Love. Beauty. Success. Lucky has everything her name implies. And as the force behind a high- profile casino and hotel complex, The Keys in Vegas, Lucky has exactly what billionaire businessman Armand Jordan is determined to take from her—and he’s not afraid to play dirty.
Born a prince in a small but affluent Middle Eastern country, Armand came to America at an early age and grew up to become a real estate titan. Convinced that no woman would have the courage to stand up to him in business, he is shocked to learn that Lucky would dare to turn down his offer to buy The Keys. And so the battle for power begins…
Meantime, Lucky’s club-owner son Bobby is dealing with shady Russian investors. Max, her teenage daughter, is busy embarking on an affair with a sexy young movie star—and doing everything she can to keep it a secret from her mother. It’s business as usual for the Santangelo clan... But this time, it just might take more than Lady Luck for them all to come out on top.
Jackie Collins’ fierce and wildly beautiful heroine Lucky Santangelo is back in Goddess of Vengeance—a novel full of power, passion, revenge, and the raging family dynamics of the Santangelo clan.
About the Author
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 the 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 over 400 million copies of her books sold in more than forty countries, and with some twenty-six 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 unrivalled 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."
Hometown:Los Angeles, California
Date of Birth:October 4, 1941
Place of Birth:London, England
Read an Excerpt
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.
“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.”
“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.”
“The problem is,” Denver said, desperately searching for a suitable excuse, “I’m moving over to the drug unit next week, so there’s a ton of stuff I feel I should research.”
“You’ll bring your laptop; that way you can do all the research you want. It’s a forty-eight-hour trip, sweetheart. I’m calling for the plane.”
She hated it when Bobby said things like “I’m calling for the plane.” It was so elitist, so exactly who she wasn’t. Some girls might get off on all the luxury, but private planes, lavish parties, and hanging with Bobby’s illustrious family was not for her. Plus, she wasn’t that fond of Vegas, and she hadn’t told Bobby, but she hated spending time at his ultra-happening club, Mood. She especially hated the way women fawned all over him and flirted outrageously, ignoring her as if she didn’t even exist.
The truth was, she loved Bobby. But she didn’t love the trappings that came with him.
Bobby stretched again and yawned. “Whaddya say?”
“I say I’ll think about it.”
“Sounds good,” he said, reaching up to pull her down on the couch beside him.
She acquiesced. It was early evening and they had no plans, so what was wrong with relaxing for the moment?
They’d been seeing each other on and off for the past three months. The on was when Bobby was in L.A. The off was when he had to spend time at his two clubs: Mood in Vegas, and Mood in New York. The on was the best of times. The off was missing him and wondering what he was doing, and trying to have some decent phone sex, which left them both in a hysterical state of laughter.
Neither of them had uttered the L word. Although they had conducted the talk about being exclusive.
Both of them were wary about getting too involved. Secretly they couldn’t wait. But playing it semicool seemed to be the name of the game they were currently into.
Bobby began stroking her hair. Denver felt good about her hair; it was long and thick, chestnut brown with natural golden highlights. She knew that her hair was one of her best features, along with her widely spaced hazel eyes and full lips. If she lived in any other big city, she’d be considered a ten. In L.A. she felt she barely made it as a seven.
She was wrong.
Bobby’s hands moved down to her breasts, and with a quick move under her T-shirt, he released her bra and began playing with her nipples. Oh yes, unusual for a woman in L.A., her breasts were actually real.
Sighing with anticipation, she leaned into him. It made no difference that they’d already made love in the morning. Desire was desire, and they were both in the mood.
Sometimes she couldn’t help wondering how long it would last. Her previous serious boyfriend, Josh, had been a pretty decent lover for the first six months of their three-year relationship, then after that it was a total slump.
“What’re you thinking?” Bobby whispered in her ear, giving her a little tongue action at the same time.
“That’s such a girly question,” she murmured, fiddling with the zipper on his jeans.
“You calling me a girl?” he asked, mock serious.
“You do have some female tendencies,” she teased.
“Like what?” he responded, challenging her to come up with something.
“Oh,” she said vaguely, dragging his jeans down, delighted to find that he wasn’t wearing underwear. “You have soft lips…”
“All the better to kiss you with.” And with one swift movement, he flipped her so she was trapped beneath him. “Soft lips and a hard cock,” he joked. “How female is that?”
“Bobby!” she exclaimed.
Then the banter stopped and the passion began. He had a way of making love to her that forced her to lose every inhibition she’d ever possessed. One moment he was slowly caressing her, the next he was all hard-driving action. The combination drove her nuts. She wanted more and more and more …
When it was over, they were spent, wrapped up in each other’s arms, sleepy and content.
Denver often wished that those precious times would last forever. Just the two of them. No outside world to interfere.
But the outside world was a big presence, and they both lived in it. Tomorrow Bobby was driving to Vegas before flying to New York for a few meetings. And she had her job, which right now was especially exciting and challenging since she was transferring to the drug unit. Once more they would be separated.
The good news was that she loved her job. It was grueling work, but the end results were incredibly rewarding. She was so glad she’d changed tracks. From working at a high-powered law firm as a defense attorney, she’d scored a job as a Deputy DA, prosecuting people, and she was thrilled with the switch. Why defend the probably guilty (one of her high-profile cases was a movie star who’d arranged his wife’s murder, then walked; he was the catalyst for her change of plan) when she could be doing meaningful work—such as putting the bad guys behind bars? How rewarding to go after the dregs who distributed drugs and got kids hooked at an early age. Talk about job satisfaction!
“Hey,” Bobby said, “wanna catch a movie and grab a pizza?”
Yes, that’s exactly what she wanted to do. Normal activities with her man.
If only things could stay that way.
Copyright © 2011 by Chances, Inc.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have read all Jackie Collin's books and they have been great. I can't wait to read her next one!
I couldnt put this book down. I read it in two days!!! It was everything that I expected from Jackie Collins. I cant waitvforcthe next book.
This was a great read - I love Jackie and all her books. No book will ever be as good as Chances - Gino is my favorite :)
I love jackie collins books, and i would say this was great just like all her other ones!
I am completely in love with jackie's books. I have read everyone. It has everything you need in fiction to keep anyone happy. Murder, mystery, scandal, family drama, lust, love, mob, hate, revenge.....etc etc. I hate when the book comes to an end. Well jackie keep-em coming!!!! Did i forget hollywood too, she gives so many details u can figure out just what celeb shes talking about!!!!
Always writes a good story
Can not wait, her books are awesome
Love Jackie Collin's series. Can't wait for the next book.
Goddess of Vengeance is as raunchy as I expected, plus so much more. I had forgotten how wild Jackie Collins novels can be, it had been a long time since I had read one. However, this was quite different as I got to listen to it instead. My first audiobook experience with Jackie Collins was quite surprising, as this was also my first time in actually hearing her voice. Although, I did find Jackie's voice to sound exactly as I imagined. Sydney Poitier sounds so soulful with his deep voice, and together with their cast of characters, they did a great job on this audiobook. Another first for me was reading about Lucky Santangelo, since the series can be read out of order, I didn't feel as if I missed anything by not reading Jackie's prequel to this book. I found the complete cast of characters to sound pretty realistic. In Goddess of Vengeance Lucky has her hands full, when Armand the billionaire prince shows up in Vegas, with intentions of buying her hotel and casino, The Keys, although she's not selling. Meanwhile her spoiled daughter Max, and her mixed bag of friends are up to no good, and unknown to her mother, Max decides to throw herself a bash, for her Eighteenth birthday. Later Max ends up involved with a man a decade older than her, and she also knows he is one of her mother's friends ex's. While Max lustfully dwells on her relationship with this guy, her brother Bobby has problems of his own trying to run his chain of night clubs, yet still maintain his relationship with his down to earth girlfriend, Denver. Denver is constantly plagued with doubts in regards to her relationship with Bobby, who at times seems to far out of her league. This book is full of non-stop naughty, erotic and lustful action that kept me wondering what would happen next. If you are looking for a book that will take you away from your reality for awhile,(that is unless your reality is like this book, than that would be a bad idea) Goddess of Vengeance will do just that, plus more. As this cast of characters can easily be envisioned, as you listen to each CD. I found myself taking guesses at who some of these characters Jackie portrays in her novel, could actually be in real life, many times throughout the audiobook. Jackie's style of writing makes it pretty easy at times to figure out who some may be, without pointing fingers. I loved listening to Jackie's voice and that of Venus, Lucky's friend, throughout the audiobook. Their voices are so unique, and lets not forget about the voice of Mr Poitier. The only problem I had with this audiobook was trying to distinguish between the voices of Max, Denver and some of the younger female characters. Mostly due to them sounding similar, when they spoke to each other. Maybe Collins should take this into consideration when chosing her voice-overs, by making sure voices are not similar to each other in tone, as this would improve her audiobooks.
If you enjoy lots of perverted sex, too many characters and too many subplots, this book is for you. Jackie Collins, purported writer of romances based on actual Hollywood characters, has included lots of the above in this story of Lucky Santangelo. The only good thing I can say about this book is that her main character, Lucky, upon whom she has based a series of books, is a strong female character. So, if you are a Collins fan, go for it. Otherwise, don’t spend money purchasing this book.
I enjoyed the book. Though I am a fan of Jackie Collins' writing style, I didn't like this one as much as some of her others.
Jackie needs to make more.
Another great book from Ms. Collins!