Or, Romance Novel Encapsulated into One Page

By July A. Jolly

Eldendra. What kind of name was that for a girl, Dendra thought morosely.

"Curse my name!" she shrieked in impotent fury, flinging herself upon the bed. Frustration built within her until red-hot tears rolled fast and thick down her satiny-smooth cheeks.

Then, exhausted from the emotional drain, she fell into a deep, fitful slumber.

"Rendraaa ... Rendraaa ...," a singsong voice echoed within her subconscious, calling, calling ... calling.

"No, I won't let you catch me," she shouted as she ran, on and on into the rain-filled night. She couldn't let him stop her. She had to save the little boy. So on she ran, through the dark and dripping forest. Suddenly a giant of a man stepped out from behind a tree.

"Stop," he commanded.

"Why should I listen to you?" she countered breathlessly. "You simply want to keep me from my duty."

"Hah! If that were so, I could just as easily have put handcuffs on those slender, lithe wrists and tied you to my tree, here," he said with slow deliberation.

"You wouldn't dare," she exclaimed incredulously, her lovely lips trembling ... beckoning ... beckoning to the man.

"You wouldn't be taunting me for a reason, would you?" A deep frown of anger creased his handsome brow. "If I thought there was a reason for your imbecilic behavior, I'd soon teach you who was boss!"

"Oh, you ... you ...," she mumbled incoherently, as his sensuous mouth closed upon hers in a passionate, yet impersonal kiss. She knew she was lost. From her last desperate moment she knew she loved him, that she was his. He could do with her what he wanted, and she wouldn't have the will to stop him. But worse -- much worse -- she knew that he couldn't possibly love her in return. Helpless tears fell from her long, lovely lashes.

Then she had a new resolve. She wouldn't let him know how she felt. She, too, could play the game.

"Well," she said calmly, with only the slightest tremor in her voice. "I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did, Darling."

She felt pleased at the surprised expression on his face, but her pleasure was short-lived as he stated with a mocking smile, "That is just the kind of behavior I'd expect from a tramp like you."

Her eyes widened in horror. In raging fury she struck out. He casually blocked the blow, all the while maintaining his taunting grin.

"I wouldn't try that again if I were you. You might find yourself the recipient of an even more punishing reward."

"How can you say these things about me? Judy told me --"

"What did JUDY tell you?" he asked, suddenly sober.

"That you and she ... last weekend ..."

"What? She told me that you and Roscoe ... last weekend ..."

His eyes softened. "Can you forgive me, darling? I should have believed you."

Her eyes filled with tears of happiness as she raised her sweet lips to his.

"I ... love ... you," she whispered.

"And I love you, my darling."

("Romantique" is July A. Jolly's 60th novel to date. Like all Miss Universe contestants, she wants to be a brain surgeon.)

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