Hollywood Husbands are hot...Hollywood Husbands are dynamic...Hollywood Husbands are sexy...
Jack Python is the hottest Hollywood Husband of all. He rules nighttime T.V. and his controversial talk show burns up the ratings, while the women he encounters melt. With one expensive divorce behind him, and involved in a highly erotic affair with Oscar-winning actress Clarissa Browning, Jack Python has power, charisma, success, and money. But sometimes everything isn't enough.
Howard Soloman, head of Orpheus Studios, is the man, the Hollywood King. Anything Howard wants, he gets. Including women. The sweet smell of power and Howard's street-smart style reels them in. Working for billionaire studio owner Zachary Klinger, a man with a whim of iron, Howard has problems enough. And if Howard can't deliver daytime soap megastar Silver Anderson at Klinger's command, he may lose his footing at the top of the heap. Though in Hollywood it's said that when you fall, you fall up -- from the top Howard has nowhere to go but down.
Mannon Cable is a superstar. With great looks and a body to match, he is full of self-deprecating charm. Married briefly to gorgeous Whitney Valentine, who left him to become a television superstar, he was hit by the divorce where it really hurts -- his giant ego.
Jack Python, Howard Soloman, and Mannon Cable have been competitive friends for years. Yet when Jade Johnson enters their lives, the least-expected one of the self-styled "Three Comers" may have finally met his match.
Jade Johnson is a woman of the eighties. Strong, independent, a top New York model, she comes to L.A. for a series of million-dollar TV commercials. Jade is a dangerously beautiful woman with personal integrity and a mind of her own. The Hollywood game fails to impress her, but slowly, surely, she is sucked in. And, high roller that she is, if she must play, Jade will play to win.
HOLLYWOOD WIVES,with its ten-million copy sales, and its spectacular success as a television mini-series, left Jackie Collins' devoted audience avid for the other side of the story.
Jack Python walked through the lobby of the Beverly Hills Hotel with every eye upon him. He bad money, charisma, a certain kind of power, razor-sharp wit, and fame. It all showed.
He was six feet tall with virile good looks. Thick black hair worn just a tad too long, penetrating green eyes, a two-day stubble on a deep suntan, and a hard body. He was thirty-nine years old and he had the world by the balls.
Jack Python was one of the most famous talk show hosts in America.
"Hello, Jack," cooed a voluptuous woman sprayed into a tennis minidress.
He smiled his killer smile -- he had great teeth. Looked her over appreciatively, knowing eyes sweeping every curve. Standard greeting, "How's it going?"
She would have been happy to tell him, but be didn't break stride, just kept walking toward the Polo Lounge.
Several more people greeted him along the way. Two tourists paused to stare, and a very thin girl in a red tank top waved. Jack did not stop until be reached his destination. Table number one, a cozy leather booth directly facing the entrance of the Polo lounge.
A man was already seated there -- a man with a slightly manic look, clad in white sweats, black Porsche shades, and a Dodgers baseball cap. Jack slid in beside him. "Hiya, Howard," be said.
"Hiya, Jack," Howard Soloman replied with a wink. There was something about the perpetual motion of his features that gave him a crazed look. He was always mugging, crossing his eyes, sucking in his cheeks. In repose be was quite nice looking -- the face of a Jewish doctor who had strayed into the wrong business. However, his constant mugging gave the impression be didn't want anyone to find out. "What was the action last night?" he asked, restlessly rimming the top of his glass with a nervous index finger.
"You've been to one screening at the Goosebergers' house, you've been to 'em all," Jack replied easily.
"I coulda told you that," Howard said smugly.
"Why didn't you, then?"
Howard took a gulp of hot coffee. "Adventure is finding out for yourself."
Jack laughed. "According to you no movie is any good unless it comes from your studio."
Howard licked his lips and rolled his eyes. "You'd better believe it."
"So invite me to one of your screenings."
"I always invite you," Howard replied indignantly. "Is it my fault you never show? Poppy's insulted."
"That's because Clarissa has very particular taste," Jack explained patiently. "Unless it's a film she's been offered and turned down, or unless she's actually in it, she has no desire to see it."
"Actresses!" Howard spat.
'Tell me about 'em," agreed Jack, ordering Perrier and two eggs over easy.
Saturday morning breakfast at the Polo lounge bad once been a ritual for Jack and Howard and Mannon Cable, the movie star, who had yet to appear. Now they were all too busy, and it was a rare occasion when they were able to sit down to breakfast together.
Howard headed Orpheus Studios, a recent appointment and one be relished. Heading a studio had always been his big ambition, and now be was there, king of the whole fucking heap -- while it lasted. For Howard, like everyone else in Hollywood, realized that being a studio head was an extremely precarious occupation, and the position of great and mighty power could be snatched away at any given moment by faceless corporate executives who ran the film industry like a bank. Being a studio head was the treacherous no-man's-land between high-powered agent and independent producer. The saving speech of every deposed studio head was: "I need more creativity. My talent is stifled here. Too much to do and too little time. We're parting amicably. I'm going into indie prod." In the industry, indie prod (independent production, to the uninitiated) equals out on your ass. Canned. Can't cut it. Tough shit. Don't call us we'll call you. And so... most indie prods faded into oblivion after one failed movie.
Howard Soloman knew this only too well, and it scared him. He had struggled too long and too hard to allow it to happen to him. The one consolation be could think of was at least when you failed in Hollywood you failed up. Out at one studio -- in at another The old pals act reigned supreme Also, he was lucky. Zachery K. Klinger, the multipowerful magnate, owned Orpheus. And Zachary personally had hired him.
Tapping the tabletop with bitten-to-the-quick nails, be said, "Since Clarissa wasn't in the goddamn movie, I guess it was one she vetoed. Right?"
"Her decision made her very happy last night," Jack replied gravely. "Termsof Endearment it wasn't." He extracted a pair of heavy horn-rim glasses from his top pocket and put them on. He didn't need them to see, but as far as be was concerned they took the curse off his good looks. So did the two-day growth of stubble he carefully cultivated.
Jack did not realize the glasses and the incipient beard made him all the more attractive to women. Ah... women... the story of his life. Who would have thought in seventh grade that shy and studious Jack Python would have developed into one of the great lovers of the century? He couldn't help the effect he had on women. One penetrating glance and they were his. No rock star had a better track record.
Not that Jack went out chasing. It had never been necessary. From the onset of puberty and his first conquest at fifteen, women had fallen across his path with monotonous regularity. Most of his life be bad indulged shamelessly. One, two, three a week. Who counted? A brief marriage at twenty-five barely stopped him in his tracks. Only luck and a certain sixth sense had prevented him from catching various sexual diseases. Of course now, in the eighties, it was only prudent to be more careful. Plus be felt a more serious image was in order, and for a year be had been desperately trying to live down his loverboy reputation. Hence his relationship with Clarissa Browning. Clarissa was a serious actress with a capital S. She had won an Oscar and been nominated twice. No bimbette movie star she.
"I'd like to get Clarissa to do a film for Orpheus," Howard said, chewing on a roll.
"Have you anything in mind?"
"Whatever she wants. She's the star." Reaching for the butter, he added, "Why don't you tell her to call me direct. if I operate through her schmuck agent, nothing'll get done." He nodded, pleased with his own idea. "Clarissa can whisper in my ear what she wants to do, and then I'll do the dance of a thousand agents."
"Why don't you phone her?" Jack suggested.
Howard hadn't thought of anything as simple as that "Would she mind?"
"I don't think for her. Give it a shot."
"That's not a bad idea...." His attention wandered. "Christ!" he exclaimed "Will ya Look at that ass!"
Jack cast an appraising glance at a very impressive rear end clad in tight white pants exiting the Polo Lounge. Recognizing the sway, he smiled to himself -- Chica Hernandez -- Queen of the Mexican soaps. He would know that sway anywhere, although he didn't let on to Howard. Kiss and tell had never been his style. Let the tabloids guess their smutty little hearts out. Jack never boasted about his many conquests, even though it drove Howard and the other guys crazy. They wanted names and details, and all they got was a smile and a discreet silence.
Since his year-long affair with Clarissa there wasn't much to tell. A couple of production assistants, an enthusiastic bit-part actress, a Eurasian model. All one-night stands. As far as he was concerned he had been scrupulously faithful. Well, with a woman like Clarissa Browning in your life, you couldn't be too careful. Their romance was headlines; be had to watch his every move.
Jack Python was smart, charming, a concerned citizen interested in maybe pursuing a political career one day. (Hey -- remember Reagan?) And although he understood women very well -- or thought he did -- he still believed (subliminally, of course) in the old double standard. It was okay for him to indulge in the occasional indiscretion; after all, a quick lay meant nothing to a man. But God forbid Clarissa ever did it.
The young actor on top of her obliged. Although in shock, be was managing to perform nevertheless. Well, he was twenty-three years old, and at twenty-three a hard-on is only a hand-shake away.
Clarissa Browning had done more than shake his hand. Shortly after their first meeting on the set of the film they were appearing in together, she had requested his presence in her dressing room. He went willingly. Clarissa was a star, and this was only his second movie.
She offered him a glass of white wine and a pep talk about his role. Even though it was only ten o'clock in the morning he accepted both gratefully. Then, in clipped tones, pushing strands of brown hair away from her delicate but interesting features, she said, "You do know that on film reality is the core of everything."
He nodded respectfully.
"You play my lover," she said. Clarissa was twenty-nine years old, with a long face, limpid eyes, a nose just saved from being too long, and a thin line of a mouth. In life she received no awards for beauty. However, she had proved more than once that her ordinary looks created incandescent magic in front of a camera.
"I'm looking forward to it," the young actor said enthusiastically.
"So am I," she replied evenly. "Realize, though, that anticipation is not enough. When we interact on screen it has to be real. We have to generate excitement and passion and longing. She paused. He coughed. "So," she continued matter-of-factly. "I believe in working our roles through before we get in front of the camera. That way we are never caught with our pants down -- metaphorically speaking, of course."
He tried for a laugh and wondered why he was beginning to perspire.
"Let's make love and get it out of the way," she said, her intense brown eyes challenging his.
Who was be to argue? He forgot about his California blond perfect girlfriend with thirty-six-inch boobs and the longest legs in town.
Clarissa reached over, unzipped his levi's, and they went to work. Even though he was shell-shocked to be sticking it to Clarissa Browning. The Clarissa Browning. Who would believe it?
When they were finished she said briskly, "Now we'll both be able to concentrate and make an excellent film. Just know your lines backwards. Listen to our admirable director, and become the character you're playing. Live the role. I'll see you on the set."
Just like that, he was dismissed.
As the young actor left her dressing room, Clarissa reached for a thermos of vegetable juice and poured herself a small glass of the nourishing liquid. She sipped it thoughtfully. Interaction with her fellow actors, that's what real theater was all about. Making love to the young man had put him at ease, given him the confidence be would need for the difficult role. He would no longer be in awe of her -- Clarissa Browning, Oscar-winning actress. He would see her as a passionate woman, flesh and blood, and react accordingly. This was crucial, although some people would think she was mad if she confided that she always made love to her on-screen lovers.
She sipped her juice reflectively. It worked. And she had an Oscar to prove it.
Jack Python would throw a fit if be ever found out. Macho chauvinist. All-made stud. Did be honestly believe she didn't know about his little dalliances?
She laughed quietly to herself. Jack Python -- the man with the wandering...
Ah, well... as long as it didn't wander too far. Right now it suited her to have Jack as her permanent lover. Who knew what the future held?
"I got a friggin' heart palpitation yesterday," Howard Soloman announced with a grim expression.
"What?" Jack wasn't quite sure he'd heard correctly.
"My friggin' heart," Howard continued in outraged tones, "started bouncin' around like a Ping-Pong ball."
Jack had long ago decided Howard was a hypochondriac and changed the subject. "Where's Mannon?" he asked. "Is he coming?"
"Mannon would come every day of his life if he could," Howard said slyly.
"We all know that," Jack agreed.
Mannon Cable -- movie star, director, producer, hot property (in Hollywood when you're hot you're hot -- when you're not you may as well be dead) made his entrance. Like Jack before him, he caused every pair of eyes to swivel to get a better look. In fact, Mannon actually stopped conversation. He was handsome. If you threw Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds, and Paul Newman into a blender, you would come up with Mannon Cable. His eyes were cobalt blue. His skin sun-kissed to a sexy leather brown. His hair a dark dirty blond. His body powerful. Six feet four inches. "Every inch a winner," he would mock when he made frequent guest appearances on the Carson show.
He was forty-two years old. Fit. Fast. And right up there box-office-wise with Stallone and Eastwood. Mannon Cable was hitting a peak.
"Hey -- I'm one hungry sonofabitch," he said, sliding into the booth. He grinned. He had the I am a big movie star grin down pat. He also bad a great set of caps (lost the shine on his originals when he labored as a stuntman for a couple of years), which enabled him to grin from here to eternity without any trouble at all. "What are y'all eating?"
"Eggs," replied Jack, stating the obvious.
"Looks like a couple of fried-egg tits to me." Mannon laughed.
"Everything looks like tits to you," Jack replied. "You should see a shrink, you've got big problems."
Mannon roared. "The only big problem I've got is my dick. You should have such problems." He signaled the waiter and proceeded to order an enormous breakfast.
Jack stared at Mannon and Howard. Sometimes he wondered why the three of them remained friends. They were all so different now. And yet, whenever he got to thinking about it, he knew why. The truth was they were brothers under the skin, sharing their pasts. They had made it to the top together, and nobody could split them up -- although many a wife and girlfriend had tried.
Howard had gone through three wives, and was currently on his fourth, the curvaceous Poppy. He had children everywhere. Mannon was still carrying a torch for his first wife, Whitney, and the new one, Melanie-Shanna, had not yet killed the flame. Jack had Clarissa, although deep down he knew she wasn't the right woman for him -- a knowledge he refused to admit.
"I've got a great idea," Manson said suddenly. "Why don't we fly down to Vegas next month? Just the three of us. We never get to see each other anymore. We could play the tables, raise hell, cause some trouble, just like old tunes. Whaddya say?"
"Without the wives?" Howard asked hopefully.
"You bet your cojones without the wives," Mannon said quickly.
"We'll drop 'em off at Neiman's -- they'll never even notice we're gone."
Mugging excitedly, Howard said, "I like the idea," forgetting that Poppy would singe his balls if he tried to go away without her. This one was a clinger, as opposed to the three before her who were strictly takers.
"How about it, Jack?" Mannon looked at his friend expectantly.
Jack had promised Clarissa a week in New York. Long walks through the Village. Off-Broadway theater. Never-ending dinners with her strange, broke friends. Guess who would pick up the check.
He hated walking, only liked movies, and her so-called friends were a pain in the ass.
"Yes," he said. "Set it up. Work permitting, you can definitely include me in."
There have been many imitators, but only ever one Jackie Collins.
The iconic British author has been called a “raunchy moralist” by the director Louis Malle and “Hollywood’s own Marcel Proust” by Vanity Fair.
With millions of her books sold in more than forty countries, and with thirty-one New York Times bestsellers to her credit, she is one of the world’s top-selling novelists.
From glamorous Beverly Hills bedrooms to Hollywood move studios; from glittering rock concerts in London to the yachts of Russian billionaires, Jackie Collins chronicled the scandalous lives of the rich, famous, and infamous from the inside looking out.
“I write about real people in disguise,” she once said. “If anything, my characters are toned down—the truth is much more bizarre!”
Her first novel, The World is Full of Married Men, was published in 1968 and established Collins as an author who dared to step where no other female writers had gone before. She followed it year after year with one successful title after another, including Chances, the first installment of a sprawling nine-book saga introducing the street-smart, sexy, and dynamic Lucky Santangelo. The eighties saw Jackie hitting her stride with the seminal blockbuster, Hollywood Wives, as well as Lucky, Hollywood Husbands, and Rock Star. In recent years she kept fans entertained with Poor Little Bitch Girl, The Power Trip, and her final novel, The Santagelos, never wavering on her commitment to take her readers on a “wild ride”!
Six of her novels have been adapted for film or TV and Universal Pictures has recently optioned the Santangelo series with a view to bringing Lucky to the big screen.
Jackie was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) by the Queen of England in 2013 for her services to literature and charity. When accepting the honor she said to the Queen, “Not bad for a school drop-out”—a revelation capturing her belief that both passion and determination can lead to big dreams coming true.
Jackie Collins lived in Beverly Hills where she had a front row seat to the lives she so accurately captured in her compulsive plotlines. She was a creative force, a trailblazer for women in fiction and in her own words “A kick-ass writer!”