to a stunned crowd that she'd married Nathan Blackthorne,
thus giving her his ten percent share of Sunset Studios.
Brett resisted Marilee's seduction, vowing his
commitment to Heather. He later dropped Violet
off at Suzanne's. Suzanne assisted Renee in hiding
her pregnancy from Nathan, arranging for her to give
birth to Sierra in Europe and faking an adoption. Suzanne
met with Mackenzie Stone, the producer of the daytime
soap The Young at Heart, and turned down her
offer to reprise her role as Faye Richards. Benji
brooded over Sierra's leaving after they made love on
the beach. Miranda urged Stormy to help her get to the
bottom of Eddie's apparent fling with Quinn Rainer.
Jordan hid away on his yacht, tired of the drama
in his life. He called Stephanie and asked her
to dinner, which she refuted. Knowing Kyle Fenwick was
back in town, Stephanie went on the defense. A
forlorned Alex studied a picture of a three day old
baby before swallowing several muscle relaxers.
Kyle rescued Alex from her near overdose, initially
refusing to go public as her white knight. After
reconsidering, he gave his name to the media. When
a reporter learned he had been in prison for a drug
trafficking operation, he cast the blame onto David.
Later, Kyle called David and asked where Stephanie
was. When David said he didn't know, Kyle threatened
Brooke, claiming he was standing outside her house.
Traffic on Vine was
at a deadlock. There was a sea of
cars ahead, taillights streaming as far as the eye could see from Santa Monica Boulevard
all the way to Hollywood Boulevard. David Jennings fidgeted in his seat, twisting
this way and that and gritting his teeth in frustration.
His heart had
stopped momentarily after getting the ominous phone call from Kyle
Fenwick. For three long years he’d been
rid of the man’s dangerous presence, comforted in the fact that he was locked
up in prison on Staten Island. Now it appeared he was out and looking for
Detective Callahan. He had no doubt he’d
come after him too. But for now, he was
making threats. Threats that put Brooke
in danger, despite the fact that she had nothing to do with any of it.
in the midst of the traffic jam, he grew more aggravated by the second, laying
on his horn and honking to no one in particular. He knew it was futile, but it made him feel
he decided to take action. Turning the
wheel sharply to the right, he pulled out onto the shoulder. With two wheels up on the curb, he flew past
the traffic jam at breakneck speed, the engine on his Ferrari Enzo thundering
by like a series of small explosions. If
he hurried, he could be in Glendale
Standing in the
shower at her townhouse in Glendale,
Brooke Taylor washed the day’s events away.
The news that Jackie Lamont had married Nathan the perv Blackthorne in
order to gain his shares of Sunset Studios was enough to make her want to throw
in the towel. All she’d wanted was to be
part of something important, something that Ethan would be proud of. She didn’t care about taking anything from
anyone. But Jackie – who blamed her as
the product of Royce’s infidelity – took it to another level. With her as another partner in the studio,
she felt that she was in a losing battle.
shampoo from her mane of blond hair, she heard noises coming from outside the
bathroom. Was it Michael waking up and
moving about the house? He always slept
through the night. Quickly, she finished
rinsing off and bent down to turn off the faucet. As the last traces of water spiraled down the
drain, she listened for a repeat of the noise.
When she didn’t
hear anything, she grabbed a towel and dabbed her wet skin. After she was dry, she pulled on her bathrobe
and opened the door, peering out into the hallway.
called to out to the darkness. “You
No response. Only the sound of glass breaking.
She stepped out
into the hallway, her heart thudding inside her chest. After checking the bedrooms and making sure
Michael was safely sleeping, she proceeded down the stairs to the first
floor. Slowly, she crept toward the
front door. When the doorknob began
turning, her heart jumped into her throat and she cowered away in fear. Grabbing for the first thing that she could
find to protect herself – a fireplace poker – she waited, prepared to attack.
Slowly, the door
opened and a dark figure entered. Brooke
raised the poker high above her head.
Closing her eyes, she brought it down in one swift movement. She heard a crash, opened her eyes, and saw
that the intruder had ducked out of the way, the poker smashing against an
oriental vase positioned by the door.
Shards of broken porcelain exploded onto the floor.
“What the-“ David
exclaimed, panting heavily as he stared wildly at the makeshift weapon gripped
tightly in her hand.
sighed. “What the hell are you doing?”
“Is somebody else in
the house?’ he asked.
With no time to
explain, he tore off throughout the small townhouse, inspecting each room, in
every closet and behind every door for any sign of Kyle Fenwick. He’d already scoped out the yard and found no
one lurking about.
“David, tell me
what’s going on right now,” Brooke insisted when he returned to the living
room. “You’re scaring me. I heard something break.”
Breathing hard, he
placed a hand on her shoulder. “It was
me. I kicked a pot over outside.”
“What’s going on?”
He couldn’t tell
her. Not yet. Not until he knew there was reason to
panic. “I’m sorry for scaring you,” he
said, going to the door. “I just wanted
to check on you. You left the party in
such a hurry. Just please lock the door
after I leave and don’t open it for anyone.”
She could see that
he meant business. She didn’t know what
had gotten him so upset but she decided to take his word for it. Maybe it was his mother he was scared of. But Jackie wouldn’t show up at her door
looking for trouble,
Once he was
outside, David pulled out his cell and dialed he number Kyle had called him
from. The phone barely rang before he
answered with a cackling laugh.
“You’re such a
sucker,” he said. “Did you really think
I was there?”
“What do you want?”
David asked, starting back to his car.
Callahan?” Kyle asked again.
“How the hell
should I know? Try her office. She’s a big detective with the LAPD now. I’m sure they’d love to have an ex-con show
up. Where are you, Fenwick?”
“In L.A. You’ll be seeing me soon enough. Make sure you check the morning news
tomorrow. There’ll be a nice little
impromptu interview that you might be interested in.”
clicked of his phone and got inside his car.
If Fenwick was back in town, he’d have to be on guard. The jerk probably still thought he’d set him
up in the drug bust back in New York. And if that was the case, he knew he’d be
There was an
expansive wall of windows in James Blackthorne’s office on the top floor of
Sunset Studios that provided a bird’s eye view of the lake and grassy park on
the back lot. In the distance was the sprawling
cityscape of downtown Los Angeles. The perfect epicenter of Hollywood, he wouldn’t trade his private
quarters for the world. It was there
that he made his most daring business deals, signed paychecks, and came up with
the next project in his long line of blockbusters. Now, he was faced with a predator. One who would stop at nothing to stake her
claim on what he’d spent decades building.
“You may have
finagled your measly ten percent of the company from my uncle, but that doesn’t
mean you get to call the shots,” he was saying to the predator early that
morning. “Brooke has already taken the
office next door.”
“Then I want the
office across the hall,” Jackie Blackthorne insisted.
“Stormy is a junior
executive. I’m part-owner. Put him downstairs.”
Unwilling to listen
to any more bickering, Stormy chimed in.
“Dad, it’s fine. I’ll move
downstairs. I’m usually on set anyway.”
James sighed with
defeat. He supposed they did have to
give in and pick their battles where Jackie was concerned. “Fine,” he said, turning his penetrating gaze
at her. “Satisfied?”
entered, she fixed her sights on Jackie and did her best to ignore her. “Sorry I’m late,” she said to James while
handing him an ecru envelope. “I
finished making notes on that script we were talking about. I think it’s brilliant. Definitely should be our next project.”
“I agree, Dad,”
Jackie asked, perched on the edge of James’s desk.
yourself,” Brooke snapped. She still
wasn’t sure what went on last night, and why David was so freaked out when he
came over to her house, but she was sure it had something to do with his
“If it’s about
Sunset Studios business, then it does concern me,” Jackie countered, snatching
the envelope from James and pulling the clasp open. “Is it any good?”
“It’s very good,”
Stormy said. “It’s an action/adventure
piece about nuclear threats and human trafficking in North Korea.”
Jackie made a face
while reviewing the title page. “The Standoff,” she read aloud. “Okay title but the premise sounds positively
drab. Whose idea was this?”
the script,” James told her. “We’re all
“Well I’m not,”
Jackie said, dropping it on the desk.
“This is not the kind of film my father would have produced. We need something current. Something that the younger generation will be
“This is very current,” Brooke said in defense of
her decision. “But of course how would
you know that? You don’t read anything
that isn’t about you.”
“And I believe
Jonas would have been behind this film all the way,” James added. “Just look at some of his films that your
husband starred in. Many of them were
about current political events. Besides,
you haven’t even read the script. How do
you know it isn’t any good?”
“Need I remind you
that I own ten percent of-“
“No, you don’t,”
Brooke groaned. “But James and I are
both in agreement, which means we outvote you.”
make sure you get the rights secured as soon as possible,"
James said. "We don't want this one to slip
through our fingers."
Fixing her eyes
angrily on them, Jackie took a step forward.
“You’re loving this, aren’t you?” she asked
Brooke. “You have your alliance with James and I’m
the outsider. Well get this straight, I
have more right to be here than you do.
I’m a Blackthorne now. You aren’t. Don’t ever forget that.”
the room after Jackie’s dramatic exit.
Vibrating alerted Stormy to a text message, which he read via his
iPhone. The distraction was welcomed.
“Miranda said to
turn on the news,” he announced, yanking the remote from a table and pointing
it at the giant hi-def flat screen.
Scrolling to E!, he watched as
a replay of Alex’s hospital release the night before was aired.
“Who set you up?” a reporter was asking.
“David Jennings,” Kyle announced
before the entire crowd. “He used me as
a scapegoat to cover up his own involvement with the cartel.”
“Why are you in Los Angeles?
Is it because David Jennings lives here?”
I’m just trying to start over.”
"What about the other charges? That you killed a police officer?”
“I’m not a murderer.
David Jennings killed that cop.”
“Oh my God,” Brooke
gasped and flashed her eyes toward James.
“What is he talking about?”
“I don’t know,”
James answered, quite sure that it was some kind of smear campaign against
David. He looked at Stormy. “This is the guy that found your mother?”
shrugged. “News to me.”
“He looks so much
like…” James began.
Brooke raked her
fingers through her silky blond hair.
“I’ve gotta go see David,” she said, racing for the door without letting
James finish his sentence.
After waking up in
the state room on his yacht, Jordan Rydell showered and dressed, eager
for a late breakfast at the Yacht Club’s dining room. Sporting khaki shorts, a blue t-shirt, and a
white baseball cap, he felt comfortable.
No more stuffy business suits and wing tipped shoes. For the foreseeable future and until he
decided what to do with the rest of his life, this was his uniform.
He took a seat at a
booth overlooking the marina, gulped down a cup of strong black coffee, and
threw a discarded newspaper onto the next table so it was out of sight. He didn’t care what was going on in the world. He didn’t care what his stocks were doing and
he didn’t care what mega blockbuster Sunset Studios was launching next.
When he spotted
Stephanie Callahan at a counter seat across the room, his interest piqued. Finally something to care about. He didn’t know why. She was brash, condescending, and a
know-it-all. She thought she had
everyone figured out. All annoying
qualities, but he couldn’t help but find himself attracted to her. Before he knew it he was sauntering over and
sitting down beside her.
“So you do eat,” he
her standoffish reply. “Why?”
“Every time I ask
you to go out with me you turn me down.”
“That has more to
do with you than the actual act of eating,” she replied with a smirk. “You’re awfully casual today. Taking the day off?”
“More like taking
the year off,” Jordan
considered a crude remark but thought better of it. She supposed he needed a break after
everything he’d been through. It wasn’t
his fault that his family was a wreck.
“Well, nice seeing
you, Mr. Rydell,” she said, wiping her mouth with a napkin and slapping a
twenty dollar bill on the table. “Duty
“Wait,” Jordan said,
taking her arm to stop her. “Don’t you
think it’s time you went out with me?”
“No,” she answered
on automatic pilot.
“Here she goes
again with the shifty answers,” he said, rolling his eyes.
“My answers are not
shifty. I told you up front I do not
believe in mixing business and pleasure.”
business? You closed Troy’s murder case, and you closed the Scott
Kelly case. Unless I’m suspected in
another crime I’m not aware of.”
“I closed the Scott
Kelly case because there was no evidence.”
“Either way, I
don’t see any business going on here. Just pleasure.”
she gasped. “You’re so persistent.”
like you. Is that a crime?”
that a line from one of your movies?”
She raised an eyebrow, standing up from the counter and pausing when she
saw a news report flash across the television screen.
the hell-“ Jordan
said, wondering why Alex was the subject of such a fuss at the hospital. He felt really out of it. He had no idea what was going on.
stared at the report, blood draining from her face. Seeing Kyle Fenwick standing in front of news
cameras in Los Angeles
was like something out of a bad dream. She
strained to hear what he was saying.
she wasn’t okay. The man who had killed
her partner was out of prison and in Los
feelings quickly returned. She’d left New York to get away from
them, but they had followed her.
Since Kyle Fenwick’s statement to the media
the night before, several news vans were already strewn about the fifty acre
area at Moonshadows, awaiting their opportunity to interview David Jennings
regarding Kyle’s implications. Channel 4
was positioned near the golf course by the cabins, Channel 7 was staked out by
the south pool, and Channel 11 took to patrolling the parking lot near the administrative
building where David’s office was situated.
An expert at avoiding the paparazzi, David decided to busy himself with
overseeing construction of the resort’s newest restaurant, the jet set-inspired
Admirals Club which was located further inland.
I want the Mahogany panels,” he was saying to the construction foreman,
pointing to the far wall. “With the dark
blue paint trim we talked about.”
got it, Mr. Jennings,” the foreman said before returning to his crew.
turned back to a drafting table with a set of blueprints spread across it. He took a pencil and scratched his forehead
beneath the hard hat he was instructed to wear upon entering. His gaze traveled up when he heard someone
enter through the half-completed structure.
told me you were hiding out here,” Brooke said, also wearing a red hard hat
upon entering the construction zone. “I
had to practically give my name, age and serial number to prove I wasn’t a
talk to them,” he snapped, throwing the pencil onto the table. “You’re part owner now. You shouldn’t have to prove that you have a
right to be here.”
could see he was on edge. “It’s no big
deal, David. I was just worried about
you after last night. Then I saw the
news with that man saying those things about you. Who is he?”
David told her in anger. It would get
out eventually, and he’d rather have his own sister hear his version of what
happened. The real version.
Fenwick was the general manager of one of Royce’s hotels in upstate New York. His family was filthy rich – made their money
in shipping - but he said he was trying to make his own way. Every employee he hired to work at the hotel
had a criminal background. He claimed he
was big into second chances. Come to
find out he was using them to start up a drug operation using the hotel as a
you and Royce know what was going on?”
until it was too late. I worked with a
detective on the police force and set up a sting operation. Fenwick was arrested, but while he was being
booked he had his goons call in a bomb threat and evacuate the hotel. The entire building blew up and all the
evidence along with it. The detective
was still in the building when it blew up.
They couldn’t prove he had anything to do with the explosion, but one of
his employees testified in exchange for a lighter sentence. He got seven years but apparently just got
out on good behavior.”
seems really intent on proving his innocence.
Why would he say you set him up?”
else is he going to say? He’s trying to
blame it on anyone but himself.”
sighed, placing a gentle hand on his. “Do
you think he’d do anything crazy?”
he have anything to do with you coming over and acting like a madman last
knew he had to level with her, but at the same time he didn’t want to scare
her, so he told the nearest thing to the truth that he could. “I was just overreacting to hearing he was in
town. I’m sorry for scaring you. Just make sure you’re careful. Kyle Fenwick is a loose cannon.”
got you so scared about this guy?” Jordan asked as he and Stephanie
strolled out of the Yacht Club. They
started down the boardwalk, passing by bikers and joggers making their way
along the water.
not scared,” she replied stiffly. “I’m a
cop. I don’t get scared.”
gets scared,” Jordan
said, squinting through the sun.
me. I just don’t trust people.”
that why you don’t get involved?”
she said. “Not worth the risk.”
make for a lot of lonely nights. How old
shot him a ferocious scowl. “Never ask a
woman her age,” she said irritably.
okay,” Jordan said, shaking his head. “What the hell
turned you into this cold shell of a woman?”
paused thoughtfully and turned to him.
“My last partner was killed in that drug sting operation. He was blown to pieces inside that
hotel. This was after I made him promise
he would take himself off the case. I
have trust issues, okay? So sue me.”
did you want him off the case?”
Fenwick and I were involved,” she explained. “Romantically.”
about conflict of interests.”
shook her head. “I was blind to the
whole thing. I was so wrapped up in my
relationship with the guy that I refused to see what was going on. I even begged my partner to drop the
case. I put my career in jeopardy
because of my feelings for a man.”
what’s he doing here?” Jordan
glanced out at the water. “He thinks I
was setting him up all along. He’s here
to settle a score.”
so glad we’re finally catching up,” Renee said over coffee with Suzanne in the
solarium at the Blackthorne mansion. She reached across the table and touched
her hand gently. “You look
wonderful. So rested.”
resting is all I’ve done for the past thirteen years,” Suzanne quipped.
brilliant white teeth. “I can’t tell you
how many times I prayed that you were alright.
That you were safe and that you just couldn’t come home. I never believed the worst. Never.”
“You were always a
good friend,” Suzanne said, blinking away tears.
“We went through a
lot together,” recalled Renee. “Like my
affair with Nathan and your help getting me out of the country so I could have
Sierra away from the media. You were the
only one I could trust.”
“Well, I had my own
bout with Nathan when we did that movie together.”
“Yeah, but you
stood up to him. I was weak. I fell in love with him and let him
manipulate me. The worst mistake of my
life. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve
never regretted having Sierra, I just hate who her father is.”
“And now he’s
married to Jackie Lamont,” Suzanne remarked, pouring them each another cup of
steaming hot coffee. “Did you know her
before she moved away?”
Renee shook her
head. “No, but my father was friends with Royce Jennings and I used to go on
trips with him to New York. I must have met her there at some
against the back of her chair, Suzanne tapped her fingernails on the glass
table. “How is your relationship with
Sierra? I mean, was it strained after
she found out you were her mother?”
“It was,” Renee
answered quickly. “But we worked through
it. She is a very forgiving young woman,
which at times gets her heart broken.”
thoughtfully while stirring a cube of sugar into her coffee, Suzanne let out a
heavy sigh. “I worry that Benji will
never forgive me for leaving. He has so
much anger built up because of it.” For
a brief second she considered confiding in her friend about his latest stunt,
but quickly thought better of it. Best
to keep his attack on Scott Kelly to themselves.
“You said you might
have had a breakthrough with him though.”
“Possibly. He’s been different the past few days. I think something’s troubling him. Something other than Jordan and I. Once and a while I see glimmers of that
five-year old boy that he was when I left.”
“You might be
exactly what he needs,” Renee suggested.
Suzanne smiled hopefully, deciding to change the subject. “So what’s going on with you? I’m detecting something going on between you and
T.T. Levitt. Would this be the same T.T.
that you told me about all those years ago?
The one from the cruise?”
“One in the
same. And we’re not together. I never make the same mistakes twice.”
grinned. “Is that why you started
glowing when I mentioned his name?” she asked, needling her.
things,” Renee said, guardedly.
faithful Polynesian housekeeper, appeared in the doorway, a brilliant smile on
her chubby face. “Mrs. DeWitt, there’s a
delivery for you in the foyer,” she announced in her broken English. “You won’t believe it with your eyes.”
“I wonder what it
could be,” Renee wondered, leading Suzanne out of the room and out to the foyer
where two sturdy deliverymen were hauling in dozens of big black heavy duty
cases, each emblazoned with a different designer’s logo.
“What on earth-“
“Please sign,” one
of the deliverymen said to Renee, handing her a clipboard and pen.
After she scribbled
her signature, he handed her a small envelope, which she tore open and scanned
“What does it say?”
asked a bewildered Suzanne.
what you preferred, so I got one of everything,” she read aloud. “Ticket enclosed. Ship leaves port at six o’clock.”
“It would appear
so,” Renee said, looking at the tickets to the Royal Princess that departed from San Pedro and traveled down the
Mexican Riviera. “And this season’s
latest in cruise wear to boot.”
“There must be a
hundred outfits here,” Suzanne said, admiring the designer labels on the
cases. “How long is the cruise?”
“Two weeks,” Renee
said, wondering how T.T. could have the nerve to make such assumptions. “He’s trying to recreate our first meeting.”
But Renee wasn’t so
sure. Was going off on a week-long
cruise with T.T. such a good idea? She
didn’t even know if she’d forgiven him.
But it did sound
When Eddie canceled
their second date that week, Miranda decided to take matters into her own
hands. Hideous scar or not, she was
Miranda Blackthorne, and she didn’t get stood up by anyone, let alone a
bumbling dork like Eddie Distefano. She
pulled Stormy from a meeting at Sunset Studios and commissioned him into
helping her get to the bottom of Eddie’s strange behavior. After grumbling and moaning, he finally
agreed, knowing it was never a good idea to say no to his sister.
They followed him
in one of their father’s spare cars into Bel Air so as not to attract any
attention. A surprise attack was
best. When they followed him past the
giant iron gates of a palatial house at the top of a hill, Stormy pulled to the
curb and watched his best friend make his way up to the house
“This is Quinn
Rainer’s house,” he said.
“Are you sure?”
He nodded. “I’m sure.
Her mother’s lived here forever.
She and Quinn’s father are divorced.
He lives in Europe now.”
“He blew me off to
see that floozy,” Miranda said, irritated.
“I can’ t believe he would do that.
Stormy, I know you think I’m wrong but doesn’t this prove my
theory? That Eddie is a two-timing
He had to agree
with her this time. He never thought it could
be true, but here they were, staked outside of a mansion in Bel Air where
something very scandalous was obviously going on.
“Come on,” he said,
getting out of the car and starting up to the gate. Miranda followed fast on his heels. They made their way to the enormous front
door and rang the bell. Moments later,
the housekeeper appeared.
“Can I help you?”
Miranda pushed her
way inside, following the sound of voices into the parlor off to the left. Upon entering, she gasped at the awful sight
before her. Eddie was standing with his
arms around Quinn Rainer, a woman perched nearby with a cup of tea.
“A-ha!” she yelled,
pointing an accusatory finger. “I knew
it! You lying piece of crap! How could you do this to me?”
“Miranda?” Eddie Distefano
asked, raising his cartoonish eyebrows in surprise. “Stormy?
What are you doing here? How did
you find me?”
“We followed you,”
Stormy replied, glowering at his best friend.
“Miranda was worried when you canceled another date.”
“And turns out I
was right to be worried. What are you
doing with this bimbo? You begged me to
go out with you, and against my better judgment I said yes. Now you’re moving on to…her? Is this just a
conquest thing with you?”
Quinn looked at her
and then at Eddie, tears staining her cheeks.
She was a sweetly pretty young woman of twenty-six with long dark hair
and a round face. Standing five feet one
inches, she was dwarfed next to Eddie’s tall frame.
“Miranda, you don’t
understand,” Eddie began, flustered.
“Who are these
people?” the woman with the tea asked disapprovingly.
girlfriend and this is his best-friend,” Miranda replied, full of
hostility. “Who are you?”
Eddie said with a sigh.
Miranda looked at
him in disbelief. “So you’ve already
been welcomed into the family? How cozy.” She turned to Stormy. “Come on, let’s go.”
Eddie said, running after her. “Let me
“Explain what?” she
demanded, pulling away. “I know what’s
going on here. You were holding her in
your arms when we walked in. Just like
the other day on Rodeo Drive,
and then again in your office. I’m not
blind, Eddie. I saw you with her. You’re obsessed with her, and you’re obsessed with her mother!”
Stormy said, holding his sister back.
“Quinn is a
client,” Eddie explained. “I’m helping
her find her brother. He’s missing.”
asked, stepping forward with an alarmed expression.
“Since last week,”
Quinn said sorrowfully.
finally realized what was going on, she flushed with embarrassment. Of course Quinn was a client. Why hadn’t she thought of that in the first
Because you’re insecure, she thought,
groping for a tissue in her purse and handing it to Quinn. You
used to be confident and self-assured,
especially when it came to men. Now,
just because of a little scar on your face, you think you’re not good enough.
She hated what this was doing to her!
“I’m sorry,” she
said to the pretty young girl.
“How old is Magnum
now?” Stormy asked, breaking the tension.
“He’s got to at least be a sophomore.”
“He graduated this
year,” Mrs. Rainer said.
exclaimed. “Wow, I can’t believe
it. He was just a little rug rat back
when we were in school. Now he’s a high
“He’s supposed to
start UCLA in a couple of weeks,” Quinn said, smiling graciously at Miranda
while dabbing her tears with the tissue.
She sat down on the sofa and offered her a cup of tea.
said, sitting across from her. “What was
Magnum doing this summer?” Magnum?
Their parents must have been cornly 80's detective show fans.
“Volunteering at a
summer camp up in Storm Lake,” she said. “The camp director called last week and said
he’d gone missing. They haven’t heard
from him since.”
“And he hasn’t been
in contact?” Stormy asked.
replied, sitting instinctively next to Quinn.
When he realized the implications of the innocent gesture, he shot back
up and darted over to Miranda’s side.
the details, Miranda and Stormy apologized to Mrs. Rainer and walked into the
foyer with Eddie.
“Look, I’m sorry
about freaking you out,” he said, taking her hand in his.
“Why couldn’t you
have just told me what was going on?” Miranda asked, looking into Eddie’s
expressive brown eyes. “Instead of making
me crazy every time you canceled a date with me. You made me feel like I was some ridiculous
love-starved sad sack.”
Damn! Why’d she
go and tell him that? Too much
“I never wanted you
to feel that way,” Eddie said, pushing her hair over her shoulder and kissing
her softly. “You are the best thing
that’s ever happened to me.”
His words gave her
comfort, but also made her hate who she was becoming. Why did
she need his validation to make herself feel better?
“Okay, get a room
you two,” Stormy interrupted, pulling his sister to the door.
“I’ll call you
tonight,” Eddie said to Miranda, kissing her one last time before she and
Stormy left the house.
spent the entire day arranging for her furnishings to be moved from storage into
her new apartment. It had only been a
year since she sold her house in Malibu,
but everything seemed so dusty to her.
Still, seeing her original Coco Chanel sofa and pair of custom damask
chairs with hand-carved legs was comforting and made her feel grounded.
to her word, Ivana had had the smoke damage from the electrical fire taken care
of. A fresh coat of paint and some odor
neutralizers and the opulent space was like new again.
about, arranging bouquets of African roses and fluffing pillows that lined the
sofa. Reporters were still staked out
downstairs at the entrance to the building.
With any luck the condo association wouldn’t vote to evict her because
of all the trouble she’d already caused in her few days of living there. The views from her floor to ceiling windows
were too spectacular to give up.
At exactly one
o’clock, the doorbell rang. Right on time, she thought to herself as
she primped her hair in the hall mirror and pulled the door open with a
“How did you know
how to get in touch with me?” Kyle asked from the hall, looking quite sexy in
mirrored aviator sunglasses and a two-day stubble.
“I have my
sources,” Alex said coyly, gesturing for him to come inside. The truth was, she coaxed Ivana into giving
up his number. He’d already come forward
as her rescuer, so what was the harm in sealing the deal with one little phone
number? She approached the counter overlooking the
kitchen. “Caviar? Champagne?”
“No,” he said,
looking around the spacious living area.
“I don’t like being summoned, and I don’t like people butting into my
business. If I’d wanted you to have my
phone number, I would have given it to you.”
“I told you I
wanted to thank you,” Alex said, scooping a heaping spoonful of caviar onto a
plate and handing it to him. “So let me
Kyle removed his
sunglasses, approaching her quickly.
“What is your deal, lady? Last
night when you found out I was in prison you acted like I was some kind of
monster. Now you’re inviting me over for
snacks? I don’t get it.”
“Nothing to get,”
Alex said and poured two glasses of champagne.
“I believe your story that you were set up. Besides, you saved my life. To me that excuses any indiscretions from
“So…” he began,
deciding to let it rest. “The place
looks nice. More put together than the
last time I saw it.”
“I’d only just
moved in when you saw it last. Today I
was able to get settled.”
“What were you
doing taking all those pills? And don’t
tell me you lost track of how many you took because I know a line when I hear
“I beg your
pardon?” Alex asked, insulted. “It’s
He looked into her
intoxicating green eyes. “You were in
pain, hurt by your loved ones or someone close to you. You felt alone. You thought if one pill made you feel good,
then one more might make you feel even better, and one more would make you
forget all about that pain. Am I right?”
She looked away,
frightened that he could read her so well.
“The thing I don’t
understand is why a beautiful woman like you would ever feel that alone.” He approached her again, placing a hand on
her back and pulling her toward him.
“Don’t,” Alex said,
pushing him away.
He studied her
reaction carefully, decided she really didn’t want him to stop, and pulled her
into a long, deep kiss. When they
finally broke, he grinned and slid his sunglasses back on.
“I’ll pick you up
tonight for dinner,” he said, heading for the door. “Seven o’clock.”
After he’d gone,
Alex braced herself against the counter.
That kiss was out of this world, she decided. Something about Kyle Fenwick had her
interested and she couldn’t wait to get to know him better.
The more she
thought about it, however, the more he seemed oddly familiar. His eyes.
Those expressive green eyes that he hid behind the sunglasses. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but
she’d seen those eyes somewhere before.
Suzanne drove home
fast, listening to an old Pat Benatar CD.
She was in the mood for some nostalgic sounds, and Pat Benatar always
got it right. She often thought if she
could go back she’d do so many things differently. She wouldn’t have tried to leave Jordan, which
meant she wouldn’t have gotten behind the wheel of the car that took her and
Heather over that cliff. So many things
would be different today. They may still
be a family.
But they weren’t a
family. Heather was in an institution,
Benji spent his whole life at boarding school, and her marriage to Jordan was
over. It was time for change. She wasn’t going to spend the rest of her
life focusing on her regrets. She
couldn’t turn the clock back, but she could try to mould her future.
Benji was washing
his car in the driveway when she pulled up in her Cadillac, Pat Benatar blaring
on the radio.
“You’re not having
Gordon do that?” she asked, needling him.
“This is a first.”
indifferently. “I don’t mind.” Sweating
in the blazing sun, he paused to wipe his brow with the bottom of his tank
top. “Where’ve you been?’
“I went to see
“You did?” he asked,
on immediate alert. “What’d she
say?” The first thing on his mind was
Sierra and how she was doing. “I mean,
what did you talk about?” He realized he
sounded too eager for his own good.
said happily. “And actually, she helped me
“What’s that?” he
asked, turning on the hose again. He
didn’t want to make it too obvious that he was all hung up on Renee’s
daughter. Besides, the more he thought
about her the more he would continue to miss her. Maybe he needed to occupy his mind with
“We need a fresh
start,” Suzanne announced. “We’re
“Huh?” he asked,
dropping the hose and jumping out of the way when water sprayed up in every
direction. “Moving? Who?
“You and me. I rented a house. It’s time we got out from under your father’s
said thoughtfully. “What brought this
“I just can’t stay
here in this house forever. Your father
and I aren’t married anymore. I’d like
to get close to you again. That’s why I
think this is the perfect solution.”
He couldn’t blame
her for wanting out of Jordan’s
house, but he didn’t know how he would ever get used to it. He’d come to expect some of the luxuries
involved with living in a mansion in Beverly
dutiful butler to cater to his needs, a cook to make his meals, a full gym at
his disposal, and a state of the art theatre system with loads of hi-def
speakers. He knew his mother didn’t have the resources
for a place like that.
asked when he didn’t say anything.
“Yeah, sure,” he
replied. “Where’s it at?”
It looks just like the house I grew up in.”
Again the hose went
off and he flashed her an incredulous look.
“The Valley? Are you serious?”
“Very serious. You’ll like it. It’s a huge house. Not huge compared to Beverly Hills standards, but it’s got five
bedrooms, four bathrooms, a pool, and a game room.”
He supposed it
didn’t sound too bad. He’d still be
close to his best friend Blake now that he was living with Eddie in Burbank. It was better than sticking around here with
his father, who since their last blowup hadn’t given him the time of day.
“Sure,” he said,
pointing the hose at his car and rinsing the soap to the driveway.
Suzanne smiled with
elation while making her way up to the porch.
She stopped and looked back at him.
“Would you mind doing mine too?”
He rolled his eyes,
throwing a sudsy sponge at her car and watching as it stuck to the
Miranda met up with
Stormy, Eddie and Quinn at The Ivy for an early dinner. They got a booth in the corner so they could
talk without being overheard. It seemed
there had been further developments in the case of Magnum’s disappearance.
“According to the
camp director at Storm Lake, Magnum was
investigating some cult-type activity going on at the camp,” Eddie was
saying. “He’s known about it for some
time. Lots of weird things going on
around that place.”
“What kind of weird
things?” Miranda asked, glancing back and forth between Eddie and Quinn.
occurrences,” Eddie explained. “He
wasn’t exactly sure what, but he thinks Magnum stumbled on something and that’s
when he went missing.”
“Magnum is very
outspoken,” Quinn said sorrowfully.
“When he thinks something is potentially dangerous or harmful, he’ll do
something about it. He isn’t the type to
sit back and claim it’s not his problem.”
“So what are you
going to do?” Miranda asked.
“Quinn and I are
going to drive up to Storm Lake tomorrow,” Eddie
announced. “If we can figure out what’s
going on, then maybe it will lead us to Magnum.”
dangerous,” Stormy remarked.
agreed. She was more concerned with
Eddie and Quinn being alone together.
She knew it was ridiculous because Quinn did seem like a very sweet
girl, but who could blame her? She hated
the idea of them going off together while she was back in L.A.
“I have to find my
brother,” Quinn admonished. “I’ll do
anything it takes to make sure he gets back safely.”
Before she knew
what she was saying, Miranda blurted out, “I’ll come too.”
“You will?” Eddie
and Stormy both asked in unison.
“Yeah. Why does that surprise you?”
“Well, it’s just
that they’ll be going to a camp,” Stormy said slowly. “Like in the wilderness. Like with no boutiques or nail salons.”
Miranda rolled her
eyes. “Big deal. I don’t need that stuff to get by. Besides, I want to help Quinn.”
Eddie said, leaning over and kissing her warmly.
“Yeah, that’s so
generous, Miranda,” Stormy remarked dryly.
She may want to help Quinn, but that wasn’t her primary reason for
volunteering her assistance. He could
see right through her. She was
“Okay, so what time
do we leave?” Miranda wanted to know.
“Six a.m.” Eddie
Six a.m.? Miranda thought to herself. Jeez,
this better be worth the effort.
“Enough about me,”
Alex said, leaning across the table in the dimly lit Ivy, giving Kyle a long,
lingering look. “Tell me more about
Kyle shrugged. “What’s to tell?”
“All your hidden
secrets,” she said coyly. She had to
admit that after the kiss they shared at her apartment, she’d become quite
entranced. Kyle Fenwick was mysterious,
handsome, chivalrous, not to mention sixteen years her junior. Suddenly she was painfully aware that she was
one of those women. What do they call
them? Oh yes, cougars.
“Don’t have any,”
he quipped. “And any that I have you
already know about.”
setting you up in that drug cartel operation,” Alex recalled. “It must have been awful spending all that
time in prison for something you didn’t even do.”
“Let’s get back to
you,” he said, quickly changing the subject.
“You never did tell me how a woman with your charm and beauty could wind
up alone in her half-furnished apartment downing a bottle of muscle relaxers.”
heavily, realizing there was no easy answer.
She’d brought most of it on herself.
Her meddling, her snarking, her inability to think before speaking. It all caught up to her and turned her into a
lonely person. Until Kyle arrived, that
“Well, my marriage
ended, my children got fed up with my parenting style, and I stopped hoping for
a fresh start.”
Kyle looked into
her eyes, sensing her sadness. “What
about now? Today? How does that fresh start look to you now?”
“It’d love it, but
I don’t even know where to begin.”
“You mentioned you
had problems with your children. Maybe
work on mending those relationships.”
“How? The damage is done. Their father accused me of being the reason
they turned out the way they did. Not
that they’re bad people. But it’s true,
I did everything wrong where they were concerned.”
“So have another
one,” Kyle suggested.
“Another kid. Do it right this time. Learn from your mistakes.”
She laughed. “More children? Kyle, I’m a woman of forty-“ A quick pause while she reconsidered
revealing her actual age to him. She
already felt foolish enough having dinner with someone so young. “-one. Forty-one.
I’m much too old to have a baby.”
“So adopt. Plenty of kids out there who need good
homes. Think about it. You could get your fresh start.”
“Adoption? I don’t know.”
“Why not? I was adopted and I turned out fine.”
adopted? So you’re not a Fenwick by
He shook his head,
ordering two more martini’s from a passing waiter. “My real parents gave me up for
adoption. The Fenwick’s wanted another
child and they couldn’t have one so they adopted me.”
“You lucked out
there,” Alex mused. “No offense, but you
could have done a lot worse than getting adopted by a family in the shipping
business. They’re worth billions. Do you know who your real parents are?”
“Yes, I do,” he
“Ever met them?”
“My mother was an
actress and my father was a producer.
They had me very young. I guess I
was a mistake in their eyes.”
“You?” Alex asked,
smiling. “They obviously didn’t know
what a fine son they had on their hands.”
His eyes bore into
hers for a few lingering seconds. When
her cell phone rang, she made an apologetic face and plucked it from her
purse. It was Miranda calling.
she said, beaming.
“What the hell are
you doing, Mother?” Miranda asked.
“I can see that,
but why does it have to be with that
scanned the dining room until she spotted her daughter standing by the hostess
station, eyes wide with surprise.
“Would you excuse
me for a minute?” she said to Kyle before floating across the room, ignoring a
string of stares and whispers.
she met up with Miranda, she went in for a quick hug but was met with a hand in
cannot believe you’re socializing with him,” Miranda whispered, pulling her
mother to the side. “He’s an
accused,” Alex corrected her. “What are
you doing here?”
dinner with Eddie,” she said dismissively.
“Now what has gotten into you?
You heard all those horrible things he said about David.”
do you care what anybody says about David?
He dumped you, or have you forgotten that?”
because he dumped me doesn’t mean he’s guilty of the things Kyle Fenmore says
Alex corrected her again. “And I’d thank
you to let me make my own decisions. I
am a grown woman, you know.”
you let Stormy and I make our own decisions?
Get serious. You’re on the
rebound because Jordan
divorced you. But mark my words, you’re
going to get hurt. I honestly don’t know
what’s gotten into you. First this thing
with the pills, and now you’re making googly eyes at some hunk who’s been out
of prison for all of a week?”
talk about this later,” Alex huffed before turning and marching back to her
table. Before she arrived, she reached
into her purse and removed an oxycontin she’d lifted from Veronique’s
okay?” Kyle asked, standing as she approached.
she said, downing the rest of her martini and washing down her pill. “You know, I was just thinking about that
fresh start. Seems like now’s a good a
time as any.”
you have in mind?”
not sure. But I’ll let you know as soon
as I decide.”
loved having her own personal gofer.
She’d had one in New York. Several, actually. The last one cracked under the pressure,
unable or unwilling to do what was necessary to get the job done. Amateurs! Why was it so impossible for some people
to check their conscience at the door?
on the other hand, was a form ready to be molded. He was young – nineteen to be exact – and
eager. Tall, muscled and tan with an
adorable face, he lived in a rundown beach shack in Venice and attended film school at UCLA. She suspected that he was into her, which did
wonders for her ego, but also made her cringe at the very thought of them
together. She appreciated younger men,
but nineteen? Not in this lifetime.
Steven swept onto
the terrace the jutted off the main dining room at Moonshadows in torn, faded
jeans, flip flops, and a UCLA t-shirt. “I got here as fast as I could,” he said
with a grin. “What can I do?”
crossed while sipping a glass of pinot, Jackie looked at the title page of the
script she’d taken from Brooke’s office.
The Standoff. She still thought it was drab, but it
appeared to be something of a personal favorite of James and Brooke’s. She wondered how James would react if the
deal to secure the rights didn’t go through.
He might even blame poor Brooke for failing to act quickly enough.
this first thing in the morning,” she said, dropping it into an ecru envelope
addressed to Brett Armstrong at Rydell Productions.
get up every day at six to go work out,” Steven said, taking the envelope from
her. “I’ll drop it off on my way.”
he hovered above her for several awkward moments, Jackie finally realized she
needed to verbally dismiss him or this could go on all night. “You may go,” she said succinctly.
ok, great,” he said, turning and running down the steps of the terrace toward
the sandy beach.
smiled to herself, drinking her wine and wondering how long it would take to
discredit Brooke enough to cause concern with James.
she got home from a seventeen hour day it was almost eleven o’clock, but
Stephanie wasn’t tired. Too wound up to
go to bed. She poured herself a glass of
red wine and popped some microwave popcorn and settled down on the sofa in
front of a scary movie.
that she needed any more thrills. Her
life was like a scary movie. Her
ex-boyfriend was sent to prison for drug trafficking and murder, and was now
free, probably trying to find her to get back at her for her part in it. Or worse.
Whatever. Let him try. She had a collection of Smith & Wessons
locked in a safe in her bedroom closet just waiting to be used. On top of that, she had the whole police
force behind her. If Kyle Fenwick tried
to so much as come fifty feet near her, he’d be back in jail so fast he’d wish
it was yesterday.
cell phone rang and she sighed impatiently.
Always at the good part. She
reached to the table and picked it up with disinterest. She couldn’t have a single minute to herself
without the precinct calling her. Good
to be wanted, she supposed.
time no talk,” said a deep voice through the phone.
took a few seconds, but Stephanie finally recognized the voice. She sprung to an upright position. “What do you want? How did you get my phone number?”
amazing what you can find on the internet,” Kyle said from his car. “Phone numbers come easily. Addresses not so much. Tell me where you are, Stephanie. I’d love to drop by and play catch up.”
up with yourself,” she snarled, standing and pacing the room.
now, is that anyway to talk to your former boyfriend? We had such good times together. Remember that weekend we spent in the
not into reliving my mistakes. Now what
do you want?”
see you,” he said. “Is that a crime?”
running her fingers through her ponytail, she walked to the window and peered
outside into the darkness. He said he
didn’t know where she lived but she didn’t believe him. It would be just like Kyle to be staked
outside her house, toying with her. He
always was a cocky smartass.
to hell,” she said, hanging up.
pulled the drapes closed, peering outside and surveying the street. No sign of suspicious cars or activity. Darting across the room, she looked out the
dining room window, drawing those drapes as well.
phone rang again. She looked at the
caller ID, saw that it was the same number, and reluctantly answered it. If she didn’t, this could go on all night.
you fucker, if you don’t stop calling me I’m going to have your ass hauled to
jail so fast that-“
you look,” Kyle snapped. “I know you
were behind that sting operation. Jennings
set me up and he got you to do the rest.
I lost three years because of you and that pompous mama’s boy.”
you lost three years because you thought you could get away with running a drug
operation in one of Royce Jennings’s hotels.
The fact that Dugan busted you is no one’s fault but yours. Why don’t you take some responsibility for
once and accept that?”
we all know what happened to Dugan, don’t we?”
remark sent chills up Stephanie’s spine.
“You’re a cretin,” she whispered.
laughed. “Don’t worry, Detective. I’m not here to hurt you.”
if you wanted to. But why are you here?”
prove my innocence. What else?”
do you intend to do that? Even if David
Jennings set you up, which he didn’t, he’d never admit it. You’re wasting your time. Go back to New York.”
won’t help me, but someone here will.”
have family in L.A. They don’t know it yet, but after some
convincing, I’m sure they’ll help me.”
family?” Stephanie asked, glancing at the safe where her guns were stored. “What are you up to, Kyle?”
don’t get in my way,” he said quickly.
“We’ll see each other soon enough.”
hung up. Stephanie peered outside again,
still convinced he was watching her.
Making a beeline to the bedroom, she opened her safe and removed a 9
caliber shotgun. After settled back onto
the sofa, she placed it neatly in her lap, not believing for a minute that he
had no intention of hurting her. He was
vindictive and dangerous. If he did have
family in L.A.,
they were in for some difficult times ahead.
doorbell rang as Brooke made her way down the stairs to lock up for the
night. She wondered who could be coming
by so late. Maybe it was David. He did seem unraveled when she saw him
earlier that day. Whatever was going on
with him and this Kyle Fenwick character, it had him more worried than he let
on. For a brief moment she wondered if
he was involved somehow with the setup.
she pulled the door open and found a tall man with dirty blond hair and two-day
stubble, she quickly decided David could no way be involved. Kyle Fenwick looked like a criminal.
are you doing here?” she asked, wondering why he would be coming to her
door. She didn’t even know him.
thought it was time we met,” Kyle said, looking pleased while standing on the
porch under the moonlight. “I’m Kyle
know who you are,” Brooke said suspiciously.
“But what I don’t know is why you’re at my house.”
to meet you in person.”
me?” She couldn’t help but wonder why he
looked familiar to him.
read a lot about you,” Kyle explained.
“Sister of David Jennings, broken-hearted fiancé of Ethan Blackthorne.”
going to call David,” Brooke said, holding the door so that she could close it
in a hurry if she had to. She didn’t trust
“Why? I’m not doing anything
here. At my door.” She studied his face carefully.
smiled, digging his hands into his pockets.
“You think I look like him, don’t you?”
frowned. “No, I….”
never realized it until I got here. Then
people started noticing the similarities.”
Brooke asked, confused.
Thomerson was my father too,” Kyle said.
“I’m Ethan’s brother.”
blood drained from Brooke’s face.
Eddie and Quinn arrive at Storm Lake. Renee
wonders if she's made the right decision. David
faces off with Kyle. James believes Kyle's story.