Next Mrs. Blackthorne"
Taylor tinkered around her apartment in the San
Fernando Valley, anxiously waiting for her friends
to pick her up. She hoped they hadn't gone to too
much trouble for her, as she hated being the object
of a big fuss. Granted, a girl only got married
once and she deserved to be pampered. On second
thought, that wasn't even true anymore considering
all the marriages that ended in divorce nowadays.
Her first, for example. But this one
would be different. She planned on staying
married to James for the rest of her life. She
glanced out the window of her second story apartment and sighed, wishing they
would show up already. In a way she
thought that if she could get the bachelorette party over with, it would mean
the wedding was that much closer. She’d
never been more excited about anything in her life.
was a twenty-seven year old beauty with long, silky blond hair and ocean blue
eyes that mesmerized everyone who saw them.
She’d been a makeup girl at a local department store for a couple of
years until she got a job as assistant make-up designer for a big movie in Hollywood. That was when she met James
Blackthorne. He was the kindest, most
exciting man she’d ever met and she fell in love with him immediately.
first few months of their relationship had been difficult, mostly because at
the time James was still married to his first wife, mega movie star Alex
Reynolds. James and Alex’s marriage had
been on the rocks for years, and after meeting Brooke he finally got up to the
nerve to ask her for a divorce. It
hadn’t been an easy transition, but finally when his divorce became final she
agreed to marry him. Now it was just
two days before their wedding and she couldn’t be happier. She was marrying the most wonderful man in
all of California, or the world for that matter.
paced around the small three-room apartment, stopping to fluff a cushion on her
worn wicker sofa. Looking around the
living room, she suddenly realized that she was going to be moving soon and
living in a giant old mansion in Hollywood.
Her quaint, sparse apartment in the Valley would be a distant
memory. The prospect was enough to
cause her to jump with excitement.
car horn outside the window caught her attention and, thinking it was her
friends finally showing up, she tore across the room to peer outside. The corners of her mouth turned upward into
a bright smile when she saw James standing next to his Rolls Royce Limousine by
missed you!” he called up to her.
the girls will be here any minute!” Brooke replied, leaning out the window and
gazing down at him. “It’s my
bachelorette tonight, remember?”
know, I know,” James sighed. “But can
you blame me for wanting to see you even for a minute?”
see you tomorrow at the rehearsal dinner,” Brooke said, tossing her long mane
of hair teasingly over her shoulder.
I guess if I have to wait…” James said with a sly grin. He was a dashing, sexy man of forty-four with
dark hair and eyes, dressed in an expensive black Gucci suit. “I just wanted to tell you that I love you.”
smiled, blushing a little as several people jogged by her apartment and did a
double take at the fancy car parked by the building. “I love you too!” she called back, deciding
to ignore the gawking passers by. After
all, she was getting married to a rich, successful movie producer and none of
those people in the Valley mattered to her anymore.
see you tomorrow,” James said with a wink before he got into the back of the
waved ecstatically at him as she watched the limo pull away and drive down the
street. With a smile, she retreated
back into the apartment from the window and joyously danced around the living
room. She was on top of the world. Who wouldn’t be jazzed to be marrying a man
like James Blackthorne?
When James got back to his historic mansion
in the Hollywood
hills, his maid, a heavy-set Hawaiian
woman named Leilani greeted him at the door.
He smiled and proceeded into the mahogany-paneled foyer where his
daughter came at him like a tidal wave.
this place is like a circus!” Miranda Blackthorne screeched. “There are people all over this house! I feel like I have no privacy!”
gave her a patronizing smile and put his hands on her shoulders. “Sweetheart, we’re having a wedding here the
day after tomorrow,” he began. “Do you
have any idea how much preparation is going into this? Leilani has her hands full with caterers,
decorators, florists, you name it."
rolled her eyes and folded her arms with a pout. She was a twenty-year-old daddy’s girl who
was not at all happy that her father was remarrying. Her hair was long and black and her eyes were
a piercing shade of blue. Always up on
the latest fashions, she was the envy of every girl her age, especially those
she went to school with at UCLA.
not smiling,” James teased, pulling his daughter close and kissed her
cheek. “Sweetheart, this wedding is
taking its toll on everybody. I know
it’s an inconvenience, but it'll be over soon.”
Miranda rolled her eyes. “It doesn’t
seem to be such an inconvenience for Brooke,” she spat hatefully. “She gets to just show up in her wedding
dress and not have to lift a finger.
Meanwhile, everyone else is-"
you want your dad to be happy don’t you?” James asked, stroking her hair with
his hand. “Can’t you just cooperate for
a few more days until this wedding is over?
After that things will go back to normal. I promise.”
they won’t!” Miranda replied angrily.
“Things will never go back to normal.
Not with her in this house.”
that, she turned and stormed down the hall and burst into the billiard
room. She picked up a pool ball and
threw it across the room in a rage.
what’s that all about?” asked a voice from behind.
spun around to find her brother, Stormy Blackthorne enter the room, polishing
an apple on the sleeve of his hard rock tee shirt. “What are you doing here?” she asked in
annoyance. “Don’t you have a house of your
or “Stormy” as everyone had come to call him for most of his life, was a
twenty-three year old bad boy with tousled dark hair and blue eyes. He was tall with a sculpted body, loads of
sex appeal and a handsome boyish face much like his father’s. He had several tattoos covering his arms and
he often wore his hair spiked up on end.
Stormy shrugged and took a bite of his apple as he leaned against the
sofa. “Dad wanted me to come by and get
fitted for my tux for the wedding,” he explained. “What’s eating you?”
walked over to the pool table and sat down on the edge, letting her feet dangle
over the side so that her wooden clogs slipped off onto the plush shag
carpet. “All anybody ever talks about
anymore is this damn wedding.”
not just any wedding, Miranda,”
Stormy replied. “It’s our dad who’s
to that blond witch,” Miranda murmured quietly under her breath. “Why can’t he marry someone his own age? Or why doesn’t he stay single for a while? I mean he and mom only separated nine months
ago. Their divorce has only been final
for like a week.”
jumped up and took another bite of his apple.
“Why don't you mellow out?” he began.
“You’re just jealous because you’re not going to be getting all of Dad’s
attention anymore. That’s why you’re
having a problem with this wedding.”
up," Miranda ordered as she jumped off of the pool table and picked up her
shoes. "I just think Daddy's going
about things the wrong way, that's all.
You can't jump from one marriage into the next without making a mess of
laughed, nearly choking on the apple.
"Since when are you such
an authority on marriage?" he asked with some irritation evident in his
probably know more than you do, and you're married."
marriage is rock solid."
"Oh please," Miranda
grumbled and sauntered out of the office, the bottoms of her bell bottom jeans
scraping the floor as she walked down the dimly lit hallway of the old gothic
shrugged off his sister's spoiled rich girl attitude and picked up the phone in
the game room. He quickly dialed the
number of his house in Burbank and waited for Heather to
sexy," he said in a low, macho voice.
"I'll be home in a few. Want
me to pick anything up?"
Blackthorne shook her head. "Did
you stop by the studio and pick up that sheet music?" she asked. She was a pretty girl of twenty-two with
hazel eyes and brown hair to her waist.
She and Stormy had been married for eight months, much to the disliking
of her father, famed movie producer Jordan Rydell. Jordan and James were rival producers and the
integration of their offspring was a constant source of havoc.
no not yet," Stormy replied.
"I'll see if I can stop by on my way home. Traffic's awful tonight though. Not sure if I want to make a detour like
can't believe this!" Heather shouted in a shrill voice. "I've been asking you for two days to
bring that sheet music home! Why's it so
hard for you to remember?"
held the phone away from his ear, wincing as if in pain from his wife's
high-pitched shrieking. "Jesus
Heather, take it down a few notches," he complained. "I told you I'd bring it home and I
will. Just calm down."
it," Heather lamented. "I'll
just see you when you get here."
She hung the phone up with a loud slam, leaving Stormy with a dial tone
on the other end.
he murmured under his breath, hanging the phone up and walking back to the sofa
and flopping down onto the plush cushions.
loved his wife and was happy to be married to her, most of the time. But lately
it seemed like all she did was nag him about her career. She wanted more than anything to be a
singer, and tried and tired to get Stormy's record label to produce her. As much as Stormy loved her, he didn't think
she had what it took to be a singer.
But how could he tell his own wife that she wasn't good enough?
top of that, Heather also had aspirations of becoming a movie star. She had been in a few commercials when she
was a kid but nothing concrete came up for her since then. To make matters worse, her own father was a
movie producer and refused to put her in any of his movies. This infuriated Heather to tears almost on a
a sigh, Stormy picked up the remote control and flipped on the television. He was horny and wanted so badly to go home
and have sex, but as of that minute he didn't think he could handle Heather's
The basement of the Blackthorne mansion
contained an expansive screening room where James entertained peers and certain
media figures on a weekly basis. He
would often show his latest film, or a different cut of a previously released
film. Other nights he showed films
requested by his guests, and tonight they were treated to a special advanced
screening of Eric Autumn's Property Lines.
did you manage to get your hands on this reel, James
ol' boy?" asked Jack Fallmont, a powerful corporate
shark and big time Hollywood investor. "Eric Autumn might have a thing or two to say about
you showing his film before it's
even released to the theaters."
laughed and took his usual seat in the fourth row of his mini theater. "I traded my Angel Assassin for his Property
Lines. He's at his place showing
mine right now."
group of twelve or so peers all laughed heartily in unison. Leilani entered the room with a serving cart
of champagne and caviar and everyone graciously accepted the welcome
James, isn't Angel Assassin the one
you were working on when you met Brooke?" asked Kenny DeWitt, another
wealthy businessman who had invested quite a bit of money into Sunset Studios, the production company
that James had spent his life building.
it is," James beamed happily.
"Hiring her for makeup was the best thing I ever did."
is Brooke tonight, anyway?" asked Victor
another of James's Hollywood pals. "I thought she was the newest edition to
our Thursday night gatherings."
is having her last hurrah with her girlfriends tonight," James replied
with a fond smile.
more night on the town as a single gal, huh?" teased Marilee Wells, a
fifty-year old business dynamo and head of the California Land Commission. "I think she needs it. She doesn't know what she's in for once
she's part of the Blackthorne clan."
laughed and James blushed a little. He
felt a playful punch to his arm from Kenny DeWitt who sat directly to his
right. He decided to use Kenny as an
excuse to shift the attention away from himself.
isn't tomorrow the day you find out if you're taking Marilee's spot on the Land
Commission?" he asked.
nodded. "Yes, and with any luck
I'll be too busy with the post to be here next week," he joked.
all wish you luck, Kenny," Marilee said with genuine admiration.
"Thanks. I hope that means you're not going to
reconsider stepping down at the last minute?" Kenny asked with a grin.
wouldn't think of it," was Marilee's quick reply.
cleared his throat and pointed a remote control at the screen. "On that note, why don't we start the
movie," he announced, pushing another button that dimmed the lights in the
room grew quiet and within minutes they were well into the first
scene of Property Lines.
was well after midnight
when Miranda Blackthorne left
the Rainbow Room in West Hollywood.
She stumbled out the door with a jock she'd met on the dance floor who
proceeded to buy her five shots and three fruity drinks with little umbrellas
flopped inside her red Camaro Z-28 and the jock lit up a joint while Miranda
peeled out away from the crowded curbside by the club. The stereo blasted My Sharona so loudly that she could barely hear herself think.
the jock said, handing her the joint.
took the joint and inhaled a small amount before she began coughing and gagging
on the smoke. She'd never really smoked
pot before but she figured it was a first time for everything. She was twenty years old and she was going
to start living a little.
out, isn't it?" he asked, taking the joint from her and immediately
dropping it onto the seat. "Oh
it up!" Miranda ordered, her words slurring together in her drunken
state. "If I get a hole in my seat
my dad will friggin kill me!"
jock fumbled around for the joint and Miranda turned away from the road so she
could help. "It's here
somewhere," the jock said. "I
can smell it burning."
find it!" Miranda screamed, trying to be heard over the blaring
music. She turned back to the road and
panicked at the sight of a car coming straight at them. She quickly veered away, doing a complete 180
Canyon Road. The car skidded
to a stop, smoke and burning rubber assaulting her senses.
the jock began, bursting into laughter as he finally found the joint and took
another long drag.
laid her head on the steering wheel for a minute, trying to regain her
composure after the close call. She
looked up at the jock and started laughing at him, soon forgetting all about
the near accident.
led his guests upstairs to the foyer, nursing a bourbon on the rocks as he
thanked them for coming. Leilani
brought Marilee, the only woman in the group, her purse and her wrap, then
handed Kenny DeWitt his Armani suit jacket.
hope I'll be seeing all of you here Saturday for the wedding," James said,
shaking several hands and giving Marilee a kiss on the cheek.
wouldn't miss it for the world," Marilee replied.
then, Miranda and her jock staggered through the front door and into the foyer,
causing a spectacle for all of James's guests to witness.
room grew quiet and everyone gawked in awe at Miranda and her hunky male
friend. James clenched his jaw in anger
as he realized how drunk his daughter was, and with a perfect stranger that
she'd brought home with her, no less.
Miranda said, bursting into a fit of laughter.
think we're interrupting something," said the jock.
what on earth are you doing?" James asked, glaring at her with dark,
don’t know," she hiccuped, her arm around over the jock's shoulder. "What on earth are you doing, Daddy?"
James bellowed. He'd never seen his
daughter like this before. She'd always
been the perfect daughter in every way.
think we'd better leave," Kenny DeWitt said, opening the front door and
herding everyone outside.
so sorry about all of this," James said to his guests as he patted several
of them on the back. "Miranda's
having a hard time dealing with the wedding, that's all," he added with a
nodded and managed a half-smile.
"It happens. These kids
today are so independent."
James agreed. "Good night
shut the door after the last of the guests had left and proceeded to storm
across the foyer to where Miranda was standing with her new friend.
you mind telling me what you were thinking coming home at his hour with a
stranger? You smell like a
I didn't mean to," Miranda said, her eyes squinted shut as she tried
desperately to stay conscious. "I
was feeling nervous about your wedding so I just went out for a drink at this
gravy club. And then one drink turned
right now!" James ordered, pointing to the grand staircase that led up to
the second floor. "We'll talk about
this in the morning!" He turned to
the jock and led him forcefully to the front door. "And as for you, I want you out of my
man, I don’t even have a car," the jock mumbled.
opened the door and threw the kid out onto the front porch. "It's a nice night. Walk home." He slammed the door shut behind him and
walked back over to Miranda who was slowly slumping to the floor.
don't be mad at me," she whined, frowning when he picked her up by the
wrong with you?" he demanded angrily.
"Did you set out to embarrass me in front of my friends,
Miranda? If so then you're a bigger
brat than I imagined."
"I've embarrassed you?" Miranda asked.
"That's a joke, Daddy. The
only thing embarrassing is that you're
marrying that slut on Saturday."
instinctively brought his hand up and slapped her neatly across the face. A second later he was already filled with regret,
but it was too late. Miranda was racing
up the stairs to her bedroom in a heated fit of hurt and despair.
James motioned for Leilani and asked her to go up and check on her. He knew she wouldn't want to see him, not
after hitting her. He'd never hit either
of his children before, and he hated himself for giving in to the hateful words
she said about Brooke.
had to keep reminding himself that this was a transition for everyone.
sat in bed reading the paper the next morning in his house in the Valley. Heather walked into the room and set a tray
of toast and orange juice next to him.
She hopped onto the bed and began massaging his tattooed shoulders.
thought we could go into the studio today and experiment with some arrangements
for that song," she said, her long brown hair tickling his bare back.
can't. I'm meeting with a talent scout
this morning and then we have to get ready for the rehearsal dinner at my dad's
set her jaw and angrily jumped up out of the bed. "You have a meeting with a talent
scout?" she asked in a rage.
"Why do you need a talent scout when I've been trying to get you to
produce a record for me for months?"
rolled his eyes. It was too early in the
morning for the same argument over and over again. "Babe, I told you that I'm going to
help you," he said. "But if I
don't sign some new acts soon, Good Times
Records is going to go down the drain."
sign me!" Heather insisted, the
strap on her short nightgown falling over her shoulder. "But you won't even listen to me sing
anything! I don't understand it! Don't you think I'm good enough?"
eyed her up and down, growing increasingly aroused by her killer figure staring
him dead in the face. The way her
nightgown was slipping off so effortlessly made him want her even more. He got up and pulled her onto the bed,
covering her with his half naked body.
Knock it off! I'm trying to have a
serious conversation with you!"
ignored her rants and smothered her with kisses, starting at her lips and
working down to her neck and shoulders.
"Come on, Babe," he moaned.
"Let's not fight today."
Heather began giving in. Her taut
expression turned into a smile and she wrapped her legs around him and
squeezed. Within seconds her nightgown
was tossed across the room and he was kicking off his underwear.
and Miranda sat at the rich ten-foot mahogany table in the dining room of the
Blackthorne mansion, silently eating breakfast as Leilani served, pouring
orange juice into their glasses. The
doorbell rang and she gracefully left the room to answer it.
dining room was eerily quiet except for the clinking of forks and glasses. James looked up and eyed his daughter,
realizing he had to be the one to break the silence. It was his fault that things were strained
between them. Not just for slapping her
last night, but for not sitting down with her in the beginning and asking how
she felt about his engagement to Brooke.
opened his mouth to speak when Leilani entered the room again, followed by
Brooke Taylor, looking radiant in a pink camisole and white flared jeans.
morning," she said, beaming with excitement.
wiped his mouth with a napkin and got up from the table. "Darling, there you are," he said
with a grin as he pulled her into a warm embrace. "I wasn't sure what time I'd see you
couldn't wait to come by and see how you were," Brooke replied. "How was your party last night?"
nice," he said, leading her to the table and pulling out a chair for
her. "Everyone missed you."
smiled and looked up at Miranda who sat picking at her breakfast. "Good morning, Miranda."
didn't bother looking at Brooke. Instead, she slid her chair out and rose to
her feet, turning to her father and giving him a vague smile. "I have to go to class. Check ya later," she said before turning
and dashing out of the room.
head sunk and she sighed heavily. It was
no secret that Miranda didn't like her and didn't approve of her marrying her
father. The fact that she hadn't been
able to reach out to her left her with a helpless feeling.
come around, Darling," James said, reaching around and kissing her on
Brooke managed a smile and kissed him in return.
Miss Taylor?" asked Leilani as she approached.
thank you Leilani."
was last night?" James asked, sitting back down in his seat at the
table. "You look well rested so it
must not have been a very late night."
having second thoughts then?" James joked.
couldn't help but smile. "No, of
course not," she replied. "I
want nothing more than to be Mrs. James Blackthorne."
reached across the table and grasped her hand with his. He looked up and saw his nephew, Ethan enter
the dining room.
morning," Ethan Blackthorne said with a smile and shook James's hand. "Brooke, it's nice to see
you." He leaned down and kissed her
lightly on the cheek.
brings you by today, Ethan?" James asked, gesturing to a chair next to
him. "I thought we agreed no
business talk until after the wedding."
smiled and removed an envelope from his jacket pocket. He was a handsome man of twenty-eight with
dirty blond hair and brown eyes. He and
James were very close and he also worked as his financial manager. James's sister, Georgie gave birth to Ethan
and died a few short weeks later due to complications with the pregnancy. This left Ethan to be raised by James and Georgie's
parents in their hometown of Windsor, Kansas. On his twenty-first birthday, Ethan came to Los Angeles and he and James had been
friends and associates ever since.
thought you might want to see this," Ethan said, handing James the
envelope. "It was messengered to
the studio today."
James tore open the envelope and scanned the contents, an invitation of some
is it?" Brooke asked curiously.
invitation to a cocktail party," he replied. "Someone just bought the old Jaguar Studios and they're celebrating
the grand opening tonight."
sounds fun," Brooke said.
about time someone turned that studio around," Ethan agreed. "Although I'm not sure it's worth saving
anymore. The last few movies they put
out were total flops."
took the invitation from James and read it herself. "It doesn't say who it's from," she
remarked. "But the party is
that settles it," James said quickly.
"The rehearsal dinner is tonight.
We can't go to some cocktail party for Jaguar Studios."
you the least bit curious who bought them?" Ethan asked. "Once upon a time they were your biggest
rivals. What if someone is thinking of
turning the place around? You could be
looking at more competition. Jordan
Rydell won't be the only producer you're up against next year at the Oscars."
shrugged it off. "Are you saying I
should be worried?" he asked with a scoff.
"They invented Chapter 11 for companies who tried to take me
Blackthorne parked her yellow Corvette in the lot at Rydell Productions and made her way up to her father's office.
Rydell was an incredibly sexy Hollywood powerhouse in his mid forties with brownish blond hair and hazel eyes. He and his wife had been divorced for ten
years and he'd raised their two children on his own since then. His office at Rydell Productions was the
latest in mod fashion. Stark black and
white furnishings and simple modern statues filled the room and transformed it
into a stylish art gallery.
morning, Sunshine," Jordan said, walking over and kissing
his daughter on the cheek. "This is
certainly a surprise. How are you
Heather sighed and flopped down on the sofa in his office. "Stormy's been promising to produce a
demo for me for months and I'm beginning to think it's never going to
happen. I don't understand it. I know I'm good. Why does he keep putting me off?"
what does he say?" Jordan asked.
just skirts the issue every time I bring it up."
of a Blackthorne," Jordan said ruefully. "You can't trust them as far as you can
that's not fair," Heather protested.
smiled and sat down on the edge of his desk.
"You know that I didn't approve of you marrying that boy," he
began. "He's selfish, just like his
father. If I were you I wouldn't count
on Stormy Blackthorne helping you with your career. You'd be better off finding another record
movie producer," she insinuated, then shot up to her feet. "Dad, you can put me in your next
movie. I've read the script and I can
think of three parts I'd be perfect for."
thought you wanted to concentrate on your singing career," Jordan said matter-of-factly.
do, but I still need exposure."
sighed and sat down behind his
desk. "Heather, I can't put you in
this movie," he explained.
"The parts I'm casting for are very specific. I'll make sure you get into my next
picture. I promise."
her head in frustration, Heather flopped back down on the sofa. She didn't understand why no one would help
her career. Her own husband and father
treated her like the plague.
afternoon, Brooke walked into the parlor at the Blackthorne mansion where
Miranda was pouring over a schoolbook.
She took a deep breath to prepare herself and approached the girl with a
I thought we could talk for a minute,” she began. She had to clear the air between them before
the wedding tomorrow. If she didn’t at
least try, she’d constantly blame herself for their strained relationship.
busy,” was Miranda’s short response.
to back down, Brooke walked over to the cognac leather sofa and sat down beside
her. “I know that you resent me,” she
said. “You don’t want me coming into
your house and taking over for your mother.”
I don’t intend on doing that,” Brooke continued. “I’m marrying your father because I love him
with all my heart. And I want us to be
friends. Stormy has accepted me so I was
hoping that you could too.”
her book shut, Miranda jumped up off the sofa and shot a menacing stare at
Brooke. “You want me to accept you as
my new stepmother?” she asked. “I’m
sorry, but that’s never going to happen.
You’re only eight years older than me.
I can’t possibly look at you as a mother.”
don’t have to. We can be friends.”
rolled her eyes and put her hands on her hips.
“Friends?” she scoffed in disbelief.
“Are you serious? Even if you
weren’t marrying my father, I don’t make friends with trash that works at the
Galleria giving free makeovers.”
words stung like a slap across the face and Brooke took a step back, alarmed by
the hateful tone in Miranda’s voice. She
opened her mouth to reply but the words didn’t come.
on to you, Brooke,” Miranda continued as she took a step forward. “I know you’re going to wind up hurting my
father. And when that happens, you’d
better watch out because I swear I’ll make you pay.”
could only stare in disbelief, hurt that anyone could think so low of her.
one final glare, Miranda brushed past her and flew out of the parlor, nearly
knocking Ethan over in her haste to leave.
Brooke turned and saw Ethan standing there, realizing he must have heard
the hateful exchange between her and Miranda.
I’m sorry you had to hear that,” she said, turning away with
don’t need to be sorry,” Ethan replied, walking up and putting a friendly hand
on her shoulder. “Miranda’s the one who
should be sorry. She had no right
talking to you that way.”
her hands up in resignation, Brooke turned and began pacing back and forth in
the dim, richly decorated parlor. “No,
it’s my fault,” she said. “I should have
tried harder to connect with Miranda when James and I first started seeing each
bull and you know it.”
shrugged, feeling like she was at her wits end.
“Ethan, I just don’t know what to do.
How can I live in this house with Miranda hating the sight of me?”
how upset she was by Miranda’s actions, Ethan pulled her close and held her in
an attempt to comfort her. She rested
her head on his chest and felt tears burning her eyes.
you for being here, Ethan,” she said, holding him tightly. “You’ve been a good friend to me. You’ve made coming into this family a lot
Neither of them saw James as
he entered the parlor and watched them in an embrace. After a few seconds he cleared his throat to
announce his presence. Brooke and Ethan
broke away and looked over at James standing in the doorway.
everything okay here?” he asked, raising an eyebrow with curiosity.
nodded and wiped a tear from her eye.
“Yeah, everything’s fine now,” she replied as she walked up and kissed
him. “Ethan was just-“ She paused, unsure of whether to tell James
about Miranda’s outburst or not.
walked in and heard Miranda going off on Brooke,” Ethan explained. “It wasn’t a pretty sight. She was pretty upset.”
turned his thoughtful gaze to his fiancé.
“I’m so sorry, Darling. I’ll have
another talk with Miranda. I promise.”
shook her head. “No, don’t,” she
insisted. “I don’t want to make a big
deal out of it. I just want to forget it
pulled her close and smoothed his hand down her silky blond hair, wishing there
was something he could do to mend fences between her and Miranda. He didn’t want to start his marriage off
under these kinds of circumstances.
There had to be something he could do.
Kenny DeWitt was a
forty year old African American and had everything a man could ever want. Merteuil
Industries, his late father-in law's
empire, of which he was CEO, had recently been named in the Fortune 500 thanks to his savvy
business skills and sixth sense for a keen investment. He had a thirty-bedroom mansion in Bel Air
with a full staff, a powerful wife who had entrusted her father's company to
him, and a mistress who satisfied him every way that his wife
couldn’t. On top of that, he was
probably going to be elected chair of the California Land Commission, a post
held in high honor among California
politicians and businessmen.
he had it all. How else could he afford
to take the afternoon off to spend with the twenty-four year old nurse he’d
been sleeping with for six months?
Winter Austen had sauntered into his life when she took his blood
pressure during a routine physical. Who
could have predicted that an hour later they would be tearing each others
clothes off in the supply closet at Cedars-Sinai?
and Winter were laying in bed in her condo at the marina, paid for by Merteuil Industries, of course. It was all for his own benefit, after
all. If he kept her happy and in the
lap of luxury, she wouldn’t get any ideas about telling his wife about them, or
even denying him the sex that he’d come to enjoy so much.
have to get back to the hospital soon,” Winter said, running her fingers
through his salt and pepper hair. She
was a knockout with wavy blond hair and blue eyes. A buxom figure and a kinky quality in bed
made her Kenny’s perfect choice for an afternoon playmate, especially since he
always had a thing for white girls.
figure standing in the bedroom doorway sent them both to an upright position
and Kenny’s heart began racing a mile a minute. When he realized that figure was his wife,
Renee, he closed his eyes with regret.
He couldn’t believe she’d caught him.
She must have found a receipt for the condo rental and put two and two
together. She always was smart as a
let me interrupt,” Renee Merteuil-DeWitt said.
She was a glamorous looking black woman in her forties who oozed power
and position. Her black hair was pinned
up on top of her head and she was draped in a floor length fur. “I just came by to give you the good news,
frowned, taking a telegram from her and opening the yellow envelope.
seems that you’ve been elected as chair of the land commission,” Renee
announced, glaring at Winter with steady, undaunting eyes.
didn’t respond to the news. He knew
there had to be a catch somewhere, and knowing Renee it was a big one.
would congratulate you but I feel it might be a little premature,” Renee
continued, relishing the predicament her philandering husband and his mistress
were in. “You see, I’ve known about
your affair with this bimbo for quite some time. And unfortunately, if you don’t end it right
now, I’ll make sure that your election to this post goes away very quickly.”
Kenny sighed with resignation,
reading and rereading the telegram from the Governor informing him of his
election. He knew he was backed into a
corner. He had to end things with
Winter, or Renee would do just as she promised.
She had the power to do it.
paced her bedroom at the Blackthorne mansion, clenching
her fists in anger as she thought about Brooke and
how she had intruded on their lives. With
a sigh, she plopped down onto her bed and picked
up an issue of Image magazine. Leafing
through it, she tried desperately to get her mind
off of the impending wedding. Unfortuantley, it
was easier said than done.
her in the face like a giant billboard was a two
page spread on her father's engagement to Brooke
Taylor. The disgustingly sweet photo made her want
to vomit and she quickly ripped the pages from the
magazine and tore them to shreds.
and angry, Miranda walked to the window and gazed
outside, wishing that everything could go back to
normal, the way it was before James threw her mother
out of the house the year before.
her eyes traveled to the garden and beneath the
trellis where Brooke and her cousin Ethan were standing
together. She saw the way Brooke looked into
Ethan's eyes, the gentle way Ethan touched her shoulder.
Miranda blinked twice, unsure if she was misreading
things. From her point of view, it seemed
that her future step mother was a little too friendly
with young Ethan.
wondered if her father knew about how close they'd
James's ex-wife makes a lasting
impression on Brooke. Miranda's actions threaten to ruin James and Brooke's
upcoming nuptials. James grows suspicious of his nephew Ethan's intentions
toward Brooke. An old enemy of James's shows up with revenge on his