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A Dangerous Passion
A Dangerous Passion
Copyright @ 2009
This e-book is a work of fiction. While references may be made to actual places or events, the Names, characters, incidents, and locations within are from the author’s imagination and are not a resemblance to actual living or dead persons, businesses, or events. Any similarity is coincidental.
Aurora CO 80047-3543
First published by
Press, May, 2009
This book is licensed to the original purchase only. Duplication or distribution via any means is illegal and a violation of International Copyright Law, subject to criminal prosecution and upon conviction, fines and/or imprisonment. The e-book cannot be legally loaned or given to others. No part of this e-book can be shared or reproduced without the express permission of the publisher.
Released in the
United States of America
Editor: Kara Griffin
Cover artist: Amanda Kelsey
Sarah Miller glanced at the oversized clock on the bank wall over the teller’s head, and sighed with exhaustion.
. It had been a long day at the bank, and she was ready to go home. All she had were fifteen more minutes and then she could relax...and leave.
“Sarah, can I see you in my office?”
With a pen still in her hand, she looked up from the ledger on her angled desk and into the light brown eyes of Edgar Patterson. He was her employer. For the past year, he had also been her fiancé.
“Pardon?” Sarah said, even though she had quite clearly heard what had been asked of her.
Edgar smiled indulgently and, as he put his hands on his hips, slid his charcoal gray suit coat back with his forearms. It was a common posture for him, one he assumed gave him an authoritative bearing, though he never quite realized that it also made his slowly but steadily growing belly more pronounced.
“I’d like to see you in my office in five minutes.”
He spoke the words softly, but Sarah knew he had issued a command that she could not disobey. She nodded, giving her silent acquiescence to his authority. It wasn’t enough for Edgar. He stood there, looking at her coolly, with just a hint of condescension in his eyes to let her and the other bank clerks know beyond doubt that he was in charge of their livelihood. At the bank, his word was unquestioned law.
Several weighty, silent seconds ticked by. Sarah felt an embarrassed blush rise in her cheeks. She didn’t look around, but she could sense the eyes of her coworkers spying on her, all of them aware her off-work relationship with Edgar, each one wondering whether she would humbly bow to his authority, or if she would finally stand up to him.
“Yes,” she heard herself say, the single word coming out wooden, emotionless. Edgar continued to merely stare straight into her eyes, and after several more embarrassing seconds, she added, “Yes…sir.”
The right side of Edgar’s mouth pulled up in the most subtle of smiles. It was as much of an outward sign of victory as he allowed himself. He looked around, making sure that every one of his clerical staff at the First Bank & Trust of Deadwood had witnessed how he had commanded both respect and submission to his dominant authority—even from his fiancée. Everyone knew that if he could treat her like worthless chattel, then surely he could crush the rest of them beneath his boots without thinking twice about it.
He turned on his heel and walked past the heavy oak door with his name prominently painted on it, along with his impressive-sounding title of “Executive Vice President”.
Edgar Patterson could have privately spit on Sarah and caused her less pain than the public humiliation.
At the desk just to her right sat Ellie Mae Olson. She was twenty, frightfully thin, emotionally intense, and Sarah’s best friend at the bank. Ellie Mae was also, by her own admission, the world’s busiest busybody.
From the corner of her mouth, Ellie Mae whispered, “I’ll bet he wants to get fresh with you again.”
Sarah groaned. This was not the conversation she wanted to have with Ellie Mae.
“Don’t say that. Don’t tease me about Edgar.” She spoke the words softly, each syllable hinting at inner pain that the high-spirited Ellie Mae just didn’t seem to understand. “Edgar’s not…not everything you imagine.”
“He’s worth a fortune, and he adores you,” Ellie Mae shot back, keeping her voice low, a grin on her lips as she looked at her best friend. “I don’t care about what he’s not. What he is, is rich enough to keep you in comfort and style for the rest of your life. All you have to do is walk down the aisle with him, say ‘I do’ when the preacher tells you to, and after that your life is a cake walk. There isn’t anything that you won’t be able to afford.”
Sarah sighed again. If only it were all just as easy as that!
“And once you marry him,” Ellie Mae continued, warming to a subject that had fascinated her since the beginning of Sarah’s engagement, “then you can guarantee that your brother will get the best doctoring in the world.”
Tersely, Sarah said, “Don’t remind me about my obligations to my brother. That’s almost all I ever think about.”
“He’s got tuberculosis. That sanitarium in
has got to be costing you every red cent you make here at the bank. Why not just get over your marriage jitters and make it official with Edgar? I’m sure he’d be more than happy to help out the invalid kid brother of his wife.”
“It’s not that simple.”
Nastily, Ellie Mae—who was always aware of the cost of things—commented, “Or maybe you’re just a ninny? If Edgar had asked me to marry him, I wouldn’t have let a week pass before we shared our matrimonial bed. Is it what happens in bed that you’re all afraid of?”
“Ellie Mae...please...I’m asking you nicely...please don’t press me on this.”
“Fine. If that’s what you really want. But I’m your best friend, and a best friend is supposed to put some sense into her best friend’s head if she doesn’t have it there on her own.” She looked heavenward, as though perhaps celestial powers might be necessary to get Sarah to agree to Ellie Mae’s way of thinking. In a more gentle voice, she added, “I’m only trying to see that you don’t mess up the chance of a lifetime. The minute Edgar puts that ring on your finger all your worries are over. There’s nothing that you’ll want that you can’t have.”
Nothing...except happiness, Sarah thought, though she kept this unpleasant truth to herself. She understood that Ellie Mae only wanted the best for her, and for that Sarah was grateful. But sometimes she wished that her dear friend wasn’t so obsessed with what she perceived as an inseparable link between money and love.
“You had better go,” Ellie Mae warned. “You know how he gets whenever you don’t hurry when he calls for you.”
Ellie Mae’s words, though spoken with the best of intentions, lacerated Sarah’s pride. Yes, she was all too aware of how angry Edgar got whenever she didn’t genuflect and grovel for him. But unlike Ellie Mae, Sarah didn’t believe that living in a fancy mansion and having money to burn were the only things that a woman lived for.
Sarah set her pen down on the horizontal holder at the top of her desk, closed the lid to her ink well, then eased off her chair. The bank had five employees, and Sarah could sense them all looking at her out of the corners of their eyes.
Ellie Mae whispered, “Remember to smile. He likes it when you smile.”
Sarah went to Edgar’s office, smoothing out the wrinkles in her dress at the tops of her thighs that had been created by sitting at her desk all day. If Edgar didn’t like something about her appearance, he didn’t hesitate to let her know of his disappointment.
Her stride unconsciously faltered just a moment before she stepped through the threshold. She stopped in the doorway. Edgar sat behind his enormous mahogany desk, leaning back in the oversized leather swivel chair that he’d had specially shipped to the bank from
“Hello, Sarah,” he said, a half-smile touching his lips. “Come in and close the door.”
“I’d rather it remain open.” She saw anger flash in his eyes at her refusal. To mitigate his fury, she turned the onus on herself by saying, “For appearances. You don’t need gossipy tongues talking about you. Not with the wonderful reputation the Pattersons have in Deadwood. Remember your political ambitions.”
He pushed himself heavily out of his chair, and walked around his desk. Taking Sarah by the elbow, he half-pushed her to the far corner of the office—where they couldn’t be seen by the tellers and accountants in the main area of the office.
“There are people just outside the office.”
Edgar chuckled softly, lustfully. “That’s part of the fun of it.” At five-foot-seven, he was five inches taller than Sarah, which wasn’t really enough to tower over her, though he was muscular enough to be physically intimidating. He put the middle knuckle of a curled forefinger to Sarah’s chin, forcing her face to tilt upward. “Now give me a kiss.”
Sarah squirmed when Edgar’s lips pressed tightly against her own. She wasn’t surprised when he immediately tried to force his tongue between her lips. He always did that whenever she allowed him to kiss her, even though she had expressed her displeasure in the act. She clenched her teeth and shivered when the tip of Edgar’s tongue forced its way between her lips and teeth.
When Sarah forcibly turned her face away, Edgar kissed the silky flesh of her throat. As he did this, his arms went around her, both hands going low to cup her buns, fondling her through a gray cotton skirt and white cotton bloomers.
“Edgar, please, I don’t want to do this...”
The banker brought his tongue up the side of Sarah’s throat until he reached her ear. There, he caught her earlobe between his teeth and bit her hard enough to cause pain.
“Shhh!” Edgar hissed. “You’re the one that’ll draw the attention from the idiots out there.” His fingers kneaded Sarah’s generously curved backside. When she reached behind herself to push his hands away, the move caused her heavy, rounded breasts to press against Edgar’s chest. The sensation of firm, plump breasts rubbing against him prompted a groan of pleasure to rumble out of his chest. “Sarah, stop squirming. I only want to talk to you.”
Sarah put her hands on Edgar’s velvet waistcoat. She tried to push him away, but he had maneuvered her into the corner, and though she was not a small woman, she could not push Edgar so much as a single step backward.
With suspicion in her eyes, she whispered, “What did you want to talk to me about?”
“Our wedding. I want to set a date.”
“I...I can’t do that. Not just yet.”
“Yes, you can.” Edgar’s right hand eased around Sarah’s hip, his palm gliding boldly over her feminine curves until he held a hand-filling breast through blouse and camisole. “My god, look at these big things!”
“Edgar, I don’t like being referred to as a ‘thing.’”
Sarah inhaled sharply when he squeezed her breasts, clumsy fingers searching for nipples through layers of clothing. Despite the annoyance in her tone, she wasn’t trying to push his hand away.
“You’ve got to keep these,” Edgar continued, leaning into his fiancée now, using both hands on her breasts. “Keep these, but lose some of this before the wedding.” His put his hand to Sarah’s stomach and pinched hard enough to make her flinch in pain. He chuckled. “Promise me you’ll do that.”
With a sweeping move, Sarah slapped Edgar’s hands from her body. With her back to the wall, she looked up into his eyes and said flatly, “Look, once we’re married, it’ll be different.”
“We don’t have to wait.”
Through clenched teeth, Sarah replied, “Yes, we do.”
“So you say. But you and I both know there can be exceptions to your rules.”
Sarah closed her eyes. Yes, she was painfully aware that she had made exceptions. A year earlier she had lost her virginity to Edgar. He had been so insistent and his words so seductive that despite her protests and better judgment, her willpower crumbled under Edgar’s ardor. And there had been another moment of weakness when she’d given in to Edgar’s lust. While her first sexual encounter held elements of romance to it, the second time had been a tawdry experience for Sarah, and she had insisted to Edgar that it could never happen again. It had happened right there in the office, with the door closed and her coworkers at their work desks within the bank, Edgar had bent Sarah over his desk, raised her skirt and lowered her knickers, and took his satisfaction from her. It had been a harsh encounter, short-lived but fever-pitched, and when it was over Sarah had felt cheapened, violated.