The Santangelos

By: Jackie Collins

PROLOGUE





The king of Akramshar—a small but wealthy Middle Eastern country located between Syria and Lebanon—ruled his oil-rich country with an iron fist. And although King Emir Amin Mohamed Jordan embraced many old-fashioned values and traditions, he also implemented his own rules, and they were harsh.

The king had countless wives and more than thirty children. In his mind, they were all useless. Women were good for only two things: giving birth and being at his sexual beck and call. As for his offspring—some of them grown men—they were all disappointments. The only son who’d given him any pleasure at all was his dear departed son Armand, a worthy successor to the king’s coveted crown. And Armand was gone. Murdered by the American infidels. A bullet to the head in a degenerate American city called Las Vegas.

The king’s fury was boundless. How could this have happened? And why?

King Emir had given Armand a royal funeral fit for his favorite son. His people had lined the streets, heads bowed, showing their respect as they should. Several of his many sons carried the solid gold casket on their shoulders. Peggy, Armand’s American mother; his widow, Soraya; and Armand’s four children walked solemnly behind. The women, including Peggy, wore traditional robes covering their entire bodies. The king rode on a white stallion, resplendent in a gold-trimmed uniform, waving to his people.

King Emir was a man who believed in revenge. And who exactly was to blame for the unfortunate demise of his favorite son, shot to death like a dog?

King Emir had his own ideas. Armand had been trying to buy the very hotel he was murdered in—the Keys—a hotel owned by a woman. That a woman could actually own a hotel was ridiculous, but even more ridiculous—according to Peggy—the woman had refused to sell her property to Armand, and on top of that she had insulted him to his face, and the king had no doubt that it was she who had arranged for Armand’s brutal murder.

King Emir simmered with fury, while dark thoughts of revenge filled his head. Justice had to be done.

But how?

Kill the woman? Take her life exactly as she had taken Armand’s?

No. That was not punishment enough. The woman had to suffer, and her family had to suffer.

This was a given.

For almost a year, King Emir had been busy putting plans in place—for his rage would rain down on the offensive American mongrels. And they too would feel the pain of a terrible loss.

The woman’s name was Lucky Santangelo.





BOOK ONE





CHAPTER ONE

LUCKY

The Keys was Lucky Santangelo Golden’s dream hotel, but sometimes one can dream bigger, and Lucky had decided that she should create something even more special. She was at a place in her life where she felt ready for a new challenge. Everything was running smoothly; her kids were all doing well. Bobby, with his chain of successful clubs. Max, busy making a name for herself in London as an up-and-coming model. Young Gino Junior and Leo (Lennie’s son, whom she’d adopted) were ensconced in summer camp, while her father, Gino, was happily living out his days in Palm Springs with his fourth wife, Paige.

So Lucky had decided it was time to shake things up, and she’d come up with the idea of building a hotel/casino/apartment complex plus a movie studio. This was something nobody had done before. Why not? It was a brilliant idea.

When she’d told her filmmaker husband, Lennie, he’d thought it was a crazy concept, although certainly doable. The movie community would love it. Everything in one place. And it wasn’t as if Lucky was a newcomer to making movies—she’d owned and run Panther Studios for several years. She was the Lady Boss. Lucky Santangelo could do anything she chose to do.

Today she was lunching with a team of architects that she was considering hiring. One of her favorite moves was testing people, observing their strengths and weaknesses, deciding if working with them would be calm or stressful.

Danny, her trusty assistant, accompanied her on the way to the Asian, an elegant Chinese restaurant located in her hotel.

Danny was one of the few privy to the fact that she was plotting and planning on building yet another fantastic Vegas complex. Danny got it. He understood that the Keys—a truly amazing combination of grand hotel, luxurious apartments, and one of the best casinos in Vegas—was simply not enough for her. As usual, his dynamic boss wanted more.

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