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Lucky Break
by Carly Phillips
(HQN, $7.99, PG-13) ISBN  978-0-373-774012
***
If a descendant of the witch who placed the curse upon the Corwins falls for a Corwin, will it undo that which has been done?  Leave it to Lauren Perkins and perpetually down-on-his-luck Jason Corwin to find out.

When they were still teenagers, Jason Corwin and Lauren Perkins spent a summer together and fell in love. Though they never spoke of it to one another, each was certain they were destined to be together. Then Lauren's grandmother, the mayor, found out. Since Perkins and Corwins don't mix (after generations of the curse, Corwins rarely mix with anyone, to be truthful), she had Lauren sent away.

When Lauren didn't hear from Jason despite many a heartfelt letter, she relegated him to daydreams and bitter memories. Then, after her grandmother dies and her sister is institutionalized after committing arson, it's left to Lauren to handle the family home – such as it is. The Victorian house is falling down around her ears, and Lauren's determined to get it fixed up and sold ASAP so she can get to Paris in time to debut her fashion designs. Since no one in her family ever approved of much Lauren did – from her taste in men to her choice of career, making this dream come true means more than anything.

Lauren realizes immediately that hooking up with Jason her first night in town was stupid –especially since he's arranged it so he's the only local contractor available to do the work on the house. Then she takes it a step further and accepts not only his bid, but his bet that he can convince her to sleep with him again.

So much for the suspense – Lauren doesn't hold out very long. However, coming into the open with their "temporary" romance doesn't make things easier for them either, since the town is holding a grudge against Lauren for all of the things her grandmother and sister did to them over the years. And, as it turns out, her sister's psychological problems may not be what the doctors thought ... they might be much worse, as Lauren discovers the hard way.

A mediocre read all the way around, Lucky Break is easy enough to follow without having read the two previous novels in the trilogy about the Corwin curse.  It will quench the appetites of those who prefer reunion stories, and the paranormal bit is just that and no more; pretty much the only people who believe the old stories are Lauren's crazy sister and Jason's crazy uncle. There is very little about Lucky Break that will offend and about the same amount of the book will genuinely stimulate; I'd check it out at the library instead of buying.

--Sarrah Knight


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