She propped up some cushions to lean against, and then she looked around for something to read. Her eyes fell on the books that Amanda had left behind. Why not try one of those? She picked the one with the dark-haired beauty on the cover and opened it at random:
In the candlelight, Blaine's eyes glittered like jewels. Clarissa caught her breath as he leaned toward her. What a magnificent man he was! His square jaw, his thick glossy black hair, his wide shoulders--her heart raced. When he reached out and stroked her cheek, she trembled all over. "Blaine," she said. "You must never leave me. I want to be with you always."
Nickie raised her eyes to the rain-spattered window. She tried to imagine feeling this way about someone. First she pictured Martin, with his hazel eyes and short red hair. Did she think he was magnificent? Not really. He seemed nice, and he was on the side of goodness. But he didn't make her heart race. She pictured Grover instead. His hair was cute, in a floppy sort of way. He was smart and interesting. He had a sense of humor, if you liked that kind of humor. But he was also a bit peculiar. She had no idea if he was on the side of goodness or not. And she certainly wouldn't say he was magnificent. If he stroked her cheek, would her heart race? No. She would think it was weird and creepy. Did she want to be with him always? Definitely not. It was hard to imagine wanting to be with anyone always. They'd be times when you wanted to be alone, or with someone else.
She turned a few pages and read some more:
Clarissa fled down the stone steps to the wind-swept beach, her raven tresses flowing out behind her. She scanned the empty sands, and when she saw no sign of Blain, a great cry of anguish escaped her lips. She could not live without him! She would sooner die!
Nickie shut the book. There was no doubt about it: if that was love, she was not in love with Martin or Grover. She could live without either of them perfectly well.
From THE PROPHET OF YONWOOD by Jeanne DuPrau, p. 169-170