Dominique twirled her dainty parasol for the hundredth time that afternoon. Unable to suppress
the delighted grin from her face, she glanced down again to revel in the sight of her new dress and
shoes. Not to mention new underthings, a purse, and even a fashionable new hat. She couldn’t
remember feeling quite so pleased with life since before her parents had been taken from her.
She hurried toward the bank, carefully crossing the street in effort to beat anyone else that might
be applying for the teller position. It had just been posted the previous afternoon, and though it was
unlikely they would consider hiring Dominique, she certainly felt more confident and assured wearing
her new clothes. The gnawing feeling within threatened to return and Dominique’s steps slowed just a
bit as her conscience reminded her she was wearing such beautiful new clothes only because she had
given her virginity to a stranger in the dark upstairs room of a lurid tavern.
Had it really been only three nights since her life had been forever changed by the man she knew
only as Derek? It seemed an eternity had passed since that name began haunting her sleep, and even
now kept popping up in her mind with increasing and disturbing frequency. She knew not even his
surname, nothing of his family, or where he lived. Dominique knew only that his was a face she would
never forget. Not only because of its stark beauty, though Dominique readily admitted he was easily the
most striking man she had ever seen. It was the knowing glare of his piercing blue eyes, the cynical set of
his otherwise perfect mouth, and the nonchalant attitude he took toward fornication. A chill swept up
Dominique’s spine at the vivid picture that flitted through her mind, that of his body driving inside hers
as he commanded her to look at him. Look at me when I’m inside you.
Leaning against the building, Dominique stopped to clear the dizzying panic such thoughts made
her feel. She wiped the perspiration from her brow and cursed herself a fool for allowing the man to
cause her such guilt even days after the deed had been committed. He had no doubt long forgotten the
entire ordeal. She had been nothing more than a new notch for his undoubtedly worn bedpost.
The realization was mortifying, yet Dominique knew she’d had no choice. She would most likely be
dead by now if she hadn’t accepted Joel’s proposition on his friend’s behalf. It was thanks to him that
she’d acquired a very modest home to rent, clothes to cover her back, and food to warm her stomach.
Dominique was determined to find employment this very day. The funds Joel had paid her would
not last forever and she refused to become destitute again. It was only the determination to forget that
fateful night with Derek that kept Dominique from going to Joel’s residence and begging a job, no
matter that he’d offered freely. Being near Joel would be a constant reminder of the horrible sin she’d
committed and the impossibility of ever undoing what she had done.
A bit more calm by the time she reached the bank, Dominique steeled herself and entered the
establishment. Its interior was impressive, and Dominique knew she would be very fortunate to work in
such a grand place. The curious stares of the men went unnoticed as she headed alone to the imposing
manager seated behind a massive desk. Taking a seat, Dominique cleared her throat in nervousness