After Hugh's body was discovered
in the freezer at the Cahuenga Room, Mason assumed Senator
Nordquist killed him in retaliation for revealing his
penchant for call girls. When the police went
to question Nordquist, he fingered Miranda as the culprit,
indicating she was working as a Hollywood madam. When
the police went to intercept Miranda at her office,
she panicked that they would find her client files.
After opening the door, however, the files were
gone. Stormy and Eddie blasted Miranda and
Jane for keeping the truth about Miranda's new position
a secret. Stormy accused Eddie of killing Hugh
to protect Miranda. Chelsea and Akilah thought
Brad killed Hugh. Akilah was arrested when her
cell phone was found at the murder scene, but she was
released when she told the police a version of the truth.
Hugh's son, Tyler, arrived in town and got Farrah
to tell him about Miranda's involvement with Hugh. James
invited Mackenzie to Palm Springs, but she insisted
she was too busy with work, so James suggested Ethan
and Brooke come along. Brooke grew angry when Ethan
and Mackenzie spent most of the time working., and then
James suggested she might be looking for reasons to
be angry at Ethan because she isn't over Kyle. Kelly
tried to seduce Vaughan in order to get him to represent
her, but Alex showed up and agreed to his dinner invitation,
prompted by another rejection by Jordan. While
hiding from Alex, Kelly heard noises coming from Vaughan's
basement. Stormy offered Nathan the lead in The
Benefactor. Another attempt was made on Lola's life,
and another photograph of her was left at the scene.
It had been five
years since Jordan had
hooked up with B.J. Summers, a California
bleached blonde who’d starred in a number of his movies back in the heyday of
Rydell Productions. A mane of blond
hair, shimmering blue eyes, and fake boobs that burst from the seams of her low
cut blouse were just a few of the things about her that kept him coming
back. B.J. was the sister of Shailene
Summers, the ex-wife of Scott Kelly who was still recuperating in a clinic after
Benji’s violent attack on him two years before.
BJ was useful in
her own way. An A list actress she was not, but in bed she was a firecracker. When his sexual appetite finally returned, Jordan phoned
her up and had her come straight over. Two hours later, he carefully escorted her
out the side door so that Lola didn’t see.
Why he felt he needed to hide his sex life from his mother was beyond
him, but the last thing he needed was to hear her opinion on the subject.
“Call me,” B.J.
said with a wink before slipping out the door.
Jordan’s phone rang as he
retreated inside the house. Lifting it
from his pocket, he saw that it was Detective Rodriguez calling.
about time,” he said. “I’ve been leaving
you messages for two days.”
“I got your
messages, Mr. Rydell,” the detective said.
“All of them. But I’m afraid the investigation into the
incidents at the Actors
is going to have to wait. I’ve got my
hands full with a murder investigation.”
“Can’t you tell me anything?” Jordan demanded. “Did you at least have the photographs
“Yes, and there are
no traces of prints to speak of. Whoever
left them was obviously not a novice.”
“Well you can’t
just close the case,” Jordan
said while rounding the staircase and spying Lola sprawled out on the chaise
lounge in the drawing room. “Someone has
tried to kill my mother twice now.”
“As long as she’s
with you, I believe she’ll be safe until we can put someone else on the
case. Unfortunately, the mayor wants
full attention put on this murder investigation.”
murmured while running his fingers through his closely cropped hair. “All right, just let me know when you find
After he hung up,
he proceeded into the next room and regarded his mother carefully. “That was Detective Rodriguez on the phone,”
he told her. “They still don’t know who
left those photographs of you.”
“Oh dear,” Lola
said dismissively while flipping through a magazine. “Jordan, be a doll and refill my
He sighed and went
to the bar. “You must have some idea of
where those pictures came from.”
“Honestly, Jordan, I can’t
remember every photo session I sat for,” she said with exasperation. “Do you know how many photographers I worked
with during those days? They could have
been taken anywhere or by anyone and I wouldn’t remember.”
“Don’t you think
it’s strange that they’re both from the same era? You look the same age in both pictures. There’s got to be a reason this person chose
these particular photographs.”
grabbed the copies from the glass coffee table.
Detective Rodriguez had given them to her so she could see if anything
jogged her memory.
“I think they were
taken in the sixties,” she remarked dismissively. “Late
“So you would have
been right around forty at that time,” Jordan said and handed her a fresh
“Watch it,” she
said, throwing him a look of caution.
“Never discuss a woman’s age, particularly mine.”
“So this was before
you married Jonas. You were on contract
with Lamont 3. Were you still married to
my father then?”
asked. “I suppose I would have
been. He didn’t die until
movies?” Jordan pried. “What were you
working on at the time?”
best she could, she tapped a perfectly manicured fingernail on her forehead for
a moment, then sighed and fell back against the cushions. “I don’t know,” she said dramatically. “It’s too difficult.
I can't possibly remember."
Jordan dropped his
hands to his sides in frustration. “Okay,” he said and
started to the doors with his hands in his pockets. Before he left, he turned back as she lifted
her martini to her lips. “Oh, and that’s
two of those. Don’t think I’m not
As he left, Lola
glared defiantly. She certainly didn’t
need her son keeping track of how many drinks she’d had. Sighing, she looked back at the photographs
again. Little did Jordan know, she
remembered exactly when they were taken.
But the less she told him about them the better off they’d be.
“What do you mean you did it?” Eddie asked Miranda as they
stood in the foyer at the Blackthorne mansion.
“Please tell me it’s not what I think it is.”
Miranda looked away
while fiddling with the tacky gold medallion that hung around her neck. “I shoved Hugh Rogers in that freezer at
Eddie turned and
placed a hand over his pained. “Oh my
God, it’s exactly what I think it
is.” He looked back at her and
cringed. “You killed him? Great. You’re going to jail. My pregnant girlfriend is going to jail and
she’s going to give birth in prison to a baby who may or may not be mine.”
He shook his head
and began pacing the foyer. “You know, our
families may have money and fancy cars and big houses, but when it comes right
down to it, we’re basically trash. What
other kind of people have issues like this?”
screamed in order to get his attention.
“I didn’t say I killed him. I
said I put him in the freezer.”
He stopped and
shook his head in confusion. “Wait a
minute. If you didn’t kill him, then why
would you go through the trouble of hiding his body? And why a freezer of all places?”
“It seemed like the perfect place to put him until I could bury him.”
“Jesus!” Eddie turned and made an animated gesture
with his hands. “Miranda, you’re like
eighty months pregnant and you’re talking to me about burying corpses! Do you see anything wrong with this
that they were pouring cement at the new marina the day after tomorrow. No one would have found him. And they wouldn’t have if Brooke and Kyle
hadn’t looked in that freezer. It was
bad enough Kyle nearly caught us.”
She grimaced. “He came up when we were moving the body and
I hit him with a tire iron. I didn’t hit
him that hard. We couldn’t let him see
“Now you’re hitting
people with tire irons?” he asked and turned to her again. “You said we. Did someone help you?” A pause while he reconsidered his
question. “What am I saying? Of course someone helped you. You’re all of a hundred and ten pounds. You couldn’t have hauled that guy around on
your own. So who was it?”
matter,” she said, shaking her head.
me. Who helped you?”
“Jane,” she finally
said with a certain amount of regret. “She
showed up at the house and we both found the body.”
“You still haven’t
answered my question,” Eddie said, walking toward her. “If you didn’t kill him, why hide the
body? Is it because you thought you
would be blamed when they found him?”
She shook her
head. “Not me. We were protecting someone.”
protecting the real killer? Who? Miranda, who killed him?”
She knew she could
trust him. He’d always been there for
her. Maybe he could even help. With a deep breath, she uttered the name of
the person who had shot Hugh point blank in the head.
When Tyler Rogers
got back to the Beverly Wilshire, he strode through the lobby and took the
elevator to the sixth floor. Before he
even proceeded into the hall, he heard music blaring from one of the
rooms. Frowning, he walked closer and
realized that it was coming from the room he’d left Farrah in. On top of that, there appeared to be a hotel
manager and another hotel employee standing outside the room about to enter.
“What are you
doing?” Tyler demanded and quickly intercepted them.
“Is this your room,
Mister…..?” the manager shouted over the blaring music.
answered, fumbling for his key. “Yes, it
is. I just went out for a minute. I must have set the alarm and forgot.”
“Mr. Rogers, may I bring
to your attention the fact that the Beverly Wilshire is a respectable
hotel? We value our guests’ privacy and
comfort. If you can’t abide by our noise
regulations, may I suggest you-“
“I said I forgot,” he snapped and opened
the door. “So keep your fucking
suggestions to yourself.”
With that, he slid
into the room and locked the door.
Farrah was writhing around on the bed, struggling in the handcuffs he’d
left her in, the radio on the bedside table askew and cranked full blast.
“What the hell do
you think you’re doing?” Tyler demanded, crossing the room and yanking the plug
from the wall. Instantly, the room grew
quiet. “Are you trying to get thrown out
“You left me here
to rot,” Farrah quipped. “What was I
supposed to do? Now get these things off
of me, you lunatic!”
Gritting his teeth
angrily, Tyler walked over to the bed and grabbed her by the hair, pulling hard
while staring menacingly into her eyes.
“You don’t give me orders,” he said.
“I’ll tell you what’s going to go down and you’ll listen.”
Shrinking away from
him, she recoiled with alarm. She hadn’t
seen him this threatening before and it frightened her. “Okay,” she said softly.
“You are going to
help me nail that bitch Miranda Blackthorne for plugging my father,” Tyler went
on. “You got that? I’m not leaving town until she’s behind bars
for what she did.”
slowly. “Okay, Tyler.”
“Now start by
telling me everything that happened that night.
I want to know exactly what happened when you woke up in that
When Brooke awoke the
next morning in Palm Springs, she rolled over and reached out for Ethan. But after opening her eyes, she realized he
wasn’t there. Sitting up, she glanced at
the clock and realized it was already after nine o’clock. He must have decided to let her sleep in, she
Twisting off the
bed, she pulled on a robe and tightened it around her waist before proceeding
out to the kitchen. Through the glass
doors, she could see James doing laps in the pool. Ethan and Mackenzie were nowhere to be
With a frown, she
walked outside and shielded her eyes from the bright morning sunlight. James spotted her and climbed up the ladder
from the pool.
“Morning,” he said
with a bright smile. “Sleep well?”
“Too well,” she said, raking her fingers
through her hair. “What time did
everyone else get up?”
“Not long ago,”
James replied, standing before her in his dripping wet swim trunks. He grabbed a towel from a nearby chair and
began to dry off. “Ethan and Mackenzie
drove to the coffee shop up the street.
They said they won’t be long.”
“Coffee shop? We have plenty of coffee here.”
“They needed to use
the internet to send some emails to the network,” James told her. “I don’t have service at the house because-“
“I know,” she
interrupted him dubiously. “You don’t
allow work when you’re here. Well, for a
place that’s so anti-work, they seem to be doing quite a bit of it.”
closer, hanging the towel around his neck.
“I’m sure they just have to wrap some things up and then they’ll be done
working for the weekend. We can all
spend the rest of the day relaxing.”
“Sure,” she said,
positive that if Mackenzie had her way, she’d have Ethan working non-stop until
“Hey, I’m going to
go for a run before it gets too hot.
Care to join me?”
She shook her
head. “No, thanks. Kyle’s sending some documents with someone
from Moonshadows. I don’t want to miss
them when they get here.”
James raised an
eyebrow while starting up to the door. “Sounds
like Ethan and Mackenzie aren’t the only ones working this weekend.”
She rolled her eyes
and dropped her hands to her sides in frustration. A simple document that needed her signature
was a lot different than trekking off to find an internet connection, she
thought bitterly. The whole weekend was
beginning to get on her nerves. She had
half a mind to leave.
As a matter of
fact, that’s exactly what she intended on doing.
Walking through The Benefactor production offices, Stormy
led Nathan to the wardrobe department where a woman was standing amidst rows
and rows of clothing racks. Brett was
hovering nearby talking to the director.
“After you get
fitted for your costumes, you'll head over and see Lenny in makeup, then we’ll talk about the table read. It’s tomorrow morning at eight,” Stormy was
saying, then stopped when he spotted Brett.
“What are you doing here?”
“I was just getting
acquainted with our new director,” Brett replied, refusing to let Stormy’s tone
get the better of him. He may not be a
shareholder in the studio anymore, but he was still a junior executive. He had every right to be there. “Nathan, have you met Keaton
“I haven’t had the
pleasure,” Nathan said while extending his hand to the young man. “Nathan Blackthorne. A pleasure to be working with you, Keaton.”
“The pleasure is
all mine, Mr. Blackthorne,” said the young man. He was thirty-two years old with tousled
dirty blond and wore jeans and a khaki blazer over a
t-shirt. “I’ve been such a huge fan of
yours for so long. Directing you in a
film is like a dream come true for me.”
Stormy regarded him
warily. He seemed very green. James liked a slew of his
student films and
independent film work he’d done, so he had basically given the deciding
vote. He hoped he could handle the
“That’s kind of you
to say,” Nathan said modestly. “Will you
be at the table read tomorrow?”
replied. “I’ve got some great ideas for The Benefactor. I only hope I can do the original
“I’m sure you will,
my boy,” Nathan said before turning to Suzette, the longtime head of wardrobe
at Sunset Studios. “Suzi, I’m ready for
you. Mold me into character.”
“You got it,
sweetheart,” she said and pulled out a measuring tape.
While they got
started, Stormy motioned to Brett. “Can
I speak to you for a minute?”
followed him across the wardrobe room.
“What is it, Stormy? I have a lot
of work to do today.”
“I heard about you
and Heather,” Stormy told him. “That
she’s divorcing you.”
asked. “It’s none of your business what
happens between Heather and I.”
“What are you going
to do now? You’ve burned through two
marriages and two families. Who’s going
to feed your gravy train this time?”
“I don’t need a
gravy train,” Brett told him. “I’ve
established myself in the industry.
Don’t forget it was my doing that allowed us to acquire Rydell
Productions. Sunset Studios is sitting
at the top of its game for the first time in twenty years and it’s because of me.”
“This is a family
run business. It’s going to belong to my
son some day. You don’t belong
here. So do yourself a favor and go back
to Henderson or Reno or wherever the hell you came from.”
“I’m not going
anywhere until your father tells me to, and since I don’t see that happening, I
guess you’re stuck with me. Anyway, with
him in Palm Springs and you too preoccupied moonlighting at Titan Records, I’m
the only one holding this ship together.”
Stormy stopped him
when he turned to walk away. “Fine, if
you want to be in charge then you can lead the table read tomorrow. It’s at ten o’clock.”
He turned and
stormed off, leaving Stormy smiling with satisfaction. It was about time he started to give his
partner a taste of his own medicine.
Jordan was lounging
by the pool when his butler emerged from the house, Alex peddling quickly
behind. After announcing her presence,
Gordon turned and retreated back into the kitchen through the side door.
“What is it, Alex?”
Jordan asked, barely looking up behind square Burberry sunglasses.
“Is this how you’re
spending your days?” she asked, removing her wide-brimmed hat and pushing a few
stray curls up from her neck. “Sun
tanning and drinking? Marilee said she
came to a gathering you had the other night and it turned into debauchery. She said there were people naked in the hot
tub, a line at the bathroom the entire night, and she said it wasn’t for the
reasons I would think.”
“Marilee had a
blast with a Russian model,” Jordan said with a shrug. “If you ask me, it’s been too long since
she’s had a good dicking. She needed it.”
“A good dicking?” Alex asked. “That’s just great. Jordan, I’m worried about you. I know you’re trying to move on after what
happened with Benji and Suzanne, but-“
“What is it with
you?” Jordan demanded, standing from the chair and finally removing his
sunglasses. “Do you get some kind of
sick joy out of coming over here and bringing me down?”
“No,” she said
sadly. “Or course not.”
“Well it sure as
hell seems like you do. If you don’t
agree with the way I’m living my life, that’s fine, but keep your opinions to
yourself. Lord knows I’ve got enough to
deal with now that Lola’s moved in.”
“I heard,” Alex
said and walked forward. “Nathan said
the retirement village burned down. Is
“When have you ever
known something as mortal as a fire to stop Lola?” He went to a table and picked up his iPad and
a bottle of beer. “What about you and
Vaughan Novak? Had your big sex date
“It’s not a sex
laughed. “Vaughan doesn’t do anything
without there being a sexual payoff for him.
You’ve known him as long as I have.
Looks like Marilee’s not the only one who’s looking to get…”
“Stop, okay?” Alex
said, offering a look of repulsion. “I
shouldn’t have even come here. Just
forget I did.”
Jordan watched her
go, making no attempt to stop her. With
a sigh, he sat back down in his chair and pulled up the stocks page on his
Inside, Alex walked
toward the front door and saw Lola on her way down the stairs.
“Mary Ann, what a
surprise,” she said. “Tell me something,
dear, when the hell are you going to leave my son alone? Hasn’t he made it clear that he doesn’t want you?”
Alex ignored her
spiteful remarks, instead glancing down the hall to the doors that led outside
to the pool. “He may not want me, but he
needs help, Lola. Surely you’re not so
far gone that you can’t see that.”
With that, she
barreled out of the house and slammed the door.
In Palm Springs, Brooke
finished packing her bags and brought them to the kitchen. She
was furious over Ethan’s blatant disregard for her feelings, and was nearly at
her wits end. She thought about taking
the car and driving back to L.A. without so much as a goodbye, but then
realized how childish it would be.
Instead, she’d wait for him to get back and tell him that she was
leaving. He could ride back with James
and Mackenzie the next day.
The sound of a car
pulling up to the driveway alerted her to the fact that they were back. Quickly, but with great hesitation, she went
to the door and prepared for the inevitable confrontation.
But when she opened
the door and saw Kyle standing on the porch, mirrored aviators over his eyes
and a thin gray t-shirt stretched over his muscled torso, she staggered back in
“What are you doing
here?” she asked.
“I told you I was
bringing those forms for you to sign,” he said and walked inside the
house. “Did you forget?”
“You said you were
sending a messenger,” Brooke said, clumsily closing the door behind them. “I didn’t expect you to drive out here
Smiling, he removed
his sunglasses and looked into her eyes.
“I felt like a drive.” He looked
around the immaculately decorated house.
“I’ve never been to Palm Springs.
It’s different than I thought.”
Brooke followed him
down the hall to the kitchen. “Well I
wish you would have warned me,” she said.
“I don’t know how welcome you’ll be here with Ethan. He’s not exactly part of your fan club, you
He shrugged and
effortlessly sat down at a stool at the counter. “I’m beginning to think you don’t want me
Brooke ran her
fingers through her silky blond hair and motioned to his briefcase. “Just give me the documents so I can sign
them and you can be on your way.”
“I just got
“Where is Ethan?”
“He had to go out.”
Kyle looked down at
the suitcases on the floor. “And you
were about to leave? Brooke, what’s
said, picking up the suitcases and moving them to the hall. “I just…haven’t unpacked yet.”
“You’ve been here
since yesterday and you haven’t unpacked?
Is everything okay? Did you and
Ethan have a fight?”
“No!” she exclaimed
in frustration. She was confused by his
sudden appearance, and now wasn’t sure if leaving was such a good idea. If Ethan came back and Kyle was there, he’d
wonder why she was suddenly determined to go home.
The sound of the
door opening and closing told her that things were about to get even more
complicated. When Ethan walked in,
followed by Mackenzie, she quickly went to the other side of the room, as far
from Kyle as she could.
“What is he doing
here?” Ethan asked, pointing at Kyle.
“Hey there,” Kyle
said. “Sis? What are you doing here? Don’t tell me you crashed this private
weekend in the desert too.”
“You’re the only
one crashing anything, little brother,” Mackenzie told him and slammed her
attaché case on the counter. “Unless I’m
mistaken, you weren’t invited.”
awkwardly at him. “Mackenzie came along
so she and Ethan could get some work done.”
The sliding door
opened from the pool and James entered, immediately sensing the tenseness in
the room. “You’re back,” he said to Mackenzie.
“And what’s he
doing here?” Kyle wanted to know, a
smirk forming on his fleshy lips.
“I could ask you
the same thing,” James said to him.
Ethan frowned and
looked at Brooke. “Did you know he was
“No,” Brooke said,
the voices in the room suddenly sounding like drilling in her brain.
“Do we need to make
up another room?” James asked, hoping to break the ice with some clever
“No!” Brooke, Ethan
and Mackenzie shouted in unison.
“Gee, I feel
unwanted,” Kyle said. “So explain to me
what the four of you are doing here if this was supposed to be a romantic
“That’s what I’d
like to know,” Brooke said, folding her arms tightly across her chest.
“I told you
Mackenzie and I were just going to get some work done before we could relax,”
Ethan explained again. “I thought you
were okay with that.”
She threw her hands up in
resignation. “I was until you stayed up
working until the middle of the night, then collapsed into bed and went right
to sleep. Oh, and then taking off this
morning without so much as waking me. Why
did I even come here?”
“Because I thought
it would be a good time for us to get out of town together,” Ethan replied.
“Out of town, yes,
but together, no.”
“This is partially
my fault,” James chimed in. “I wanted to
get away with Mackenzie so badly that I suggested Ethan and Brooke come
“You don’t see
James throwing tantrums every five minutes, do you?” Ethan asked, his eyes
burrowing into Brooke’s. “Jesus, it’s
like you turn into Miranda when you don’t feel like you’re getting enough
The remark sent
Brooke into a tailspin. She quietly
controlled herself, taking a few deep breaths before backing up to the sliding
doors. “You know what? That’s fine.
That’s exactly it. I’m just being
a spoiled brat because you offered me some half baked weekend getaway.”
started, but realized it was futile when she raced out the door and out through
the side yard.
The others remained
silent, staring at Kyle who drummed his fingers repeatedly on the counter.
evening, Kelly paced anxiously around her bedroom at the Blackthorne
mansion. She dialed a phone number and
listened to it ring several times before going to voicemail again. Furious, she plopped down onto the bed and
waited for the outgoing message to play out.
Vaughan, it’s Kelly again. Look, I’m
sorry for the way I stormed off yesterday,” she said into the phone. “And for ruining your pants. Look, I thought we could continue where we
left off. Call me.”
she ended the call and threw the phone onto her bed. How was it that she lived in one of the
biggest and most recognized homes in Hollywood and she was flat broke? She and Stormy were divorced – she stupidly
turned down any alimony support in expectation of landing a big movie
role. Her mother was only a maid so she
didn’t have any money. The only saving
grace was that her meals were paid for and she had a roof over her head. But who knew how long that would hold out. Stormy could kick her to the curb any
considered blackmailing him as a precaution.
Her threats of revealing Alex’s duplicity in “adopting” R.J. were
growing thin. Maybe her knowledge of
Miranda’s lady pimp activities could be beneficial. But then again, after the way Eddie
threatened her the other day, she decided that would have to be a last ditch
attempt if all else failed.
she needed was for Vaughan to take her on as a client and get her a job. Any job.
She refused to go back to nude modeling for sleazy photographers.
Summer led Jordan through the maze of roads at the sprawling Sunset Studios
lot. They passed buildings, sound
stages, and camera operators, winding along the night to a door marked Studio Archives. Jordan knew he wouldn’t stand a chance of
gaining access to anywhere on the lot on his own, but as luck would have it, B.J.
still had an access card she’d been given while working on her last picture for
produced the plastic key card with the Sunset Studios logo emblazoned on one
side – rippling ocean waves with a setting sun peeking out from behind. She slid the card in the magnetic slot and
winked at Jordan when the light turned green and the door clicked open.
she said cleverly.
didn’t have the heart to tell her the word she meant to use was eureka.
On top of not being the best actress to ever appear on screen, she
wasn’t the brightest either.
he said and brushed against her. “I’ll
call you this week.”
better,” she said with another wink before setting off through the lot.
inside, Jordan found a set of stairs that led to a lower floor. Carefully, he crept through the darkness,
slightly unnerved by the unknown. In the
distance he could hear the sound of someone coughing.
entered a small room with a desk and the smell of stale cigarettes and burned
coffee permeating the air. The walls
were covered in movie one-sheets and autographed publicity photos of dozens of
actors. He noticed several of Alex, as
well as Suzanne, Lola, Nathan, Victor, Scott Kelly, and Jack Childers. It was a who’s who of Sunset Studios. Then
he noticed a woman with lipstick on her teeth and too
many gold rings on her fingers sitting smoking a cigarette with a two inch ash dangling
from the tip.
Jordan said and walked toward her. “I
was wondering if you could help me. I’m
looking for some information on Lola Lamont.”
Syswicki had worked for Sunset Studios for decades. No one knew more about its
stars, or the intricate system of buildings on the sprawling
lot than she did. The need for
files on the thousands of movie stars seemed pointless, as she was an
encyclopedia of information. Still,
file cabinets surrounded her, lining the walls of the room and sometimes
stacked on top of one another.
cost you,” she said, her feet on the desk as she ashed her cigarette.
reached into his pocket and withdrew several hundred dollar bills, dropping
them on the table and meeting her gaze.
scooped the cash up in her hand and stuffed it into her bra. “So what can I tell you about your mother
that you don’t already know?”
figured she would recognize him. But
money talked, so as long as she was willing to share whatever information she
had, he didn’t care. “I’m specifically
looking for publicity photographs taken in the late sixties.”
was a very busy time for her,” Denise said and got up from the desk. She went to a file cabinet a few feet away
and pulled the top drawer open. “She was
on contract with Lamont 3 and did dozens of films a year. The press was all over her.”
watched her thumb through the files, anxiously looking on as she removed a
folder and opened it on the open drawer.
your father died in seventy-two, she worked for a while longer but then retired
until she married Jonas,” Denise went on.
“Personally, I think they always had a thing for each other. He’d come to the sets just to see her. I wasn’t surprised when they finally got
thought it was strange that this woman knew so much about his family. But he supposed that was why Jonas had hired
her. He’d needed someone to catalog the
intricate lives of his leading actors and actresses.
was a publicity shoot done in sixty-eight when she did a cameo in The Benefactor,” Denise said, removing a
photograph. “This is one of eight
took the picture from her and looked at it.
It appeared to be from the same time as the two left at the crime
scenes. “What about the others?”
not here,” Denise said, making sure there weren’t any other files.
do you mean they’re not there?”
took a drag from her cigarette. “I mean
they’re gone. Someone took them.”
took the folder from her and flipped through the stacks of photographs. She was right. Only one from that photo set remained. Whoever was leaving the photos of his mother
got them from the archives.
has access to the archives?”
shrugged while taking a long drag off her cigarette. “You mean besides people who steal access
cards?” she asked cynically. “Mostly
could be anyone. What
about visitors?” Jordan inquired. “Don’t
you keep a log?”
shook her head with a frown. “Are you
kidding? Does it look like we’re that
organized? These archives have been
around since before you were born. Since
the days of Lamont 3. Besides, we don’t
allow visitors. The only people who get
in here outside of studio personnel are talent agents.”
agents?” Jordan inquired.
want to hear everything about Vaughan Novak,” Alex said as they dined over
candlelight at Bazaar. The words seemed
to be forced out of her mouth. It wasn’t
that she didn’t find him sexy, intelligent, or funny. He was all of those things and more. But while her heart still lied with Jordan,
she found it difficult to be interested in other men.
known each other for a long time, Alex,” Vaughan told her while sipping from a
glass of champagne. “Have you really
paid that little attention all these years?”
smiled. “I know that you divorced your
wife Margot several years ago. You have
one child, Sheldon, who’s in and out of trouble. You’re CEO of the most successful talent
agency in the world and you’ve represented some of the biggest celebrities in
you do know everything about me,” he said with a grin.
was no stranger at making conversation.
She’d been to enough boring Hollywood parties with people she didn’t
care anything about. The ability to socialize
convincingly even when you didn’t want to was vital in the business.
did you get your start?”
he looked down at his half-empty plate of food.
“I was very young,” he said.
“Nineteen or twenty, I think. I
worked for Jonas Lamont in the early days of Lamont 3.”
didn’t realize that,” Alex said with a sincere glimmer in her eye. “What were you? Script boy?
pretty much did whatever he needed done,” he said simply. “Then in the late seventies I started my own
agency and voila. Let’s talk about you now.”
laughed, the candle light casting glimmering shadows over her perfectly made up
face. “Now I know there’s nothing
about me that you don’t already know. My
life has been splattered across the society pages for over thirty years.”
have been quiet since you left rehab,” he noted. “What have you been up to? Things with Jordan still not going
looked down with a forborne look on her face.
“No,” she said softly.
Vaughan could expand on his question, a man approached their table and leaned
in with a cordial smile.
me,” he began, extending his hand to Vaughan.
“I don’t mean to interrupt, but I just wanted to say hello. How are you, Vaughan?”
nice to see you,” Vaughan said and rose to his feet. “I’m doing well. Yourself?”
“Good. Are we still on for golf on Monday?”
Vaughan said, then gestured across the table.
“Nick Kanning, this is Alex Reynolds.”
do you do?” Alex said politely.
pleasure to meet you, Miss Reynolds.
I’m a big fan, of course.”
I’ll let you get back to your dinner.
See you Monday, Vaughan. Miss
Reynolds, nice to see you.”
real delight,” she said.
he’d gone and Vaughan had sat back down, he picked up his fork and knife and
began cutting into his food. “Nick is
my plastic surgeon,” he told her. “We’ve
known each other for years.”
have a plastic surgeon?” Alex asked with a grin. “Come on.
I thought men were supposed to age gracefully. You hardly need any work done. Unless of course you already have.”
laughed. “I haven’t had anything done,
but some of my clients do request his services from time to time. It’s just nice to have someone I can send
them to. Nick is the absolute best.” As
he said it, he glanced over to the doorway and exchanged
a knowing glance with him.
finally began to relax. Vaughan Novak had a delightful sense of humor and
seemed to be one of the only normal men left in Hollywood. Maybe forcing herself to enjoy conversation
with him wouldn’t be necessary.
worked late that night at Titan Records to put the finishing touches on
Akilah’s new song. Stormy sat in the
recording booth with her and Brad while Chelsea sat outside the sound-proof
room and waited.
think we’ve got a hit,” Stormy said and leaned back in his chair. He looked at Akilah with a smile. “Looks like you can make it back to New
Martin for your wedding rehearsal in plenty of time.”
grinned happily. “Well, I guess the
rehearsal was pushed back to next week so I’ve got time. I think Brad’s got us sticking around
a couple of days,” he said ominously.
“Look, Akilah, I have some things to do, so you and Chelsea should go
back to the hotel without me. I’ll meet
up with you girls in the morning.”
things?” Akilah asked. “Damn, does everything you do have to be on the DL?”
her, he left the booth and avoided eye contact with Chelsea while he exited the
building. Once outside, he listened to a voicemail from Trevor.
still haven’t heard from you about what you plan on doing now that Miranda
Blackthorne is still alive,” Trevor said in the message. “I’m not playing games here, King. I want her dead and I want to know who off’d
he quickly deleted the message. Out of
sight, out of mind, he decided. If it
wasn’t for his promise to Caleb Holden that he would keep Matt and Akilah
apart, he would be high tailing it back to New Martin. As it was, he might have a few more days of
dodging Trevor’s calls.
inside, Akilah met up with Chelsea outside the sound booth. “Did you see Brad?” she asked.
he stalked out of here like he was on a mission,” Chelsea replied. “Where do you think he was going?”
kill again,” Akilah said ominously, although half-joking when she said it. “Look, the cracker has been acting all kinds
of crazy since we got here. Check it, we
saw him with a gun, then Hugh Rogers winds up dead. I can’t believe we didn’t bail days ago.”
couldn’t have killed him,” Chelsea said.
“I just know he couldn’t have.”
did it,” Akilah told her. “You know
swallowed hard and followed her out of the building. One thing was for sure, she didn’t feel safe
being around Brad anymore. He seemed
like a loose cannon to her.
When he got through at Titan, Stormy left to
meet Jane, Miranda and Eddie at Industry.
By the time he found them tucked away in a corner booth, he was already
annoyed by the valet drivers and the obnoxious bouncer at the door. That, coupled with the loud music he wasn’t
necessarily in the mood for, prompted him to flop into the booth beside Jane
with a groan.
okay?” Jane asked.
he said, still annoyed with her for having kept Miranda’s secret. “I realize you all had something to tell me,
but does it have to be here?” he shouted over the thumping of the music. “I can barely hear myself think and I’ve been
in the studio all night with Akilah!”
had to make sure no one heard us,” Eddie said.
“Miranda and Jane have something to tell you.” He punctuated his remark by glancing
knowingly at the two women. “Go
ahead. Tell him.”
sighed and dropped her hands onto the table.
“Okay, stop being so pushy.”
not being pushy. I just think you need
to tell your brother what you told me at the house last night.”
right! I will!”
rolled his eyes with irritation. “Will
one of you just tell me?”
fidgeted with her purse on the booth beside her. “The night of Hugh’s murder, Jane and
I…” She paused while thinking of the
best way to tell him. “We sort of…”
were the ones who put the stiff in the deep freeze,” Eddie finished for
Miranda said with a scowl.
two put him in the freezer?” Stormy exclaimed.
were protecting someone,” Jane went on.
“We know who killed him and we couldn’t let her take the fall. She doesn’t deserve it.”
looked at Eddie with wide eyes. “It was you,” he said. “You killed Hugh to
talking about Farrah,” Eddie said. “You
cousin?” Stormy said to Jane. “She
Jane exchanged harried glances with Miranda.
“Miranda and I bumped into each other at the house. It was dark.
We walked into the room and I tripped over something. Hugh’s body.
Miranda used the flashlight app on her phone and we saw Farrah. She looked so guilty. She ran out of the room.”
you got rid of the body to cover for her?” Stormy asked.
had to,” Jane went on. “My cousin’s been
through so much.”
brought her on board to get her away from Hugh Rogers,” Miranda said. “She was probably just defending herself
that’s the case then she could have told that to the police,” Stormy
insisted. “But the two of you shoving
him in a freezer just makes her look guilty.
Not to mention puts suspicion on you.”
just didn’t want her to suffer because that man is dead. No one should pay for what happened to
him.” Jane looked at Stormy and saw the
anger in his eyes. She wondered if they
would ever be able to get back to where they were before this whole thing
started. As it was, they were drifting
further and further apart.
we’d better hope they don’t find anything that could point the finger at either
of you,” Stormy quipped.
exchanged glances with Eddie. “Someone
may already have,” she said.
do you mean?”
Rogers’ son, Tyler, showed up in town yesterday,” Eddie told him. “He’s gunning for Miranda. Wants to pin the whole thing, murder and all,
Stormy said and ran his fingers through his hair.
knew she’d caused problems for everyone.
Her decision to take over for Gemma proved to be a disaster in so many
ways. With a sigh, she glanced around
the club and gasped out loud when she saw something that caught her off
be right back,” she said, jumping out of the booth and waddling across the
room. She ignored looks from people
staring at her very pregnant stomach, darting straight toward a couple making
out in the corner.
are you doing?” she demanded, her hands on her hips.
Blake Distefano looked at her with wide eyes.
Beside her, Sheldon Novak attempted to hide behind him.
I thought you told me you weren’t ready to tell Eddie about the two of you,”
Miranda said, then pointed across the crowded room. “He’s right over there.”
shit,” Blake said and moved behind her.
“I didn’t know anyone was going to see us.”
that why you were kissing on the secret dance floor where no one ever goes?” she asked sarcastically. “Come on, Blake, this is getting
ridiculous. Eddie’s your brother. He’ll love you no matter what. You know that.”
know, Miranda, I just….haven’t gotten up the nerve to tell him yet.”
looked at him sympathetically and took his hand in hers. “Blake, it’s just you and Eddie. Your father is gone, your mother is God knows
where, so you’re all each other has.
Promise me you’ll tell him soon.”
she got back to their booth, Stormy was gone.
“Where’d he go?” she asked.
took off,” Jane said sadly. “I think
I’ve really done it this time, Miranda.
I don’t think Stormy is ever going to forgive me.”
led to drinks at Vaughan’s sprawling mansion in Beverly Hills. Alex
had begun to slowly loosen up throughout
the course of the evening, and had actually come to enjoy his company. Jordan’s words hung in her mind as she sat in
his parlor room waiting for him to return.
“Vaughan doesn’t do anything unless there’s a
sexual payoff,” he’d said.
while she did find him attractive, she wasn’t ready to sleep with him. Baby steps, she decided. There was no harm in continuing the
evening in the privacy of his home.
she waited, she rose from the sofa and went to the wall of photos she’d
acknowledged when she was there several days before. Rows of head shots of all of his clients
lined the mahogany paneled wall. Nathan,
Victor, Jack, Lola, even Elana Hendricks, one of the veterans from The Young at Heart, who had done a few
Lamont 3 and Sunset Studios pictures back in the day.
her earlier run-in with Lola, she went to the woman’s photo and glared
contemptuously. “Old hag,” she muttered
to herself. The nerve of the woman to
tell her to leave Jordan alone. She
didn’t need his mother warding her off of him.
She was perfectly capable of knowing that Jordan was trying to push her
the fact that she was enjoying herself with Vaughan, she still couldn’t pretend
she didn’t love Jordan. She had since
she was a teenager. But Lola had forced
Jordan and Suzanne together in an attempt at keeping her away from him. Not that it didn’t work out for everyone
involved. She married James and had two
beautiful children. Their marriage
lasted twenty-three years, and despite Lola’s early interference, she and
Jordan did wind up together. Now it
seemed that it wasn’t in the cards for them.
coming from the other side of the foyer caught her attention and she half
expected to see Vaughan returning. When
he didn’t, however, she sought out the source of the sounds. They appeared to be coming from a door that
led to the basement. Probably the
staff, she decided.
reached out and straightened the photo of Lola, wondering why she bothered
because the woman was as crooked in real life as she was on the wall. As she moved the frame to the side,
something fell to the floor from behind it.
she bent down and retrieved the item. A
small black and white photograph. It
appeared to have been taped to the back of the frame, but the tape had become
worn and caused it to come loose.
closer, Alex saw that it was a picture of two identical young girls. They appeared to be twelve or thirteen years
old. They stood on a porch in identical
dresses with ruffled sleeves and hems, their hair in twisted Shirley Temple
turned the photo over and read the faded writing on the back. Lola
and Lana. November 1940. Startled, she looked back up at Lola’s head
shot. When she heard Vaughan emerging
from another room, she quickly tried putting it back where it fell from. But after realizing it wouldn’t stay, she
quickly shoved it in her purse.
for the delay, my dear,” Vaughan said when he emerged. “I gave the staff the night off and I
realized the bar wasn’t stocked with club soda.
Do you take lime?”
yes,” Alex said distantly. She allowed
him to lead her back to the parlor room, all the while wondering who the young
girl was posting with Lola in the picture.
“Oh, I heard noises from the basement.
I thought it was the staff but since they have the night off, I guess I
was wrong. Should you be worried?”
looked at her and quickly shook his head.
“No, not at all. Sheldon’s down
there. He uses the basement to play his
video games. Come, let’s sit and have
storming off earlier that day, Brooke decided to steer clear of the house and
the others for as long as she could. She looked in shops and wandered the
streets until returning that night. A
strong wind had picked up, prompting her to return after dinnertime. It served Ethan right for the way he’d been
treating her. Calling her a spoiled brat
had been the last straw. She couldn’t even be in the same room with him
without wanting to scream at the top of her lungs in frustration.
house was dark when she approached, and Ethan was waiting for her outside by
the pool. She supposed it was now or
never. She had to have it out with him,
despite the fact that she was done talking about it.
was worried,” he said, sitting in a chair drinking a beer. “Where’ve you been?”
around,” she said. “I just needed time
few moments of silence followed while they avoided eye contact.
sorry about this weekend,” he said.
Brooke said, shaking her head. “I can’t
do this anymore.”
finally looked up at her. “You can’t do
“This,” she repeated. “It’s too hard. It shouldn’t be this hard.”
knew they’d been pushed to the limit.
Everything the past few weeks had seemed to compound the issue. When she said it was too heard, he knew
exactly what she meant. But that didn’t
mean he was ready to give up.
we just need some time,” he said.
she replied. “I think so.”
silence, this time for several minutes.
Finally, Ethan turned and started to the door. “You going in to bed?”
a word, Ethan slipped inside and closed the door, leaving Brooke standing by
the shimmering lights of the swimming pool.
She shivered, finding it odd since they were in the middle of the
desert. For several minutes she stood,
frozen on her feet while staring blindly into the water.
time that she and Ethan agreed they both needed scared her. If they were meant to be together, if they
were still as in love as they had been before the earthquake, then time
shouldn’t matter. They should just be
as it was, she didn’t feel the same as she did a year and a half ago. The prospect made her eyes gush with
twenty minutes or so, she felt a shadow looming behind and she quickly spun
around. To her surprise, Kyle was
standing before her.
thought you left,” she said.
closed Gene Autry because of blowing sand,” he told her. “Looks like I’m stuck until morning. I checked into a hotel but I wanted to come
back and see you before I went to sleep.”
her arms wrapped tightly around herself, Brooke turned back to the pool. “You shouldn’t have,” she said softly. “Things are a mess right now. I just want to slip into bed and forget this
weekend ever happened.”
Kyle said and reached out to touch her arm.
“I’m sorry. I really am.”
“Yes. Of course.
I know how much you wanted things to work between you and Ethan. I know how disappointed you must be that it
turned toward him again. “Kyle, don’t.”
pretend like you care that Ethan and I can’t get it together. I can handle a lot but I can’t handle that.”
what do you want me to say?” he asked.
don’t know.” She slowly started to walk
away but he stopped her by grabbing her arm.
“Don’t do that.”
sorry.” He looked into her eyes,
mesmerized by the way the moonlight danced across them. Slowly and without hesitation, he moved
forward and closed the gap between their bodies.
tried to avoid looking at him but found herself studying every part of his
face, every curve of his body and the way his hands felt on her cold skin. Before she knew it, his lips were pressed
against hers. Butterflies tripped
through her stomach as his hands went to her waist and he wrapped his strong arms
around her. Within moments, they were
locked in an embrace, devouring one another with hungry mouths.
the house, Ethan passed by the window of his bedroom and stopped when he saw
them together, kissing passionately.
His heart aching, he lowered his eyes and slowly closed the blinds.
next morning, Brett arrived at the production offices for The Benefactor and made his way to the conference room where the
table read was happening. As he passed
through a side door to the offices, he noticed a large number of people
leaving. Among them were Nathan,
Keaton Hartley, and
several of the young actors they’d cast to portray the children aboard the
shuttle flight. With a frown, he looked
at his watch to check the time.
going on?” he asked Stormy when he entered the conference room. “It’s ten o’clock. Why is everyone leaving already?”
looked at him and then at his nephew.
table read is over,” Stormy indicated with a shrug. “I thought you were going to be here. We waited for as long as we could but
unfortunately we had to proceed without you.”
said the reading was at ten,” Brett argued.
I?” Stormy asked. “I’m sure I told you eight.”
you sure? Because I told everyone else
the correct time. Nathan?”
did say eight,” Nathan agreed apologetically.
his head in frustration, Brett leveled a look of contempt at Stormy. “You did this on purpose,” he told him. “You intentionally kept me away so I couldn’t
be part of the table read.”
would I do that?” Stormy asked. “I mean,
with my moonlighting at Titan Records, I can use all the help I can get. I hope this isn’t an example of how things
are going to go for the rest of the production. My father is counting on both of us, Brett.”
his arms angrily across his chest, Brett watched as Stormy and Nathan left the
office. He wasn’t born yesterday. He knew this was another attempt at Stormy’s
to drive him out of the studio. He
wasn’t about to let it happen. He would
fight tooth and nail if he had to.
did you get this?” Jordan asked as Alex handed him the photograph of the two
shrugged dismissively. “I found it with
some other photographs at Vaughan’s house,” she said. “After our date last night.”
regarded her carefully, sure that she added that last bit in an attempt at
making him jealous. “Lola and Lana?” he
asked after reading the back. “I don’t
didn’t either,” Alex said. “But I
thought since one of those girls is your mother, that you’d want to know about
never seen this picture before,” Jordan said.
“Why did Vaughan Novak have it?”
shrugged. “He was her agent for
years. He worked for Jonas during the
golden days of Lamont 3. He probably has
a slew of pictures laying around that house of his.”
remark caused Jordan to grow suspicious of his old friend Vaughan. Why hadn’t he thought of it before? Denise at the Sunset Studios archives said
herself that talent agents frequented the files. Vaughan could have easily stolen the photos
of his mother and left them at the scenes of the attempts on Lola’s life.
only question was why? And that still
didn’t explain the mystery of the two girls.
sending Alex away, he scoured the house for his mother, finally locating her on
the patio by the pool. Without wasting
a beat, he rushed toward her and thrust the picture at her. Lola took it from
him and stared blankly at the photograph.
did you get this?” she asked.
mind that, mother. Who is Lana?”
dismissively placed the photograph on the table and slid on a pair of large
Chanel sunglasses. “Be a dear and
refresh my drink, darling.”
Jordan said firmly and sat down beside her.
“First you have no recollection of those pictures of you taken in 1968,
and now this? Tell me what’s going
told you, I can’t remember every single photo session I sat for, Jordan.”
looked at her and shook his head. “That wasn’t you in those pictures Detective
Rodriguez found at the retirement village, was it?” he asked. “That was Lana. That’s why you don’t remember them. Who is she?”
sighed and took her sunglasses off again.
She looked down at the table while gathering her thoughts. “My sister,” she said. “My twin sister.”
didn’t know you had a twin sister,” Jordan said. “You never talked about her. She never came to visit. Until now I’ve never even seen a picture of
stood up and walked across the patio.
“Lana was….well… the spotlight didn’t favor her. She didn’t make a life in Hollywood the way I
did. She was jealous of me. She didn’t visit because she hated me.”
was dumbfounded. He couldn’t believe
that this was the first he’d heard about an aunt that he’d had all along. “Where is Lana now?”
looked at him and put her glasses back on.
“She died,” she said, then nodded while sitting back down. “Yes, she passed on a number of years ago. When you were just a little boy. That’s why I never mentioned it, Jordan. I just didn’t see the point. She hated me and she wanted nothing to do
with me. That picture of us together was
one of the few moments of happiness we ever had together.”
a hand over his face, Jordan tried to comprehend the new information. It made sense to him that she wouldn’t have
mentioned her sister, but it didn’t make sense that there were pictures of her
in the Sunset Studios archives. Or that
those particular photographs had been left by someone who obviously wanted his
tired, Jordan,” Lola said. “I think I’d
like to take a nap.”
nodded, realizing he’d have to get his answers later. For now, he’d been hit with enough.
Lola went to the kitchen island and steadied herself. Her eyes glazed over as she heard voices from
the past echoing in her mind.
“You’ll never be me, Lana!” she’d
screamed. “You’ll never be me!”
“I already am, sister dear,” Lana had
replied. “Now go away and leave us in peace!”
the voices away, Lola glanced at the counter and picked up Jordan’s car
keys. First checking to make sure he
was still outside, she fled through the house to the front door.
didn’t like the way she and Stormy had left things the night before at
Industry, so she decided to stop by his office at Sunset Studios and hash
things out once and for all. As she’d
predicted, he wasn’t happy to see her.
I don’t have time for this,” he said while scurrying around his office
gathering papers and fielding phone calls.
“I don’t particularly like working on Sundays as it is, so I’m not in
the best mood right now.”
never have time,” Jane said. “I thought
you said you were going to let up on work so we could spend time together. Now here you are knee deep in both businesses
you’re trying to run by yourself.”
stopped what he was doing and flashed her a look of irritation. “Don’t act like this is about my work
schedule this time,” he said. “We’re
long past that. This is about you and
the secrets you’re keeping from me.
First it was about R.J., then it was Miranda’s job as Hollywood Madam,
and now it’s about your disposing of corpses in the middle of the night.”
grew silent as she let his words sink in.
Her and Miranda’s mistakes were one thing, but bringing up R.J. again
was hitting below the belt. “You want to
talk about being long past something?
How can you throw R.J. in my face again?
That’s not fair, Stormy. Are you
saying you’re still holding on to your anger over that? I didn’t even know he was your son!”
he ran his fingers through his thick black hair. The phone on his desk rang and he considered
letting it go unanswered, but thought better of it with everything he had going
Blackthorne,” he said after answering.
he spoke, Jane turned and forced herself to keep from crying. Why was it so difficult for him to understand
that she only did what she did to help Miranda.
His own sister. She would have
thought he’d understand that. By the
time she turned around again, he was hanging up the phone, a bleak look on his
was Eddie,” he said. “Miranda’s been
taken down to the police station for questioning.”
Jane exclaimed, immediately turning and heading for the door.
long are you going to keep me here?” Miranda demanded as she sat in the
interrogation room at police headquarters.
“You already took hair samples from me.
By the way, ow. Why can’t you let me go? Unless I’m under arrest for something.”
you’re not under arrest,” Detective Rodriguez said. “Yet.
We’re simply waiting for DNA tests to come back.”
tests for what?” Miranda demanded, slamming her fist on the counter.
see if your hair is a match to strands we found at the murder scene and on the
body of Hugh Rogers,” he said.
swallowed hard, looking up when the door opened and an officer entered with a
piece of paper in his hand. She sat
watching as they conferred for a few moments.
Blackthorne, are you in possession of a gold medallion with a dragon imprinted
on the front?” Rodriguez asked.
swallowed hard. “Sounds tacky.”
have a witness who claims he saw you wearing that medallion. The same one belonging to Hugh Rogers.”
threw her hair over her shoulder and shrugged defiantly. Tyler
Rogers. Of course. “I have lots of jewelry, detective. Drawers full.
What’s the point?”
point is you told me you didn’t know Hugh Rogers,” Rodriguez said, leaning
across the table at her. “So if that’s the
case, why do you have his medallion, and why did we find strands of your hair
at the murder scene?”
swallowed again, certain that she was in trouble.
right,” he continued. “The DNA was a
match. I’m afraid we’re going to have to
place you under arrest for the murder of Hugh Rogers.”
Miranda could react, Stormy and Jane burst into the room. Behind them, Eddie hovered nearby.
can’t do that!” Jane exclaimed.
me,” Rodriguez said. “Who are you?”
Wheeler,” she said. “If you’re going to
arrest Miranda, then you’re going to have to arrest me too. I helped her.
We’re both guilty.”
Palm Springs, Mackenzie followed James across the bedroom, her hands planted
firmly on her hips and her eyes darting angrily between him and his
don’t believe this,” she said. “You’re
have to, Mackenzie,” James said while zipping his Gucci suitcase closed. “My daughter has been arrested for
murder. I can’t exactly finish the
weekend out while she sits in jail.”
I’m coming with you,” she said and went to the dresser.
he said. “The helicopter will be here
any minute. I’ll need you to drive the car back.”
the car!” she exclaimed. “This was
supposed to be our weekend away together.
I thought we had a nice time last night.
We were finally connecting.”
stopped his manic pace and looked blankly at her. “What do you expect me to do?” he asked. “Finish your weekend, get some more work
done, and I’ll see you in L.A. tomorrow.”
her hands to her sides, she watched helplessly as he burst from the room. Once at the front door, they intercepted
Ethan who stood by with his keys in his hand.
drive you to the landing pad, James,” he said.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to come back with you?”
shook his head. “No, there’s nothing you
can do right now. I’ll call as soon as I
find out what’s going on.”
commotion was interrupted when Brooke emerged from the bedroom. “What’s going on?” she asked.
looked at her, stone faced, and without a word ushered James out to the
car. Standing behind, Mackenzie dropped
her hands to her sides and crossed the room to the refrigerator.
guess I’ll make some lunch,” she said.
Brooke cut her off. She knew they were
all treating her differently since her blow up the day before. And while she knew she shouldn’t have taken
off like that, she didn’t think she was wrong to be upset.
Kyle get off okay?” Mackenzie asked.
suppose,” she replied. “I saw him last
night for a few minutes but then he went to a hotel and I went to bed. I’m sure he went home by now.”
regarded her suspiciously while standing the doorway of the refrigerator.
Brooke asked, irritated. “Why are you
looking at me like that?”
if you can’t decide between my brother and Ethan, then do them both a favor and
cut them both loose. They don’t deserve
this shit you’re putting them both through.”
by her words, Brooke stood in shock.
Embarrassed, she turned and went outside to the pool.
After Stormy blatantly set him up to fail
that morning, Brett decided to blow off some steam in the gym. He went to Moonshadows, changed into his gym
clothes in the locker room, and worked out for an hour and a half. He needed the stress relief, and rather than
beating his former brother-in-law to a pulp again, he decided to do it in a
more productive manner.
he finished working out, he jogged down the path to the tennis courts and spent
half an hour hitting balls and practicing his swing. Hot and sweaty after the exhaustive
afternoon, he peeled off his soaked Lacoste polo and trotted across the court
where he’d left his gym bag.
stood with one foot on the bench and the other planted firmly on the ground,
gulping big mouthfuls of water from a bottle and dabbing his forehead with a
towel. In the distance, he spotted Kelly
coming down the hill toward the courts.
He picked up his bag and slung it over his shoulder as he approached the
he said when she drew near. “Long time
she replied, eyeing him up and down.
She’d always found him sexy, and seeing him standing before her
shirtless and sweaty was enough to make her pant with desire. “How are you?”
been better,” he said, taking another swig from his water.
kidding. I just got done applying for a
waitressing job at the Cahuenga Room.
Kind of sad when one day you’re on a billboard for a hit movie and the
next you’re serving drinks to rich snobs.”
grinned in spite of her defeated tone.
“I meant what I said the last time we talked. I’d be happy to put you to work in a Sunset
would really let that happen, I’m sure,” she quipped. “He’d rather see me penniless and on the
street before that happened.”
Stormy doesn’t call all the shots.”
followed his gaze. She could tell
he was checking her out, as she’d often seen him do before. Maybe the answer to her problems was standing
right in front of her.
be great,” she said, playfully biting the tip of her finger.
felt himself sweating more, this time not from his workout, but from the way
she was looking at him. Reaching out to
the fence, he hooked his fingers through the wire mesh and moved closer.
have a lot in common,” he began. “With
how we feel about Stormy, that is.”
probably not the only thing we have in common.”
he walked around to the door and left the tennis court. When he approached her, she moved
dangerously close to him.
should get to know each other better, Brett,” she said. “I’d love to find out more about what makes
grew aroused by her forwardness, and was certain that she could tell. “Why don’t we go somewhere and I’ll show
laughed coyly, throwing her mane of black hair over her shoulder and tracing a
finger down the middle of his chest, pausing at the waistband of his white
tennis shorts. “Now
what would Stormy say about you fooling around with another one of his
ex-wives?” she asked with a playful wink.
cares about Stormy,” Brett said sheepishly.
He wanted her at that moment so badly that he could taste it. His erection pressed hard against his shorts
and he grew flushed standing beneath the hot sun on the pathway. “Maybe it’s time we started thinking about
like the way you think,” Kelly said.
“But right now, I have to go.”
Brett watched her start up the path.
“Wait, where are you going?” He
had been sure that they were headed straight to bed. His workout had provided little relief. What he needed was to burn off some energy
with dirty, nasty sex.
be in touch,” she said, backing up the hill.
Brett asked, helpless as she stood there in his aroused state.
could be fun to have around,” Kelly called over to him as her parting
shot. “But let’s not rush it.”
she’d gone, he turned and ran his fingers through his hair. All all of
the sudden Kelly Blackthorne was a conquest that he wouldn’t rest until he’d
hadn’t been to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery since Jonas’s funeral. Walking along the headstones brought back
memories that she would rather not have, but with the recent events, she had no
at Jonas’s grave, a shadow loomed over her and she turned. To her surprise, Jordan was hovering behind
followed me,” she surmised with a sigh.
with his hands in his pockets, he fell in line beside her at the
gravesite. “Tell me about Lana, mother.”
she sunk to her knees and began picking weeds from the sides of the
headstone. “Lana always wanted the
spotlight. She craved it, but she was
overlooked for roles and eventually she gave up on Hollywood. Meanwhile I enjoyed a rich career. You know how popular I was, Jordan. I was the it
girl before the war and even more so after.”
know,” he said.
studios owned their stars back in those days,” Lola went on. “I was under contract with Lamont 3. On top of having two children and a husband,
I’d done seven films in a year. Every
day there were press junkets, interviews, wardrobe fittings for my next
picture, and premieres for the last. It
was a never-ending whirlwind. I started
to feel overwhelmed. I was only one
woman. I couldn’t do it all.”
pulled a fistful of grass from the ground as he listened.
told Jonas about my concerns and he dismissed me right away. He told me things would get better. He told me things would slow down, but they
didn’t. Eventually I nearly had a
nervous breakdown. I had to get out of
the spotlight, but the work schedule they had me on wouldn’t allow it.” She paused while looking at her sons’
reaction. “Jonas was good at
accommodating his stars. He fixed their
problems and he covered up their mistakes.
Anything to protect his investments from public scuriny. When he realized how serious I was about needing to get away, he came up
with a plan. He got Lana to replace
nodded. “She got a makeover, she fit
into my clothes, and she learned to talk and act like me. We were already identical twins so it wasn’t
difficult. The public bought it. She became Lola Marlowe, the celebrity, and I
recuperated at a chalet in Switzerland.”
a minute,” Jordan said. “You’re telling
me you let your sister take over your life?
How long did this go on?”
“Four years?” Jordan exclaimed in
bewilderment. “For four years you hid
from the world while your sister masqueraded as you? What about my father? What about me and Troy?”
tear formed in her eye. “As far as you
knew, she was your mother. Nobody
suspected anything. Not even Teddy.”
was five years old,” Jordan
said. “I was ten by the time this
charade ended. How could you do that to
a little boy? How could you stay away for
that long? Didn’t you care about
me? About us?”
course I did!” Lola cried, rising to her feet.
“It tore me apart that I couldn’t be with you. But I was exhausted. I was suffering, Jordan. You have to understand that.”
when did you end this game of yours?” he demanded.
day of your father’s heart attack,” she said.
“I flew home to see him in the hospital.
I was there when he died. I was at his bedside.”
that’s something I guess,” he replied
bitterly. “And Lana?”
turned away. “She had grown accustomed
to the life she’d been living. She
didn’t want to give it up. She craved
the spotlight, the fans, and the attention.”
my father, no doubt.”
shook her head. “No, she didn’t love
Teddy the way I did. I think that’s
partly what prompted his heart attack.
They were plagued with problems because she refused to get close to
him. The stardom was all she cared
about. I confronted her at the mansion
and told her that it was over but she refused to give me my life back.”
did you do?” Jordan demanded. “Mother,
struggled,” she admitted. “We were on
the stairs and I pushed her. She fell
and she died.”
my God,” Jordan whispered in horror.
came in and made it look like an accident,” she went on. “Like I said, he was good at it. He had a team of people who covered up for
the accidents his stars made. Lana’s
death was declared a freak accident and that was that. No one ever knew about the switch.”
you pushed her.”
nodded. “And now someone knows. Someone knows what happened because why else
would they be leaving those photographs?
That photo shoot was done of Lana
while I was away, and he knows that. He
knows that and he’s trying to toy with me.
Jordan, who’s doing this to me?”
for the person responsible for Lola's attacks. Ethan
and Mackenzie commiserate. Sheldon tells his father
all. Plus, the crossover
continues on Nightingales # 11
Miranda and Jane are booked for murder.
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