Brooke, angry over the fact that
Ethan had ignored her during their trip to Palm Springs,
made plans to leave without him, but reconsidered when
Kyle showed up. Ethan and Brooke agreed to take
a break to reconsider their feelings, but later Ethan
saw Brooke and Kyle kissing. Kelly grew desperate
for money, then flirted with Brett when she ran into
him at Moonshadows. Stormy continued to make Brett
look bad at Sunset Studios in an effort to drive him
off. Miranda and Jane revealed to Stormy and Eddie
that they put Hugh's body in the freezer because they
thought Farrah killed him. When the police found
strands of Miranda's hair at the murder scene, she was
arrested. Jane insisted that she was in on it
and was taken into custody as well. Meanwhile,
James learned of Miranda's arrest and made plans to
return to L.A., further infuriating Mackenzie. On
her date with Vaughan, Alex found a photograph of two
identical girls named Lola and Lana. When Jordan confronted
his mother, she revealed that Lana was her twin who
took Lola's place for four years in 1967 when Lola was
suffering from exhaustion. Then when Lola returned
to reclaim her life, Lana refused to give it up and
they struggled. Lana fell down the stairs and
died, prompting Jonas to make it look like an accident
to protect Lola. Jordan realized the photographs
that had been left of his mother were of Lana taken
during her absence, and wondered who knew the truth
and was trying to kill her.
Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom"
Night had descended
over Hollywood. The moon cast an eerie glow over Vaughan
Novak’s house, throwing shadows from the swaying trees in the yard and the
rippling waves from the swimming pool. Coyotes
howled in the distance and crickets chirped in the darkness. Inside the house, the wind blew the curtains
inward as doors slowly creaked open and closed.
On the television in the family room, The Benefactor played to an empty audience.
through the house, Alex followed the sounds through the maze of hallways and
interconnecting rooms. She made her way
to the basement door in her nightgown.
In her mind, a soundtrack of ominous organ music played.
When she approached
the door, she saw flashing lights and smoke seeping from beneath. Paralyzed with fear, she watched as the door
slowly opened, its hinges creaking softly until she was standing face to face
with the thing in the basement. In her
mind it was a hideous monster, cloaked in a black hood and faceless red
electric eyes boring down on her. Slowly
it came at her, silently preying on her defenses as terror welled up in her
throat until it escaped in a blood-curdling scream.
She turned to run
down the hall but she moved with a crawl.
Her mind told her to flee but her legs wouldn’t obey. She could feel the monster’s presence behind
her, inching its way closer, hands outstretched, grasping for her, thirsty for
But when she
turned, the thing was gone, billowing smoke remaining in its repugnant
wake. Mouth agape, Alex turned to
investigate. Monsters and phantoms
didn’t simply disappear. She could still
feel its sinister eyes boring down on her from somewhere.
As she neared the
door to the basement, she slowly and cautiously peered down the stairs into the
darkness of the unknown. What she saw
made her heart stop. Cold sweat and a
sick feeling in the pit of her stomach overwhelmed her. The first thing she saw was their matching
dresses and indistinguishable Shirley Temple curls. The next were their faces, stone cold and
white as a sheet as two sets of identical eyes stared up the stairs at
“Hello?” she called
down to the twin girls. When she drew
closer, one of them disappeared. She
focused on the remaining girl’s eyes and reached out with her hand. “Lana?”
But the girl didn’t
reply. She pointed up the stairs with a
long, slender finger, mouthing inaudible sounds that Alex couldn’t make out.
Deciding to get a
closer look, she moved to the stairs, but stopped in her tracks when the
basement door swung closed, latching with a thunderous slam inches from her
face. When she tried the knob, it was
locked. She rattled the door and hit it
with her fists but it was no use...
With a shriek, she
woke up and shot into an upright position.
Sweating and panting heavily, she looked around her bedroom in a
panic. She was safe in her own
room. The awful images of the phantom
and the girl in the basement had been a terrible nightmare, and one that she
couldn’t force out of her mind for the rest of the night.
through the doors of the Beverly Hills Police Station the next morning, Alex
raced down the long corridor, her heels tapping on the tiled floor as she
sprinted to the bullpen outside the admitting desk. She came to another set of doors and
barreling through them without slowing her manic pace. Across the room she saw James and Kenny
talking quietly in the corner.
is she?” Alex demanded in a panic.
“Where’s Miranda? I have to see
James went to steady her. “Alex, calm
down. They’re bringing her down from the
holding cell. Kenny and I are going to
find out what’s going on.”
cell?” Alex shrieked. “She’s being
held? What for? What’s going on? James, you have to tell me! Kenny?”
and Jane were arrested for murder,” Kenny told her. “They’re holding them both. I’m trying to get the arraignment scheduled
for this afternoon so we can get them out on bond.”
Alex cried. “I don’t understand. James, our daughter isn’t a murderer. Who do they think she killed?”
sighed and ran his fingers through his hair.
Sadly, he knew very little. He’d
landed in the helicopter only an hour ago and made his way directly to the
I know is he was a crime boss named Hugh Rogers.”
not the kind of person our daughter hangs around with,” Alex said plainly. “There’s got to be some mistake.” She went to the admittance desk. “I want to see my daughter. Miranda!
you have got to relax,” James said
and pulled her back. “There’s nothing we
can do until we talk to her. Now
please. Just sit and let Kenny and I
talk to her first.”
took a deep breath and turned just as Jordan entered the waiting area. Relieved, she darted toward him. “Jordan, thank God. You’ve got to do something. James won’t let me see Miranda and I have to
find out if she’s okay. Please, can’t
you do something?”
Jordan asked, his forehead creasing into a frown. “What are you talking about?”
been arrested for murder,” Alex exclaimed.
“Isn’t that ridiculous?”
ran a hand over his face while exchanging cordial nods with James and
Kenny. “Look, I’m sorry, Alex. You know I’d do something to help if I could.”
isn’t that why you’re here?” she wanted to know. “Because she was your step daughter twice and
you care about her? I know you think of
Miranda as your own daughter. And I know
you still care about me regardless of everything.”
sure James and Kenny have it handled, and I’d love to help, but right now I’ve
got my hands full with Lola’s latest drama.”
something else happen?” Alex asked. “Has
someone made another attempt on her life?”
nodded and held up a third photograph of his mother. Or rather of Lana, he corrected himself. Since she admitted that her twin sister had
taken over her life for four years, he now knew that those particular photographs weren’t of
his mother, and whoever was responsible apparently knew that.
driver was almost killed this morning,” he confided in her. “Someone tampered with the brakes on the
car. Luckily Lola wasn’t in the
car at the
time, but if the driver hadn’t taken it to get washed, who knows what could have
could be doing this?” Alex whispered. “I
mean, who could possibly know what happened to Lana? Jonas is dead, and you’re the only one she
told about what happened to her.”
Jonas had people working for him,” Jordan reasoned. “He couldn’t have pulled the switch off
himself, much less made her death look like an accident without help.”
covered her mouth with her hands.
“Vaughan,” she whispered.
told me he used to work for Jonas,” she explained. “Before he made it as a talent agent, he was
Jonas’s right hand man at Lamont 3. I
asked him what he did for him and he said whatever
information confirmed what Jordan had already been suspecting. According to Denise at Sunset Studios, agents
were frequently granted access to their archives. Vaughan could have taken the photos of Lana.
think you should stay away from Vaughan Novak,” he said.
raised an eyebrow as she looked into his eyes.
“Jordan, please. You can’t think
Vaughan would actually want to hurt Lola.
I mean, I’ve wanted to see her gone for as long as I can remember, but
do we really know about him? I think
it’s best if you don’t see him again.”
couldn’t help but feel the corners of her mouth turning upwards. For months it had seemed that Jordan didn’t
care about her, but now he was showing signs of genuine concern, and possibly a
hint of jealousy.
“All I’m saying is
that maybe he knows who’s responsible,” she said.
what I intend to find out,” Jordan said and turned.
need to tell your father and Kenny about what you overheard,” Eddie was saying
to Stormy at his office at Titan Records.
“If Brad King came here to kill Miranda, then he’s the number one
suspect in all of this. He probably
killed Hugh himself.”
know that, Eddie,” Stormy said and paced back and forth in his office. “But we have to be very careful about what we
say to anyone. Even if Miranda is
cleared of murder, she could still go down for this prostitution
talking murder charges.”
stopped and flashed him a look. “Do you want to see her sent up the river for
five years like what happened to Gemma?
I think we should find a way to clear her name but not reveal that she
was acting as her replacement.”
can get her off the hook for that business,” Eddie insisted. “I don’t want to see her charged with
murder. And I know you don’t want that
to happen to Jane, either, no matter how angry you are right now.”
course I don’t,” Stormy said. “But we’ve
got to find a way to get something on
good luck,” was Eddie’s reply. “He’s
leaving with Akilah to head back to New Martin this morning.”
they knew it, the door was opening and Farrah was rushing inside, panic evident
on her face.
Miranda and Jane okay?” she asked. “I
heard they were arrested.”
thanks to you,” Stormy snapped. “The
only reason they got arrested is because they were protecting you.”
sighed and looked away. “Look, maybe I
can help. I can help you find the real
may already be on to that,” Eddie told her.
“Something’s up with Brad King.”
Farrah asked. “Do you think he could
have killed Hugh?”
if it wasn’t Miranda or Jane, and it wasn’t you, then he’s the next person of
interest,” Stormy told her.
I can help you,” Farrah insisted. “I owe
Miranda and Jane so much. Please let me
don’t need your help,” Eddie said and opened the door. “You’ve done quite enough already.”
she turned and left the office.
do you mean you gave our seats away?”
Akilah asked as she stood with Chelsea at the check-in counter at LAX.
canceled your tickets,” the agent clarified while pointing at her monitor. “I’m sorry but there’s nothing I can
I didn’t cancel my damn tickets,” Akilah said, a hand on her hip. “Check it again.”
sorry, you’re not scheduled for this flight,” the agent said while tapping her
fingers across her keyboard.
you just reinstate our tickets?” Chelsea asked.
“We really need to get back to New Martin. We’re so
done with L.A.”
the flight is booked.”
you mean the flight is booked?” Akilah
said, moving closer to the desk. “First
our tickets get canceled and now you say the flight is booked? Girl, I’m about ready to come up over there
don’t,” Chelsea said and held her back.
“It’s fine. We’ll get the next
the future, I’d suggest you confirm your reservations on line in advance,” the
agent said primly.
really?” Akilah asked. “That’s what you
suggest? Well let me tell you what I
suggest you do with-“
think I see Brad,” Chelsea said, grateful for the distraction. “Come on.”
they left the desk, Akilah looked back at the agent and regarded her with a
snarl. “You only work at a ticket booth,
you know, so you can drop the attitude.”
they intercepted Brad, he pulled his carryon from his shoulder and set it on
the rows of seats beside him at the gate.
“I’m sorry, I forgot to tell you ladies I moved our flight back,” he
“You did?” Chelsea asked. “Why?
You knew we were ready to go
wanted to surprise you with upgrades to first class, and the last flight was
sold out so I moved us to a later flight.”
smiled. “How nice. Akilah, isn’t that thoughtful?”
frowned. “No, it ain’t thoughtful! I want to go home.”
just a few hours,” Brad said. “It’ll be
worth it. I promise. You haven’t lived until you’ve flown first
Akilah flung herself onto the seat. “I
don’t understand white people sometimes,” she murmured under her breath.
that he’d delayed their flight without too many repercussions, Brad casually
removed his laptop from his carryon so he could do some work while they
waited. Caleb owed him big time, he
thought to himself. All he was told to
do was stall long enough so Akilah would miss her wedding to Matt. After that, he’d be home and away from
L.A. He wanted nothing more than to
forget about the entire trip.
Novak’s office was located in an ultra modern glass and steel structure on
Sunset Boulevard. Stark furnishings and expensive
artwork made up the spacious room, more or less uninviting to Jordan as he was
led through the giant doors by the pretty young receptionist.
Rydell is here to see you, Mr. Novak,” she said.
I told you I was in a meeting,” Vaughan snapped, standing up from his
sorry, Mr. Novak,” she said and shrunk to the back of the room. “I forgot.”
shook his head dismissively. “That’s all
right. Jordan, good to see you. I was just finishing up with Nick.”
regarded the other man in the room with a gracious nod of his head while extending
his hand. “Nick Kanning, it’s been a
while. How have you been?”
been well, Jordan,” the man said and shook his hand. “Nice to see you.”
the practice? I imagine there’s never a
lack of patients for a plastic surgeon in Hollywood.”
laughed. “No, there’s not.” After collecting his things, he started to
the door. “Well, I should be off. Vaughan, we’ll chat later, okay?”
you, Nick,” Vaughan said and gestured for Jordan to enter as he left. “Jordan, this is a surprise. Did we have an appointment?”
checking to make sure Nick and the receptionist had left the room, Jordan
removed the photograph of Lana and laid it on top of the desk.
tell me Lola is looking to get back into films,” Vaughan said while looking
hastily at the publicity still. “I’m all for comebacks, but this is a bit out
of my reach.”
his hands in his pockets, Jordan studied the man’s expression. “Have you seen this picture before?”
shrugged and picked it up. “It’s vaguely
familiar. I think it was taken during
the publicity shots for The Benefactor. The original, of course.”
idea how it wound up taped to my front door this morning?” Jordan inquired
while eyeing him suspiciously. “Right
after my mother’s driver was nearly turned into road kill?”
are you accusing me of something?” he asked.
“Because if you are, I wish you’d just come out with it.”
know you worked for Jonas during this time,” Jordan said. “Are you saying you have no knowledge about
the circumstances surrounding this photo shoot?”
mean that this isn’t your mother?”
Vaughan said and flashed the picture at him.
“Yes, of course I know. Who do
you think helped Jonas pull it off? He
didn’t have time to groom Lana to take over for her sister. He came up with the idea and I implemented
couldn’t possibly have thought it was a good idea.”
was nineteen years old,” Vaughan said with a laugh. “Arguing morals with the biggest film
producer at that time would have been career suicide.”
else did Jonas have you do?” Jordan wanted to know. “What else did you cover up for to fix my
sat down at his desk and stared at the photograph of Lana. “If you’re talking about her fall, yes, I did
help cover it up. That was my job.”
now you want something,” Jordan said, moving closer to the desk.
are you talking about?”
leaving these pictures of her all over the place,” Jordan bellowed. “You’re toying with her. Three times someone has made attempts on
Lola’s life and the only thing that the killer leaves is a picture of
think I tried to kill Lola?” Vaughan
asked, then chuckled in amusement.
“Seriously, Jordan. I think all
your free time has supercharged your imagination. Why on earth would I want Lola Lamont
haven’t figured that out yet,” he said. “But all I do know is that you’re the
only person alive who knows about Lana, so you must want something.”
think I’m the only one who knows your mother switched places with her sister
and then killed her when she refused to go back to her old life? Get serious, Jordan. There are people in this town who know all
about the secrets that Jonas buried at Lamont 3, or Sunset Studios or whatever
you want to call it.”
people?” Jordan demanded. “James
waived his hand through the air.
“Blackthorne is new blood. You
need to look deeper than that.”
you know who it is?”
Vaughan laughed. “No, I don’t. I would tell you if I did. All I’m saying is that someone else knows
about your mother’s scandal and for whatever reason, they’re looking for
studied his face carefully. He knew he
wasn’t being completely honest with him.
He knew something.
where does Alex fit into all of this?” he asked.
raised an eyebrow. “Alex is a lovely
woman. I’ve been fond of her for many
years. It just so happens that neither
of us has been unavailable at the same time.
Until now, that is.”
I supposed to believe that you seeing her is a coincidence? And it has nothing to do with what’s going on
with my mother?”
leaned back in his seat. “Tell me you’re
asking out of concern for your mother and not because you intend to keep
leading Alex on.”
not leading Alex on. I just don’t want
her to get hurt again. I think you
should stay away from her.”
think you’re jealous. You don’t want
Alex for yourself, but you don’t want anyone else to have her either. Well I’m afraid that’s going to be Alex’s
decision. Not yours.”
watch yourself,” Jordan said before turning and walking out of the room.
he’d gone, Vaughan reached for the phone and dialed. “Nick, it’s Vaughan,” he said. “Sorry we got interrupted. I just want to make sure the last surgery was the last surgery. I know you like to think of yourself as a
plastic surgery Michelangelo, but I’ve got a lot riding on this. My career is at stake.”
car trunk slammed closed just as Mackenzie emerged from the house with her last
bag. Ethan approached her and took it
from her while sliding on a pair of sunglasses.
everything?” he asked.
nodded curtly while opening the car door.
“I guess this weekend wasn’t everything it was meant to be,” she
said. “Can’t say I’m sorry to see it
did get some stuff figured out on the budget,” he told her while putting her
bag in the car and opening the driver’s side door. “At least that’s something.”
mind that James and Brooke left yesterday. Wasn’t this weekend supposed to be
about us reconnecting with them? All
that ended up happening was you and I-“
promised we weren’t going to talk about it,” Ethan cut her off. “Even around each other.”
doesn’t change the fact that it happened.”
She shook her head with frustration and leaned against the roof of the
car. “I knew I should have left with
James. Staying back with you last night was
just a mistake.”
were both angry,” Ethan said. “Me
because of Brooke and Kyle, and you because of James leaving in the middle of
the weekend. It shouldn’t have gone as
far as it did.”
it did,” Mackenzie said, images of his naked torso flashing through her
mind. “And now we have to live with
decided to go about business as usual.
She took Michael to his first day of first grade, kissed him goodbye,
and proceeded to Moonshadows to get some work done after checking on progress
on the marina expansion. To her displeasure,
more delays had come up.
me get this straight,” she said after barging into Kyle’s office. “The construction crew hit power lines under
ground and it knocked out the power in the cabanas?”
just found out myself,” Kyle said after looking up from his desk. “We’re relocating those particular guests
into the hotel. Most of them are okay
but there are a few who weren’t happy.”
neither am I,” Brooke said crossly.
“Those cabanas are rented at a premium.
This is going to be a huge loss in revenue. How long before they can get it fixed?”
shrugged. “Chip said by the end of the
Brooke said in exasperation. “What’s
next? This entire operation is beginning
to go to hell, Kyle, and if it’s not fixed pronto, I’m firing Matthews.”
that, she stormed out of his office and darted next door into hers. A moment later, Kyle appeared in her
isn’t about Chip, is it?” he asked.
frowned and began throwing things around her desk. “What do you mean? Of course it’s about Chip. What else would it be about?”
see,” Kyle said, folding his arms as he walked further into the room. “Could it be because your weekend away with
Ethan turned into a disaster?”
flashed him an incredulous look, furious that she hadn’t been able to calm down
since coming back last night. The
prospect of leaving Ethan there alone with Mackenzie made her uneasy, but what
alternative did she have? They hadn’t
connected all weekend, fought endlessly, and then decided to take a break from
one another. Why would she have stayed?
there was the kiss. The passionate kiss
that she shared with Kyle that night by the pool. It did nothing but further complicate things
in her mind.
decided to take a break,” she finally said.
“I guess that’s what I’m really upset about.”
this is exactly what you need,” Kyle said and walked toward her. “I’ve been saying it for months. There’s still something between us, Brooke. You felt it the other night in Palm
Springs. You owe it to yourself to find
out if it’s real.”
don’t know what’s real anymore,” she replied.
“I thought what Ethan and I had before the earthquake was real. Now I’m not so sure.”
stopped before her and lifted her face to his.
Slowly, he leaned in and kissed her softly, then put his arms around her
and held her close.
know this is real,” he said, looking
into her brilliant blue eyes.
to fight her feelings anymore, she placed her hands alongside his head and
pulled him close, kissing him passionately, her heart racing.
told you, I don’t know Hugh Rogers,” Miranda said while Kenny drilled her with
questions. Jane sat to her left while
James paced the interrogation room.
never met the man?” Kenny asked.
a guard at the prison came forward and said he heard you threaten to kill him,”
James interrupted. “You had to have
known him. And do I even want to know
what you were doing visiting someone in prison?
Who was it?"
visitors log says you were there visiting Gemma Sanders,” Kenny said. “The same day Hugh Rogers was murdered.”
James asked. “What on earth did you have
to talk to her about? I didn’t even know
you knew her.”
Miranda ran her fingers through her hair. “We were cellmates back when I got
arrested for breaking Jane out of rehab.
We got to be friends and I went to visit her. What’s the big deal?”
big deal is that you’re suddenly associating with prostitutes and crime lords,”
James said, leaning across the table and glaring at his daughter. “What’s gotten into you? Are you having some kind of reaction to your
pregnancy? Are your hormone levels out
of whack or something?”
Miranda grimaced. “Just what I
want. To discuss my hormones with my
sat by silently. She hated that they had
to go through this. All they were trying
to do was protect Farrah from going to jail for murder. Yes, they disposed of Hugh’s body, but they
couldn’t even admit to that without casting suspicion on her cousin. She began to wonder if denying any
involvement was the way to go. Their
story was bound to have holes big enough for the investigators to see
why did you threaten Hugh Rogers at the prison?” Kenny asked again.
shrugged. “He bumped into me in the
parking lot and didn’t apologize. I told
him I was going to kill him.”
bumping into you?” James demanded.
must have been my hormones,” Miranda said meekly.
slapped his hands to his sides in resignation.
“All right, if you’re not going to take this seriously then good luck
raising your baby in prison because that’s exactly what’s going to happen.”
am taking this seriously,” Miranda
said. “As seriously as I can based on
the ridiculous circumstantial evidence the prosecution has. So they found my hair at Gemma’s house. Big deal.
I could have gone to a party there months ago.”
how did it get on the corpse?” Kenny asked.
you see how much hair I have?” Miranda asked and pulled at a chunk of her dark
locks. “It falls out everywhere. You should see my shower drain. If my hair was in that house, then it could
have gotten on the body. End of
doesn’t explain the locket that belonged to the victim,” Kenny went on. “His son claimed he saw you wearing it.”
his word against mine,” Miranda said and looked at Jane.
you’re being awfully quiet,” James said.
“Is there something you want to say?”
opened her mouth to reply but Miranda stopped her with a stern look and a shake
of her head. “No,” she replied.
sighed and looked at James. “Well, let’s
just hope the judge decides he’s in a good mood today. Otherwise this arraignment is going to be
Brett could think about was bending Kelly over his desk and nailing her fast
and hard. Mesmerized by her impossibly
long legs, he imagined how easy it would be to lift her skirt up and rip off
her underwear – if she was wearing any – before sliding his already hard dick
inside of her.
Sitting in his
chair in his office with the fabric from his trousers stretched tightly over
his erection, he watched the scenario play out in his mind. He was a free agent, after all. Heather had decided to end things with him,
leaving him free to be with anyone he wanted.
Every other woman he’d had his eye on for the past three years now fell
into a distant second place next to Stormy’s sexy ex-wife. The best part of it all was that Kelly knew
he wanted her, and she toyed with him endlessly.
“What’s the part?”
she was asking while traipsing across the room, throwing her mane of ebony hair
over her shoulders.
“It’s a cameo, but
it’s an important role,” Brett told her.
“The part in the original film was played by Lola Lamont.”
“A cameo?” Kelly
asked with a scoff. “You can’t do any
better than that?”
He grew excited
when she approached him and sat down in his lap. “Well, there aren’t any other female roles in
the film. It could be a great starting
off point for you. A lead-in to the next
big picture we take on.”
“Hmm,” Kelly said
while slowly moving up and down on his lap.
“I guess that could be okay. But
I want a say in the wardrobe. I realize
this is science fiction, but I still want my best assets to show.”
“Oh they will,”
Brett said, grinning as her breasts came dangerously close to his face. “Believe me.”
She watched as his
hand slid to her thigh, moving inside and inching slowly up her skirt. “What about Stormy? You still haven’t told him that you’re
putting me in the movie. He could
“Leave Stormy to
me,” Brett said, aroused by her scent.
“Besides, he’s too busy with Miranda’s latest drama to care.”
“Well in that case,
I accept,” she said and jumped off of his lap.
“Where are you
“To go over my
lines,” she replied, standing before him.
“What about us?”
Brett asked, reaching out and placing his hands on her waist while taking in
her erotic body. “Don’t tell me you
don’t want it.”
“Oh, I want it,”
she said, leaning down and flicking her tongue in his ear. “And it’ll be the best sex you’ve ever had,
“I’ll go lock the
door,” he said and attempted to get up.
“Not so fast,”
Kelly said and pushed him back into the chair.
“Why rush it? Let’s just enjoy
“I’d rather enjoy
the real thing,” Brett said, closing his eyes as she cupped her hands between
his legs. “Come on, you have to at least
give me something to hold me over.”
placed her hand behind his head and kissed him hard, allowing his tongue to
explore her mouth. When she was through,
she stood back up and walked to the door.
“For now, a cold
shower will have to do,” she said before turning and leaving.
After she’d gone,
Brett threw his head back in frustration.
He didn’t know how much more he could take of her games. He knew she was only using him for the part
in the movie, but he didn’t care. He had
his own agenda where Kelly was concerned, and sex was only the beginning.
In the hall, Kelly
ran into Alex who rushed off the elevator as soon as the doors opened. When they saw each other, they stopped and
looked at one another in contempt.
“What are you doing
here?” Kelly asked.
“I’m here to talk
to Stormy about Miranda,” she said. “I
think the better question is what are you
that it’s any of your business, but I’m here about a part in a movie,” Kelly
“You?” Alex asked angrily. “Surely Stormy wouldn’t agree to putting you
in another Sunset Studios production.”
isn’t the only one who makes the decisions around here.”
prospect made Alex see red. She’d begged
Vaughan not to represent Kelly so she would fail in the business and have to
leave town again. Now it seemed she’d
bypassed the agent process and went straight for the gold.
won’t sit by and let this happen,” she said.
glared angrily while folding her arms.
“Why don’t you worry about your own life for once? Go screw that fossil Vaughan Novak and leave
everyone else alone.”
I detect a hint of resentment?” Alex asked.
“Your ploy to seduce Vaughan into representing you didn’t work so now
you feign disinterest in him?”
have no interest in him,” Kelly said
with a grimace. “Besides, he’s too
creepy for my tastes. That big house
with all those weird noises freaks me out.
He’s all yours, lady.”
noises?” Alex asked, the remark striking a chord with her. “What are you talking about?”
shrugged indifferently. “The sounds
coming from his basement. It’s like he’s
got someone chained up down there or something.
All I know is I couldn’t wait to get out of that house. Just like I can’t wait to get out of
here. No offense, but I don’t like you.”
she’d left, Alex was left with the uneasy feeling that Kelly had heard the same
sounds she did that were coming from the basement of Vaughan’s house. When she’d asked him about it, he said it was
Sheldon, but now she wasn’t so sure.
Jordan got home, he threw his keys onto the table in the entryway and flew to
the bar to pour himself a drink. It was
only noon but he had already had enough to deal with for one day, and going
through any of it sober seemed futile.
so tense, Jordan,” said a voice from behind.
down a glass of scotch, he turned to find his mother hovering in the doorway of
the drawing room. Angrily, he slammed
his glass down on the bar and refilled it.
really do need to find something that relaxes you,” she went on. “Bridge, perhaps?”
don’t want to play bridge, mother,” Jordan snapped. “I want to know why you did it. How could you just give up on your life for
four years? You let another woman play
house with your own family.”
don’t expect you to understand what it was like in those days, Jordan,” Lola
said and accepted a drink that he handed her.
“I was owned by the
studio. I didn’t have a life. I was so busy that I never had time to spend
with you and your father as it was.”
could have if you wanted to.”
also could have collapsed from exhaustion,” she explained. “I did, as a matter of fact. But I was under contract with Lamont 3 so I
had no choice. The public expected to
see me at parties and premieres but I simply couldn’t do it anymore. The switch was the only way to protect my
name and protect the name of the studio.”
helped you through it. Was that how you
got to be so close? You married him
years later, after all.”
nodded. “After he removed any suspicion
on me in Lana’s accident, we did grow close, yes. But he was already married at the time so we
simply stayed friends. But then when his
third marriage ended, we finally got together.
He was the only man that ever genuinely cared
about me. Even
more than your father ever did. I would have done anything for Jonas. And I
about Vaughan Novak?” Jordan asked. “How
involved was he in all of this?”
was very involved. He did the work while Jonas was merely the
you know any reason he’d want to see you dead?”
frowned. “Vaughan? No, I don’t.
Do you think he’s the one trying to kill me and leaving those
photographs of Lana?”
think he could be. I know he’s hiding something.”
stopped and looked at a painted portrait that hung on the wall. “Why would Vaughan want me dead? After all this time?"
indeed?” Jordan said while finishing his drink.
what brings you down here in the middle of the day?” Vaughan asked as he
embraced his son tightly. “You never come
to my office.”
have something to tell you,” Sheldon said as Blake entered the office and fell
in line beside him. “It’s about me and
raised an eyebrow and looked at them in anticipation. “Okay,” he said. “Blake, it’s always nice to see you.”
too, Mr. Novak.”
come sit down and tell me what’s on your mind,” Vaughan said and gestured to
the bank of chairs across the room.
“Just please don’t let it be that you’re not coming to the premiere of
Elana Hendrick’s film tomorrow night.
She’s one of my biggest clients and I need to be there to support
her. I need you to be there with me.”
I’m still going,” Sheldon said and swallowed hard. He was used to being the supportive golden
boy when his father’s business required it.
Frequenting premieres and parties were only some of the more tolerable tasks
he was assigned to on occasion.
then what can I do for you boys?”
looked at Blake and then at his father.
“Dad, Blake and I are together. We’re
there was one thing Vaughan Novak had learned in his career with working with
celebrities, it was to never show expression for risk of alarming them into a
fit of hasty reactions to that
expression. The same methodology worked
in the instance of his family. No
expression was needed.
see,” he said. “Well, thank you for
telling me, son.”
Sheldon looked at Blake and then at his father.
“That’s it?” he asked. “I tell you I’m dating a guy and you say thank you for telling me?”
he folded his hands into his lap while leaning against his desk. “What would you like me to say, Sheldon? So you’re gay. The truth is I’m very happy that you’ve found
someone you enjoy being with.”
realized how we felt after Benji and Sierra died,” Blake said. “It was pretty new to both of us.”
imagine it was,” Vaughan said and walked around to his desk. “Tell me, Blake, I know your father is gone,
but have you said anything to your mother?
Or to Eddie?”
shook his head. “No. My mother and I haven’t really been
close. And I haven’t told Eddie
yet. I guess I’m just waiting for the
nodded again. “Yes, I can see where
timing would be everything.”
I wanted to tell you before but to be honest, I didn’t know if it was just a
phase I was going through or what. But
after Blake and I got together, I realized it wasn’t.”
nothing if not a careful young man,” Vaughan said while sitting down at his
desk. “I’m sure you gave it quite a bit
of thought. Well, now that you’ve told
me, Blake, I’d love to have you over for dinner next week. Pick a time that works for both of you and
I’ll arrange it with cook.”
Blake said, relieved that it had gone better than they’d anticipated. He hoped that Eddie would take the news as
that’s really great, dad. Thank
pleasure, son. All I want is for you to
be happy. Tell me, since you’ve become
an item, have you spent much time at the house together?”
frowned, unsure of what his father was getting at. “You mean have I had Blake over?” he
asked. “Yeah. Once or twice. But we weren’t doing it under your nose or
anything, so if that’s what you’re worried about-“
shook his head. “No, not at all,” he
said. “I just wanted to have a chance to
alert the staff that there might be a new face around the house in case they
were curious. It might be best for the
two of you to relegate yourselves to Blake’s apartment until I can accomplish
Sheldon said with a wary shrug. “No
“Great. Well, I’ll see you boys later. Thanks for coming by.”
dad,” Sheldon said and led Blake out into the hall.
they’d gone, Vaughan stared off in concentration. He picked up the phone and called his
I want you to change the locks on the basement door right away. If you see any of my son’s friends hanging
around the house, particularly Blake Distefano, I want you to tell me. Is that understood?”
course, Mr. Novak. I’ll do it
find me an actress who’s down on her luck,” Vaughan went on. “A pretty one. Around eighteen or nineteen years old. And buy her a dress. She’ll be going to a premiere with my son tomorrow
last thing on Stormy’s mind was The
Benefactor. They were due to begin
filming in two days, but with Miranda and Jane facing murder charges, he
couldn’t think of anything but proving their innocence. While Eddie did some investigation into the
connection between Hugh Rogers and Brad King, he was forced to attend a late
lunch with Nathan and Keaton Hartley, the director of the project.
such an honor to be working with you, Mr. Blackthorne,” Keaton was saying over
cocktails at the Polo Lounge. “I’ve seen
every one of your films. My Netflix is all Nathan Blackthorne all the time.”
flattered, young man,” Nathan said while gesturing to a few passersby who
wondered at his presence. “But I’m
afraid you’re too young to have appreciated them back in their glory days. Movies were events back then. Nowadays it’s who can release the most films
before labor day.”
know how you feel,” Keaton replied eagerly.
“My approach to filmmaking is about quality, not quantity. That’s why I was so thrilled to take on this
project with Sunset Studios. Its
history alone is what Hollywood is made of.”
the good old days of Lamont 3,” Nathan went on.
“I was invited to a party at Jonas Lamont’s house and before you knew it
I was an overnight sensation. I was on
contract with them until he died. It was
one of the longest studio contracts around back then.”
fantastic,” Keaton said.
spotted Alex coming through the lounge, barreling intently toward their
table. “Look who we have here.”
I have to talk to you about your sister,” Alex said, placing a hand on her
son’s shoulder while avoiding eye contact with Nathan. “James refuses to let me see her. Do you know what’s going on?”
I don’t know anything,” Stormy said. He
knew the less he told her the better off they’d be. “Her
arraignment is this afternoon. I can
take you if you want.”
my dear, would you care to join us for a drink?” Nathan piped in. “You really should meet this young man
sitting beside me. He’s going to be the
most innovative director of his generation.”
Alex could protest, Keaton was rising and extending his hand to her. “Miss Reynolds, I can’t tell you how happy I
am to meet you,” he said. “I’ve followed
your career for a very long time.”
nice of you to say,” Alex replied while shaking his hand. She didn’t want to be rude, but she didn’t
have much time for socializing with up and coming directors.
this is Keaton Hartley,” Stormy said.
“He’s going to be directing The
nice,” Alex said, then looked at Stormy.
“Darling, can I please talk to
you in private?”
he got up and led her off to the bar where he proceeded to deflect any and all
of her questions about Miranda. He had
no intention of telling her about Miranda’s job as Hollywood madam, or about
her and Jane disposing of a corpse.
seem to have an interesting relationship,” Keaton noted back at the table with
Nathan. “Are they close?”
close as anyone can be with a celebrity for a parent,” Nathan quipped and
finished his martini. “Alex and I have
quite the past. We were close for a time
I’ve read all about it. It was her
testimony that led to a guilty verdict in your trial.”
nodded with a smirk, aware of the steely cold looks Alex was giving him from
across the room. “I think we’re on the
verge of mending fences though. Can’t
they got back to Los Angeles, Ethan and Mackenzie went straight to her office
at the Young at Heart studios so they
could prepare the budget presentation for the network.
just need to stop by wardrobe and wish Elana Hendricks luck with her premiere
tomorrow night,” Mackenzie said when they entered the building.
gave her time off to do a movie?” Ethan asked with a grin. “And here I thought you were this slave
in her contract,” Mackenzie said with a wry expression. “Wait till she finds out three months off a
year is about to turn into six months
off a year so the network doesn’t have to fork over her million dollar
see you in a bit,” Ethan said as they split off through the building.
made her way to the wardrobe department but stopped when she realized she left
her briefcase in her car. Sighing, she
turned and walked back outside to the parking lot. To her surprise, Kyle was walking up to the
doors as she was coming out.
you’re here for the reason I think you are, it’s a bad idea,” Mackenzie said
with a shake of her head. “Seriously
Kyle, go home.”
do think I’m here for?” he asked.
here to rub Ethan’s nose in the fact that he and Brooke are off for the time
being,” Mackenzie said, squinting through the bright afternoon sunlight.
his nose in it is a little harsh,” Kyle said.
“I just wanted to clear the slate.
They’re taking a break so Brooke’s fair game. Let the best man win, right?”
you’re so sure that you’re the best man for her?” Mackenzie wanted to
know. “You lied to her for months,
Kyle. Why would she ever choose you over Ethan?”
smiled and stepped closer to her. “But
you’re secretly hoping she does, aren’t you?”
“Why? I don’t care about Brooke, and I certainly
don’t care about you. I think my
ambivalence to you showing up in Palm Springs proves that.”
want Brooke to choose me because that
will leave Ethan for you,” he said
with a clever smile. “I know you, Mackenzie.”
don’t know me half as well as you think you do,” she replied. “It just so happens that I’m very happy with
he isn’t throwing you aside for his family,” Kyle said. “Wow, Mackenzie, for someone who’s usually so
anti-man, you seem to be chasing your fill of them lately.”
Before she could reply, he turned and went
back to his car to leave. She didn’t
care what her brother said. She was
interested in James and James only.
Whatever might have happened between her and Ethan in Palm Springs was
and Jane waited for the ruling in their arraignment as James, Stormy and Alex
sat behind them waiting anxiously for the judge’s decision.
have no problem granting bail for Miss Blackthorne,” the judge said. “As Mr. DeWitt stated in his opening remarks,
she comes from a prominent family in California, therefore I don’t see her as a
District Attorney rose to his feet.
“Your honor, Miss Blackthorne is a very wealthy young woman. She has
means to flee if she wanted to, and her family has a history of doing just
that. Need I remind you about her great
uncle’s rape trial in 1984?”
you do not, Mr. Murdoch. These are two
separate cases. Bail is set at one
million dollars. A trial date will be
established in the coming weeks.”
sighed with relief, running a hand over her pregnant stomach as James leaned
forward and rested his hand on her shoulder.
same cannot be said, however, for Miss Wheeler,” the judge continued. “She has no ties to the area and frankly has
no reason to stay to face her charges. I
can’t in good conscience allow her to be released knowing she could be a flight
eyes widened in terror as she looked at Miranda and then at Stormy who sat
behind her. She would die if she had to
stay in jail for weeks until the trial happened.
honor, James Blackthorne has volunteered to have Miss Wheeler released into his
custody,” Kenny announced. “She’ll be
allowed to live in his home and he’ll be responsible for her bail.”
looked back again with wide eyes, amazed that Stormy’s father would do
something like that for her.
well,” the judge said. “Miss Wheeler is
released into Mr. Blackthorne’s custody.
Bail is set for one million dollars.”
the arraignment, Jane turned toward James and Stormy. “I can’t believe you would do this for me,”
she said. “Mr. Blackthorne, I can’t
accept this kind of generosity.”
very important to my son, Jane,” James said.
“That means you’re important to me.”
smiled happily and threw her arms around him.
“Thank you so much,” she said, overwhelmed by his actions.
Stormy said and led her to the side. “I
promise I’m going to get you and Miranda cleared of these charges. I’ll do whatever I have to do to clear your
you’re not pissed at me anymore?” Jane asked, tears welling up in her
smiled in spite of himself. “I’m a
little pissed, but I’ll get over it. I
love you, after all.”
embraced warmly as Miranda went to her mother and father. “Daddy, thank you. I can’t tell you what this means to me.”
are not off the hook, young lady,” James said, staring at her with disapproving
eyes. “I still don’t buy your story
about Hugh Rogers. And before Kenny can
work up a defense for you, you’re going to have to tell him everything. And I
what Miranda was afraid of. She hated
the thought of her mother and father finding out what she’d done. The first thing she was going to do when she
got out of there was to relinquish all connections to Gemma’s business. It simply wasn’t worth it. She’d find another way to help those girls.
are you okay?” Alex asked and embraced her daughter. “How is the baby?”
kicking,” Miranda said, then suddenly doubled over in pain.
is it?” James asked.
looked down at the floor. “I think my
water just broke.”
erupted as they scrambled to get her into a seat. As they did, Eddie entered through the doors
of the courtroom.
what’s going on?” he demanded.
in labor,” Stormy said.
is?” he exclaimed, attempting to race
over to her. “Oh my God!
It's baby time?"
Stormy said and pulled him back. “What
did you find out about Hugh and Brad?”
paid Brad an enormous sum of cash a few days ago,” Eddie explained.
for?” Stormy asked.
guess is as good as mine,” Eddie replied.
“I’m assuming it was to off Miranda.
But here’s the clincher, Brad worked for Hugh back in Atlantic City.”
nodded. “He did all kinds of nasty
things for him. I think that’s why Hugh
hired him to kill Miranda.”
how can we be sure he killed Hugh?”
shrugged. “I think the only way to be
sure is to go to New Martin and get the truth out of him.”
about Miranda?” Stormy asked.
wait until she delivers the baby, but then I say we take the jet to New Martin. It’s that or let Jane and Miranda
fry for a murder they didn’t commit. And
I’m not about to let that baby grow up without a mother.”
Tyler’s hotel suite at the Beverly Wilshire, Farrah began to panic. She’d grown increasingly confused about what
happened the night of the party. She’d
gone to Gemma’s mansion under Miranda’s orders, only to have learned when she
got there that someone had called the party off and forgot to tell her. But when she got there, she found Hugh
“What are you doing here?” she
asked, backing nervously away from him.
“Does Miranda know you’re here?”
“She will when she gets here,” he
said. “I’m expecting her any
minute. And unless you want to be caught
in the crossfire, I’d suggest you leave while you can.”
“Leave Miranda alone,” Farrah said
defiantly. She wanted to be brave, but
she could hear the terrified sound in her own voice. “The only reason you’re after her is because
you forced me to tell you that she was Gemma’s replacement.”
“The only reason you’re still around
is because you did,” Hugh told her. “Now
do yourself a favor and go.”
“Not until I know you’re not going
to hurt Miranda.”
Hugh’s eyes bore down into hers as
he drew nearer. “Farrah, do you remember
what you told me when you first came to Los Angeles?” he asked, fishing inside
his jacket pocket. “You told me that
you were mesmerized by all the lights.
It was where you wanted to be.
And do you remember what I told you?”
She swallowed hard, backing up a
“I told you that I could make those
lights go out with the snap of my fingers,” Hugh said, removing a gun from his
pocket. “I think it’s time I made good
on that promise.”
She backed up, her eyes narrowing on
the gun. “One of these days somebody’s
going to turn the lights out on you,”
she said. “Your days of terrorizing
people are over.”
“Is that so?” he asked, grinning as
he came up on her.
And just like that, she made a move
for his gun. If she could get it from
him, she could turn the tables on him once and for all. She and Miranda and everyone else he’d
tortured would finally be free of his threats.
They struggled over the gun, but
Farrah found it difficult to overpower him.
He was much larger than she was.
For a minute she had her hand around the handle. It took all of her strength but she managed
to turn the barrel toward him. Cringing,
she pulled the trigger. The gunshot
echoed through the house and she staggered back a few steps, falling and
landing on the floor, her head making a sickening sounding thud when it hit the
Suddenly, everything went black….
Breaking from the visions of that horrible
night, Farrah turned around just as Tyler entered the room. She swallowed, staring at him as he dropped
his keys onto the table and walked to the mini bar.
still here?” he asked.
that means you have something to tell me,” he said, turning to face her while
he nursed his drink. “So which is
it? Did that bitch Miranda Blackthorne
kill my father? Or did you?”
eyes darted nervously around the room. She wished she knew what really happened
that night. The last thing she
remembered was the gun going off and then falling and hitting her head. She could very well have been the one who
killed Tyler’s father. But if what
Stormy and Eddie said was true, Brad could have done it. Maybe he was setting her up? Making her think she killed him?
think there’s more to it than we know,” she finally said, unwilling to give
herself up. “I think Brad King is the
key. He probably knows something that we
do you figure that?” Tyler asked,
pulling off his belt and throwing it onto the bed.
just think he could lead us to the real killer.
Maybe we should go back to New Martin and get to the bottom of it.”
saying you didn’t kill my father?” Tyler
asked as he walked up to her.
shook her head. The smell of whiskey on his breath made her turn her face away
as she spoke. “I didn’t kill your
father,” she said. “But I’ll help you
find out who did.”
finished his drink and went back to the bar.
“New Martin, huh? I guess we have
a flight to catch.”
nodded. If her suspicions were right,
she had to find out if Brad was setting her up.
was only dilated by a centimeter so Alex decided to rush home to change clothes
before checking in on her later at the hospital. When she arrived at her apartment she was
greeted with two dozen African red roses and a card from Vaughan.
“Had a wonderful time the other night,”
it read. “I hope we can do it again soon.”
she brought one of the flowers to her nose while gripping the card tightly in
her hand. As much as she enjoyed
spending time with him, she couldn’t shake the strange feeling she’d gotten at
his house. Not just about the picture of
the twin girls, but about the noises in the basement that he cleverly explained
away. The fact that Kelly heard the same
noises caused her further unease.
Hastily, she turned and left the apartment again, the rose falling to
the floor in her eagerness for answers.
Minutes later, she was at Jordan’s door.
“Alex,” Jordan said
when he opened the door, shirtless and sweaty after an evening workout. “What are you doing here?”
think you were right about Vaughan,” she said.
“He’s hiding something.”
led her inside and closed the door behind while dabbing his sweaty neck with a
towel. “What makes you think that?”
heard something when I was there the other night,” she explained. “Sounds coming from his basement. Kelly says she heard the same thing.”
when do you and Kelly Blackthorne exchange notes on anything?”
don’t, but this was specific. We both
heard the same thing. And last night I
had this dream about Lola and Lana and I was at Vaughan’s house and there was
something hiding in the basement.
smiled as he made his way into the drawing room. “You sound like one of those bad horror
movies you did as a teenager,” he said, unable to help himself from
grinning. He pulled a bottle of water
from the mini refrigerator under the bar and unscrewed the cap. “Are you serious about this? You think he’s hiding something in his
when I asked him about it he said something about Sheldon playing
that’s what it was,” Jordan said plainly.
“Alex, I agree the man is hiding something. But to suggest that he’s literally hiding
someone in his basement is a little out there.”
think we should check it out,” she said, all serious. “What if it’s…” She paused, feeling silly for even suggesting
it. “What if it’s Lana?”
nearly choked as he swallowed a mouthful of water. “Lana?” he asked. “Why would he be hiding Lana in his
basement? She’s dead. Vaughan and Jonas made her death look like an
accident to protect Lola. Plus it was nearly
thirty years ago.”
know it’s ridiculous, but I think we have to at least find out. Maybe he’s hiding something that will tell us
who’s been trying to kill your mother.”
regarded her warily. He wasn’t sure that
her suspicions were on target, but having a look around Vaughan’s house
tracked James down at Cedars Sinai and found him pacing the waiting room. She approached him cautiously, unsure of
what his mood would be after snapping at him for leaving Palm Springs before
their weekend was over.
Miranda?” she asked, sneaking up behind him.
turned and ran a hand over his face.
“She’s fine. Dr. Mitchell says it
could be a few hours before she’s fully dilated. What are you doing here? When did you get back?”
morning,” she replied. “Ethan and I
drove back first thing. I heard about
what happened in court so I came to see if you wanted to go grab some dinner
smiled and placed a hand over hers. “I’d
love to, but I really think I should be here for Miranda.” After he said it, he turned and walked to the
frowned and waited a beat before following him across the room. “You said she was fine, didn’t you?”
but she’s my daughter. I want to be here
couldn’t help but laugh. “James, women
have been giving birth for centuries. If
the doctor says she’s a few hours from giving birth, I don’t see why you can’t
take half an hour for dinner.”
just can’t,” James insisted. “I’m
sorry. My family is my priority right
now. Miranda’s pregnancy isn’t the only
thing on my mind right now. She’s also
being charged with first degree murder.
Forgive me if I’m not ready to abandon her and-“
the hell said anything about abandoning her?” Mackenzie asked, suddenly
realizing there was much more going on with him than she ever realized. “James, what is it? I knew you were devoted to your family but
this is extreme even for you.”
started to reply but shook his head and turned away instead.
him carefully, Mackenzie walked forward.
“This goes back to what happened at Benji’s funeral, doesn’t it?” she
asked. “You’re afraid you’re going to
fail your children and they’ll wind up like Jordan’s did.”
shook his head, refusing to look her in the eye.
why any time something comes up where someone needs you, you push everything
and everyone else away.”
just can’t let something happen that could hurt my family,” he finally
shook her head solemnly while walking toward him. “And I didn’t help things by working this
weekend while we should have been spending time together,” she said. “I’m sorry for that. I should have realized you were trying.”
I’m not saying we’ll never happen, but-“
just not right now.”
sorry,” James said. “I just can’t be
distracted when my children need me.”
sighed and folded her arms across her chest.
“What about everyone else?” she asked.
“What about me and how much I need you?”
looked at her apologetically. Words
he wasn’t about to budge, she turned and left the room, leaving silence in her
wake except for the click of her heels on the tiled floor.
“I thought you’d be
at the hospital with Miranda,” Ethan said as he walked into Brooke’s office at
Surprise by his
sudden appearance, she looked up and continued busying herself with paperwork
on her desk. “I was going to head over
a little later,” she said. “When did you
“This morning,” he
replied. “I just thought I’d check in
with you on where things stand. With
you, me, and Michael.”
stand?” Brooke asked.
“Yeah. I mean, our living arrangement isn’t the most
traditional. Living in the same house
but in separate bedrooms.”
“I thought we were
doing that for Michael’s sake,” she said.
“And for yours. So you can spend
time with your son.”
“I just didn’t know
how you felt about that after what happened in Palm Springs,” Ethan said. “About cooling things between us.”
looked up at him. “Honestly, I didn’t
think anything was going to change as far as our living arrangement. I’m still looking out for Michael’s best
interests, and I think that us living under the same roof is the best thing for
him right now.”
“If you think I’m
going to let you expose our son to Kyle Fenwick while we’re living together,
you must be crazy,” Ethan said, barely flinching by the harshness of his own
“What are you
talking about?” Brooke demanded.
“I saw you the
other night, Brooke,” he said. “Outside
by the pool after we got done talking. I
saw Kyle kiss you. And it did not look
to me like you were fighting him on it.”
“You saw,” she said
and looked down at her desk. “Look, Ethan,
I’m sorry. I can’t explain what’s going
on between Kyle and I because I don’t understand it myself. All I know is that things between you and I
are always so strained. It’s like we try
and try and try and it never gets us anywhere.”
“But with Kyle it’s
easy. Is that what you’re saying?”
replied. “I’m not saying that at
all. I just….I think I need to find out
what’s left between him and me. I
thought you were dead, Ethan. I had
moved on. Kyle was there and he was what
I needed. I’m sorry if this hurts you,
but I can’t make things work with you when I don’t even know if things are over
A few moments of
silence followed as Ethan wrapped his head around what she was saying. It was perfectly clear to him. She said it in no uncertain terms. She had moved on and to hell with him and his
“Aren’t you going
to say anything?” Brooke said. “Please, Ethan. Say something.”
Finally, he found
the words to express how he felt. He
looked up at her and took a breath. “You’re
watched him storm out of the room. In no way was she ready for him to respond
that way. The sad thing was that she
knew he was right. She was being
Outside, Ethan went
to his car and climbed inside, fuming over the volatile end to their
conversation. Images of the night before
with Mackenzie at the house in Palm Springs played over and over in his
They had been
alone, drinking wine and talking into the early hours of the morning. They commiserated over their problems and
eventually things got a little too heated and they wound up stripping off their
clothes on the floor in front of the fire.
He covered her with
his naked body, staring into her eyes and finding her alluring scent far too
tempting. He was aroused beyond
comprehension, flushed with excitement by the prospect of making love to
But the reality of
what they were about to do sunk in before they took it any further, so they
quickly dressed and went to their own rooms.
For the rest of the night, he’d stayed awake wondering what she was
doing on the other side of the wall. He
could still smell her sweet scent on his fingers long after he drifted off to a
realizing they’d made a mistake by stopping themselves, he called her on his
cell from his car.
you meet?” he asked. “I want to finish
what we started last night.”
along the dewy grass surrounding Vaughan’s house in Beverly Hills, Jordan and
Alex struggled to remain out of view of the floodlights that illuminated the
lawn. They slid against the exterior
wall next to a basement window and looked at each other warily.
you sure you want to do this?” Jordan asked, then noted her skin tight black cat
suit. “Why do I get the feeling you’ve
been just waiting for the opportunity to wear that?”
shrugged while inspecting her outfit.
“You don’t think it’s appropriate?” she whispered. “I thought it was
something all right,” Jordan said,
undeniably turned on by the fact that she still had an incredible form for a
woman her age. “Do you realize we could
get in a lot of trouble for breaking into this guy’s house? What if he catches us?”
if he’s the one trying to kill your mother?” Alex shot back. “If you do nothing you’d have to live with
he realized that she was right. It
seldom happened, but when it did, it was glaringly obvious. With a quick glance to make sure they were
still in the clear, he turned to the basement window and felt around the
sides. Luckily it appeared to be sealed
with a slipshod caulking job.
me that crowbar,” he said, hand outstretched.
Alex said and handed him the object from her knapsack.
his eyes, Jordan took the instrument and used it to pry the edges of the
caulking. After a few moments, he felt
the blinding light from a car’s headlights illuminating them from behind. Quickly, he ducked, pulling Alex down with
him. They waited until the coast was
clear. Once the lights from the passing
car had dissipated, Jordan went back to work at loosening the window.
it,” he said, carefully taking the glass and propping it up against the side of
the house. “Give me that
Alex said and handed him the small pen light.
that,” he whispered, taking the light from her and shining it into the
basement. “There’s a chair against the
wall. I think we can drop down onto it.”
nodded, following his cue. One by one,
they climbed through the small window opening and slid down the wall onto the
chair. Jordan went first, then helped
her down. Once they were inside, they
turned and surveyed their surroundings.
place is enormous,” Alex said, holding onto his arm as he led them through the
“The wine cellar,” Jordan noted, pointing to a room off
to the side. He picked up a bottle and
inspected the label. “I thought they
quit making this. It’s my
favorite. How does Novak have a whole supply of it?"
“Pay attention,” Alex said, slapping his hand. As she did, the bottle crashed to the floor,
glass and sticky red liquid exploding everywhere.
“Shit,” Jordan said, hunching down with her as he waited
to hear if anyone had heard them.
Moments later, footsteps above alerted them to a presence. “He’s coming.”
They crept forward and ducked around the corner, a clear
view of a finished living space ahead in their sights. Jordan wondered if Novak entertained down
there. It appeared to be set up for
quite comfortable living.
Creaking stairs petrified them. They sat, crouched onto the floor with wide
eyes as Vaughan appeared across the room.
For a moment it looked like he saw them, but then they realized he was
just surveying the area for the source of the sound.
“Did you hear that?” Vaughan asked someone in the room.
Alex placed a hand on Jordan’s shoulder, eagerly waiting
for the phantom presence to reveal itself.
She cringed with anxiety, her heart beating wildly inside her
“I had the locks changed today so it should be secure,”
Vaughan went on. It was still not clear
who he was talking to, but someone else was definitely in the room. It just so happened they were out of
“Nick Kanning said your wounds were completely healed,”
Vaughan indicated. “The skin graphs were a success. Are you pleased?”
“I can’t see who he’s talking to,” Alex whispered in
Jordan’s ear. “I’m going in for a closer
“Alex, no,” Jordan whispered in turn, but it was too
late. She was crawling along the floor through the doorway of the room. “Jesus.”
Once Alex drew near, she could finally see who Vaughan
was hiding away. Her eyes widened in
shock and she covered her mouth to muffle the gasp that tore loose from her
“I feel like my old self again,” the man said, holding a
hand mirror to his face. “That surgeon
of yours is a miracle worker, Vaughan.
Two years and
countless operations and I feel ready for the big screen again.”
“Oh my God,” Alex said.
It couldn’t be, she thought to herself.
He’d gone over the side of his yacht.
He’d been horribly burned. He’d
been gone for two years, presumed dead at sea.
But that didn’t appear to be the case. No, Victor Distefano was alive and well.
by Miranda's side as she goes into labor. Kelly's
dreams are short lived. Jordan and Alex reel over
the discovery at Vaughan's house. Plus, the crossover
continues on Nightingales # 12
Chelsea, and Brad finally make it back to New Martin.
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