Carly Phillips

Lucky Break

The third book in the Lucky series, 2009

Dear Reader,

I am so excited for you to read Lucky Break, the final installment in my trilogy about the sexy, charismatic Corwin cousins, modern men who are dogged by a centuries-old family curse. According to legend, any Corwin man who falls in love is destined to lose his love and his fortune. Now it’s Jason Corwin’s turn!

Jason knows he should resist his attraction to Lauren Perkins, but they have a past-and after a reunion that includes one night of mind-blowing passion, he can’t bring himself to stay away. How will the curse, placed by one of Lauren’s ancestors, affect this couple?

I can’t wait for you to find out! If you missed the other books in this series, Derek’s story, Lucky Charm, and Mike’s story, Lucky Streak, are in stores now.

Visit www.carlyphillips.com for release dates and so much more. You can write to me at: P.O. Box 483, Purchase, NY 10577 or e-mail carly@carlyphillips.com.

As always, thank you for buying my books, and happy reading!

Best wishes,

Carly Phillips

To my friends-each and every one of you serve a

different purpose in my life, but I love you all!

INTRODUCTION

In the late nineteenth century, in the small village of Stewart, Massachusetts, 1.5 miles west of Salem, site of the now infamous Witch Trials, fear of curses and witchcraft ran rampant. During this time, William Corwin fell in love and eloped with a woman who was already betrothed to another. The man William wronged, Martin Perkins, was the oldest son of the wealthy Perkins family from the neighboring village of the same name. To William Corwin’s misfortune, Martin’s mother, Mary Perkins, was a witch.

She immediately sought revenge on her son’s behalf with this curse: Any Corwin male who falls in love will be destined to lose his love and his fortune.

No male Corwin since has walked away unscathed…

CHAPTER ONE

LAUREN PERKINS’S red Porsche looked as out of place in the parking lot of the Bricksville Correctional Institution’s psychiatric ward as it did in Perkins, Massachusetts, the small town her family had founded. She pulled into a spot that might as well have had her name on it, she was here so often. She waved to the guard and walked to the old building where her sister was being held, bypassing the construction site of a new wing. After six months, she recognized some of the men in hard hats, and as usual, a select few eyed Lauren and her car with a sleazy combination of envy and lust. The only thing missing was catcalls, but since the actual prison was only a few hundred yards away, she assumed it kept them on their best behavior.

Lauren stopped short of flipping the men the bird. She had held her own in Third World countries and in the Garment Center of Manhattan. Not much could make her uneasy, but this place did, and she hated like hell having to be here.

Thanks to her sister Mary Beth and her antics, Lauren had no choice. She consoled herself with the promise that her visit to the prison would be like her trip to her grandmother’s home.

Short and to the point.

Paris was waiting and nothing was going to keep her from being there in person when her dress designs debuted under the Galliano label. She’d sold the designs, so now she was free for the few weeks she needed to restore her grandmother’s old Victorian into salable condition. Then she would fly to Paris and watch the fashion show in person. And pray her designs succeeded beyond her wildest dreams.

Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris was every designer’s goal and Lauren had been gearing herself up for this for the past five years. After taking fashion classes in the city, working odd jobs to pay for them, and designing at night, she’d earned this chance. Though she was torn between her good fortune and her sister’s situation, there wasn’t anything else she could do for Beth that she wasn’t already doing.

She’d had to uproot herself in order to focus on her grandmother’s house because, as usual, her parents felt their humanitarian efforts were more important than Lauren’s materialistic pursuits. Never mind that those pursuits had amounted to a successful career.

Her parents had never understood why Lauren and Beth hadn’t shared their calling. Not even Beth’s breakdown had caused them to put their work helping others on hold. They’d only visited their daughter, diagnosed as “unresponsive” by her doctors, once since she’d been incarcerated for arson, among other charges.

Lauren still couldn’t understand her sister’s actions. For reasons trapped in Beth’s mind, she’d attempted to burn down a building full of innocent people about a year ago. According to Beth’s own hysterical explanation, the police claimed that she’d been attempting to hang on to the Perkins family’s declining power. Since many townspeople had come forward with tales of how her now deceased grandmother, the longtime mayor, had consolidated her power using blackmail and other forms of fear and manipulation, it wasn’t a stretch to think Beth, her grandmother’s loyal assistant, had followed in her footsteps.

Lauren had had no idea how mentally ill her sister had become and felt guilty that she’d been too busy with her own life to notice. As for her grandmother’s mental state prior to her death, Lauren didn’t have a clue. Except for occasional visits to her sister, Lauren hadn’t had a relationship with the older woman in years.

Lauren did know firsthand about her grandmother’s ability to control and manipulate. But Mary Perkins was gone, having passed away in the aftermath of Beth’s arson attempt. She’d had a fatal heart attack while awaiting trial for her own crimes. And Beth continued to stare at the walls here in Psych Central.

Lauren visited her sister at least once a month, more often when she could. Revolving her life around Beth’s wasn’t much different from their childhood. Lauren had always taken care of her younger sister. Older by five years, she had been Beth’s mother, father and authority figure as they grew up, because their parents had no time for them. Though the sisters were close back then, Beth had still been a handful. Even at twenty-seven years old, Lauren was still cleaning up her sister’s messes.

She quickly crossed the parking lot and proceeded to the first checkpoint. Lauren hated the prison grounds. Even though Beth was in a separate building from the prison itself, Lauren detested the depressing psychiatric ward. But she hoped that by visiting Beth and keeping her aware of the outside world, her sister would recover faster.

Today Beth sat upright instead of lying in bed, but nothing else had changed. Before her breakdown, Beth had been a stickler for perfection, if not fashion-that was Lauren’s forte and orange had always been her favorite color.

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