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Cooper's sincere sophomore effort (after Six Days in January) revisits the hard luck life of William McCall, now a 40-year-old law clerk whose latest heartbreak occurs when he catches his girlfriend cheating on him the night he'd planned on proposing. The next day at work, he's accused of embezzling and is fired. Two pages later, he's sleeping in a homeless shelter and slinging a mop at a Times Square McDonald's. But then, while nursing his wounds one day on the Hoboken waterfront, he spies Linda "Lucky" Woodson, a 47-year-old social worker grooving down the pier and singing badly a Luther Vandross song. Linda has also been through the relationship wringer; she's just been dumped because she can't have children. (She had a hysterectomy at 22.) William and Linda hit it off, and as the pair begin restoring each other's faith in love, a cruel twist arrives in the form of a devastating diagnosis for Linda. William's unapologetic emotional vulnerability forms the book's refreshing heart, and through him Cooper conveys both an understanding of and a frustration with the games men and women play. Readers interested in uplift will look past the overheated prose and mawkishness. (Mar.)Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.