," she responded nonchalantly.

Well, I do, he thought sourly.

"Uh ... okay," he said, still chewing. "But I gotta take off any minute, so you're gonna hafta haul your hot little ass outta there."

"How about you getting in?" she suggested, becoming bolder by the minute. "It's all warm an' wet, you won't be disappointed."

She flipped onto her back, floating in his azure pool, her small nipples erect and disturbingly tempting.

He contemplated this juicy prize, there for the taking. She had a flat stomach, a huge bush of wiry pubic hair—which he found quite sexy because shaved pussy was all the rage in Hollywood—and those long, sexy legs.

Familiar stirrings down below, even though only moments before he'd experienced an extremely satisfactory orgasm.

What the hell, he'd nail her in the pool, then hustle her out of there before she knew it.

After all, what Venus didn't know ...


"Where's Billy?" Alex Woods demanded of Maggie, his personal assistant, a tall woman of Native American descent with long black hair scraped back into a ponytail and strong, almost manly features.

They were standing next to a wooded area several miles outside of L.A. shooting Alex's current movie, Kill, a violent thriller.

Maggie sensed an outburst coming on. She was well aware that as a director Alex Woods was an Oscar-winning genius, and yet as a man he could be a nightmare. When things were not to his liking, everyone had to watch out—including her. She often wondered how his Asian lawyer girlfriend, Ling, put up with him.

"He's on his way," she assured him in a calm voice.

"What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" Alex snapped, rubbing his hands together. "His call was for three, and it's now three forty-five."

"I know," Maggie said, remaining calm.

"So get in touch with his driver and tell the asshole to put his foot down."

"Billy refused to use his driver," Maggie explained. "He insisted on driving himself."

"What kind of shit is that?" Alex screamed, suddenly losing it. "The insurance forbade it. D'you hear me, Maggie? They forbade that he drove himself to any of the locations. You know that."

"Yes, I do," Maggie responded in a quiet voice, because having worked with Alex for quite a few years, she also knew there was absolutely no point in provoking a screaming match.

"She knows!" Alex yelled, mimicking her. "She fucking knows, and yet she does nothing."

Maggie shrugged.

"Shit!" Alex screamed. "Goddamn actors. They should all go fuckin' Tom Cruise themselves out of the business."

"What does that mean?"

"Wait a few years," Alex said ominously, "you'll find out."

"No panic," Maggie said, relieved. "Here he comes now."

An Electra Glide fully restored Harley roared into sight, Billy Melina astride in all his glory, black-leathered up to the eyebrows.

Alex strode toward the young actor as Billy jumped off his bike. "You're fucking late!" he yelled.

"Traffic," Billy countered, his voice filled with the arrogance of an actor who knows there is no way he can get fired.

"Unprofessional," Alex growled.

"Not my fault, man," Billy said, casually removing his helmet.

"Of course not," Alex drawled sarcastically. "Why would it be your fault? Nothing's your fucking fault, is it?"

Maggie quickly attempted to defuse the situation. "Billy," she said. "Come with me. They're waiting for you in the makeup trailer."

"Hey, Mags," Billy said, turning on the charm. "You're lookin' hot. How's about you an' me— " "Move your punk ass," Alex interrupted.

"Sure, old man," Billy said, grinning.

Infuriated, Alex stomped off toward his crew busy setting up across the street. Old man indeed. There was nothing worse than some two-bit actor with a handful of box-office hits who considered himself the second coming of Steve McQueen.

Fuck all actors. And definitely fuck Billy Melina.

Alex had seen them come, and he'd seen them go. At fifty-something he was a veteran producer/writer/director who'd been through the Hollywood wars countless times. He knew all the games, all the shenanigans. He'd seen studio heads ousted at a moment's notice, and a staggering lack of honesty and loyalty. The only studio head Alex had enjoyed working with was Lucky Santangelo when she'd owned and run Panther Studios. They'd had a connection that was more than business, and although Alex had always gone for Asian women, there was something about Lucky that had immediately drawn him in.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Drop Dead Beautiful by Jackie Collins. Copyright © 2007 Chances, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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