So Damn Lucky (Lucky O’Toole Vegas Adventure Series)

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9781455863631: So Damn Lucky (Lucky O’Toole Vegas Adventure Series)

"Evanovich...with a dash of CSI." - Publishers Weekly (review of Lucky Stiff)

Everyone Has a Hidden Talent

For Lucky O'Toole it's murder...solving it.

Tonight she feels like committing it.

Her live-in lover, Teddie, has rock-starred out and taken his show on the road.

Her mother is a pregnant hormonal weapon of mass destruction.

But, as the Chief Problem Solver for the Babylon, Las Vegas's most over-the-top destination, murder isn't in her job description.

SO DAMN LUCKY

Renowned magician, Dimitri Fortunoff apparently dies while trying to pull a Houdini.

Then his body actually disappears.

Lucky is less than amused. She has enough problems already.

Paxton Dane, a handsome Texan long on charisma, short on history, is pressing for an opening.

And the new French chef is equal parts charm and venom, seasoned with a dash of irresistible.

But Lucky can't shake the question: did Fortunoff really die or is this some elaborate hoax?

With his connections to the UFO convention in town, outlandish theories abound.

Love, laughter, and a few evil spirits from the Great Beyond or the Great Void--

Join the fun today!
READING ORDER

Wanna Get Lucky? (The Lucky O'Toole Vegas Adventure Series Book 1)
Lucky Stiff (The Lucky O'Toole Vegas Adventure Series Book 2)
Lucky in Love (A Lucky O'Toole Original Novella 1)
So Damn Lucky (The Lucky O'Toole Vegas Adventure Series Book 3)
Lucky Bang (A Lucky O'Toole Original Novella 2)
Lucky Now and Then: Parts One and Two (A Lucky O'Toole Original Novella 3-4)
Lucky Bastard (The Lucky O'Toole Vegas Adventure Series Book 4)
Lucky Catch (The Lucky O'Toole Vegas Adventure Series Book 5)
Lucky Flash (A Lucky O'Toole Original Novella 5)
Lucky Break (The Lucky O'Toole Vegas Adventure Series Book 6)
Lucky the Hard Way (The Lucky O'Toole Vegas Adventure Series Book 7)
AN INTERVIEW WITH DEBORAH COONTS

Why did you decide to write humor?

I'm not sure I decided to add snark to the Lucky, books, specifically to Lucky's own voice, it just happened that way. When I was a kid, my mouth always got me into trouble. Finally, I've found a way to harness the sarcasm for the Forces of Good--or at least in a way not to anger my grandmother. And when Lucky started talking to me, she had a strong dose of sass in her.

The Lucky O'Toole Vegas Adventure series is hard to categorize. Is that by design?

When I set out to write Wanna Get Lucky?, I knew I wanted to write a romp through Las Vegas. I had the characters and the setting but no real understanding of narrative drive. So, I threw a young woman out of a tour helicopter into the middle of the Pirate Show and let the story unfold. A bit of murder to keep the plot moving, some wisecracking and Vegas mischief to make you laugh, and some romance to keep it interesting. A bit of a mash up, but it works.
PRAISE FOR So Damn Lucky

"Lucky's latest lark brims with the over-the-top ridiculousness that I love about Vegas. Fans of the series will fall in love all over again, and new readers will look forward to her next escapade." - Publishers Weekly

"Lucky's the kind of gal who will make any heart beat faster." - Kirkus Reviews

"A whirlwind of a kooky crime novel, and readers will enjoy every minute of it. Coonts provides the perfect solution for readers waiting for the next Stephanie Plum book." - Booklist

"So Damn Lucky is wacky and witty, chaotic and compelling, and the title aptly describes how you'll feel after you've read the book." - USA Today

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Deborah Coonts’s mother tells her she was born in Texas a very long time ago, though she’s not totally sure ― her mother can’t be trusted. But she was definitely raised in Texas on barbeque, Mexican food, and beer. She currently resides in Las Vegas, where family and friends tell her she can’t get into too much trouble. Silly people. Coonts has built her own business, practiced law, flown airplanes, written a humor column for a national magazine, and survived a teenager. She is the author of Wanna Get Lucky? the first in a series of Lucky O’Toole Vegas adventures.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter
ONE
 
 
Some things in life are best savored alone—sex is not one of them.
This happy thought occurred to me while piloting a borrowed Ferrari and staring at the smiling couples filling the sidewalks along the Las Vegas Strip. Walking hand in hand, they were living, breathing reminders of the sorry state of my own love life.
“Lady! Watch out!”
I heard the shout in the nick of time. Slamming on the brakes, I narrowly avoided sliding the front end of the Ferrari under a tour bus. A sea of Japanese faces appeared like moons in the back window, peering down at me. Then cameras blocked the faces, flashbulbs popping as I shrugged and waved while trying to appear unruffled.
The young man who had shouted stepped over to the car and peered through the open roof, like a judge eyeing the accused. “Are you okay?” he asked. His face flushed, his eyes glassy, he looked like he was still recovering from last night’s party or getting a head start on the next one.
“Thanks to you,” I said as I restarted the car, which had stalled. “I know better than to think about sex while doing something potentially life-threatening. What was I thinking?” I cringed as the words popped out of my mouth. Even I couldn’t believe I’d said that. Clearly, I needed to get a grip: First I couldn’t stop thinking about sex; now I was talking about it to strangers. This was so not good.
“What were you thinking?” The kid smirked at me as he took another gulp from the glass clutched tightly in his hand. “Care to ... enlighten me?” he asked after wiping his mouth on the sleeve of his sweatshirt, which had NYU printed in bold blue on the front.
The sweatshirt looked new. He looked twelve. I felt old.
“Another time, perhaps,” I lied. I didn’t really intend to flirt with the kid. However, with Teddie, my former live-in, gallivanting around the globe playing rock star for the last six weeks—and the foreseeable future—my prospects looked pretty dim. Teddie and I had been really good for a while. Now, I didn’t know what we were.
Sexual self-preservation clearly had kicked in.
“Go easy on those walktails,” I said. “They’re deadly and the night is still young.” It was a blatant attempt to steer the conversation away from the current topic.
“Walktail?”
“That drink in your hand, small enough to take with you, but potent enough to leave you puking in the gutter.”
The kid’s face grew serious as he held up the brew for inspection, looking at it with a newfound respect. “Yes, ma’am,” he said, his voice filled with awe.
My smile vanished. Despite careful study, I was still unable to figure out at precisely what moment in time I had gone from being a Miss to a Ma’am. What changed? Whatever it was, I wanted it back like it used to be—along with a few other things, but they would all take minor miracles. While I believe in magic, miracles were pushing the envelope, even for me.
I squeezed the paddle shifter and put the car in gear. Easing around the still stationary bus, I hit the gas. The night held an October chill—refreshing as the wind teased my hair. A full moon fought a losing battle as it competed valiantly with the lights of the Strip. I knew stars filled the sky, but they weren’t visible in the false half-night of Las Vegas at full wattage.
My name is Lucky O’Toole and, as I mentioned, the Ferrari isn’t mine. It belongs to the dealership at The Babylon, my employer and the newest addition to the Las Vegas Strip megaresort explosion. By title, I am the Head of Customer Relations. In reality, I’m the chief problem solver. If a guest at the Babylon has a “situation”—which could be anything from an unplanned marriage, an unfamiliar bed partner, a roaring headache, or an unexplained rash, to a wife and kids given a room on the same floor as the mistress’s suite—I’m the go-to girl.
Lucky me.
Actually, I love my job. And I miss Teddie. As the two appear mutually exclusive, therein lies the rub.
But, enough of that—I had wallowed in self-pity for my allotted ten minutes today. No more private pity party for me; I was on my way to the real thing.
The invitation read:
Inviting all family, friends, and former dancers to a farewell party in honor of the forty-year run of the Calliope Burlesque Cabaret. October 24, eight o’clock sharp, backstage at the Calliope Theatre, the Athena Resort and Casino. Present this invitation for admittance.
To someone in my position, being invited to parties was part of the exercise, but this was one guest list on which I never expected to find my name. I wasn’t family, nor was I a former dancer—although with my six-foot frame, I guess dancing might have been a career path had I not been averse to prancing in front of strangers wearing nothing but stilettos and a thong, with twenty pounds of feathers on my head.
That left friend. As the sole individual responsible for shutting down the show, I doubted I qualified under that category either. Perhaps they invited me because of my unparalleled ability to smooth ruffled feathers, or maybe for my irritating inability to overlook a pun no matter how tortured. Who knew? However, I never could resist a good mystery, so despite the niggling feeling I’d received an invitation to my own execution, I accepted.
After having to go back to the office for the invitation, and after the near miss on the Strip, I pulled the Ferrari up to the front of the Athena. Careful to extricate myself from the low-slung car without giving the valet an eyeful up my short skirt, I then tossed the keys to him. Wrapping myself in a warm hug of cashmere pashmina to ward off the night chill, I straightened my skirt, threw back my shoulders, found a tentative balance on four-inch heels, and headed inside.
An aging Grand Dame, the Athena had seen better days. Like a ship marooned on the shoals, torn and tattered by the elements, the Athena had been savaged by time and inattention. Moored at the wrong end of the Strip, surrounded by lesser properties, she now boasted only faded glory. Her carpets stained, her walls dingy, and her décor dated, she reeked of quiet desperation. While she still boasted “The Best Seafood Buffet in Vegas” for less than twenty dollars—which brought in some of the locals—her gaming rooms were rarely more than a third full. In Vegas, folks are quick to abandon a sinking ship—even if the slots are loose and the staff friendly.
My boss, Albert Rothstein (also known as The Big Boss), recently acquired the Athena from the previous owner, who had decided the best way to beat The Big Boss was to frame him for murder. In a high-stakes game of cat and mouse, The Big Boss had eaten the canary—with my help, I’m happy to say.
The fact that The Big Boss is also my father is a closely guarded secret—so close that even I was in the dark until recently when, facing the prospect of imminent death at the hands of a heart surgeon, The Big Boss decided to come clean. I still wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole thing, so I ignored it whenever possible. I was pretty happy with the way things were before the big bombshell, so I didn’t see any reason to rock the boat. The Big Boss saw it differently; now that he’d claimed me—and made his relationship with my mother public—he wanted the whole world to know. Not a hooker’s chance in Heaven, thank you very much. Don’t get me wrong; I loved him like a father ... always had.
But who the heck wants to be the boss’s daughter?
Expecting the usual sparse crowd, I was surprised to see a throng milling about the Athena’s dismal lobby and spilling into the casino. Having spent my formative years in and out of Vegas hotels and my adult life working in them, I rarely noticed the fashion choices of the river of humanity that flowed through. However, tonight their choices were hard to ignore.
Space creatures of all shapes and sizes mingled, giving each other the Vulcan sign of greeting. It was like the Star Trek Experience at the Hilton used to be, but better. While I’m not that well versed in aliens, I thought I recognized a couple of Klingons, a Romulan or two, multiple Ferengi, and a collective of Borg. As the Borg passed, their faces impassive, I thought about saying “Resistance is futile” but I stifled myself. The whole thing made me realize how much I missed the Hilton’s hokey institution. When they shuttered Quark’s, the Hilton had closed a whole chapter of my youth. Strange new worlds must be explored, I guess.
Scattered among the Trekkers—they’d been Trekkies when I was young, but one vehement Klingon had corrected me and I was not one to argue with an angry Klingon—were little green men, bubble-headed aliens of 1950s movie fantasy, a Wookie or two, other wild Star Wars imaginings, and several truly original creations. Some of the aliens were even disguised as humans—one of whom I recognized.
Junior Arbogast, hoax exposer, fraud buster, and legend in his own mind, made his living debunking UFO sightings, alien abductions, and paranormal phenomena in general. Junior and I had bonded over an interesting outing to Area 51—the local Air Force spook palace north of town, and the epicenter of UFO lore. He had spent an hour facedown in the dirt, a gun pointed at his head, while I endeavored to talk the Lincoln County sheriff out of arresting him, and the Cammo Guys, as the security service hired to protect and defend the perimeter were so lovingly referred to, out of perforating him. Now, each year when the spookies held their annual convention in town, Junior and I usually found time to have a drink together, which I enjoyed. Yes, he could be arro...

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