began sleeping with Kyle Fenwick around the time she began work as Faye
Richards on the daytime soap The Young at Heart. Still reeling from the way her family had
turned their backs on her, she resorted to drugs. On set, Veronique brought her a fresh bottle
of oxycodone, fully aware that her no-nonsense producer, Mackenzie Stone, had
zero tolerance for shenanigans on set. Alex immediately went on the defensive against
her co-star, leading lady Cassidy Solomon, who was coincidentally mother to
Summer Solomon, whom Benji had unwittingly given Chlamydia to several weeks
announced that he was Will Thomerson’s son, born by an actress that Will worked
with on Broadway. James hired Eddie to
investigate Kyle’s claim. After he and
Miranda searched the Sunset Studios archives,
they leaned that Marilee Wells was the actress in question. Marilee pleaded with James to keep her
secret, unwilling to let Kyle know his mother’s true identity.
meanwhile, was intrigued by Kyle’s claim, unable to overlook the similarities
the man shared with Ethan, who’d died over a year earlier in the
earthquake. After fending off his
advances, she eventually broke down and paid him a visit in jail after
Stephanie had him arrested for breaking into her house. But after Kyle asked if she was attracted to
him because of his likeness to Ethan, she left in a hurry.
Lamont was out to sabotage Brooke’s new position as co-owner of Sunset Studios. She wanted her share of her father’s company,
and resented the fact that Brooke, the product of Royce’s affair, had taken it
from her. In order to insinuate herself
into the company, she married Nathan in his Parisian prison, thereby getting
his ten percent of the studio. Stormy
and Brooke became suspicious of Jackie after a script inexplicably wound up in
the hands of Brett Armstrong at Rydell Productions. When Jackie found a letter and a key that
T.T. Levitt had sent to David before returning to New York, she thought her luck had finally
changed. The key, according to T.T.,
would unlock secrets into Kyle Fenwick’s past.
Jackie knew that Kyle was drawn to Brooke, and hoped that whatever the
key led her to would help in destroying the woman. Renee, fresh out of her latest relationship,
found herself hard at work trying to put Merteuil Industries back on track
after the collapse of the economy. When
Brooke expressed her concerns over Jackie, however, Renee found pleasure in
paying the woman a friendly warning to steer clear of Brooke.
to Stephanie Callahan’s simplistic nature, did his best to woo her into
bed. After one failed attempt after
another to seduce her, Jordan
began to realize what a challenge he was up against. Even more frustrating was her past with Kyle
Fenwick. The two had dated when she was
a detective in New York. After her partner was killed in an explosion
used to cover up a shady drug cartel, she testified against Kyle and had him
sent to prison. Meanwhile, Kyle’s return
to L.A. brought
allegations that David Jennings had set him up.
who had retreated to a simple life in the Valley, enjoyed the company of her
son-in-law, Brett, while Heather was off in a mental institution in San Francisco. Their newfound friendship didn’t go unnoticed
by Benji, who had promised a new leaf had been turned over since his vicious
attack on Scott Kelly. When he and Blake
attempted a wild party thrown by socialites Jeff and Joba Branigan that was
raided by the police, Benji expertly avoided his father’s tirade by gently
suggesting something was going on with his mother and his brother-in-law.
Summerfield, Benji’s classmate from Beau-Soleil, arrived in town just before
Benji learned that Renee was trying to push Sierra into a new relationship with
a wealthy Ivy League type from Manhattan
named Hunt Roberts. Angry that his
chances for reuniting with Sierra were dwindling, Benji began to resort to his
When Alex Reynolds arrived home to her
high rise from her first day on the set of The Young at Heart, she quickly
learned of Kyle’s arrest and subsequent release from jail thanks to a voice
message from Stormy. She was at first
surprised, followed by aggravated, and finally, very, very angry. Concern did not enter her head.
she called Kyle on his cell. Her call
went straight to voicemail.
slammed the phone down in a fury. How
dare he not tell her! He was availed one
phone call and he hadn’t bothered to use it to let her know what was going
on. Were they not getting close? They’d spent nearly every night together for
a week. This was the second time he’d
kept something from her. First she had
to hear from James that Kyle was Will Thomerson’s son, and now she had to hear
from Stormy that he’d been arrested.
Maybe her new love interest wasn’t too forthcoming with information
after all and this was what she could expect from getting involved with someone
changing into a billowing negligee and pouring herself a glass of champagne,
she downed one of the pills Veronique had brought to her. She had promised herself no more that day,
but her nerves were now getting the better of her.
sound of the doorbell ringing sent her flying across the room. She pulled the door open and scowled at Kyle
who stood in the hallway clasping a bouquet of huge red roses.
wasn’t sure what the customary gift was for someone after their first day on a
hit soap opera, so I got roses,” he said with a clever grin. “Corny, I know.”
beautiful,” Alex hissed, grabbing the flowers from him and walking to the bar
across the room. In one swift movement,
she dropped them into the sink and picked up her glass of champagne for another
going on?” Kyle asked, sauntering through the opulent living room in
loose-fitting jeans and a grey t-shirt. “Do you not
from men that I don’t trust,” she insisted, lips pursed.
are you talking about?” He went to
touch her bare arm and was met with a slap to the hand. “Did I do something wrong?”
found out from my son that you spent the day in jail,” Alex said, her voice
rising. “Do you know how humiliating
that was for me?”
sighed with regret and tried to touch her again. Another slap to his hand. “I’m sorry, Alex. I didn’t tell you because I knew it was your
first day on set. Did you really expect
me to call you in the middle of that and say hey guess what? I’m in jail?”
least I wouldn’t have been the only one who didn’t know. My family already thinks my being with you is
a mistake. Just what the hell did you
“Nothing. I went to see someone and the next thing I
knew I was being hauled off to jail.”
Alex asked, arms folded. “You mean
little miss New York Detective? What is
it with you and her, anyway? I thought that was all over.”
is. I just wanted to talk to her. I needed some closure. She took my being there as a threat and she
called in her buddies on the force.
Alex, it was perfectly harmless.
You have to believe me.”
should I believe anything you tell me?”
replied by grabbing her and kissing her hard on the lips.
grew weak in the knees, light-headed and euphoric from the feel of his lips on
hers. At first she didn’t know if it was
the affect of the pills or she was really this into him. Either way, she found herself falling into
his arms and kissing him passionately.
All thoughts of her anger towards him vanished in an instant.
she knew it, he was lowering the straps on her negligee, kissing her shoulders
and cupping her breast in his hands. In
an instant she was standing naked before him and he was leading her to the sofa
where he covered her with his strong body.
an hour of lovemaking, Alex’s attitude had changed. She got off the sofa and wrapped herself in
her robe. Grinning, she poured two
glasses of champagne and handed one to him.
better now?” Kyle asked, supporting his body with one elbow.
she said wistfully. “Kyle, I’m sorry I
overreacted. I just feel like there are
things that you’re not telling me. I
want us to be open and honest with each other.”
we are,” he assured her.
about what happened at that hotel explosion back in New York?” she asked, looking into his
green eyes as if searching for a flicker of dishonesty. She couldn’t be too careful. She’d been hurt
“Yes. I did not blow up that hotel. David Jennings did and he set me up.”
you that sure?” Alex asked.
sure that I didn’t do it. I had nothing
to do with that drug cartel. David
needed to destroy the evidence, so he blew up the hotel.”
why can’t you drop it? You’re out of
prison and starting your life over here in Los Angeles.
Let the past stay in the past.”
need to clear my name, Alex,” Kyle insisted, rising from the sofa, still completely
everyone’s sake. My father hasn’t spoken
to me since I was sentenced. He thinks
I’m a disgrace to the family. He went as
far as to tell me at the hearing that no biological son of his would have
embarrassed him the way I did.”
his head, he reached for his clothes.
“Forget it. You don’t
understand. Nobody does.”
he was already headed for the bathroom, aggravated that no one believed in his
Alex called through the closed door.
“Please talk to me!”
later he emerged, fully dressed and bounding toward the front door. He paused before leaving, kissing her lightly
on the mouth. “I just need to be alone
for a while.”
she said uneasily. “Are you still going
with me to the premiere tomorrow night?”
told you I would.”
me up at six.”
in agreement, he ducked out into the hall and left Alex standing inside,
perplexed as to why he’d gotten so defensive all of the sudden.
Distefano rented an office in a small building in Beverly Hills. This suited him fine because when he was on a
case, he was always out and about. No need
to waste money on a large office. Even
with the money he inherited from Victor, he had no desire to upgrade.
most recent case, involving locating the real Maureen Adams, had been quick and
painless. James paid him a hefty sum and
he was back to waiting for the phone to ring.
There had to be someone in need of a good private detective.
came in the devilish form of Jackie Lamont, who strode into his office that
morning dressed in a short red dress and matching pillbox hat. Her red stiletto heels sunk like daggers into
the high pile carpet as she approached him slowly.
Lamont, what can I do for you?” he
asked, unable to stop himself from staring at her killer legs. They were long and smooth, perfectly toned.
need you to find out what this key goes to,” Jackie replied, taking the key
she’d stolen from David’s house and sliding it across the desk. From her cleavage she withdrew a roll of
fifty dollar bills and placed it neatly on the table.
picked the key up and inspected it carefully.
He’d had some experience with different types of keys. Clients had hired him to locate safety
deposit boxes hidden by their cheating and philandering spouses, secret love
nests hidden away for the occasional afternoon rendezvous, and two-hundred-thousand-dollar
cars bought without their knowledge.
He’d seen every type of key and knew exactly what they unlocked.
like a key to a post office box,” he replied with certainty.
there any way to tell where?” Jackie inquired.
shook his head. “Every branch in L.A. has a number
sequence engraved on the key for easy identification. This key has a number but it doesn’t match
any in the county. It could be from
handed it back to her and offered an apologetic smile.
you find out where?”
would be like finding a needle in a haystack.
Who does it belong to?”
late husband,” she lied. “I found it in
some of his things.”
shrugged and tried to inconspicuously stare up her daringly short dress. “Do you have access to his bank statements?”
course I do. Why?”
if he paid for the box monthly then he would have gotten a billing statement
from the post office. Match the address
of the branch and you’ve found your box.”
smiled and stood up. “Thank you.”
thank you,” Eddie replied, grinning
from ear to ear as she sauntered her way back out of the office.
Armstrong soaked his overly worked muscles in the hot tub in the backyard of
Suzanne’s house in Sherman Oaks. He’d
spent an extra hour in the gym that morning before taking Violet to his
mother-in-law’s for the day. After
complaining of muscle aches, Suzanne insisted that he take a soak before
heading off to work.
in love with that new mobil,” said a voice from the sliding door as Suzanne
emerged, baby monitor in hand. “She’ll
be asleep in no time.”
figured as much,” Brett replied, staring up at the cloudless sky. “She kept me up all night. I think I got about two hours of sleep.”
like a vacation!” Suzanne joked and sat down on the edge of the Jacuzzi with
her feet dangling in the hot water. “I
remember with Heather and Benji I got about thirty minutes a night. Especially with Benji. He would sooner scream his head off than get
a minute of sleep.”
Brett stretched his arms up above his head, his nipples just breaking the
surface of the water. He inadvertently
brushed his hand against her thigh and looked up at her. Their eyes flickered past one another and
paused for a few deliberate seconds.
Slowly, he could feel her feet brushing against his torso. She motioned for him to lean forward while
she positioned herself behind him.
Straddling him from behind, she began massaging his shoulders and
feels great,” he said, closing his eyes and letting himself drift off to a
state of total relaxation. “Your hands
need to take it easy in the gym from now on,” Suzanne cautioned him. “I know you have a lot of stress going on
right now, but pushing yourself too hard will only make you feel worse.”
Brett let himself melt in her hands. She
worked every inch of his arms, then moved to his chest and finally to his
stomach, delicately tracing his six pack abs.
He opened his eyes, suddenly aware that he was aroused beyond
belief. When she slid her fingers
beneath the waistband of his swim trunks and lingered there for a few dangerous
seconds, he finally decided he couldn’t take it any more.
around, he pulled her down from the ledge and peeled off her swimsuit. They
kissed hungrily, exploring one another’s bodies until she was shrieking with
Brett slid out of his trunks and entered her slowly, pulling her legs up over
his shoulders as he worked feverishly at pleasing her. When he saw her eyes roll back into her head
he knew that he’d succeeded. With his
hands planted firmly on her shoulders, he picked up the pace and reveled in her
squeals of utter delight. Moments later,
he exploded inside of her and closed his eyes as his body jolted in violent
Brett asked. “Looks like the baby’s not
the only one who’s sleepy.”
opened her eyes, her feet still dangling in the hot tub. Her face was flushed and her heart was
beating wildly inside her chest. It took
her a moment but eventually she realized she’d only been daydreaming. She was still in her swimsuit and there was
no awkward body contact between them.
I was just closing my eyes for a minute,” she said, standing up and handing him
a towel. She watched as he emerged from
the Jacuzzi, swim trunks still intact.
“I guess that goes to show how unexciting my life is these days.”
grinned and dried himself off. “Listen,
if you have things to do I can always find another sitter for Violet. I don’t want to impose on you-“
be silly,” Suzanne corrected him, still blushing from the erotic, yet highly
inappropriate daydream. “I love looking
after my granddaughter. And anything I
can do to help you while Heather is away is absolutely my pleasure.”
appreciate that,” he said. “Heather is
lucky to have you as a mother.”
only response Suzanne could muster was a meager smile. Lucky to have her as a mother? If they gave out awards for mother’s
fantasizing about their daughter’s husbands, then sure, she’d be a
shoe-in. How could she even think such
thoughts? Her daughter was away at a
mental institution fighting for her sanity, and she couldn’t stop thinking
about getting naked with her husband.
I’m going to go change,” Brett said.
“Thanks again, Suzanne.”
smiled again, watching his chiseled physique as he made his way back inside the
house. She needed a hobby, she
decided. This was getting ridiculous.
and Duke decided to spend the morning at the pool at Moonshadows, which as of
lately happened to be the best place for scoping out parties they could
crash. Since Paris Hilton had been
spotted there recently, the number of young Hollywood
royalty who patroned the resort had quadrupled.
staked out a bungalow with the best view and bribed the bartender into serving
them anything they wanted. Slipping on a
pair of Dolce shades, Duke nestled back into his chair and began crowd
“I can’t believe
that old douche bag is trying to set Sierra up with some guy,” Benji said
angrily when he saw Renee pass along the path to the main hotel. “Maybe she doesn’t want to be set up. Maybe
she’s just happy to be free of Malcolm Harris.”
maybe you’re just pissed because Renee Dewitt is auctioning off your girlfriend
to the highest bidder,” Duke countered with a smirk. “It’s obvious you and this girl have a
more than a thing,” Benji said thoughtfully.
“Oh, and don’t you think you’re laying on the good boy routine a little
thick? I thought my dad was about bend
over for you yesterday at the restaurant.”
grinned maliciously. “I’ve learned how
to deal with parents and the more you feed them what they want to hear the
better off you are. I’m sure you’ve
found the same thing since you’ve been back in the states.”
still not helping things. I could tell
my dad was all about us becoming attached at the hip. He’s going to expect me to turn into your
give him what he wants. Us hanging out
could be beneficial to both of us.”
conversation was interrupted when Jeff Branigan approached in his trademark
board shorts that were a touch too long and covered most of his compact
Summerfield?” he asked while compulsively chewing on a drink straw, another
trademark. “No way. What are you doing here, dude?”
hanging out for a few days.”
“Cool. Summer here?
I haven’t seen her in a few weeks.”
glared menacingly at him from behind his blackout shades. “We’re getting together later. I’m spending the day with my bud Benji.”
what’s up Rydell? You get busted with
everyone else at my party the other night?
Don’t remember you in the line of fire.”
we left early,” Benji replied. “Heard you
got busted though. Cops get your stash?”
laughed with amusement. “No, we planted
it all on this douche bag from Van Nuys.
Lost a lot of kick ass shit but there’s plenty more of that. I’ve got a good supplier.”
Duke said sarcastically from behind clenched teeth.
see you boys later,” Jeff said as two blondes in bikini’s approached and
aligned themselves on either side of him.
“Say hey to Summer when you see her.”
bet,” Duke said, still glowering.
Jeff had vanished from sight, Benji shook his head in amazement. “How does that guy get girls like that? He’s a
has it his dick is bigger than yours, so you know he’s a monster,” Duke said
off-handedly. “I’d love to see that smug
grin wiped permanently off his douchey face.”
frowned and took a gulp of his drink. “What
is it with you two anyway?”
mind,” Duke replied dismissively.
“Besides, I thought we were talking about you and Sierra.”
Benji adjusted the waistband on his swim trunks. “What can I do? Her mother’s determined to set her up with
this guy. She’s in New York and I’m here. It’s hopeless.”
do you mean?”
me a little time and I’ll come up with something.”
going to stab her with her own stilettos,” Brooke Taylor growled when Stormy
Blackthorne entered her office at Sunset Studios. “Do you have any idea what
she’s done this time?”
Brooke replied angrily while thrusting a piece of paper at him. “She changed the press release I wrote for
tomorrow night's premiere of Angel Assassin 2.
I mean look at this. It’s all
about the glory days of the studio when Jonas Lamont ran the show. It’s got nothing to do with the movie or the
fact that you acted as co-producer.
She’s really done it this time.”
it easy. We don’t need you going all
Single White Female on her. There’s got
to be some kind of mistake. Jackie
wouldn’t deliberately change your press release. What courier did you use?”
one we always use. I left it in the
reception area yesterday. I know they
picked it up because I-“ Her gaze
traveled to the floor to ceiling glass walls that surrounded her office. When a young man passed through the hallway
and made his way to the elevators, Brooke immediately ran after him. “Hey, kid!”
Steven asked, intimidated by the way she rushed toward him.
and Stormy looked him up and down, his torn faded jeans, Raiders t-shirt,
backwards baseball cap, and leather flip flops.
They’d seen him there before, always in and out doing things for Jackie,
but no one really knew what he was up to.
are you doing here?” Stormy asked.
some things up for Miss Lamont,” the young man said. He was nineteen, tall, muscled and tan with
an adorable face. “I’m her gofer.”
rolled her eyes. “Yeah, I know. Did you pick something up for her yesterday
and take to the papers?”
ran her fingers through her hair and turned to Stormy. “I knew it.
She switched out my press release and sent it out before I could do
anything about it.”
“Do we have to start checking
everything that leaves this office?” Stormy asked.
a thought occurred to Brooke. A way to
prove that Jackie was out to sabotage her.
She turned back to Steven and pointed a slender finger at him. “Did she have you bring a script to Rydell
Productions a couple of weeks ago?”
looked at her nervously. He hadn’t
signed up for any of this. All he wanted
to do was work for someone in the business so he could put it on his resume
when he got out of film school. Plus it
didn’t hurt that his boss was a fox.
I think I should go,” he said when he heard the elevator ring, indicating it
had arrived on their floor. He quickly
darted inside the car and waited for the doors to close.
I asked you a question you little-“ Brooke called after him.
sighed and put a hand on her shoulder.
“Relax, he doesn’t know anything.
But at least now we know she changed the press release. I think we should confront her tomorrow night
at the premiere.”
I’m going to do more than that,” Brooke said with determination. “I’m going to play just as tough and nasty as
she is. Before I’m through, she’ll be
the one wanting out of the company.”
spent her lunch break trying to call Kyle in hopes of smoothing things over
after the way they left things the night before. Much to her disappointment, he wasn’t
answering his cell phone. She regretted
questioning his claim about what happened with that explosion that landed him a
three-year prison sentence. She felt
herself making the same mistakes with him that she did with Jordan. It wasn’t that long ago that she suspected
her ex-husband of murdering his own wife.
That, coupled with believing Benji’s lies about Jordan’s alleged abuse of his own
son, led to the demise of their marriage.
She refused to make the same mistakes with Kyle.
stomach in knots, she reached into her purse for another pill. One more wouldn’t hurt. Lately they were the only thing getting her
through the day, and as long as she didn’t lose track of how many she’d taken
like she did when she was taken to the hospital for an overdose, she’d be
swallowed it down with a sip of water just as her agent, Vince, knocked on the
door and entered with a grin.
my star client doing?” he singsonged from the doorway.
couldn’t help but laugh. “Aren’t I your only client?”
“Yes, but it’s only
a matter of time before word gets out that I landed you the most coveted role
in daytime. They’ll be beating down my
door for representation. Who knows,
maybe I can lure Cassidy Solomon over to our camp. Do you know who represents her?”
Alex rolled her
eyes in disinterest. “The devil himself
as far as I know. She’s awful,
Vince. Every word that comes out of her
mouth is spiteful and vindictive. I
swear, she’s jealous of my being here.”
“But she’s been the
star of the show for fifty years. What
does she have to be jealous of?”
She leveled a you’ve got to be kidding me look on
him. “Because I’m the new blood on the
show and she’s worried that she’s outlived her usefulness.”
“You’re not the
first actress to play Faye Richards.”
“But I’m the most
famous. Need I remind you I have a film
premiering tomorrow night? Trust me,
Vince, she’s shaking in her boots that her contract won’t be renewed next
month, and I think she has a right to be worried. There’s only room for one diva on this
made her way though the lobby at Moonshadows, stopping when Renee approached
her after leaving the restaurant.
Jackie. Lovely to see you again.”
wish I could say the same for you.”
folded her hands before her and smiled pleasantly. “If you’re referring to what transpired
between us in your suite the other night-“
mean when you slapped me?” Jackie cut her off with a chortle.
was unfortunate but I believe we both said things that we might now regret.”
only thing I regret is that I didn’t get a chance to hit back. Make no mistake, Renee, next time I
she could turn and walk away, Renee called after her again. “And make no mistake, I meant what I said
about leaving Brooke alone. If you mess
with her or anyone else that I care about, I’ll make you sorry.”
you threatening me?”
Renee replied matter-of-factly. She
smiled and walked across the lobby.
up with Renee DeWitt’s holier than thou attitude, Jackie decided to make it a
top priority to take her down a peg, and she knew exactly how to do it.
her attention to the front desk, she spotted David and quickly raced to catch
up with him.
there you are,” she said. “I’ve been
calling your office all day.”
been at the construction site. The
Admiral’s Club is opening in a week and there’s a lot of work left to be
done. What can I do for you,
Mother? I’ve kind of busy.”
led him aside, uncertain of how she was going to get any information out of him
without casting suspicion on herself.
She had to find out what T.T.’s key opened, and since he sent it to
David without any explanation, she had to assume that he knew.
I’m worried about you,” she said. “This
whole mess with Kyle Fenwick has me convinced that he’s going to do something
me worry about Kyle Fenwick,” David replied with a wave of his hand while
shuffling through a stack of papers in his hands. “He has nothing to tie me to that
maybe there’s something that can prove he’s guilty,” Jackie suggested. “Maybe this will all go away if you-“
I told you to leave it to me. Now if
you’ll excuse me I need to return some phone calls and get a new locksmith in
here because that club isn’t going to open on time otherwise.”
Jackie watched as he approached the front desk agent and handed him a stack of
mail was sent to Mr. Levitt after he checked-out. Please see to it that it’s forwarded to him
in New York.” He handed him the mail, unaware that his
mother was watching closely. “Then I
want you to find the foreman and shut the construction site down for the rest
of the day. Two tile workers got stuck
in the club because the damn door kept jamming closed.”
away, Mr. Jennings,” said the agent, placing the mail neatly on the end of the
David had disappeared, Jackie quickly approached the front desk and eyed the
stack of mail. “Excuse me,” she said to
the agent. “Can you see if I have any
course, Miss Lamont,” he said and walked to the end of the counter.
she was sure he wasn’t looking, Jackie reached down and flipped through the
stack of mail. Magazine subscription
renewals, credit card offers, bills…
messages, ma’am,” said the agent when he returned.
you,” Jackie said, cleverly pushing a cup of pens onto the floor behind the
counter. “Oh I’m so sorry.”
problem,” said the agent with a smile.
he bent down to retrieve the pens, Jackie continued looking through T.T.’s
mail. Finally, she came across a thick
envelope from a bank in New York. Printed above the address window in red
letters was Statement Enclosed. Jackpot.
She grabbed the envelope and quickly tucked it beneath her purse.
later, the door to her suite opened and she flung her purse onto a chair,
tearing the envelope open with one perfectly manicured nail. Once she had it open, she unfolded the stack
of pages that detailed every transaction in T.T.’s account. She skimmed through each page, carefully
determining the source of each charge to his account.
she found what she was looking for. A
debit of twenty-five dollars from a post office in Big Bear. Of course.
T.T. knew that David had a cabin in Big Bear.
into her purse, she removed the post office box key. She now had the means to get whatever
information Kyle Fenwick was hiding.
Using it to undermine Brooke was going to be a challenge, she decided. But
with a certain amount of manipulation, she could use
Kyle's obvious infatuation with her to discredit her.
up the phone, she decided to set her plan into motion. She dialed Steven’s number while gears turned
in her head.
got another errand for you.”
can’t keep me locked up in here forever,” Alex said methodically, backing up
through the attic room. “Sooner or later
someone’s going to come looking for me.”
been ten years and no one has come looking for you,” Max Sullivan replied,
looming over her with dark, penetrating eyes.
“Because they think you’re dead.
They think you died in that explosion, Faye.”
I had a family!” she cried, turning away and sobbing into her hands. “Now you’re telling me they don’t even know
I’m alive? That I’m completely alone?”
not alone,” Max said, taking her by the shoulders and pulling her toward
him. “You have me. You’ll always have me.”
clung to him as he kissed her. Max
didn’t bother to ever use the standard fake kissing techniques that they’d
learned in acting school. Instead, he
practically swallowed her mouth with his, slipping his tongue inside for good
script called for her to resist. No
problem. She pulled away, ad libbed a
slap for maximum effect, and stood back.
Light headed and a little foggy from the oxycodone, she stumbled and
failed to regain her balance. Her vision
became spotty and her muscles weakened.
Before long, she was sailing into the camera equipment next to the set.
called the director, Alexander Marsh. He
removed his headphones and threw them onto a cart positioned nearby. The entire rest of the crew threw their hands
up in resignation, prompting Mackenzie Stone to approach in a fury.
the hell was that?” she demanded, glaring angrily at Alex as Max attempted to
help her to her feet. “Did you forget
how to walk since this morning?”
sorry,” Alex said with a frown as she tried to regain her
balance. Slowly the spots vanished and
her vision became normal again. She
still felt light-headed and was a little too high for her own good, but she
didn’t think it showed.
what, wardrobe gave you two left shoes?”
Mackenzie demanded. She shook her
head in frustration. “Take five
everyone. Clean this mess up and get
back to work.”
sorry, Mackenzie,” Alex repeated stepping off the set and allowing the makeup
department to touch her up. “I don’t
know what happened.”
you on drugs?” she asked. “Because I
warned you I wouldn’t stand for it on my show.”
of course not. I just didn’t eat and I’m
feeling a little dizzy.”
do I have to hold your hand and tell you to eat too?” Mackenzie asked bitterly
before turning and shouting through the studio.
“Would someone get Miss Tenderfoot a damn cracker?”
she stormed off with clipboard in hand, Cassidy Solomon approached from the
sidelines, blond hair teezed to oblivion.
“Tough break, Sweetie. She’ll be
watching you like a hawk from now on.”
Alex asked, taking a glass of juice from a script supervisor.
skipping lunch doesn’t make your pupils the size of golfballs,” Cassidy said
with a nudge before turning and walking back off the set.
a deep breath, Alex glanced around to see if anyone had watched the
exchange. The last thing she needed was
a reputation on set. If Cassidy could
tell she was high, then Mackenzie sure as hell could. She’d have to be more careful in the
future. No more pills at work,
Summerfield’s family’s house was just around the corner from the Beverly Hills
Hotel. Nestled at the top of a hill and
shrouded in trees, the enormous palace was a mix of old world Victorian and
contemporary ornate design. Other than a
few servants, the house was uninhabited.
The bar, however, was fully stocked.
what do you think?” Benji asked him as he turned the stereo to a track by
Cut/Copy, his favorite new musical act.
Sierra and this Hunt Roberts dude. You
said you were going to come up with an idea to stop it.”
“I may be in a
position to help you, but there’s something you’ll have to help me with in
return,” Duke said mysteriously, walking to the walnut stained bar across the
Benji asked, immediately wondering if Duke had ulterior motives for his visit
to Los Angeles.
have an enemy who needs to be neutralized by any means necessary. That nitwit Jeff Branigan has been making my
life a living hell. It’s time he got
what’s coming to him.”
do you have against Jeff Branigan?” Benji wanted to know. “You practically gave him the death stare
back at the pool today.”
stole something from me. Something of
particular value and I want it back.”
not important,” Duke replied, pouring them each a glass of vodka and handing
one to Benji. “Let’s just say that we
engaged in a friendly bet while I was home visiting last summer while my mom
recuperated from her plastic surgery.
Branigan won the bet and took something that I want back.”
if he won the bet then it’s only fair.
No offense, but doesn’t sound like you have much to stand on.”
about life is fair, Rydell. Haven’t you
learned anything being privileged?”
disregarded the ominous remark. “So you
and Branigan got into it over a bet.
Doesn’t sound like it makes him much of an enemy.”
only half of it. I’ve been dating Summer
Solomon off and on for the last few months.
She came out to New York
last week and told me she got the clap from somebody. I happen to know Jeff Branigan was the one
who gave it to her.”
do you know that?” Benji asked, swallowing nervously when he realized the connection.
He’d been with Summer Solomon in the ally outside Area a few weeks
before after he’d found out Scott Kelly gave him the clap. Apparently for one reason or another Summer
hadn’t revealed this to Duke, and now he thought she got it from Jeff.
been after her for months, and she can’t keep her legs closed to save her
life. Someone from L.A.
sent me a sext that clearly showed her going down on him in the back of his car
a week before she came out to New
swallowed his drink nervously. Obviously
telling him that Jeff Branigan wasn’t the one who gave Summer the clap was out
of the question. “So I help you destroy
Jeff Branigan and what do I get in return?” he found himself asking.
want Hunt Roberts to stay away form your little girlfriend at Sarah Lawrence,
has a big coke problem. Spends thousands
a week on the nasty little habit. We
went to a party in the Village once and he tried to get me to snort the stuff
off some hooker’s tits but personally I don’t touch the stuff. Coke or
hookers. I’m sure Sierra or her mother
wouldn’t find him to be such a worthy candidate for her dance card if they knew
about his penchant for nose candy.”
at all,” Benji said with a grin. “But
how do we prove it?”
smiled, digging his hands in his pockets
“I’ll give you one guess on who supplies our friend Hunt Roberts with
his drug of choice.”
couldn’t believe it. “Jeff Branigan?”
he said. “Him and his taco slinging
brother apparently have the best stuff anywhere and Hunt has it shipped in on a
regular basis. One discovery and it
could blow their operation wide open, I get my property back, and I get my revenge for him cramming
his dick down Summer’s throat.”
Hunt stays away from Sierra.”
do we have a deal?”
Brett’s office at Rydell Productions
boasted a picture window with a clear view of the marina. He often found himself gazing outside and
falling into a dreamlike state, usually with thoughts of the family life that
was now seemingly out of reach. Heather,
whom he loved more than he thought possible, was tucked away in an institution
in San Francisco
for eighteen long months, leaving him to care for their daughter on his own.
The only saving
grace had been Suzanne, eager to help with the daily rearing of a one-year old
that he had no idea how to care for himself.
While he loved Violet more than anything, he was often clueless as to
what she needed. His areas of expertise
so far had been how to successfully bed as many women as possible, and running
Rydell Productions while Jordan
took a sabbatical. Not exactly father
material, but he sought to change that in time.
was on the forefront for the day’s activities.
When Stormy arrived at his office with his usual chip on his shoulder,
Brett quickly pushed aside any thoughts of his troubled personal life.
“Okay, I’m here,”
Stormy declared when he walked in. “What
was so important that I had to drop everything and hi-tail it across town?”
Brett said while handing him a script.
“I want you to have it.”
Stormy regarded him
with suspicion. “Why the change of
heart? You secured the rights fair and
“Not really. Finn Lambert had a verbal agreement with
Sunset Studios and I offered him more money to go with Rydell Productions. Poaching scripts isn’t the way I want to do
Stormy looked at
the cover of the script and shook his head in amusement. “I suppose this is more of the new Brett that you’ve been preaching
about. First you settle down with a
family and then you take an honest approach at business. Come on, who do you think you’re fooling?”
“No one. I have
changed, Stormy, believe it or not. I’m
not that same con man who manipulated himself into your family.”
“And drugging my
father, and putting Heather’s life in danger, and blackmailing Lauren
into sleeping with you…” Stormy added for good measure.
Smiling, Brett sat
down behind his desk. “Like I said, I’ve
“That may be, but
sooner or later you’re going to slip up.
I just hope to hell that it doesn’t push Heather’s recovery back.”
“I don’t need
advice on my marriage.”
“But you do need to
work on your timing if you’re going to try to pull the wool over my eyes. Finn Lambert is being sued by his ex-roommate
for stealing the idea for The Standoff.
It was in the paper today, which I’m guessing you already knew. Nice try, though.”
Brett watched him
as he made his way to the door. Yes, he
already knew about the dispute, but he wouldn’t be himself if he didn’t try to
put a selfless spin on it for good measure.
Nobody changes completely.
Rydell sped down Vine Street
at dusk. After a full day of eighteen
holes of golf he was eager to get home.
Why, he wasn’t entirely sure.
There was no one waiting for him.
Alex was his ex-wife for the second time, Heather was away at an
institution, Benji was now living with Suzanne, and Stephanie had made it clear
she wanted nothing to do with him. A
better course of action seemed to be spending all night at a strip joint
getting good and drunk. Maybe even
getting a little action in the back room.
before he could make up his mind on which road to take, he was being pulled
over by an unmarked car. Slamming his
palm into the steering wheel, he downshifted and maneuvered the car to the side
of the road as lights flashed from behind.
he muttered under his breath. He hadn’t
been going that far over the speed limit.
Ten miles tops. Maybe fifteen.
took less time than usual for the cop to approach his window. Usually they took their own sweet time,
making you sweat it out while you waited with license and registration in
you know how fast you were going?” said the female officer.
I spaced out for a minute. It won’t happen again, okay?”
guess I can let you off this time,” she said, leaning down through the open
Jordan looked over at her, he smiled with the realization that it was Stephanie. Much
to his surprise, she smiled back, something he hadn’t seen her do in a very
be slumming it tonight,” he said with a grin.
“Either that or I'm
the luckiest guy on the road."
was on my way home from the station and saw you pass me.
Thought this was the best way to get your attention.”
always the phone,” Jordan
replied with a wink.
grew serious and leveled a look of pity in his eyes. “Look, I’m sorry for the way things went down
the other night. After Kyle came over and they arrested him. I was pretty harsh with you and you didn’t
deserve that. I told you before I think
you’re a good guy, Jordan.”
not good enough to let your guard down with?” he asked.
took a deep breath and looked up at the sky that grew darker with every
minute. “It’s too dangerous,” she
said. “If the other night wasn’t proof
of that then I don’t know what else I can do make you see it.”
are you afraid of?”
around me get hurt.”
ex-partner? That wasn’t your fault.”
could have prevented it. I was too busy
thinking I was in love with Kyle to see who he was. By the time I realized it, it was too
late. Dugan went up with that hotel when
in this equation, I’m Kyle Fenwick. Are
you saying you don’t trust me?”
trust you enough. It’s my own instincts
that I don’t trust.”
saw her beginning to pull away from the door and he reached his hand out to
hers. “Stephanie, wait.”
she said, pulling away and shaking her head.
“That’s all I wanted to say. I’m
sorry things can’t be different, Jordan. I really am.”
that, she disappeared behind the car. In
a flash, she was pulling out onto the road and speeding past him. With a sigh, he started his engine again and
continued on the way home. Suddenly the
strip bar wasn’t sounding too appealing.
poured two glasses of brandy, handing one to David and
nursing the other as he walked across the expansive
library at the Blackthorne mansion. A crackling
fire roared in the fireplace, entrancing David as he
stared at the flickering flames.
he's telling the truth about Thomerson being his father,"
David said. "Who is this woman that claims
to be his mother?"
can't tell you that," James said. "I
promised her I wouldn't. I've got to keep that
David turned away from the fire. "So now
of course you're wondering what else he may be telling
the truth about, isn't that right? You think there
may be something to his claim that he's innocent of
those charges he went to prison for."
seems determined to set the record straight," James
I absoulutely did not blow up that hotel, and I had
no idea about that drug operation. Come on, you
know me, James. We're friends. You and my
father were friends. I wouldn't lie to
you about this."
not saying you would. I'm just saying there may
be more going on here that you don't know about."
don't know. I'm just trying to look at the big
picture here. Say for the sake of argument Fenwick
is telling the truth and someone set him up. If
it wasn't you, then who else would have something to
gain? Who would have the resources to destroy
an entire hotel soley for the purpose of covering up
a drug operation?"
was the general manager. He had the resources."
was nothing tying to him to those drugs. He could
have easily shifted the blame onto you or Royce. Why
rig the place with explosives and blow it up? Not
only that but he was in custody at the time it happened.
So did he have a guy on the outside? If
so, where is he now? Why hasn't he come forward?"
don't know." Aggravated, David turned back
to the fireplace and stared inside at the glowing flames.
shrugged, swirling his brandy around in the glass. "Royce
died a few months after the explosion, didn't he?"
turned back and nodded. "Yeah."
he know who rigged the explosion?"
said it was Fenwick. Why would he say anything
wouldn't have said anything different to you. But
maybe someone else. Maybe he knew more than he
what you think my father lied? You think he had
something to do with the explosion?"
held up a hand and shook his head. "I didn't
say that, David. I'm just saying we need to think
about this from every angle. How much does Jackie
to nothing," he replied with a shrug.
else was in New York around that time?" James asked.
"You, Royce, Jackie, Stephanie...."
Levitt," David added.
was friends with Royce. Maybe he knows something
he hasn't told us."
are you looking for, James?" David asked angrily.
"Fenwick is a killer. He did this.
No one else. Why don't you just leave it
James went to the desk across the room where various
pictures of his family were laid out. He picked
up a photograph of Ethan and shook his head. "Because
I want to believe that Ethan's brother isn't a cold-hearted
monster. I need to believe there's more to it."
looked at him warily, unsure if there was anything more
to Kyle than what they already knew.
David had called her and asked her to meet him at the Admirals Club was a
mystery to Brooke, but she drove to Moonshadows and took the short hike along
the trail to the construction site anyway.
It seemed meeting in his office or in the hotel lobby would have been a
better idea. It was getting dark and she
wasn’t too sure-footed on the unfinished terrain.
the sound of the waves rolling onto the beach, she strained to listen for any
signs of activity inside the half-finished building. It seemed construction had halted for the
day. Maybe David wanted to show her the
progress. She was part-owner of the
resort, after all, and any new construction was of particular interest to
her. So when someone from the
construction team called her on her cell and said David wanted to meet her
there, she didn’t question.
through the front door, she found a few dim lights that were working. A quick pass through the area told her she
she called out for good measure. “Am I
filled the room, the only sounds coming again from the ocean waves a few yards
down the beach. Idly, she wandered
through the building, checking every room to see if he was there. Still no sign of him.
her watch, she determined that it was ten minutes past the time the
construction worker had told her to be there, yet still no David.
a shrug, she made her way back to the front of the club. Standing by the door was a man, but it wasn’t
are you doing here?” she asked crossly.
could ask you the same thing,” replied Kyle.
Brooke realized something was amiss.
“David wanted me to meet him here,” she said and stepped tentatively
toward him. “What about you?”
his head, Kyle dug his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “He left me a note at my house. Said he wanted to clear the air with me.”
regarded him carefully, her instincts telling her he was lying. “That doesn’t sound like David. And why would he call us both here at the same
don’t we ask him? Is he here?”
I guess we’ll wait and find out.” He
folded his arms, biceps bulging from beneath the sleeves of his t-shirt.
nodded, keeping her distance as she drummed her fingers along the bar top
across the room. Her eyes flickered past
him a few times, the moonlight breaking the shadows and outlining his chiseled
physique. She couldn’t help but
Steven checked the door to ensure it was jammed. He adjusted the bill on his ball cap and
turned to head back up the path, satisfied that he’d completed the unusual
errand. Just as he did, a figure loomed
from behind, raised a rock from the dirt and knocked him over the head.
one swift movement, Steven collapsed unconscious onto the dirt-packed
ground. The figure quickly went to work,
dousing the perimeter of the building with gasoline from a can.
you hear that?” Brooke asked, turning her head to the front of the
it’s David.” She brushed past him,
ignoring the way his hands brushed against her back. She went to open the door and paused when it
wouldn’t separate from the frame. She
tried again, twisting the knob and pulling it forcefully.
wrong?” Kyle asked.
door won’t open.”
me,” Kyle said and gently took her aside.
He ignored the way she flinched when his hands clasped around her
arms. With a firm turn of the knob and a
few shakes of the door, he threw his hands up in resignation. “It’s stuck.”
now what?” Brooke asked, watching as he worked the knob feverishly.
looked around the club, inspected the windows which were nailed shut with
boards – probably a temporary barrier before the real windows were
installed. A few attempts at prying the
wood off the wall ended in a nasty cut to his thumb and forefinger.
he replied in aggravation.
me see,” Brook said, taking his hand and inspecting the cuts. “There’s splinters in there. We’ve got to get them out before it gets
worry about that now,” Kyle said, aroused by the close proximity of her body to
his. “Worry about how we’re going to get
out of here.”
David should be here any minute.” She
looked at her watch. “Do you have your
too,” she said.
“Great. So I guess we wait.”
walked across the room to find something to wrap his fingers in. Pausing, she looked up at him
suspiciously. “This wouldn’t be your
doing, would it?”
whole arrangement. Us winding up in the
same place at the same time. The door
conveniently locking us in. David never
left you a note, did he?”
as a matter of fact he did.” He reached
into his pocket and thrust a piece of paper at her. “Here, satisfied?”
inspected the handwritten note. She
shook her head thoughtfully. “David
didn’t write this,” she said.
do you know?”
I know his handwriting and this isn’t it,” she said. Again she went to the door and tried the
knob. “Someone wanted us to end up here
together. If it wasn’t you then someone
else has a very sick sense of humor.”
Kyle said, pulling her from the door so she wouldn’t hurt herself. “There’s no reason to get panicky.”
backwards, she fell into his arms. When
he held her for a few too many seconds, she turned and cast a scowl at
him. “You can let go now,” she said.
his hands up, Kyle turned away from the door.
“You can be a real joy to be around sometimes, you know that?”
barely know me. You have no idea what
I’m like to be around.”
know you spend most of your time denying the way I make you feel.”
how do you make me feel?” she challenged him, arms folded.
excite you. Admit it.”
not quite enough to get me excited, Kyle.
Suspicous, yes, but excited no.”
offered a big hearty laugh, meeting her gaze with his. “If you’re suspicious it’s just because of
the lies your brother tells you about me.
Name one thing I’ve done to make you not trust me.”
so secretive. You came to town and
hooked up with Alex Reynolds, then you announced that you’re Will Thomerson’s
son, and then you drop this bomb that David set you up and sent you to prison. Oh, and don’t forget about your showing up
for Michael’s first day of kindergarten.
What was that?”
my nephew and I’d like to get to know him.
Nothing suspicious about that.”
plenty suspicious,” Brooke maintained.
Her heart raced. Something about
him got her charged up.
know what I think?” he asked.
don’t care,” she snapped.
think you’re so attracted to me that you don’t care if I’m trustworthy or not.”
ego!” she gasped, admittedly turned on by his self-confidence.
I wrong?” Kyle asked, moving closer.
he neared, he put his arms on her waist and pulled her into a long, hot
kiss. At first she didn’t fight
him. His lips were so inviting. Salty and warm. The feeling of his tongue massaging her tongue
was europhoric, almost knee-weakening.
Her heart rate increased dramatically.
she pulled away, casting him a look of warning.
“Don’t try that again,” she said.
smiled. “What are you talking about? You
loved it. You were so into it.”
“You caught me off
guard, that’s all.”
I know when a girl is into me, and sweetheart, you’re into me.”
Brooke was no longer listening to him.
Any conflict with her feelings for him faded into the back of her
mind. “Do you smell that?”
chemistry,” he said with a self-assured grin.
something’s burning,” she said, heading for the door. “Look, there’s smoke coming in.”
followed her to the door. He reached for
the handle and tried it, wincing with pain when he found it blazing hot.
going on?” Brooke asked.
place is on fire,” Kyle replied ominously.
hadn’t been to Big Bear since before she and Royce were divorced. It was like going for a walk back in
time. Suddenly thoughts of his treachery
and the heartbreak over learning of his affair with Roz Taylor overwhelmed
her. The summers that they spent at the
cabin just so he could spend time with his precious babydoll. Then finally having enough and forbidding him
to see her again. Royce hated her for
it, but she paid Roz off to keep her and Brooke away. For years their marriage was strained,
finally resulting in their imminent divorce.
Sadly, just a few years later, Royce died in a tragic car accident. Despite their differences, she never got over
that his daughter was in the picture, she was more determined that ever. In no way could she allow Brooke Taylor to
continue as part owner of her father’s movie studio. She would do whatever it took to excise her, including
theft from her own son.
So far her plan was
working perfectly, Jackie thought to herself as she left the post office in Big
Bear. She’d found the post office box
that T.T.’s key unlocked and was minutes away from learning the secrets he knew
about Kyle Fenwick. On top of that,
she’d arranged for a secluded rendezvous between Kyle and Brooke. With the help of Steven, her personal gofer,
she’d managed to lure them both to the construction site at Moonshadows. Thanks to overhearing David’s discussion with
his crew, she knew that the door would jam and they would be stuck together for
hours, leaving them with not much to do to pass the time but get very
close. Being the hopeless romantic that
she was, Brooke would start the comparisons between Kyle and Ethan and in a
matter of time would wind up in his bed.
Once she unearthed
T.T.’s secret information about Kyle and labeled him the criminal that he was,
James and David and everyone else would see how foolish Brooke was for falling
for such a man. Their confidence would
be lost and before long she’d be out the door at Sunset Studios.
With a smile on her
face, Jackie nestled back in the driver’s seat of her car and opened the ecru
envelope that she’d found in T.T.’s post office box. Inside were photographs of a Mercedes that
had been wrecked beyond recognition, newspaper clippings pertaining to Royce’s
car accident near Santa Barbara,
a few letters to Royce from Kyle's father, Don Fenwick, and a police report written by
Stephanie Callahan labeling Royce’s accident as a homicide.
Reading through the
material, Jackie covered her mouth with her hands and squeezed a few tears from
her big green eyes.
“Oh God! Royce!!
You were murdered!”
Back at the
construction site, Brooke coughed heavily, a deep throated cough that alarmed
Kyle as he tried to find a way out of the burning building. Pulling at the boards covering the windows,
he used his shirt to cover his nose and mouth.
From the corner of his eye he could see Brooke fading fast. He had to find a way out of there, or at the
very least get one of the boards off the windows to let the smoke out.
wheezed, sinking to her knees.
“Hurry! I can’t breathe!”
him into fast action. In one swift
movement, Kyle ripped the wooden board from one of the window openings. Pulling it from the wall, nails and all, he
looked out through the opening with nothing but devastation spread across his
Fire was erupting
from the ground, covering the window opening and exploding inside as if a mote
surrounding a castle. He backed up, eyes
wide in total and complete terror.
Turning, he saw
Brooke finally collapse unconscious.
Panicked, he raced to her side and used his t-shirt to cover her
face. Looking around at their surroundings,
he was faced with the possibility that they were trapped with fire closing in
on them at every angle.
for a way out of the club. Jackie contemplates
what she should do with the new information. Kyle's
father arrives in Los Angeles.
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