While held captive at New Abbott,
Brett tried to prey on Ross's insecurities about Warren.
Suzanne freed Brett but they were both captured.
Warren revealed his plans to kill them, then take
the followers to a new compound. They escaped
and revealed Warren's true intentions to the camp. After
everyone left, Warren detonated bombs he'd left around
the camp, then disappeared. Brooke learned they
need a variance to complete the marina expansion. Mackenzie
introduced Kyle and Mason, who later discussed the problems
with the marina expansion. Mason later met privately
with Chip Matthews, the developer working for Moonshadows,
and discussed their plan to gain access to oil reserves
beneath the resort. Miranda arranged for one of her
new call girls, Sam, to meet with a regular client,
Senator Nordquist. Hugh Rogers henchman, Trevor,
told Miranda to give up her plans to take over for Gemma,
but she refused to back down. Later, she was run
off the road in her car. Stormy tricked Brooke
into signing shares of Sunset Studios back to
Nathan in an effort to get Brett out of the company.
Jane was hurt by how preoccupied Stormy had been
with work. Stormy agreed to head up T.T.'s west
coast division of Titan Records. Renee left on
an extended trip with T.T. Vaughan Novak asked
Alex on a date but she was apprehensive due to her reconciliation
with Jordan. Jordan told Alex he needed time away
and for her to go away. Kyle spied Brooke and
Ethan in a heated moment together.
Jane held the
water pitcher with an unsteady hand as she filled the glass. A quick blot with a towel to absorb a small
spill and she was rushing into the living room of her small apartment where
Miranda sat on the worn wicker sofa.
“Here, drink this,”
she said and handed her the glass while sitting down beside her. “Take some deep breaths.”
“I’m fine,” Miranda
said, shifting uncomfortably from the weight of her baby. “I just got a little shaken up so I decided to
stop by here before I went home.”
“Well, it’s no
wonder,” Jane said sympathetically.
“It’s also a miracle that you didn’t crash through that guardrail. You must have good instincts.”
Miranda winced as
she felt her baby kicking against her side.
“I took a defensive driving class once,” she said and set the glass down
on the coffee table. “Can you drive me
home? They towed my car to the dealer
and they’re dropping a rental off in the morning.”
replied uneasily. The truth was she had reservations
about going home with Miranda after the way she’d left things with Stormy that
afternoon. She hadn’t been particularly
supportive of him, which she was now starting to regret. “So who would have done something like
this? L.A. drivers aren’t that bad.”
“It wasn’t a case
of bad driving. It was a warning.”
Jane frowned. “A warning from who?”
“That Hugh Rogers
guy that Farrah was working for,” Miranda told her. “He’s pissed because I took her and Sam and
Veronica off the street and gave them jobs.”
“How do you know?”
Jane asked in bewilderment.
“He sent one of his
crony’s to threaten me, and when I didn’t back down he came after me.”
Panicked, Jane flew
to her feet. “Miranda!
Oh my God! He tried to kill you? Why are you so calm about this?”
“He didn’t try to kill me,” she argued. “If he wanted to kill me he would have. He was just trying to scare me.”
“Still, you need tobe careful. You can’t go pissing
off guys like this and expect them to back down just because you’re a
Blackthorne. What if next time they do kill you? Think about that. Think about your baby.”
Struggling to her
feet, Miranda pulled her purse tightly over her shoulder. “Jane, if I back down, what happens to the
girls? They wind up working for him again
and then hacked to pieces in an alley somewhere.”
“And if you don’t,
it could be you hacked to pieces in
“That’s not going
to happen.” She made her way to the door
of the apartment. “I can take care of
“If Eddie knew you
were in trouble like this-“
“He doesn’t know,” Miranda cut her off with
a stern warning. “And he can’t find
out. Jane, promise me you won’t say a
word to Eddie or Stormy about this.”
After a moment of
hesitation, she threw her hands up in resignation. “Okay, fine.
I won’t say anything. But will
you please be careful from now on?”
“Of course,” she
said and followed her out onto the porch.
“Can we stop at a taco truck on the way?
Rolling her eyes,
Jane locked the door and followed her down the stairs to the parking lot while
she listened to her make a phone call.
Miranda,” she said into her business phone.
“Senator Nordquist wants to see you again tomorrow. Apparently you made a good impression on him
because he never uses the same girl twice.
Call me when you get a chance.”
“You can’t stop for
a minute?” Jane asked when she was
through. “Even after what you went
while opening the passenger door of Jane’s old red Volkswagen Jetta. “Can I help it if I know how to multi-task?”
At their private
table in the back of La Mirada
bar, Mason ordered two more beers from the waitress while gesturing to Chip
“You good for
another round?” he asked.
“One more,” Chip
replied with a shrug. “We still need to
hash out some details.”
appreciate that he was being coy. “Like
how we’re going to get our hands on the oil beneath Moonshadows. How did you know it was there in the first
place? When you asked me to put a bid in
on the marina project, you didn’t get into many specifics.”
“I had to make sure
you could be trusted. As far as how I
knew about the oil, I was working at the law firm in New York that handled Royce Jennings’s
estate,” he explained.
“You went to law
Mason waived a hand
dismissively through the air. “I didn’t
finish, but I consulted for a few firms.
Jennings kept so much paperwork around that they had to hire me to sort it
out and see what was what. What I found
was very interesting to say the least.”
“What did you
find?” Chip asked.
Jennings had done on the property before he bought it,” he explained.
Jennings knew there was oil here and he developed it anyway? Why didn’t he just drill? He could have been ten times as wealthy as he
Mason looked at him
with deadpan expression on his face.
“Because he died.”
“Wow,” Chip said
and leaned back in his seat. “So his son
David built the resort not knowing the real value.”
“How are you going
to get it?”
“That’s where you
come in,” Mason said with a calculated effort.
“The marina expansion is going to be stalled indefinitely after
construction has begun. Brooke Taylor
and her partners will loose so much money they’ll have to sell, and when that
“You’ll swoop in
and buy it from them.”
Mason nodded and
raised his glass.
“Isn’t that kind of
unethical? And what happens if I get
blamed for the delay in the expansion?
It’s my name on the line.”
factors will be the culprit. Don’t worry
about your name. And as far as ethics,
ask my ex-wife Mackenzie. I don’t have
fished a twenty from his wallet and threw it on the table. “What about the permits to complete the
expansion? We need to jump through that
hurdle before we can do anything.”
“I told you I’ll
handle it. I’ve learned that Senator
Nordquist holds a seat on the Coastal Commission. All I have to do is get him to grant the
variance and we’ll be set.”
“Any skeletons in
skeletons in their closet,” Mason said with a devilish grin.
After hours of hot,
steamy sex, Brooke and Ethan lay exhausted in each other’s arms in her bedroom
at the Blackthorne mansion. They turned
and looked at each other while stifling fits laughter despite the heady
“Wow,” Brooke said,
still giggling. “Just…wow.”
Ethan grinned. “Yeah, I know. That was better than I remember.”
“Me too. I wonder why.”
“Well, we’ve had
all this pent up energy for so long that it was bound to be explosive when it
finally happened.” He turned onto his
side and looked her in the eyes. “It
helps that we’re comfortable with each other too.”
“Yes, it does,” she
said dreamily, running her hands along his chest. “Being in your arms feels very natural.”
They grew silent
for a few moments until Ethan moved closer still. “We still haven’t had that talk,” he
said. “I guess we should at some
point. I mean, sex is a great way to
reconnect, but I think we both have a lot of issues we need to work out.”
“You mean Kyle,”
she said softly while looking away from him.
“You do work closely with him,” Ethan
remarked. “What if there’s still some
remnants of whatever it was the two of you shared together?”
She couldn’t deny
that there was, but telling Ethan that would be a huge mistake. Her hope was that she would eventually forget
about Kyle and focus solely on Ethan. It
was what made the most sense.
“My working with
Kyle has nothing to do with us,” she finally said. “He was a crutch that I used to get over you
when I thought you were dead, that’s all.
Really, he won’t be a problem.”
“I’m glad,” Ethan
said, tracing his fingers down her arm.
They slid closer
together and kissed, their arms snaking around one another as another round of
heated lovemaking began.
Reynolds went out for drinks, she stuck with club soda. She hadn’t had a problem with alcohol, but
what she’d learned in treatment was that her addiction to pills could manifest
itself in other forms. So while sitting
in a comfy chair in the lounge at Moonshadows with Marilee Wells-Walker, she
sipped her club soda and pretended that it was vodka. For her next drink she switched to sparkling
cider and pretended that it was champagne. It was almost the same, she told herself.
very, very sober, she kissed Marilee on the cheek when they were through and
proceeded through the hotel lobby.
Passing by the Sierra Room, she couldn’t help notice Mackenzie seated at
the bar, and decided to swing by for a quick hello.
“Alex, how nice to
see you,” Mackenzie said with little sincerity.
Mackenzie. How have you been?”
“I’m well,” she
said, turning toward her and crossing her immaculately toned legs.
“And the show?”
“The show is fine,”
she replied. “We’ve managed to evade the
network’s obvious plans for eliminating the genre. For now, at least. Are you looking to come back? We still haven’t recast Faye Richards.”
politely and clutched her purse beneath her arm. “I’m not, but thank you. I’m enjoying my time off. Spending time with my new grandson,
reconnecting with my children. It’s been
“I didn’t hear you
in there anywhere.”
Alex grew silent,
glancing awkwardly to her feet. “I’m
trying to give Jordan
and shook her head. “You’re dumber than
I thought you were,” she began.
“I beg your
“The mans’ son just
died, Alex. He’s got to be in hell right
now. But your brilliant solution is to
give him space? You know what, it’s no
wonder you can’t hold on to a man.
You’ve got no clue when it comes to what men need.”
“And you’re an
expert, I’m assuming?” Alex fired back.
“I don’t see James with you. How
did that whole thing end up, anyway?”
swallowed the rest of her drink. “The
timing wasn’t right.”
“That’s bull. No matter how busy James is, he makes time
for the people in his life. If things
were as good between the two of you as he claimed, you could have made it work. So I have to wonder if it’s something
could reply, Mason approached from the hotel lobby. “Fancy seeing you here,” he said.
“Not now, Mason,”
Alex studied the
tenseness between them and quickly went to introduce herself. “Hi, I’m Alex Reynolds.”
“No need to
introduce yourself, Miss Reynolds,” Mason said and took her hand in his. “I’m a big fan of yours. Any chance we’ll see you on the big screen
She smiled coyly
and shook her head. “I don’t think
so. And you are?”
“Mason Stone?” Alex
repeated. “So you must be
finished for her. “Just in town for
business. It’s very nice meeting you,
Miss Reynolds. I hope to run into you
said with a knowing smile.
After he’d left,
Mackenzie rolled her eyes and held a hand up before her. “Don’t even think
“What?” Alex asked,
grinning. “The fact that your gorgeous
ex-husband happens to show up in town just as things get rocky between you and
James didn’t cross my mind.”
“I can see your
wheels turning. There’s nothing going on
between Mason and I. And James and I are
none of your business. I stay out of
your life and I’d thank you to stay out of mine.”
Frustrated, she got
up from her stool and collected her things.
“Oh, and Alex…” she began.
“…don’t treat Jordan
like you do the rest of the men in your life.
If he’s hurting then stop making these grand gestures. Just go to him.”
After she’d gone,
Alex shook her head in aggravation. What
was it about her that always rubbed her the wrong way? Sighing, she proceeded through the lobby and
stopped when Vaughan Novak approached from the elevators.
“Well, well, well,”
he began with a grin. “The lady does
“I’m sorry?” Alex said in confusion.
“Well, you never
got back to me about my dinner invitation.
I’m still waiting for your part of the bargain. I agreed not to represent Kelly Blackthorne
and you agreed to have dinner with me.”
“I didn’t think you
“Not serious?” Vaughan said with a
wiseacre smile. “Alex, I never joke
about these things. What do you say? Tomorrow night?”
shook her head. “I think I have plans,
but thank you-“
“Then the night
“I’ll have to check
my calendar and get back to you.”
“Fine, but I’m only
so patient. I’d like to enjoy your
company this year. That is, unless Jordan minds.”
The truth was, Alex
didn’t know if Jordan
would care at all. The last time she’d
seen him he sent her away and told her they needed to spend time apart. So why shouldn’t she go to dinner with
“I’ll call you
tomorrow,” she finally said before turning and walking outside.
The next morning, Suzanne awoke in Brett’s
bed and found herself alone. The sound
of the shower running told her that he was already awake. She threw back the covers and went to the
kitchen where she poured herself a cup of steaming hot coffee. While staring out the terrace doors at the
marina, she thought about the disaster she’d made of her life. Brett seemed to be the only thing she felt
After hitching a ride
from the middle of the desert, they got back to L.A. and spent the night making passionate
love to one another. It felt good to be
in his arms again. She felt safer than
she had in a long time. It was almost as
if the past few months had never happened.
But the reality
was, everything had changed. First and
foremost was the fact that her son was gone and she felt an enormous sense of
guilt over not being there for him in time to stop it.
“Morning,” a voice
said from behind.
She turned just as
Brett appeared, naked except for a towel tied loosely around his waist. His skin was tan and damp from the
shower. She shivered as he pulled her
into an embrace and brushed his lips tenderly against hers.
“Did you sleep
well?” he asked.
“I have to go in to
the studio for a meeting this morning, but it shouldn’t take long,” he told
her. “Do you think you could pick Violet
up from the sitter?”
replied. “I do need to see Jordan,
though. Do you think Tiffany could watch
her for a couple more hours?”
“I’m sure she can,”
Brett said. “But are you sure seeing Jordan
today is the best idea? You’ve been
through a lot. You need time to figure
some things out.”
“And I will,” she
said and turned back to the kitchen counter. “I just want to get this out of the way.”
Brett didn’t argue
because he knew it was inevitable. For
her own peace of mind, she had to see Jordan. They both lost a son and they had to grieve
“I’ll meet you back
here this afternoon.”
She nodded. “Okay.”
One by one, the
family trickled in and out of the breakfast room at the Blackthorne
mansion. Leilani kept busy pouring
coffee and replenishing the buffet of egg whites and turkey bacon. James made a face as she placed a plate in
front of him.
“Turkey bacon is not real bacon,” he
“You know what your
doctor said,” she sing-songed while flitting around the sun filled room. “Your cholesterol is too high.”
“I’ll just have
coffee,” he said with a grimace.
could protest, Miranda darted into the room with her purse pulled tightly over
her shoulder, and went straight for the buffet.
“Oh good, turkey
bacon,” she said and scooped a few pieces onto a napkin. “Morning Daddy.”
“You seem to be in
a hurry,” James said. “Where you off
“I’ve got a lot to
do today,” she said while gulping down a glass of orange juice.
“The rental company
dropped off your car,” he told her.
“Sweetheart, I wish you’d let me get you a driver. With so many lunatics on the road these days,
I don’t think we can be too careful.
You’re in a very delicate situation.”
“Women have been
driving while pregnant for decades, Daddy.
I don’t need a driver.” She
looked at her watch and sighed. “Damn,
awfully busy lately. What do you have
going on, anyway? Some new project I’m
not aware of?”
nervously and breathed a sigh of relief as Stormy walked into the room.
spends her day shopping at that baby boutique on Rodeo Drive,” Stormy said wryly. “I have a feeling this new Blackthorne is
going to be spoiled beyond belief.”
“No more than the
two of you were, I’m sure,” James said with a knowing smirk.
“I gotta go,”
Miranda said and kissed her father on the cheek. “See you later, Daddy.”
he said, then watched as Stormy emptied the last of the bacon onto his
plate. “Son, I hear you’re going to be
heading up T.T.’s west coast division of Titan Records. Are you sure that’s not going to interfere
with your duties at Sunset Studios?”
“It won’t,” he
said. “They just need someone who knows
the business. I figure I’ll spend a
couple hours a day there and the rest of my time at the studio.”
“I applaud you for
wanting to stay busy,” James said.
“Which reminds me, we’ve got that meeting today to finalize casting
decisions for The Benefactor. I’d like you to be there.”
“You would?” he
asked with surprise. “I thought Brett
was taking the lead on that.”
“He is. But now that you’ve finished up the loose
ends from House of Palms, you can
assist Brett on some more immediate issues.”
“Assist?” Stormy asked incredulously.
“Yeah, he’s going
to need help if we want to stay on schedule.
I also want the two of you to do a walk-through of the set in soundstage
4 today. The set designers are finished
and I want to make sure it’s perfect.”
Anger boiling from
inside, Stormy set his plate down when decided that he’d lost his
appetite. Why was he assisting Brett on anything? He
should be the one in charge. Suddenly his decision to trick Brooke into taking
Brett’s shares of the company from him didn’t seem as unwarranted as he had
begun to think. The sooner he was out of
the picture, the better.
said when she entered the room with Ethan following close behind.
said and raised a curious eyebrow when he saw Ethan place a hand around
Brooke’s waist as they ambled up to the buffet.
“I didn’t see the two of you last night.
Did you both have plans?”
Ethan smirked and
looked at Brooke. “No, we were
home. I guess we both decided to turn in
“A little extra
rest never hurt anyone,” James said while studying their expressions with a
"It was just what I
needed,” Brooke said, flashing Ethan another look. She turned to Stormy. “Thanks again for taking care of that
insurance business, Stormy. The less I
have to think about Acapulco
the better. I appreciate you making it
“No problem,” he
said, uncomfortably. He knew it was only
a matter of time before she found out that he’d tricked her. But by then it would be too late for her to
do anything. “I better get going,” he
said and looked at James. “See you at
Seconds later, he
was tearing out into the foyer toward the stairs. On his way up to his bedroom, he ran into
little girlfriend?” she asked. “This
must have been the first night in ages that she hasn’t spent the night.”
“I’ve told you
before that Jane and my relationship is none of your business,” he snapped. “Why don’t you just worry about taking care
of our son. That seems to be the only
thing you’re good for.”
Infuriated by his
hateful remark, Kelly glared at him as he stomped up the stairs and down the
hall to his room. The only thing she was
good for? That’s what he thought. Once she got back into the business she was
going to show him what she was good for, and it sure as hell wasn’t being a
stay at home mom.
Mason took his
rented Mercedes to City Hall and waited for Jim Nordquist to emerge. When he did, he followed him across town to
the Beverly Wilshire. With blackout
Burberry shades covering his eyes, he followed him inside the hotel lobby and
witnessed him checking into a room.
With key in hand, the Senator proceeded to the elevators and quickly
closed the door before Mason could get inside.
“Excuse me,” he
said to the desk agent. “That man who
just checked in…was that Senator Nordquist?”
“Yes,” the young
girl replied, then hesitated when her manager gave her a disapproving look. “I mean, I’m not at liberty to say.”
Mason said and removed his sunglasses so he could look at her with his
entrancing blue eyes. “I’m actually from
the Senator’s office. Judge Walters
asked me to get him some documents right away so I just need to find out what
room he’s in.”
“I’m sorry, I can’t
give you that information.”
“Are you sure?”
Mason asked. “I’d hate to get fired over
this. I was supposed to meet him here at
eleven but I was stuck in traffic on the 101.
If I don’t make it up there to give him this information before his
“We can’t give out
room numbers,” the girls’ manager broke in.
“If you really are from Senator Nordquist’s office then you’d have a
cell phone that you can call him on. Now
please leave before I have to call security.”
Realizing he wasn’t
about to get anywhere using his usual tactics, Mason turned and walked through
the lobby. Outside, he stood
along the street while thinking of his next move. He had to get dirt on Jim Nordquist if he was
going to get that variance. He’d learned
that asking for what you want rarely yielded the results he was looking
for, so finding a creative solution was definitely in order.
A limousine parked
along the street caught his attention when the back window lowered and a man
inside called over to him.
“Mason Stone?” Hugh
Rogers asked from within the confines of his car. “What the devil are you doing in Los Angeles?”
stepped closer. “A little of this and a
little of that,” he said. “I heard you
were working out of L.A.
now. How’s the left coast treating you?”
Hugh said and motioned to the door. “Hop
in and we’ll talk business.”
Mason decided he
didn’t have anything to lose. A
businessman like Hugh Rogers was always good to have in your corner.
When Brooke arrived
at Moonshadows, she parked her car and started walking toward the
administration building. Passing the
tennis courts, she spotted Kyle hitting tennis balls as the machine catapulted
them toward him. She stopped and watched
for a minute despite her apprehension to do so.
The sight of his shirtless physique exerting muscles with each swing of
the racket had a way of exciting her. By
the time he noticed her standing there, she was completely entranced.
“Morning,” he said,
holding the racket over his shoulder while walking toward the fence that
separated them. “Sorry, I thought I
could get some practice in before you got here.”
“Oh, that’s no
problem,” she said, forcing herself to look away from his chiseled body. “Take your time. There’s a stack of busywork waiting for me
that I’ve been putting off anyway.”
Kyle knew she was
staring and it secretly excited him.
With his trademark boyish grin, he did his best to flex in all the right
places for her benefit. “Well, let me
just grab a shower and I’ll meet you in the office. How was your night last night?”
“My night?” she
said. Images of her and Ethan kissing on
the hood of her car in the parking lot the night before had plagued him. He couldn’t get the image of their bodies
touching out of his mind. He wanted her
so bad he could taste it. Maybe they
didn’t sleep together, he thought to himself.
Maybe the kiss was where it ended.
“Do anything exciting?”
“Uh, no,” she
replied. “I went to bed early.”
They slept together, he immediately realized. Going to bed early was the universal excuse
people used when they’d had sex the night before.
“Oh, great,” he
said. “Well, I should get
She didn’t reply as
he turned and started across the court.
Forcing herself to turn away, she began walking and then stopped when she
heard him drop his tennis racket.
“Damnit,” Kyle was
groaning, hunched over on the court and clutching his lower back.
“Kyle?” she asked
with concern. He appeared to be in pain
so she rushed around to the gate and raced across the court toward him. By the time she got there, he was sunk to his
knees, his face twisted into a grimace.
“What is it?”
“I don’t know,” he
said. “Sometimes I get these pains from
the puncture wound.”
Brooke’s face fell
and she instinctively placed her hand along the scar that remained on his back
from where the broken lamp shade had impaled him. “I’m so sorry,” she said, overcome with
guilt. “I had no idea you were still in
He shook his head
dismissively. “It’s nothing. It comes and goes. I’ll be okay in a few minutes.”
“It’s not nothing,” she said, knelt down beside
him and examining the scar. “Do you need
to see a doctor?”
“No, I’ll be fine,”
he said, taking in the exotic scent of her coconut body lotion. She always smelled so feminine. “Really, just give me a minute.”
They sat quietly
for a few moments, their bodies jutting up against one another and their eyes
darting intensely together. Brooke could
feel his bare skin brushing against her arm and it sent shivers up and down her
spine. Finally, he signaled that the
pain had subsided so she carefully helped him to his feet.
“Are you going to
be okay?” she asked. It was her fault
that he was in pain, after all. She was
the one who pushed him and caused him to fall on top of the sharp edge of the
lamp. Granted, she had reason to be
angry, but physically hurting him hadn’t been her intention.
“Yeah,” he said,
noticing that her hand was still resting on his waist. He looked down and then up into her
aquamarine eyes. “Thanks, Brooke.”
“I’ll see you in
the office.” Slowly, she turned and
walked off the court.
Once she’d gone,
Kyle turned around and grinned. Now more
convinced than ever that she wasn’t over him, he jumped up into the air and
pumped his fist up and down in excitement.
An old injury always came in handy.
He’d have to remember that one for the next time.
Alex decided to
take Mackenzie’s advice and pay Jordan
another visit. She still thought that
they’d said everything there was to say the last time they talked, but she had
to at least give it another try.
there been any word on the attack on Lola?"
she asked, using his mother's recent drama as a lame
excuse to see him.
on a lounge chair by the pool at his house, he shook
his head. "No, Detective Rodriguez is trying
to find out where the photograph came from that they
found in her room. So far nothing."
Well, I just wanted to
see if you needed anything,” she said.
Jordan didn’t look at
her. “What I need is to be left alone,
“I know you said
“I meant it. I don’t need anything and I don’t want to
talk. Just please give me some
space. That’s all I ask.”
She could see that
nothing had changed. He still refused to
let her in. She was beginning to feel
that it was a hopeless situation.
“Vaughan Novak asked me to have dinner with him,” she said, although she
didn’t know why. She was beyond making
men jealous. Maybe she was just trying
to let him know so there weren’t any hard feelings.
“So have dinner
with him,” he finally answered. “Novak’s
a good guy. He’s the kind of man you
need in your life.”
No, you’re the kind of man I need in my life, she wanted to
say. But instead, she turned and walked
up to the house. She couldn’t argue with
him anymore. It hurt too much to see him
push her away. On her way inside, she
ran into Suzanne who was on her way out.
“Hello Alex,” she
“How do you do it?”
Alex asked with contempt. “How do you
just ignore your family and your responsibilities to them?”
Alex shook her head
dismissively. “Forget it,” she
said. “Just don’t hurt Jordan again. He’s been hurt enough.”
Suzanne lowered her
eyes as she walked away. The sad thing
was that Alex was right on the money.
She had been selfish and her family had paid the price.
“Well, look what
the cat dragged in,” Jordan
said as he stood up from his chair.
“Back from your spa retreat?”
She ignored the
sarcastic sound in his voice. “I’m not
going to pretend that I haven’t made mistakes,” she said. “I shouldn’t have left again. I was just confused, Jordan. I thought I was with people who would help
She looked down and
shook her head. “No.”
“So Brett was
telling the truth? You were in some kind
of cult or something?”
Suzanne shrugged. “I don’t know what they were, but they
weren’t out to help anyone but themselves.
That’s what I needed to talk to you about.”
“So Brett saved the
day again?” Jordan
went on. “Swooped in and rescued you for
the tenth time. He’s making a habit of this. Maybe I should check the prop room at Sunset
Studios and get him a cape and a pair of tights.”
“Jordan, I’m not here about
Brett. I came to tell you something
“But you are
sleeping with Brett again, aren’t you?” Jordan said.
She couldn’t deny
it so she simply said nothing. The look
in his eyes was so contemptuous that she could feel them burning through
her. She shuddered and quickly looked
“Of course you
said with an amused expression. “The
hell with how it affects anyone else, as long as you’re satisfied in the sack.”
“To hell with me
and Heather and Benji-“
“That’s not how it
“Then tell me, how
is it?” He shouted so loudly that he startled even himself.
Tears flooding her
eyes, she took a deep breath and decided to tell him what she needed to and
then leave. “There’s something you
should know about Benji,” she began. “He
didn’t rob the house. He didn’t take
“What are you even
talking about?” Jordan
asked with a frown. “Jesus, Suzanne,
just leave already. Go get a good
dicking from your stud and leave me the hell alone.”
“Jordan, listen to me!” she
screamed. “You blamed him for robbing
the house but he didn’t do it. I
A few moments of
confusion led to a look of realization crossing Jordan’s face. He looked at her blankly while moving
“Warren said the compound needed money. I gave him what I had in my account but he
said they needed more. But it was a
trick. He was using me. We drove here one night and you were out and
Gordon had the night off. Ross said if
we made it look like a robbery then-“
Jordan quickly brought
his hand up and slapped her hard across the face. He glared at her in disgust, clenching his
fists and trembling from head to toe.
“Get out,” he
“Jordan, please,” she began, her
eyes pleading through her stinging tears. “I had
no idea you would think it was Benji! I
just wanted to belong to something! I
wanted people to care about me!”
“Turn around and
get the fuck out of here!” Jordan
screamed. “Right now, Suzanne, or I
can’t be held responsible for what I might do.”
“I’m sorry!” she
cried and backed up away from him.
say you want people to care about you?” he asked. “Then stop being a martyr! Jesus Chris, every decision you’ve ever made
has had disastrous consequences! I don’t
think you could do the right thing if someone waived it in front of your face! You’re a lousy excuse for a human being, and
an even worse mother. I can’t even stand
to look at you.”
she could say anything, he lifted the lounge chair above his head and threw it
into the pool in a rage. He turned and
kicked another chair into the water, then picked up the radio and the table
that it sat on and hurled them in as well.
Suzanne watched his
tirade in tears, backing up to the door as he threw everything he could get his
hands on. When he lifted a nearby statue
and threw it into the water, she realized that going there was a mistake. Quickly, she turned and raced toward the
house just as Jordan
screamed at the top of his lungs, his head held between his hands. She
swore it could be heard for miles, echoing off the mountains
and down into the canyons.
was busy making arrangements for a party, which she normally loved doing, but
this time the pressure was on. A meet
and greet with all sixteen girls and a few select clients was big business and
had the potential to bring in a lot of cash.
After selecting the place - one of Gemma’s posh houses in Beverly Hills – she set
out to talk to a few caterers.
loaner from the dealer was a gunmetal BMW with not nearly as much power as her
own Porsche. It would do, she decided,
as she left Gemma’s house and walked down the driveway. A bead of sweat ran down her face and she
decided tooling around town in the heat of summer while seven months pregnant
was something she hadn’t counted on.
Luckily the car had good AC.
the car door open, she slid into the seat and started the engine so that the
air conditioning would kick in before she closed the door. She went to set her purse on the seat beside
her and screamed at the top of her lungs.
On the floor of the passenger’s side of the car was a menacing looking
red and black snake at least two feet long.
Her scream sent it slithering under the seat and she immediately
panicked, flying quickly out of the car while shivering uncontrollably.
she whispered to herself and looked around to see if there was anyone who could
help. Luckily, a gardener working at the
next house came running when he heard the scream.
pasa?” he asked.
pointed inside the car.
snake,” the gardener said, rubbing his chin.
He thought for a moment and then held up a finger. “Un momento.”
Miranda said and backed up from the car.
How in the world did it get in there?
Had the dealer given her a car with a snake in it? She’d heard of worse things happening in
rental cars. She remembered a story
about an entire rattlesnake nest living in an engine.
she would have known if a snake had been in the car that morning when she left
home. She’d dropped her lip gloss and
searched all over the floor of the car, and in her condition, that was no small
feat. Someone had to have put it
there. Someone who wanted to get a
the gardener returned, he had a machete.
“Snake,” he said with a grin and pointed to the car.
looked at the machete and nodded with a shrug.
“Yeah, great. Whatever you need
in her purse alerted her to a phone call.
She stepped away while the gardener tried to lure the snake out of the
car long enough to hack it to pieces.
She turned away and answered her cell when she saw that it was Jane
you get your rental?” she asked.
yeah,” Miranda replied with a laugh. “I
did get my rental.”
more encounters with Hugh Rogers?”
turned just as the gardener was rifling around in the back seat. “Not with Hugh Rogers, but I had a run in
with a very unfriendly looking snake.”
Jane shrieked over the phone connection.
very small snake,” Miranda said, hoping to make it sound less dangerous than
she believed it to be. “Nothing to worry
a minute,” Jane began. “Miranda, I’m
really getting worried. I told Farrah
about you getting run off the road and she warned me about Hugh Rogers. He’s dangerous. I think you’re getting in over your
knew her friend was just concerned, but she saw no reason to be worried. Hugh Rogers could threaten her and put snakes
in her car, but he had to know that if anything happened to her, there were
enough people who could point the finger at him. She didn’t know him personally, but he
didn’t seem like a stupid man.
Jane, I gotta go. You’re breaking
wait a minute,” she exclaimed.
Miranda quickly ended the call. By the
time she turned around, the gardener had sliced the snake into three pieces on
the driveway. She grimaced and felt
herself growing nauseous.
Stormy and Brett were seated in the boardroom at Sunset Studios. A slew of papers, storyboards and budget
spreadsheets were stretched out before them, cups of coffee and bottles of
water dotting the table.
all we have left to do is decide on the most important role in the film,” James
was saying while shuffling through a stack of resumes and head shots. “Norton has to be compassionate yet
forthright. He isn’t a pushover to
why I think Howard Collins is the right choice,” Brett announced.
sighed and looked at his resume. “I
don’t know. I wasn’t thrilled with him
the last time we worked together. How
about Luke Eytalis? He tested very
said that he isn’t available for the last half of our shooting schedule,” Brett
told him. “We can’t possibly work around
does he do again?”
hosts a reality show on ABC,” Stormy replied.
“And I don’t see why we’re wasting our time with these other actors when
the perfect choice is right under our noses.”
you have someone in mind, son?” James asked.
handed him a head shot with the resume printed on back. As soon as James looked at it he flashed him
an incredulous look.
Brett asked. “He played Norton in the
“Exactly. Which is why he’d be perfect in the
remake. He already knows the role and he
has a built in fan base.”
also a pedophile who raped your mother and tried to rape Brooke and his own daughter,” James said. “Stormy, I can’t believe you would want him
to be involved in our family again.
You’re just opening the door for more trouble.”
agree,” Brett said and handed the headshot back to him. “The answer is no, Stormy.”
placed the photo back on the table. He
had to stick to his guns. Nathan helped
him oust Brett from the studio, so he owed him.
It was just business.
already offered him the role and he accepted,” he told them.
what?” James asked.
can’t do that,” Brett said. “I was put
in charge of this film.”
now I’m in charge,” Stormy said.
part owner of Sunset Studios,” Brett reminded him. “You’re not.”
you’re wrong about that. You no longer
have any shares in the studio. They
belonged to Nathan in the fist place.
Jackie only gave them to you because Nathan was in prison at the
time. Now he’s out, and he’s signed his
shares over to me.”
can’t do that,” Brett admonished and rose quickly from his seat.
what are you talking about?” James demanded.
means that those proxy votes are in my hands where they should be,” he
explained. “They should have never been
given to an outsider.”
didn’t authorize this,” James said. “As majority shareholders, Brooke and I
have to give the okay to return Nathan’s shares.”
didn’t authorize it, but Brooke did,” Stormy said.
James ran a hand over his face.
“Brooke? She would never have
agreed to that. Not after what he did to
isn’t involved in the studio anymore,” Stormy reminded him. “She’s going full steam at Moonshadows. I doubt she cares very much if I’ve got
control of the shares or if Brett does.
At least this way I’ll have something to give my son.”
will be taken care of,” James insisted. “When I’m gone the studio will be given
to you anyway.”
there’s a studio left after Brett gets through demolishing it,” Stormy said
angrily. “Dad, can’t you see what he’s
doing? He’s trying to strong arm his way
in. If he has it his way, there won’t be
a Blackthorne left in the building.”
not true,” Brett said. “You’re just
being paranoid as usual, junior. You
never could handle competition, could you?”
James said in frustration. “I’ll get
this straightened out with Brooke. In
the meantime, nobody is allowed to make casting calls without my
not fair,” Stormy said. “You were
willing to give the responsibility to Brett without your supervision. Now that I’m a shareholder, why can’t you
offer me the same confidence?”
do have confidence in you, son,” James began.
He realized he sounded like a hypocrite and he hated himself for
it. “I just-“
know what?” Brett said. “It’s fine. Let Stormy have his shares. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to be pushed
out of this company. I’m still a junior
executive and I won’t go until they come and drag me out.”
can be arranged,” Stormy said, flinching as Brett breezed past him and stalked
out of the room.
walked out of his office at Moonshadows and saw Brooke and Ethan standing by
the reception desk in an embrace. He
considered going back inside before they saw him, but saw no reason to hide in
their presence. The more he put himself
in front of Brooke the more she would realize what she was missing.
to lunch?” he asked.
broke from the embrace and Brooke turned toward him. “Yeah, we’re going up the coast and having a
picnic on the beach.”
romantic,” Kyle said. He decided he
needed to step up his game.
are you feeling better?” Brooke asked.
“Better? Oh, yeah.
Much better. Thanks. Hey, before you go, I needed to get your input
on a few things regarding the marina expansion.”
won’t hear about the variance for a few more days,” she reported.
know. This is more of a guest assistance
sure,” she said and turned back to Ethan.
“I’ll just be a minute.”
wait outside,” Ethan replied, again flashing Kyle a penetrating glare.
they were in Kyle’s office, he closed the door and turned to face her. “What are you doing, Brooke?”
do you mean?” she asked.
going to lunch,” she said with a shrug.
flaunting him in front of my face.”
rolled her eyes and crossed her arms across her chest. “I am not.
You’re being ridiculous.”
week you were in bed with me,” he said.
“It was amazing. You know it
was. Now you’re rushing home to be with
him and going to romantic picnics on the beach?” He stepped closer to her, his eyes burrowing
down on her. “Tell me that he makes you
feel the way I do.”
she said and attempted to turn away.
know you still want me,” Kyle said and pulled her back. “I can see it all over your face. I can read it in the way you look at me. The sex we had in your office proves
quickly slapped his hands away. “The
only thing it proves is that I have a weakness for liars and manipulators. That was the old Brooke. The new Brooke doesn’t let men like you
manipulate her anymore.”
through manipulating,” he said. “I just
want what we had back again.”
a cold shower,” she said and headed for the door. “It’s over between us, Kyle.”
it isn’t,” he said, detecting the same look of lust that she had in her office
that night, and on the tennis court that morning. “You may not be able to admit it, but you
still want me.”
another word, she left his office and proceeded outside where Ethan was
okay?” he asked.
she said, though still unable to get Kyle out of her mind.
they’d gone, Kyle walked out to their secretary’s desk. “Marcia, have you heard back from the Coastal
yet, Kyle. Want me to call them
he replied. “Tell him we need to get their answer today.”
she made the call, he stormed back into his office. He’d have to distract himself with something
else while Brooke sorted out her feelings.
Getting the marina expansion up and running was his next priority.
Nordquist had lunch every day at the same restaurant off Wilshire. Mason learned this from his meeting with Hugh
Rogers, who had apparently been having him tailed for unrelated reasons. He didn’t bother to ask what those reasons
were, but did manage to acquire the ammunition he needed in his quest. The price for learning this information was
still unclear, but knowing Hugh Rogers, it would be high.
would you help me get dirt on the Senator?” he had asked while sipping a
cocktail in the back of the limousine.
“What’s in it for you?”
motioned for the driver to put the partition between them and the front seat. “My interests are wide and varied,” he’d told
him. “A shrewd business man like
yourself should know how important it is to collect favors. I may need one from your at some point.”
do I have a feeling I’m about to find out what that entails?”
my interests are currently wrapped up in….domestic matters. Suffice it to say I’ll be in touch.”
grinned and shook the ice around in his glass.
“Okay, so what’s this information you have on Nordquist?”
was recently seen sharing a hotel room with one of the girls who used to work
for me,” Hugh had revealed.
raised an eyebrow. “Dabbling in
extra-marital fetishes?” Do you have any
proof needed. When a man’s political
career is on the line, he’ll do just about anything to keep his indiscretions a
hour later, Mason found Nordquist at his usual table at the restaurant off
Wilshire and approached him with an empty manila envelope. He sat down across from him and ignored the
confused look on his face.
sorry to bother you,” he began. “I just
need a minute of your time.”
sorry, if you’d like a meeting you can call my office and set up a time,”
Nordquist said while looking around in bewilderment. “I’m actually very quite busy today.”
want to make time for this,” Mason said.
“There’s a request for a variance that the Coastal Commission received a
few days ago. “
Jennings Holdings, with a DBA of Moonshadows.
It’s for a marina expansion.”
construction on the coast is being looked at with a razor sharp eye,” Nordquist
remarked. “Any variance request could
take a long time to be granted, if at all.
The committee meets the second Monday of the month.”
we can’t for wait for that to happen.
Why don’t you just grant the variance and say it’s in the best interest
of the state’s revenue performance?”
looked at him squarely. “Why would I do that?”
Mason slid the empty envelope across the table from him. “Because if you don’t, I’ll be forced to send
these pictures to the media.”
pictures?” he asked, his eyes narrowing on the envelope.
you and a certain call girl who goes by the name Sam,” Mason told him with a
face went pale and he swallowed hard.
Loosening his collar, he began to sweat.
“Look, I don’t know who you are
or where you got these photographs, but-“
a concerned advocate,” Mason cut him off.
“And I’d certainly hate for all the work you’ve done in your term to be
wasted just because of an indiscretion with a pretty brunette.”
senator cleared his throat and pushed the envelope back across the table. “I’ll see what I can do about the
Mason replied. “Then we’re in
his office door closed, Brett walked to his desk and swept a pile of papers
onto the floor in a rage. Frustrated, he
ran his fingers through his hair and paced the room. Being robbed of his shares of the studio was
bad enough, but the fact that Stormy resorted to such underhanded tactics
genuinely surprised him. He didn’t know
that his former brother-in-law had it in him.
Luckily with James on his side, he couldn’t be forced out completely.
sound of the door opening pulled him away from his thoughts. Half expecting it to be Stormy coming to
gloat, he raced to the door. To his
surprise, Suzanne hurried inside with Violet held tightly in her arms.
he began. “What are you doing here? I thought I was going to meet you at my
condo.” He tried to relax his agitated
expression long enough to offer his daughter a smile. “Hi sweetheart.”
daddy,” Violet chirped happily.
sorry to just drop her by but I didn’t know what else to do,” Suzanne said and
handed her to Brett. “Tiffany had to go
to class and I have to….”
what?” Brett asked after taking Violet into his arms. “Suzanne, are you okay? You don’t look good.”
just have to go,” she said, tears forming in her eyes. “I can’t do this.”
watched her turn and walk to the door.
“You can’t do what?” he asked in a panic. “Suzanne, what’s going on?”
she turned back to him but avoided looking him in the eyes. “You, me, any of it. It’s wrong.
This is all wrong. Please try to
what? What the hell happened since this
morning? Is this about Jordan? Did he say something to upset you when you
went to see him?”
shook her head in despair. “I’m sorry,
Brett. I’m really sorry.”
he could stop her, she turned and raced out of the office. Brett darted after her, calling down the hall
as she fled.
he screamed. “Suzanne! Come back!”
she disappeared around the corner and slid into the elevator just before the
doors closed. Wiping the tears from her
eyes, she rode down to the first floor.
Miranda decided to
set up an office for her base of operations.
It was easier than trying to work from a cell phone at home, and meeting
up with the girls and prospective clients at public places was getting too
risky. Luckily, Gemma had kept up the
lease on her small office in Beverly Hills, so she moved in and did some mirror
redecorating with Jane’s help.
“You can put that
plant over there,” Miranda said and pointed to the table between two
chairs. “Thanks for your help, by the
way. You’re a pretty good
Jane flashed her a
wry expression and carried the plant across the room. “Oh no, don’t rope me into this mess you’ve
created. You’re on your own with this. I’ll stick to waitressing. You don’t get bitten by snakes serving
Miranda laughed and
organized her desk accessories. “By the
way, you disappeared pretty quickly last night.
Is it just me or were you intentionally trying to avoid my brother?”
positioned the plant on the table and stood back to examine it. “We had a little argument yesterday in his
office. He’s so preoccupied with work
that I feel like he’s pushing me away.”
“That’s a new
one. Stormy’s never been exactly accused
of working too hard.”
Jane shrugged and
turned to her. “It’s always about the
studio and how Brett is trying to take over.
Have they always been so cut throat with each other?”
“Stormy and Brett
have never been on each other’s Christmas card list, if that’s what you’re
asking,” Miranda said, then looked up when she heard the office door open.
“Are you Miranda
Blackthorne?” Jim Nordquist asked as he barreled inside, suit jacket and tie
disheveled and his eyes glaring wildly.
She stood up and
raised a curious eyebrow. “Senator
Nordquist,” she said and extended her hand.
“Nice to meet you. What can I do
“You can start by
telling me what the hell kind of game you’re playing,” he said, ignoring her
attempt at a hand shake.
Miranda looked at
Jane and then back at Nordquist. “You
seem upset,” she said. “Why don’t you
sit down, Senator. How did your
appointment with Sam go this morning? I
trust you’re still happy with her services.”
wrong with her services,” he replied.
‘It’s yours that I have reservations about. Who the hell have you been telling about my
private life? I thought you were
supposed to keep your client’s names confidential. I have a career to think about.”
“Senator, I assure
you I haven’t told anybody about-“
“Then explain to me
how someone has photos of me with that girl,” he said furiously. “My reputation is on the line here. This sort of thing would never have happened
when Gemma was in charge. Do you even
know what the hell you’re doing?”
someone saw you with one of my girls I assure you I had nothing to do with it,”
Miranda insisted. “I promise strict
confidentiality. Maybe it was one of
your constituents. Or maybe your wife
got wind of your activities and she’s having you followed….”
He paused to
consider her explanation for a brief second.
“Whoever it was, you’d better hope to God it didn’t come from your
organization. I pay you a lot of money
and I expect anonymity. I’d hate for news
to get out that James Blackthorne’s daughter was involved in an escort service.”
Miranda didn’t bat
an eyelash at his threat. “That won’t be
necessary. I’ll personally see to it
that your next appointment is completely secure.”
“You’d better, or
God help you.”
motioned to Jane. “Jane, would you mind
showing Senator Nordquist out?”
“Miranda, I-“ she
began, still insistent that she had nothing to do with her illegal
Sighing, she turned
and motioned for him to follow her. Once
they were gone from the office, Miranda sat down and breathed a sigh of
relief. She didn’t think Sam would have
told anyone about the Senator’s patronage, but just to be sure, she decided to
give her a call.
As she picked up
the phone, she felt a shadow loom over her.
“Is he gone?” she asked, assuming it was Jane returning.
Blackthorne,” Hugh Rogers said in a booming voice.
Quickly, she looked
up and narrowed her eyes on him. Even
without having ever met him, she knew who he was.
“Nice of you to
come yourself this time instead of sending a snake,” she said with a
contemptuous smile. “Oh, and in case
there’s any misunderstanding, I’m referring to the lizard you left in my car,
not your goon Trevor.”
Hugh smiled in
turn. “I thought it was appropriate that
we meet in person. We are in bed
together, so to speak.”
“Not even close,”
Miranda said and threw her pencil onto the desk. She leaned back in her chair and folded her
“You take girls
from my employ and that puts us in bed together. I discovered them. I reap the rewards of their services. I expect to be paid for their services.”
they’re not providing to you anymore,” Miranda said. “You may have discovered them, but I turned
them into women. All you did was treat
them like trash.”
“When you put trash
in, you get trash out,” Hugh mused.
“That’s the problem
with sleaze like you,” Miranda said and stood up from her chair. “You just don’t know how to talk to a
lady. Now if you don’t mind, I’d like
you to leave.”
“You’ve got quite a
mouth on you, Miss Blackthorne,” Hugh said.
“I’d like you to close it long enough for me to give you some friendly
Raising an eyebrow,
she folded her arms again and looked at him with contempt.
“You may think
you’re a privileged little princess, daughter of a movie mogul and a screen
legend, but you’re on your own now. Your
daddy can’t help you this time because he doesn’t know about your secret. And without him behind you, I’m afraid you
don’t stand much of a chance.”
walked around her desk and stood before him.
“I’m afraid you’re the one who doesn’t stand a chance,” she said. “You may think I’m a privileged princess, as
you put it, but I can run circles around you.
Do your best. I’ll stalemate you
every single time. I’m not going
anywhere and you’re not getting a dime of the money.”
smiled and dug his hands into his pockets.
“You’re a spirited one.” He
removed a hand and brushed it against her
pregnant stomach. “I wonder if this
little one will follow suit in that regard.
If he or she gets the chance to, that is.”
that, he turned and left the office.
Just as he did, Jane was coming back inside from the street.
won’t believe it,” she was saying.
“That senator guy just tried to proposition me!” She stopped when she noticed Hugh leaving,
and the horrified look on Miranda’s face.
“Um, is everything okay?”
she said, shaking her head in anger.
Threatening her was one thing, but threatening her unborn child was
something completely different. “Everything’s
not okay at all.”
leaving Violet with a secretary at the studio, Brett sped across town to
Jordan’s house in Beverly Hills. He
pounded on the door for a few minutes until the butler, Gordon appeared and
Suzanne here?” he demanded.
shook his head. “I’m sorry, Mr.
Armstrong, she just left.”
do you mean she left? Where did she go?”
packed her suitcase and left,” he explained.
to the stairs, Brett took them two at a time until he reached the second
floor. Barreling into the guestroom
where Suzanne had been staying, he found it empty. Her clothes were gone from the closet and
dresser drawers, and nothing remained in the bathroom. A picture of her with Benji and Heather when
they were young was also gone from the dresser.
ran a hand through his hair and turned in despair. On the bed was a folded piece of paper. Quickly, he snatched it up and unfolded
try to find me,” he read aloud. “I’m
sorry for everything.”
a pained expression, he lowered the note and sat down on the bed. She was gone, he realized. Probably for good this time.
handed the document to Kyle, a pleased expression on his face as he leaned back
in his seat at the Cahuenga Room.
understand,” Kyle said as he read over the text. “Our variance. How did you get it?”
“I called in a
favor at the Coastal Commission,” he replied with a grin. “I figured since I was in town I’d make
elation, Kyle read the document over again.
“Useful is an understatement,” he replied. “Mackenzie never told me you were such a
resourceful guy. And connected.”
“Aren’t you going
to call Brooke and give her the good news?” Mason asked, smiling at a waitress
as she came to refill his iced tea.
before answering. “I think I’ll do it in
person,” he said. “This could score some
major points with her. You don’t mind if
I tell her it was all my doing, do you?”
shrugged. “Whatever you need to do,” he said. “Planning a coop of some kind?”
“You could say
that,” Kyle replied. “Let’s just say
that I need all the help I can get convincing her I’m not the bad guy she makes
me out to be.”
“But bad guys are
always more fun,” Mason said with a deep laugh.
to take Alex’s advise and call James.
They had to at least try to work things out, to come to some kind of
understanding. Whatever had been keeping
them apart wasn’t so bad that they couldn’t talk about it. It was high time they did.
They arranged to
meet on the boardwalk and take a stroll out onto the pier. When he called and said he was running a few
minutes later, she sat down on a bench and watched the skateboarders zip up and
down the way. And when she saw Ethan and
Brooke approaching from the beach, she stood up and offered a weary smile.
everyone’s enjoying the weather,” she remarked and motioned to the picnic
basket in Ethan’s hands.
“What brings you
here in the middle of the day, Mackenzie?” Brooke asked.
actually,” she remarked. “But I’m glad I
ran into you. There’s something I’ve
been meaning to tell you. It’s about
asked in confusion.
Ethan asked. “Is he still hassling
Brooke turned to
him. “You’ve met this guy?”
switched the basket to his other hand.
“We had a minor altercation a few days ago.”
here socked him in the nose,” Mackenzie clarified. “Anyway, he seems to have gotten awfully
chummy with my brother. I don’t think I
have to tell you that anytime Kyle gets mixed up in anything, it’s bad
shrugged. “Kyle hasn’t said anything to
me about him.”
“And maybe he
won’t,” Mackenzie said. “I just wouldn’t
put anything past either one of them.”
“Thanks for the
warning,” Brooke said, shielding her eyes from the glaring sunlight as James
appeared through the crowd and approached them.
is a surprise" he said with a grin and placed a
hand on Mackenzie's arm. "What's going on?"
just ran into Brooke and Ethan while I was waiting,"
Mackenzie said. "So do you still have a few
minutes to talk?"
he said, then looked at Brooke. "But I do
need to talk to you for a minute first, Brooke."
He looked at Ethan and then at Mackenzie. "Do
either of you mind?"
dropped her hands to her sides in resignation. "Why
not? It's getting to be a habit."
ignored her jab, deciding to take it up with her after
he talked to Brooke. Quickly, he led her aside
and turned toward her with a note of sincerity on his
did you have anything to do with taking Brett's shares
from him and giving them back to Nathan?" he asked.
she asked incredulously. "What would give
you that idea?"
said you agreed to it. Now Brett's out and Nathan
gave his shares to Stormy. He said you signed
off on it."
ridiculous!" Brooke exclaimed. "James,
I never did anything like that. Why would Stormy
say that if it isn't true?"
feet away by the bench, Mackenzie watched James and
Brooke's intense conversation. "Does this
ever end?" she asked.
do you mean?" Ethan replied.
constant devotation to anyone and everyone except the
person he's supposedly interested in," she clarified
smiled and shook his head. "James and Brooke
have history. Plus they own the studio together. They're
going to have to talk now and then. Don't tell
me you're jealous."
I'm just getting a little tired of being put second,"
Mackenzie replied. "Aren't you? Or
are you suddenly not as concerned about Brooke and Kyle
sighed and looked over at Brooke. It did bother
him, but she claimed it wasn't an issue, so he had to
“What kind of
business did you have with Mason Stone?”
Trevor asked Hugh as they stood in the living room of his enormous house
on Torreyson Drive overlooking the city.
“If it concerned
you, I would have told you,” Hugh growled.
Trevor ignored his
bark. “How did it go with Miranda
Blackthorne? Has she been any more
determined to make a fool of me,” Hugh said.
“I won’t let her do that again.”
“Want me to give
her another warning?”
Walking to the
window, Hugh stared out at the city.
“No, I have something else in mind for Miss Blackthorne.”
“What can I
do?” Trevor asked.
He shook his head
and turned back to him. “I’m going to
defer this to someone else,” he said. “An
associate I knew in Atlantic City. I
need it done fast and efficiently. I
can’t risk you or anyone in my L.A.
organization being involved.”
“So what are you
going to do?”
Blackthorne is an amusement, but a dangerous one. She’s younger than Gemma but in many ways
even more of a threat to us.”
Trevor watched him
flip through an address book on his desk.
“Okay, so how can I help?”
“You can help by
leaving the room,” Hugh told him and lit a cigar.
Trevor left, closing the doors securely behind.
Once he was gone, Hugh picked the phone up from his desk and punched in
a string of numbers. Moments
later, a woman at Colt Records in New Martin,
please,” he said, cigar still clamped between his teeth.
Moments later, Brad
came on the line. “Brad King.”
“Brad, it’s Hugh
Rogers out in L.A.”
“Well, this is a
surprise,” Brad said. “My
old boss calling after all this time. What can I do for
“I need you to come
out to L.A. and do a favor for me. How
soon can you get here?”
“What kind of
Turning back to the
window, Hugh looked out at the city. “I
need you to kill Miranda Blackthorne.”
continues on Nightingales
when Brad contemplates Hugh's request. Meanwhile,
Brooke blasts Kyle for trusting Mason, James tries to
change Mackenzie's mind about them, and Alex grows suspicious
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