Tangle of Torment

By: Emma Darcy

She was marrying the wrong man

Dan was the kind of man every girl dreamed of--handsome and loving, with all the makings of a good husband and father. And if Ian Drake hadn't come into her life, Maggie would have married Dan happily.

But Ian had watched her in action, lost in the joy of creating exciting, dynamic ad campaigns. He was the only man she'd ever met who understood her striving ambition, her burning passion for achievement. Theirs was a compelling affinity.

Ian Drake was Maggie's other half... so why did he resist their obvious attraction?


THE elevator doors opened and the smile on Maggie's face lost its vibrancy.

She stepped out automatically, her gaze sweeping around in disbelief, a sharp sense of claustrophobia stifling her breath. The whole floor had been partitioned into little cubicles and the only desk in sight was the floor receptionist's. From out of the maze of woodwork stepped Rhonda Farley.

She caught sight of Maggie and grinned at her stunned expression.

'Ghastly, isn't it?'

'I was beginning to wonder if I'd got out on the wrong floor. Who perpetrated this horror?'

'Ssh!' Rhonda warned. 'These days you can't tell who's listening. The new boss, Ian Drake, has arrived with a vengeance! How are you, Maggie? You look well enough.'

Maggie hitched herself on to Rhonda's desk as the receptionist settled into her chair. She had felt very well up until a few moments ago; now her hands fluttered in a gesture of uncertainty. 'I'm fine. I still get the occasional dizzy spell, but not enough to worry me. Dan didn't want me to come back to work for another week, but I think he was arguing from a personal viewpoint.'

She glanced down at the beautiful sapphire and diamond ring on her finger and sighed. The fact that her fiance was also a doctor inclined him to be over-protective. He had not liked her stubbornness and had only reluctantly given in to her decision to return to work. Maggie had been fed up with being a pampered patient. A month without the stimulus of the work she enjoyed had made her irritable.

'You can't blame him,' Rhonda observed slyly. 'Much nicer for him to have you on hand all the time instead of only at weekends. Besides, you should be careful. Pneumonia's not something you throw off quickly.'

'Don't you start on me!' Maggie retorted in mock exasperation. 'Mum and Dan gave me more than enough argument, thank you very much. Anyhow,

to get back to immediate problems, I don't even know where my desk is in this . . . this mish-mash jungle.'

Rhonda laughed. 'You'll get used to it—we all had to. There's Peter getting out of the lift now. He'll be only too glad to show you around.' Her voice dropped to a whisper. 'He's been promoted, and does he love it!'

'Maggie! You're back at last!'

Peter Cameron advanced on her, his hands outstretched in welcome. He was a tall, slim, good-looking man who moved with the indolent grace of self-awareness. His fair hair had not one strand out of place from its fashionable cut, the light brown moustache was trimmed just so, and white even teeth flashed a winning smile. Impeccably dressed in a lightweight business suit, he conveyed the image of a successful executive, yet his attention to clothes was almost too fastidious. Maggie did not like him—slick, smarmy and too sexually orientated.

She slid off Rhonda's desk, preparing to palm him off. Peter Cameron was all too eager with his hands as well as his eyes, which now ran over her.

Maggie had worn a blue cotton-knit dress, splashed with large white indeterminate flowers. The fabric clung to her body and a white plaited belt accentuated her narrow waist. She knew that her curves drew attention from most males, but Peter's pale blue eyes lingered lasciviously on every one of them.

'Yes, I'm all here,' she said dryly. 'Now, maybe you can show me where to go and fill me in on what's been happening.'

'My pleasure,' he grinned wolfishly, taking her arm with elaborate courtesy.

'First let me tell you I have a new title.' The grin turned into a smirk as he noted her reaction. 'Yes, my dear Maggie, I am to all effects your most immediate boss, Floor Co-ordinator. I dish out the assignments and see that schedules are kept. I've been keeping the Jamieson account especially for your very individual talent. This is my office. Do come in while I get the file out for you.'

Maggie controlled a surge of resentment as she eyed the new executive desk, the comfortable leather chair and rows of sleek filing cabinets. Peter Cameron was certainly being done proud, and he was the last person Maggie wanted to have telling her what to do. Surprises were coming thick and fast this morning, and none of them pleasant.