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Marriage Meltdown

By:Emma Darcy


The seven year itch!

On the outside Gina Tyson seemed to have the perfect marriage-but inside

she ached with frustration at the distance Reid had placed between them.

So Gina decided to challenge her husband-and was shocked rigid by what

she heard. She had to do something to show him just how much she really

desired him- had always desired him. But she'd have to act fast if she didn't

want to lose him to another woman!

CHAPTER ONE

FROM an outsider's point of view, Gina Tyson had the perfect marriage.

Some days Gina could actually pretend it was. After all, she had a beautiful

home right on the shoreline at Bondi, Sydney's most famous and

picturesque beach. She had three lovely children, two boys and a girl. She

had a husband any woman would envy...on the surface. Not only was Reid

tall, dark and dynamically handsome, he was wealthy enough to deal with

life on his terms.

Nevertheless, surface was the key word. Her marriage was wonderfully

smooth and shiny up-front. Underneath, Gina was going slowly mad with

frustration. And behind the frustration was the gnawing fear that this was all

she could ever expect with Reid— house, family and a token man at her

side. Her husband lived his own life, which Gina felt was one step removed

from her, even when he was with her. As now.

She had cooked his favourite dinner tonight—escallops of veal in white

wine. He was enjoying it, too, at the other end of the table, not sharing his

enjoyment with her. The intimate eye contact and appreciative comments

she craved were not forthcoming. Indeed, none of the special effort she'd

made was having the desired effect. Which was hardly a recommendation

for the advice in the magazine articles on how to revitalise your marriage.

Her personal re-imaging was a miserable failure. If Reid had noticed any

difference in her appearance, it was obviously irrelevant to him. He

certainly hadn't been sparked into seeing her as a newly desirable woman.

Gina wondered if she should have been more daring.

She'd flirted with the idea of having her hair dramatically cut, but it had

always been long, and in the end she couldn't bear the thought of the

lustrous mass of rich brown locks dropping in limp, dead chunks onto the

salon floor. She had compromised. The thick waves were now cleverly

layered to her shoulders, giving her hair more bounce and curl.

The beautician had given her amber eyes a deeper, almost mysterious look

with artfully applied make-up. Her eyebrows were more neatly arched. She

was assured that the russet red of the lipstick and nail polish was a power

colour. It was all wasted on Reid, even the new clothes over which she'd

spent hours making up her mind.

To her. the black satin lounging trousers and the tiger print silk chiffon tunic

with the gold chain belt had seemed a sexy outfit, elegant and sensually

alluring. It hadn't raised so much as a flicker of interest Reid. Maybe if she'd

made a bolder choice, been bolder about everything... but it wasn't in her

nature to be bold.

Her Italian mother had drummed ladylike principles into her precious little

Gianetta from birth. A good Italian girl—never mind that Gina's father was

fourth- generation Australian—did not flaunt her body in an immodest

fashion. Clothes should grace women, not expose them. Perhaps, because

she had only been seventeen when her mother had died, Gina couldn't feel

comfortable betraying her advice, yet sometimes she wished she could be

like the women who had no shame at all in what they wore, or didn't wear.

On the other hand, maybe it simply wasn't possible to jolt Reid into

re-appraising her and her place in his life. Any change she made he would

view as purely superficial, like a change of decor in the house. If it pleased

her, that was fine by him. It wouldn't affect what he thought or felt or did.

Like her futile attempt at evoking a romantic mood with the table setting

tonight. Reid had remarked on the centrepiece of exotic tiger lilies and

golden candles, inquiring if she was experimenting for some future dinner

party. An innovative change from roses, he'd said. It didn't occur to him it

might be especially for the two of them. Gina had felt too deflated to tell

him.

There was no obvious romance in the dinner service. Reid didn't believe in

keeping the best for visitors or putting it aside for good, as her mother used

to. They dined in the dining room every night, using silver cutlery, Royal

Doulton or Spode crockery, the very finest crystal glasses—Lalique tonight.

It's not for show, it's for use, Reid insisted, when Gina worried about

breaking something. Nothing was irreplaceable, he invariably said, but Gina

didn't entirely agree with that sentiment.

She toyed with the food on her plate, unable to muster up an appetite. The

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