Brooke grew jealous of Ethan and
Mackenzie's working relationship. Mackenzie told
an elated James she would go away for the weekend with
him. Brooke and Ethan argued about Kyle, but later made
love. Vaughan Novak promised Alex he wouldn't
represent Kelly as long as Alex went on a date with
him. Kelly told Eddie and Stormy that Miranda
had been working as a madam. Jane quickly came
to Miranda's defense and told them that Hugh Rogers
had been making threats to Miranda. Eddie and
Stormy became incensed by the news, prompting them to
go separately to the party at Gemma's mansion. Chelsea
learned details about Hugh Rogers and coaxed Akilah
to accompany her to the party so they could find out
what Brad was up to. Trevor questioned whether
Brad could go through with Hugh's orders of killing
Miranda but Brad left for the mansion with his gun.
Gemma cautioned Miranda about crossing Hugh Rogers.
Miranda showed up at the mansion and found that
it was empty. In the darkness someone approached
her. Kyle was later attacked outside the Cahuenga
Room at Moonshadows. Later, Brad threw the gun
into the ocean and proclaimed that he'd completed his
task. Stormy and Eddie searched for Miranda, fearing
that Hugh had done something to her. Brad had
nightmares about the night before, then avoided questions
from Trevor about whether or not he killed Miranda.
Trevor revealed that Hugh had been missing since
the night before. When Miranda finally showed
up, Stormy and Eddie blasted her for getting involved
in Gemma's business. Brooke and Kyle found the
dead body of Hugh Rogers hanging in an empty walk-in
freezer at the Cahuenga Room.
Standing in the
service hallway at the Cahuenga Room, Brooke wrapped her arms around herself
while trying to get the image of the man’s frozen body out of her mind. A team of police detectives and crime scene
investigators swarmed the area, caution tape blocking the entrances of the
building so that no one could enter.
Beside her, Kyle watched the events unfold with intense curiosity.
“Are you okay?” he
asked when she began to look a little green.
“Why don’t you go back to the office?
I can handle it here.”
She shook her head,
her back pressed firmly against the wall.
“No, I should be here to make a statement to the press. I’m sure they’ll be here any minute.”
“They already are,”
Kyle said with an apologetic tilt of his head.
“Listen, I can talk to the press.
It’ll be a while before we know anything anyway. We don’t even know who this guy is or how he
Unable to help
herself, Brooke turned and looked inside the freezer again. When she saw the investigators brushing for
fingerprints on the body, his cold dead eyes still staring vacantly at her, blood
droplets around the bullet hole in his forehead, she covered her mouth and
quickly turned away.
“Brooke, just go,”
Kyle said, a gentle hand on her arm.
“I’m fine,” she
asked a voice from behind.
They both turned as
Detective Rodriguez approached, showing them his badge and pulling a small
notepad from his breast pocket.
“What have you
found, Detective?” Kyle asked. “Any
idea who this guy was?”
“His name is Hugh
Rogers,” Rodriguez explained to them.
“Transplant from the east coast.
Police file this thick on him.”
He used his fingers to clarify before continuing. “Law enforcement in three states have been
trying to get something on this guy for quite a while.”
somebody else got to him first,” Kyle said dubiously.
Brooke glared at
him before turning toward Rodriguez.
“How did he get in our freezer?”
“That’s what we’re
trying to figure out. Because his body’s
been frozen, it’s impossible to get an accurate time of death. I understand the restaurant’s been closed for
a couple of days?”
Brooke nodded. “Yes, we had air conditioning problems. We closed it on Tuesday.”
“Could the body
have been there before that?” Rodriguez asked.
“Of course not,”
Brooke said with a frown. “I think we’d
have noticed a corpse in out freezer.”
smiled. “At least that narrows down the
time of death a little more.” He jotted
a few things down on a notepad. “Did
either of you notice anything unusual during the last few days?”
hanging around the club or anything like that?”
“I saw a car parked
by the back door night before last,” Kyle told him. “When I went to investigate someone hit me
over the head. Knocked me out for a good
“Did you report
Kyle shook his
head. “No. When I got up they were gone.”
“Did you get a look
at the car? A plate number or a
no. It was dark. I did notice it had California plates but that’s about all I can
remember. I thought it might have been
kids or something. That or one of the
crew members working on the marina.
Maybe they were doing something in the club and panicked when they saw
me so they jumped me. I don’t
Rodriguez looked at
him warily before jotting a few things down.
“I’m going to need to talk to everyone on that crew, as well as any
employees of the restaurant.”
“Sure,” Kyle said,
then looked over and noted that Brooke was still looking nauseous. “Look, is that all for now? I think I should get Miss Taylor somewhere to
Rodriguez said. “I’ll call you if I have
any more questions.”
Kyle led Brooke
away, silently smirking when he felt her wrap her arm around his waist.
“This place is
never dull, is it?” Chip Matthews asked with a grin when he came up behind
Mason outside the front of the building where a mass of onlookers had
“That’s for sure,”
Mason mused, watching the team of investigators flocking in and out of the
building. “Any of your guys see
“Not that I’m aware
of,” Chip told him. “I was actually
about to ask you if this was your
“What do you mean?”
He shrugged. “Well, you did say that you were going to
orchestrate delays in the marina expansion so that Moonshadows would go
bankrupt. Doesn’t look like we’ll be
getting any work done today.”
Mason watched as
Chip’s crew members were questioned by investigators. “Murder wasn’t exactly what I had in mind,”
he mused. “This wasn’t my doing. Call it a coincidence.”
“It could still
work to your benefit, though,” Chip said.
“How do you
mean?” He turned and looked at him.
“Word has it some
guests are already checking out after hearing what happened. We just might not have to lift a finger. This place could go bankrupt all on its
Mason raised an
eyebrow with the realization that his friend could be right. Bad luck did seem to plague the oceanside resort. And
the fact that Hugh Rogers was dead and he’d met with him only days before
didn’t escape him.
said to himself.
“Hugh Rogers gave
me ammunition to use against Senator Nordquist so I could secure our variance,”
Mason revealed. “Now Rogers winds up dead. Doesn’t take a scientist to figure out the
Senator got pissed and went looking for revenge.”
After the way Eddie
had stormed out of the mansion, Miranda knew that she had to talk to him. She had to make him understand why she took
Gemma up on her offer to act as her replacement. She would never have done it knowing she’d
be putting her baby in jeopardy.
“Wait, what are you
going to say to him?” Jane asked and pulled her back into the foyer.
Miranda pulled away
from her friend. “What do you mean? I’m going to tell him the truth. I’m going to tell him why I did what I
“About working as a
madam or about what we did last night?” Jane asked pointedly, a deadpan
expression on her taut face.
glanced out the door where Eddie was pulling away in his car. “No, of course I’m not going to tell him
about last night,” she whispered. “If
anyone found out, I could be in serious trouble – a hell of a lot more than
being busted for peddling prostitutes.”
“You mean we could both be in trouble,” Jane said. “You didn’t act alone, remember?”
“I won’t let you
take the fall for any of this, Jane. You
warned me not to get involved in the first place. I should have listened to you.”
Jane looked away
thoughtfully. “He got what he deserved,
insisted. “Hugh Rogers was scum.”
Jane’s eyes began
to tear up. “But nobody deserved to end
up like that.”
began, taking her by the arm and looking into her eyes. “We did what he had to do. If we hadn’t, other
people would have
suffered because of that man.
tearfully, turning as Stormy came back down the stairs. She knew he was furious with her for keeping
Miranda’s secret. She had to try to
change that. There were too many secrets
going on as it was.
“I’m gonna go talk
to Eddie,” Miranda said, squeezing her hand once more before flying out the
After she’d gone,
Stormy approached Jane in the foyer.
“What are you still doing here?” he asked.
“I need to talk to
you,” Jane insisted. “I don’t like how
we left things earlier. I need you to
understand why I didn’t tell you about Miranda.”
“I don’t care why,”
Stormy said. “Eddie was right. She put her baby in jeopardy and you helped her
do it. You knew Miranda was in danger
and you didn’t do anything about it.”
“She swore me to
“And look what that
secret has done,” Stormy said. “A man
is dead because of those secrets.”
Jane looked at him
suspiciously. “How did you know-“
“You said a man is
dead.” How could he know? She and
Miranda knew about Hugh Rogers first hand, but how did Stormy know? “Did you go to Gemma’s mansion after I left
the restaurant last night?”
Stormy said dismissively. “Just forget I
“But Stormy-“ Jane
interrupted when Leilani emerged from the back of the house carrying a laundry
basket and Michael following merrily behind.
She didn’t pick up on the tenseness of the situation and approached
“Mr. Stormy, I find
this in the trashcan in the back of the house,” she said and produced a white
Burberry shirt. “This is yours. You don’t want?”
nervously at her. “Oh, I don’t know how
that got in there,” he said, quickly trying to take the shirt back from
her. “Thanks Leilani. I’ll take care of it.”
She released it
from her hands but grabbed it back when she got a look at the sleeve. “Oh,
there’s blood on it,” she said, pointing to a large stain around the cuff. “I can try to get that out. Might not be easy though.”
“Did you hurt
yourself?” Jane asked. “That’s a lot of
“No,” he stammered,
balling the shirt up in his hands. “It’s
fake. We use all types of fake blood at
the studio. I might have gotten some on
me. I’ll just throw it out,
Leilani. That stuff never comes
“I try,” she said
and tugged at the shirt again.
let it go. He looked back at Jane and
saw the suspicious look on her face.
“What is it?” he asked.
“Stormy, where were
you last night?”
“I told you. I was looking for Miranda.”
night. Now if you’re done with the third
degree, I’d like to get to work.”
Before she could
reply, he was flying out the door to his car.
Standing behind, Jane wondered if she and Miranda hadn’t been the only
ones at Gemma’s mansion the night before.
She got the feeling that girl Akilah had been
had been there from when they spoke earlier, and now
she got the same feeling about Stormy.
Miranda sped down
Mulholland in her fire red Porsche.
Eddie was just ahead of her in his car, weaving around tight
snaking through the meandering streets at breakneck speed. She activated the Bluetooth and called his
“What do you want?”
“Pull over so we
can talk,” Miranda insisted.
“No. Stop following me. You’re going to kill yourself.”
She pressed the
pedal to the floor and caught up to him in seconds. “I’m not stopping until you pull over and
talk to me.”
“Miranda, I swear
to God-“ Eddie said, nearly losing control of his car as he rounded a
particularly dangerous curve. He felt
the car skidding and maneuvered back to safety after a great deal of
effort. Angrily, he steered the car to
the shoulder and waited for her to stop behind him before existing the
“Are you crazy?” he
demanded, stalking down the road and approaching her car. “You could have killed me!”
“I told you I
needed to talk to you!” she lamented, climbing out of the car and slamming the
door closed. “Eddie, let me
“Explain that you
put yourself and your baby in jeopardy so you could be in charge of a bunch of
hookers?” he screamed. “What would ever
make you do something like this?”
“I wanted to help
them!” she cried. “I couldn’t let them
work for a man like Hugh Rogers.”
“And in the process
you nearly got yourself killed! Do you
know how worried I was last night when I went to that house and-“
“You were there?”
Miranda asked. “When?”
He backed up and
shook his head. “Kelly told us about the
party so I went there to find you. And
when I showed up-“
asked. “What happened when you showed
up? Eddie, what did you do?”
“Nothing,” he said,
tight-lipped. “Just forget it.”
“I will not forget
changed the subject. “Miranda, where were you
last night? You weren’t at that party
and you didn’t turn up until this morning.”
uneasily. “I told you I was trying to
give you some time to cool off. I knew
that bitch Kelly had ratted me out so I stayed away. Eddie, please can we just go somewhere and
“Are you going to
stop this ridiculous idea of becoming a Hollywood
She looked away,
unwilling to make that promise right now.
She still felt a sense of responsibility with the girls.
“Fine. Let me know when you come to your
She groaned with
frustration when he went back to his car and climbed in. As cars sped past them, he waited for a break
before speeding back out onto the road, dust clouding the air in his wake.
James walked through the Young at Heart soundstages amidst a
tantrum by one of its leading stars. He
witnessed a script being hurled across the room at a cameraman and quickly
dashed down the hall to the safety of Mackenzie’s office.
“Morning,” he said,
ducking inside where the coast was clear.
“Do things seem tense on the set to you at all?”
She stood up from
her desk and shook her head with a sigh.
“I had to inform Elana Hendricks this morning that her screen time was
going from four episodes a week to two.
She’s now threatening to walk.”
“Ouch,” James said
and pulled her into an embrace.
“On top of that, we
still have to eliminate twenty percent of our wardrobe budget and it’s already
impossible to get by on what we have.
This budget crisis is going to be the death of me...or the show, whichever comes first.”
James watched as
she crossed the room and began organizing scripts on the conference table. “Well, the good news is you’ll feel refreshed
after a weekend in the desert. You can
come back on Monday and tackle things with a fresh outlook.”
and looked apologetically at him. “Oh James, I know I said I would go to Palm Springs with you,
but I can’t possibly leave at a time like this.
I thought I could spare the time but things are so out of control.”
He couldn’t hide
his disappointment. “I was really
looking forward to going away with you,” he said. “I really think we need this time,
“I know we do,” she
said. “Believe me, I’d much rather be
with you soaking in a hot tub than here putting up with Elana Hendrick’s
tantrums. But Ethan and I haven’t even
cracked the surface of this budget crisis.”
James sighed. He knew she was dedicated to her career, but
he feared for what would happen to their relationship if they put this trip
off. He had genuine feelings for her and
wanted it to work.
“So bring Ethan
along,” he suggested.
“What? You can’t be serious.”
“Why not? You can get some work done and we’ll still be
able to spend time together away from
She folded her arms
and walked toward him. “Won’t that be
kind of awkward with your nephew under our feet the entire weekend? I’m not exactly sure how alone we would be.”
“The house sleeps
eight,” he informed her. “Brooke can
join him. I’m sure they could use time
away together too. We can make it a
considered his solution to their problem, Ethan entered the office.
“James, I wasn’t
expecting to see you here this morning.”
“We were just
talking about Palm Springs,”
James told him. “How would you and
Brooke like to join us this weekend?”
“It’s just an
idea,” Mackenzie quickly chimed in. “It
actually just came up. Personally, I
think we should postpone the trip until after we’re done crunching these
“Actually, a few
days away might be just what we need,” Ethan said. “A different scene could help us get over
this slump with the budget. Plus I know
Brooke’s been overworked lately-“
“Great, then it’s
settled,” James said. “We’ll leave this
Mackenzie looked at
Ethan uneasily. She didn’t know why she
felt so wary about the idea of going away with Ethan and Brooke, but she
did. Her willingness to make things work
with James, however, prompted her to forget her worries and go with it. After all, it was only one weekend.
“Are you sure
you’re okay?” Kyle asked when he led Brooke into her office and handed her a
glass of water. “You’re looking kind of
“Forgive me if I
haven’t quite become immune to the sight of a dead body,” she told him while
falling back onto the cushions of the sofa.
She shivered and set the plastic cup down. “I feel sick.”
Quickly, Kyle said
down beside her and placed a hand on her leg.
When she didn’t appear to oppose, he decided to see how far he could go before
she did. “Do you want to go home? I can certainly handle things here for the
rest of the day.”
She covered her
face with her hands. “I’ll never forget
the look on that man’s face.
Never!” She turned and buried her
face in his chest.
Taking her cue,
Kyle put his arms around her and held her tightly. The feel of her body close to his caused his
heart to beat furiously inside his chest.
Her intoxicating scent and the softness of her skin sent feeling of
desire surging through his body. How
he craved the days when he could have her anytime he
But all too
quickly, it was over. Brooke pulled
away, wiped her eyes, and looked at him guardedly. “I’m sorry,” she said, rising from the sofa
and smoothing the front of her skirt.
“It’s okay,” Kyle
said and followed her to her feet.
Just then, the door
opened and Ethan entered. They both
turned and looked at him quickly when they noticed his presence.
said. “I’m not interrupting, am I?”
said. “Just strategizing about the
Ethan went to her
and pulled her into an embrace. His eyes
flickered past Kyle’s as if to ward him off.
“Well I’ve got just the thing to sooth your worries.”
“How about a
weekend in Palm Springs?” Ethan asked.
Brooke’s face lit
up. “That sounds great. I’d love to get away for a while. When?”
“We leave this
afternoon,” he told her.
Brooke asked. “Ethan, you couldn’t have
picked a worse time. With everything else going on, we found a
dead body in the Cahuenga Room today.
The police are combing the grounds as we speak. I couldn’t possibly leave now.”
Kyle felt a sense
of relief wash over him. The thought of
her going out of town with Ethan for the weekend plagued him with
“A dead body?”
Ethan asked. “Who? When?”
“Some crime boss,”
Brooke said with a dismissive waive of her hand. “There’s no telling how long he’s been
there. Guests have been checking out
since it happened. It’s a
“I’m so sorry you
had to go through that,” Ethan said and kissed her tenderly. “Are you okay?”
She nodded and
attempted a smile. “I’ll be okay.” She could feel Kyle’s eyes burning into her
from behind. The fact that she was in
his arms moments ago wasn’t lost on her.
Why did it seem he was always around when she needed someone?
capable of taking care of things around here while you’re gone,” Ethan told
her. “I really think we need this time
away, Brooke. Please say you’ll come.”
briefly. “What about Michael?”
“Leilani can watch
him,” he said.
She looked briefly
at Kyle. She didn’t know if she expected
him to protest, or if she was simply trying to gauge his reaction, but the
smoldering look in his eyes was all the convincing she needed. She had to get away from him before she did
something she would regret. A repeat of
the night in her office with him could not happen again.
said. “I’ll go home and get
Kyle seethed with
anger when Ethan flashed him a triumphant stare. He knew what he was flaunting his and
Brooke’s reunion, and he wasn’t going to let him get away with it.
through the lobby of the Beverly Hills Hotel to meet Marilee for a late lunch, Alex
spotted a group of people gathering around a bank of seating in the
corner. She paused and peered through
the crowd, realizing it must be a celebrity sighting because all she could see
was a flurry of pens exchanging hands and the glare of camera flashes.
the crowd began to part, a few stragglers approached her for an autograph,
which she politely obliged. Then she
looked up and saw the celebrity they’d been flocking around. Quickly, she turned in an attempt to
over here,” called Nathan Blackthorne.
groaned and turned back toward him. “I
have nothing to say to you,” she said.
must you be like that?” Nathan said.
“What’s the harm in sharing a drink with an old friend? Come.
Join me in this beautiful banquette.”
will certainly not,” Alex gasped.
“Forgive me, but I don’t drink with convicts and pedophiles and
rapists. Particularly not ones who made
me look like a fool for so many years.”
have I made you look like a fool?” Nathan asked.
family didn’t believe me that you raped me,” she admonished. “My marriage to James fell apart because of
that night with you at the mansion. I
lost everything because of you.”
we just let that go? I would have
thought that we could start over.
Particularly after the loss that I’ve suffered recently. Are you still going to treat me with such
hostility after my daughter died in such a violent manner?”
never cared anything about Sierra, you cretin,” Alex said. “I curse the day I told her that you were
her father. For once I should have kept
my nose out of things that didn’t concern me.”
loved Sierra very much,” Nathan said.
“If I’d have gotten to know her I believe we could have been father and
daughter. But Renee couldn’t allow it.”
may have been one of the smarter things Renee ever did,” Alex said.
eyes glazing over her, Nathan seemed to change subjects with gleeful
abandon. “Did you hear about my return
to the big screen?” he asked. “Principal
photography on The Benefactor begins
in two weeks.”
comeback?” Alex asked. “Like the ill-fated
attempt of yours and Victors to remain relevant with Donnie & Johnny? No
offense to James or Stormy, but I imagine this one going straight to
isn’t a good look for you,” Nathan told her.
“Just because your comeback failed doesn’t mean mine will. My goodness, how could you have concentrated
on a career with all the pill popping and baby stealing going on? Well, rest assured, I’m prime for a return to
Hollywood. My interview will be on E.T. tomorrow
night. You should try to catch it.”
rather catch the plague,” Alex said haughtily before turning and storming
Alex,” Nathan called after her. “I was
so sorry to hear your latest reconciliation with Jordan failed. I guess your career isn’t the only thing you
can’t revive these days.”
and I are taking a break,” she told him.
course. But I’d be careful if I were
you. With Lola living with him now, she
could make things difficult for you. You
know what a fan she is of yours.”
at his sarcastic remark, she turned and walked toward the Polo Lounge to meet
Marilee. She had no idea that Lola had
moved out of the retirement village and in with Jordan. Not that she expected him to tell her. Their break seemed more permanent with every
day that passed.
walked into his hotel room and turned on the light. As he did, he heard the cocking of a
gun. Standing frozen in his tracks, he
raised his hands so as not to startle whoever had made their way into his
around,” a voice said from behind.
Brad did as they instructed. When he saw
Trevor standing before him holding a gun at him, he began to panic.
the hell-“ he began.
up,” Trevor ordered. “Suppose you tell
me what the hell went wrong last night.”
were supposed to kill Miranda Blackthorne,” Trevor interrupted him. “You said you could handle it. It was as good as done, you said. So if that’s the case, then why is Hugh’s
body laying in the morgue instead of hers?”
don’t know,” Brad stammered. “Look, I
went to the house but I-“
happened at the house?”
was dark. I went in and….I don’t
how did my boss wind up in a freezer at a resort across town?” Trevor
frowned in confusion. “I don’t
know. I don’t know what you’re talking
talked to Hugh last night at around eight o’clock. He was pissed at you. He said you couldn’t be trusted to do
anything. Next thing I know he’s got a
bullet in his head.”
I don’t know!”
pushed him across the room and slammed him against the wall. “I need answers. If you think I’m going forget about the deal
you made with Hugh, you’re wrong. Miranda Blackthorne is still alive. You’ve still got a job to do.”
let a few gasps of air escape his throat.
“What? You still want her dead?”
what he paid you for. If it doesn’t
happen soon, I’m coming back for that money.”
I just want out. I want to forget that-“
“You’re so far in that you’ll never get out,”
Trevor warned him. “So you’d better get
your story straight and figure out what the hell happened last night or the
next visit to the morgue is going to be yours.”
one final look of warning, Trevor holstered his gun and left the suite. Brad breathed a sigh of relief and sunk to
the floor, his head between his hands. What
was he going to do? He could disappear
but Trevor would track him down. He was
Blackthorne needed money. She’d burned
through anything she’d made from Angel
Assassin 2, and Neil Winslow hadn’t given her a cent, so she was beginning
to feel desperate. Stormy certainly
wouldn’t give her anything other than the roof she had over her head,
particularly now that she’d made a scapegoat out of his sister.
passed a second hand couture shop on Melrose
a few days before, and decided she’d have to hock some of her clothes. But after a quick glance through her closet,
she realized she didn’t have much that was worth anything. Quietly, she crept down the hall into
Miranda’s room and went to her closet.
she murmured to herself, in awe at the racks of designer clothes that lined the
enormous walk-in. She decided it was
bigger than her entire apartment back in Manhattan.
grabbed hangers of clothes from the back, thinking they were probably older and
wouldn’t be worn as often. But the
labels themselves were worth a fortune. Gucci, Prada, and a hundred handbags
that she never saw her using. She
probably wouldn’t miss them if some of them disappeared.
her arms full, she looked down toward the back of the closet and found the
beaded gown they’d fought over at the boutique a few days before. The sight of the garment enraged her all over
again. She couldn’t resist spiting her
by hocking it for way less than she probably paid. Balancing herself under the weight of the
clothes, she knelt down and picked the dress up. Beneath it a gold medallion rested on the
carpet. Frowning, Kelly picked it up and
looked at it in the light.
doesn’t look like Miranda’s taste,” she said to herself. But with the realization that if Miranda
bought it, it must be worth a ton, she added it to the pile and made her way
out of the room.
down the hall, she neared her bedroom door when a voice from behind startled
her. Several items from her loot fell to
the floor and she turned around, cringing.
the hell do you think you’re doing?” Miranda asked, glowering furiously at
her. “Are those my clothes?”
picked one of the items up from the floor.
An iridescent blue halter top she bought at a boutique in Rome. “Liar.
This is mine.” She ravaged
through the rest of the pile. “These are
all mine! What do you think you’re doing?”
helping my mother with the dry cleaning,” she said defensively. “God, will you back up?”
until you give me my clothes back, you lying skank!” Miranda shrieked.
up with her tirade, Kelly lifted her arms and let the pile drop to the
floor. “Fine,” she said, turning and
attempting to walk away.
so fast,” Miranda said and went after her.
“You were seriously going to steal my clothes?
Did you honestly think I wouldn't find out?"
know what, Miranda? I’m sick to death of
your holier than thou attitude. So I
took a few things from your closet. Like
you’d even miss them. Bloomingdales has
less inventory than you do.”
folded her arms and glared heatedly at her.
I think pandering prostates constitutes a little more of an offense than
hocking some of your clothes,” Kelly went on.
“I’m sure it’ll be no time before Eddie washes his hands completely of
you. If he hasn’t already.”
Hilo Hattie, why don’t you stay the hell out of my life?” Miranda snarled. “What is it with you anyway? You’re so unahappy that you have to make
everyone else miserable to?”
got you back for setting me up for stealing those earrings,” Kelly
replied. “I’ve never been happier. Just knowing that you resorted to something
as low as prostitution is enough to keep me going for a while.”
didn’t sleep with anyone. But I guess
you left that part out when you did your little smear campaign.”
you’re a whore of a different color?”
drew her hand back and slapped her hard across the face. Kelly reeled from the blow, holding her hand
over her cheek as the sting burned through her skin.
me alone,” Miranda went on. “Don’t even
look at me from now on because I swear to God one wrong move and I’ll obliterate
scoffed and darted down the hall to her bedroom. After she’d gone, Miranda looked down at the
pile of clothes. She detected something
gold and shiny and bent down to pick up the medallion. With a frown, she turned it around in her
hand. She hadn’t remembered seeing it
before. So where did it come from?
“Where have you
demanded as she and Akilah slipped into the booth across from Brad. “We’ve been trying to find you since last
around to ensure no one was within earshot, he lowered his sunglasses and
leaned across the table at them.
two shouldn’t be here,” he said.
else should we be?” Akilah demanded.
just shouldn’t be seen with me. Just
don’t care! Go to Titan and work on some
tracks or something. I don’t care.”
Chelsea rolled her eyes
and whispered across the table at him.
“Brad, let’s just go back to New Martin.
Let’s just forget about this whole disaster of a trip.”
can leave whenever you want to, Chelsea,”
he insisted. “Akilah and I have to stay
for a few more days.”
you couldn’t wait to get out of here,” Akilah said with a frown. “What’s with the one-eighty?”
closed his eyes briefly. The truth was,
he didn’t want to attract too much attention.
Too many people already knew he was there. Stormy, Trevor, not to mention Caleb back in
New Martin. If he left now, they’d
do this for me, please,” he finally said.
began. “We know you were at that house
last night. We know you were had some
kind of deal going with Hugh Rogers. You
had a gun. Now today we find out he’s
don’t know what you’re talking about,” he insisted. “Look, Chelsea,
stay or go. I don’t really care. But Akilah and I have work to do.”
that, he got up and stormed through the bar.
They looked at each other knowingly and sat in silence for a few
you think he’s telling the truth?” Chelsea
don’t know!” Akilah snapped. “We were
together the whole time! How would I
know anything different than you?”
if Brad saw us there?” Chelsea
didn’t,” Akilah maintained, swooping into her purse for her phone. “We would have known if he’d seen us.”
else would he be trying to get rid of me?” Chelsea demanded. “He’s trying to pin something on me by saying
I left town after this guys’ corpse turned up.”
dug her elbows into the table and rubbed her eyes. "This
is all such a mess. I wish I'd never come here."
if Brad insists on staying for any amount of time, you're
going to miss your wedding rehearsal this week."
no,” Akilah said, continuing to dig through her purse.
phone’s missing,” Akilah said, desperately scouring through tubes of lipstick,
compacts, and empty gum wrappers for her cell.
“What if Matt tries to call?”
can use mine." Chelsea grabbed her phone
and saw that the battery was low. "After
I find a charger, that is."
Chelsea looked at her
a minute. Forget Matt. Where did you leave your
looked up and thought back to the night before.
“I remember having it when we got to the mansion. Remember I used the flashlight app?”
about after that?” Chelsea asked in a panic.
don’t know,” Akilah told her. “I don’t
remember seeing is since then.”
said and slid out of the booth. “If you
left it at the mansion and the police find it, you’re in big trouble.“
in big trouble,” Akilah reminded her.
“It was your idea to go there in the first place, remember?”
Chelsea nodded in
agreement. “What about that girl? The one you know from Marquette Cove?”
“Farrah? That skank?
What about her?”
saw me there, Akilah. She knows I was at
the mansion. What if she tells
someone? We could both be in a lot of
was pacing his office at Titan Records when Eddie walked in, glancing nervously
behind before closing the door. When
Stormy turned and saw him, he jumped.
you scared me,” he said, placing a hand on his chest. “What are you doing?”
sure no one followed me,” Eddie said, sliding along the wall across the
Stormy asked with an incredulous frown.
don’t know. I just am. Jeez.
Anyway, sorry I ran off like that earlier.”
sighed and sat down at his desk. “You
probably wanted to get away from Miranda and Jane’s lies every bit as much as I
yes. But also I didn’t want them knowing
the truth about last night.”
truth about what?” Stormy asked. “Eddie,
what happened when you got to Gemma’s mansion last night?”
looked out the window, his back to him.
“What makes you think I went to Gemma’s?”
when you left Kelly and I at the restaurant you were ticked off about what
Miranda had been up to. I figured you
went there to talk to her.”
Eddie turned, he dug his hands in his pockets.
“I made a stop and then I went to see her, yes.”
what happened when you got there?
Someone canceled the party. None
of Miranda’s girls or her clients were there.”
looked at him suspiciously. “How did you
know the party was canceled unless you went to the mansion?”
few moments of silence followed . When
the door opened and Jane entered in a hurry, they both looked at her.
we have to talk,” she said, then stopped when she saw Eddie by the window. “Sorry.
I didn’t know you weren’t alone.”
I really don’t feel like talking right now,” Stormy insisted. He went through the motions of arranging
papers on her desk in an effort to avoid looking at her. “I’m still pissed about your decision to keep
quiet about my sister’s recent activities.”
I’m sorry,” she said. “I don’t know how
many more times I can say it. But
listen, I have to talk to you about last night.
I’m going crazy. If I don’t tell
about last night?” Stormy asked. “What do
what do you know?” Eddie repeated.
brushed a lock of golden blond hair from her eyes and moved closer. “I saw the blood on your shirt, Stormy. I know you were there when Hugh Rogers got
shot. I know you don’t expect me to buy
that story about fake blood from the studio.”
Eddie asked. “Where did the blood come
Stormy got up and walked around to the other side of the desk. “All right, I was there. After I left Kelly at the restaurant I started
driving home but I decided to see if I could talk to Miranda. When I got to the house, it was empty.”
where did the blood come from?” Jane asked, folding her arms.
went into one of the rooms downstairs and found blood on the floor,” he explained. “When I bent down to get a closer look I
guess some of it got on my sleeve."
then what happened?” Jane asked.
shrugged. “I left. I looked around the house but didn’t find
anything. I spent the rest of the night
driving around looking for Miranda. I
was scared to death that Hugh Rogers killed her and that it was her blood I
it was Hugh’s blood on the living room floor,” Eddie said.
both looked at him curiously. “I never
said it was in the living room,” Stormy told him. “How would you have known that?”
looked nervously at them and backed up to the window again. “I was there too,” he said. “Only earlier. When I got to the mansion no one was
there. No one alive, anyway.”
do you mean no one alive?” Jane inquired.
saw Hugh’s body,” he confessed. “He’d
narrowed his eyes on him and walked toward him.
“He was dead?”
than a doornail.”
then when I showed up sometime later, he was gone. How did he get moved to the freezer at
shrugged. “Someone moved him.”
moved him,” Stormy surmised in a panic.
“Eddie, did you kill him because he’d been threatening Miranda? Were you so worried about her that you’d take
told you I showed up and he was dead,” Eddie replied defensively. "I didn’t feel like sticking around and
hanging out with a corpse so I left.
When I turned on the news this morning and they said they found him in
the freezer, I was as shocked as anyone.”
didn’t believe him. He hated thinking it
but he knew how devoted Eddie was to his sister. He’d been in love with her since high school.
There was a chance it could be his baby Miranda was carrying. He know the lengths he’d go to to protect
did you go after you left the restaurant?” Stormy asked. “I mean, why didn’t you go right to the
mansion? If you were so worried, you
would have gone right there.”
appeared to struggle with his answer. “I
just had to stop somewhere first, okay?”
went to get a gun, didn’t you?” Stormy asked, shaking his head in
disbelief. “Jesus Christ, you killed
that man. I knew it.”
didn’t kill anyone,” Eddie insisted.
“But if you’re asking if I felt Miranda or our baby were threatened
enough, would I consider it? Yes. I would.
I would have killed him in a heartbeat if he’d hurt either of them.”
listened intently, now more sure than ever that she couldn’t say anything about
last night. Eddie couldn’t have killed Hugh
Rogers. She was very certain of that.
was early that evening when they arrived at the house in Palm Springs.
James and Mackenzie pulled up to the sprawling mid-century house
first. Behind them, Ethan maneuvered his
car to a halt and slowly turned the key to the off position. Sitting in the passenger’s seat, Brooke
stared through the windshield with her arms folded angrily across her
I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t think to
mention it before. I didn’t think it
would matter that much to you.”
she shot him a penetrating glare. “You
didn’t think it would matter that you invited me on a weekend to the desert
with James and Mackenzie? I thought this
was supposed to be a chance for us to get away together.”
is,” Ethan insisted. He gestured to the
house. “The place has seven
bedrooms. We don’t even have to see them
if we don’t want to. Brooke, come
on. I’m trying here.”
sighed and looked into her lap. “I just
wish you would have told me, that’s all.
I feel blindsided, Ethan. It’s
like you have no regard for my feelings.”
is not true. Your feelings are all I ever think about anymore. Why don’t you just admit what this is really
about? You don’t like Mackenzie. You hate that I’m working with her and you
hate the idea of spending the weekend with her.”
try to turn this into a grudge,” Brooke cautioned him. “This is about common courtesy.”
what do you want to do?” he asked. “Do
you want to leave? Because if you do, we
can drive back to L.A.
and forget all about spending time together because God knows you’ll probably
lock yourself up in your office all weekend.”
I don’t want to leave,” she said after a certain amount of hesitation. “We’re here.
We might as well make the best of it.”
hoped that she meant what she said. The
last thing he wanted this weekend to turn into was a big fight. He shoved the car door open and stepped out
onto the glaring pavement.
hasn’t changed much,” James called while taking bags from the car.
great,” Ethan said, flashing Brooke a look while pulling their bags from the
walked around the car, gathering her briefcase and assorted other
belongings. “James, this place is
beautiful. I can’t wait to see the
come on,” he said and guided her to the door.
“I’ll show you around.”
all walked into the house and set their bags on the marble floors. Stark modern furniture was sprinkled
throughout the ranch style home. They
entered the kitchen where there were glimmering shadows from the swimming pool.
called ahead and had the groundskeeper stock the kitchen,” James alerted them
while opening the refrigerator. “We
should be set for the weekend. How does
everyone feel about kebobs for dinner?”
sounds great,” Brooke said. She decided
to make a concentrated effort to be positive about the weekend despite her
went to the table and unpacked her briefcase.
“I thought Ethan and I could get some work done before dinner,” she
said. “I hope nobody minds. I’m not exactly a whiz in the kitchen
James said. “Brooke and I can play chef
for the night. Right Brooke?”
looked at him, mouth gaping, then turned to Ethan. “You’re going to be working?”
things could escalate into another argument, he led her out of the room. “We just have a little bit of budget stuff to
figure out,” he told her. “It won’t take
long. I promise.”
said this weekend was about us spending time together,” she said angrily as she
pushed a lock of blond hair from her forehead.
“First I find out we’re here with those two, and now I find out you’re
planning on working all weekend. Forgive
me if I don’t see how any of this is going to bring us closer together.”
you please just listen to me?” Ethan protested.
shook her head and put her hands up defensively. “You know what? It doesn’t matter. Just go be Mackenzie’s slave and I’ll cook dinner like the good
little woman. Just tell her to be
careful. I’d hate for her to choke on a
that, she stormed back into the kitchen.
Ethan sighed and shook his head in frustration. He realized he’d handled things badly with
her, but her reaction was extreme even for her. He wondered if she was on edge about
her failed attempt at hocking Miranda’s clothes for money, Kelly decided it was
time to do something to secure her future.
She could feel the heavy thumb of Stormy’s wrath about to weigh down on
her, so her easy ride at the Blackthorne mansion was probably nearing an
end. And when that happened, she would
have no money to fall back on.
to call upon a recent new acquaintance, she dressed in her most revealing
outfit that boasted an impossibly short hemline and an abundance of
enterprising cleavage. With dangerously
high heels and her hair teezed into oblivion, she knocked on the door of the
palatial home in Beverly Hills.
Blackthorne,” Vaughan Novak said with surprise upon opening the door. “This is an unexpected surprise.”
certainly is,” she said from the porch.
“I had no idea this was your house.”
Vaughan frowned. “I’m sorry.
Aren’t you here to see me?”
gestured down the street. “My car broke
down a block away and my phone died. I
knocked on the place across the street but no one was home.”
Victor Distefano’s house,” Vaughan
informed her. “Nobody lives there.”
well I’m glad I tried your door next,” Kelly said with a coquettish smile.
Vaughan returned her
smile. “Would you like to use the
you,” she said and slithered inside the expansive foyer. “I hope I’m not disturbing you.”
at all,” Vaughan
replied. He couldn’t deny how attractive
the young woman was. She smelled of
Georgio, which amused him. Cheap perfume
always smelled incredibly alluring on exotic women.
really want to thank you for being so nice to me a few weeks ago when we met at
Benji’s funeral,” she said, lingering by the phone but making no attempt at
using it. “I felt so awkward being
there. But I suppose if I hadn’t gone
the Blackthornes would have found a way to use it against me.”
can be difficult,” Vaughan
said, forcing his hands in his pockets to hide his erection. “I understand you’re still living there
despite your divorce from Stormy.”
staying for our son,” she said, leaning against a console table and allowing
her skirt to creep slowly up her thighs.
“It’s just hard because I don’t want to take anything from the
Blackthornes. I want to make my own way,
said slowly, speaking more about the fact that she wasn’t wearing underwear
than he was about her future plans.
knew he was checking her out, which told her that her plan was working
perfectly. Seduce the biggest talent
agent in town, and all the most sought after parts would be hers.
turned and picked up a picture frame that rested on the table. “Is this your son?” she asked, looking at the
picture of Sheldon.
Vaughan nodded and
stepped forward. “Yes, that’s
smiled again. “I see he gets his good
looks from his father.” A quick check to
see his reaction. She decided to step up
her efforts by slipping out of her shoe and playfully dragging her toes along
the surface of his leg.
nice of you to say,” Vaughan
said sheepishly, his face flushed. “And
you’re a very attractive woman, Mrs. Blackthorne.”
the look in his eyes, Kelly could see that she had him exactly where she wanted
him. She stepped forward and stopped
inches from him. Looking up into his
eyes, she playfully ran her finger over her lips. “I guess I should call the auto club.”
looked down at her, his breathing labored with excitement over the close
proximity of their bodies. “Or you could
stay for a little while,” he suggested with a knowing look in his eyes. “Sheldon’s out with friends for the day.”
love to stay.” She looked down at the
tell-tale tenting in his pants and then grinned mischievously. Moving her hands to his waistband, she
paused and looked at him again. “Do you
Vaughan ran a
hand over his sweaty face. “No,
Kelly unfastened his belt and lowered his zipper, loud knocking at the door
startled him and he pulled away.
he said, zipping back up.
rid of them,” Kelly said.
“Vaughan, it’s Alex!”
called a voice from outside followed by another knock and two rings of the
shit,” he repeated.
is she doing here?” Kelly demanded angrily.
find out,” he told her and opened a door in the foyer. “Here, hide inside here until I get rid of
she shrieked. “I’m not hiding in the
just for a minute,” he insisted, ushering her through the door and quickly
closing it. Once she was safely out of
view, he composed himself and went to open the door. “Alex, this is a surprise.”
go out with you,” she said.
beg your pardon?”
made up my mind. I’ll go to dinner with
you.” Her conversation with Nathan had
made her realize that waiting around for Jordan was a lost cause. She was tired of feeling dead inside. She was still relatively young. There was no reason she shouldn’t see other
said. “Tomorrow night?”
she said. “Pick me up at my apartment at
the other side of the door to the basement, Kelly lingered on the top step,
angrily listening to their conversation.
She became incensed over the fact that she was seconds away from blowing
him and now he was making dinner plans with Alex Reynolds.
not to look behind her at the darkness of the ominous basement, she folded her
arms and bided her time. When she heard
noises coming from below, however, chills ran up and down her spine.
she turned and looked down the stairs.
“Hello?” she whispered to the darkness.
“Is someone there?”
noises, followed by the door opening and daylight finally revealing
itself. The sight of Vaughan standing there semi-hard incensed her
enough to forget about the strange noises.
Instead, she barreled toward him and looked around to ensure Alex was
the hell was that?’ she lamented. “Tell
me you’re not going out with Alex Reynolds.”
asked her days ago,” Vaughan
admitted. He decided against telling her
that he’d made the invitation in exchange for agreeing not to help Kelly with
her career. “How was I supposed to know
you were going to stop by and-“
what?” she asked. “You know what? Forget it.
I want nothing to do with that woman and I want nothing to do with you. This whole thing was a bad idea.”
Vaughan followed her to
the door. “You can’t just leave me like
this,” he said and looked down to this crotch.
over his nerve, she went to a vase of flowers resting on the center table and
dumped the stems onto the floor. Before
he knew what hit him, she dumped the water from inside on his crotch and
slammed the vase down again.
should cool you off for a while,” she said before turning and storming out of
his office at police headquarters, Detective Rodriguez made notes about the
murder investigation. So far there was
not much to go on. A frozen stiff in a
cooler, no fingerprints or fibers on the body to speak of, and no clue as to
where the murder was actually committed.
probably had more enemies than he could shake a stick at, making the list of
potential suspects plentiful. When
nothing turned up at Moonshadows, he sent patrol officers out to question some
of the prostitutes who worked for him.
his phone rang, he answered it hastily.
guy you’re looking for frequents the Beverly Wilshire,” an anonymous voice came
over the line. “Room 1305.”
guy?” Rodriguez asked, his interest suddenly peaking.
senator who enjoys action on the side,” the called revealed. “You could
say he made an enemy out of Hugh
Rodriguez could say another word, the caller hung up.
his cabana at Moonshadows, Mason hung up the phone with a smile. He swirled the ice around in his glass of
vodka and soda and took a heaping gulp.
Satisfied with his performance, he walked across the small room and
picked up the evening edition of the paper.
Hugh’s murder was front page.
Just what he needed to plague Moonshadows with more problems. With any luck, he wouldn’t have to lift a
finger to drive Brooke Taylor out of business.
Society would do it for him. And
when Senator Nordquists’s involvement with Hugh
Rogers and with prostitutes came out, his position on the Coastal Commission
would be compromised. Bad luck was about
to plague the sprawling beach resort.
And he’d be one step closer to becoming filthy rich with oil.
that thing with your tongue again,” Jim Nordquist said as he lay naked on the
bed with Farrah. “You know, the thing
you did earlier.”
Farrah twisted away from him. “Again?”
on,” he said sheepishly while tracing a finger down her cleavage. “Just one more time.”
what you said the last time. I’m getting
paid by the hour, remember?”
good for it. I promise. Just once
more. You drive me crazy, Farrah. You’re the best girl of Miranda’s I’ve had
yet. How do you know how to do these
she could protest, there was a loud knock at the door. They both sat up in a panic, staring blankly
across the room while waiting for another knock.
Nordquist,” called a booming voice from the hall. “This is the police. Open up immediately.”
Jim said, hopping off the bed and quickly pulling on his pants. “It’s the fucking police. How the fuck did they know I was here with
don’t know,” Farrah said, hurriedly pulling on a camisole and a pair of
matching panties. “Should I hide?”
question proved futile when the door opened and Detective Rodriguez entered
with a uniformed police office. Behind
them, a hotel security guard hovered in the hall.
Nordquist?” the detective asked, flashing his badge.
“Yes. Look, I’ve never done this before. Please, you have to believe me. I’m a married man. I have a career.”
Rodriguez wasn’t interested in his extramarital activities. “You’re wanted for questioning in the murder
of Hugh Rogers.”
Nordquist exclaimed. “Murder?”
eyes flashed open wide as she watched the events unfold. How was this possible? She hadn’t seen him at the house the night
before. Could he have snuck into the
mansion and killed Hugh without her knowing?
got the wrong person!” Nordquist said, struggling as the police officer
handcuffed him. “It’s not me you should
be arresting! I wanted him dead but I
didn’t kill him! It’s Miranda Blackthorne
you should be arresting! She’s the
a late dinner, James and Brooke cleaned up the kitchen while Ethan and
Mackenzie worked outside at the patio table.
Brooke couldn’t help but stare outside through the glass doors at them,
blazing flames from the fire pit darting into the sky and providing light for
them to work by. As she dried a plate
with a hand towel, she grew more aggravated by the minute. The whole weekend away seemed pointless to
her now. They weren’t alone. They weren’t even together. She would have been better off staying home
and letting Ethan and Mackenzie go away together. Her mind started to wander, taking her back
to Moonshadows and the craziness going on there.
James said, trying to snap her out of her daze.
she asked, finally turning from the window.
smiled. “That dish has been dry for ten
minutes,” he told her and took the plate from her. He knew her well enough to know she was
upset. “You’re not happy about this
weekend, are you?”
she turned and leaned against the kitchen island. “It’s not exactly what I envisioned when
Ethan suggested we go away together.”
partially my fault,” he admitted. “I
wanted to get away with Mackenzie so bad that I suggested she kill two birds
with one stone and have you and Ethan come along so they could work.”
just the way he went about it,” she confessed.
“I don’t like being blindsided.”
regarded her carefully while pouring them each a glass of wine. “Things haven’t been easy for you since Ethan
came back, I know.”
make me sound so needy,” she said with a chuckle. “Honestly, James, I hate being that way. It’s not my way or the highway. I just thought it would have been easier by
now. But instead of growing closer, we
seem to be growing further apart. All we
do is argue.”
what are you arguing about?”
she said while drawing her glass across the counter. “Kyle, Mackenzie, Michael, our jobs. Sometimes I wonder what we ever had
shouldn’t have to remind you how in love you were,” James said. While her and Ethan’s romance had been at his
expense, he no longer harbored ill feelings about it. He regretted his controlling ways while he
and Brooke were married because in the end their unraveling was partially his
why can’t we get to that place again?” she wondered aloud. “What is so damned difficult about admitting
how we feel to each other? If we were
meant to be together, no one else should matter.”
took a sip of his wine and stared into his glass for a few reflective
moments. “I hate to say this, but have
you ever wondered if maybe your feelings have changed?”
prospect turned her stomach into knots.
She felt pained by the idea that she and Ethan weren’t really meant to
be together. By the notion that they’d
grown apart. How could that be possible
after everything they’d gone through to be together?
sorry,” James said, now regretting having said anything. “I’m probably wrong.”
not,” she said. “He went through a lot
in the year and a half that he was away.
We both did. We’re not the same
people we were before the earthquake.”
reached across the table and placed a hand on hers. “You’ll figure it out,” he said. “You always have.”
smiled and embraced him warmly. When her
cell phone rang, she wiped a tear from her eyes and went to retrieve it. By the display, she could see that it was
she said after answering. “Is everything
fine,” he said from his house in Malibu. He stood on the terrace overlooking the
turbulent ocean, bare-chested as the warm ocean breeze enveloped him.
the latest on Hugh Rogers?” she wanted to know.
police are still investigating,” he replied and turned to lean against the
railing. “They do know he wasn’t killed
at Moonshadows. Somebody moved him there
after he was already dead.”
sighed and rubbed her eyes. “God, I
can’t believe something like this is happening at Moonshadows. Have guests still been checking out?"
seems to have leveled off,” he replied, running a hand over his chest. “Look, I called because Renee faxed some
forms from Monte Carlo
that she needs your signature on.”
kind of forms?”
shrugged. “I think they’re pertaining to
the marina expansion. In order to
release more funds into the project, it needs signatures from both of you.”
Brooke said. “Well, can you fax them to
me?” She covered the phone with her hand
and looked at James. “Do you have a
shook his head apologetically.
“Sorry. It’s always been a
no-work zone here before. My old rules.”
went back to the call. “Kyle, can you
have them messengered? I’ll give you the
he said. “I’ll have one of the cabana boys drive them out in the morning.”
she gave him the information, she hung up and turned back to James. “What?” she asked when she caught him
staring at her.
I know that look. What is it?”
placed one hand in his pocket. “You’re
still not over Kyle, are you?”
she turned away and offered up a chuckle.
“What? That’s crazy. Of course I’m over Kyle. You know what he did to me.”
followed her across the room. “But
before everything turned out so badly, you were happy. Happier than you’ve been in a long time if
you ask me. Whatever Kyle did to mess
things up, you can’t deny that you felt something for him. Have you ever thought that maybe you can’t
get things to work with Ethan because you’re not ready to let Kyle go?”
laughed again, this time to hide the feelings of guilt. James have a very valid point, which only
made her feel even worse about the whole situation.
decided to head to her office in Beverly
Hills to get rid of any evidence that could
incriminate her in the business. With
Hugh’s murder, it was only a matter of time before she was linked to him. And when that happened, the police would find
out about her responsibilities as Gemma’s replacement.
she pulled her car up to the curb, she climbed out and immediately doubled over
in pain. The baby was kicking furiously,
coupled with cramps that had been plaguing her for the past two days. She began to realize that the stress over
everything she’d been through was weighing heavily on her baby. No wonder Eddie was so furious with her.
up to the door, she fumbled with her keys and dropped them suddenly when blinding
lights illuminated the building from behind her. Panicked, she spun around and shielded her
eyes as a car approached.
helplessly, she stood waiting to see who was there. When Detective Rodriguez appeared, she
evening Miss Blackthorne,” he said with a smirk. “Out for a drive?”
that a crime?” she asked defiantly.
laughed. “No, not at all. It’s a beautiful night."
is. So why don’ t you let me enjoy
scratched the back of his head while proceeding closer. “We just had a very interesting conversation
with an acquaintance of yours. He had a
few things to say about some recent business deals you’ve been making.”
deals?” Miranda asked. She was
determined to remain calm. One look of
guilt and she could blow it.
not beat around the bush, Miss Blackthorne,” Rodriguez said. “We know you’ve replaced Gemma Sanders in her
former role as madam of this town.”
Miranda asked. “Surely you’ve seen too
many movies, detective. Unless you
haven’t noticed, I’m pregnant. I’m not
exactly in any position to work in such a demanding field.”
laughed again. “What’s this office you
were going into?”
a project I’m working on,” she replied.
he asked. “Why don’t you open the door
and let us see.”
you have a warrant?”
we need one?”
laughed, already sick of his pretentious attitude. Why did cops always think they had all the
she said, turning and unlocking the door.
In her chest, her heart beat wildly.
She hoped she knew what she was doing.
they entered the office, Miranda turned on the light and looked across the room
at her desk. It was empty. No trace of files were on the surface, and
the filing cabinets that surrounded it were open and, more importantly,
just an empty office,” Rodriguez said in disbelief.
shrugged, making sure she didn’t miss a beat.
“Yeah. What did you expect?”
looked around for a minute before turning back to her. “Where’s all the client files?”
don’t know what you’re talking about, detective. If this is about some grand delusion that
I’ve become a madam, I’m afraid you’re sorely mistaken.”
glanced around once more. “Ever heard of
a guy named Hugh Rogers?”
I have?” she asked.
smiled and shook his head. “I suppose
breathed a sigh of relief as he turned and retreated to the door. Before he left, he turned back.
not sure what’s going on, but you can believe I’ll find out. It isn’t just a coincidence that you were
here tonight. And however you’re
involved, it’s my job to find out. Don’t
think I won’t.”
watched him leave, finally breathing a sigh of relief. She turned back to her office and looked
around in confusion. Where had all of
her things gone? The client files and
the address books and the appointment calendars? Every trace of it had disappeared.
continues on Nightingales # 10. Meanwhile,
Jordan investigates the pictures left of Lola. Emotions
run high in Palm Springs. Kelly finds another
means of getting by.
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