From the very beginning they were destined to be a lethal combination --
Lucky Santangelo and Lennie Golden. Two stubborn, crazy, smart people.
Lennie was tall and lanky, with dirty-blond hair and ocean-green eyes. He was
good-looking in an edgy, offhand way. Women loved his looks. At thirty-seven,
he'd finally made it as a movie star. He was the new breed -- a comedian of the
Eddie Murphy/Chevy Chase school. Cynical and funny, his films made big bucks --
the bottom line in Hollywood.
Lucky Santangelo Richmond Stanislopoulos Golden was the thrice married daughter
of the notorious Gino Santangelo. In her early thirties, she was darkly,
exotically beautiful, with a tangle of wild jet curls, dangerous, black eyes,
smooth, olive skin, a full sensual mouth, and a slim body. She was a fiercely
independent, strong-willed woman who never compromised and always took
Together they generated blazing heat. They'd been married for nearly a year,
and both looked forward to their wedding anniversary in September with a
mixture of delight and amazement. Delight, because they loved each other very
much. Amazement, because who'd ever thought it would last?
Currently Lennie was in Los Angeles shooting Macho Man for Panther
Studios. The film was a comedy takeoff on all the Hollywood superheroes --
Eastwood, Stallone, and Schwarzenegger.
They'd rented a beach house in Malibu, but while Lennie was filming, Lucky
chose to stay in New York where she headed a billion-dollar shipping
company -- left to her by her second husband, Dimitri Stanislopoulos. She also had
wanted Bobby, her six-and-a-half-year-old son by Dimitri, to be educated in
England, and being in New York meant she was closer to his English school.
On most weekends she either visited Bobby in London or Lennie in Los Angeles.
"My life is one long plane ride," she joked ruefully to friends. But everyone
knew Lucky thrived on activity, and to sit by Lennie's side playing movie
star's wife would have bored her. As it was, they had a volatile and passionate
Macho Man was causing Lennie nothing but problems. Every night he called
Lucky with a litany of complaints. She listened patiently while he told her the
producer was a jerk; the director was a has-been lush; his leading lady was
sharing her bed with the producer; and Panther Studios was run by money-mad
grafters. He wanted out.
Lucky listened, smiling to herself. She was working on a deal that -- if all
went according to plan-would free him from the restrictions of answering to a
director he didn't respect, a producer he loathed, and a studio run by people
he never planned to do business with again-even though he'd foolishly, against
her advice, signed a three picture contract with Panther.
"I'm about ready to walk," he threatened for the hundredth time.
"Don't," she said, attempting to soothe him.
"I can't make it with these assholes," he groaned.
"Those assholes can sue you for a fortune. And stop you working
elsewhere," she added, the perfect voice of reason.
"Fuck 'em!" he replied recklessly.
"Don't do anything until I get out there," she warned. "Promise me that."
"When, for crissakes? I'm beginning to feel like a virgin."
A throaty chuckle. "Hmm. . . I didn't know you had that good a memory!"
"Hurry it up, Lucky. I really miss you.
"Maybe I'll be there sooner than you think," she said mysteriously.
"I'm sure you'll recognize me," he said dryly. "I'm the guy with the permanent
"Very funny." Still smiling, she replaced the receiver.
Lennie Golden would be shocked and delighted when he found out her surprise.
And when he did, she planned to be right there next to him, ready to enjoy the
expression on his face.
Once he put the phone down, Lennie felt restless. His wife was the most
exciting woman in the world, but damn it -- she pissed him off. Why couldn't she
say, "Lennie, if things are tough I'll be right there." Why couldn't she forget
everything else and be with him?
Lucky Santangelo. Drop dead gorgeous. Strong. Determined. Enormously rich. And
Lucky Santangelo. His wife.
Sometimes it all seemed like a fantasy -- their marriage, his career,
everything. Six years ago he'd been just another comedian looking to score a
gig, a few bucks, anything going.
Lennie Golden. Son of crusty old Jack Golden, a stand-up Vegas hack, and the
unstoppable Alice. Or "Alice the Swizzle" as his mother was known in her heyday
as a now-you-see-'em, now-you-don't Las Vegas stripper. He'd split for New York
when he was seventeen and made it all the way without any help from his
His father was long dead, but Alice was still around. Sixty-five years old and
frisky as an overbleached starlet, Alice Golden was caught in a time warp.
She'd never come to terms with getting older, and the only reason she
acknowledged Lennie as her son was because of his fame. "I was a child bride,"
she'd simper to anyone who'd listen, batting her fake lashes and curling her
overpainted lips in a lascivious leer. "I gave birth to Lennie when I was
Lennie had bought her a small house in Sherman Oaks. She wasn't thrilled at
being shunted out to the Valley, but what could she do? Alice Golden lived with
the dream that one day she'd be a star herself, and then, as far as she was
concerned, they could all watch out.
"You're wanted on the set, Mr. Golden," said Cristi, the second assistant,
appearing at the door of his trailer.
Cristi was a California natural blonde with an earnest expression and
extra-long legs encased in patched dungarees. Lennie knew she was a natural
blonde because Joey Firello, his friend and cohort in Macho Man had been
there, and when it came to women, Joey had a notoriously big mouth -- not to
mention a notoriously big dick, which he'd affectionately christened Joey
Lennie, however, wasn't even interested. Since Lucky had entered his life he
couldn't be bothered to look, and he really didn't appreciate Joey's giving him
a rundown of the sexual habits of every female on the set. "You're just
jealous, man," Joey had laughed when he'd complained. "Out of action an'
gettin' no action, huh?"
Lennie had merely shaken his head and given Joey a "Why don't you grow up?"
expression. Once he'd been a serious cocksman. "If it's blond and it moves,
nail it" had been his motto. For years he'd explored every possibility,
managing to avoid any lasting commitments.
Along the way there'd been a few women who'd left their mark. Eden Antonio, for
Ah, Eden, he thought ruefully. She was something else, a real operator.
Poor Eden. In spite of all her dreams she'd ended up living with a vicious
mobster who had used her in a series of porno movies. Not exactly the future
she'd planned for herself.
And then there was Olympia. He'd married the plump, spoiled shipping heiress
because he'd felt sorry for her. Unfortunately, even he was unable to save her
from her self-destructive excesses. Eventually she and spaced-out rock star
Flash overdosed in a sleazy New York hotel, and Lennie was a free man.
Now he had Lucky, and life didn't get any better.
Grabbing a pack of cigarettes from the dresser, he said, "O.K., Cristi, I'm on
The girl nodded thankfully, earnest expression firmly in place.
Marisa puckered up luscious swollen lips and blew him a kiss. She'd been after
him from their first meeting. He'd managed to remain totally uninterested. Even
if he didn't have Lucky, he'd never been turned on by silicone.
"Hi, Lennie, cookie," she crooned, erect nipples straining in his direction.
Shit! he thought. Another fun day at the studio.
Lucky hurried from the tall chrome-and-glass Park Avenue building that still
bore the Stanislopoulos name. She had no desire to change it. One day
everything would belong to her son, Bobby, and Dimitri's granddaughter,
Brigette, so the name stayed.
Lucky was extremely fond of Brigette. The sixteen-year-old reminded her of
Olympia, the girl's mother, at the same age. Olympia and Lucky had once been
close friends. But that was long ago and far away, and a lot had happened since
their out-of-control teenage years when they'd attended boarding school in
Switzerland and ended up getting expelled.
Olympia's young death had been a senseless tragedy. Its only positive aspect
had been the release of Lennie from a lifetime of burdensome
Occasionally she'd felt guilty that everything had worked out so well. But what
the hell -- that was life. Hers hadn't exactly been a day at the beach. At the age
of five she'd discovered her mother's body floating in the family swimming
pool. Then, years later, Marco, her first love, was gunned down in the parking
lot of the Magiriano Hotel. Shortly after, Dario, her brother, was shot to
death. Three tragic murders.
Lucky had taken her revenge. She was a Santangelo after all. Don't fuck with
a Santangelo -- the family motto.
As soon as she walked out of the building she spotted Boogie lounging against
the side of a dark green Mercedes. When he saw his boss striding purposefully
toward him, he leaped to attention, quickly throwing open the passenger
Boogie was her driver, bodyguard, and friend. They'd been together many years
and his loyalty was unquestioning. He was long-haired, tall, and skinny, with
an uncanny ability to be there always when she needed him. Boogie knew her
better than almost anyone.
"The airport," she said, sliding onto the front seat.
"Are we in a hurry?" he asked.
Lucky's black eyes flickered with amusement. "We're always in a hurry,"
she replied. "Isn't that what life's all about?"
Copyright © 1990 Jackie Collins