After Miranda was run off the road
by Hugh's men, Jane tried to convince her to quit her
new job as Hollywood madam. Later, Miranda found a poisonous
snake in her car. Hugh confronted Miranda in person,
who remained defiant. Mason and Chip discussed
his plans to gain control of Moonshadows so he could
drill for oil reserves underneath the land. Mason
learned that Senator Nordquist, who held a seat on the
Coastal Commission, had dabbled in call girls, and used
the information to blackmail him into granting the variance
for the marina expansion. Kyle planned to use
the variance to gain Brooke's trust, unknowing what
Mason was up to. Nordquist blasted Miranda for
thinking she'd failed to protect him as a client. Brooke
and Ethan slept together. Kyle told Brooke that
he knew she was still attracted to him, but she denied
it. Stormy revealed to a startled Brett that he'd gained
control of his shares in the studio. James asked
Brooke if she had authorized the transfer of shares
but she insisted she hadn't. James and Mackenzie
tried to reconnect but his family's personal lives continued
to get in the way. Mackenzie suggested to Ethan
that Kyle was using work to stay in Brooke's life. Suzanne
told Jordan the truth about the break-in at his house.
After learning Benji wasn't responsible, Jordan
slapped her and freaked out. Feeling defeated,
Suzanne gave Brett a tearful goodbye and left town.
Miranda planned to throw a party at Gemma's Beverly
Hills mansion for her girls and some important clients.
Hugh called Brad King in New Martin, Tennessee
and asked him to kill Miranda for him. Brad decided
to bring Akilah to L.A. with him, using a partnership
with Titan Records as an excuse to make the trip. Chelsea
learned of their plans and, assuming Brad was going
to seduce Akilah, made plans to fly to L.A.
Brooke Stops Here"
“What the hell do
you think you’re doing?”
The words startled
Stormy away from the stack of paperwork on his desk at Sunset Studios. When he looked up, he saw the fury in
Brooke’s eyes and immediately knew that she’d learned of his deceit.
wrong?” he asked innocently, watching as James appeared behind her in the
firmly on her hips, Brooke pressed further into the room, her eyes not moving
from his. “I just found out that
Nathan’s shares in the studio were returned to him, and that you’re claiming I authorized it.”
Stormy slowly rose
from his chair. “Actually, Nathan gave
the shares to me,” he said, wanting
to stress that his uncle wasn’t going to be involved in any day to day
“We’re not arguing
that point, son,” James chimed in. “I’m
thrilled that you have your own shares in the company, believe me.”
“Really? Because it doesn’t sound that way to me. It sounds like you have more confidence in
Brett than you do in me.”
“Stormy, that’s not
“And it’s also not
the point,” Brooke immediately interrupted.
“I didn’t authorize the transfer of shares, and the way the dispersement
was set up, one of the other shareholders has to approve it. So why did you say that I did?”
Stormy reached down
to a paper on his desk. “But you did
approve it, Brooke,” he said and handed her the document that he’d tricked her
into signing. “Don’t you remember?”
She looked at the
paper and frowned in confusion. “I
didn’t sign this.”
“It has your
signature on it,” Stormy said indifferently and glanced up at his father.
James looked at the
document. “It is your signature, Brooke.”
She snapped her
head around and scowled. “I realize
that, but I didn’t sign this. I would
never have agreed to give Nathan his shares in the studio. After what that man did to me? To all of us?
This just gives him more reason to stick around and ruin our
“He gave them to me,” Stormy reiterated. “I don’t understand why you’re all
overlooking that little detail. You’ll
forgive me if I start taking it personally.
It really does seem like you don’t want me to be a stakeholder in this
company. I am a member of this family,
“Yes, of course,”
James told him. “The way it happened
just seems very suspicious, that’s all.”
“Very suspicious,” Brooke
reiterated. “I’m telling you, I would
have remembered signing this. Any
mention of Nathan Blackthorne and it’s like red flags being waved.”
Stormy shrugged and
sat back down at his desk. “Brooke, I
know you have a lot going on right now,” he began. “With Renee’s departure, your hands are full
at Moonshadows. Plus with Ethan coming
back and Kyle still working with you, it’s no wonder you’re distracted.”
She folded her arms
and glared angrily at him. “Don’t try to
make this seem like I just forgot
something like this,” she insisted. “I
don’t care how busy I am I would have never-”
“I know how capable
you are,” Stormy cut her off. “But you
don’t have to worry about the studio.
Now that I’m a shareholder, I’ll personally make sure everything runs
smoothly from now on. You can
concentrate on Moonshadows for the time being.”
“It does get overwhelming at times,” James
said. “I have stacks of papers on my
desk that I can’t remember looking at half the time.”
She turned to him
with a frown. “I’m telling you, I would have remembered signing this.”
“Dad, I’m doing
that walkthrough of the set today,” Stormy said, hoping to change the subject. “Will you be around when I get back from
Titan later today to talk about it?”
“Sure, no problem,”
James said. “I’d like Brett to join you
if that’s okay.”
Stormy pursed his
lips angrily. His father’s decision to
keep Brett on was a temporary problem, he decided. It should be easy enough to get him out the
Brooke sighed and
shoved the paper back at him. “I have to
get back,” she said, glaring heatedly at him.
“But I still think something is going on here.”
As she left, Stormy
looked at his father with a meek smile and a shake of his head. That had been almost too easy. While he hated making Brooke look
incompetent, it had to be done.
With the sun
streaming through the windows of the Cahuenga Room at Moonshadows, Mackenzie
stalked across the dining room and took a seat at the counter. She ordered a cup of coffee and a grapefruit
from the waiter and looked away just as Mason approached.
“I’m beginning to
think that show of yours runs itself,” he said with a sly grin. “Are you on hiatus or something?”
take hiatuses,” Mackenzie replied flatly.
“And you’re one to talk. You’ve
been in L.A.
for a week and you haven’t done anything.
What do you do these days
“I’m a consultant,”
was his vague reply.
“What do you
needed. Listen, Mac, I’m sticking around
for a little while. You’re just going to
have to deal with it. If you don’t like
“I don’t like it,” was her immediate
response. “You’re up to something. “
something? Like what?”
She turned on her
seat and crossed her legs. “I don’t
know, but I know you, Mason.”
“You always were paranoid.”
Across the room,
Ethan entered through the French doors and spotted them together. With his hands in the pockets of his khaki
trousers, he approached slowly and nodded politely to Mackenzie.
“Good morning,” he
said, then glanced at Mason. “Causing
“Well, if it isn’t
your white knight,” Mason said dubiously.
“Don’t you have anything better to do than hang around here?”
“I could ask you
the same thing,” Ethan replied. He
turned back to Mackenzie. “Have you seen
Brooke? I’m meeting her.”
“No, I haven’t,”
she answered and acknowledged the waiter when he returned with her order. “Now if you’ll both excuse me, I’d like to
eat my breakfast in peace.”
Mason shook his
head in amusement as he turned and walked off through the room. After he’d gone, Ethan sat down next to
“Did you not get
the message? I’d like to be alone.”
“How did it go with
James yesterday?” Ethan wanted to know.
“How did what go?” she replied bitterly. “As soon as Brooke’s problems came up he
couldn’t think about anything else.”
“So the two of you
“Oh, we talked all
right. We talked about Brooke, Stormy,
Sunset Studios, and just about everything else except us.”
“Well don’t give
up. My uncle just has a lot going on
“Your uncle always
has a lot going on. I’m not sure that I
fit in anywhere. If I’m not mistaken,
you were feeling the same way about Brooke yesterday. What do you want to bet she’s not here
because she’s with Kyle?”
Ethan smiled as he
looked down at the counter. It hadn’t
crossed his mind until she brought it up, but the truth was, he half expected
her to be right.
When Brooke pulled
her car into the parking lot at Moonshadows, she saw the flurry of activity in
the near distance. A convoy of
bulldozers, orange cones dividing the property from the marina, and a slew of
construction workers dotted the beach.
ill-tempered from her meeting with Stormy and James, she barreled inside the
administration building and breezed toward her office.
“Is Kyle in?” she
asked her secretary.
“He’s in with Chip
Matthews,” Marcia replied.
“Perfect.” Shoving the door open, she entered Kyle’s
office and saw him and Chip leaning over a table where a blueprint of the
resort had been laid out. “Does one of
you want to tell me what’s going on?”
Kyle said with a smile. “Chip and I were
just going over some-“
“Who in the hell
authorized you to start work on the marina expansion?” Brooke demanded, eyes
like daggers in Chip’s direction. “Until
we get the permits, we can’t even move a speck of dirt.”
Kyle motioned for
Chip to leave them alone.
“I was going to
surprise you this morning with the news,” he began once they were alone. He rifled through stacks of papers on his
desk and handed her a document. “I
called Chip last night and asked him to get an early start.”
“The variance?” she
asked, eyes lighting up happily. “We got
“We got it,” he
Reading through the
document to make sure it was legitimate, she shook her head in amazement. “I thought it was going to be days, weeks before we got word. How did this happen?”
“I made a plea to
the Coastal Commission,” he replied with a wink. Of course he wasn’t about to tell her that
Mason was the one who secured the variance for them. This way he looked like the hero and
hopefully would begin to rebuild the trust she once had in him.
“This is amazing!”
Brooke exclaimed. She raced forward and
threw her arms around him in elation.
Kyle, surprised by
her actions, snaked his arms around her and held her tightly for a few
moments. Out of the corner of his eye,
he saw the door open and Ethan enter.
Fully aware of his presence, he decided to ratchet up the intimacy of
the moment. He brushed his lips softly
against her cheek and watched as her eyes flickered across his and remained
there for a few seconds. For a moment he
thought she was going to kiss him but she slowly pulled away, obviously in an
effort to pull herself from the heated moment.
In the doorway,
Ethan cleared his throat to announce his presence. Brooke quickly turned and crossed the
“Hi,” she said,
placing a hand on his forearm. She
couldn’t help but feel like she was acting guilty. “Kyle and I were just…”
finished for her. “We got the variance
for the marina expansion.”
Ethan said, lips pursed. His mind kept going
back to what Mackenzie had just got done telling him. As it turned out, she was right. Every time he turned around, Brooke was with
Kyle. And working together or not, it
made him uneasy.
“Are you ready for
breakfast?” Brooke asked.
He looked at her
and then at Kyle. “Actually, I just
remembered something I have to do. I’ll
just see you tonight at home.”
“Are you sure?”
Brooke asked. “Look, I’m sorry, I was
“I know you’re
busy,” Ethan said. “I’ll let you get
back to work.”
Before she knew it,
he was turning and barreling out of the office.
She turned and saw Kyle smiling and waving the variance in his
“We got it,” he
said, hoping to disguise his satisfaction over how well his plan worked. Ethan showing up at that time was an
unexpected bonus. He made sure to
downplay what happened and concentrate on their success. “I think we should celebrate over a delicious
But Brooke’s mind
was still on Ethan’s behavior. “Yeah,
sure,” she said, although she barely heard what he’d said.
stormed across the parking lot. He knew
that he’d probably misread whatever he’d walked in on, but the looks on both of
their faces made him second guest his instincts. If it had been an innocent gesture, why had
Brooke looked so guilty?
When he reached his
car, he spotted a man standing a hundred feet away that he remembered Brooke
introducing him to. Chip Matthews, he
recalled. The developer of the new
marina. He was talking to a man whom he
couldn’t see. But when the man turned,
and his face became visible, he realized it was Mason Stone.
Climbing into his
car and staring the engine, he wondered what the two men were talking
about. Why did Mason seem to have his
hands in so many things since arriving in town?
Eddie got a break
from a case he was working on so he called Miranda to meet him for lunch. They took a table outside at the Ivy where
they gorged themselves on fattening foods while he talked to her about his
“So basically the
guy’s been faking insurance claims for two years and making quite a profit on
it,” he was saying while Miranda sat across from him texting furiously on her
Droid. “He’s supposed to have a neck
injury but I caught him surfing at Point Dume this morning. Can you believe that? He thought no one would find out what he’d
been up to.”
“Uh huh,” Miranda
said distantly. She texted an
appointment to Farrah, then rescheduled one for Genevieve, then had to text a
client to tell him about tomorrow night’s party. It was a never ending cycle, she decided
while setting the phone on the table.
“Anyway, I think I
got enough photos to nail the s.o.b.”
“That’s great,” she
replied, then quickly picked the phone up when vibrating alerted her to another
“So what are you doing
with the Beemer? Where’s your
“In the shop,” she
said, still distracted as she took care of business.
“What’s wrong with
“Body work.” She placed the phone on the table again and
went to take a bite of her salad.
“Did you get into
an accident?” Eddie asked, sighing when her phone vibrated again and she picked
“Uh, yeah, the
other day. Some lunatic ran me off the
exclaimed. He reached across the table
and forced her to put the phone down so she could talk to him. “Are you okay? What happened?”
“I’m fine,” she
said, instinctively pulling the phone toward her in case he had ideas of taking
it from her. “It was just an
accident. Some soccer mom late for a
game or something.”
“Why didn’t you tell
me? I would have come straight
over. I worry about you, babe.”
A smile crossed her
face. “You’re sweet, but it was really
no big deal.”
“I don’t care. You’re pregnant. I want to know everything that goes on with
you. Look, I’m sorry if I’ve been
preoccupied with work lately. I promise
I’ll make time for us from here on out.”
said, happy that he was making the gesture, but also concerned that it would be
harder to keep things from him. When her
phone buzzed again, she went to type out another text.
“What is so
important?” Eddie asked, annoyed. “You
haven’t put that thing down since we got here.
What’s going on with you?”
replied and made a conscious effort to leave the phone until they were
through. “It’s Jane. She’s worried about Stormy and I’m trying to
counsel her through it."
“See, that’s what I
love about you,” Eddie said and stuffed a handful of fries into his mouth. “You’re always helping other people.”
“I do what I can,”
she said, casually glancing around the patio until her eyes landed on Trevor,
Hugh Rogers’ tall, lanky henchman.
Immediately, she grew tense and quickly looked back at Eddie. “Hey, let’s get out of here.”
“What?” he asked,
mouth still full. “I’m not done
“I know, but this
stuff is fattening anyway.” She grabbed
her purse and phone and stood in a hurry.
starving,” Eddie said, bits of food spewing from his mouth.
“Take it to go,”
she said and hurried to the door. She
could feel Trevor’s eyes burning into her from his table.
grabbed the rest of his burger and followed her out to the sidewalk. “What’s gotten into you?” he demanded. “I thought you wanted to eat. You barely touched your lunch.”
Miranda handed her
ticket to the valet while continuously looking over her shoulder to see if
Trevor was still there. She didn’t know
if she was more afraid of the threats he’d been making against her, or of the
fact that Eddie would somehow find out about her job.
“I didn’t want to
say anything inside, but I saw Jennifer Aniston come in,” she explained, hoping
her story sounded plausible enough. “You
know she hasn’t forgiven me for what happened at that party at Vaughan Novak’s
a few years ago.”
“Oh, right,” Eddie
said, cramming more food into his mouth.
“She needs to get over it. Like
it was your fault you got drunk and spilled your drink all over her dress.”
said and jumped into her car when the valet arrived. “I’ll call you later.”
“Bye,” Eddie said,
screaming when a drop of ketchup landed on his shirt. “Oh great!
When the cab pulled
up to the porte cochere at the hotel at Moonshadows and Akilah Holden stepped
out onto the pavement, she glanced around at her opulent surroundings.
“Is this place
close to the studio?” she asked Brad King after he handed the driver a fifty
and set their bags on the curb. He
didn't know why she needed three suitcases and
a carry-on. He was able to get by on one.
“Not exactly, but I
thought we might as well try to have some fun while we’re here,” he replied and
nodded to the bellman as he loaded their suitcases onto a luggage cart. “I’ve rented a car to get us to and from
said and followed the cart into the lobby.
“When do we meet with them?”
afternoon,” Brad told her as they approached the front desk and the agent on
duty. “Brad King checking in.”
Moonshadows, Mr. King,” the young girl said while taking his license and credit
card. “I have a beautiful junior suite
ready for you.”
Akilah looked at
her and then at Brad. “What about my
“Oh,” he said. “I just thought it would be easier if we
shared a room.”
Raising an eyebrow,
she placed her hands on her hips and looked him up and down. “Excuse me?
Do I have to remind you that my husband was against me coming here to
begin with? How do you think he’d feel
if he knew I was sharing a room with another man?”
“There are two
bedrooms, ma’am,” the agent chimed in.
Brad tried to get
her to relax with a comforting smile. He
had to remind himself that aside from the job he was there to do for Hugh
Rogers, he was always working for Caleb Holden by trying to drive a permanent
wedge between Akilah and Matt. It just
so happened the trip to L.A. was like killing two birds with one stone.
Bad analogy, he
decided, opening his carry-on and looking at a picture of Miranda
Blackthorne. He had a lot of work to do,
and while creating conflict between Akilah and Matt was easy enough, killing
the sister of his Titan Records rep was not.
they’d checked in, they started toward the elevator.
but no funny business, Brad,” Akilah cautioned him. “We’re here to get my record deal going and
course,” he replied, fidgeting nervously with the strap on his carry-on.
good news was that Heather was doing better.
Jordan had gone to see her in San Francisco and said she had been lucid
throughout the whole visit. He’d even
seen sparks of her personality that he hadn’t since before they had her
committed. The bad news was that she
was now able to grasp the severity of what Brett and Suzanne had done to
divorce?” Brett asked, staring at the document that Jordan handed him. “She can’t do this.”
groaned and crossed the room in Brett’s office at Sunset Studios. “Get serious, Brett. What did you expect her to do? Just sit in the institution and accept that
her husband slept with her mother?”
is your doing,” Brett said and
pointed an accusatory finger at him.
“You talked her into this.
Heather would never have suggested divorce on her own.”
slept with her mother!” Jordan repeated loudly.
“In case you missed it, Heather is doing much better. All her faculties are in working order. She told me that she didn’t want to be
married to you anymore.”
shook his head in disgust. “The way you
manipulate your family is truly disgusting.
I don’t know what you said to Suzanne to make her take off again, and
left because she knew she’d burned her bridges here. She had no choice. I’m sorry that your plans of living happily
ever after with her were crushed, but that’s just the way it is. And as far as Heather goes, she just wants to
be free of you.”
want to see her,” he demanded. “I want
to see her and explain everything to her.”
a chance,” Jordan maintained. “I don’t
want anything setting her recovery back.
That’s why I haven’t told her about Benji yet.”
can’t keep her locked up forever, Jordan.
She’s going to have to accept reality soon enough.”
until I say she’s ready. Now just sign
the damn papers so we can get this over with.”
is another one of your attempts at getting Violet away from me, isn’t it?”
he replied. “I have no intention of
taking Violet away from you. What
Heather decides to do when she’s released is up to her and the courts, but as
far as I’m concerned, Violet is far better off with you right now.”
Brett watched his expression soften.
don’t want what happened to Heather and Benji to happen to Violet,” Jordan
continued sorrowfully. “It was because
of me that my children self-destructed.
Influencing my granddaughter isn’t something that I particularly want to
the first time, Brett saw a side of Jordan that genuinely surprised him. A rational, unselfish side that stemmed from
the pain and torture he’d been through.
do love Heather very much,” Brett said, still clutching the divorce
dug his hands in his pockets. “I know
looked at the papers. “All I wanted was
to keep my family together. I wanted
Heather to return some day and see that everything was the same as it used to
it’s not,” Jordan said and handed him the pen.
great difficulty, Brett decided that there was no other way. He couldn’t bear causing Heather more pain,
which was exactly what would happen if he went to see her. As much as he didn’t want to give up, he had
to. He had to let Heather go.
a trembling hand, he took the pen and scribbled his name on the papers.
took her golf cart across the grounds and stopped at the Cahuenga Room. She removed her sunglasses and proceeded
inside where Kyle was standing with the restaurant manager and someone from
going on?” she asked, curious as to why Kyle had insisted she come right away.
As soon as she asked the question, however, she got her answer. “My God, it’s like an oven in here.”
with the air conditioning unit,” said their maintenance supervisor. “It’s actually blowing warm air into the
we just shut it off?” Brooke asked.
shrugged. “Yeah, but it’s gonna be
ninety degrees all week. It won’t be
slapped her hands to her sides and looked at Kyle. “So what do we do?”
part they need is on backorder until Monday,” he told her. “They can’t get it here until then.”
can’t expect people to sit in a ninety degree room for five days,” Brooke
insisted. “We’re going to have to close
the restaurant until then.” She turned
to the manager. “Please tell the front
desk to let all guests know to use the Sierra Room until it’s fixed. I also think we should put a limited menu in
place in La Mirada Bar to accommodate everyone.”
manager nodded and left with the maintenance guy. After they’d gone, Brooke folded her arms and
looked knowingly at Kyle.
think I know what this was all about,” she said.
could have handled this without me,” she said.
“I’m just saying you’re very transparent with your ploys lately.”
“Ploys? I thought as part owner you’d want to know
what was going on, that’s all.” A clever
smile crossed his lips as he stared into her eyes.
I suppose what happened in your office this morning wasn’t planned either?”
happened in my office?” He was expert at
embrace just as Ethan walked in. Come
on, Kyle, you knew it would upset him.
Isn’t this all getting a little too high-school?”
I knew Ethan would walk in at that moment?” he asked. “And don’t forget that it was you who hugged me.”
stood still as he left, realizing that he was right. Throwing herself in his arms had been an
instinct, but for some reason her brain was trying to tell her otherwise. She began to wonder if her attraction to Kyle
was really more than that.
leaving Moonshadows, Ethan went home and decided to work out while Michael was
at day camp. He needed the stress
reliever, anyway. Walking in on Brooke
and Kyle in a heated embrace had been frustrating to say the least. His instincts told him to demand she release
him from his duties. Kyle was up to no
good where Brooke was concerned and he doubted very much that she even
as liberated as Brooke was, she would probably tell him he was crazy and that
her working relationship with Kyle was just that. Something made him question whether she was
really over Kyle after all.
he finished in the gym and started down the hall to the foyer, the sound of the
doorbell alerted him to a visitor. With
Leilani nowhere in sight, he quickly went to open it. To his surprise, Mackenzie was standing on
the other side of the door.
feel like I should apologize for snapping at you this morning,” she said,
unable to keep herself from admiring his worked out physique. The form fitting t-shirt and well cut gym
shorts definitely looked spectacular on him.
don’t strike me as the type to apologize for anything she does,” Ethan said
with a wry smile. He gestured
inside. “But apology accepted.”
she walked into the foyer and looked around.
shook his head. “No, he’s at the
studio. Am I to assume he’s the real
reason you came by in the middle of the day?”
actually you are. I came to offer you a job.”
nodded while flipping her long black hair over her shoulder. “As you know, the daytime industry is in
peril. I had a meeting with the network
this morning and they want us to eliminate thirty percent of our budget per episode. I know you were the numbers guy at Sunset
Studios before you left, and I was hoping you’d come on and help out.”
basically you want a scapegoat so the cast and crew don’t come down on you for cutting their budget?” he asked
with a knowing grin.
about sums it up,” she said and offered a good natured laugh. “But seriously, I know your financial
background in the business and you’d really be doing me a favor. It doesn’t have to be full time. Just until we get to where the network wants
hesitated. He had to admit he was going
a little stir crazy at home. With
Michael at camp four days a week, Brooke constantly busy with Moonshadows
business, and Stormy and Miranda involved in their own lives, he had begun to
feel a little useless. Maybe working was
what he needed.
do it,” he said.
will?” Mackenzie asked.
not? Did you tell James?”
James what?” a voice came from the staircase.
both turned just as James descended from the stairs. “I thought you were out,” Ethan said.
came home because I forgot my briefcase,” he said and flashed it toward
them. “I swear I’d lose my head if it
wasn’t attached. What brings you by?” He walked over and placed a hand on
Mackenzie’s arm. “Are you here to see
looked awkwardly between him and Ethan.
“Uh, no actually. I came to see
raised an eyebrow and attempted to smile.
“I see. Anything I should know
has agreed to lend me his expertise on budget crunching at The Young at Heart,” she explained.
he’s the man to do it,” James said.
“Ethan, I thought you weren’t ready to go back to work. If I’d known you were anxious to get out
there, I’d have hounded you more about returning to Sunset Studios.”
I’m not saying I won’t. This just seemed
like a good fit right now. Besides, it’s
something different and gets me away from the house on my own schedule. Listen, I better get changed. Mackenzie, I’ll see you tomorrow?”
she replied and watched him disappear up the stairs.
he’d gone, James turned back toward her.
“Well, you and Ethan have certainly gotten over your rocky start.”
do you mean?”
shrugged. “I mean working together, him
coming to your rescue with your ex-husband, whom I didn’t even know about, mind
rolled her eyes and moved her purse to her other hand. “If this is you staking your territory, it’s
very unattractive. It just so happens
that I offered the job to Ethan because he’s qualified and has a proven track
record. And as far as my ex-husband
goes, I didn’t tell you about him because there are parts of my life that I
don’t share with anyone.”
with Ethan,” James replied dubiously.
was there when Mason showed up. Now if
you’ll take a minute to get over your bruised ego maybe we can start acting
like adults again. Until then, don’t
waste my time with your childish notions.”
that, she turned and stormed out of the house.
James stood, perplexed by her outburst and realizing he had to do
something drastic if he was going to salvage whatever was left of their
seven months pregnant didn’t leave much in the way of haute couture, but
luckily Miranda hadn’t gained much weight so most of the gowns she liked still
fit her. After lunch with Eddie, and
making sure Hugh’s goon Trevor wasn’t still following her, she stopped by her
favorite boutique in Beverly Hills to pick out a dress for tomorrow night’s
party. A long, off-white beaded gown with
a side slit and thin shoulder straps.
She stood in the mirror examining herself and frowning at her protruding
stomach when a voice from the next dressing room over caught her attention.
told you I was a size 2,” the voice said.
It was irritatingly familiar to Miranda.
dress fits a little small, so I thought you’d like to try both,” a salesgirl
way in hell am I going to wear a 4!”
to mind her own business for as long as she could, Miranda stared into the
mirror and then sighed with aggravation when Kelly emerged from the fitting
room in the same dress.
the hell?” Kelly said, the sales girl following her. “Please tell me you’re not buying that.”
looked her up and down, immediately incensed that Kelly looked much better in
the dress than she did. If she wasn’t
pregnant, she would probably take the prize, but as it was, she felt a little
anymore,” Miranda said and brushed past her to her fitting room.
a little formal for you these days, Miranda,” Kelly called after her. “What are you, like eighty months
pregnant? Maybe a comfy pair of sweats
is what you’re looking for.”
you little-“ Miranda began.
you like the earrings?” the salesgirl asked Miranda in an obvious effort to
diffuse the situation.
took them off and looked at them. “They
go with the dress, but now that I think about it, it’s very last year. As I matter of fact, I think I saw it in the
June Vogue last summer.” She handed them to Kelly. “Maybe you should get the earrings too. You never were particularly style conscious.”
snarled at her and remained just outside the fitting room while Miranda
changed. “So what’s the dress
of your business.”
secretive,” Kelly sing-songed as she slipped the earrings on and admired
herself in the mirror. “Is Eddie going
with you? I bet he looks so good in a
I said, it’s none of your business,” Miranda called through the fitting room
door. “You know, Kelly, just because you
live at the mansion doesn’t mean you’re privy to everything that goes on. You’re still just the help’s daughter.”
Kelly folded her arms. “My son is a
Blackthorne,” she snapped “Which is a
lot more than I can say for you. You
still don’t know who the father of your baby is. He’ll never be anything more than a
moment of silence fell over the room before Miranda emerged in the clothes she
came in wearing. “What did you
it,” Kelly said and turned back to the mirror.
“Eddie’s not exactly the smartest crayon in the box. He obviously doesn’t care that he’s being
made a fool of.”
physically stopped herself from attacking the woman. She took a deep breath and started to brush
and I changed my mind about the dress,” Kelly said, taking the earrings off and
handing them to her. “After seeing you
in it, it just doesn’t appeal to me anymore.”
Miranda watched as Kelly turned and sashayed into the fitting room. She had half a mind to kick the door open and
slap her senseless, but a knock-down drag-out while this pregnant didn’t seem
like a good idea.
eyes traveled to the bench just outside the room where Kelly had laid her purse. She looked down at the earrings in her hand
and smiled. With a quick check to ensure
the sales girl wasn’t around, she slipped them into the open purse and quickly
exited the fitting rooms.
The Titan Records offices were located on
three floors of a high-rise office building in Century City. Stormy had spent a few hours a day getting
accustomed to the staff and the layout of the office space. He’d also spent time in the recording studio
which took him back to his days with Good Times Records. He had to admit it felt a bit nostalgic being
around the various sound booths and swarm of engineers. When Eddie learned that he’d taken the helm
of the west coast branch, he was eager to drop in and check out the
is way better than what we had at Good Times,” Eddie said while looking around
in wonderment. “Oh sweet! A water cooler!”
led him into his office. “Isn’t it
great? When we ran Good Times Records it
felt like we were living in 1979 or something.”
was pretty far out,” Eddie
joked. “So who’s this girl coming in
Holden,” Stormy replied while looking at her bio on his desk. “Some up and coming talent from
Tennessee. Cameo’s producing some tracks
on her debut and-“
you ready for Akilah?” his secretary, a young hipster with dark rimmed glasses
and a blond mound of hair piled unceremoniously on top of her head, asked when
she popped her head in.
bet,” Stormy said and rose from his chair.
When Akilah and Brad entered, he extended his hand and offered a
welcoming smile. “Hi, I’m Stormy
Blackthorne. Welcome to Los Angeles. This is my friend Eddie Distefano.”
Akilah said with a smile as she looked around the understated but modern
looking office. “It’s great to be here.”
Brad said and shook his hand in turn.
“Brad King. We spoke on the
“Right. Brad, I’m sorry for the mix-up with our
appointment. Unfortunately, T.T. left on
an extended vacation and didn’t tell me about the deal he’d been working on
with you and Colt Records.”
problem at all,” Brad said, a hand resting gently on Akilah’s back. “I’m just glad the two of us can put our
heads together and come up with some ideas for Akilah.”
Stormy said and gestured to the chairs in front of him. “Why don’t you both have a seat and we’ll
ushered Akilah toward the seat. “I
thought the two of you could get to know each other first. I actually have an appointment I need to run
leaving?” Akilah asked, nervously sitting in the chair with her purse resting
in her lap.
for a little while,” he said.
actually perfect,” Stormy chimed in.
“We’ll head over to the studio and listen to some demos so I can get a
feel for the sound you’re going for.”
okay Akilah?” Brad asked.
nodded. “Yeah, sure. That’s okay I guess.”
be back before you’re through.”
into the reception area, Brad waited for the elevator and bumped into a woman
who barreled toward him when the doors opened.
“Sorry,” he said,
then looked up with alarm when he saw who she was.
“My bad,” Miranda
said anxiously. “I didn’t hurt you, did
He shook his head,
not taking his eyes off of her. Seeing
the woman face to face who he’d been hired to kill put things into a new
perspective. The fact that Hugh didn’t
tell him she was pregnant only compounded the issue.
“No, I’m good.”
“Good,” she said
and hurried past him.
Once inside the
elevator, Brad looked over his shoulder at her.
It had been a long time since he’d done anything like this, and the
reality of it was suddenly hitting him hard.
Inside the office,
Stormy sat down at his desk again and looked at Akilah. “Can I get you anything to drink before we
some water from the water cooler?” Eddie asked with excitement.
good, thanks,” Akilah replied.
then, the door burst open and Miranda rushed inside. “Oh God, this is déjà vu,” she said. “The two of you in a recording studio together. Stormy, just promise me this time you’re not
going to run off with some trampy singer for three months.”
recoiled in her seat while wondering what on earth they were talking
about. What kind of record exec was this guy?
Stormy said, ignoring the jab about his affair with Laurel Spencer
he was married to Heather. “Miranda, what can I do for you? We were just in the middle of
you can do is get that freeloading, troublemaking ex-wife of yours out of our
house and out of our lives,” she said.
“Do you have any idea what she said to me just now?”
happened, babe?” Eddie asked.
way this can wait, Miranda?” Stormy began.
“This is Akilah Holden. She’s
going to be our first act signed to the label.”
to meet you,” Akilah said and shook hands with Miranda. She couldn’t help
notice her pregnant stomach, prompting her to be reminded of Julian, the son
she’d lost months before. A wave of sadness suddenly overwhelmed her.
to meet you, too,” Miranda replied, raking her fingers through her hair. “Look, I’m sorry to interrupt your meeting
but you have no idea what this bitch is like.”
we need to give her the beat down?” Akilah asked.
laughed. “I was close to doing just
that. But instead I….took the high road
so to speak.”
are you due?” The topic of pregnancy and
babies in general still hurt her to think about. Some days the wounds were still so
looked down at her stomach. “Two
months. Not a minute too soon.”
say,” Eddie chimed in. “She’s getting cranky
in her last trimester.”
we’ll talk about this at home later, okay?” Stormy said, hinting to her by
gesturing to the door.
she said with a sigh as Eddie kissed her cheek.
“But seriously, tell the witch to stay out of my face or I’ll rip her
hair out of her head.”
just like that, she was gone. Stormy
smiled at Akilah and tried to continue with their discussion. His sister certainly knew how to make an
entrance. And an exit.
rode the golf cart along the meandering paths at Moonshadows and veered off to
the side of an access road when she spotted Ethan walking up the hill from the
she called over to him while removing her sunglasses. “I’m glad you came back. I wanted to explain about this morning. “
don’t have to explain,” he told her with an easy smile. “I overreacted. You just have to give me time with this you
working with Kyle thing.”
told you that there’s nothing to worry about,” Brooke said from the driver’s seat. “I’m a lot smarter than you think. I know Kyle’s game.”
the fact that he has a game that
worries me. I have a feeling he’ll stop
at nothing to win you back. It’s been
months since the two of you were together.
I’d like to think he’s given up, but I’m not so sure that’s ever going to
put her sunglasses back on in an effort to avoid eye contact with him. The truth was she and Kyle had been together
a lot more recently than that. Just a
couple of weeks, to be exact. She’d
slowly allowed the images of that night in her office to fade away. She no longer saw her and Kyle’s naked bodies
clashing together every time she closed her eyes, and she wanted to keep it
be okay,” she finally said while placing a hand over his. “After the marina expansion, things won’t be
as hectic around here. I might even be
able to do without Kyle at all.”
would be nice,” Ethan said with a grin.
“Meanwhile, I’ll have my hands full with his sister.”
do you mean?”
offered me a job on her show,” he explained.
“It’s temporary until they get their budget squared away, but no doubt
she’ll be a pain in the you-know-what.”
cocked her head and looked at him.
“You’re going to be working with Mackenzie Stone?” she asked. “Why would you want to do that?”
shrugged. “I don’t know. Just want to feel useful I guess.”
news was unsettling to Brooke. While she
tolerated Mackenzie, she still hadn’t forgotten about what she’d done to them. “Ethan, she kept quiet about who Kyle really
was,” she began. “All that time went by
and she never told us that she was his sister.
If she would have come forward, we might have found you a hell of a lot
sooner. I can’t believe you’d want to
work with her.”
isn’t to blame for what Kyle did. Kyle is.”
so now you’re defending her? The way I
look at it, they were in on this together.
She’s every bit as bad as he was.”
yet here you are working with him,”
Ethan fired back angrily. “You’ve
managed to forget all about what he did despite how I feel about it. How is my working for Mackenzie any
took a breath in an effort to stall.
“Renee had already hired Kyle when I decided to take part in the daily
operations. You’re going to work with
Mackenzie knowing full well that she had a part in keeping us apart.”
is nothing like her brother,” Ethan argued.
“She may have her faults, but she’s not manipulative.”
defense of her raised alarms with Brooke.
“Oh, so you’re suddenly her biggest supporter? Exactly how close have the two of you gotten
anyway? You’re worried about my working
with Kyle, so why shouldn’t I feel that same way about you working with
placed his hands on his hips and shook his head in irritation. “This is ridiculous,” he said. “Why are we even arguing about this?”
tell you why,” she said and turned the golf cart back on. “Because you’re still refusing to take
responsibility for the fact that you could have told us you were alive a lot
sooner than you did. And while Kyle and
Mackenzie may have had a hand in it for their own personal reasons, it was
ultimately your decision.”
he could reply, she was tearing off in the golf cart. Throwing his hands up in resignation, Ethan
realized that he couldn’t argue with her.
Everything she said was true. But
the fact that they couldn't seem to reach a peaceful
place in their relationship troubled him to no end.
sat on the sofa in his cabana at Moonshadows, stacks of papers on the table
before him as he sipped a cup of coffee. His shirt was unbuttoned to his naval and his
hair was tousled.
“Make sure you turn
the shower knob all the way to left,” he called into the bathroom. “It tends to stick.” He ran his fingers through his hair and
mumbled to himself. “Damn place is
already falling apart. Should make it
easier when I bulldoze it to the ground.”
A knock at the door sounded, prompting him to
get up and cross the room while pushing the sleeves up on his baby blue
this a good time?” Chip Matthews asked as he stood on the wooded path
come in,” Mason said and hurried him inside.
“Want some coffee?”
ninety-five degrees outside, Stone, I don’t want any damn coffee.”
yourself,” he said.
went to sit down, stopping when he saw a woman emerge from the bedroom. He raised an eyebrow and gave a nod of
approval toward his partner.
for coming by, Sam,” Mason said and discreetly handed her a roll of hundred
dollar bills. “Just what I needed.”
to be of service,” she said and slipped the money into her purse. Winking at Chip on her way out, she exited
the cabana and closed the door securely behind.
wouldn’t have thought working girls were your style,” Chip remarked with a
leery grin. “You seem like the kind of
guy who could have any woman you wanted.”
smiled in turn. “I do have my fair share
of female companions, but that’s back east.
I’ve only been here a week, remember?
watched as he buttoned his shirt, then slowly looked away and ran his fingers
through his closely cropped hair. “So
work is coming along on the marina expansion.
I’m curious how far you’re going to take this.”
do you mean?”
you don’t care about the marina. You
just want the oil underneath it. I’m
still not exactly sure how this is all going to go down.”
returned to the sofa and picked up the geological studies he’d taken from Royce
Jennings’s belongings. “Right now we’re in
a holding pattern,” he said. “We’ll let
Brooke Taylor sink as much money as she can into the expansion until it
bankrupts her. Once that happens,
someone will offer to buy the land at a hefty sum so she and her partners can
cut their losses.”
someone being you,” Chip surmised.
in the meantime, my crew continues business as usual?”
Mason said and picked up his coffee cup.
“I don’t want her or Kyle Fenwick suspecting anything. A string of incidents will delay the project. Delays cost money.”
looked at him as he sat on the sofa.
“Leave that to me.”
was led into a large octagonal room with floor to ceiling views of Los
Angeles. The furnishings were sparse and
modern but looked very expensive - something that didn’t surprise him about Hugh
Rogers. Ever since he’d known him, the
man was no stranger to opulence. And
despite having worked for him in Atlantic City for a number of years, he still
didn’t know much about him. Prostitution
was only a small part of his repertoire.
Other criminal activity surrounded him, but he had a feeling no one
person was privy to all of it. It’s part
of what made Hugh Rogers a very dangerous man.
it’s good to see you,” Hugh said and welcomed him with a hearty embrace and
five firm pats on the back.
too,” he replied. He couldn’t help but
feel a little intimidated in his presence.
was the only house I would have considered in Los Angeles,” Hugh said while
taking in the views of the city. “I love
looking out and having the pleasure of knowing I’ll run this city one
the narcissist, I see,” Brad said with a grin.
He wondered if lightening the mood with that kind of humor was
wise. Even Hugh’s smile didn’t set him
at ease. He had a tendency to smile
through the most threatening of situations so it provided little relief.
prefer to think of myself as motivated,” he finally replied. “And I won’t let anything stand in my
way. Which is the reason I called you
Blackthorne,” Brad remarked.
“Yes. But let’s not talk
business right away. I’d like to catch up first. How are things in New Martin?”
“How is my girl
watched him go across the room and pour them each a glass of bourbon. “Brenda is taking care of herself just fine.
“That’s good,” he
said and flashed him a look. “I’m happy
for her. She got herself off the street
and into a new life. Something not many
of my girls are able to do.”
swallowed. He wondered if he let them get off the street. It was a miracle Brenda was able to do just
that. Hugh did have a fairly iron first over the girls who worked for
“Colt Records is
blossoming, I hope.”
is. I’m working with some great talent
here in L.A. I thought it would be a
see you haven’t lost your smarts,” Hugh said with a laugh. “Good boy.
Now, about Miranda Blackthorne.
I’m sure you can imagine that any threat to my organization must be
dealt with swiftly and permanently.
What starts as a nuisance can eventually throw the entire system out of
didn’t tell me she was pregnant,” Brad said after swallowing hard.
it matter? She’s a rock in the
spokes. She has to be elimianted.”
Trevor can’t do it because…?”
is more of a face plate to my organization.
No real menacing qualities. I
need someone who knows what they’re doing.
Someone who can take care of her and not allow it to be traced back to
do you want it to happen?” Brad
planning a party tomorrow night with some of her more prominent clients. I learned that she’s holding it at Gemma’s
mansion in Beverly Hills.”
watched him cross the room with a thoughtful look on his face. “There could be a lot of witnesses in that
need to ensure the party doesn’t happen.
A last minute change of plans.
When Miss Blackthorne walks in to an empty house, she’ll find you. That’s when you’ll take care of her.”
am I going to cancel the party without her knowing?”
reached into his desk and produced a document.
“I happen to have obtained a copy of the guest list. Make the calls. Tell them you’re Miss Blackthorne’s aide or
something. You’re resourceful,
Brad. I’m sure you’ll think of something.”
hard, Brad looked at the names on the list.
Hugh seemed to have thought of everything. All he was to him was a hired gun. It was an easy gig. Make the calls, show up at the mansion and
kill the girl. One day and he’d been
done with it. One day.
he knew it, Hugh was approaching with a briefcase. He held it in his hands and opened it. Inside were stacks of hundred dollar bills
collected into bundles.
rest after it’s done,” Hugh said.
took the briefcase and looked down at the stacks of money. It was more money than he’d seen before and
it made his hesitations disappear. When
he looked up again Hugh was hand him a black revolver.
and loaded,” he told him. “Completely
untraceable. Throw it in the ocean when
at the weapon, Brad took it in his hands.
Menacing and purposeful, it felt heavier than he’d anticipated. His hands grew weak as he placed it inside
knew that The Benefactor had been a
huge box office hit upon its original release in 1969. The story fascinated audiences at the
time. An eccentric and wealthy businessman
commissioned a shuttle to the moon carrying fifty children. In route, something went wrong and the
shuttle veered towards the sun, leading the story to progress into suspense and
drama until forty-eight of them are saved by the man.
A few tweaks and
updates and the script was ready for the new millennium. The prototype for the exterior of the space
shuttle had been completed by the set designers and now sat on sound stage 4 at
Sunset Studios. Stormy decided to do his
walk-through to ensure there weren’t any bugs that needed fixing.
Standing atop the
shuttle, he became impressed by the realistic details that the designers had
managed to reproduce. More authentic
looking than the craft in the original film, it was bound to look amazing on
The sound of the
stage doors slamming closed caught Stormy’s attention and he gazed across the
enormous room. In the distance he saw Brett
stalking toward the shuttle. Looking
down thirty feet from above, he could see the agitated look on his face.
“I’m already done
with the walk through,” he called down to him.
“I’ll tell my father it’s been taken care of, so you don’t have to worry.”
“I just talked to
Brooke,” Brett said. “She told me what
you did. Tricking her into signing that
document to take my shares from me.”
forgetful,” he replied. “She has a lot
going on and probably didn’t realize what she was signing. Besides, those shares are in the right hands
now. They should have never been given
to you in the first place.”
“So this is how low
you’re willing to sink? Forging
documents to get me out of the picture?
Well guess what, I’m not going anywhere.
I may not be a shareholder, but you’re stuck with me and I intend on
making your life a living hell.”
“You’ve been making
my life hell since the day you showed up married to my sister,” Stormy said,
balancing himself on a platform on the shuttle.
“Blackmailing Lauren into sleeping with you, drugging my father, framing
me for murder. Not to mention what you
did to Heather. It’s going to stop,
Brett. I won’t let you do it
anymore. You’re through messing with my
“And you’re the
golden boy, right? Everything you’ve
done has been legit. Not a single
underhanded move in there, is there? Get
real, Stormy. Look at what you resorted
to to get me out of the studio. You’re
turning into every bit the con man I was.
Only with you it’s worse because you did it to your own family.”
“You self righteous
son of a bitch,” Stormy shouted. “At
least I didn’t sleep with my wife’s mother.
Speaking of, where is Suzanne?
Did you finally drive her off once and for all? Or maybe she’s back in the loony bin with Heather
where you put her after you’d gotten through ruining her life.”
The remark sent
something off inside Brett. He clenched
his teeth and raced toward the ladder that led to the top of the shuttle. Taking two steps at a time, he reached the
top and barreled toward Stormy, delivering a shattering blow to the jaw with
his closed fist.
back a few steps but recovered swiftly.
He punched Brett hard in the nose and watched as blood trickled down his
face. In retaliation, Brett charged
toward him and knocked him to the hard metal surface of the shuttle. He tackled him and fought to restrain him so
that he could get another punch in, but Stormy kicked him away and sent him
rolling down into a crevasse in the center of the ship. Climbing to his feet, he leapt toward him
with the intention of landing on top of him.
Brett rolled out of the way and waited for him to hit the surface. When he did, he jumped to his feet and kicked
him repeatedly in the side.
Doubling over in
pain, Stormy reached out and pulled Brett’s leg. He fell and they resumed their struggle, each
delivering violent blows at one another.
His face battered and bruised, Stormy staggered off and made his way to
the ladder to retreat down to the stage.
Brett, however, caught up to him and pushed him hard, sending him
tumbling onto the wing of the shuttle.
When Stormy got to his feet, he took a swing at Brett but missed. Another swing and he lost his balance,
tumbling onto the surface of the wing and rolling until he reached the
edge. Quickly, he tried to stop himself
from going over but it was too late. At
the last minute, he grabbed the side of the wing and hung there, dangling
thirty feet above the sound stage.
Standing over him,
Brett panted with exhaustion. He
realized he couldn’t let him fall.
Reluctantly, he extended his hand and pulled him back up. Once Stormy was on his feet, however, he
punched him one final time. Brett
sailed back and landed on the wing.
word, Stormy turned and retreated down the ladder, leaving Brett lying bruised
and bloodied on the wing of the ship.
Still enraged over
her argument with Ethan, Brooke sorted through a flurry of papers on her desk
in search of the latest arrivals list.
When the search proved futile, she turned to her computer to pull it up
electronically, but as usual, her monitor was frozen and wouldn’t respond.
great,” she murmured to herself and flew out to the reception area where Marcia
was seated behind her desk. “Is your computer
“I called the help
desk,” her secretary told her. “They’re
working on it. Do you need something?”
arrivals list,” Brooke said. “Do you
“I gave it to Kyle.
He wanted to flag the VIP’s and let them know about the noise from the
construction so we could put amenities in their rooms.”
“I was going to do
that,” she snapped. “Is he in there?”
“He went to the gym
a while ago but I haven’t seen him come back.”
she turned and went next door to Kyle’s office.
She knocked once and when she didn’t get an answer, she walked in. Kyle
was nowhere to be found. Hoping to get in and out before he returned,
she went to his desk and started looking for the report.
Suddenly, the door
to Kyle’s private bathroom opened and he emerged, naked and enveloped in
steam. Her eyes immediately went to him
and a gasp escaped her dry throat.
“I was just looking
for….tomorrow’s list of arrivals,” she said, physically unable to take her eyes
off of his damp skin. She shivered at
the sight of his tanned torso and the girthiness of his manhood.
“In my in-box,” he
said, casually drying his back and shoulders with the towel.
it is,” Brooke said and snapped the paper from his desk. “Thanks.”
problem,” he replied with an assured grin.
“Sorry, the locker rooms at the gym were packed so I came back here
after my workout.”
didn’t mean to interrupt,” she said, forcing herself to avoid looking at him
again. She made her way to the door but
felt him looming behind. “You should
really lock your door if you’re going to shower in your office.”
wasn’t expecting anyone to just walk in,” he said, his breath coming out in quick
spurts as he stood behind her.
her better judgment, she turned and looked at him, her chest heaving. She opened
her mouth to speak but no words would come.
you want to stay?” Kyle asked, aroused by the proximity of their bodies.
Yes, she wanted to say. I
want to throw my clothes off and make love the same way we did that night in my
office. But she refused to give in
to her desires. As exciting as he made
her feel, sleeping with him again was a bad idea. She and Ethan were trying to work things
out. She owed him the opportunity to see
where it would go.
she finally said, quickly turning and exiting the office.
stood behind, grinning from ear to ear with the knowledge that she would be in
his bed again very soon. He knew it as
sure as his name was Kyle Fenwick.
Marcia noticed the flushed look on Brooke’s face. “Find it?”
she said, quickly going next door to her office. “I found it.”
the end of their shooting day on the set of The Young at Heart, Mackenzie
called a meeting with some of the actors to review changes in the next day’s
script. They assembled in the conference
room and that’s when the bickering started.
goddamn script change?” Max Howell, who played the evil Dr. Michael Crawford
bellowed. “How the fuck are we supposed
to learn our lines if there’s a new script every goddamn day?”
wouldn’t have a problem learning your lines if you were home at night instead
of carousing around with her!” screeched Elana Hendricks, his on-screen and off-screen wife.
beg your pardon!” replied the her in
question, Lorraine Minnabariette, always eager to defend her not-so-secret
affair with Max. “How dare you
insinuate that I’m sleeping with your husband?”
dare you sit there and deny it?” Elana shrieked. “Why don’t you both just admit your little
on-set romance exists?”
head pounding, Mackenzie held up a hand in an effort to silence them. “That’s enough,” she snapped. “This is supposed to be a professional
environment. In the future, I expect you
to leave your personal dramas at home.”
the room grew silent, the conference room door opened and James entered. “Mackenzie, can I talk to you?”
being the last person she expected to see drop by the set, especially after
their argument, she quickly nodded.
Turning to the actors, she addressed them as a group, “why
take a break and we’ll reconvene after I view the dailies.”
group quickly exited. When they were
gone, Mackenzie turned to James with her arms folded rigidly across her
is it?” she asked cooly. "I
think we said everything we had to say earlier."
I’m sorry about what I said,” he told her. “I
don’t know why I acted the way I did.
I’m not jealous, Mackenzie. I
just want to have a normal conversation with you. I want to try to connect.”
doesn’t seem like it’s going to be possible,” she said.
want you to go away with me next weekend,” he confessed. “I was thinking my house in Palm
an eyebrow, she gave him an incredulous look.
“Why don’t you just hit me over the head with your club and drag me into
your cave?” she said, irritated. “You can’t just
come in here and throw me over your shoulder, James.”
wasn’t,” he argued. “I just think we
need some time alone. I’d like to be alone with you. Is that so wrong?”
considered his offer and leaned against the conference table. “No,” she said with resignation. “A weekend away would be nice. But I’ll have to give it some thought.”
he said, placing a hand on her arm and leaning in for a kiss. “I really think we can make this work,
Mackenzie. Some time alone together
could be just what we need.”
call you later,” she said, secretly happy that he’d made the effort. What woman didn’t want to be courted away for
a romantic weekend?
spending two hours at the police station trying to convince them she wasn’t a
thief, Kelly was allowed to leave.
Furious over Miranda’s obvious sabotage efforts, but even angrier at the
boutique for calling the police, she went back to the store on Rodeo Drive and
glared menacingly at the sales girl.
just wanted you to know that I won’t be shopping here again,” she said while
standing at the counter. “And neither
will anyone else in Hollywood once I tell them how you treat your
sorry, but our policy is to call the police on all shoplifters.”
not a friggin shoplifter!” Kelly screamed.
“You know what, let me talk to your manager. I demand an apology for this outrage."
girl smiled pleasantly and disappeared into the back of the store. While standing alone at the counter, Kelly
tapped her fingernails repetitively on the glass. Next to the counter was the long beaded gown
that she’d tried on earlier. Rolling her
eyes in disgust, she turned away. The
mere sight of the garment left a bad taste in her mouth.
tag hanging from the bust, however, caught her attention and she looked closely
at it. Frowning, she read the words on
the tag. Miranda Blackthorne. 902 Benedict Canyon Dr. Beverly Hills.
“That witch bought the dress after
all,” she murmured to herself. Then she
looked at the address again. Benedict
Canyon Drive? Why the hell was Miranda
having the dress sent there?
to do some investigating into her former sister-in-laws activities, she turned
and left the store in a hurry. Screaming
at the manager of the boutique would have to wait.
later, Kelly was pulling up the a long driveway outside a stately home in Beverly
Hills. There was a delivery van in the
driveway so she proceeded to the door
and found it partially open. Carefully, she
tip-toed inside and scouted around.
must be Miss Blackthorne,” said a voice from across the expansive foyer.
Kelly turned in the direction of the florist who wore an apron and was holding
a crystal vase in each hand. “Uh,
yeah.” She was, after all.
Freddie from Petrows Flowers. I’d shake
your hand but I’ve got vases coming out my ass Oh, don’t worry. The flowers won’t be here till tomorrow. I know you wanted them very fresh. I just like to scope the place out and see
where things look good the day before.”
course,” Kelly said with a frown. She
followed him down a hall and into a chef’s kitchen that rivaled any she’d seen
in magazines or television. “What time
did you say you were going to be here tomorrow?”
the party’s at eight so we’ll be here at six.
That what we have plenty of time to set the flowers out and be out of
here before your guests arrive.”
guests,” Kelly said quietly to herself.
She circled the kitchen island as Freddie filled vases with crystal
stones and water. “So Freddie, you’re
going to think this is crazy but um….I can’t remember if I told you the theme
for tomorrow night’s party.”
looked at her with a wink. “You sure
did,” he said and then laughed.
did?” she said. “Oh….good. I just didn’t want there to be any
stopping what he was doing, he leaned across the island and gave her another
wink. “We’re very discreet at
Petrows. Gemma was a regular customer of
ours. I’m just glad that someone of your
class has taken over for her. When she
went to prison I was sure we’d never see an account this big again.”
swallowed hard. Gemma? No, it couldn’t
just so you know,” Freddie continued, “we keep very tight books. Even if your name were to come up, no one
would ever know what the flowers were for.
I’m sure you can appreciate discretion in your line of work. You know, with client lists popping up in the
news all the time.”
was too good to be true, Kelly thought with a smile. What on earth had Miranda gotten herself
lists, right….” she said.
know Gemma preferred to call them clients as opposed to johns or…well, tricks,
I suppose. It’s much classier. And everything about Gemma was class. That’s why I think you’re a fabulous
was it, Kelly thought as she turned away from him. There was no question about it. Miranda was a Hollywood madam. Oh how she was going to relish exposing her
to everyone in town, starting with her own family.
direct flight from New Martin to LAX was cramped and crowded, putting Chelsea
Holden in a contemptuous mood immediately after landing. What
part of first class didn't Duke Holden understand?
Wanting nothing more than to get to her hotel
room, shower, and then find Brad and Akilah, she quickly hailed a cab.
the way to Moonshadows, she was reminded of why she hated Los Angeles. Burning cement, blinding sun, and pretentious
people as far as the eye could see. If
it wasn’t for Brad’s impromptu trip there with Akilah, she wouldn’t have
cab deposited her at the door of the hotel and she quickly made her way to the
front desk to check in to her room.
Brad King checked in yet?”
agent referenced her computer before nodding politely. “Yes he has.”
the usual hotel protocol, Chelsea realized the agent wouldn’t openly give her
Brad’s room number, so she played another card. “Great.
I need to be next
We’re here on Colt Records business and it’ll just be easier if we’re in
agent looked at the computer again. “Mr.
King is in a junior suite, but I can get you the room across the hall.”
she said with a smile.
. . . . .
Akilah dropped her purse and keys on the console in the entryway of the
were quiet on the ride back from the studio,” Brad said. “Everything okay?”
just excited,” she admitted. “There’s a
lot going through my mind right now.
Plus I’m missing Matt a little bit.”
smiled while placing the briefcase Hugh gave him on the console table. “Maybe you should go give him a call. I’ll let you know when it’s dinner
think I will,” Akilah said and disappeared into her bedroom.
she’d gone, Brad opened the briefcase and looked at the money inside. With this kind of bread, he could really make
something of himself. He wouldn’t have
to wait for the Hugh Rogers and Caleb Holdens of the world to offer him
jobs. He could make it on his own.
at what cost? Sighing, he picked the gun
up and held it in his hand. The weight
still intimidated him. He wondered how
it would feel to hold it out before him and fire it into Miranda Blackthorne’s
He didn’t hear the tiny gasp that
escaped Chelsea’s throat as she stood in the doorway of the suite. Suitcase in hand, she looked in horror at the
sight of him pointing the gun across the room. Eyes wide and frozen in her
tracks, she tried to decide how to back up out of the room without him seeing
continues on Nightingales # 8
confronts Brad. Meanwhile,
Mackenzie makes plans to go away with James. Complications
arise the night of Miranda's party. And someone
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