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Soon To Be A Movie, This Psychological Thriller Traces the Threads of a Fraying Marriage

Read an excerpt of The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose.

the perfect marriage excerpt

Marriage is the most intimate of bonds. You share a home with this person. Sleep next to them. Build a future. That requires love—trust. But what if the one person you're supposed to be able to count on for anything shatters everything? That's exactly what happens in Jeneva Rose's The Perfect Marriage.

Sarah Morgan is a brilliant, tough-as-nails Washington, D.C. defense attorney. While her life is right on track, going exactly as she always hoped it would, her husband Adam isn't having the same luck. At a low, as he struggles with his writing career, he recaptures a small piece of joy by engaging in an affair with a beautiful young woman named Kelly Summers.

When Kelly is found brutally murdered in the couple's vacation home, Sarah's so-called perfect life begins to unravel. Adam has been accused of murdering his mistress. Now Sarah must step in as his lawyer. But is her husband truly innocent? Or did she marry not only a cheater, but a cold-hearted killer?

Since this gripping thriller was published in July of 2020, it has earned a place on the Publisher’s Weekly, Apple Books, and Amazon Charts bestseller lists. It became a viral sensation as it took TikTok by storm, and currently maintains the #5 slot on Kindle's Top 100. If you thought the good news ends there, you'd be wrong. Word recently broke that The Perfect Marriage is going to be adapted into film!

Picture Perfect Federation and Zurich Avenue have acquired the rights to the psychological thriller. Sigal Avin (Losing Alice) is set to direct, while Oscar-nominated William Broyles (Cast Away) will pen the script.

Read on for an excerpt of The Perfect Marriage, and then purchase the book.




The Perfect Marriage

By Jeneva Rose

It’s an hour later that I find myself face to face with a man by the name of Sheriff Ryan Stevens. He matches the rough description of millions of men on this planet. Sandy brown hair kept high and tight in typical, ex-military-turned-police fashion adorns his head, sitting just north of his intense green eyes. These eyes have seen a lifetime of experience already and show as much fatigue as the rest of his face. The detail that I notice the most, though, is how he carries himself. This is a man in charge; this is a man who cares about his work; and this is a man not to be crossed. Despite the lethargy and years of abuse to his body by his line of work, his spirit is matched by none, even deputies half his age.

I’m seated across from him in a small, disorganized office. Matthew is waiting for me in reception. I wanted him in here with me, but not until I knew what was going on. I still am unclear, and I have yet to see Adam, but I’ve been assured that he is all right and that I will be able to speak with him after I’ve talked to the sheriff regarding the incident my husband was involved in.

“Mrs. Morgan, thank you for your patience,” Sheriff Stevens says.

“Sarah is fine.”

“Ryan is fine as well.” There’s a bit of snark in his voice, but there’s kindness in his eyes. Whether that kindness is for me or not, I don’t know.

“What is going on?” I cross one leg over the other, leaning back in my chair.

“I need to ask you a few questions before you see Adam.”


“Was Adam with you last night?”

I take a moment to think of the night before. I came home late from going out with Anne. But Adam came home later than me. He said he had been at the lake house writing, which is the norm. He goes there to write frequently and stays there for days at a time. It was one of the main reasons we had gotten the lake house. He was having trouble for the longest time putting words on paper, and when he came to me with the idea of buying a vacation home close enough for him to work at, but far enough out of the city for us to vacation to, I was on board right away. It was the perfect solution. Although I’ve rarely been there. Anne’s spent more time there than I have. She spent a week there this past summer as a part of her Christmas bonus, one week paid time off at my lake house. It was nice she had the opportunity to use it for what we had intended it for—vacation. Work kept me too busy to take frequent weekend trips, but it turned Adam’s writing around. He’s been churning out pages like never before.

“Yes, at some point,” I finally land on.

“And what point was that?”

I pause trying to think over my answer carefully.

“Well, I had fallen asleep. But I woke up around 2am and he was there. He could have been home for much longer.”

Sheriff Stevens nods and jots down a few words on a pad of paper in front of him. He glances up at me and then writes down a couple more words. He chews on the end of his pen and glances at me again—this time, running his eyes over my body. “And that’s at your home in D.C., correct?”


“What happened after he got home?”

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  • Photo Credit: Josh Hild/Unsplash

“We talked.” I let out a small cough. “And we had sex.” I know something terrible has happened. This is an interrogation, and there’s no sense in holding any information back. Adam couldn’t have done anything wrong, so honesty is the only thing that is going to make this all go away, whatever this is.

“Is that usual for you two?”

“A husband and a wife having sex, Sheriff Stevens?”

“No, you and Adam?”

“What does this have to do with anything?” I’m irritated, and I’m done playing games with this small-minded sheriff. I tear apart men like him every day. I may be here as Adam’s wife, but I am a defense attorney.

The sheriff taps his pen against the desk. He’s waiting for me to speak as he has no intention of answering my question. He’s trying to get an understanding of Adam’s and my relationship, but why? What could he think Adam has done? Sure, we don’t have the perfect marriage, but who does? And why is it any of his business?

“We’re trying for a baby,” I say not actually answering his question, but side-stepping it. If he doesn’t answer my questions, I won’t answer his.

“Congratulations.” There’s a hint of sarcasm in his voice.

“Are we done?”

“No, Mrs. Morgan. Do you know a Kelly Summers?”

“No.” I let out a deep breath. Maybe she’s our cleaning lady? No, that’s not her name. I shake my head adding to my resounding no.

He nods and underlines something on his notepad. He selects a file folder from a stack of papers and pulls out an 8x10 photo, placing it in front of me. It’s a picture of a beautiful girl with long brown hair and sparkling blue eyes. She’s smiling. She’s younger—probably late twenties. She is a stark contrast to Sheriff Stevens, where he is serious, worn down, on a mission; she is carefree, letting life take her as it wants.

“This is Kelly Summers. Are you sure you don’t know her?”

I pull the photo a little closer and lean in really taking it in. Her beauty is truly captivating. Her freckles spread lightly along her nose, her lips are full, and her cheekbones are prominent.

“I don’t know her.” I push the photo back toward him. He nods, taking the picture and putting it back in the folder.

“Are you and Adam having marital problems?” He taps his fingers on the desk.

“You know what, Sheriff Stevens? This is getting ridiculous. I don’t know what Adam and I have to do with this Kelly woman, and I’ve had enough. I want to see my husband right now.” I’m half standing when Sheriff Stevens slams his hand on the desk.

“Sit down!”

“Or what? You’ll arrest me? Take me to my husband.” I stare him down. Although he is large, he is so small to me.

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  • Photo Credit: Sandy Millar/Unsplash

He flips open the folder and throws a dozen crime scene photos on the desk. Right away, I notice that they’ve all been taken in our lake house. A woman is lying in our bed, covered in blood. Her eyes are expressionless. Her torso and chest are mutilated, skin gouged and scraped. I drop my purse, and my hands immediately cover my mouth as I let out a gasp and a whimper.

I drop to the side of the desk regurgitating a bit of my lunch into my mouth. The acid burns as I try to force it back down, but this only makes my eyes well up with tears even more. And then it hits me. Now I know why I’m here. I feel a pat on my back. It’s Sheriff Stevens. He’s trying to calm me down.

“I’m sorry.” He hands me a Kleenex and keeps his hand on my back. I stand facing him, though my legs are a bit wobbly beneath me. I wipe my mouth and pat at my eyes, trying to compose myself. This isn’t like me. I don’t break down. I’m strong. He asks me if I’m okay and I nod. Where I once was just trying to figure out why I was here, I now need to go into lawyer mode, because this “kind and simple” sheriff routine is really the work of a seasoned pro, watching, calculating.

There’s a knock on the door. Sheriff Stevens keeps a hand on my shoulder—still trying to play nice. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I regain control of my breathing and attempt to compose myself.

The door opens, and I turn to find a tall black man in similar clothing as Sheriff Stevens. His eyes are cold, bloodshot, and they do not meet mine. He says, “He wants his lawyer.”

Sheriff Stevens nods. “Marcus, this is Sarah, Adam’s wife. This is Deputy Hudson.” I shake his hand.

His eyes bounce off me. There’s a rage in them. “Should I let him call his lawyer?”

Before Sheriff Stevens can speak, I interrupt. “There’s no need.”

“Why?” they both ask in unison giving each other a puzzled look.

“I’m his lawyer.”

Images: Josh Hild/Unsplash; Sandy Millar/Unsplash