Goddess of Vengeance (Lucky Santangelo Series)

Goddess of Vengeance (Lucky Santangelo Series)

3.8 90
by Jackie Collins

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Jackie Collins’ fierce and wildly beautiful heroine Lucky Santangelo is back with a vengeance—in a novel full of power, passion, revenge, and the raging family dynamics of the Santangelo clan—and, as always, Lucky comes out on top.

Lucky runs a high profile casino and hotel complex, The Keys in Vegas.

Lennie, her movie

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Jackie Collins’ fierce and wildly beautiful heroine Lucky Santangelo is back with a vengeance—in a novel full of power, passion, revenge, and the raging family dynamics of the Santangelo clan—and, as always, Lucky comes out on top.

Lucky runs a high profile casino and hotel complex, The Keys in Vegas.

Lennie, her movie star husband, is still writing and directing successful independent movies, while Max, her stubborn and gorgeous teenage daughter is about to celebrate her 18th birthday, and her son, Bobby, owns a string of hot clubs. Lucky has everything. Family. Love. Life.

And everything is exactly what billionaire businessman Armand Jordan is determined to take from her one way or the other.

Born a Prince in the small but affluent Middle Eastern country of Akramshar, Armand comes to America with his American mother at an early age, and rises to become a real estate business titan. Armand regards women as nothing more than breeding mares or sexual playthings, so when his people inform him that the one property he covets more than anything, The Keys, is not for sale, he is shocked. That a mere woman would dare to turn down his offer to buy The Keys is unthinkable, and Armand vows to force Lucky’s hand whatever it takes. And so the battle for power begins . . .

Meanwhile Bobby is dealing with shady Russian investors, while his girlfriend—smart and independent Denver Jones—is becoming a Deputy D.A. in the L.A. drug unit.

And Max, Bobby’s seventeen year old sister, is busy embarking on a forbidden affair with a sexy young movie star. An affair they have to keep on the down-low lest Lucky finds out.

The word is that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” and what happens in Goddess of Vengeance will blow your mind!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The 73-year-old chick lit doyenne of raunchy romance presents No. 27 with a revival of her most popular character, Lucky Santangelo (whose debut in the 1981 blockbuster Chances made the prolific Brit author as popular as big-sister actress Joan). But as kick-ass as the now 50-something Lucky is—operating ancient patriarch Gino's Las Vegas hotel empire as it comes under siege from a menacing royal brat with pervy sexual proclivities and a nasty drug habit—the packed plot belongs to the next generation: Lucky's 17-year-old mini-me daughter, Max; hot-and-handsome oldest son, Bobby; and all the lovers and losers the spoiled duo cycle through with giddy abandon. There's never a doubt Collins's cast of strong women, and the guys who chose them, will ferret out true love and survive. But that's not entirely the point in this delicious, manic tale of rich people behaving badly, getting everything they deserve, and leaving enough loose ends to warrant an inevitable sequel. (Sept.)
New York Daily News

If anyone knows Hollywood, it's Jackie Collins...With Poor Little Bitch Girl the bestselling author proves she's still got it.
Cosmopolitan on Drop Dead Beautiful

Delicious! This one is perfect for the beach!
Entertainment Weekly on Drop Dead Beautiful

Another Jackie Collins novel, overflowing with glittery possibilities and dropping more Hollywood names than Ivy's maitre d'. And Beautiful may be the best novel starring Lucky Santangelo yet.
Glamour on Drop Dead Beautiful

Collins's classic can't-put-it-down style and feisty drop-dead glamorous characters transport us to a beyond-fabulous world. Yet with Jackie as our guide, we feel right at home.
New York Daily News on Drop Dead Beautiful

That goddess of vengeance, Lucky, strides again.
New York Post on Married Lovers

The fabulous Married Lovers has plenty of Hollywood women kicking ass with a trio of new heroes.
London Daily Express on Married Lovers

Sexier, steamier, and more scandalous than ever. Love and lust, where the good get what they deserve and the bad get their comeuppance.
NBC's "The Today Show" on Married Lovers

Nothing says summer like lathering on the sunblock, laying on a lounge chair, and pulling a very steamy novel from the queen of romance from your beach bag--Jackie Collins's latest romance, Married Lovers.
Heat Magazine on Married Lovers

A mood elevator comparable to anything her characters indulge in.
Library Journal
Lucky Santangelo owns the wildly successful casino-hotel complex The Keys, and billionaire businessman Armand Jordan wants it—even if it's not for sale. Collins has not faded away, and neither have her fans.
Kirkus Reviews

All plotlines lead to Vegas in this latest installment of Collins' saga of the irrepressible and seemingly immortal Lucky Santangelo.

Lucky is convening her family at The Keys, her lavish hotel/casino/condo empire in Las Vegas.The occasion is the 18th birthday of Max, her daughter with latest husband (and soul mate) Lennie.Son Bobby, wildly successful as a nightclub impresario and heir to the fortune of his late father, a Greek shipping magnate, frets about introducing his girlfriend Denver, a prosecuting attorney, to his family for the first time.The family reunion, however glitzy, is only a setup for Collins' trademark seamy subplots. The author excels at portraying villains her fans love to hate, and in this outing she does not disappoint.Billionaire ArmandJordan, son of King Emir of the fictitious Gulf state Akramshar, is not merely a misogynist but a rapist.Although he has a wife and family back in Akramshar, he prefers to hire elite call girls and debase them in the vilest ways possible.Armand's most recent obsession is his drive to possess Las Vegas' most opulent real estate:The Keys.Undeterred by Lucky's outraged refusal to sell, Armand goes to Vegas determined to change her mind, but his ex-showgirl mother Peggy, whom he detests, insists on tagging along.Before joining King Emir's harem, Peggy had an unforgettable one-night stand with Gino, Lucky's father, in his mafia kingpin days.Could Gino, now in his 90s, actually be Armand's father?Max eagerly sheds her virginity with movie star Billy Melina.Max and Billy may be star-crossed lovers, but will Lucky approve?Especially since Billy is embroiled in a messy divorce battle with Lucky's best friend? All of the thrills swirl around Lucky, now more matriarchal figurehead (albeit one still endowed with raven hair, silken skin and an unflagging libido) than major player.Still, when Lucky's precious Keys is threatened, her street-fighter instincts resurface, sparking the novel's over-the-top but enjoyable climax.

Unapologetic thrills with oodles of flash.

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St. Martin's Press
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Lucky Santangelo Series
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Goddess of Vengeance

By Jackie Collins

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2011 Chances, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-6223-0


It was early evening and the garden restaurant was only half full. The patrons were trying to play it cool, because after all, this was L.A. and stars abounded. However, most of them couldn't resist an occasional surreptitious glance over at Venus, the platinum-blond, world-famous superstar, as she picked at a chopped vegetable salad.

Sitting at the table with her was Lucky Santangelo, a dark-haired beauty who'd experienced her own share of controversial headlines and scandals over the years. Lucky, the former owner and head of Panther Studios, was a businesswoman supreme who currently owned the luxurious hotel, casino, and apartment complex The Keys in Las Vegas.

The two of them made a formidable couple. In Hollywood, where looks were everything, Venus and Lucky ruled. Venus with her in-your-face blondness, startling blue eyes, and toned and muscled shape. And Lucky—a dangerously seductive woman with blacker-than-night eyes, deep olive skin, sensuous full lips, a tangle of long jet hair, and a lithe body.

"I'm beginning to think you're a sex addict," Lucky said lightly, smiling at her close friend.

"Excuse me," Venus retorted, raising a perfectly arched and penciled eyebrow. "Last week you called me a cougar, and now I'm a sex addict. Seriously, Lucky?"

Pushing back her mane of unruly black curls, Lucky grinned. "Yeah. I'm so wrong," she drawled sarcastically. "It wasn't you who slept with your twenty-two-year-old costar last week, and it wasn't you who screwed your sixty-year-old director two days later."

"Oh please," Venus said, dismissively waving her hand in the air. "I'm getting a divorce. What do you expect me to do, join a convent?"

"That might be a touch extreme," Lucky said, smiling as she thought about Venus wreaking havoc in a convent. "But anyway, I'm sure you know what you're doing."

"You bet your fine ass I do," Venus answered vehemently. "Billy is all over the Internet and the magazines with that juvenile skank he's supposedly hooked up with. Just like Cooper before him." She paused for a long thoughtful moment. "Another cheating rat. I sure know how to pick 'em."

"You certainly do," Lucky agreed, thinking that Cooper Turner, Venus's husband before Billy Melina, was a whole different ball game. Cooper was a much older movie star with a Warren Beatty–style track record, and everyone had known that Cooper would eventually cheat. Billy—not so much. Even though Billy was thirteen years younger than Venus, he'd seemed thrilled to be with her. And why not? Like Madonna, Venus was a true original with legions of fans worldwide.

"I cannot believe Billy turned out to be such a loser," Venus said, determined to verbally trash her soon-to-be ex.

"Hardly a loser," Lucky couldn't help pointing out. "His current movie has grossed over a hundred million. Not too shabby."

"Yeah, yeah, rub it in," Venus snapped irritably. "Billy's career is on fire, but I can assure you that as a man he turned out to be a big waste of space." She narrowed her eyes. "And what's up with you today? Shouldn't you be agreeing with me, not regaling me with his box office?"

"Hey—don't say I didn't warn you about marrying a much younger man," Lucky responded.

"Billy isn't that much younger," Venus insisted. "Anyway, it's sure working for Demi and Ashton. Besides, I thought you liked him."

"I did," Lucky said carefully. "I mean I still do. Only, marrying a younger guy ... it's kind of a given that they're bound to cheat."

"Oh thanks!" Venus said, frowning. "When did you turn into Ms. Cynical and a Half?"

"Not cynical, merely practical."

"Says you," Venus snorted.

"You know I tell it like it is," Lucky said, picking up her wineglass and taking a sip.

"Oh yes, we all know that about you. Nothing's off-limits."

"I believe in the truth."

"And I guess it works for you."

Lucky regarded her brilliant friend, and wondered why any man who was fortunate enough to be with Venus would ever want to stray. Venus had it all—beauty, brains, and talent.

"Exactly why are you divorcing Billy?" she asked.

"'Cause he—"

"Cheated!" They finished the sentence together, then broke up laughing.

"Well," Venus said sagely, "it was fun while it lasted. Eighteen months together and six months married. Now I'm almost free again, and believe me, it's not such a bad thing. I enjoy being on my own. Living with Billy was like doing time in a frat house. It's such a pleasure that I don't have to pick up dirty socks and underwear from the floor, there are no endless midnight snacks everywhere, and I get full control of the remote."

"Surely you always had that."

"Actually, I didn't. You know me—when I wasn't working, I was busy playing wifey to the hilt, and you can see where it got me."

"Free to fuck your costar, and your director," Lucky pointed out. "Not so bad."

Venus gave a wicked smile. "I know. Shame we just finished shooting."

"You should fly to Vegas this weekend," Lucky suggested. "It'll take your mind off all things Billy."

"What's going on in Vegas—apart from your fantastic hotel?"

"A board meeting of all my investors. And since you were one of the first, it would be great if you showed your face. Everyone would really love it. And—even better—I've decided to throw an eighteenth birthday party for Max, although the brat is driving me crazy. She's still carrying on about moving to New York."

"I cannot believe that Max is about to be eighteen. Little Maria, all grown up."

"Tell me about it." Lucky sighed. "Time goes too fast."

"You do realize that now there's no way you can stop her from doing anything she wants?"

"Unfortunately, I understand that," Lucky said, nodding. "And if I know my Max, she'll take full advantage."

"Hey—you were married at sixteen," Venus said brightly. "So maybe she'll turn out to be street-smart like you."

"Married off you mean, by dear daddy Gino," Lucky said, shaking her head as if she still couldn't quite believe that Gino had forced her into a marriage she didn't want. "Can you imagine that Gino thought he was protecting me from my wild ways? What a joke that turned out to be!"

"How come you didn't fight it?"

"I was sixteen," Lucky said, remembering the overwhelming rush of helplessness and dread she'd felt on her wedding day. "I guess I considered myself powerless to say no."

"C'mon, Lucky, it didn't do you any harm," Venus said. "Just look at everything you've accomplished. You've built hotels, run a movie studio, had three kids, and you're married to Mister Amazing. Admit it, you're a goddamn superwoman!"

"No," Lucky answered after a thoughtful pause. "I'm a woman who took chances every inch of the way. I had to fight for my independence. Believe me, it wasn't easy."

"Right," Venus said. "And that's exactly why you and I understand each other so well. We both know that being a strong, successful woman in this town can be a lonely and difficult path."

"Agreed," Lucky said. "You gotta kick ass like a guy, and get called a bitch for your trouble."

"Ain't that the truth," Venus said, nodding vigorously.

"But you know something?" Lucky added. "I know who I am—and I wouldn't have it any other way."

"Me too!"

"I think we should drink to invincible women," Lucky said, raising her glass.

"You got it, sister," Venus murmured.

They clinked glasses and smiled at each other.

"I've been meaning to ask you," Lucky said. "Who's getting the apartment at The Keys, you or Billy?"

"Me, of course," Venus answered firmly. "I've already told my lawyer there's no way I'm giving it up. It's mine. Billy can go piss in the wind to get his hands on that piece of real estate."

"Glad to hear it. In this world you gotta claim what's yours."

"Hell, yes. The apartment is in your hotel, and you're my friend, so screw Billy."

"Right on!" Lucky said, nodding her agreement.

After coffee and more conversation—mostly about what an asshole Billy was—Lucky signaled for the check.

A young waiter who'd been watching them all night edged toward their table and presented it to her. Lucky threw down her black American Express card.

"I guess that means it's your turn," Venus said, removing a small gold compact from her oversized Chanel tote and inspecting her flawless image. She knew there'd be a pack of paparazzi waiting for her exit, and there was nothing they liked better than catching a celebrity looking like crap. She wasn't about to give them that pleasure.

The waiter hovered and cleared his throat. Although he was nervous, he saw an opportunity and he was seizing it—even if it meant getting fired should the manager catch him bothering a guest.

"Excuse me, Miz uh ... Venus?" he ventured, stammering slightly. "I've, uh, written a script that is so right for you. I was, uh, hoping you might find time to read it."

Venus threw him a look—the famous cool-as-an-iced-martini look—her blue eyes raking him over.

Oh no, Lucky thought. Here we go. The diva is on the loose.

Venus didn't disappoint. "Do I look like an agent?" she purred. "Really?"

The waiter blanched, quickly picked up Lucky's credit card and the check, and slunk off.

"Poor guy," Lucky said sympathetically. "He was merely taking a shot."

"Well, let him take a shot elsewhere," Venus said grandly. "I can't stand being harassed when I'm trying to relax."

"Oh my God—you can be such a queen bitch!" Lucky admonished. "Wouldn't want to get on your wrong side."

"So be it," Venus said with a wry smile. "Shall we go?"

* * *

Seventeen-year-old Max Santangelo Golden could somehow or other wrangle her way into any club she wanted. Fake ID? No problem. Lavish tips to the doormen? No problem. Cultivating a friendship with one of the promoters? No problem.

"When it comes to getting in anywhere, I rule!" Max often boasted.

Her two closest friends, Cookie, the chocolate-skinned daughter of soul icon Gerald M., and Harry, the gay son of a TV network honcho, agreed with her. Ace, her on-again, off-again boyfriend, was not so pleased. The L.A. club scene failed to enthrall him. He wasn't into drinking, drugging, and spotting out-of-control celebrities. But Max loved every minute. Not that she drank much or did drugs, but she did get off on people-watching and dancing on tables. Music was her special thrill—especially rap and unknown British groups with wasted-looking lead singers. Oh yes, she was totally into lean and mean. Ace was way hot and sexy, but sometimes Max considered him too nice a dude, and she often craved a more edgy relationship. Besides, Ace didn't live in L.A., so he wasn't always around when she wanted to do something with him.

"Where're we goin' tonight?" Cookie asked as she sat cross-legged on her messy bed, picking at her green nail polish.

"There's a rave for some old rock group at the House of Blues," Harry said, speaking up. "S'pose we could crash if you're up for it."

Harry was the palest boy known to man, pallid-faced and skinny, with gelled and spiked hair dyed a ruthless black. It was only recently that he'd emerged from the closet, although Max and Cookie had always known and totally accepted that he was gay. He had yet to come out to his controlling father, who would probably disown him.

"No can stand the House of Blues," Max opined, her brilliant green eyes flashing disapproval. "It's always full of major wannabes. Besides, we'll never make it into the Foundation Room."

"Why not?" Cookie inquired, leaning over and reaching for a can of 7-UP balanced precariously on the edge of a table.

"Yeah, why not?" Harry repeated. "Thought you could get in anywhere."

"Anywhere I want to," Max answered pointedly, tossing back clouds of wavy black hair. "Who needs the freaking Foundation Room? It's always full of ancient rockers gulping down handfuls of Viagra. So not cool."

Cookie let forth a manic giggle. "I bet my dad takes Viagra," she said, swigging 7-UP from the can. "Bet he pops those little blue pills by the dozen."

"All old guys do," Harry said with a knowing smirk. "They can't get it up without 'em."

"Gross-out!" Cookie squealed. "Don't wanna think of my dad with a boner!"

Max decided that sometimes Cookie and Harry could be too much of a good thing. The three of them had grown up together, attended the same school, and shared some interesting, sometimes frightening, experiences, but in a way she felt she'd outgrown them. As soon as she was eighteen, she planned on making a break for New York and freedom. Not that her parents weren't great, but the two of them were a lot to live up to. Lucky, who'd achieved absolutely everything she'd ever wanted. And Lennie, a multitalented writer/director who helmed all his own independent movies. Max was tired of being referred to as their daughter. Fed up with the pressure it put on her to do something spectacular with her life.

Her big brother, Bobby, was her role model. Bobby had escaped and made his own way. He was definitely her inspiration—she adored him. Although now he had a permanent girlfriend, Denver Jones, and as much as she reluctantly admired Denver, a Deputy DA, she missed having Bobby all to herself when he was in L.A.

"Got it," Max said at last. "Whyn't we hit the Chateau for dinner? There's always something going on there."

"'S long as I don't bump into my old man," Cookie said, wrinkling her nose. "He's got himself another dumbass girlfriend, an' I think she stays at the Chateau when she's in town."

"What's the deal with this one?" Max asked.

"English, complete with uptight accent and a bug up her ever-so-tight British ass," Cookie said, making a disgusted face. "She thinks she's like the second coming of Keira Knightley. As if."

"Your old man sure covers the waterfront," Harry remarked, pulling up the collar of his long, Goth-like coat.

"Tell me about it," Cookie said with a weary sigh. "I've had more almost-stepmoms than you've had filthy thoughts about Chace Crawford!"

"Okay, okay," Max said, interrupting them. She was into making fast decisions, not screwing around and vacillating about what to do. "We could check out a new club that opened a couple of weeks ago. River. I'm sure we can get in."

"Let's do it," Cookie said, fiddling with the chocolate-brown dreadlocks that framed her exceptionally pretty face.

"D'you think Chace Crawford'll be there?" Harry asked hopefully.

Max threw him a look. "Calm down," she said. "Surely you know Chace Crawford is so into girls."

"That's what they all say," Harry muttered. "But I know better."

* * *

"Lucky has invited us to Vegas next weekend," Bobby Santangelo Stanislopoulos said, stretching his six-foot-three frame on Denver Jones's shabby-chic couch. "She's planning a party for my sister Max's eighteenth birthday, one of her big family events."

Denver regarded her boyfriend of several months with slight trepidation. Oh, man, the longish black hair, dark eyes, Greek nose, and strong jawline got her every time. If only he weren't so damn handsome. If only she hadn't harbored a crush on him since high school. If only he weren't such a fantastic lover, with all the right moves.

"Your mom intimidates me," she said at last, stroking the belly of her dog, Amy Winehouse, who lay on her back making happy sounds. Amy was a mixed breed that Denver and her ex, Josh, had found wandering on Venice Beach. They'd named the dog Amy Winehouse because of her low, throaty growl. Plus, the fabulous Miz Winehouse was one of Denver's favorite singers.

Bobby laughed. He had a fantastic laugh. Naturally. "C'mon," he chided. "I'm sure Lucky thinks you're the greatest thing that ever happened to me."

Denver raised an eyebrow. "'Thing'?" she said coolly.

"Y'know what I mean."


Excerpted from Goddess of Vengeance by Jackie Collins. Copyright © 2011 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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