But you must trade with life. You give something and you get something, then you give something of yourself again and you receive something again. Life goes bad when people try to take from it without giving. Then they came away empty-handed, and they grab harder and more often, growing more disappointed and disillusioned each time. By Sunday, her world would never be the same… Stunning Katie Connelly submerged her painful past in a promising career, an elegant apartment, and men she could keep at a distance.

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By Judith McNaught. Standing in brooding silence at the windows of the elegant penthouse apartment, the tall dark man gazed at the panorama of twinkling lights fanning out across the dusky St.

Louis skyline. Behind him, a blond man strode quickly into the dimly lit living room. Well, Ramon? What did they decide? They decided what bankers always decide, Ramon said harshly, without turning.

They decided to look out for themselves. Those bastards! Roger exploded. In angry frustration, he raked his hand through his blond hair, then turned and headed determinedly for the row of crystal decanters on the bar.

They sure as hell stayed with you when the money was pouring in, he gritted as he splashed bourbon into a glass. They have not changed, Ramon said grimly. If the money was still pouring in, they would still be with me. Roger snapped on a lamp, then scowled at the magnificent Louis XIV furnishings, as if their presence in his spacious living room offended him. How can they blame you for his mistakes and incompetence? Turning from the windows, Ramon leaned a shoulder against the frame.

For a moment he stared at the remaining Scotch in his glass, then he tipped it up to his mouth and drained it. They blame me for not preventing him from making fatal mistakes, and for not recognizing the fact of his incompetence in time. Not recognizing the— Roger repeated furiously. How were you supposed to recognize that a man who always acted like he was God Almighty, one day started believing it?

The stock was in his name, not yours. Until the day he died, he held the controlling interest in the corporation. Your hands were tied. Now they are empty, Ramon replied with a shrug of broad, muscled shoulders on his six-foot-three-inch frame. Look, Roger said in desperation. How much do you need? The transformation was startling, softening the features of a face that lately looked as if it had been cast in bronze by an artist intent on portraying cold, ruthless determination and ancient Spanish nobility.

Fifty million would help. Seventy-five million would be better. Fifty million? Roger said blankly, staring at the man he had known since they were both students at Harvard University. Fifty million dollars would only help? It would only help. Slamming his glass down on the marble table beside him, Ramon turned and started toward the guest room he had been occupying since his arrival in St. Louis a week before.

He could raise that kind of money if he wanted to, and he owes you. His aristocratic Spanish face hardened with contempt. If Sid wanted to help, he would have contacted me. He knows I am here and he knows I am in trouble. He knows. He is on the board of directors of the bank that is refusing to extend our loan. If Sid was willing to help, he would have contacted me.

His silence speaks for itself, and I will not beg him. At that meeting I will instruct them to file bankruptcy. Turning on his heel, Ramon strode from the room, his long purposeful strides eloquent of restless anger. Roger turned and watched in silence as Ramon folded the cuffs of his white shirt up on his forearms. Ramon, he said with pleading determination, stay another week in St.

Maybe Sid will contact you if you give him more time. I am going to farm. Roger burst out. Farm that little patch of ground with that hut on it where you and I took those two girls from. That little patch of ground, Ramon interrupted with quiet dignity, is all I have left. Along with the cottage on it where I was born.

What about the house near San Juan, or the villa in Spain, or the island in the Mediterranean? Sell one of your houses or the island; that would keep you in luxury for as long as you live. They are gone. I put them up as collateral to raise money for the corporation that it cannot repay.

The banks who loaned the money will be swarming over everything like vultures before the year is out. Roger said helplessly. I have accepted defeat, Ramon said calmly. I have done everything that can be done. I will not mind working my land beside the people who have worked it for my family for centuries. Turning to hide his sympathy from the man Roger knew would reject it and despise him for it, he said, Ramon, is there anything I can do?

Name it, Roger said, looking hopefully over his shoulder. Grimacing at such a paltry request, Roger dug in his pocket, then tossed his keys to his friend. With your luck the thing will probably quit in the middle of the street tonight. Ramon shrugged, his face wiped clean of emotion. If the car stops, I will walk. The exercise will help me get into condition for farming. In the international business community, I have been party to a sin no one will forgive or forget—failure.

I am about to become its most notorious failure. Would you have me beg my friends for a position on that recommendation? Shall I go to your factory tomorrow and apply for a job on your assembly line? No, of course not! But you could think of something. If you could build it, you could find a way to save a piece of it for yourself. I cannot work miracles, Ramon cut in flatly.

And that is what it would take. The Lear is in a hangar at the airport waiting for a minor part for one of the engines. When the jet mechanics have finished with it, and my pilot returns Sunday night from his weekend off, I will be flying to Puerto Rico.

Roger opened his mouth to protest, but Ramon silenced him with an impatient look. There is dignity in farming. More dignity, I think, than in dealing with bankers.

While my father was alive, I knew no peace. Since he died, I have known no peace. Let me find it in my own way. The huge bar at the Canyon Inn near suburban Westport was packed with the usual Friday night crowd. Katie Connelly glanced surreptitiously at her watch, then let her gaze slide over the laughing, drinking, talking groups, searching for a particular face among them.

Her view of the main entrance was obscured by the profusion of lush plants suspended from macrame hangers and the tiffany lamps hanging beneath the stained-glass ceiling. Keeping the bright smile fixed on her face, she returned her attention to the knot of men and women standing around her. So I told him never to call me again, Karen Wilson was saying to them. In the process of reaching into his pocket to extract some money, he jabbed her in the side with his elbow.

He offered no apology, nor did Katie really expect one. It was every man, and every woman, for themselves in here. Equal rights. Turning away from the bar with his drink in his hand, he noticed Katie. Hello, he said, pausing to flick an interested glance over her slender, curving figure draped in a clingy blue dress. Nice, he concluded aloud as he considered everything about her, from the shining reddish blond hair tumbling around her shoulders, to the sapphire blue eyes regarding him beneath long curling lashes and delicately arched brows.


BOOK REVIEW: Tender Triumph by Judith McNaught

By Judith McNaught. Standing in brooding silence at the windows of the elegant penthouse apartment, the tall dark man gazed at the panorama of twinkling lights fanning out across the dusky St. Louis skyline. Behind him, a blond man strode quickly into the dimly lit living room. Well, Ramon? What did they decide?


Tender Triumph

By Sunday, her life is irrevocably changed forever. Katie Connelly submerges her painful past in a promising career, an elegant apartment, and uncomplicated, commitment-free romantic liaisons. With his charm and passionate nature, Ramon gives her a love she has never known. She is still, however, afraid to surrender her heart to this strong, willful, secretive man—a man from a different world, a man with a daring, uncertain future. There are more than thirty million copies of her books in print. She lives in Texas. People have been waiting for this book for years… Until You takes you on a roller-coaster ride of emotions.

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