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Episode 10


Release Date:  February 10, 2006

 Read the episode Recap



James flew into a rage after learning that Brooke was still legally married to Philip.  Believing her relationship with James to be over, Brooke ran to Ethan and they made love.  The next morning, Brooke flew to the Dominican Republic to get a divorce, and Ethan followed.  Once there, Brooke told a devastated Ethan that their night together was a mistake and that she was going to reconcile with James.  A jealous Winter told James that Ethan and Brooke were together.  Jordan found Alex in bed with Philip Whitacre.  Will pressured Alex to give him an answer to his proposal.  Kenny Dewitt told James he couldn't loan him the money to save Sunset Studios. Miranda and Heather grew envious of their husband's involvement with Lauren Spencer.  


Episode 10



When Stormy got home from the studio it was late.  Heather was waiting up for him in the living room, watching a movie with the lights turned down low.   She heard the door and shot up in a hurry, turning the overhead light on.

“Hey, what are you still doing up?” he asked, tossing his keys onto the table inside the door.  “I thought you would have been in bed by now.”

“Maybe that’s what you were hoping for,” she spat, folding her arms and tossing back her long brown hair. 

“What?” Stormy asked, confused.  He wasn’t in the mood for another argument.  Not this late at night and after a long day.

“You’ve been at the studio all day with her, haven’t you?” Heather asked.

He shrugged.  “Yeah.  So?  It’s my job, Heather.”

“Do I have to remind you that I’ve been asking you…no, begging you for months to help me with my career?” Heather ranted.  “You’ve done everything you could to put me off, and the minute this Lauren Spencer girl shows up you go out of your way to give her everything.  I suppose you’ve already signed her to Good Times Records, haven’t you?”

“I’m not in the mood, Heather,” Stormy said, rubbing his tired face.  “Can we please talk about this tomorrow?”

“Answer me, Stormy,” Heather demanded.  “Did you give her a recording contract?”

He waited a beat and then nodded, realizing that putting it off wouldn’t do any good.  Heather would find out eventually.  Either way it would all hit the fan.   “Yes, I gave her a contract.”

“Oh that’s just great!” Heather yelled, brushing past him and rushing up the stairs.

“Heather! “ Stormy called up after her.  “She’s an amazing singer.  You’ve got to hear her to believe it.  She’s going to make us a lot of money.”

A few seconds later Heather came down the stairs and threw a pillow and blanket at him.  “Here.  You can sleep on the couch tonight, because I don’t want to see you!”

“Heather!” Stormy yelled angrily.  He wanted to at least try to explain to her.  He didn’t think that Lauren would have this kind of an effect on his wife.   He raced up the stairs after her, followed her down the hallway and prepared to enter their bedroom.  She slammed the door behind her, just inches from his face.

“Go away!” Heather yelled through the door.

Realizing it was useless, Stormy turned and went back downstairs.  He would have to give her a while to cool off.  Maybe then she’d realize that giving Lauren a contract wasn’t a personal attack against her.    It was just business.

He stripped down to his boxers and flopped down onto the sofa, staring at the ceiling while thinking about Lauren.    If it was just business, then why couldn’t he get her off his mind?

Domi ican Republic

Ethan walked down the beach in Santo Domingo, staring up at the starry night sky, then turning his gaze to the dark Atlantic.   He wished things had gone differently with Brooke earlier that day.   Things hadn’t played out the way he imagined on the plane ride from Los Angeles.   He'd hoped she would see him and fall into his arms.  Telling him that she was still in love with James was the last thing he expected to hear.  Especially after the way he’d been treating her.

Gazing ahead down the beach, his eyes flashed open in surprise when he saw Brooke sitting on the sand several feet from the shore.   His mind began racing in a million directions.  She’d decided to stay after all.   He prayed she would tell him what he wanted to hear.

“You look beautiful,” he said as he closed in on her.

She looked up, startled by his presence.   “Ethan-“

“Wait, just let me talk,” he interrupted.  “I know that you feel some kind of responsibility toward James.  You feel guilty about what happened.  Not just between us, but because of your marriage to Philip.   But don’t you see what’s going on?   What happened between us isn’t finished.  If it was then you would have left this afternoon when you said you were going to.”

She stood up and looked at him apologetically.  “The reason I didn’t go was because they stopped all planes from leaving the island,” she explained.  “They said it’s too dangerous because of the liberal rebellion.  The U.S. government is supposed to intervene in the next couple of days.  We’re stuck here until then."

Ethan felt like an idiot for thinking she stayed because of him.   The cold look in her eyes told him that she wouldn’t be there if she didn’t have to be.  That’s the part that hurt the most.

He watched as she turned and started up the beach toward the hotel.  Shaking his head hopelessly, he turned back to the ocean

Jordan's House

The next morning, Alex went to Jordan’s house in Beverly Hills to try to do some damage control about the night before.  She had been utterly humiliated when he walked into her bedroom and found her in bed with Philip Whitacre.  Before she could even get dressed and explain to him, he had tore off in a state.   Not that she had a valid explanation for him anyway.  The simple truth was that she had the hots for Philip since she’d laid eyes on him back in Phoenix.  And since she’d decided that she was going to make the most of being single again, she decided to take no prisoners.  She could have any one she wanted.

She didn’t think those were the words she should use when she got to Jordan’s, but that’s exactly what she wound up saying.   Before she could stop herself, a self-proclamation of independence came flowing out of her mouth.

Jordan just looked at her in amazement.  “So you’re saying you’re going to sleep with anyone you choose,” he clarified.   “I see.   I believe there’s a word for women like you, Alex.”

She slapped him across the face.  “You’re a bastard,” she hissed.

“You’re a tramp.”   He grabbed her and pulled her into a deep, passionate kiss.  She struggled to get away at first, but eventually gave in.   “Is that what you like?” he asked between hurried kisses.  “Do you like it rough, Alex?   Is that what turned you on to that young buck last night?  Was he rough and hard?”

She followed his lead, growing aroused by his offensive words.   He pulled her into another kiss and bit down hard on her lip.    The playful biting turned a little too rough and she tried to pull away but Jordan held her with brute force.  She managed to get an arm free and slapped him again.

Jordan let go and backed up a step, instinctively placing a hand on his stinging cheek. 

“I don’t know what kind of woman you think I am,” she said, panting.  “But I can assure you you’ve got the wrong idea.”

“Is that so?” he asked, staring at her with seductive eyes.

She twisted the engagement ring off of her finger and threw it at him before racing out of the room and to the front door.   As she fled outside, she passed Heather coming up the walkway.

Frowning, Heather saw the distressed look in Alex’s eyes and proceeded into the house, determined to find out what was going on.

“Daddy!” she called from the entryway. 

Jordan came out of the living room and approached his daughter with a vague smile.  “Hello Sunshine,” he said, kissing her cheek as if nothing had happened.

“I just saw Alex Reynolds running out of here like a bat out of hell,” she said, pointing to the door.  “She looked upset.  What just happened?”

He sighed and shook his head.  “She gave me back my engagement ring.”

“Engagement ring?” Heather exclaimed.  “You asked her to marry you?  Daddy, she’s my mother-in law!”

He nodded and led her into the living room where they both sat down on the plush velvet sofa.   “I realize that,” he said.  “I don’t think it will be a problem.”

“Well I guess not if she gave you back the ring.”

Jordan shrugged, distantly examining the crease in his pants.  “I wouldn’t count us out just yet, Sweetheart.  Alex Reynolds and I have a lot in common.  There are many things we can do for each other.” 

He folded his hands under his chin and thought about the press that would crucify James Blackthorne when they learned that he and Alex were married.    After that it would only be a matter of time before he would convince her to do his next movie.   James would be the laughing stock of Hollywood.

Beach Club

James walked into the restaurant at the beach club with Miranda and Brett.  They stopped at the hostess stand and she led them to a table outside on the patio overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

“This is so nice, Daddy,” Miranda said, opening her menu.  “I’m so glad the three of us could go out for lunch together.  I feel like we haven’t had a chance to sit down together since Brett and I got married.”

He tried forcing a smile on his solemn face.  He only agreed to lunch because Miranda had been relentless about it.  The fact was he had so many other things on his mind right now.  He couldn’t even muster the time or energy to worry about his daughter and the tragic mistake she’d made by marrying someone like Brett Armstrong, a complete stranger and self-proclaimed drifter.

“It’s my pleasure,” James said, taking a sip of water.  He glanced across the room and spotted Jack Fallmont enter the restaurant with his wife, Adrienne.  Suddenly his foul mood got worse. 

“What are you going to have, Daddy?” Miranda asked.

He didn’t hear her.  He was watching Jack closely, waiting for the shoe to drop and for his old friend to come over and ask about his money.   Rather than risk a scene like that in front of Miranda and Brett, he decided he should be the one to broach the subject.

“Would you excuse me for a minute?” he said, getting up and walked over to their table.

After he left, Brett looked at Miranda and shrugged.  “I don’t know why he hates me so much,” he said.  “What can I do to prove to your father that I’m not the louse he thinks I am.”

Miranda put her head on his shoulder and smiled.  “He’s just protective of his little girl, that’s all,” she said, then looked across the room at her father.  “Which is a nice change of pace since I’m usually the one protecting him.  I can’t believe that bitch Brooke was married to someone else when she married my father.    If he ever lays eyes on her again it’ll be a tragedy.”

“Hey,” Brett said, looking around the room. “I bet this place gets packed for dinner.”

Miranda frowned, wondering what he was talking about.  “Yeah?  So?”

“So?” he replied.  “This would be perfect exposure for Lauren.  I wonder who I could talk to to see about her performing here at night.”

“What?” she asked in irritation.

He shrugged.  “It’s better than the Fern Bar.  You have to admit that.”

Across the room, James approached Jack and Adrienne and smiled politely.  “Isn’t this a coincidence?” he asked.  “I see you two had the same idea as we did.”

Jack smiled.  “Why yes, James.  Adrienne and I couldn’t wait to check out the club now that Renee DeWitt will be buying it and taking over operations.”

“It’s very exciting,” Adrienne commented, then smiled up at James.  “How nice to see you again, James.”

He could tell Jack had briefed his wife on the situation.  She was always rather indignant but today in particular she had a certain smug attitude about her.    “Jack, do you mind if I have a word with you in private?”

“Certainly not,” Jack replied, standing up and kissing his wife before he left.  “Darling, I’ll be back in a flash.”

They walked up to the bar in the sunny, open-aired dining room and each ordered a drink.  James swallowed hard, wishing he didn’t feel so awkward around his good friend.

“I need a little more time, Jack,” he said.

“How much more time?”

“A few days,” he replied.  “I’m working on getting you your money.”

“In a few days I’ll be in Denver.  My daughter Colleen is getting married.”

“You’ll have it by then,” James promised, finishing his drink in two gulps.

“I better,” Jack replied while tipping his glass to his lips.  He slammed it down on the counter and wiped his mouth.  “I’d hate to have our friendship strained by something like this, James ol’ boy.”

He started back to his wife and left James alone at the bar.   Letting out a deep breath, he handed the bartender a twenty.   God knows he needed to find a way to come up with that money.  There had to be a way to get his hands on it without costing him his livelihood.

Domi ican Republic

In Santo Domingo, Ethan stepped outside onto the terrace that jutted out from his hotel room on the beach.  He yawned and stretched, feeling the blazing hot sun on his bare skin.   It felt wonderful being away from Los Angeles.  The air in the Caribbean was so fresh and clean.  Even if things hadn’t worked out the way he wanted with Brooke, it was a relief just being able to get away for a while.

Turning away from the ocean, his eyes traveled to the terrace next to his.  Standing on the terrace was Brooke, watching him with lusty eyes.    He caught her glimpse and smiled but she quickly turned and ran back into her room.

Frowning, Ethan could swear that Brooke had been eyeing him the whole time he’d been outside on the terrace.   The way she looked at him was unmistakably seductive.   He wondered if she could be regretting her decision to walk away from him and their feelings for each other.  And the fact remained that they were stuck on the island for at least another day.   There had been reports of bombings near the airfield and the military was claiming it was too dangerous for planes to leave the island.    The U.S. military would be arriving shortly and intervening.   In the meantime, he was enjoying the fact that he was stranded in paradise. 

Stormy and Heather's House

That night, Brett met Stormy at his house in the Valley.  He went inside and waited for him.

“Heather, have you seen my car keys?” Stormy called up the stairs, searching from room to room.

Heather came down the stairs and stopped on the landing, glaring silently at him.

Stormy realized she wasn’t going to be any help.  She didn’t want him leaving in the first place.  All because of her jealousy over Lauren.   He went into the kitchen and found his keys on the counter, snatching them up quickly.  “Never mind,” he said, heading back to the door where Brett was waiting.  “I’ll be back in a while.”

Heather pouted and folded her arms across her chest, watching as they left the house. 

Outside, Brett looked at him and frowned.  “What’s with your wife?”

He shook his head.  “Don’t ask,” he said, walking to his Cobra in the driveway.

“Okay, well wait till you see this beach club,” he said.  “I think it would the perfect place for Lauren to get some exposure while we work on her album.”

“The beach club, huh?” Stormy asked, starting the engine and peeling out of the driveway.  “My dad is pretty tight with the DeWitt’s.  I hear they’re taking over the place soon.  Maybe I can get him to talk to them for us.”

“Solid,” Brett remarked as they started down the road toward the beach.

Lauren's Apartment

Lauren raced out of her bedroom, pushing a pair of earrings through her ears as she scrambled to get ready.   She dropped a pair of stilettos to the floor and shoved her feet into them one at a time. 

“Winter, I’m going out for a while!” she called from the living room.

When she didn’t hear a response, she went to her roommate’s door and knocked before slowly pushing it open.  She peered inside, spotting Winter laying on her bed in despair.  “Hey, are you okay?”

Winter nodded, staring at the ceiling.

“I’m going to the beach club with Stormy and Brett.  You wanna go?”

Shaking her head, Winter rolled over and stared at the opposite wall.   “No thanks,” she replied.  She was in no mood to go out for the night.  Not while Ethan was off somewhere with Brooke Taylor.    God only knows what they were doing together.  Having sex was a good possibility.   How could she compete when she was in L.A. and they were who knows where?

“Okay, well I’ll see you later,” Lauren said, realizing she was upset and deciding to leave her be.   She ducked back out of the room and waited for Stormy and Brett to show up.

Alex's House

Alex finished taking a bath and wrapped herself in a towel.   She emerged from the steamy bathroom and strode through her bedroom, feeling the cool ocean breeze blowing in through the open windows.   It felt refreshing on her hot skin.

She sat down at her vanity and began combing through her long auburn hair.  She looked into the mirror and cried out in surprise when she caught the reflection of someone standing behind her.

Jumping to her feet and spinning around, she came face to face with Philip Whitacre standing before her.    Her heart pounding inside her chest, she looked around with alarm. 

“How did you get in here?”

Philip smiled, stepped closer and pawing at the towel that draped loosely around her body.  “The back door was unlocked,” he said.  “You should really check that from now on.  This is the second time in two days someone’s invited themselves up into your bedroom.”

Alex nodded, wary of his being there.  “I’ll keep that in mind,” she said, walking to the bedroom door and opening it.  “Please leave, Philip.”

He continued smiling, digging his hands in his pockets and eyeing her soft, moist skin.  “Already?” he asked coyly.  “I thought we could have a repeat of last night.”

Alex shook her head.  “I don’t think so,” she replied.  “That was a one time thing for me.”

Philip came up and closed the door, grabbing her by the arms and pushing her toward the bed.  “Come on,” he said.  “You loved it.  I know you did.  You were screaming my name the entire time.”

Fear began to set in and Alex wished she hadn’t given Veronique the night off.

“Just once more,” Philip said, flicking his tongue inside her ear.  “I won’t hold anything back this time.  You won’t be able to walk for-“

“All right, I told you to get out and I mean it!” Alex shouted, pushing him away.  “Now leave before I call the police!”

Philip laughed and chased her across the bedroom.  “Yeah, right.  You’re just playing hard to get.”

“I am not!  Get out now!” she said, cowering away from him.

Philip grabbed hold of her with incredible force, throwing her down onto the bed and trying to rip the towel off of her.    Alex screamed and tried kicking him off but he was too strong.  He overpowered her and pressed down hard on top of her.

“Get off of me!” Alex yelled, trying desperately to push him off. 

“Just relax,” he replied, grunting and trying to unfasten his pants while he held her down.  “You love it.  I know you do.”

Just then, a pair of hands reached down and grabbed hold of Philip, pulling him off of Alex and tossing him across the room.

“Jordan!” Alex shrieked, covering herself with the towel and trying to catch her breath.

“You son of a bitch!” Jordan yelled, running toward a frightened Philip and punching him in the jaw.   “You just made a very big mistake!”

Philip went sailing back, crashing into the wall and knocking a large painting onto the floor.   He struggled to his feet but Jordan was already there, sending his fist into his gut repeatedly.

Gritting his teeth, Jordan dragged the man out of the bedroom and let him topple down the stairs.  “I suggest you slither out of here and forget about ever coming back!” he shouted, picking Philip up and throwing him out the front door. 

“She wanted me!” Philip yelled as he landed on the sandy beach, his nose and mouth bleeding as a result of Jordan’s rage.   “I was scoring with that chick man!   You jealous son of bitch!”

“Get out of here before the police show up and haul your ass to jail!” Jordan yelled before slamming the door shut angrily.   He tried catching his breath and turned around to find Alex coming down the stairs.  “Are you okay?” he asked.

She nodded, amazed at the way Jordan had took charge of the situation.

“I came by to apologize for earlier,” he explained.  “I’m glad I did.”

Alex stepped forward and pulled him into an embrace, kissing him before she even knew what she was doing.  She was so grateful for his heroic act.   No one had ever been there for her like that.   She was a fool for walking out on him earlier that day.

Ethan Blackthorne

In Santo Domingo, Ethan laid on his bed beneath the whirling ceiling fan, staring at the blades as they cast shadows on the walls of the room.  It was late and very hot and he couldn’t sleep.   He kept thinking about Brooke in the next room, wondering what she was doing and what she was thinking.

The air conditioning in his room was broken so he stripped down to a pair of tight sweat shorts and sprawled out on the bed with a bucket of ice.   The windows were wide open, and a warm breeze blew in from the ocean but it wasn’t enough to cool his hot skin. 

There was a knock at the door and he grew immediately aroused.  It had to be Brooke, he thought to himself.   Who else would it be at this hour? 

He got up from the bed and went to the door, pulling it open quickly.   Sure enough, Brooke stood in the hallway in shorts and a lacy pink bra, covered in sweat.  She ran her fingers through her matted down hair, looking at him with desire.

“I couldn’t sleep,” she said.   “The air conditioning is broken in my room.”

"Mine too."  A thoughtful pause.  "But I have plenty of ice."

Brooke walked into the room with uncertainty.  She didn't know what she was doing but it felt right.   Ever since Ethan showed up on the island she couldn't stop thinking about him, regardless of how hard she tried to deny her feelings.

He took an ice cube and pressed it gently on her arm.  The heat melted it quickly and she sighed with relief as Ethan ran it all over her body.   She reached out and put her hands on his waist.    Ethan leaned in and brushed his lips against her neck, tasting her salty skin.

They kissed timidly, then eagerly as Ethan lowered her onto the bed and stood above her.   He unfastened her bra and slid it around her arms, leaning down and kissing her from head to toe.    Brooke pulled him close, raking her fingers through his hair and closing her eyes in ecstasy.

She was through fighting it.  She wanted him more than she'd ever wanted anyone in her life.  The sound of the ocean waves carried through the window and the glow of the moonlight illuminated their bodies as they writhed about in the heat.

Stormy Blackthorne

At the beach club in L.A., Stormy and Lauren sat at the bar while Brett pestered the restaurant manager at the host stand.   He knew if they wanted to get Lauren a regular gig that he had to start making connections, and the manager seemed like the perfect place to start.  He would leave it up to Stormy to use his father's influence with the DeWitt's.

Lauren smiled, watching Brett work his charms and then turned to Stormy.  "He certainly is dedicated," she said with a laugh.

"Yeah, he's taking the bull by the horns," Stormy agreed.  "I haven't known him very long but he seems to be a take charge kind of guy."

"You're both married, right?" Lauren asked, pushing her long platinum blond hair behind her shoulders and sipping her sex on the beach.

Stormy nodded.  "Yeah," he said reluctantly.

Lauren pressed her lips together, wondering what kind of woman Stormy's wife was.  "Is she pretty?"

He laughed nervously.  "Yeah, she's pretty."  He didn't know why but he felt awkward discussing Heather with Lauren.   "Why do you want to know?"

"Just curious.  How long have you been married?"

Stormy thought for a minute.  "About ten months I guess," he said, then decided to turn the tables on her.  "How about you?  Are you seeing anyone special?"

Lauren smiled and shook her head.  "No."

"Why not?  A pretty girl like yourself."

"I guess I've never stayed in one place long enough.  I grew up in L.A. but then I moved to San Diego for a while and tried my hand at college."

"How'd that go?" Stormy asked.

She laughed.  "Not very well.  I dropped out after a semester.  Singing was more important to me anyway."

Stormy couldn't take his eyes off of her.  She was mesmerizing him.  He watched her mouth move when she spoke and it was torture.  He felt like an ass for thinking it but it was the truth.   He knew he would never act on his feelings but just being in close proximity to her was enough to cause his heart to race.

"So where'd the name Stormy come from?" Lauren asked, chewing the end of her straw.  "That's not your real name, is it?"

He shook his head.  "My real name's Ryan.  But I used to be afraid of storms when I was a kid," he explained.  "My sister started calling me Stormy and pretty soon it stuck.  Now everyone calls me that."

Lauren laughed, finding him more adorable the more she got to know him.  They both turned when Brett approached, a big grin on his face.

"Good news," he said, patting them both on the back.  "They just happen to be looking for a new act on the weekends.  The piano player they had before was putting everyone to sleep so they're looking for something a little more upbeat."

"That's great!" Lauren exclaimed.  "I could get used to working in a place like this.  It sure beats the Fern Bar any day."

"I'll talk to my dad tomorrow," Stormy said, not taking his eyes off of Lauren.  "I'm sure once the DeWitt's hear you they'll fall in love with you."

Lauren smiled happily.  There was something she liked about Stormy.   He was determined, wealthy, incredibly handsome, and full of energy.

Domi ican Republic

The next morning Brooke stirred awake in Ethan's hotel room in Santo Domingo.  She felt rested and for the first time since she could remember she didn't have a nagging sense of doom hanging over her head.    Nothing else mattered when she was with him.

She sat up in the bed and saw him moving about the room frantically.  "What are you doing?" she asked.  "What time is it?"

Ethan smiled and kissed her gently.  "It's early," he said.  "The phones lines are down and I've been trying to find out if we can get a flight out today."

"Do we have to?" Brooke asked with a giggle.  "Can't we stay here forever?"

He smiled and stroked her hair from her face.  "We have to go home and face things," he said.  "As much as we'd both like to stay here, we have to do the right thing."

She nodded, feeling like she was coming down from a high.  "We have to tell James about us," she said.

"But once we do, there's nothing stopping us from being together," Ethan said with a hopeful tone to his voice.  "I promise."

Brooke smiled again.  "Where are you going?"

"I'm going to get a ride to the airport to see if there's any way we can fly out this morning," he said and kissed her again.  "I'll be back soon."

"Hurry."  Brooke said.

There was a knock at the door and Ethan opened it.  Juan, a young Latino man stood out in the hall and gestured to Ethan.

"I have a jeep waiting for you downstairs, Mr. Blackthorne," he said.  "You don't mind riding with two of our military personnel, do you?"

Ethan shook his head.  "Not at all. Thank you, Juan," he said, blowing Brooke a kiss before following Juan down the hallway of the hotel.

Brooke got out of the bed and tried shaking off her sleepy state.  She walked out onto the terrace and looked down at Ethan getting into a jeep with two men in uniform.  The jeep started off down the road and she smiled, hoping he wouldn't be long.  After last night she never wanted to be without him again.

Sunset Studios

James sat in his office at Sunset Studios when his secretary buzzed him.

"Mr. Blackthorne, there's a Mr. Sallis here to see you," she said.  "He says it's urgent."

Frowning, James looked at his calendar.  He didn't have any meetings scheduled that morning.  And the name Sallis didn't ring a bell.   "Do you know what he wants?"

"He says it very urgent," said the secretary.  "Very urgent and very private."

"All right, send him in," James replied, standing up and straightening his tie. 

When the door opened a stout middle-aged man with gray hair entered the room in a business suit and carrying a briefcase.  He approached James and shook his hand.

"Mr. Blackthorne, I'm Cutty Sallis."

"Mr. Sallis, please have a seat," James said, gesturing to the chair across from his desk.  "What can I do for you?"

Sallis sat down and folded his hands in his lap.  "I'll get right to the point, Mr. Blackthorne.  I understand you are in need of financial assistance."

James frowned.  "I wasn't aware that my financial dealings were of public record," he said warily.  "If you don't mind me asking, where did you get your information?"

"We travel in similar circles, Mr. Blackthorne," the man said rather dismissively.  "I represent a consortium on the east coast.  The purpose of H&Q Consolidated is to lend money to small businesses in trouble."

"You have my attention," James said, still unsure of what brought Sallis to him that morning.  It seemed rather out of the blue.  On the other hand, he could have gotten wind of his current financial difficulties from Jack or Kenny.  It was a small community all things considered.   At any rate, he was running out of options.  He had to get Jack his money and it had to be soon.

"I'm prepared to offer you a check," Sallis began, opening his briefcase and removing a stack of papers.   "The terms are simple.  Twenty percent interest and collateral are required."

"Twenty percent interest?" James asked in dismay.  "That's robbery."

Sallis shrugged and put the papers back in his briefcase.  'I'm sorry, I was under the impression you were out of options," he said.  "But if you think you can get a better deal somewhere else, then I'm sorry for wasting your time." 

James held up his hand to stop him.  "What kind of collateral?" he asked.

Sallis shrugged.  "Your production company should do fine."

Laughing, James stood up from his desk and straightened his jacket.  "You want me to put Sunset Studios up as collateral?" he asked.  "That's out of the question."

Sallis stood up as well.  "If you make your payments on time you won't lose anything," he said.  "It's as simple as that.  Do you want the money or not, Mr. Blackthorne?"

"And if I can't make the payments?" James asked.

"Then we'll assume control of Sunset Studios as repayment," the man replied flatly.

James shook his head.  "I'm sorry, thank you for stopping by."  He walked over to the door and opened it to show the man out.

"You don't accept the terms?" Sallis asked, following him to the door.

"Not under the those conditions, no."

"Very well," Sallis said, handing him a business card.  "I'll be in Los Angeles for the next couple of days.  If you change your mind, you can reach me at this number."

James took the card and smiled vaguely.  "Thank you, Mr. Sallis."

After the man left, James looked at the card and tossed it onto his desk.  He had a bad feeling about H&Q Consolidated.  They seemed to have popped up just in the nick of time, which made him highly suspicious.   Not to mention the fact that the terms of the loan were way too steep.  Twenty percent interest was extremely high.  Not only that, but he couldn't afford to risk losing his production company.   He would have to think of another way to pay Jack the money he owed him.

Domi ican Republic

Brooke paced the hotel room in Santo Domingo, anxiously waiting for Ethan to come back and tell her they were cleared to leave the island.    She was growing increasingly distraught over the explosions she heard in the distance.   At one point she went down to the lobby and overheard two men talking about several bombings on the north side of the island.

After packing her and Ethan's bags and setting them by the door, she walked out onto the terrace and tried to see in the distance.  Another explosion rocked the hotel and she braced herself on the terrace railing.   Whatever assaults were going on were becoming more frequent, and from the sound of it they were getting increasingly violent.

Consumed with anxiety, she decided to get their things and wait downstairs.  She headed for the door, grabbing the bags and making her way to the elevator. 

When she reached the lobby, Juan came running into the hotel and approached her in a frantic state of panic.

"Miss Taylor!" he cried, rushing toward her.  "It's Mr. Blackthorne!"

Immediately she sensed that something was terribly wrong.  Ever since Ethan left in the jeep with the two other men she'd had a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach.    She was almost afraid to ask.

"There was a tank assault near the airport!" Juan said in bated breath.  "Mr. Blackthorne's jeep was hit!   It exploded on impact!"

"What?" Brooke asked, covering her mouth in horror.   The hotel lobby began to spin and she felt weak.    Not Ethan.  He couldn't be...

"They only found one of the bodies," Juan continued.   "The other soldier and Mr. Blackthorne are nowhere to be found.  They're afraid there… there might not be anything left of the bodies."

"Oh my God!" Brooke cried in hysterics.   She ran out of the hotel and looked around, seeing the smoke billowing into the air like an ominous black cloud.   She turned back to Juan.  "You have to take me to see it! "

"Miss Taylor, I don't think you want to-"

"I have to see it for myself!" Brooke cried. 

Brooke Taylor

Minutes later, Juan stopped his car on an unpaved road less than a mile from the airstrip.   There were military soldiers crowding the scene and immediately Brooke knew that her worst fears had come true.

She jumped out of the car and raced to the burning hunk of twisted metal.  The stench of burned rubber was thick in the air and there was debris strew up and down the stretch of road from the jeep.  She looked to the ground several feet from the disaster and saw the body of one of the soldiers Ethan had left with, badly beat up and covered in soot and blood.    One of the military soldiers covered his body with a blanket and spoke a silent prayer.

Brooke slowly sunk to her knees, sobbing uncontrollably as she watched the jeep blaze beneath the hot morning sun.


Next time...

Brooke sinks into a depression.  Brett's past finally catches up with him.  Alex rethinks her priorities.  Brett grows suspicious of Stormy and Lauren's relationship.  James makes a deal.  Lauren's debut gets underway

 Read Episode 11



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