David survived the fall from the
balcony. At the hospital, doctors informed a stunned
Kyle that Don was declared brain dead. The Fenwick
family attorney, Bryan Carlson, arrived in town with
plans on taking Don's body back to New York, intending
to keep his death a secret from stockholders. When
Kyle turned down the opportunity to head up Fenwick
Industries, an opportunistic Bryan offered to step in.
Hoping to spare Brooke's feelings, Kyle turned
down Bryan's offer to release a statement to the media
that Royce was behind the hotel explosion. Stormy
told James about a screenplay that Will Thomerson wrote
that he found in the attic. James informed him
they would need Kyle's permission to option it. Alex
warned Brooke against taking Kyle from her the way she
took James. Fearful that Kyle was going
to leave her, Alex begged him to give her another chance.
Renee informed Jackie that she was through with
her meddling and that she was intending on destroying
her. Later, Jackie met up with Bryan Carlson who
turned out to be an old friend from New York. She asked
him to help her take Renee down, which he agreed on
in exchange for sex. Jordan escorted Mackenzie
Stone to the premiere, but couldn't stop comparing her
to Stephanie, who'd told him in no uncertain terms that
they could have nothing between them. Alex was
attacked by the media upon arrival at the premiere,
prompting her to take an oxycontin. Miranda told Brooke
that she should be with Kyle because she'd seen their
chemistry. Alex heard her daughter tell Brooke
that she was making a fool of herself with Kyle, prompting
her to take more pills and spiral out of control in
front of friends, family and media.
poplar trees that lined the perimeter of the yard swayed back and forth in the
morning breeze. Brett Armstrong
shivered, goosebumps breaking out all over his bare skin as ripples of water
pushed his raft to the edge of the pool.
Opening his eyes, he noticed Benji watching him from his lounger
positioned on the other side. When he
did, Benji immediately looked away.
he began wondering if there was something behind the nineteen-year-old’s casual
glances in his direction. Was he
resentful of him being there while his sister was locked away in an
institution? Did he not care for him
bringing Violet around so often? Other
scenarios crossed his mind too. This
wasn’t the first time he’d seen Benji staring at him with the same look in his
eyes. Accidental brushing up against him
wasn’t an uncommon occurrence, nor were the occasional suggestive things that
came out of his mouth. It was almost as
great! What now?”
thoughts were interrupted by the shouting.
Quickly, he turned his head to where Suzanne was positioned beneath the
umbrella at the patio table. She was
hunched over her new laptop and had her head in her hands. Smiling, he hoisted himself out of the pool
and walked across the cement in his red square cut swim trunks.
wrong?” he asked, first checking on a sleeping Violet in the crib beside
damn thing won’t stop updating,” Suzanne complained. “It’s like every time I start typing another
window pops up. Should it be doing
that? I wonder if it’s got a virus or
Brett laughed, leaning over her from behind and tapping at the keyboard. “I told you you should have gotten a Mac.”
didn’t like the salesman at the Apple store,” she said with a shrug.
The close proximity
of his body immediately got her flustered.
She felt him lean in closer, arms outstretched toward the computer as
his bare chest brushed against her back.
She could feel his erect nipples ever so lightly dancing across her
skin. It was then she knew she had to
one clumsy movement, she shot up from the chair, knocked a glass of iced tea
over and took a giant step back. The
amber liquid pooled across the table, inching its way closer to the computer.
crap!” Brett shouted, rushing to move the laptop from the table. He did so just in the nick of time, avoiding
an even bigger problem with the new purchase.
she said nervously. “I just thought I
saw a bee, that’s all.”
going, Mom,” Benji remarked as he sidled by, his bronzed skin slightly burned
from the intense morning sun. He picked
up an apple from a bowl on the table and took a bite. His eyes flickered past Brett’s and held
there for a few seconds. When he finally
looked away, he did it with a quick glance over his torso.
don’t know what happened,” Suzanne replied miserably, dropping her hands to her
sides. Her smooth escape hadn’t exactly
gone according to plan.
okay,” Brett said with a smile, placing a hand on her shoulder. “No harm done. Look, it’s fine.”
will you go in the house and get a towel?” Suzanne inquired.
“Sure.” He turned and went in through the sliding
patio doors. As he stepped inside, Jordan
was entering through the front door.
“What are you doing here?”
to see you too,” Jordan
replied with a frown and pushed him playfully.
“Just came to see your mom. She
back with Brett.”
asked. “What, did he spend the night or
something? It’s barely nine-thirty.”
raised an eyebrow, taking another bite of his apple. “I don’t know.” The words were so easy to say, yet he knew
they would be filled with plenty of suggestion.
“He was here late last night, I think.”
He handed him the towel. “Give
this to Mom.”
asked on the way out the back door. “He
still in town?”
“Yeah. He’s good.”
“Good. I like that kid.”
saw Suzanne and Brett laughing and joking with each other, plenty of
flirtatious touching. The fact that they
were both next to naked made things seem all the more suspect.
the day off?” he asked, announcing his presence.
turned to his direction, surprised to find him standing there. “My morning meetings all canceled so I stuck
around after dropping Violet off this morning.
Don’t worry. Everything at Rydell
is under control.”
not worried,” Jordan
said plainly, reaching down and putting a hand alongside Violet’s face. “I trust you to take care of my studio,
brings you by this morning?” Suzanne asked, pulling a button-up shirt over her
one-piece swim suit. “Don’t tell me your
tee time got canceled.” She couldn’t
resist the subtle jibe, knowing he was unapologetic about spending his newly
freed up time on the golf course.
it’s not till eleven,” he said, digging his hands in the pockets of his
chinos. “I was curious about if they’ve
called you to come back to the show since Alex got canned the other night.”
called but I told her the same thing I told her months ago. I’m enjoying my time to myself.”
eyes narrowed on her and then on Brett.
“Doesn’t seem like you have
much time to yourself,” he said, then gave them a minute to react before
continuing. “You know, since Violet is
here every day with you.”
smiled. “Well, she’s not much of a
conversationalist yet. Basically she
sits and watches me work.”
asked. He motioned to the computer that
Brett had just returned to the table.
she said, hiding the screen with her hands and then closing the laptop. “Just something I’m doing for fun.”
tell me you’ve started scrap booking,” Jordan said with a sigh, placing a
hand on his forehead.
laughed. “No, I’ve been taking an online
course in creative writing. I’ve learned
a lot already, and more than that it’s something fun to pass the time.”
that what you’ve been doing?” Brett
asked her, placing a hand on her shoulder.
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
witnessed the way she shivered beneath his touch.
didn’t want to say anything until I was sure that I would go through with it.”
She looked at Brett, fully aware that she
was doing it to distract herself from thinking about him every chance she
got. She’d gotten used to seeing him
every morning and evening when he came to drop Violet off or pick her up. They’d gotten very close and that was only
the beginning of the problem. Her
writing class was meant to take her mind off of her schoolgirl fantasies about
having wild, amazing sex with him.
great,” Brett said enthusiastically.
it really is,” Jordan
agreed for good measure.
how did the big date go?” Suzanne asked Jordan. “I can definitely see you with Mackenzie
Stone. She’s beautiful.”
think it was a one-time thing,” he admonished.
“We didn’t exactly click.”
thank God. I was only being nice before. I don’t like that woman. I don’t see why you don’t just make things
work with Detective Callahan.”
she’s not interested,” Jordan
replied flatly. “Besides, there’s
obvious something going on between her and David Jennings. They went to the premiere together.”
sorry,” Suzanne said, tiling her head to the side.
smiled back, watching as Suzanne continuously looked at Brett. There was definitely something going on
there. He wondered how far it had gone.
the days following the premiere of Angel
Assassin 2, Alex Reynolds had retreated to her luxury Beverly Hills hi-rise and made every effort
to shut the world out completely.
Newspapers piled up outside her door.
She didn’t want to read them.
They would all say the same thing, anyway, with scathing descriptions of
her drug-induced breakdown on the red carpet at the Grauman Chinese
Theatre. She would be touted as the
latest celebrity to hit rock bottom, taking over the reigns of Britney,
Lindsey, and Charlie Sheen. She could
hear the relentless reviews of that night in her mind without even turning a
page. She had no desire to see it in
was off-limits too. The reports on the
news stations would be far more cutting than anything written about her. With as much will-power as she could rally,
she avoided it all costs, instead staying in bed writhing about in
despair. Nightmares that replayed the
sordid scene over and over startled her awake on numerous occasions. She spent her waking hours re-watching her
old films on DVD. Serendipity Express,
Elena, and Daylight in St. Thomas
were among her favorites, despite the fact that she shared the screen on all
three with Nathan and Victor, two men she wished she could forget. On the other hand, they were the only men
from her past who weren’t there to see her spiral into oblivion, so seeing them
on screen was almost a comfort.
taken a few pills, consciously trying to minimize her need for them. It was a futile effort, however. They eased her through the tough times
before, but now were the only thing
getting her through. Her children hadn’t
called her; Vince, her agent hadn’t called to console her on her being fired
from The Young at Heart; her ex-husbands hadn’t reached out in any
way; and Kyle, the man she thought would always be there for her, had all but
written her off. And she couldn’t blame
any of them after her behavior. Miranda
had been right. She’d been making a
fooling of herself, especially where Kyle was concerned.
Monday she was confronted with the first attempt anyone had made to see
her. The ringing of her doorbell alerted
her to a visitor, so she flew from her bed, checked her appearance in the
hallway mirror, and raced to open it.
She hesitated for a second or two, keeping the chain on the door and
calling out into the hall.
me,” was the vague reply.
couldn’t be sure who it was. A male, for
certain. Maybe it was James coming to
check on her. Or maybe Stormy had
finally felt obliged to console her. No,
it had to be Jordan. He came to see her on the set the other
day. He didn’t completely despise her,
although he did bring Mackenzie to the premiere.
exhilarating thought came to her. Maybe
it was Kyle. Yes, he’d finally worked
through his feelings and came to see her.
Thrilled at the prospect, she quickly removed the chain from the door
and pulled it open frantically.
what’s your comment on the events that transpired at the premiere of your new
movie?” asked a reporter who stood in the hallway holding a microphone to her
face. Behind him was a cameraman
catching every second of the interaction on tape.
she held her hands over her eyes and turned away from the blinding light. Before she knew what was happening, he had
managed to shout several more questions, badgering her for answers about her
getting her wits about her, Alex grabbed hold of the door and forced it closed
on him. “Get out of here!” she screamed,
locking the door behind.
one quote?” he called through the door.
trespassing! Now get out of here!” She raced across the room and dialed building
security. “There’s a reporter outside my
door. I don’t know how he got into the
building but I’d like him to be escorted out immediately.”
hanging up, she backed away from the door, cowering in the corner. She was convinced she’d never be able to
leave her apartment again.
play it again,” Stormy Blackthorne said amidst a fit of laughter.
on,” replied Miranda, aiming the remote at the television and rewinding the
eyes glued to the television, stifling fits of raucous laughter as a replay
from a report on Entertainment Tonight filled the screen.
“Hardest working man in Hollywood.” Eddie said in a monotone
while staring robotically into the camera. “Love the movie. I mean…um….it’s been hard. Not the movie, the movie’s not hard and
loving the movie isn’t hard but losing my tragedy…er…my father was not hard. Damn.
I mean, it’s hard but it’s not easy.”
and Miranda burst into laughter, doubling over on the sofa in the family room
at the Blackthorne mansion as James walked in.
are you two up to?” he asked. “What’s so
funny? Oh, wait, is that the interview
with Eddie? Rewind it. I love this part.”
obliged happily, rewind the scene again and biting her finger to keep from
laughing as it played. When it was
over, James joined in, grinning in amusement at the hilarious scene.
that the interview again?” Leilani inquired in her broken English as she
strolled into the room with a dust cloth in hand. “This is my favorite part. Rewind it Miss Miranda.”
gathered around the television and watched it again. Eddie entered the room with a glass of milk
and saw the images that played on the screen.
He dropped his free hand to his side and grunted in disapproval.
it off, you guys,” he said, walking over and snatching the remote from
Miranda. “It’s not funny.”
right, Eddie, it’s not funny,” James said, barely able to keep from
you freakin’ kidding me? It’s
hilarious.” Stormy grabbed a pillow and
pulled it to his chest. “Love the movie,” he mimicked him.
an ass,” Eddie said, punching him in the arm and positioning himself between
him and Miranda on the sofa. “So I don’t
like to talk on camera, big deal. I get
all nervous and can’t think straight.”
reached over and pushed his hair from his forehead. “It’s okay, baby, so you missed out on some
of those acting chops. Maybe Blake will
turn out to be the next Distefano to land in front of the camera. Besides, you have other talents.”
Stormy groaned. “I do not want to hear this.”
was talking about his private detective skills, dick,” she replied, reaching
across the sofa and slapping him on the arm.
they’d had a good laugh at Eddie’s expense, James grew more serious, perched on
the edge of the sofa. “Not to bring up a
sore subject, but have either of you talked to your mother since Friday night?”
both looked at each other awkwardly, neither wanting to speak up for risk of
sighed. “Look, I know what she did
seemed terrible, but I don’t think she’s thinking with a clear head these
days. Someone’s got to level with her
and make her get some help.”
tried that weeks ago,” Stormy reminded him.
“She said she didn’t have a problem.
I even threw her pills down the sink.
It doesn’t matter what we say to her, Dad, she’s just going to keep
I kept telling her that Kyle Fenwick wasn’t a smart choice of romantic
interests but she kept insisting she knew what she was doing,” Miranda chimed
in defensively. “She won’t listen to us,
folded his arms. “So you’re just going
to let your own mother spiral out of control?” he asked. “She’s got no one now. Mackenzie fired her from the show, Jordan washed
his hands of her a long time ago, and I doubt very much that Kyle will want
anything to do with her now.”
why can’t you do something?” Miranda
asked. “She listens to you.”
when?” he asked incredulously. “Besides,
we haven’t exactly been friendly for a while now.”
supposed to be the parent,” Stormy said.
“We can’t take care of her.”
have a point, James,” Eddie chimed in.
“When my dad started going off the deep end after my mom left, I tried
taking care of him for a while. Making
sure he took his medication and saw his shrink on a regular basis and all that
junk. But pretty soon I couldn’t do it
anymore. I hated what he was doing to me
and to Blake so I left home. It
shouldn’t be up to the child to take care of the parent. Not when they’re physically capable of taking
care of themselves.”
ran a hand through his hair. Maybe they
were right. Maybe it was up to him to straighten Alex
out. She wasn’t going to like it, so
he’d have to sit and make her listen to him.
however, there was business to attend to.
“Stormy, are you still meeting me and Kyle at the Yacht Club this
are you meeting Kyle?” Miranda inquired.
stuff,” he replied dismissively before grabbing the remote from Eddie and
playing his interview again.
ambled down the docks at the marina, taking care not to let her heels fall into
the cracks between the wooden planks as she made her way to the slip number
that Kyle had left on her voicemail.
she reached her destination, she found a gleaming white Catalina sailboat with
red and blue sails. Kyle was perched on
the deck dressed in white shorts and a blue polo shirt, a white cap pulled down
tightly over his eyes.
morning,” she said from the dock, shielding her eyes from the sun with a hand.
“Morning. So you got my message? Thanks for coming.”
looked around, perplexed. “Where am I
wanted to show you my new toy,” he replied, kneeling down so that they were
almost at eye level. “You like?”
she said, trying to figure out why he’d brought her to the marina to show her a
boat. It seemed like it was out of left
field. “But…” She decided against being too much of a
killjoy. “So you bought a boat. That’s great!”
was excited.” He took her hand and
pulled her up onto the deck. “It was
kind of a big deal, you know. Kind of a
step toward starting a new life. I had a
boat back in New York
before….” A meaningful pause while he
reflected on the three years that he rotted in prison. “Well, I missed it.”
I’m happy for you,” Brooke said, finally getting some clarification as to his
help me celebrate.” He pulled an open
bottle of champagne from an ice bucket on the ledge and poured a glass for
her. “I already did the whole breaking
the bottle over the hull thing. Had an
extra one so thought I’d open it up.”
accepted the glass with a gracious smile.
“Kyle, this is all very nice but your father just died a few days
ago. I was with you in the hospital when
you got the news, remember? I saw the
look in your eyes. You were devastated.”
was determined not to dwell on it. His
relationship with his father was complicated and he didn’t care to hash it
out. He would deal with it in his own
way in private.
take it you don’t want to talk about it?” Brooke asked.
shook his head and quickly changed the subject.
“So any idea what your partner wants to meet with me about today?”
frowned. “What are you talking about?”
Kyle explained. “He said he has
something he wanted to discuss with me.”
notion irked Brooke to no end. What was
James up to? If this was another attempt
at discrediting Kyle then she was going to have to have a word with her nosy
ex-husband. She was an adult and could
make her own decisions. Besides, there
was nothing going on with her and Kyle, despite what Miranda predicted at the
strange. He never said anything to me.”
I guess we’ll find out soon enough.” He
turned out and gazed at the ocean. “So
later on I was thinking maybe we could have dinner. I could get a caterer and set the whole thing
up on the boat. We could sail out a mile
or so and-“
what are you doing?” she cut him off.
do you mean?”
shrugged, setting the glass of champagne on the ledge. “You’re making dinner plans and inviting me
to be the first one to see your new boat like we’re….I don’t know…an item.”
grinned in the cocky, arrogant way she’d been accustomed to. “An item?” he asked with a chuckle. “I didn’t think we were an item. I just thought we could spend some time
together. You know, now that all that
other stuff is behind us. Is that not
what you want?”
question was very direct and very difficult for her to answer. Yes, she wanted to spend time with him. Yes, she found him insanely attractive. Yes, she wanted to get to know him
better. But there were so many reasons why
they shouldn’t. Alex….Ethan….David. It was anything but easy.
do you expect to get out of us spending time together?” she finally asked
him. “I mean, where do you see this
shrugged. “Hopefully to bed at some
eyes narrowed on him and she folded her arms.
kidding!” he said with a good-natured laugh.
“I mean, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to end up there someday,
but I don’t want to rush it. Look, why
does this have to be complicated? Is it
because Ethan was my brother? We didn’t even know each other. He’s been gone a long time and you have a
right to be happy.”
know that,” she said, shaking her head.
“What about Alex? You were all
hot and heavy with her one minute and then the next thing you know you’re
inviting me out for dinner on your boat.”
over between Alex and I. It was before
it started. I felt sorry for her. Not what every woman wants to hear, but it’s
could appreciate honestly so she decided to let it go. And as far as David and his feelings about
Kyle, that should be a mute point now that they knew the truth about who was
responsible for the hotel explosion in New
feud seemed to have been based on that and that alone.
don’t know,” she said, still unsure.
“I’ll get back to you.”
he watched as she turned and climbed down the ladder to the dock. “Hey, wait a minute. What about-“
got a lot to think about,” she said, pushing a wisp of platinum hair from her
eyes. She winked before turning. “Don’t fall overboard.”
he shook his head in frustration as he watched her walk back down the
Kenny DeWitt had a
weakness for white women with blond hair and big tits. It was that fondness that ended his ten-year
marriage to Renee Dewitt, lost him his cushy job as CEO of Merteuil Industries,
and ended his coveted post on the California Land Commission. A big price to pay for a handful of double
d’s. But now that he was swinging
single and working as a successful attorney for both his ex-wife and for James
Blackthorne, he was unapologetic about it.
The blonder, the bigger, the better.
morning at ten a.m. seemed like the perfect time to dabble in his favorite
fetish. He phoned up a call girl that
he’d been introduced to at the premiere of Angel
Assassin 2 the previous Friday and got her in several acrobatic positions
in the back of his limo. Car sex was
another obsession that he often enjoyed.
After an hour of raucous sex, he was ready for more. As he initiated a suggestion that she didn’t
so much as blink at, his cell phone began ringing. The tune was unmistakable. Gladys Knight. It was Renee calling and it wouldn’t do to
keep her waiting. God, he felt like they
were still married!
he said, out of breath and sweating profusely.
“What’s up, Renee?”
off that hooker and come to my office,” she ordered. “My company’s in trouble.”
the only way he knew how, Kenny hung up and fished his wallet from his pants. He flicked a wad of hundred dollar bills at
the girl and handed her her clothes.
was that? Your wife?”
shook his head while slipping on his underwear.
“Worse. My ex-wife.”
minutes later, Kenny was in Renee’s office downtown at Merteuil. She paced in front of the floor to ceiling
windows that overlooked the sprawling cityscape, nervously biting her nails as
Kenny sat reviewing a stack of financial reports.
can something like this happen?” Renee asked.
you chose to make Merteuil Industries a publicly traded company,” he
responded. His mind was still on the
call girl he left in his limo. She lived
up to her reputation and then some.
“It’s nothing to be concerned about, Renee. Someone has taken a healthy interest in your
company. It means things are improving.”
this is a big chunk of stock in just a matter of a few days.” She walked to the desk and pointed to the
stock’s been at an all time low.
Somebody got a good deal.”
walked over and poured a fresh cup of steaming hot coffee. “You’re telling me. This economy nearly tanked us.”
it didn’t,” Kenny corrected her. “And
your stock will bounce back. It always
does. In the meantime, the fifty
thousand shares this person bought is helping you climb out of this mess the
economy got you in.”
really think there’s nothing to worry about?”
wouldn’t lie to you.” He stood up and
adjusted the lapels on his jacket. “Now
I need to get back to work. “
wait,” Renee said, ambling across the room and dabbing her thumb on his jawline
where she smeared off a thick coat of some jammy red substance. “Lipstick.
grinned knowingly and darted out of the office, hoping to schedule another
appointment with his favorite new call girl.
fax machine beeped as the document landed on the floor below it. Jackie Blackthorne knelt down to the plush
carpet in her suite at Moonshadows, balancing the phone with her shoulder while
teetering on six inch heels.
it just came through,” she was saying, grinning from ear to ear as she stood up
and reviewed the financial statement. “Bryan, you’re a
genius. I couldn’t have done this
said you wanted to stick it to Renee DeWitt,” he replied from his office in New York City. “Fifty thousand shares of Merteuil
Industries should get her shaking in her shoes.”
don’t just want to rattle her,” Jackie said, walking onto the terrace that
jutted out from her suite. She took in a
breath of the ocean air. “I want her
you want to take this all the way?”
“You better believe I do. She’s going to be sorry that she didn’t back
off when I told her to.”
“I’ll arrange for another fifty
thousand shares to be transferred to your account.”
“It’s going to take a lot more than
that!” Jackie exclaimed.
“Yes, but I assume you want to go
the route of a sneak attack. Getting too
overzealous could alert her to a takeover.”
sighed. “Fine. I’d like to keep my identify a secret for as
long as possible. I’m working toward a
moment here. Can’t you just see her face
when I walk into her office and kick her sorry ass out of her father’s chair?”
take some paperwork,” Bryan
told her. “And I’ll have to file for a
DBA. Any idea what you’d like to call
ran a flawlessly manicured French tip over her lips while pondering his
question. What to call herself? She
considered several options before settling on something that seemed to resonate
“JL3 Enterprises,” she said. The name summed up her plight. Lamont
3 was her father, Jonas’s original production company that he started with
his brothers, which after his death became Sunset Studios.
assume there’s a meaning behind that,” Bryan
smiled. “Do it today. I want her Monday to be a bitch.”
After his father left, Benji watched Brett
from his bedroom window, which luckily overlooked the backyard and gave him a
clear view of the pool. Aroused by the
all-American, boy-next-door look of his well-sculpted brother-in-law, and
realizing nothing would ever come of it, he considered calling someone up to
take his aggressions out on. Sarah, that
girl form the coffee shop? No, that was
an event that didn’t bare a repeat performance.
Summer Solomon? No, he was
already in enough trouble if Duke found out it was him who gave her the
clap. He even considered texting Sheldon
Novak, his arch-nemesis who gave him a hand-job at Van Edgewater’s place not
that long ago.
to forgo the effort, he instead lowered his swim trunks and took matters into
his own hands. A bird’s eye view of
Brett was motivation enough. That was
until his mother re-entered the picture and started touching him
inappropriately and doing her best to appear coy. The mood was quickly erased.
sooner had he pulled his trunks up again, a knock at the door alerted him to a
visitor. Seconds later, Duke entered the
room, already talking a mile a minute.
I know you’ve been on pins and needles waiting to hear what the outcome was
from our mission last week,” he said.
Benji replied obliviously.
was devastated, of course. I hear she
hasn’t left her house in Palos Verdes since the video hit the net.”
you got your revenge on her. Good for
looked at him suspiciously. “She cheated
on me with that low-rent drug pusher.
Don’t tell me you expected me to just sit back and let her get away with
guess not. What about Branigan?”
the clincher,” he replied, walking further into the room. “He doesn’t give a shit about the video. The douche bag put the thing on YouTube and
it got like a billion hits before the sensors took it down. He’s loving the attention.”
you surprised?” Benji asked, grabbing a t-shirt from his closet and pulling it
over his head. “That video doesn’t
exactly put him in a bad light. Besides,
I thought you had other plans for him.
Like exposing him to Sierra as the dealer who supplies her new boyfriend
with his drugs of choice.”
in good time,” Duke replied. “First I
have another project I need your help with.”
now?” Benji sighed.
that bet I told you about? The one I
waged against Branigan and lost?”
“Yeah. You still haven’t told me what is was that he
won in that bet.”
find out soon,” Duke told him. “I’ve got
a plan to get it back, and this time it doesn’t involve a three-way with a
what’s the plan?"
going to have to take the helm on this one,” Duke remarked, tracing his finger
along the top of the desk. “No one knows
it was me who planted that video on the net, but I still have to be
careful. Anything I do now can be traced
back to me. I no longer have the luxury
of a surprise attack.”
what do I have to do?” Benji inquired, almost afraid to ask. He was willing to help Duke in his quest for
revenge against Jeff Branigan only because he promised to use it to get Sierra
away from Hunt Roberts. But that seemed
far out of reach, and they were most likely running out of time.
me at The Pit on Venice Beach tomorrow at
11. I’ll give you the rundown then. There’s someone else who may be of help to
had no idea what he had in mind, but whatever it was, it was bound to get him
in trouble. He was on probation for
another month because of that gun business and had no intention of blowing
After leaving the marina, Brooke drove back to
Sunset Studios and spotted James walking to his car in the parking lot. She pulled her red Mercedes convertible into
the space next to him, flagging him down before he got into his car.
hold up,” she called as she scurried out of the driver’s seat.
“Hi. I was just on my way to a meeting. What’s up?”
know you’re meeting with Kyle,” she revealed.
“What is this all about? I
thought you and everyone else had given up on branding him the Candyman. He didn’t blow up that hotel in New York. My father did. So if you’re going to brow beat anyone then-“
James said amidst a burst of laughter.
“I’m not going to brow beat anyone, let alone Kyle. This has nothing to do with those phony
charges against him.”
why are you meeting with him?”
eyes narrowed on her as he took a step closer.
“First answer me this: Why are
you so protective of him all of the sudden?”
shook her head to displace a strand of hair that the breeze blew against her
face. “What are you talking about?”
acting like his PR person,” he said. “I
wasn’t aware you were that close. When
did you see him?”
now at the marina. And I’m not
protecting him. I just don’t want anyone
taking the brunt for what Royce did.”
knew her all too well. He smiled,
shaking his head with certainty. “Is
there something going on between the two of you? I mean, the chemistry is there – I’ve seen
it. I just didn’t think you’d take it to
the next level.”
held a hand up in an effort to silence his suspicions. “There’s nothing to take to the next
level. We’re….friends, and even that is
you say so,” James said with a good-natured grin.
to cut the discussion off before it got too uncomfortable, Brooke tightened her
Prada bag over her shoulder and shifted her weight. “Okay, so if that’s not the reason you’re
meeting Kyle, then what is the
reason? And why are you hiding it from
not hiding anything from you,” James replied.
“I was going to tell you after Stormy and I talked to Kyle.”
“Tell me what?”
found a script in the attic at the mansion.
It was in with Ethan’s things which also included some of Will
Thomerson’s belongings. Anyway, we want
to use the script but we can’t unless we get permission from Kyle, being that
he’s next of kin.”
looked away uneasily. Any mention of
Will Thomerson still made her sick to her stomach. After the hell he’d put them through…
know how you feel about Thomerson and believe me, I feel the same way, but the
script is amazing.”
want to produce a movie written by the man who kidnapped my son?” she asked in
disbelief. “Not to mention what he did
to your sister and what he did to Heather and just about everyone else in
town. I don’t know if I would want to be
associated with it.”
is business. We have to put our personal
feelings aside. It’s simple,
Brooke. We pay Kyle a handsome fee in
exchange for the rights to the script, and aside from Will’s name appearing on
the credits we never have to think about it again. Trust me.
You’re going to love it."
shrugged with defeat. “Fine. But I’m going with you to meet Kyle. I’m just as much a part of this studio as
anyone and I want to be there. Wait,
will Jackie be there?”
smiled. “Good. You drive.”
James opened the car door for her and then walked around to the other
side. After climbing in and starting the
engine, he roared out of the parking space and sped off toward the studio
on Ocean Avenue was moving along
had voiced his reservations on Rydell Productions doing a movie about drugs,
sex and violence in the L.A.
surf community, but the grittiness of the subject matter eventually swayed
him. Brett sold him on the vision,
insisting it would do for surfers what Kids
did for skaters.
Jordan walked into his office that afternoon, he assumed it was to voice more
concerns. Concerns, yes. About Ocean Avenue,
in one day,” Brett said from behind his desk.
“You still going to tell me you trust me to run your studio?”
hands in his pockets as he looked out at the marina. “I told you I did,” he said carefully. “It’s everything else I don’t trust.”
frowned. “What are you talking about?”
first noticed it a few weeks ago but I thought I was imagining things. But this morning when I came by I realized it
wasn’t just my imagination. I only hope
that you haven’t invited this kind of obvious flirtation.”
Brett rose from his desk and ran his fingers through his thick blond hair. “I haven’t, honestly. I mean, I only noticed it myself this
thought that might be the case. You’re
sure you haven’t done anything or said anything to warrant this kind of
absolutely not,” Brett maintained. He
had no idea that Benji even had those
kinds of feelings for any man, let alone him.
But the lingering looks and the flirtatious touching were getting too
frequent for him to overlook. “I had no
idea that he was into that.”
Jordan corrected him.
“Suzanne. You said he.”
Brett was extremely confused. He thought
Jordan had been talking about Benji. Obviously
they were not on the same page. Either
way, maybe he was wrong about Benji after all.
Suzanne,” he said awkwardly.
you haven’t noticed her constantly coming on to you?” Jordan asked
he’d shifted his concentration to the appropriate individual, Brett shook his
head emphatically. “No, absolutely
not. I don’t even know where you got
replayed every minute he’d spent with Suzanne in the past weeks. Never did he get the impression that she was
coming onto him.
think you’re way off base here, Jordan,”
he said. “I mean, maybe she’s
comfortable with me and relaxed around me, but flirtatious? No, I don’t see it.”
sat down across from his desk and folded his legs. “She just seems…different lately. I’ve never seen her this giddy.”
she’s just happy. She’s made a nice
suburban life for herself. No
attachments, no complications. You
should understand that. Isn’t that why
you divorced Alex and stepped down from the studio? To simply your life?”
Jordan had to
admit he had a point. “I guess so. After Benji said you were always at the house
I guess I just let my imagination run away with me.”
Brett said under his breath. “He seems
to thrive on causing trouble.”
“Undoubtedly. Luckily he has a new friend from boarding
school that I’m hoping will straighten him out.
I was also thinking of giving him a job.
How do you feel about him working at Rydell?”
prospect got under Brett’s skin. Benji
hadn’t exactly proven himself to be trustworthy.
suppose if it came down to it I could find something for him to do,” he said
a thought,” Jordan
said, rising from the chair. “We’ll see
if he starts shaping up his act and then address it again.”
watched him make his way to the door. “Jordan, about
Suzanne…” He was still flabbergasted
that he’d even brought it up. It seemed
so out of left field.
replied. “I must be projecting my lack
of intimacy with anyone onto her. God
knows it’s been months since I got laid, and the women I’ve been choosing to
pursue haven’t exactly been forthcoming with romantic feelings, so… Anyway, sorry I brought it up.”
problem,” Brett said. He sat down at his
desk and tried to think of what Suzanne had done recently to give Jordan the
impression that she was into him. For
the life of him, he couldn’t think of anything.
Basically, they helped each other out whenever needed. She would baby sit Violet, and he would do
odd jobs around the house – things the landlord was too lazy to do. On occasion he’d stay for dinner or go for a
dip in the pool. It was harmless.
he knew when a woman was coming onto him.
He’d practically made a career out of seduction. Either he was wearing blinders or Jordan was very
wrong. He decided the next time he saw
Suzanne he would pay special attention to these signs that were supposedly so
“House of Palms,” Kyle read aloud as he
lifted the script from the table. “I had
no idea Will Thomerson wrote anything.
Of course I barely knew him so that’s no surprise.”
about two warring families in Mexico,”
Stormy told him. “It’s extremely well
done. The cinematic scope is
unparalleled with anything Sunset Studios has done in the past.”
were seated at a table on the Yacht Club terrace that jutted out over the
marina. Next to Stormy was James, with
Brooke to his right. The waiter brought
four tall glasses of iced tea and left them to pore over the menu.
do you think of it?” Kyle asked Brooke.
looked around the table and took a sip from her drink. “I haven’t read it,” she said with a hint of
bitterness. “I only found out it existed
twenty minutes ago.”
tried to sweep his ex-wife’s hostile feelings under the table. “Kyle, the point is that we need your
permission to use it. Wills’ estate went
to Ethan after his death, but since Ethan is gone there’s no one named as
executor of his property. That is, until
you came along.”
could produce the movie under the assumption that Ethan’s estate went to Brooke
and I, but we want to avoid any lawsuits that might arise from the ownership of
the screenplay,” James continued.
afraid I’ll sue you,” Kyle surmised. He
laughed and stirred a packet of sugar into his tea.
prepared to offer you six figures in exchange for the rights.” Stormy slid a contract across the table.
perused the contract, removing his mirrored aviators and placing them neatly on
the table. “You really want this film
made, don’t you?” he asked. “This is a
lot of money for one script.”
do you say?” James asked.
maybe Kyle needs time to process this,” Brooke interrupted. “You can’t just spring this on him and expect
him to sign off at the drop of a hat.
You don’t own everybody.”
are you getting so defensive about this?” James demanded. “Jesus, it’s a script, not a kidney. We’re just trying to do the right thing where
Kyle is concerned.”
have no interest in doing the right thing where Kyle is concerned,” she
do you know that?”
I know you and I-“
me,” Kyle interrupted. “Can I say
bickering stopped long enough for everyone to turn in his direction.
ahead,” James said.
is a very generous offer,” Kyle said, closing the contract. “It’s it was nice of you to come to me with
this before you went ahead and did anything.
But I don’t need money. I have
plenty as it is.”
can use more money,” James told him.
“You’re willing to sign away the rights to the script for nothing?”
didn’t say that,” he replied with a smirk.
“I’m looking for something that will make my freedom worthwhile. I thought that buying a mansion in Malibu and a luxury
sailboat would do that, but like any high it wears off eventually. I need something to sink my teeth into. I don’t want money, but I would like to get
in on the production of this movie.”
would you do?” Stormy asked. “Have you
ever even worked in the business before?”
“No. I’ve done everything else though.”
immediately went into panic mode.
Working with Kyle on a daily basis on House of Palms was out of the question. It was hard enough controlling herself around
him during their occasional run-ins. The
simple fact was that she didn’t think getting involved with him was a good
idea. Despite the external circumstances,
she’d made a promise to herself after Ethan died that she would remain
independent long enough to know that she could make it on her own.
think what Kyle is saying is this is a mere suggestion
on an alternative to paying him with a check,” she said. “Right, Kyle?”
he said with a shake of his head. He
cast a steady gaze at Brooke, knowing he’d gotten to her. “I want in.”
looked away uneasily. Something told her
he wasn’t doing this just to find something to do with his life. He was trying
to keep himself in her life.
settled then,” James said, not wanting to drag the negotiations out for any
length of time. “Kyle, your first job is
to go with Stormy to scout locations. I
want pre-production to start immediately, and filming to start before summer
begins. We want to get the location
shooting done first. Second unit can
sighed with defeat. She could foresee
the complications involved. Now she’d
never be able to get Kyle out of her head.
was going stir-crazy. After Brett left,
she finished the laundry, vacuumed the carpets, fed Violet her lunch, and sat
down to catch up on The Young at Heart. It didn’t seem to have gotten any better
since she appeared on it in the nineteen eighties.
for some adult conversation, she packed a diaper bag and took Violet with her
to have a late lunch with Renee. When
she arrived at Merteuil, Renee had arranged for a catered lunch to be set up on
the conference table. Shrimp cocktail,
seared Quail breasts with strawberry chutney, and a delicate spinach salad.
look wonderful,” Renee said, drawing her into an embrace after she settled
Violet into her bassinette. “Your new
life seems to agree with you.”
don’t know,” Suzanne replied as they sat down at the table. “I feel like I’ve settled into a
routine. I can’t tell you the last time
I had a lunch like this.”
folded her napkin in her lap and poured them each a cup of coffee. “I thought that’s what you wanted? A nice, simple, suburban life. You deserve some normalcy after what you’ve
know, but it’s almost too
normal.” She shook her head, hoping to
snap herself out of the funk she was in.
“Nevermind. There’s nothing worse
than a friend complaining about their dull life. Tell me, how are you doing? Any new men on the horizon?”
don’t have the time,” Renee replied.
“Keeping this company up and running is the only thing on my mind these
days. Particularly now that someone has
decided to start taking such an interest in it.”
do you mean?”
bought a huge chuck of my stock.”
does Kenny say?”
shrugged. “He says there’s nothing to
worry about. I just can’t help but worry about anything that affects Merteuil right now. You know how important this company was to my
sorry. How is Sierra?”
well,” Renee replied. “Things are
advancing nicely with her and Hunt Roberts.
I hope she decides to settle down with him. He’s such a nice young man.”
the Ivy League guy you were telling me about, isn’t he?” Suzanne inquired.
“Yes. At least with him in her life I won’t have to
worry about her making any more poor choices in men. That debacle with Malcolm Harris nearly
brought her to pieces again.”
looked at Suzanne and noticed that she was staring off in a daze. Raising an eyebrow, she waved her hand in
front of her in an effort to get her attention.
“Suzanne? Are you with me?”
she snapped out of her haze. “Oh,
yes. I’m sorry, Renee. What were you saying?”
Renee leaned back in her chair. “Where
were you just now?”
I know you. There’s obviously something
on your mind. Tell me what it is.”
she folded her napkin and placed it next to her plate. “Have you ever had…fantasies about someone
that you probably shouldn’t be having fantasies about?”
Renee leaned forward against the conference table. “What kind of fantasies?”
know, sexual fantasies.”
I’ve never heard you talk this way,” Renee said with a chuckle. “Who are you having fantasies about?”
doesn’t matter who,” she said, blushing.
“Have you ever?”
hesitating, Renee nodded in reply. “Yes,
“Really? Did you….act on them?”
Renee shouted. “I was married to Kenny
at the time. He was the adulterer in our
marriage, not me.”
sighed and picked at her salad. “It’s
just a little crush, anyway,” she said.
“Obviously I’m not going to act on it.
He’s much younger than me.”
younger man?” Renee inquired with delight.
“Well now you’ve got to tell
me who it is.”
I don’t. There’s nothing to tell. Like I said, it’s just a silly crush. I feel better just talking about it. It’s made me realize how ridiculous it is.”
crush that’s got you this worked up?”
not worked up. I shouldn’t have even
mentioned it. Just forget it.”
is it?” Renee demanded, barely able to contain her curiosity.
okay,” she sighed with defeat and went back to her lunch. After a moment of silence, she dropped her
fork and looked up at her. “Oh my God,
it’s a friend of Benji’s, isn’t it?”
Suzanne exclaimed amidst a fit of laughter.
you say so. But seriously, anytime you
want to talk about it just call me up. I
may not have time for a romantic life of my own, but I will always make time to
hear about yours.”
but now that I think about it this is probably something I need to work out on
phone at Renee’s desk rang and she excused herself from the table. Removing an earring from her right hear, she
answered on the third ring. It was Kenny
with bad news. Renee froze with anxiety
as he relayed the latest developments to her.
was that about?” Suzanne asked after she’d hung up.
was Kenny,” Renee said. “Someone just
bought another fifty thousand shares of Merteuil.”
my God,” Suzanne said and stood up from the conference table.
trying to take over my company.”
held the phone to her ear as she waved Steven into her office at Sunset
Studios. He entered, dressed in cargo
shorts and a tight-fitting polo, his standard backwards baseball cap pulled
down over his head.
I’ll expect an update from you by the end of the week,” she said into the
phone. “Goodbye, Bryan.”
she hung up, she leaned back in her chair and folded her hands neatly
together. “So? What was the meeting about? Did you hear anything?”
heard all of it,” Steven replied, quite happy with his investigative
techniques. “There’s a script they were
trying to buy from Kyle Fenwick.”
script?” Jackie asked.
shrugged. “One that somebody named
Thomerson wrote. Supposedly really
good. Anyway, he didn’t want money for
it. He said he didn’t need any more.”
“Everybody needs more money,” Jackie said
with a scoff. “Did he say what he did want?”
wants to work for the studio and be directly involved with the film.”
slammed her fist on the counter. “Of
course he does. He’s trying to get
Brooke into bed and this is his way of getting close to her. Damnit, why did he have to be cleared over
those charges? Now I have nothing to use
don’t know about any of that. I was just
hiding behind the planter next to their table.”
actually had the nerve to make this deal without consulting me,” Jackie said as
she began pacing the office. “I own ten
percent of this studio. I suppose they
all agreed, so my vote doesn’t count.
Well, I’ll find a way to use this to my advantage.”
me to do anything else?” Steven asked.
go back to Venice
and work on your tan or work on one of your silly student films,” Jackie
said. “I’ll be in touch tomorrow.”
but I have something to do at 11. I’m
free before then though.”
Jackie said, waiving him out of the office.
he left, she looked out the window and racked her brain for an idea – anything
that could get Brooke Taylor out of her life.
decided to keep his word and go see Alex at her apartment following his meeting
with Kyle. He dreaded doing it, but he
knew it had to be done. Miranda and
Stormy were right – their mother’s troubles shouldn’t rest entirely on their
shoulders. He and Alex had been divorced
for five years but he still had a certain responsibility toward her, especially
since a myriad of her problems stemmed from the production of Angel Assassin 2.
he arrived, he easily bribed the security guard in the lobby to let him
up. It wasn’t hard to do, which made him
wonder if Alex was safe from the paparazzi who were still staked outside the
building, cameras in hand as they waited for a clear shot at the fallen
rang the doorbell and waited for an answer.
When no one came, he rang it again and knocked for good measure. Moments later, the door opened. To his surprise, Kenny was the one answering
what are you doing here?” James asked as he brushed inside the apartment.
called me,” he said.
“Why?” He scanned the living room and found her
perched at the counter by the bar, sipping a martini and smoking a
I need an attorney,” she replied and got up from the stool. “James, how the hell did you get up
here? I specifically told security that
I had to clear all visitors.”
was worried about you,” he said. “No
one’s heard from you since the premiere.”
no one’s bothered to call me since the premiere,” she said bitterly. “Not you, not Stormy and not Miranda. If my own family doesn’t care about me then
why should I waste the effort?”
not true, Alex.” He wasn’t in the mood
for her dramatics, which is exactly what he expected to happen when he showed
up. Still, he came.
it is.” She stubbed out her cigarette
and handed a piece of paper to Kenny.
“Don’t pretend that you care. You
threw me out of your life once before and now you’ve done it again. Only this time we aren’t married so I think
I’ll be quite fine on my own.”
is Kenny doing here?” he asked. “Why do
you need an attorney?”
handling the legal papers for me,” Alex told him. “I’m adopting a baby.”
blinked several times, unsure if he heard her correctly. Had she gone off the deep end?
Suzanne got back home, she decided that talking about her feelings for Brett
did help to some degree. It really was
ridiculous. He was her daughter’s
husband. He was over fifteen years younger
than her. He may be drop dead gorgeous,
but that was where it ended.
placing Violet in her crib, she sat down at the desk in the living room with
her computer. She had an assignment to
complete for her writing course and decided to work on it while waiting for
Brett to pick the baby up.
assignment, which had fairly firm parameters set by the instructor, didn’t gel
right away so she did what the class had already taught her, and that was to
write anything to get warmed up.
Quickly and without much difficulty, she began writing about Brett and the
fantasies she’d been having. At least
that was fresh on her mind. Before long,
she’d written almost an entire page…
She felt small in his arms. They ensconced her perfectly, every rippling
muscle tightening around her. His lips
were salty and she tasted them eagerly when he kissed her, his tongue darting
in and out of her mouth. She could feel
the course stubble just above his upper lip.
Her skin was chaffed but she didn’t care. She wanted more of him.
His hands rose from her waist, up
her torso and finally cupped her perfectly shaped breasts. Eagerly and with uncontrollable desire, he
placed one nipple in his mouth, ran his tongue over it, and then moved to the
other. Closing her eyes, she threw her
head back and submitted to the pleasure.
When he reached between her legs she cried out in ecstasy. Waves of intense pleasure washed over
her. She came hard and fast but she
wanted him inside of her.
Her hands moved over every inch of
his rigid body as he leaned closer and guided his manhood inside of her. He held her in his arms while they made
love. She ran her fingers through his
thick blond hair. Their lips didn’t part
until she began to climax. She screamed
his name in ecstasy. “Brett!”
When she came, she could feel him
emptying himself inside of her. In
perfect unison, they remained in each other’s arms. She smiled with content, finally
understanding what a man of his youth and exuberance had to offer a woman of
knock at the door took her out of the moment and she spun around in her chair
to see who it was. Moments later, Brett
walked inside. She knew he could tell
that she was flustered so she made an urgent attempt to remain calm.
are you doing here so early?” she asked, out of breath. “It’s barely four o’clock.”
things up early,” he said. “Hope I’m not
interrupting your writing class homework.”
looked at the screen and quickly minimized the program. “No, not at all,” she said, jumping up from
her seat and darting around the room, collecting Violet’s things. “I’ll get the baby ready.”
watched her carefully, trying to detect any behavior that seemed unusual or
that could give Jordan
the idea that she was interested in him.
She seemed preoccupied, but that could be for any number of
reasons. As a matter of fact, she’d
barely made eye contact with him since he walked in.
was your…uhh….afternoon at work?” she asked, placing things in the diaper
“Good. It was good.”
good,” Suzanne said, looking around for something. “I took Violet to lunch with me today and….oh
shoot, I think I left her bathing suit upstairs. I’ll run up and grab it. Be right back.”
walked over to the crib and gave Violet a kiss on the cheek. Maybe Suzanne did seem to be acting kind of
strange, he decided. It was almost as if
his being there made her nervous.
from her laptop interrupted his concentration and he glanced over at the
screen. It seemed to be going through
another update. He sighed and walked
over to the desk, tapping at the keys and trying to close out of the annoying
the word processing program reappeared on the screen, several words immediately
caught Brett’s attention, including his own name written in quotations. With a certain amount of remorse for invading
Suzanne’s privacy, he leaned down and read the words on the screen. Instantly, he turned red in the face and
neck. The room suddenly felt like it was
a thousand degrees and his head was light and stuffy.
Suzanne coming back down the stairs, he quickly turned away from the desk and
went to the center of the room. As she
entered, he couldn’t help but picture the scenario she’d described in her
story. While it was true, he hadn’t
noticed her exhibiting any signs of being attracted to him, he was now suddenly
aware that he’d been blind to it all along.
it,” Suzanne said, holding the bathing suit in her hand.
Brett replied distantly as he watched her fold it neatly into the bag. It was almost as if he were seeing her with
new eyes. Suddenly he didn’t see her as
Heather’s mother or Violet’s grandmother or his boss’s ex-wife. He saw her as a passionate
woman with desires that surpised him to no end.
you ready?” she asked him.
turned to her and saw that she was handing him the bag. “Yeah, I am,” he replied.
determined to get a fresh start. Brooke finds
herself in an unexpected situation as Kyle and Stormy
depart for Mexico City. Brett suddenly can't get
Suzanne off of his mind. Benji gets involved in
a duplicitous scheme.
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