The Ideal Wifeby Jacquelin Thomas
Newlyweds Jana and Lawrence return from their Caribbean honeymoon to Los Angeles, where Lawrence is a partner in a prestigious Beverly Hills law firm. After Jana moves into Lawrence’s home in Hollywood Hills, she undergoes a complete lifestyle change and now spends her time shopping and doing charity work with the wives of the other partners. Her days as a student at Bible College seem like a distant memory now that she’s a full-time wife..
Soon Jana and Lawrence’s values begin to clash, and the marriage falls apart. After a spat over Lawrence’s sexual appetite, he tells Jana he wants a divorce. Confused and heartbroken by the sudden turn of events, she slowly realizes that it was physical attraction that drew Lawrence to her—it was never about love. She was nothing more than a trophy wife. So when three months later she meets Garrett Ransom, a handsome widower, she vows that this time, she’s going to do things right. .
In The Ideal Wife , Thomas has written an engaging and inspirational novel featuring ordinary people facing everyday challenges, as they struggle to achieve personal happiness and success while maintaining their faith-based principles..
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The long, sleek black limo rolled to a stop in the driveway of the Tuscan-style, four-bedroom, six-bath paradise that was now her home. Jana had fallen in love with the grand estate the first time she'd come to have dinner with Lawrence Collins -- her husband of one week.
The modest three-bedroom house where she'd grown up, on Fourth and Jefferson in Los Angeles, had been nothing like this Hollywood Hills mansion, although she had loved growing up in the house that had once belonged to her parents. After their premature deaths, her grown-up sister Robyn and her husband had moved in to care for Jana, who was twelve when they died.
A touch of sadness filtered through her as she thought about her sister. Robyn had always wanted children but had suffered three miscarriages; she'd finally had a hysterectomy. Despite her personal grief, she had been a wonderful mother to Jana.
Lawrence's fingers brushed Jana's collarbone and lingered there for a moment, bringing her out of her reverie.
"Welcome home, Mrs. Collins."
She shivered a little every time he called her that. Jana was still trying to digest the fact that at twenty-four years old, she was now a married woman. "I love hearing you call me that," she murmured softly.
"You belong to me now," Lawrence responded before placing a kiss on her lips.
Their driver parked in the circular driveway, then got out to open the door for her. Lawrence came around and helped her out of the car.
He led her by the hand through widely arched wooden double doors, a foyer with high ceilings, marble inlay floors, past a balustrade staircase to the formal living room.
"This house is so beautiful." Jana broke into a wide grin. "Living here is going to take some getting used to, but I'll have you know that I'm up to the challenge."
She loved the sound of his laughter. The truth was that she loved everything about him. Jana had always had a secret crush on Samuel Jackson, and Lawrence looked so much like the actor that they could pass for twins. He was tall and had big, beautiful eyes and a bright smile that simply warmed her all over. He sported a bald head that Jana found incredibly sexy, and he looked much younger than his thirty-six years.
Hugging Lawrence, Jana whispered, "I love you so much."
"I'm glad to hear it," he responded. "Especially after all the money I spent on our wedding and the honeymoon."
She gave him a playful shove. "I told you we could've had a smaller wedding. It wouldn't have mattered to me."
Jana's mind traveled back to April 4, the day she'd married Lawrence. It had been a perfect spring day designed especially for their wedding -- a gift from the Lord. Her sister had had the church decorated with lilies and exotic greenery throughout. Her brother-in-law had officiated over the ceremony while her uncle had escorted her down the aisle.
Her wedding day couldn't have been more special.
"That's not what you really wanted and you know it. You wanted a big wedding -- all women do." Lawrence's hand slid down her arm and tightened around her wrist.
"You're right," Jana confessed. "I used to dream of the kind of wedding I wanted. Lawrence, you gave me the wedding of my dreams. Thank you for that, honey."
He looked her over with a seductive gleam in his smile. "Now it's your turn to make all my dreams come true."
"It'll be my pleasure," she murmured. "But first I'm going to need to put something in my stomach. I'm starved."
Hand in hand, they walked toward the back of the house.
Jana loved the gourmet kitchen, with its granite counters, alder cabinetry, and a center island. "All this really inspires me to cook."
"There's not much here," Lawrence stated. "You're going to need to do some grocery shopping. We'll probably have to eat out tonight."
Jana checked the pantry and the refrigerator. "I'm pretty sure I can piece something together." She turned toward him. "I don't feel like going back out, Lawrence. I just want to stay home with you and enjoy our evening together -- just the two of us."
She glanced over into the family room at the huge stacks of gifts on the sofa and on the carpet near the fireplace. "We have a lot of wedding presents to open," she commented. "I guess we'll eventually get to them sometime tomorrow. I don't want to wait too long to send out the thank-you notes."
"Then we should probably do it today," Lawrence suggested with a hint of sternness. "We're having dinner with Ron and Lela Boykin tomorrow night. I'd like to be able to thank them personally for whatever they gave us."
Stunned by the news, Jana said, "I thought maybe we'd spend some time alone when we first got back. I didn't know you'd accepted a dinner invitation." She didn't really want to go anywhere.
"Ron is one of my partners and he is my best friend. We went to college and law school together. One of the reasons our law firm is so successful is because we are a family. We spend a lot of time together."
She knew they were close, especially since Ron had been the best man at their wedding. The two men acted like brothers. "I understand that," Jana responded. "But -- "
Lawrence interrupted her. "No buts, sweetheart. They invited us over and we're going. What did that Bible college you attended teach you? Didn't it tell you that you're supposed to be submissive to me? Didn't you agree at our wedding to obey me?"
Lawrence was a bit of a control freak. She'd known this about him and had married him anyway. After all, she wasn't perfect either. His good qualities far outweighed the negative as far as Jana was concerned.
She released a soft sigh. "Okay, Lawrence, I get it already. We're going to have dinner with Ron and Lela Boykin instead of staying home and cuddling."
He kissed her, trying to lessen the sting. "We're going to make it a quick dinner, and then we'll come home and enjoy each other."
"Thank you," she murmured.
Jana eyed her handsome husband's six-foot four-inch frame as he scanned a stack of mail. Lawrence was twelve years older than she was, although he looked like he was in his late twenties. He was a senior partner in the prestigious Beverly Hills law firm of Collins, Boykin, Richards & Lennox. Lawrence worked out every morning to keep his body toned and muscular.
She glanced down at the two-carat, yellow diamond engagement ring and wedding band. God had blessed her with a husband who was not only handsome but also financially secure. Jana never had to worry about working another day in her life. He'd even convinced her to withdraw from the Los Angeles Bible College so that she could focus on being a full-time wife. Jana already held a bachelor's degree in psychology, but she'd been working on a second degree in Christian counseling. Her goals had changed when she'd met Lawrence.
Her sister hadn't been thrilled with the idea of Jana's dropping out of college, but she'd respected Jana's decision. Robyn and her husband had not been just guardians as Jana was growing up; they'd also been role models. Robyn owned a clothing boutique, which she'd named after herself, on Third Avenue. Daniel Barker was the senior pastor of Jefferson Street Baptist Church. Despite a ten-year difference in their ages, Robyn and Daniel were very much in love and devoted to making their marriage a happy one.
Lawrence opened an envelope and handed a credit card to Jana. "This is for you," he stated. "Your American Express card is in my office. I'll give it to you later."
"Thank you," Jana responded. "But you didn't have to do this, Lawrence. I do have my own credit cards -- two of them."
She and Lawrence had discussed finances before the wedding, but he'd never once mentioned his plans to acquire credit cards for her. If he had, she would've told him not to bother. She wasn't a fan of credit cards.
Lawrence glanced over at her and said, "You're married to me now. I'm sure the credit limits on your cards don't come close to the ones I opened for you. Jana, you can keep the ones you have, or simply pay them off and close out the accounts. It's your decision."
He placed the pile of opened envelopes on the breakfast counter. "Oh, you'll also have an allowance of two thousand a month for your own personal use. This doesn't include household expenses or your clothing allowance."
The idea of allowances staggered her. "Clothing allowance?"
"Jana, as my wife...we'll be attending a lot of functions, and, well..." -- Lawrence's eyes strayed to her pants -- "denim of any kind won't be appropriate."
She glanced downward. Her pants were practically brand-new. "I love my jeans."
His fingers were warm and strong as they grasped hers. "I know that, but they won't cut it at the Oscars."
Jana broke into a slow smile. "It just hasn't been done yet. Who knows...I might start a trend."
Lawrence didn't crack a smile, and Jana could see the tensing of the muscles in his face. He could be so serious at times.
"Honey, I'm kidding," she assured him. "You of all people should know that I don't have any problems when it comes to shopping. I was the buyer for my sister's boutique. I have some nice stuff in my closet. I'm just more comfortable in jeans."
"I've asked Lela Boykin to take you shopping one day during the week," Lawrence announced.
Her eyes narrowed. Did Lawrence really find her taste in clothes so terrible that she needed a chaperone? "So what other plans have you made for us?" she asked pointedly. "In case you didn't hear me, I'm going to repeat myself. I was the buyer for Robyn's Boutique. I'm pretty sure if I can buy for an entire store, I can manage to pick out my own wardrobe."
"I never liked anything I saw in your sister's shop," Lawrence stated firmly. "They're fine if you're looking for something to wear to church or a corporate function, but that's not how I want my wife to dress."
Distracted by a name he saw, Lawrence held up an engraved invitation. "On Thursday, we're having dinner with John Lennox and his wife. It's Rose's birthday."
She withdrew her hand from his quickly and turned away, trying to control her temper. "Is there anything else?"
"There's a party on Saturday night." Lawrence eyed her. "Why? Is there a problem?"
Jana shook her head. "Why don't you give me an idea of what I need to buy when Lela and I go shopping?" Deep down, she was seething.
Lawrence was making plans without checking with her. Moreover, he had suddenly decided she needed fashion advice from his best friend's wife.
Her 36 double Ds, twenty-four-inch waist, and thirty-six-inch hips had drawn Lawrence to her. Now that Jana really thought about it, she realized that he'd always commented on her body -- even to the point of saying that he expected her to keep her shape after having children. Lawrence had even given her a gym membership as a pre-wedding present.
Old memories resurfaced that she'd thought were long buried.
From the moment Jana's body had begun to mature, men, both young and old, had tried to get her into bed. She was more than that, but why couldn't anyone see that? Why couldn't Lawrence?
Seeing her distress, he reached for her, pulling her close. "Jana, I'm sorry if I offended you. It's just that I want you to dress for me. I don't want you dressed like some frump or old maid. You're too fine for that."
His kind words melted her anger. Jana wrapped her arms around him. "Maybe I overreacted. I'm sorry too."
"Why don't we open our gifts?" His large hand took Jana's face and held it gently. "When we're finished, we can go upstairs and take a nap."
"Sounds good to me," she responded. Jana turned back toward the kitchen. "If you're not hungry, I'm going to make myself a sandwich."
"I'm fine, sweetheart."
Jana strode into the kitchen and pulled out a pack of deli ham, a jar of mayonnaise, and a loaf of bread. She could feel her husband's eyes on her as she made her sandwich.
Without looking up, Jana asked, "Why are you staring at me like that?"
"I still can't believe how lucky I am. I never thought I'd get married again after Gia and I broke up. After everything she put me through, I wasn't sure I even wanted to remarry."
Jana didn't respond. She had never met his exÂ€‘wife and could not contribute to the conversation. She bit into the soft bread and honey ham and chewed slowly.
"I'm sorry. I guess I shouldn't be talking about Gia like that. She's my past and you are my future."
When he and Jana had first met, Lawrence had talked about his life with Gia, and how her drinking had ruined their marriage. He hadn't been able to get her to face the fact that she'd been an alcoholic. A drunken driver had killed Jana's parents, so she knew firsthand how easily alcohol could destroy lives.
She finished off her sandwich and cleaned up before joining Lawrence in the family room to open their wedding gifts.
Lawrence marched over to select a wedding present. "Open this one first -- it's from Ron and Lela."
"How do you know?"
"When I arranged for the presents to be brought here, I told my secretary to make sure Ron's was on the top, because I knew we were having dinner with them when we got back. I also told her to put all the gifts from everyone at the firm on the sofa."
Lawrence was organized right down to the wedding gifts.
Jana sat down and began opening the present.
He joined her, paper and pen in hand. "I'll write down everything so that we won't make a faux pas by sending a thank-you note to the wrong person for the wrong gift." Lawrence gave her a reassuring smile. "Don't worry, baby; I'm going to teach you how to be the ideal wife."
Her mouth dropped open at the sight of what was in the gift box. "Lawrence..."
He glanced over and laughed. "That Ron -- he's crazy."
Jana eyed her husband. "What kind of man gives his friend lingerie like this for a wedding present?" She held up the skimpy, sheer material. Her sister had given her a lingerie-themed bridal shower, but none of the gifts she'd received had been as risqué as the teddy she was holding.
Lawrence was still laughing when he held up the thong briefs. "His-and-her lingerie -- only Ron."
Jana thought the gift was highly inappropriate and wasn't amused at all. What kind of people were Ron and Lela? Copyright © 2009 by Jacquelin Thomas
Meet the Author
Jacquelin Thomas is the national bestselling and award-winning author whose many adult novels include Defining Moments, Saved in the City, Soul Journey, A Change Is Gonna Come, The Prodigal Husband, and Singsation. A driving force in the world of Christian fiction, she is the founder and producer of the annual Faith-Based Arts Conference, an event showcasing authors in the Christian/Inspirational market.
Jacquelin Thomas' books have garnered several awards, including two EMMA awards, the Romance In Color Reviewers Award, Readers Choice Award, and the Atlanta Choice Award in the Religious & Spiritual category. She was nominated for a 2008 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction in the Young Adult category. Jacquelin has published in the romance, inspirational fiction and young adult genres.
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This book was just what I needed... to escape into the drama of these characters and out of my own (smile). Jacquelin Thomas definitely gave us what we wanted in this one! I enjoyed this because it was believable and captivating. I couldn't put it down once I read the first page.
This book was too long and boring. It appears the author was confused. I enjoyed her other books but this one was very disappointing.
JACQUELIN THOMAS HAS DONE IT AGAIN!!!!!!!! MS THOMAS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE AUTHORS. CHRISTIAN FICTION IS THE BEST. THIS STORY OPENS WITH JANA GETTING EVERYTHING SHE EVER WANTED. THE BEAUTIFUL HOME THE WONDERFUL HUSBAND AND A LIFESTYLE TO DIE FOR BUT AT WHAT COST. WHEN SOMEONE KEEPS ASKING YOU TO CHANGE THIS AND TO CHANGE THAT LOOK OUT, TROUBLE IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER. AND JANA FINDS HERSELF SMACK DEAD IN THE MIDDLE. LAWRENCE STARTS TO FLIP THE SCRIPT ON JANA AND SHE IS NOT ABLE TO HANDLE ALL OF THE SKELETONS THAT COME RUNNING OUT OF LAWRENCE'S CLOSET. THIS BOOK WOULD MAKE A GREAT WEDDING GIFT FOR YOUNG LADIES EVERYWHERE WEATHER YOU ARE SAVED OR NOT. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK. ENJOY........
I was so disappointed with this book and it was a struggle to finish because it bored me to pieces. The author kept repeating the same things over and over and over. The characters were not fully developed or engaging. The idea of this story was great, but it was written poorly. This is the first time I read a book from this author and I will not try any of her books in the future. KGB
I liked it I loved it !!!!!! Would read it over and over !!!!!!!!
This is an excellent book. It focused on Godly principles without being too preachy. Jacquelin uses many analogies in her books regarding biblical characters. This book also focused on how people can twist the bible to soothe their minds from their wrong doing.
This was a great book!
Could not put it down type books
Probably should noted that the content is very mature!!! Not your typical christian fiction...storyline has a strong point but probably most situations in this book wouldn't pertain to most christian marriages (hopefully). However...a good read for those that can relate.
I loved this book. It kept my attention from the very beginning. If you haven't read it, you gotta read it!