Secrets, Lies, and Online Dating

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Marianne Larson stood before the apartment door of her husband’s latest fling with his two suitcases in hand, determined, scared, and mad as hell. Birds twittered happy songs in the early spring afternoon in North Dallas, but it could have been a death dirge for all she cared.

Like an overcooked steak, she felt fried, burnt to a crisp, and emotionally overdone. She had finally let go of the idea that marriage is forever. Each breath she took felt like a fifty-pound bowling ball resting on her chest.

Marianne dropped the two bulging suitcases onto the concrete walk and waited for the constable to step out of sight. She shoved her blonde hair away from her face, yanked back her shoulders, and lifted her shaking fingers to the doorbell.

Her new life was about to begin.

A shadow filled the peephole, and hushed, panicked voices echoed from inside the apartment. She recognized her adulterous, soon-to-be ex-husband’s voice. The door opened as far as the security chain allowed.

A blonde woman peeked through the gap with a too-wide, fake smile. Marianne blinked in disbelief at the girl’s thigh high boots, clinging thong, and bustier. A leather whip was still in her hand, the perfect accessory to her dominatrix outfit.

“Marianne! What a surprise.”

For a moment, Marianne stared, stunned, before hysterical laughter bubbled up from deep within her. She recognized the girl from the company picnic, but leather? Whips?

At her laughter, the girl’s russet eyes darkened.

“Yes, a surprise for both of us. I never knew Daniel was into…” Marianne stumbled over the word “…games.” She gathered her wits. “I brought Daniel his clothes.”

The woman’s dark eyes widened. “Here? Whatever for?”

“Look, I know Daniel is inside. His BMW is in the parking lot. You’re not the first one to climb on top of him while earning a promotion, though I see you have a unique way of securing your advancement.”

Daniel’s reddened face appeared in the doorway, his body hidden by his dominatrix. “Marianne, what are you doing here?”

“Bringing you your clothes.”

Marianne gazed upon her college sweetheart, her heart void of the love it once held. Daniel shoved his lover aside, slid back the security chain, and yanked the door open.

“Honey, you know this means nothing.”

The view of her husband with a leather choke collar around his neck and a leather thong clinging to his loins brought uncontrollable laughter spewing from her like a fountain. How could she not have known that he was into sexual games?

The constable standing to the side muffled his snicker.

“You’re right. Your cheating means nothing anymore.”

Daniel flinched.

She handed the bulging suitcases to the man she’d once loved.

“Here are your things,” Marianne said, trembling from nerves, though she’d never felt more certain in her life. “And Constable Warren has something for you.”

The constable stepped into the breezeway. “Are you Daniel Larson?”

“Yes?”

The officer shoved the paperwork into Daniel’s hand. “Consider yourself served.”

“Marianne?” Daniel questioned, his voice rising as he tore open the envelope. “What the hell is this?”

“It’s called a divorce. You’ve cheated on me for the last time.”

His dark eyes widened as he scanned the contents of the document.

Daniel lifted his shocked gaze to her. “You can’t be serious! You locked me out of our home?”

“Yes. I’ll see you in court,” she said, wanting to escape before the scene turned ugly.