By Shelia M Goss
“ ...Goss has an easy, flowing style with her prose...” ~ About Ruthless, Michelle Monkou, USA TODAY
Essence Magazine best selling author Shelia M. Goss is back with a novel that will have readers eagerly flipping the pages. THE JONESES will be available in paperback and ebook format from Strebor Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, on February 18, 2014.
About The Joneses
Keeping up with the Joneses isn’t all it’s made out to be. In this intriguing novel full of drama and plot twists, one family tries to hold on to their “perfect” life before their secrets, lies, and scandals are exposed.
On the outside, the Joneses seem like the ideal family: Royce Jones, a funeral home mogul, and his wife, Lexi, are parents to Charity, Hope, and Lovie—and everybody wants to be them. But it’s true that money can’t buy happiness, and the Joneses are harboring secrets that can’t stay hidden forever…It’s only a matter of time before the Joneses’ perfect life goes spinning out of control.
Chapter One Excerpt from THE JONESES
Everybody wants to be like the Joneses, but do they really know what we go through to maintain our status? I think not. Life as Lexi Jones hasn't always been a bed of roses especially when you're married to Royce Jones. To the outside world, Royce Jones is the perfect pillar of the community. He's taken his father's funeral home business and made it into a multimillion dollar company within the last ten years. He's been on the covers of several national magazines and interviewed for a variety of newspapers across the country.
So why am I sitting here at the country club, humiliated, because my platinum Visa card was declined? I can only imagine what those biddies are going to say if word gets out about this. Thankfully, I always carry cash on me, so I could take care of the bill.
"Mrs. Jones, it probably was just a simple mistake."
I frowned. "I'm sure. I'll call and get it straightened out."
The waitress couldn't even wait for me to get out of earshot. "Girl, what is this world coming to when the Joneses are having financial problems?"
Her friend responded, "That's just one card. I'm pretty sure she has more where that one came from."
I pushed my designer shades over my eyes and looked back at both of the women who had jealousy written all over their faces. I flashed my kilowatt smile, that I’d paid my dentist a mint for, and walked out of the country club.
The valet handed me the keys to my jet black Jaguar. The personalized license plates read BossLady.
I drove directly to RJ Jones Funeral Home. The parking lot was empty except for Royce’s and his assistant’s cars. I remember a time when the parking lot stayed full.
"Hi, Mrs. Jones," Shannon said, when I entered. Shannon was cute, young, and petite. If she wasn't Royce's little cousin, she wouldn’t be working in that position.
I didn’t tolerate women outside of the family working in close proximity to my husband. I already had to deal with the women in our town who always found a reason to flaunt themselves around him, so I refused to have to concern myself with any of his employees. That was a promise Royce and I made when I agreed to go along with him taking over his father's funeral home: no women workers unless they were related. And they had to be related to him; I didn't trust any of my female relatives. Many would chop off my head to replace me. Family, got to love them.
"Shannon, is my husband busy?" I asked. I had no time for formalities.
"He's in his office. You want me to ring him?" she asked.
"No need to." I walked past her and down the hall to Royce's office.
Royce had his chair turned toward the window so all I could see was his short, black, curly, hair. I can recall many days and nights of running my hands through it. Some of my friends' husbands looked their age, but not Royce. My husband was as handsome now as he was the day I met him over thirty-something years ago. He was about to turn fifty and could give any twenty-five-year-old a run for his money in the body department.
"Baby, I know you're there so you might as well say something," Royce said, right before turning the black leather chair around.
I pulled out my Visa card and threw it on the desk in front of him. "Tell me why my credit card was denied? And I want to know now."
I tapped my foot with my hands planted firmly on my hips.
Royce just stared up at me. "Have a seat, Lexi."
"Not until you tell me what's going on." I responded.
"If you take a seat, I will. I need to show you something." He fumbled on his desk for a folder.
I plopped down in the chair across from his desk. "This better be good."
"I've been meaning to have this talk with you, but it never seems like the right time. Now it seems like I have no choice."
I waved my finger back and forth in the air. "Yada, yada. Enough of that. Get to the point, and stop beating around the bush."
Royce looked me directly in my eyes. "Lexi, the funeral home has lost a lot of money, so I have to consolidate things until we get back on our feet financially."
I blinked a few times, because I knew I didn't hear what I thought I heard. "Come again?" I asked.
Royce reached for my hand on the desk and held it. "Baby, our money is low so we have to curb our spending."
I snatched my hands away. "Royce Lee Jones. Are you telling me that we're broke?"
Available in stores February 18, 2014.