the plane crash, James was taken to the hospital
and treated for a massive head trauma. Alex
and Jordan arrived in Santo Domingo and questioned
Brooke on what went on between her and Ethan. Alex
learned of James's plane crash and went to the hospital
where she learned he had suffered memory loss. Brett
and Miranda were questioned about the night Bailey
was pushed out of a window in Vegas. Brett
claimed that he and Miranda were getting married
when it happened. Stormy put up the bail money
and Brett was released. Brooke went to the
hospital after hearing of the plane crash and learned
that Alex signed James out. After realizing
that James believed they were still married, Alex
rented a cabana on the beach where she took James
to be alone.
flashes blinded Miranda and Brett as they left the police station that night
and ran into a troupe of reporters standing outside on the steps. They immediately began hounding them with
questions, snapping pictures right and left.
Armstrong, you're the daughter of famed Hollywood producer James
Blackthorne," said one reporter as she held a microphone to Miranda. "Does your father know about your
husband's arrest? And how do you think
he'll react to the murder charges?"
with irritation, Miranda led Brett down the steps to her red Camaro parked by
the curb. "Leave us alone!"
she said, wishing they would all go away.
If there was one drawback to being James Blackthorne's daughter, it was
having the press scrutinize her every move.
Armstrong, did you do it?" asked another reporter, hot on their heels.
he did it alright! I can assure you of that!" Devon called from a distance as she
walked down the steps from the police station.
reporters all turned in her direction, scurrying to write down her every word.
smiled and glared at Brett and Miranda.
"I'm a close friend of Mr. Shively. I mean Mr. Armstrong, or
whatever he's going by this week."
better shut your mouth before I shut it for you!" Miranda screeched from
her place next to Brett by the car.
her threats, Devon stood amidst the clan of
reporters, relishing her time in the spotlight. "He's not only a gold digging con man,
but he's a cold-blooded murderer too."
are your sources?" asked a reporter, thrusting his microphone into her
right, that does it!" Miranda yelled.
She raced up the steps and punched Devon in the jaw with a white-knuckled
fist, sending the girl flying back to the ground.
crowd gasped in unison, watching as Miranda stood above Devon, breathing heavily and glaring
down at her with red hot fury.
you see what she did?" Devon screamed, climbing to her feet and rubbing her aching
jawbone. "That was an unprovoked
attack! You're all my witnesses! She's
reporter turned and ran back to the car just as Brett got into the passenger's
seat. "Mr. Armstrong, what are your
comments on your wife's violent attack?"
comment!" Brett replied and rolled up the window and waited for Miranda to
get into the car. He looked up the steps
at Devon soaking up the attention she'd
stirred up for herself. Why did she have
to show up and ruin everything? He had
everything and everyone just where he wanted
them, and then Devon sauntered into town and blew the
whistle on him.
you marry Miranda Blackthorne so you'd have an alibi?" a reporter from Image
magazine asked, shoving her microphone
toward the car window.
miserably, Miranda started the car and peeled off down the street, leaving the
reporters in a mass huddle by the curb.
Devon walked down the stairs and
approached them with a wicked smile on her face.
can tell you that Brett Armstrong is guilty as sin," she announced.
do you know that?" a newsman asked, resting pen to paper, preparing to
write down her every word.
me, I know."
Austen raced inside the Blackthorne mansion after Leilani opened the door for
her. She glanced around the foyer and
looked at the maid with a streak of terror on her face.
James here?" she asked.
shook her head. "No, ma'am."
looked around again, peering into the dining room and the parlor. "What about Stormy or Miranda?" she
appeared from the hall and approached Winter with concern. "Winter, what's wrong?" he asked,
noting the look of desperation on her face.
grabbed him by the shirt and shook him, a tear trickling down her face. "Is it true about Ethan?" she
asked. "Is he really dead?"
his eyes with regret, Stormy took in a deep breath and nodded. “It looks that way.”
cried out in despair, sobbing hysterically as she clung to Stormy. He put an arm around her and held her close,
wishing that it wasn’t true. His own
cousin was dead and there wasn’t even a body to bury.
full moon shined brightly over the island of the Dominican Republic.
A balmy breeze blew through the window of Brooke’s hotel room at the Del Mar as she paced back and forth. She
wrung her hands together, trying to decide what to do about James. How could he have gone off with Alex like
that? Was he still angry with her about
hiding her marriage to Philip? That was
the only explanation. She’d hurt him
deeply and he hadn’t forgiven her. He
came to the island for the sole purpose of getting to the bottom of Ethan’s
death. It had nothing to do with her
being there, alone and afraid.
was a knock at the door and she snapped her head around, her heart beating
wildly. Maybe it was him, she thought
to herself as she raced across the room and pulled open the door.
expression dimmed when she saw Jordan Rydell standing in the hall, his hands
dug deeply into the pockets of his khaki pants. “Oh, it’s you,” she said, not bothering to
hide her disappointment.
know it’s late,” he said. “Have you
heard from James?”
frowned, eyeing him skeptically. “No,
just came from the hospital and he’s been released,” Jordan said. “They wouldn’t tell me who he left with, but
I assumed it was you.”
wasn’t,” Brooke replied. “He left with
Jordan closed his eyes and slammed his
fist against the door as if he were expecting her response. He didn’t know what Alex was up to but it
couldn’t be good. He considered telling
Brooke about James’s amnesia but immediately thought better of it. If Alex was up to something, telling Brooke
could blow it sky high.
the two of you come here together?” Brooke asked. “Why would she take off with James without
Jordan shook his head in
confusion. “That’s what I’m going to
find out,” he said before turning and bolting back down the hallway.
closed the door and leaned against it.
She had to find them. For all
she knew, Alex could be doing something to him.
She could be poisoning his mind even further against her.
the cabana just outside of town, James laid down in bed, wincing slightly from
the pain in his head. Alex walked over
in her nightgown, soothing him by stroking his dark hair away from his
it hurt much?” she asked.
squinted, his vision blurring slightly.
He focused on her face and a minute later the blurring was gone. “It’s not bad,” he said. “The doctor said the headaches would go away
in time, didn’t he?”
and then you’ll be good as new,” Alex said, kissing him warmly.
James moved over on
the bed and made room for her, patting the sheets next to him and summoning her
next to him. “Come lay down,” he said.
obliged. She put her arm around him and
looked into his eyes as they lay up against each other. She thought about the years they’d spent at
each other’s throats and how unhappy it had made
her. She focused all of her time and
energy on revenge, convincing herself that she hated him. The truth was that all along she was hurt
and deeply saddened by the fact that he didn’t want her anymore. Then when she showed up at the hospital earlier
and he looked into her eyes, it felt like they’d never been apart.
was afraid I’d lost you forever,” she found herself saying dreamily.
frowned. “What do you mean?”
She realized that
James didn’t know what she was talking about.
As far as he knew, they’d never been estranged. None of the hateful words happened. Their bitter divorce wasn’t reality to
him. And she wanted to keep it that
“I just mean after
your accident,” she said. “It was touch
and go for a while.”
Sitting up, James
looked at her with a puzzled expression.
“The doctors told me I was brought to the hospital after a plane crash,”
he said. “What happened? Why weren’t you hurt?”
“You don’t remember?”
He shook his head.
The wheels in her
head turning, Alex put a hand on his chest and tried calming him down. “You had to fly back to the states. Something came up with the studio and they
needed you. “
“Oh Darling, I’m
sorry for leaving you.”
She shook her
head. “You were on your way back when
the plane went down,” she said. “You
were very lucky to be alive. That’s what
I meant when I said that I was afraid I’d lost you forever.”
James smiled and
pulled her close, embracing her tightly.
“Alex, we’ll never be apart again,” he said, beaming happily. “I promise you that.”
Sighing with content,
Alex kissed him on the lips and felt James sliding her nightgown straps off her
shoulders. With a smile, she slipped
the silky garment off and kissed him again as they began to make love.
The next morning
Miranda woke up, yawning and stretching as the bright California sun filtered in through the
bedroom window. She sat up and noticed
Brett walking out of the bathroom, a towel wrapped around his waist.
“You’re up early,”
she said, stifling another yawn.
He nodded, dropping
the towel and walking to the closet.
“Yeah, I wanted to get an early start this morning,” he explained. “I’m sure your brother has a million
questions for me and I don’t see the point in putting it off.”
Miranda frowned and
sat on the edge of the bed. “What about
me?” she asked, admiring his naked body. “You don’t think I have a million questions
acknowledged her question. “Well you’re
my wife. It’s sort of expected that you stand by me during all of this.”
His remark sent her
into a fit of resentment. “Is that so?”
she asked bitterly, standing up and grabbing her robe. “Just because I’m your wife I’m supposed to
stand back and not ask why my husband is being accused of murder?”
Brett pulled on a
pair of flared corduroys and turned back to her. “Babe, I thought you knew I was innocent,” he
said. “I mean, do you honestly think I
could kill someone?”
She threw her arms up
in frustration. “Well I don’t know,
Brett! I didn’t know your name was
really Rick Shively! And I didn’t know
that before you came here you were a con man!”
He shot her a cold
stare while walking into the bathroom and rolling on a stick of deodorant. “I explained all of that to you!” he shouted
from the bathroom. “So you think I’m hiding
something else now? You actually think
I’m capable of murder?”
“No! I didn’t say
“Well it sure sounds
like it,” Brett replied, walking out of the bathroom and going back to the
closet to find a shirt. “I mean, either
you’re on my side or you’re not. Which
is it, Miranda?”
She paused, looking
into his eyes and trying to decide what she believed. She hated not having faith in her own
husband. Ever since this whole mess
started she had vowed to stand by him.
Why should that change now?
“I’m on your side,” she finally said. “I just don’t want there to be any more
secrets between us. I don’t want my
father to be right about you.”
Brett put his arms
around her and pulled her close. “He
isn’t right,” he said, staring past her in deep concentration. I’ll make
sure he’s not right.
Stormy sat in the control booth at Good Times Records with Eddie and their
team of engineers. Behind the glass
wall Lauren sang along with the band, recording the next song for her album.
When the song finished, Stormy called through the
intercom. “That was a keeper,” he
said. “Thanks everybody.”
The band started disassembling and Lauren walked
into the control booth just as Eddie and the engineer’s left. She looked at Stormy and smiled awkwardly.
“I think we’ve got a hit on our hands,” Stormy said
with a big grin.
“The album’s not even done yet,” she said.
“No, but that song was a sure fire top 40 hit,”
Stormy replied, standing up and looking into her dazzling blue eyes.
Nervously, Lauren turned and watched the band
taking their instruments out of the recording booth. She didn’t know how to act around Stormy
anymore. Ever since their kiss the other
day, she hadn’t been able to think about anything else. The awkward part was that neither of them
had brought it up since.
“I’m sorry about the other day,” they both said in
Laughing, Lauren flashed him a smile and
shrugged. ‘You go first.”
Stormy bit his lip and examined her
expression. “I hope you don’t feel weird
about what happened,” he began. “I mean,
I think it’s good that it happened. We
sort of got it out of the way, I guess.”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
“Anyway, I don’t want there to be any weird vibes
going on,” Stormy continued, his sultry eyes burning into her. “We’re here to make an album, not start world
“Yeah, I agree,” Lauren said, staring at his full
lips and remembering what it was like to kiss them. She’d never felt so much electricity in her
life. It was like it fit perfectly.
They both turned when the door opened and Brett
came inside. He looked at them
inquisically, raising an eyebrow and wondering what he’d interrupted.
“Hey, what’s going on?” Stormy asked casually. He looked at Brett and then back at
Lauren. The tension was insurmountable.
“I gotta go,” Lauren said, brushing past Brett and
giving him a frigid glare as she left the control booth.
After she’d gone, Brett turned back to Stormy and
shrugged. “I wanted to come down to
thank you for putting up the money for the bail last night,” he said. “The bail bondsman said you’ll get it all
back when the charges are dropped.”
Stormy raised a curious eyebrow. “Will the charges be dropped?”
Brett half-expected his reaction. He knew after everything that had happened
lately that his word wouldn’t count for much.
All thanks to Devon. “Yeah, they will be. Stormy, you gotta believe me, man. I didn’t kill anybody.”
Shuffling a stack of music notes and walking to a
filing cabinet, Stormy took a deep breath and shook his head. “I don’t know, Brett. Something’s going down, man. First all that stuff that Devon
chic said at Lauren’s debut the other night.
Now this murder rap. It reeks of
“That’s what Devon
Brett exclaimed. “Don’t you see,
Stormy? She’s trying to
make me look bad!”
Stormy turned toward him.
“Was she telling the truth about the other stuff?” he asked
skeptically. “About your real name and
your past as a crook?”
Realizing it sounded bad, Brett nodded and held his hand
up to protest. “But-“
“So why would she lie about this?” Stormy finished.
“Nobody saw what happened in that hotel room in Vegas,”
Brett declared. “I was in the chapel
marrying your sister when he fell or got pushed or jumped out the window. Devon doesn’t know
anything. She’s trying to send me up
the river for something I didn’t do just to get back at me for breaking up with
her and leaving town!”
“The police seem to think they have a pretty good
case. Otherwise they wouldn’t have
charged you. If you’re innocent, then
Brett folded his arms, frustrated that he had to defend
himself to Stormy. He didn’t want
everything getting messed up on account of Bailey and Devon. He had too much going for him now.
Brooke stood in a small, ramshackle office in Santo
Domingo with a surely man in his forties with thinning
hair and a beer gut. She handed him a
handful of cash and placed her hands neatly at her sides. She had never done anything like this before
and it felt a little shady. Hiring a
private investigator was something James or Alex did. Not her.
“You say you’ve already checked with the airport?” Fred
Toony asked, counting the bills in his hand.
“Yes, they haven’t left the island.”
He nodded, counting the money again. “Okay, well it shouldn’t take long to find
them if they’re here. I’ll call you at
the Del Mar if I find anything.”
Brooke thanked him and started out of the office. Before she left, she turned back and looked
at him hopefully. “Do you think you’ll
“Probably,” he replied with a toothy grin.
Biting her lip, Brooke left the office and walked
outside. She was beginning to feel like
she would never get off that island.
Before she couldn’t bring herself to leave because she felt closer to
Ethan. Now that she was ready to go
home she had a new set of problems. She
hoped the private investigator would find James. She couldn’t leave without him.
James and Alex sat on the veranda outside the cabana,
sipping iced tea under an umbrella and watching the
ocean waves rolling in.
“Do you miss the kids?” he asked, looking at her
from behind a pair of dark sunglasses.
Alex nodded with a smile.
“I do,” she said. “Who knows what
kind of trouble they’re getting themselves into right now.”
“Miranda’s turned out to be hell on wheels,” he joked. “She’s certainly got your determination.”
“And Stormy has your charm and good looks,” added
Alex. “He’s a killer in the ladies
“Sometimes I worry that they’ll never settle down,” James
admitted with a solemn look on his face. “I mean, determination is one thing
but I don’t want to see them getting hurt by their own actions.”
Alex looked at him thoughtfully, following him to the end
of the veranda where it led off onto the beach.
“I think we’ve done a good job raising them,” she said. “They’re adults with minds of their own. What parent could ask for more?”
James took hold of her hand and held it in his as they
strolled along the beach, the warm island breeze blowing gently against
them. “You’ve been a wonderful
influence on them,” he said. “I don’tthink
there’s ever been a better mother.”
Alex squeezed his hand joyously. “That’s a lovely thing to say. Thank you, Darling.”
“I mean it.”
Suddenly Alex stopped and pulled him back, staring into
his dark hypnotic eyes. “Let’s stay
here,” she said. “Let’s not go back to L.A.”
“What?” James asked with surprise. “Darling, we can’t do that.”
“Why not?’ she pleaded.
She wanted more than anything for things to stay the way they were. As soon as they went home everything would
change. James would find out she’d been
lying to him and he’d throw her out of his life just like he did before. If they stayed on the island at least she’d
have a chance at happiness.
“What about the children, and Sunset Studios, and your career?” he asked. “You don’t want to give all of that up, do
She hesitated and they continued walking arm in arm. “I just don’t want this time to end,” she
said. “The past few days have been so
wonderful. I feel like we’re newlyweds
“We’re getting up there in years to be considered newlyweds, but I think
I know what you’re saying. We’re here,
we’re away from the responsibilities, from the chaos, from the real world. But sooner or later it has to end,
Alex. You have to know that.
We have lives to go back to. Together.”
She shook her head in despair, staring out at the choppy
ocean. “I wish I could believe you.”
Suddenly James stopped, put his hand on his head and bent
over in pain.
“Darling, what is it?” Alex asked, leaning down and
looked at the excruciating pain evident on his face.
“My head,” he grunted.
“Come on, let’s get you back to the house,” Alex said,
putting her arm around him and leading him back up the beach to the
cabana. She was torn. She knew he needed to go back and see the
doctor but she was afraid what might happen if he did. Her fantasy could be wiped away before her
Brett knocked on the door to Lauren’s apartment and put his
hands in his pockets while he waited for her to answer. A minute later Winter opened the door
dressed in her white nurses uniform.
“Hi,” she said, brushing past him with a grief-stricken
Brett frowned, watching her run down the steps and then
proceeded into the apartment where Lauren was sitting watching television. “What’s with her?” he asked.
Lauren switched off the TV and stood up. “What are you doing here?” she asked hastily.
“Relax. I just
came to talk to you. You ran out of the
studio earlier and I didn’t get a chance to-“
“To what?” she demanded.
“To tell more lies? To say that
you’re innocent? That you never killed
Brett nodded and followed her across the room to the
window. ‘”I didn’t kill anyone,” he
insisted. “And I’m not lying. I wish you would
have some faith in me, Lauren. I’m your
manager, remember? We’re supposed to
have a relationship here.”
Lauren curled her lip up at him and folded her arms. “Look, I don’t know what kind of relationship
you think we have, but I don’t usually put a lot of faith in con men.”
Frustrated, Brett ran his fingers through his thick brown
hair and tried to think of some way to change her mind about him. “Lauren, I’m not after anything here. I just want to see you succeed.”
“And there’s nothing in it for you, right?” she asked
doubtfully. “I’ve known guys like you
before, Brett. You’re just in it for
“Of course I want something out of it!” he declared. ‘If you succeed then so do I. Is
that so terrible? Am I a con man for wanting to make something
Lauren spun around and met his gaze. “No, you’re a con man because you use
people,” she said. “I heard the things
that girl Devon said to you at the beach club and then
at the police station. She painted quite
a picture, Brett.”
“She’s crazy!” he exclaimed, following Lauren back to the
sofa. “Or were you so busy finding
reasons to hate me that you missed that part?
Come on, Lauren. She’s pinning
this murder on me when she has absolutely no proof. To tell you the truth, I’m surprised the
police are even listening to a word she says.
She was just as big a con as I was.”
Aggravated by his persistence, Lauren nodded and held her
hand up in resignation. “Fine. You know what? I don’t care.
So you’re a changed man. I get
it. You’re my manager and we have to
work together. But that doesn’t mean I
have to be the president of your fan club.”
With a sly grin, Brett nudged her playfully as his eyes
traveled down her long luscious legs.
“Well I was hoping for a little more enthusiasm than that. I mean, we can be friends, can’t we? You know, the way you and Stormy are
She rolled her eyes and walked to the door to open it for
him. That wasn’t the first time Brett
had made a comment about her relationship with Stormy, and it was beginning to
wear on her nerves. She wondered if he
could sense the chemistry between them and this was his way of making a point.
“You and I are business partners the same way Stormy and
I are business partners,” she said.
Brett smiled and started to the door. “Okay, if you say so,” he said, eyeing her
again before leaving the apartment.
“I’ll see you tonight at the beach club.
Let’s hope the turnout is as good as your debut the other night.”
“Goodbye,” Lauren said and slammed the door shut. She sighed with exasperation and walked into
her bedroom. She didn’t know what it was
about Brett that made him so persistent.
Something still told her that she should watch her back when he was
around. There was no telling what he
Alex waited until James was asleep and then called L.A.
to find out from her maid, Veronique if she’d had any urgent messages since
she’d been gone. After their walk on the
beach, and James’s headache, she’d convinced him to lie down in the bedroom for
a while. Before long, he was out like a
“Mr. Thomerson has been calling for you, Ms. Reynolds,”
Veronique said from her house in Malibu. “I did as you asked and told him that you
couldn’t be reached.”
“That’s fine, thank you Veronqiue,” Alex said and hung up
the phone. She paused for
a minute, thinking about
Will and then dialed his number at Jaguar
Studios. She had to talk
to him sooner or later and
now was as good a time as any. If she
had her way, she would never go back to L.A. She had every intention of forgetting about
Will and Jordan now that she and James were together again.
Will answered in his office and smiled at the sound of
Alex’s voice. “I was beginning to think
you fell off the face of the earth,” he said with a grin. “Where are you, my lovely?”
“In the Caribbean,” she
replied. “I’m with James.”
Will raised an eyebrow.
“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer?” he asked. “I like your way of thinking. As a matter of fact, this may work to our
“What do you mean?” Alex asked. She found him incredibly shallow and self
absorbed as to not even ask about the circumstances in which she wound up with
James on a tropical island.
“If you can keep him away for a while longer, I can
recall the loan from H&Q Consolidated
and he’ll be incapable of making good on it,” Will explained. “By the time you get back to the states, Sunset Studios will be mine.”
“Listen, Will-“ she began.
“Look, we’ve got to move on this or this deal is going to
go out the window,” Will said with a hint of excitement in his voice. “Now are you in or not?”
replied, looking into the bedroom at James laying fast asleep.
“What do you mean no?”
Alex shook her head, staring longingly at
James. She couldn’t hurt the man she
loved. Taking his studio would be like
taking his soul. “It’s just not right,”
she finally said and hung up.
Will frowned, staring at the phone in his
hand. “Right?” he said to himself.
“What the hell does right have
to do with anything?”
That night, Stormy sat in his office at Good Times Records going over some
photographs of Lauren that a photographer had taken for the album cover. He looked at her picture and bit down on his
lip, thinking back to the conversation they’d had earlier that day.
Even thought he said he was sorry for kissing her, he
didn’t mean it. The truth was he had
never felt more alive than when they were together. And the kiss only sealed the deal more
so. Apologizing was solely for her
benefit. He assumed that she would feel
bad that it happened since he was married.
He knew Lauren well enough to know she didn’t take things like that
lightly. She was no home wrecker.
He looked at his watch and realized it was getting
late. Lauren’s second
performance at the Valley
Beach Club was in an hour and he still had to run home to change first. That of course meant another round of
arguments with Heather so he figured he needed to get a move on.
As he stood up, the door opened and Lauren walked inside,
stopping in the doorway and staring wordlessly at him. “I thought I might find you here,” she
“Is everything okay?” Stormy asked, trying to read her
She nodded and moved toward him. “Second night jitters, I guess,” she joked.
“You don’t have anything to be nervous about,” he said
with a smile. “You’ll knock ‘em dead
just like last time.”
“You’re going to be there, aren’t you?” Lauren asked, her
eyes traveling up and down his masculine frame. “I mean, I’d feel better if you were there.”
Stormy approached her and put a hand on her
shoulder. “Of course I’ll be there,” he
replied. “I wouldn’t leave you at a time
like this. You’re my star, Lauren.”
She smiled with relief and looked at his hand resting
gently on her shoulder. She closed her
eyes for a second, taking pleasure in the feeling of his warm skin on
hers. Even a simple touch from him sent
waves of delight coursing through her entire body. When she opened her eyes again and looked
up, he was biting down hard on his lip and moving inches closer to her.
Before she knew what was happening, she was grabbing him
by the arms and pulling him toward her, placing her lips firmly on his and
kissing him. She didn’t care
anymore. She was through trying to deny
her feelings for him. She wanted Stormy
Blackthorne and it had to be now.
Brett walked through the Valley Beach Club, filled with
anxiety as he searched for any sign of Lauren.
She wasn’t in the back getting ready and she wasn’t at the bar or in the
ladies room. He looked at his watch and
let out a groan. She was supposed to go
in forty-five minutes and she was nowhere to be found.
He asked the bartender for the phone and quickly dialed
Lauren’s number. It rang four times and
he hung up with irritation. How could
she be so irresponsible? He
specifically told her to be there an hour before the show started so they could
run through her set list.
He found Winter and Miranda talking out in the lobby and
approached them in a panic. “Have either
of you seen Lauren yet?”
“She left the apartment before I did,” Winter
announced. “I thought she’d be here by now.”
Brett rubbed his hand over his face and shook his
head. “Well she’s not,” he replied.
“Sweetie, relax,” Miranda said, putting an arm around
him. “She’ll show up. She’s not going to miss her second
performance. I’m sure she’s with Stormy
having some shop talk or something.”
Brett froze, his eyes growing out of focus as he considered
the fact that Stormy and Lauren could be together.
He covered her naked body with his on the sofa in his
office. Moving his hips sensually
against hers, Stormy flicked his tongue in and out of her ear and she cried out
in rapture. Lauren dug her fingernails
into his back and guided him into her.
A bed of sweat dripped from his flushed face as he thrust back and
She was every bit as exciting as he’d imagined, Stormy
thought. Looking down at her pleased
reaction to his lovemaking, he got the impression that she was just as
excited. Being with her was like
something he’d never experienced in his life.
And as much as he’d tried to fight his feelings, it was useless. Their being together was something that was
bound to happen sooner or later.
A short while later, back at the beach club, Miranda and
Winter were seated at a table in the restaurant. Winter wiped a tear from her eye and took a
drink of her vodka and orange juice.
“I just can’t believe he’s gone, Miranda,” she said,
fighting back tears. “We only had a
little while together. It wasn’t enough,
Miranda reached across the table and squeezed her
hand. “My father will get to the bottom
of it,” she said. “If anyone can it’s
“I just don’t understand.
Everything was going fine until he ran off to go help Brooke out of one
of her jams. How did Ethan wind up in
Miranda looked into her eyes and frowned. “Brooke was with him in the Caribbean,”
she said, feeling badly that the woman didn’t know the whole truth.
Winter’s eyes flashed up to her. “What?”
“She was with him when it happened. Leilani said she was the one who called the
mansion with the news.”
Slowly, Winter’s expression turned to one of
contempt. “They were together?” She couldn’t believe what she was
hearing. Ethan and Brooke were together
on a tropical island before he died.
They were probably lovers and she had been to blind to know it. James
had been right to use her
to keep him away from Brooke. Only it
didn’t work quite the way he’d planned because they
wound up together anyway. And now Ethan
was gone forever.
They both looked up when Stormy and Lauren walked through
the doors of the restaurant, dressed in their evening wear and beaming
happily. Miranda raised an eyebrow,
curious as to why they were so late getting there.
“I wonder what’s going on with those two?” she asked,
motioning to her brother and Lauren standing in the doorway.
Suddenly Brett appeared from the back room. He saw them standing together and looked at
his watch. It was five minutes before
show time and Lauren was just getting there.
And Stormy was with her, a devilish grin on his face. He had a sinking feeling that he knew what
they’d been up to.
“You found him?” Brooke asked the private investigator
from her hotel room in Santo Domingo.
Fred Toony nodded and handed her a slip of paper. “A woman going by the name Alex Blackthorne
rented a small beach house a few miles out of town,” he said. “The manager said she was with a man.”
Brooke examined the directions written on the scrap of
paper and dashed out of the room in a blind fury. She had to go there and find James. She had to find out what was going on once
and for all.
When she reached her jeep outside, Jordan spotted her
from across the way and called after her.
“Brooke, what’s going on? What’s
“Not now,” she said, grinding the jeep into gear and
speeding off down the road.
Jordan stood behind, scratching his head and wondering
what had gotten her into such an uproar all of the sudden.
The night air billowed gently inside the cabana where
soft music played and moonlight illuminated the room. Alex handed James a glass of wine and they
clinked their glasses together.
“Here’s to the best vacation ever,” James said before
taking a drink.
Alex sipped from her glass and set it down. She moved closer to him on the sofa and
kissed him warmly. “What a perfect
evening,” she said with delight. “I wish
this night would go on forever.”
“I do too, Darling,” he replied, placing his hands
alongside her face and pulling her into a kiss.
The light, romantic music drifted through the air and
Alex smiled fondly. “I love this song,”
she said. “I think we danced to this at
James stood up and held out his hand to her. “Then by all means,” he began with a knowing
Alex knew what he was thinking and she grew weak in the
knees. She put her arms over his
shoulders and he positioned his on her waist.
Slowly they began swaying to the music, staring thoughtfully in one
Alex realized it had been years since they danced
together. When they were first married
they used to go out on the town several nights a week. They were the envy of everyone in
Hollywood. She remembered it just like
it was yesterday. They would walk into
the room, dressed to the nines, and all eyes would be on them. They would take their place on the dance
floor and move so gracefully that they seemed to float on air.
“You know what?” James asked, grinning. “I think we’ve still got it.”
Alex laughed as he spun her around and dipped
her. “I think so too.”
Brooke sped down the dark road that ran parallel to
the beach. Gripping the steering wheel
tightly, she tried to imagine what Alex was doing to poor James. It was no secret that the woman despised him
and she’d do anything to spite him.
Going all the way to Phoenix to bring Philip back was a prime
example. She couldn’t stand to see her
ex husband happy, and she was sure that whatever was going on now was nothing
short of hateful.
She neared the turnoff onto the beach and jerked
the steering wheel to the left, barely slowing down as she sped down an access
road. She could see a small cabana
nestled at the end of a long driveway.
There were lights on inside and she could hear airy jazz music emanating
from the open windows.
When she got to the end of the drive, she stopped
the jeep and jumped out onto the pavement.
She walked up to the front door and tried peering in the windows. It was dimly lit inside and she couldn’t see
much. She tried the doorknob but it
Pushing a strand of blond hair from her eyes, she
scampered around the side of the small house and walked up the sand to the
veranda where the back door was open.
She stepped lightly, approaching the door and peering inside. The music was louder and she could make out
two figures standing in the center of the room, dancing close and slow.
Brooke squinted, her jaw dropping as she realized
it was James and Alex dancing together in the romantic setting. She watched them for a few seconds,
recoiling in horror as she saw them kiss passionately, their arms wrapped
tightly around one another.
Shaking her head, she backed up off of the veranda
and tried to register what she was seeing.
James and Alex together? It
didn’t make sense. They were bitter
enemies. He threw Alex out of his house
and out of his life to make room for her.
Now they were together?
There was no mistaking what she saw. She turned and dashed back through the sand
to the front of the cabana. Jumping
back in her jeep, she started the engine and backed up all the way to the end
of the driveway. Once she was back on
the main road, she pushed the petal all the way to the floor and sped back to
The wind whipped through her hair and she felt
tears streaming down her face, mortified by what she’d seen. It must be some kind of payback, she thought
to herself. She got together with Ethan
and now James was with Alex again. She
was getting her just desserts.
grow more severe. Stormy and Miranda try to
trick Devon. Alex has a pang of
conscience and vows to save James. Leilani
gets an assignment.