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Jeannie Van Eperen
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“Where’s the youngster? Grant asked.
“Church,” Derek answered. “Between that and St. Benedict’s I’ll make a priest out of him yet.”
Priest! The word flung into Devlyn’s brain and buried itself there. He could not believe his ears. A priest! I don’t want to be a priest. He remembered that St. Benedict’s was a seminary as well as a boarding school. He was thunderstruck. A priest, for Pete’s sake! A priest! He’d have even less freedom than he had now. He tried to shut out the thought.
Derek Devereaux looked out of the window from his villa overlooking the sea and the city. He had decided not to take a room in his Good Times Club. He’d have to be there most of the day and night, and when his work was finished, he wanted to be away from the place, alone with Lotta. They hadn’t been alone for some time.
Derek usually woke up early. He liked morning best. He had grown up on a small farm in Minnesota and had gotten used to waking early to finish chores before heading for school. Little did he dream then that he would one day head an organization like Devereaux Enterprises. If the war hadn’t come and if he hadn’t been drafted and then used his G.I. Bill to go to college, it might never had come to be. He might still be on a Minnesota farm grubbing for a living.
Well, he was glad he wasn’t on that Minnesota farm. Fortunately, the young people of today thought they invented sex, and he, along with Hugh Hefner, cashed in on their attitudes in a big way. Yes, he was happy to be right where he was and glad sexy images were in vogue. Nineteen sixty-four had been a turning point for him, and now in the seventies, things were even better. He chuckled to himself, thinking of how two people seemed to invent things at the same time. Didn’t someone else discover electricity about the same time as Ben Franklin? And the automobile? Wasn’t more than one person credited with that? He didn’t mind competing with the Playboy Clubs. Competition was healthy, and somehow, it made his Good Time Clubs appear more legitimate. And he was smart enough not to rely on just booze and broads. He diversified. He had holdings in a lot more than clubs and magazines.
With a sigh of contentment, he thought it was satisfying even to be away from Chicago, from Kenilworth, from his son, Devlyn, who had Melissa’s eyes.
He walked over to the bed where Lotta was still sleeping. He ran his hands down her body. He saw women’s bodies all the time, but still Lotta’s body turned him on, and he was almost sixty. He smiled, looking at her. Last night was the best, but that was what he thought each time he made love to Lotta. The best. He had thought that only with one other woman and that was Devlyn’s mother, Melissa.
Last night, he and Lotta had been one in each other’s embrace, relaxed, unafraid that their ecstasy would be interrupted as it once was six years ago. Devlyn was only nine then. He’d never entered their room again, but still when the boy was around, Derek remembered. The boy made him feel guilty. He laughed to himself. Guilty. He, Derek Devereaux, should feel guilty about sex? He had capitalized on sex and people’s need for it, and he had made millions.
But no, it wasn’t because of sex and Devlyn’s seeing him during one of his most passionate performances that made him feel guilty. The boy made him feel guilty because he brought back Melissa. Melissa. Damn Melissa! Devlyn’s eyes, Melissa’s eyes, looked at him in awe and in fear. Yes, fear, and that made him feel guilty. Why should Devlyn fear him? It was true he had lost his temper when the boy had broken the Ming vase and had hit him with a strap, but Derek hadn’t whipped him often. Derek remembered his own father taking him into the barn and laying the strap to him, and he had been more severe with Grant, hadn’t he? And Grant didn’t fear him. Never had. But Devlyn did, and he wondered why? He had never been able to get close to the boy. There just wasn’t time. He had a business to run, a large business. An enterprise consisting of magazines, books, nightclubs, Good Times Clubs, and one day it would be Devlyn’s--Grant’s and Devlyn’s.
Lotta tried to spend a lot of time with Devlyn when he was home. She said he was a nice, polite boy. A quiet intelligent child, Lotta said. A child who was trying to become an adult. How can you treat a fifteen-year-old who slinks around the house as an adult? Who barely speaks when spoken to? Who looks at you in fear?
FAR-Award-winning author, Jeannine Van Eperen, currently lives in Wisconsin, the state of her birth, but she lived for many years in New Mexico and sets many of her novels in New Mexico and Albuquerque, the place she calls home. You Can Bank on It is a fictionalized version of her early years working in the Albuquerque National Bank and also the Bank of New Mexico. She is a people-watcher and “what-ifs” often become the basis for stories. Some incidents happened but most are made up, just as the characters are.
Jeannine attended schools in Chicago and Albuquerque, attended the University of New Mexico, College of St. Joseph on the Rio Grande and Western States University College of Law in Anaheim, California.
Besides the banking industry, Jeannine worked in the insurance industry as an office manager, in the travel industry as a motel manager, and was the director of publicity at the University of Albuquerque. She and husband Lou love travel and have been to all fifty of the United States and Puerto Rico, most Canadian Provinces and thirty countries. She is particularly fond of New Zealand and England. She is a private pilot, enjoys reading, euchre, downhill skiing and needlework.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 304
Paper Weight (lb): 12.8
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