The Marriage Secret
by Kim Lawrence

Chapter One

"Can I help you?" The slight figure clad in an ankle-length trench coat didn't appear to hear the security guard.

The newest addition to the security team at Lynch Compusoft cleared his throat and raised his voice to a less apologetic level. "I'm afraid, Miss...Miss!" he called out, deserting his post to intercept the intruder.

As he spoke the diminutive figure stiffened and came to an abrupt halt. When she turned, a cloud of rich chestnut hair whipped across her pale, almost pretty face.

"Mrs!" Emily corrected him firmly.

She took a calming breath — she could hardly blame a total stranger for mistaking her married status when her own husband forgot it when it suited him...and just lately it seemed to suit him most of the time, she brooded darkly.

"Sorry, but I'm afraid I need to see some identification."

"I'm Mrs. Lynch." The guy didn't look like this was ringing any bells for him. "Mrs. Finn Lynch." Your boss, she felt like adding, the genius — according to certain reputable financial journals — who, in 10 years, had turned the software company that bore his name from a one-man operation into a globally recognizable brand name.

"I'm just going up to see my husband. Don't worry, he's expecting me…" The last bit was a blatant lie, but Emily felt she was entitled to the odd half-truth under the circumstances.

Circumstances being in this case a husband who was lying, selfish rat!

The young man's expression hardened perceptibly.

"You'll have to come up with a better one than that! Mr. Lynch is here, but Mrs. Lynch is already with him and has been all night!" he revealed with an air of triumph.

So what's new, Emily felt like asking.

Emily hadn't minded — well not much — that Finn seemed to have forgotten it was their third anniversary. In her mood of euphoria she'd been inclined to forgive him almost anything — almost!

During the three years they'd been together Emily had got used to Finn's unique concept of time. So for the first hour she'd spent waiting for him this evening, she had managed to carry on smiling, anticipating the expression on his face when she finally got to share her news.

It wasn't until he was three hours late and the meal she'd lovingly prepared was a shriveled mess that her resentment had kicked in, big time!

"Hello, Maeve speaking."

Hearing the husky tone of Finn's glamorous ex-wife Maeve answering the phone when she'd rang his office had transformed Emily's resentment into full-blown rage!

"I'll have to ask you to leave," the security guard announced brusquely, interrupting her thoughts.

"Mrs. Lynch... How are you?"

Emily turned to see a familiar figure clad in the same security uniform as the young man. "Very well, thanks, Alec. I was just on my way up to see Finn," she explained as the older man escorted her past his stunned looking junior toward the lift.

"I've brought some dinner for him." She held aloft the bag into which she'd scooped the miserable remains of their celebratory dinner.

"Have a nice meal," Alec said as he pushed the lift button for her. She took a deep breath, preparing herself for what she was about to find.

Sitting side by side on the chunky leather sofa in Finn's office, her husband and his ex-wife were chinking glasses as Emily, her chin up but her heart breaking, walked in. They didn't hear her; they were too wrapped up in each other.

"Happy anniversary, darling," Emily drawled, emptying the contents of her bag into her husband's lap.