Lucky's Charm by Jenn Nixon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Felicia has become a contract killer for “the network”. After her mother dies, her father, Luciano, the original Lucky, spends the rest of his life pretending to be dead so he can track down his wife’s killer. When he dies, his best friend pulls Felicia into the network to take his place and continue his quest. It is tough for Felicia to do what she does and be anything close to normal. All of her interpersonal relationships are strained by the weight of her past. I won’t spoil it for other readers, but I will say I didn’t expect the ending.
I knew I was going to enjoy Lucky’s Charm before I was through reading the first chapter. I love stories with strong heroines and Felicia proved to be a very tough and capable, yet complex character. Nothing about her is simple. Her background as a child adopted by a hit man. Taking on her father’s identity in order to infiltrate the network so she can discover who killed her mother. Her personal, more than business, relationship with her handler and her father’s handler. And last but not least, her very sexy romantic relationship with another hit man. No wonder the woman has trust issues!
It’s hard being a hit woman, and tougher to write a hit woman with any level of credibility. It requires a great amount of suspended disbelief to get into a story of this type. Ms. Nixon does a wonderful job of drawing the reader into Lucky’s character. I confess when I first picked up the book, I expected Lucky to be one-dimensional, as most female characters in the action/adventure genre tend to be. Think, Angelina Jolie in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, a movie to which Ms. Nixon gives a nod. The depth Ms. Nixon brought to this premise pleasantly surprised me.
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Taking a rest after Black Friday!
Taking it easy today after my daughter and I jumped into the fray for the first time yesterday. We did it for the shopping, for the chaos, for the joy of engaging in an American tradition. But...we'll never do it again!
Today, I'm hopping through the blogosphere and visiting my blog friends. Later, I will cuddle up with my Mac and lay down a few thousand words on my WIP. This is going to be a great day!
For a full report on our Black Friday activities skip on down to my previous blog post at this link.
Then, hop on over to Show My Face to join this fun blog hop!
|My bird in progress!
On this bright, beautiful Thanksgiving Day I have much to be thankful for. I have my life and my liberty. Family, faith, and friends. A husband who loves me. Children who respect me. Sure I have a few problems and there will always be bumps in the highway of life, but today it seems selfish to dwell on what I don't have when there are those who are struggling to survive. In fact, it should seem selfish to dwell on my petty issues any day of the year when I've been blessed with so much. Don't get me wrong. I'm not wealthy or ultra successful. I've just come to a place in my life where I'm content with what I have. That might be the greatest blessing of all. To enjoy getting more from life rather than strive to get more in my life.
Lately, I've come to believe I need to trim the fat from my existence. No, not my from my ample body which could indeed afford to lose a few pounds. But from my busy everyday life. From the clutter around me. This coming year I want to focus on what is real, what is important, what makes life fuller and richer, not just for me but for everyone around me. I've spent too much time spinning my wheels on things that didn't matter in the long run.
Okay, this Thanksgiving, I'm in a thoughtful, sentimental mood. Please forgive me if I sound like a greeting card or the mushy ending to a Hallmark movie.
Here's a short poem I wrote some time ago. I think it fits my mood today.
Live Without Apology
Living is vital
the small things
Happiness is fleeting
not forgetting the past
looking to the future
Today my guest is MJ Kane author of A Heart Not Easily Broken. I met MJ through a group of wonderful new author friends with 5 Prince Publishing.
First, tell us a little about yourself.
I am a stay-at-home mom with an overactive imagination that has found a way to put it to use! I’ve gone from being an avid reader, to a writer. Writing has helped me find myself…becoming a published author has solidified it! I’ve been married to my high school sweet heart for eighteen-years and have four beautiful children, and two dogs. Well, ten if you count the fact my female has just delivered her first litter of puppies, eight beautiful black and white balls of fur. Can’t wait to sell them!
As writers, we often become emotionally attached to our characters. Who is your favorite hero you’ve ever written?
Oh man, that’s a hard question! Since I am writing a series, and only one book has been published so far, it’s hard to tell. I have very soft spots for all of my men (all six of them!) and have outlines started for the following five books in the Butterfly Memoirs Series. So far, readers have only been introduced to Brian Young, the sexy blond haired, blue-eyed bass player in A Heart Not Easily Broken. Since he is the first male character I’ve ever written, I know he will forever hold a soft spot in my heart.
Have you ever fallen in love with or had a crush on one of your heroes? Tell us about him.
Honestly, yes! I guess it helps that all of them, despite what race they are, have a small facet of my husband in them, as well as research and imagination as to what type of man my heroine needs. As much as I love Brian, Zachariah Givens, has developed a soft spot. He’s not your typical hero. He’s an introvert, loves his mother, and is a computer wiz. Yet he’s extremely passionate about the one he gives his heart to, and since he’s been hurt, he doesn’t give it freely. He’s exactly the kind of man the heroine needs. You can look for him in the next book in the Butterfly Memoir Series, Jaded, coming March 2013.
How do you develop your heroes? Do you imagine their personality or their physical appearance first? Do they grow as personalities as you write or do you do a character sketch before you type the first word?
I put a lot of time in developing each of my characters. Once I have established the storyline, I decide exactly what I want my ‘man’ to look like. My books are romance, yet focus on the development of not only the heroine, but the hero as well. Once ‘she’ has been developed, I look for personality traits that will turn her on and off, because let’s face it, no one wants the ‘perfect’ man. Sometimes rubbing her ‘the wrong way’ can be a good thing! Nobody wants a push over! My men may be willing to give his woman the world, but he will never allow her to put him down. He knows how to handle her even when it pisses her off. I often watch movies and study actor’s movements, voice, attitudes, etc. I get very deep into developing them. At times, it feels as if I’m having an ‘affair’! LOL
I like to give my heroes a personality quirk, just so they aren’t too perfect. Have you ever written a quirk for one of your heroes and what was it?
Not, necessarily a quirk, but they do have flaws, don’t we all? Too perfect makes them unrealistic. Their flaws come from trust issues, past experiences that led to them being unsure about themselves or the heroine, and having to overcome their ‘macho’ facade for the one they fall in love with.
How do you name your hero?
I research popular names from year they were born. Then, I imagine what it would be like to…ahem…call out that particular name when properly prompted. If it rolls off the tongue, that’s the one!
Who is your favorite hero in books, movies, or television?
Hmm…right now, from books, Izzy from the Troubleshooters series by Suzanne Brockman, the Black Dagger Brotherhood Vampire, Rhage, from J.R. Wards series, and Ranger, from the Stephanie Plumb novels by Janet Evanovich. Movies, Aragorn, from Lord of the Rings (Viggo Mortenson), and TV, Alec Hardison (Aldes Hodge) from Leverage.
Who is your hero in real life?
My father, Warren Kelly, who was the first African-American Fire Chief in the state of Georgia back in the early 80’s. He died in 1985 when I was ten.
Tell us about your most recent release and where we can find it. Who is the hero and what do you like about him the most?
My debut novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, book one of the Butterfly Memoirs, can be found on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for Kindle and Nook as well as paperback. It is also available on iTunes.
The story is an Interracial Romance between Ebony Campbell, who is black, and Brian Young, the white, blond haired, blue-eyed bass player who refuses to take no for an answer. What I love most about him (and fans of the book seem to agree!) is his persistence. He doesn’t let the fact she’s uncomfortable with their racial differences deter him. He keeps after her, whittling down that barrier until he gets what he wants: her heart. He’s also very supportive of her career and never pushes her to give up her dreams to accommodate him or his needs. He’s there for her when she needs him, even when she tries to push him away. And when he screws up, he’s man enough to admit it and beg for her forgiveness.
I can't wait to start reading my copy of A Heart Not Easily Broken.
Here's an excerpt from the book...
Her attention appeared to be on something in her purse as she walked my way, so she hadn’t seen me yet.
She was not dressed as she was Saturday night. Her hair wasn’t flowing over her shoulders, tempting my fingers to get lost in its waves. Her legs were not bare, nor did she wear a skin tight, short dress, showing off shapely calf muscles, as she had the other evening. Instead, she wore a baggy shirt over pants with some kind of printed design, something like standard medical wear. She wore her hair in a ponytail, and her feet were in tennis shoes. She struggled to balance an armful of books of various sizes and a book bag over her shoulder.
Ebony was still sexy as hell.
“I’m glad you haven’t got started yet. My roommate called me at the last minute and told me you were coming. I don’t have any cash on me. Do you take checks or−?” Her voice faltered when she saw me. “Brian? What are you doing here?”
I caught a hint of fire in her eyes and something else. Maybe guilt for not meeting me in VIP?
“I’m here to cut your grass.” I screwed the top back on the gas can, fighting the urge to laugh at the irony of the situation.
Play it cool. I was not about to let her know how disappointed I’d been sitting alone. What happened a few nights ago had nothing to do with the money she was about to put in my pocket.
“I thought you were a musician.”
I pulled goggles and gloves out of the driver’s side door pocket. “I am, but it doesn’t pay the bills just yet. This is my day job.”
Ebony’s eyes traveled to the truck and my cousins before settling back on me.
“This is my business,” I added, watching her thin eyebrows arch.
Since I hadn’t questioned her about the VIP incident, she seemed to relax. The sound of a lawnmower cranking up broke the awkward silence.
“Well, I’ll get out of your way.” She backed away from the truck and headed for her house.
It dawned on me I did not answer her question regarding the form of payment. At least it would give me something to talk about when we were done.
Saturday night, Ebony disappeared like Cinderella, without leaving a hint of a glass slipper. Now, barely two days later, I found where she lived. What were the chances? This was fate.
I took the opportunity to appreciate every inch of her hidden under baggy clothes. The image of her in the black form-fitting dress revealing every curvy inch of her body had haunted my dreams.
Outside the club, in natural light, Ebony did not disappoint. Her almond shaped eyes were a rich shade of brown, dark and mysterious. She wore no makeup on her caramel skin, and her lips were naked, with no hint of gloss.
I chuckled when she finally got her front door unlocked. It appeared she’d run into some trouble with her key. Flustered perhaps?
I hoped so. With a little luck, I just might have a chance to get her to talk to me about more than grass.
You find MJ on the internet at the following links: