The Night I Got Lucky tells the story of Billy Rendell, a 32-year-old Chicagoan who, with a little help from an oddball therapist and a jade green frog, gets everything she wishes for overnight. Her normally aloof husband is suddenly amorous and attentive; she gets the vice-presidency promotion she’s been waiting years for; her Everlasting Crush, Evan, starts to flirt outrageously; her mother, who really needed to get her own life, sends a postcard from Milan; and Billy finds out that she has finally, miraculously, gotten over her deadbeat dad, who abandoned the family many years ago. Everything is perfect. Or is it? Called both “hip and hilarious” (by Wife of Reilly author Jennifer Coburn) and “a thought-provoking cautionary tale” (by bestselling author Cara Lockwood), The Night I Got Lucky is a funny romp that asks the serious questions — does every level of “happiness” have its own struggles? Does life, no matter what its form, always bring problems? Billy just hopes that, with a little help, there’s time enough for her to turn her good luck around.
There was so much more security at the Sears Tower than there used to be. Of course, the last time she’d been to the indoor observation deck on the highest floor, she was a freshman in high school. She and her girlfriend had locked arms and whispered about the upcoming dance, more concerned with scoring some Boone’s Farm wine than the panorama.
She was distracted today, too. She had a purpose.
She filed out of the elevator behind a group of gum-cracking, giggling kids, a few backpackers from Australia and two Japanese tourists gripping guide books like life preservers. She held the tiny object in her right hand, not wanting to lose it in her purse. If she could just get a second, just one second alone, hopefully she would be done with it.
A guide stood outside the elevator. She was a young black woman, wearing braided chains around her neck and skintight hot pants below her Sears Tower uniform shirt. She looked as if any minute she might grab a microphone and audition for American Idol. “This way,” the guide trilled, drawing out the last word.
The observation deck took up the entire top level of the Sears Tower and was surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows. In the center were giant exhibits, touting the history of Chicago.
The groups scattered. She glanced over her shoulder at the guide and followed the Japanese tourists to the right. It was nearly the end of the workday, but because it was summer, the sunlight blazed inside from the west windows.
She wandered around the deck, from window to window. She pretended to be absorbed by the view of the Loop from the east, sight of Soldier Field from the south. But as she looped around again, she looked more closely this time, not at the vista of the city laid out before her, but at the center of the room. She hoped there was some access away from the observation deck other than just the elevator.
Finally, she saw what she was looking for — next to a display featuring Chicago architecture was a tall silver door with the sign reading Stairs. Emergency Use Only. But there was an alarm on the door that would sound if she opened it. She chewed at her bottom lip. She didn’t want to scare anyone. She just had to get rid of it.
The door was behind a rope, but that barrier would be easy to get around. She leaned against a nearby window and waited.
The pop star guide passed by at one point. “Enjoying yourself?” the guide asked.
“Oh. Yes.” She swung around and slipped a quarter in a telescope. She focused it in the direction of her Gold Coast apartment, wondering idly if she’d turned off her straightening iron this morning. The guide moved away.
She kept checking her watch. The observation deck would soon close. She tried not to tap her foot nervously. Now that she was here, she wanted desperately to do this. But would she get the chance? A better question — could she pull it off?
Finally, about fifteen minutes later, two workers clad in navy blue coveralls and carrying toolboxes undid the rope that stood in front of the stairwell door. One selected a key from his tool belt and put it in the alarm box. The other rehooked the rope behind him. The door swung open, and they moved through it. As soon as it started to shut, she leaped over the rope and caught the door with her hand. She stood there a moment, frozen, hoping the guide wouldn’t come back. When she was sure the workers were gone, she slipped inside.
The door closed, and she blinked to let her eyes adjust. The stairway was dimly lit except for red exit signs, all pointing downward. But she went the other way. She went up.
As she stepped through the doorway and onto the roof of the Sears Tower, the wind whipped violently, nearly knocking her over. She caught the door before it slammed and wedged her purse in the frame so it wouldn’t lock behind her. Her hair was whisked straight back from her face. Her black skirt, newly purchased from a boutique on Damen Avenue, flapped against her legs. It was adorable and expensive and wholly inappropriate for the task at hand.
She was now in the middle of the flat roof, flanked by two giant antennas. She avoided them and cautiously made her way toward the edge. She clenched her fist tighter around the object in her right hand. She felt as if any minute the wind might whip her off the building.
The roof was gravelly and painted white. It made her feel even less sure of her footing. Still clasping the little object, she inched closer to the side.
Over the rooftop, she could see Lake Michigan glittering blue. She could see the cars on Lake Shore Drive whizzing past that blue. Her breathing became more shallow as she neared the edge. Only a few feet now. A gust swooped around her, seemed to push her sideways.
“Oh, God. Oh, God,” she said, but the wind was too loud to hear herself.
She froze then. Do it, she told herself. You’re so close.
But she couldn’t make herself walk any farther. She stood for a few moments until a burst of wind nearly picked her off her feet. Shaking, she hitched up her newskirt slightly, dropped to her knees and began to crawl. The graveled surface cut into her skin, made her knees sting with pain. The skin on her right knuckles scratched as she crawled on her fist.
The rim of the roof came nearer until at last she was there. Her body trembled as she peered over the edge. The cars on Franklin Avenue looked like shiny colored beetles, the people as teeny as gnats.
Balancing on her left hand, she lifted her right hand and, slowly unclenching her fist, dropped it.
“Another fun “what if” tale: Billy Rendell is dragging herself through her life (set in Chicago, with plenty of local landmarks — not surprising, considering the author is also from here). She hasn’t been promoted to vice president at the agency where she’s been slaving as a senior account exec; her marriage to Chris of two years has stalled; her crush at work, Evan, thinks of her as just one of the guys, and she can’t deal with the father who abandoned her, her sisters and her mother many years ago. Billy’s in therapy and just wants things to go the way she thinks they should. One day, she gets her wish and the fast, fun read of a book gets really interesting. A fun romp into the question of what happens if you really do get everything you think you want?”
-Chicago Sun Times
“At 32, Billy Rendell isn’t exactly where she thought she’d be. She is still waiting, possibly in vain, for that promotion to VP at the PR company she works for, and her marriage to handsome Chris seems to be in real trouble. Billy pays a visit to her kooky therapist, Blinda, and leaves with a good luck charm, a small frog. The next day, when Billy wakes up, things are different. Her formerly distant husband is attentive and loving, and she has received the promotion to VP at work and already has a posh new office. Billy is puzzled but soon settles in by firing a snooty coworker, Alexa, and engaging in a flirtation with the office hunk, Evan, whom she has always had a crush on. But as her perfect life rolls on, Billy is nowhere near as satisfied as she thought she would be. Caldwell is one of the most talented and inventive chick-lit writers around, and her latest features a likable heroine in an unusual situation and ends with a clever resolution.”
“There is a reason Laura Caldwell is one of my favorite authors — her books have been a perfect 10 so far, and this one is no exception. With wonderful, real-life characters, and an original story line that somehow manages to be realistic despite its magical quality, The Night I Got Lucky was a fabulous read that I simply couldn’t put down once I started. Characterization is one of Caldwell’s greatest strength, and it shines in this novel. I couldn’t find anything in this book that I didn’t like. Overall, I highly recommend this novel to everyone, especially chick lit fans.”
“Billy (dad wanted a brawling boxer hence her first name) Rendell cannot believe that she is in her twenties and questioning how life can be so boring. Married for two years, her husband Chris has seemed to lost interest in her even out of bed. Her mom, who has never untied the umbilical cord since her father abandoned them a quarter of a century ago, has recently tightened the noose if that is possible. Finally at work, her boss Roslyn hates her, she is unable to get the promotion she covets, and Evan, the VP she flirts with, sees her as a friend.”
“Her therapist Blinda tells her to look inside to ascertain what she desires and gives her a jade frog that will make it come true. Chris gives her full attention and mom discovers her own life. At work Billy is promoted and Evan starts flirting with her. All is perfect. So why is Billy on the top of the Sears Building tossing the jade frog away? Simple Chris is smothering her with affection, she misses mom the globetrotter, the VP job is all responsibility with no fun, and Evan has become even more tempting.”
“The Night I Got Lucky is a fabulous deep version of chick lit meets the Monkey’s Paw. The story line is owned by Billy as she starts lamenting that life is a boring rut, receives the frog, obtains her wishes, but hates the outcome wanting to go back to the starting line. Laura Caldwell provides a whimsical tale that showcases the sub-genre at its magically charming best.”
“In The Night I Got Lucky, Laura Caldwell answers the question all of us entertain from time to time — what would life be like if I had everything I wanted? Hip and hilarious, this chick-lit gem allows readers to live through a nightmare of a dream-come-true with the charming Billy Rendell and her lively supporting cast of characters. A page-turner that never disappoints and always surprises, this one should be on every reader’s list.”
-Author Jennifer Coburn
“Caldwell does it again! In The Night I Got Lucky she delivers a thought-provoking cautionary tale told with style and grace.”
-Author Cara Lockwood
“This modern day parable is told in a breezy, first-person style that conveys a serious warning in a light way.”
-The Huntress Book Reviews
“Laura Caldwell’s new paperback is a comical look at a woman who discovers that getting everything she wants is the last thing she needs.”
“The Night I Got Lucky is a thoroughly entertaining tale of what can happen when wishes are magically granted. This is a delightful book that suggests the power to remake our lives is inside us, if only we know how to look for it.”
“What a great story, especially for young, married, career women — delicately balancing their two roles, responsibilities, desires and dreams — for someone entering that part of life…. The Night I Got Lucky for Billy was a very unlucky night because everything that she wanted came true. Moral of the story: Watch what you wish for, because you might get it. Caldwell captured the different aspects of parental abandonment, sagging marriage and being unfulfilled at work. Armchair Interviews says: A good read, well-written. Lots to think about for any age, whether single, newly or long-married, about what’s important in this human job of juggling priorities and people, along with being in control of your own life. Billy wanted…but did nothing about it, until the ‘night she got lucky’.”
“Billy is learning a lesson, ‘to be careful what you wish for.’ The Night I Got Lucky is an entertaining read. I enjoyed watching Billy’s so-called perfect life unfold, seeing how it changes her – and what she has to do to get her old life back. Fans of chick lit and of Caldwell’s previous books will enjoy this new release.”
“Ms. Caldwell has taken an intriguing topic and turned it into a well-written story that will have readers wanting to ignore the demands of their lives to keep reading. Billy’s story is one that should leave all readers wondering if their dreams were suddenly to come true how would they react? Chick Lit is a genre that I personally find to be hit or miss. I’m pleased to say that Laura Caldwell is a master of the genre, and has yet to write a book that hasn’t kept me turning pages well past my bedtime.”
-The Romance Reader
“The Night I Got Lucky is the story of a woman who wishes for all the things in her life to be different, and when she gets her wish, she’s not sure that is what she truly wants. Billy finds all of these happenings new to her, but everyone else acts as though this is the way it has always been. She decides to go with the flow, but sometimes too much of a good thing is just that — too much. It’s an easy-to-read story with realistic characters and good dialogue that will hold the readers interest throughout. The secondary characters are essential to the story and help move it along smoothly…. A very entertaining story.”
-Romance Reviews Today
“There is a very important lesson to be learned here — happiness really does start with oneself. This is an entertaining and pretty short novel. The characters are well developed and really are like people we are around in our everyday lives. This book has it all — a bit of a love triangle, the nemesis at work, the absent father figure, and therapy sessions. The Night I Got Lucky really makes you stop and think about what it is you really want in life and how you can make it happen. Billy learns a really hard lesson when she gets what she wants. She uses her new position to get rid of her nemesis; her husband begins to be more attentive than she can stand; and her crush at work heats up and things go too far. Ultimately Billy learns that if she isn’t happy with something in her life, she needs to examine what she can do to improve the situation. She learns to stop being a victim, and to stop watching the world pass her by. I really enjoyed this novel and plan to read more of Laura Caldwell’s work.”
-Romance Reader at Heart
“[A] comical roller-coaster ride…. All the characters add vibrancy to a story that explores how we live with the mistakes we made, how we correct the ones we can and how love forms an unfailing bond.”
When Billy Rendell suddenly gets everything she wants, it turns out to be the last thing she needs….
A long-awaited promotion. Freedom from emotional baggage. A newly — ahem — amorous husband. What’s wrong with this picture? Well…everything. For starters, Billy hasn’t actually earned any of it. Instead, like some character in a fairy tale, this stuck-in-a-rut publicist had all her wishes granted overnight — which feels great, at first. But soon Billy’s brand-new success starts to unravel — who’d have thought becoming a VP would be so Very Painful? Or that a harmless crush on a co-worker would turn not-so-harmless now that he’s crushing back? It’ll take a surreal, rollicking, high-stakes journey for Billy to realize what she really wants out of life…before it’s too late.
“A page-turner that never disappoints and always surprises, this one should be on every chick-lit reader’s list.”
—Jennifer Colburn, author of Reinventing Mona
“Caldwell does it again — she delivers a thought-provoking cautionary tale told with style and grace.”
—Cara Lockwood, author of I Do (But I Don’t)