In fact, she gives a tinkling laugh. “You most certainly will not call security because I’m sure they’d be extremely annoyed to receive a request to throw Declan’s wife out of his office.”

For a moment, I’m sure that I misheard her. But then my ears start buzzing, my pulse pounding. Just by the way my body reacts, I know I heard her loud and clear.

“His wife?” I gasp, knowing my eyes are wide with shock. My cheeks heat from my anger.

To my horror, the woman gets a cunning smile, obviously taking absolute delight in what she sees on my face. And I know what she sees because I feel it deep in the center of my chest.

Complete shock, utter devastation, and absolute betrayal.

She attempts a sympathetic voice. “Oh, you poor girl. You’ve been diddling the boss, haven’t you? And it looks like you’ve fallen for him. You think he’s going to give you some lavish lifestyle, maybe pull you from the drudgery of being a secretary, don’t you?”

Her voice drips with false sympathies and condescension. My face burns in response because a good chunk of what she said is somewhat true. I have been diddling the boss, and I indeed fell for him. While I don’t give a shit about Declan’s money, I do love my job. I kind of thought that if things worked out with us, we would be a team in this business.

Gone is her piteous expression, her eyes cold. “Well, I’m sorry to inform you that you can’t have any of that because he’s married to me.”

I ignore the burn of shame as well as the fury rising within me. If Declan Blackwood were to walk in this office right now, I would very cheerfully kill him without a single regret about spending the rest of my life in prison for it.

But I am never, ever going to let this woman know she managed to destroy me in a matter of moments.

I draw up to my full height, crossing my arms over my chest. “I do not know what you are talking about, but Mr. Blackwood has never mentioned you. Now, you may very well be married to him, but he does not allow anyone in this office unless he’s in it. So, wife or not, you are going to have to leave. He’ll arrive from San Francisco around four PM. If you want to come back and talk to him, you may do so. If you continue to refuse to leave, I will call security.”

Declan’s wife leans forward in the chair, bracing her weight on her elbows as she shoots me a leering grin. “Loyal to the boss, aren’t you, little girl? He would be proud of you.”

She rises from the chair, grabs her handbag, and loops it into the crook of her arm. “I’ll do some shopping. If he comes back before I do, tell him that I stopped by and not to make plans tonight as we have a lot of catching up to do.”

There is nothing I can say in response to that. The minute she announced she was his wife, my dinner plans with the man became moot. I watch, unmoving, as she sashays out of his office without giving a backward glance. Her perfume makes me nauseous, and I wonder where she has been all this time. Moreover, how in the hell did Declan think he could get away with lying to me about this? Did he honestly think he could hide a wife?

When she disappears from sight, I trudge back to my desk. I settle down in my chair with a heavy sigh, then I bring up the internet.

I have never once googled Declan Blackwood. Everything I know about him was learned by word-of-mouth. Some from the other housekeeping staff. And, of course, I knew the Blackwood name. They were sometimes in the news from a business perspective.

Now, I type his name into the Google search bar, then add the word “wife” behind it.

My stomach rolls when articles and pictures load, showing Declan standing beside the woman who just walked out of here.

Her name is Madison Blackwood, and it looks like they were married roughly five years ago. There aren’t a lot of pictures because they aren’t true celebrities. But it seems they are mostly from black-tie events with other wealthy people or even some celebrities. I don’t see anything from the past two years, though, and that confuses me.

I’m not sure what this means except, bottom line… Declan lied to me. He kept something significant from me, which makes it even worse since I bared my soul about my own failed marriage. The minute I did that, he had a duty to admit he had an active one.

I move from Google over to Microsoft Word.

And I start to type out my letter of resignation.


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