Miranda gave birth to a baby girl
named Tiger. A paternity test later revealed that
David was the biological father, but Miranda refrained
from telling Eddie before he and Stormy departed for
New Martin. In San Francisco, David recovered
from the experimental surgery he'd underwent to cure
his brain cancer. Ethan and Mackenzie slept together,
but later regretted their actions. Stormy had
Kelly fired from her role in The Benefactor,
prompting her to throttle Brett for not sticking up
for her. They later slept together. Brooke
visited Mr. De La Cruz, a guest of Moonshadows who fell
ill and was admitted to the hospital. Kyle proposed
to Brooke. Mason and Chip discussed their plans
to drive Moonshadows to bankruptcy. Ethan saw
Mason and Chip talking by the construction site. After
being rejected by Mackenzie, Mason went to Chip's room,
fully aware that he was attracted to him. Jordan
and Alex reeled at the revelation that Victor was alive.
Another attempt was made on Lola's life. Later,
Elana Hendricks was nearly crushed by falling scaffolding
after a photograph of a young man was left. Meanwhile,
an unseen assailant tried to run Jack down in the parking
garage at the hospital, and a photograph of Natalie
Davidson, an actress who disappeared thirty years before,
was left at the scene.
“Natalie Davidson,” Alex gasped
while she and Jordan inspected the photograph.
“Jack, why would someone leave this on your car?”
“And right after trying to mow you
down in a dark parking garage?” Jordan
added, glancing warily at Jack Childers.
Blotting the blood from his forehead
with a handkerchief, Jack stammered out a few broken explanations. “I have no idea,” he said. “I’m sure the two things have nothing to do with
each other. It was probably a
Jordan took the photograph and
shook his head. “That’s what I thought
the first time someone broke into the Actors Retirement
Village and tried to
smother Lola with a pillow. Whoever it
was left a picture too.”
“Could this be the same person?” Alex
“Do you have another explanation?”
Jack sat forward and took the
picture from him. “I’m telling you, it
was a coincidence,” he said. “This
garage is full of cars identical to mine.
Someone probably got mine mixed up with someone else’s.”
“That seems unlikely,” Jordan said
with a furrowed brow.
“I didn’t even know Natalie Davidson,” Jack insisted.
“I think we should go to the
police,” Alex announced. “Detective
Rodriguez is finally paying attention to the attacks on Lola. This could help find whoever it is that’s
“No, no police,” Jack said,
staggered around to the car door. “Just
forget about it.”
“Jack!” Alex called after him, but
it was too late. He started the car and
peeled out of the parking stall.
The crowd of onlookers still hovered
at the sight of the fallen scaffolding at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Paparazzi snapped photographs and celebrities
took cover for their own safety while Elana Hendricks sat in the back seat of
her limousine, the publicity still of the young man still clutched in her
trembling hand. Kneeling on the curb
outside the car, Vaughan
did his best to calm her down.
“Drink this,” Mackenzie said when
she approached with a bottle of water.
Elana shook her head and pushed it
away, then plucked a silver flask from her clutch purse and took a healthy swig
of straight vodka. “I’m fine,” she
said. “I just need a few minutes. Vaughan,
I’d like to leave.”
“That’s a good idea,” he agreed.
“You could have been killed,” Mackenzie said with a
frown. “Elana, the police will want to
talk to you.”
Vaughan did his best to squelch Mackenzie’s
concerns. “I’m sure someone else who saw
what happened can talk to the police,” he said.
“Elana was an innocent victim in all of this.”
“But what about this photograph?”
Mackenzie asked. “It didn’t just wind up
in her hands by accident. Someone wanted
her to see this. Who is he,
anyway?” She looked at the picture
again, certain that it was some type of publicity photograph.
“It was probably a fan who wanted to
get his head shot out there,” Vaughan
reasoned. “You know people in this town
will do anything to get noticed. Come
on, Elana, I’ll have your driver take you home.”
She shook her head. “No, I don’t want to go back there,” she
said. “What if they try to come after me
“Then I’ll take you to my house.”
Mackenzie dropped her hands to her
sides in exasperation. “Vaughan, I really think you should stay and
talk to the police. If this wasn’t a
freak accident, she could be in real danger.”
“Would you do me a favor and make an
announcement?” he asked, ignoring her plea.
“I’m sure everyone will understand Elana leaving the premiere in light
of these events.”
“Of course, but-” she began,
glancing to the side as Sheldon and Cecily Davidson appeared.
“Come on, son,” Vaughan said, rallying everyone into the back
of the limousine.
As they drove away, Mackenzie stood
on the curb watching them go. She
couldn’t help but wonder what had gotten Elana so nervous. Obviously almost being crushed by falling
scaffolding was enough to put anyone on edge, but there was something
else. She got the feeling it had to do
with the photograph.
Brooke had managed to avoid giving Kyle an
answer to his proposal for the rest of their dinner date. And while she knew he was angry, she made her
case as best she could.
“It’s too soon,” she’d
admonished. “Ethan and I just called
things off a couple of days ago.”
But Kyle had been persistent. “It’s obvious the way we feel about each
other, so why not make it official? Can
you really see yourself ever working things out with Ethan? Does he make you feel the way I do?”
She’d refused to answer. They’d made their way to the parking lot
where they looked into one another’s eyes beneath the moonlight. While she wasn’t ready to make such a
definite commitment to him, he did excite her.
He made her feel more alive than she’d felt in a long time.
A few deep, passionate kisses led to
an hour of lovemaking at his house in Malibu. Afterwards, she lied awake in his bed staring
out the window at the crashing ocean waves.
When her cell phone rang, she could
feel Kyle stir beside her. Hoping not to
wake him, she silenced the ring and looked at the caller ID display. It was Ethan calling from the mansion. At first, she decided to let it go to
voicemail. They’d said everything they
had to for the time being. Besides, how
would she explain where she was?
But then with the realization that he
could be calling about something to do with Michael, she quickly answered.
“Are you coming home?” Ethan asked.
“What’s going on?” she replied,
determined not to start a fight over the phone.
Ethan took a deep breath. “It’s Michael. He’s upset and he’s asking for you.”
“Is he okay?” Quickly, she shot up on the bed.
“I don’t know, Brooke. Nothing I do seems to make him feel
better. I just thought you should know
that your son is asking for you.”
She looked at Kyle who was now awake
and looking up at her. “I’ll be right
there,” she said and clicked off the phone.
As soon as she did, she flew up from the bed and began to get dressed.
“What’s wrong?” Kyle asked, looking
sheepishly at her.
“It’s Michael,” she explained. “I have to go.”
Irritated, Kyle sat upright, the
moonlight illuminating his naked body.
“Are you sure?” he asked. “Isn’t
Ethan with him?”
“Yes, but I’m his mother.” She positioned the straps of her silk
camisole and zipped her skirt into place.
“This wouldn’t happen if we were
together for real,” Kyle said. “If we
were married we could be a family. You
and Michael could live here with me and you wouldn’t have to worry about
rushing home to him.”
“No matter what, Ethan is still his
father,” Brooke snapped. “We share
custody of Michael. Whether we live
together or apart, there’s always going to be times when I have to go to
“To Michael or to Ethan?” Kyle asked cynically.
Brooke finished dressing and flashed
him a cool stare. “I’ll see you at work
tomorrow,” she said and stalked out of the room.
“You are incredible!” Kelly
Blackthorne squealed with delight as she collapsed onto the bed. “Holy shit!”
“You seem surprised,” Brett
announced, panting with exhaustion after the conclusion to their marathon
lovemaking. They’d gone from the The Benefactor’s production offices to
his condo at the marina. After awkwardly
dismissing Tiffany for the night, he and Kelly rounded out the evening doing
everything he’d been fantasizing about since they ran into each other at tennis
courts at Moonshadows.
“No, it’s just that we could have
been doing this a long time ago,” she said, gazing into his blue eyes with
amazement. “Where did you learn that
Laughing, he felt his labored
breathing slowly return to normal.
“Let’s just say I know what I like.”
“Oh, I like too. If I didn’t have
a child at home, I’d say we make a night of it.”
Brett smiled coyly and turned toward
her. “Why what would everyone at Chez Blackthorne say if they saw you coming home
doing the walk of shame?” he asked with mock concern. “That place seems to be bursting at the seams
with inhabitants lately. “
Kelly groaned and sat up, reaching
for her underwear. “Who cares?” she
asked. “People there are too busy with
their own jacked up lives to pay attention to what I’m doing. Of course I’m sure Miranda would find a way
to mention it to Stormy when he gets back.”
That was precisely what Brett was counting
on happening. He couldn’t wait to see
the smug look on Stormy’s face when he found out he was fucking the mother of
his child. The anticipation was almost
too much to take.
“I’d love to see you again,” Kelly
said after rising from the bed.
Brett thought to himself. She was using
him every bit as he was using her. The
only thing Kelly Blackthorne cared about was what people could do for her. And all he
wanted to do was stick it to Stormy once and for all. So why not get a hot piece of ass along the
“Sure,” he said with a devilish
grin. “Come by tomorrow night. I have a few more tricks up my sleeve
“Can’t wait,” Kelly said after
slipping into her dress and drawing him into another kiss.
The cab ride from the airport went
quickly, which pleased Stormy because after having their flight plan re-routed
several times due to thunderstorms, it was late by the time they got to New
They arrived at their hotel, a
high-class establishment known as Colt Suites, and paid the driver while a
bellman loaded their bags onto a cart.
Eddie had checked them in on the plane, so they went straight to their
rooms and then met up again in the hotel bar for a drink before turning
“You’re thinking about Miranda and
Tiger, aren’t you?” Stormy asked him.
Eddie nodded. “Yeah, I already miss them. Weird?”
“Not weird. Human.”
“I can’t believe in just a few days
I’m going to find out if I’m a father or not.”
Stormy patted him on the
shoulder. “No matter what, you’ll still
be that little girl’s father.”
“That’s easy for you say. R.J. is yours. I’d have to live with the fact knowing that
I’m raising another man’s son. And that
the only reason he isn’t mine is because Miranda cheated on me with
“I know you two will work it out,”
Stormy told him. “But none of this matters
yet. Tiger could still be your
Eddie nodded uneasily, deciding to
change the subject. “So what’s the
plan? How do we find Brad King? And more importantly, what do we do when we
Stormy regarded him warily. “You’re
the private dick. I thought you would
have it figured out by now.”
“Me?” Eddie asked. “Why me?”
“Because you do this kind of stuff
for a living!” Stormy exclaimed. “What
would you do if this was one of your cases back home?”
Eddie shrugged. “I’d tail the guy and ask questions about
“I could have come up with that,” Stormy said wryly. “Okay, we’ll track him down tomorrow
morning. Whether he killed Hugh Rogers,
or Farrah did, I think Brad King is the key to this whole thing. We can’t leave until we get to the bottom of
“Otherwise Miranda and Jane could
have to stand trial for something they didn’t do.”
“It was a dark and foggy night.”
Victor Distefano set the scene as he
stood before Nathan in the parlor room of Vaughan’s
house in Beverly Hills. Recounting the moments after being thrown
overboard his yacht two years earlier, he paced the floor.
“In the distance I hear the sounds
of roaring ocean waves and the horn blasts from nearby clipper ships. Out of the jaws of death, I wake up with my
face in the sand, choking on the salty water and crying into the night from the
pain. It goes deep down to my
loins. I reach up and my face is a
bloody mass. A mere memory of what it
used to be. Slowly, I drag myself from
the shore.” He hobbled across the floor
in a dramatic re-enactment. “I frighten
a young couple off as they camp next to a roaring fire. I almost forget that I’m now a hideous, repulsive
monster. I sit down and let the remnants
of foamy seawater expel from my lungs.
I’m about to give up when I find it.
A cell phone.”
“And you called Vaughan,” Nathan surmised, nodding
“I must have lost consciousness off
and on because all I can remember next is riding in the back of his limousine
and then ending up here,” Victor went on.
“The next few months were excruciating as I recovered from my
burns. So many times I wanted to give
up. But do you know the thing that kept me going, Nathan? The people. How could I disappoint the legions of fans
who’d followed my career? I knew I had a
long road to recovery ahead of me, but I remained resilient. I knew that one day I would face my public
again and with a renewed vigor and zeal for theatre and film and life!”
He collapsed to his knees as Nathan
stood and clapped his hands together in applause.
“Bra-vo,” Nathan said and helped him
to his feet. “Bravo, my friend. What a journey. I can see your story on the screen some day. Victor
“I like it,” Victor said, pouring a
few pills from a prescription bottle into his hand, swallowing two, and then
handing the others to Nathan. Lifting
his drink with his hand, he offered a toast.
“Here’s to my Resurrectionist.”
“To Vaughan,” Nathan said and clinked his glass
against his. “I only hope the public
forgives you for your sins as they forgave mine.”
Victor smiled while sipping from his
drink. “Look like the innocent flower,
but be the serpent under it.”
Jeffrey, the majordomo, entered the
room with Jack Childers following closely behind. “Mr. Childers is here. And Mr. Novak called and said he’ll be home
early from the premiere.”
“Fantastic,” Nathan said as Jeffrey
left. He poured a drink for Jack and
noticed the wound on his head when he turned to give it to him. “My God, man, what happened to you?”
“I was the victim of a hit and run,”
Jack explained, eagerly taking the drink and swallowing a few gulps. “It appears someone had the mind to try to run me down in the parking garage at
“Good lord!” Victor exclaimed robustly
and then handed him a pill. “Are you
“I’ll be fine. Just a bit shaken.”
“Did you get a look at him?”
“No,” Jack said with a shake of his
hand. He produced the photo of Natalie
Davidson and lowered himself into a cognac leather chair. “But he left this. A calling card, I’m presuming.”
“A shame about dear Natalie,” Victor
said and looked at the picture. “When do
you suppose this was taken?”
Nathan approached and peered over
his shoulder. “Late seventies, I’d say,”
he indicated. “She was young. Probably not long after she and I starred in
that screwball comedy, Letter to God. Why would the perpetrator leave a photograph
of Natalie after trying to kill you?”
“The same reason someone left this
photograph for Elana,” came a voice from across the room.
They turned to see Vaughan enter with Elana. She was still dressed in her formal gown for
the premiere, a panic-stricken look on her pale face.
When Brooke got home, she darted up
the stairs to Michael’s room and found Ethan kneeling beside the bed. Pushing her hair over her shoulder, she set
her purse on the dresser and flew over to her son.
“Baby, what’s wrong?” she asked and
sat down beside him.
“Mommy, where we you?” Michael
asked, crying as he threw her arms around her.
“You said you were going to tuck me in and then you weren’t here.”
She held him close, avoiding a
flurry of cold stares from Ethan. “I’m
sorry, sweetie. I got held up at work.
But you should have been in bed a long time ago. Why are you still up?”
He sniffed and clutched a stuff pig
to his chest. “Adam said you and Daddy
were mad at each other and it was my fault.”
Devastation quickly set in. Brooke had just got done telling Kyle that
Michael’s imaginary friend had disappeared since Ethan’s return. Now it seemed that wasn’t the case, and that
for whatever reason, he began to need him in his life again.
“Sweetie, I haven’t heard you talk
about Adam for a while,” Brooke said, stroking his hair. “How come you haven’t mentioned him?”
“I dunno,” Michael said with a
“Where did you see Adam?”
“At the playground at school today,”
he told her.
She looked at Ethan with a sigh
before turning back to her son. “Is he
here now?” she asked.
Michael shook his head and pointed out
the window to the sky. “No, he lives up
there. Sometimes. Sometimes he
lives here but mostly up there. He rides
a spaceship around.”
“He does?” Brooke asked, tucking him
back into bed. “Well listen to me, your
daddy and I aren’t mad at each other, and even if we were, it wouldn’t be
because of anything you did. So I don’t
want you to worry about anything, okay?"
“Mommy, do you still love Daddy?”
Michael asked, his eyes growing droopy.
She closed her eyes and brushed a
few pieces of stray blond hair from his face.
“Just go to sleep, baby.”
And within minutes, he was fast
asleep. Brooke waited until he’d let go
of the pig before getting up and walking to the door. Slowly, Ethan followed her into the
“Who is Adam?” he asked.
Brooke sighed while running her
fingers through her hair. “He’s his
imaginary friend,” she replied.
“When did this start?”
“When you were gone,” Brooke said
and stormed next door to her room.
Ethan followed her, walking inside
and closing the door so they didn’t disturb the rest of the family. “What are you talking about?”
She turned and sighed. “I took him to a child psychiatrist because
he was acting out and blaming Adam
for it. The doctor told me it was
because he was having abandonment issues.
Issues because his father went away.”
“I couldn’t exactly help that,
Brooke,” Ethan raged. “You’re acting
like I left on purpose.”
“I know you didn’t leave on
purpose,” she said. “I know that. All I’m saying is that there’s got to be some
underlying issues why he’s started bringing this imaginary friend up
again. Something had to have triggered
it. He’s a smart boy. He knows that we’re not getting along.”
“He also knows when his mother is
spending more time away than she is at home.
And don’t say you were at work because I know you were with Kyle.”
“I don’t want to get into this now,”
she said with exasperation.
“Why not? This isn’t just about us anymore,
Brooke. It’s about our son.”
“I’m not the only one who’s been
spending time away from home,” she hissed.
“All your late nights working with Mackenzie at the studio haven’t
exactly gone unnoticed. I know you
didn’t come home last night so don’t even try to put this all on me.”
Ethan turned in an effort to avoid
looking at her. The truth was he was
making love to Mackenzie the night before.
And the fact that he hadn’t been able to get it out of his mind was a
constant source of frustration.
“What do you want me to do?” Brooke
asked after he’d remained silent for a few moments. “We’re just going to have to find a way to
make this work. For Michael, if not for
“Yeah, I guess,” Ethan said before
turning and flying out of the room. He
bumped directly into James as he did, brushing past him and making his way down
the hall to his bedroom.
“Is everything okay?” James asked as
he approached Brooke. “I heard
Brooke sighed as she lingered in the
doorway. “I’m sorry,” she said, tears
forming in her eyes. “Just the perils of
“Do you need to talk?”
She shook her head. “No, I’m good. Thanks, James.”
Nodding, he placed a hand on hers
before offering a comforting smile and retreating back down the hall.
“What?” Nathan asked incredulously as
they stood in Vaughan’s
parlor room. “Elana, are you quite all
right? You look a fright.”
“I look better than I feel,” she
said and took his drink from him, swallowing it down in one gulp. “This has been a dreadful night. First my contract for The Young at Heart gets slashed to ribbons, then I’m nearly
pulverized by falling scaffolding.”
“Are you serious?” Victor asked.
“And whoever set the disaster into
motion left this,” Vaughan
told him, handing them the photograph that someone have given Elana before the
“Who is it?” Victor asked.
Nathan looked on with a knowing
sigh. “Greg Bender. A transplant from Texas who was killed in a car accident many
years ago. It was sad. I think he only did one film. For Jaguar Studios, I believe. Talented young actor, though.”
“Someone left a photo for Jack
tonight too,” Victor said and showed them the photograph of Natalie. “Right after trying to run him down with his
car. Vaughan, what is going on?”
With a sigh, he walked across the
room and poured himself a drink. “I’m
afraid it’s bad,” he indicated. “First
Lola, and now the two of you. I don’t
think Jonas ever considered this as a possibility.”
“Jonas?” Nathan asked and went
toward him. “What about Jonas?”
He nodded. “Just as he masterminded Lola’s sabbatical
and the cover-up of Lana’s death in its wake, he arranged for similar cover-ups
Jack looked away with a shamed
expression on his face. “You know I
enjoyed the company of different women in those days,” he explained. “Well, Natalie was a flower that I’d longed
to pluck. I finally convinced her to accompany
me for a moonlit dinner aboard my yacht.
We had a lot to drink. Well, I had a lot to drink. She resisted my advances and we
struggled. She fell overboard. I wanted to save her but I’d had so much to
drink that I could barely function.”
“Why didn’t you tell us?” Victor
“I was too devastated,” Jack
“Jonas erased any indication that
Natalie had been aboard the yacht,” Vaughan
explained. “Then he rented a fishing
boat in her name to make it look like she’d gone out by herself. When news came of her disappearance, it was
made to look like she’d been alone at the time.”
“I would have never hurt Natalie,” Jack said.
“It was an accident. I swear to
you. But Jonas was sure the scandal
would destroy my career and hurt the studio's reputation.”
“I’m sorry. I had no idea, Jack.” Nathan placed a hand on his shoulder and then
looked up at Elana. “And what of Greg
Bender and his car accident? How were
“It’s no secret about Elana’s
fondness for the bottle,” Vaughan
“Vaughan, no!” she cried, turning away. “I can’t.
I can’t let it come out now.”
“Someone knows, Elana,” he insisted.
“And tried to kill you because of it.
Are you secrets more important than your own life?”
Little more explanation was
necessary. “You were drinking and
driving?” Nathan surmised.
She nodded in agony, tears streaming
down her face. “I was only going a few
blocks,” she exclaimed. “I’d been at a
party at Jonas’s mansion. He warned me
not to drive but I did it anyway. It was
on that dangerous stretch of Mulholland.
I barely saw him coming! Greg
Bender was pronounced dead at the scene.”
“And Jonas covered that up as well
to protect your career,” Victor assumed with a sigh. “Vaughan,
you aided him in these cover-ups?”
“It was my job at the time,” he
explained. “Just like with Lola and
Lana, I did what he told me to do.”
“And now someone knows about what
we’ve done,” Jack said. “Elana, Lana and
myself. How after all these years? Why
now? Why after all this time?”
“I don’t know!” he exclaimed.
“Jonas told nobody else about what
we did,” Elana said, turning an accusing glare at Vaughan.
“You were the only other person who knew. And Jonas is gone, which means it’s got to be
you! You’re the one doing this to
me! You want me dead! Admit it!
You’re trying to kill me!”
“Elana, stop it!” Vaughan shouted, grabbing her by the wrists
and shaking her forcefully. “I did not
try to kill you. Just as I didn’t try to
kill Jack tonight, or Lola by blowing up her car tonight. Someone else found out and is trying to get
“But who?” Victor asked, looking
amongst the five of them.
The next morning at the hospital,
Alex placed a bouquet of flowers on the table beside Miranda’s bed before
standing back to admire them.
flowers, mom?” Miranda asked while holding Tiger in her arms. “You don’t have to bring them every time you
come see me.”
“Flowers are beautiful, darling,”
Alex said, taking the bouquet she’d brought the night before and moving them to
the other side of the room. “They make
everything seem fresh and new. Just like
that beautiful baby of yours. “
Miranda smiled while looking into
her daughter’s eyes. “She is beautiful,
isn’t she? Absolutely perfect.”
“That’s because she came from you,” Alex said and sat down on the edge
of the bed. “You are such a strong,
beautiful young woman, Miranda. I can’t
tell you how proud I am of who you’ve become.
I know you’ll feel the same about your daughter when she grows up into a
Alex’s words gave Miranda pause, and
filled her with a certain amount of guilt and regret. How could she sit there and let her mother
proclaim her pride after what she’d done these past few months? While she may have had good intentions in
taking over Gemma’s call-girl operation, it wound up hurting more people than
she ever thought possible. Jane, Stormy,
Eddie, Farrah, not to mention that sweet girl Akilah that Stormy had been
working with. None of them would have
been put in any danger if she had simply listened to her inner voice. The fact that she and Jane were about to
stand trial for murder was of particular concern. What had she been thinking?
“Mom, there’s something I need to
tell you,” she began, realizing she had to come clean. She had never been particularly close with
her mother, but with something like this, she knew she could trust her. After all, Alex Reynolds was a legend. She’d made her own share of mistakes and
wouldn’t judge her the way her father would.
“I know what it is,” Alex said with
“Yes. You’re worried about being a good
mother. Well sweetheart, I know you’re
going to do just fine. You have so much
love to give, and this baby is lucky to have you. I only wish I had another opportunity to
prove that I could be selfless and caring when it came to my children. I made so many mistakes. Mistakes that you won’t make with your own
child because you know what it was like.”
Miranda reached out and placed a
hand on her mothers. While that wasn’t
at all what she had intended to tell her, it did open up a welcome topic.
“Mom, don’t say that,” she
said. “You were a good mother. I think you did the best you could.”
‘I could have done more,” Alex said,
wiping tears from her eyes. “I have so
many regrets, Miranda. You have no
“You can’t live like that,” Miranda
exclaimed. “Mom, you have to let it
go. Stormy and I turned out okay, didn’t
“I was so selfish.”
Miranda shook her head. “You were an actress. Your life was dictated for you by Jonas and
Nathan and then by Daddy. I don’t hold
that against you and Stormy doesn’t either.
Things could have turned out a lot worse, you know.” Sorrowfully, she looked down at her
daughter. “Look at what happened to
Heather and Benji.”
Alex turned and walked back to the
bed. “I want this to be a fresh start
for us,” she said, grabbing her hand. “I
want us to really be close, you know? Do
you think Tiger can help us do that?”
“Yes, I do,” Miranda said and
squeeze her mother’s hand.
After Alex left Miranda’s room, she
proceeded down the hall and ran into Mackenzie who was approaching with a
stuffed bear and a bouquet of flowers.
“Mackenzie, good morning,” Alex said
and stopped in the corridor. “What
brings you by?”
“I wanted to give these presents to
Miranda and the baby,” she said. “Just
because James and I aren’t together anymore doesn’t mean I care any less.”
Alex titled her head and smiled
apologetically. “I was sorry to hear about you and James ending things. Are you sure this is what the two of you
She sighed and moved the flowers
from one hand to another. “I’m not sure
that it’s what either of us wants, but it’s what needs to happen for the time
being. Maybe once Miranda’s trial is
over…” She paused while wondering if
that would even make a difference. “I don’t know.”
“I’m sorry,” Alex said, knowing what
it felt like to end a relationship with James Blackthorne. Hers ended six years ago and she still
sometimes wondered if she was completely over it. “Listen, I saw the news coverage of Elana’s
premiere last night. That incident with
the scaffolding was positively horrifying.
Is she okay?”
“She was mostly just shaken up. The truth is I think that photograph unnerved
her more than nearly being crushed to death.”
Mackenzie nodded. “Yeah, someone handed her a picture of some
man seconds before it happened.
Afterwards she got very nervous.”
The news struck Alex as oddly
coincidental. “Who was the man?”
She shrugged. “She didn’t say. I think he was an actor. But she’d acted like she’d seen a
Certain that something very peculiar
was going on, Alex decided her next stop was going to be Jordan’s house. After what happened with Jack in the parking
garage the night before, she suddenly realized there was some kind of epidemic
In New Martin, Stormy and Eddie
awoke and made their way down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast before
starting out for the day. First on their
agenda was stopping by Colt Records to do some recon on Brad King.
“Sorry about the wait, boys,” said
the waitress as she brought them their food.
“I’m busier than a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest.”
Eddie smiled in wonderment at
her. “So people really talk that like in the south?” he asked.
“Talk like what, sugar?” the
“Uh, ignore him,” Stormy said. “Say, can you help us with something?”
“You mean with more than your fancy
egg white omelets?”
“Yeah,” Stormy said meekly. “Do you know a guy named Brad King? Works at Colt Records?”
The waitress shook her head
apologetically. “Sorry, handsome. I’m new in town. I don’t anyone but my landlord and he’s
trying to screw me, and I’m not talking about in bed.”
“Oh,” Stormy said. “No problem.
Just thought I’d ask.”
“Be back with your ketchup,” the
waitress said and darted off.
“Way to go, Nancy Drew,” Eddie said
with a frown. “You just don’t go walking
up to people asking if they now someone.
We’ll have private investigator written all over us.”
“Well I don’t see you doing anything
to help the situation,” Stormy argued.
“Except drowning your eggs in ketchup and offending people about the way
“Relax,” Eddie said with a grin. “I’ve got it all figured out. We’ll take a
drive over to Colt Records and let our charm take over. These southern women love us!”
Kyle and Mason met for breakfast on
the terrace of the Sierra Room. Before
they had even got their order, Kyle’s attention span had dissipated. It was difficult to concentrate on small talk
when Brooke was sauntering through the doors looking radiant in the morning
“Kyle?” Mason asked. “Did I lose you?”
He looked back at him and shook his
head apologetically. “Sorry. You were saying?”
But Mason could tell where his mind
was. He looked at his watch and began
counting the seconds out loud.
“What are you doing?”
“Counting how many seconds it takes
you to get up and go talk to her,” Mason replied. “You haven’t stopped looking at her since she
walked in. What’s going on with the two
of you anyway?”
“We’re seeing each other again,” he
answered. After a few seconds, he sighed
and shook his head. “Actually, I
proposed to her.”
Mason raised an eyebrow as he took a
sip of orange juice. “Proposed? Didn’t she just get out of a relationship
Kyle nodded. “Yes, but she and I were together a long time
before he resurfaced. We were about to
move in together before he got sprung from prison.”
“I take it she hasn’t answered yet,”
“No,” Kyle said, hoping to drop the
subject until he had a chance to talk to Brooke.
“Does she know I’m the one who
secured the variance for you to do the marina expansion?” Mason asked.
“No, and she isn’t going to know,” Kyle commanded. “She isn’t my sister’s biggest fan, which
means she probably doesn’t like you either.
Besides, the less we talk about the marina the better. There’s been nothing but problems since it
started. Dead bodies turning up in the
freezer, power outages. What’s
Mason offered a convincingly
sympathetic smile. “Anytime expansions
factor in, complications arise. I
wouldn’t worry too much about it. Just
focus on the end result.”
“Try telling her that,” Kyle said
with a sigh. He craned his neck toward
her, incensed to find Ethan walking through the doors and approaching her. “Go figure,” he murmured under his
Before he could get up to approach
them, Chip Matthews approached the table dressed in jeans, a blue plaid shirt
and a work belt hanging around his waist.
“Good morning, Kyle,” Chip
said. “Just wanted to let you know we’ve
got the power restored to the cabanas. I
don’t think there will be any more problems with the power lines.”
“That’s good news,” Kyle said, then
gestured across the table to Mason.
“Chip, this is Mason Stone.
Mason, this is our contractor, Chip Matthews.”
“A pleasure,” Chip said, keeping up
the charade that they didn’t know each other as he shook Mason’s hand.
“Yeah,” Mason said and shook his
“Does this mean we’ll be able to put
the cabanas back on market by Friday?” Kyle inquired. “We have that sci-fi convention this weekend
and we can’t afford to have any rooms out of order.”
“I guarantee they’ll be up and
running,” Chip said.
At least that was a relief, Kyle
thought to himself. He couldn’t help
glance again over his shoulder at Brooke and Ethan, intensely curious what they
were talking about.
Across the room, Ethan leveled his
eyes on the three men before turning back toward Brooke who stood at the
“How do Mason Stone and your
contractor know each other?” he asked, his brow furrowed.
“They don’t,” Brooke said with a
shrug as she flipped through the reservation book.
Ethan shook his head. “I saw them talking a couple of weeks ago by
the construction site. Yet they were
just acting like they were meeting for the first time. Don’t you think that’s weird?”
Sighing, Brooke glanced over at the
table. “No, I don’t. Mason’s living here while he’s in town, and
Chip’s here every day working on the marina.
They probably just forgot they’d met.
In case you haven’t noticed, Mason does seem to get around.”
“What is he doing here, anyway?”
“He’s on business. I don’t know.
Maybe he’s trying to patch things up with Mackenzie.”
Ethan folded his arms. “Mackenzie wouldn’t give him the time of
“You seem awfully sure of that,”
Brooke said, her eyes flickering past his and pausing for a few tense
moments. “What are you doing here,
anyway? Come to insult my parenting
He ignored her jab. He supposed he deserved it for the way he
acted the night before. “No, I came to
see how Michael was this morning when you brought him to school.”
“He seemed fine,” she replied. “I’m sure he’ll get back to his old self once
things calm down again.”
“You mean once he realizes his
parents aren’t going to get back together?”
Brooke took a stack of receipts from
Yvonne, the hostess who approached and took her place at the front of the
restaurant. “Ethan, I have work to do,”
she said. “I’ll see you at home
Once Ethan left, Kyle decided to
approach Brooke to fish for information on their conversation. He hated to be jealous, but she hadn’t done
much to confirm her commitment to their relationship.
“What was that all about?” he asked
as he approached.
“Michael again,” Brooke answered. “I’m sorry I had to leave last night. But I’m afraid that’s the way it’s going to
have to be for a while. Until he settles
Kyle placed a hand on her waist and
moved closer to her. “So I have to wait
to spend the night with you?” he asked, looking at her with smoldering
eyes. “Brooke, I don’t know how long I
can stand to be without you.”
“I’m not saying you won’t see me,” she clarified. “But I can’t spend the night with you for a
while. I hope you understand.”
“I’ll survive,” he said with a
wink. “But you still haven’t given me an
answer to my marriage proposal.”
“I told you I can’t answer you right
now,” Brooke told him and pulled away.
“Kyle, I want to be with you but I won’t be pressured into
anything. Let’s just take things slow for
a little while longer. I don’t
understand why you’re in such a hurry.”
“I just don’t want anything to come
between us again.”
“What could come between us? Unless there’s something you’re not telling
she only knew, Kyle thought to himself.
The truth about who got them the variance, for one. Then there was his omission about David’s
experimental surgery. He considered
telling her to clear the air, but by now it was too late. Besides, the longer David stayed away the
better it was for their relationship.
“There’s not,” he finally said.
“What do you think you’re doing?”
Mason asked as he and Chip sat at the table across the room. “People aren’t supposed to know we’re
acquainted. If Brooke Taylor or Kyle
Fenwick find out we’re in on this together, it could ruin everything.”
“Relax,” Chip said with a grin. “Fenwick doesn’t suspect anything. Did he seem suspicious to you?”
Mason waived his hand
dismissively. “What about the power
outage to the cabanas? I thought you
were going to delay repairing it for as long as you could?”
“I was running out of excuses to
delay it,” Chip said. “You don’t want to
raise any red flags, do you? Trust
me. I know what I’m doing. Or did you not get that from last night?”
Mason regarded him warily. “Funny.”
“Feel like dropping by again
Last night was a one-time deal. I
told you that.”
“You did?” Chip asked incredulously
“It was implied. Last night I got shot down and was
desperate. I would have never showed up
at your room otherwise.”
Chip stood up and put his hands in
his pockets. “Door’s always open. No reason our partnership can’t have a few
other benefits attached.”
Mason knew going to his room was
going to be a mistake. He’d never done
anything like that before. He only hoped
Chip didn’t make an issue of it.
Complications with his plans for Moonshadows were the last thing he
Armed with the new information from
Alex, Jordan drove to Vaughan’s house and barreled through the door, past the
butler, and into the study.
“Are you still going to tell me that
you don’t know what’s going on?” he demanded, staring menacingly at the man as
he sat behind his desk.
“Jordan,” Vaughan said with surprise
while dismissing the butler with a single hand gesture. “Thank you for using the door this time
instead of climbing through the window, but in the future, I’d appreciate it if
you would call first. I’m very
“Busy leaving threatening
photographs and coming up with inventive murder plots?” Jordan asked.
“What’s gotten into you? Is this still about your mother? Look, I told you that I had nothing to do
with the attempts made on your mother’s life.”
“What about the attempt made on Jack
Childers life last night?” Jordan questioned.
“Or on Elana Hendrick’s life at the premiere that you attended with her?”
Vaughan didn’t give pause to the
fact that Jordan was privy to the other incidents. News of that nature had a tendency to spread
quickly. “And there were hundreds of
other people at that premiere who all
saw me. I couldn’t have been at the
hospital to run down Jack Childers and then make it to the premiere in time to
topple that scaffolding.”
“The investigators said the
scaffolding was rigged to collapse,” Jordan told him. “It could have been done days before the
“But I was with Sheldon while Jack
was targeted,” Vaughan reasoned. “I’m
telling you, it wasn’t me.”
Jordan had to admit that he had a
valid point. But even if Vaughan wasn’t
the person doing these things, he had to know more than he was letting on. Frustrated, he turned and ran his fingers
through his hair.
have to go to the police,” he said. “If
these other attacks are related to Lola’s, they’ll want to know. It may help them find this psycho.”
Quickly, Vaughan came out from
behind his desk and moved toward him.
“Jordan, let this go,” he said.
“You won’t do anyone any favors by bringing the police any more into
this than they already are.”
“Is that another threat?” he asked,
leveling a penetrating gaze upon him. “I
already told you I was going to keep quiet about Frankenstein’s monster living
down there in your basement.”
“It isn’t about Victor,” Vaughan
told him. “I’m telling you this for your
own good. The more the police nose
around the better the chances that they’ll find out about Lola’s past with her
twin sister. And if they tie these
incidents together, they’ll find things about other people who don’t want their
mistakes brought up again any more than she does.”
“Jack and Elana?” Jordan asked. “What did they
do? Switch places with their twins and
kill them too?”
Vaughan shook his head. “It doesn’t matter what they did.”
“So I’m supposed to do nothing?”
Jordan demanded. “My mother could be
killed. I just brought her home from the
hospital where she spent the night because someone put explosives in one of my
“You don’t know what this person
wants. This could all be a game to
him. Nobody’s died yet, have they? He’s had plenty of chances. He could just be toying with them.”
Jordan nodded his head, wondering if
Vaughan may be right. If the killer
wanted them dead, they would be dead.
Maybe it was all just a game.
Outside the room, Victor listened to
their conversation. When he heard Jordan
emerge from the study, he dashed across the hall and slipped into the
Elana had locked herself inside her
penthouse apartment all morning. She
insisted that the doorman admit no visitors.
Her husband, Max was golfing and the cast of crew of The Young at Heart had the day off due
to budget cuts. All she wanted to do was
lie in bed with an ice pack on her head and forget the night before had ever
The fact that someone out there knew
about her drunken driving incidents chilled her to the bone. Jonas had promised
it would never get out. She’d been on
contract with Lamont 3 at the time and they couldn’t afford such a
scandal. So why now? Who was the madman taunting her
A knock at the door in the front room
sent her flying upright with a shriek.
Slowly, she pushed the ice mask up onto her forehead and climbed off the
bed. She’d made sure the doorman knew
she was not to be disturbed. She
couldn’t trust anyone. If a psychopath
could come up to her at the premiere of a major motion picture, then nobody was
to be trusted.
Maybe it was Max, she decided. He could have forgotten his key. Taking a deep breath, she made her way to the
door and peered through the peephole. No
one was there.
Slowly, she unchained the door and
peered into the hall. Empty. Now filled with curiosity, she opened the
door to be sure. It appeared to be a
figment of her imagination.
But as she closed the door, she saw
the photograph taped to the outside.
Gasping, she snatched it away and looked at the picture of a young
actress. Scribbled on the picture in red
marker were the words I know there were others.
“Oh my God!” she screamed, slamming
the door closed, locking and chaining it, and leaning against it in a
How could they know? Finding out about Greg Bender was one thing –
his death was plastered all over the news.
But Cheri Montessori barely made the obituaries. She was a drug addict. A porn star who’d happened to be crossing a
dark street at the wrong time. There was
barely an investigation into her death.
In the aftermath, Jonas had destroyed her car and replaced it with a new
one to ensure there were no traces of the hit and run. If only she hadn’t been drinking…
Sinking to the floor, she wept, the
photograph falling from her trembling hands.
That’s when she saw the writing on the back. Scribbled in the same red marker were
at the Young at Heart studios tonight.
7:30. Come alone.
James and Alex brought Miranda and Tiger
home from the hospital. When they
arrived, Ethan, Jane, Leilani and Kelly were standing by in the foyer. Balloons and a baby banner were hung from the
“Welcome home, Miss Miranda and Miss
Tiger,” Leilani warbled in her Polynesian accent as she kissed them both on the
cheek. “She is so gorgeous.”
“Thanks Leilani,” Miranda said with
“We’ve got Tiger’s room all ready
for her,” Jane said. She felt a little
odd being there full time while they waited for their trial. But under the conditions of her bail, she had
to. Maybe when Stormy returned it would
feel less uncomfortable, she decided.
“So you seriously named him Tiger?” Kelly exclaimed with a deep
frown. “After the golfer or what?”
Miranda glared at her. “Tiger is a her,” she first corrected her.
“And no. She’s named after the
wild animal. You know, the one who eats
“Oh, because she looks like a boy in
that outfit you’ve got her in.”
Miranda leaned over to Jane and
whispered in her ear. “Jane, get this
witch out of my face before I hand this baby to you and beat her ass.”
“Maybe we should check on that
cake,” Jane said and led Kelly off.
check the cake,” Kelly said with a frown and shrugged her away.
“Girls, come on,” Leilani said and
pushed them toward the kitchen. “I need
help with the coffee.”
After they’d gone, Ethan leaned down
and kissed Miranda. “You look
beautiful,” he said. “Motherhood suits
“You do have a very wholesome look
about you these days, Miranda,” James said with a grin. “Motherhood just might change you into one of
those ethereal types.”
Miranda grimaced. “No way.
The only thing that got me through that pregnancy was the new fall
line. Is the September Vogue here
Alex laughed. “I’ll help you upstairs, darling.”
Miranda went upstairs with her while
James and Ethan remained in the foyer.
“Has there been any word from
Stormy?” Ethan asked his uncle.
“Nothing yet,” he replied with a
somber shake of his head. “But it may
take a day or two to get to the bottom of what Farrah Bale and Brad King know
about Hugh Rogers’s murder. Until then,
let’s not stress Miranda out about it. I
want her to have this time with Tiger.”
Ethan narrowed his eyes on him. “You make it sound like she might not have that much time with her.”
“If she goes to prison, she won’t,”
James said with a shake of his head.
The doorbell ringing turned James
away from the somber conversation. He
pulled the door open as Kenny made his way inside.
“Kenny, you’re just in time. Miranda and the baby just got home.”
“That’s good news, but I’m not here
about Miranda,” Kenny said. “Can we talk
in your study?”
“Sure,” James said and led him
across the foyer.
Once they were out of view, Ethan
pulled his phone from his pocket and checked to see if he had any missed
calls. He didn’t know why he kept
expecting Mackenzie to call. She’d
expressed her regret over spending the night with him. But something about that night stayed with
him. He yearned to see her again, to
feel her soft skin against his and to make love to her. Tentatively, he pulled her number up on his
phone and prepared to hit talk. But when he thought about James again, he
decided it was the wrong thing to do.
Whatever he and Mackenzie had was better left a one night thing.
Inside James’s study, he turned
toward Kenny while gesturing to the mini bar in the corner of the room.
“What’s on your mind, Kenny? Can I get you a drink?”
“No,” Kenny said. “James, I just came from the office. I got a call about your father.”
“My father?” James asked in
shock. “What about him?”
Kenny took a deep breath. “He’s had a heart attack. It’s quite serious. They don’t think he’s going to make it.”
Jarred by the news, James sat down
in a chair. He hadn’t thought about his
father in some time. They hadn’t always
agreed on much. First his leaving Kansas
and moving to Hollywood to follow in Nathan’s footsteps, then allowing Ethan to
do the same. And since his mother
passed away, they hadn’t so much as spoken two words to one another.
“How long does he have?” he asked,
“Not long. You should probably go see him. If you want I can call the pilot.”
James nodded. “Yes, thank you, Kenny. I appreciate that. I think the closest airport to Windsor is in
“Marcus isn’t in Windsor, James,”
Kenny told him.
James frowned and looked at
him. “Where is he?”
“Way to go,” Stormy said as he and
Eddie left Colt Records. “Some recon job
that turned out to be. We couldn’t even
get through the front door. You know,
I’m beginning to wonder about your private investigative abilities.”
“Things seem to work differently in
the south,” Eddie argued. “I can’t help
if it my techniques don’t work in all regions.”
“You techniques don’t work period,”
Stormy said as they got into the rental car and headed back to the hotel. “So basically we have no way to get to Brad
King. I have a feeling this trip was a
“It’s not a wasted effort,” Eddie
told him. “We have to do this for
Miranda and Jane. We’re not leaving here
until we find who killed Hugh Rogers.”
Once they were back at the hotel,
they stopped by the front desk to talk to the nice girl who’d arranged for
their rental car.
“Do you know any hot spots around
here?” Eddie asked. “We’re looking to go
somewhere jumping tonight.”
“There’s a grand opening of a new
restaurant tomorrow night,” the desk agent said and handed them a flier for
Heather’s. “It’s supposed to be a really
happening place. Everyone who’s anyone
will be there.”
“Heather’s?” Eddie said and looked
at him. “What is it with this town? First there was Chelsea the lookalike and now
an entire restaurant named after your ex-wife.
Stormy rolled his eyes and grabbed
the flier from him. “Do you think Brad
King might show up here tonight?” he asked.
“He has to,” Eddie told him, then
pointed at the print at the bottom of the flier.
“Brad King, owner,” Stormy read
aloud, then looked up at Eddie. “Looks
like we’re going to a party tonight.”
“Looks like it,” Eddie confirmed.
“I brought you some more magazines,”
Brooke said to Marco De La Cruz as she sat beside his bed at the hospital. “I know you said you like deep sea
fishing. My secretary’s husband is a big
fisherman so she brought these in today.”
“You’re very kind,” the man said,
then erupted into a coughing spasm.
Looking on with concern, Brooke went
to the table across the room and poured him a glass of water. “Here, drink this,” she said and handed it to
“Thank you,” Mr. De La Cruz said
after the attack had subsided.
“Have they found out what’s wrong
yet?” Brooke asked. “You said it was a
respiratory infection. Do they know
He shook his head. “They don’t think that’s it anymore. You know doctors. They like to scare you with all kinds of
possibilities before they actually know what’s wrong.”
Brooke smiled in hopes of easing his
worries. She noted the yellowish tint to
his skin and hoped it wasn’t anything too serious. He’d been a long-term guest of Moonshadows,
and she hated the thought of him becoming sick.
“Time for your medication, Mr. De La
Cruz,” a nurse said when she entered the office.
Brooke collected her purse and moved
away from the bed. “I should get going
anyway,” she said. “Feel better, Mr. De
He started coughing again. “Thank you, Miss Taylor.”
After she left, she started down the
hall when Kyle approached her. “Has
there been any change?” he asked her.
She stopped and shook her head while
looking down at the man’s room.
“It was nice of you to come see him
again,” Kyle told her. “You have a good
Smiling, she began to feel a little
better when he leaned in for a kiss.
“Can we have dinner tonight at my
place?” Kyle asked. “I promise to send
you home early.”
“I’d like that,” she said.
After arriving in Century City that
evening, Elana Hendricks parked her Bentley and walked to the doors of the Young at Heart sound stages. She explained to the security guard that she
was there picking up an advanced copy of the next script, and he allowed her
admittance without question.
Nervously, she took the elevator to
the third floor where the majority of the sets were located. It was dark and deserted, only the glow of
the exit signs visible from her vantage point.
Quickly, she ran her hands along the wall until she found the power
switches. Relieved once the stages were
lit, she gazed around for any sign of her attacker.
“Hello?” she called out, terror
welling up in her throat.
She considered turning and
leaving. Going there was probably a
mistake, but she had to find out who was doing this to her. She had to try to convince them to leave her
alone, and to let her secrets stay buried.
Who hadn’t had a few car accidents?
She refused to be punished for her mistakes, especially after decades of
trying to forget.
A noise at the end of the corridor
caused her heart to beat furiously inside her chest. She swallowed hard, slowly making her way
along the sets in search of the person who’d lured her there.
“Are you here?” she called out to
nothing in particular. “I came just as
you asked. If it's money you want I can get it for you.”
Silence permeated her surroundings
for a few wretched moments until she turned and saw a camera on a tripod
rolling across the corridor. She
screamed, reaching into her purse and removing a gun. She’d come prepared.
“Who’s doing this?” she demanded
when no one appeared. “Stop being a
coward and show yourself you bastard!”
She thought she saw movement inside
one of the hospital sets. Gripping the
gun tightly in her trembling hand, she padded across the tiled floor and scanned
the area. Someone was hiding behind one
of the set walls, she determined. She
closed her eyes and fired, the bullet cutting through the set wall while the
impact sent her staggered back a few steps.
Suddenly, she felt a pair of arms
clasp around her body from behind. She
shrieked, struggled in the person’s grasp and dropping the gun to the floor
during the struggle. She made a
desperate attempt to see who had grabbed her but all she could see where their
arms, covered in black sleeves and their hands sheathed in black leather
Miraculously, she was able to get
free. She pushed the perpetrator away
and ran for her life, forgetting about the gun and forgetting about trying to
get a look at her attacker. She simply
wanted to get free. It became clear that
whoever was doing this to her wasn’t trying to strike a bargain. They wanted her dead.
Weaving between the sets, she ducked
behind a sofa and hid, her breathing labored and her eyes darting back and
forth. She whimpered softly, terrified
by the prospect of the assailant finding her.
Filming had been going exceptionally
well. They were already ahead of
schedule which meant when Stormy returned, Brett would have something to gloat
about. While the cast and crew took a
break before they resumed later for several nighttime scenes, he retreated to
“Armstrong,” Brett answered when his
office phone rang.
“Brett, it’s John Berry,” said
Jordan’s private retainer attorney. “I
got that information you were asking for.”
“Great,” Brett replied, turning to
the window and staring outside at the back lot at Sunset Studios. “What did you find out?”
“There’s a trust in R.J.
Blackthorne’s name,” John explained.
“When he comes of legal age, he’ll inherit a percentage of Sunset
Frowning, Brett tapped a pencil on
the desk as he swiveled back and forth.
“Where does the percentage come from?
“A combination of James, Stormy and
Brooke. There’s a codicil to the
corporate structure of the studio that any child born into the family
automatically gets a percentage. The
other shareholders percentages are divested.”
“And Stormy is the executor of the
shares in the meantime?”
“No, it doesn’t work like that,”
John told him. “The shares aren’t divested
until R.J. turns eighteen. Until then,
the shares remain in their current standing.”
The news wasn’t what Brett wanted to
hear. “What about R.J.’s mother, Kelly
“She’s incidental. The shares don’t affect her at all since they
won’t exist until R.J.’s eighteenth birthday, and he’ll be a legal adult then
“Damn,” Brett murmured under his
breath. He’d hoped that he could somehow
use R.J. to get back into a stakeholder position at the studio. With his new dalliance with Kelly, he’d begun
to see the possibilities. But with this
new information, he realized it wasn’t going to work the way he’d hoped. “Thanks for the call, John. And please don’t say a word about this to
Jordan or anyone else. I’d like it to
stay between us.”
“Marcus Blackthorne is sick?” Alex
asked at the mansion as she watched James pace his study. “I don’t believe it. What happened?”
“Heart attack,” James told her. “I’m going to fly out there and see
James shook his head. “He’s not in Kansas. He’s in Monte Carlo.”
“Monte Carlo?” Alex asked. “Why?
And how does he have means to travel across the world? Your father doesn’t have any money.”
“That’s what I thought,” James said
while running a hand over his face.
“Apparently our home back in Windsor was sitting on a mineral
field. He got millions off of it.”
“And never told you?” Alex
James laughed in spite of the grave
circumstances. “My father and I haven’t
exactly been close,” he told her.
“Anyway, I’m leaving just as soon as the pilot gets back from Tennessee
with the jet.”
“I want to go with you,” Alex
said. “I know I only met him a few times
when we were married, but he was very special to me. He’s the only one who believed me
James sighed and shook his head with
regret. “After Nathan raped you. I know.
Alex, that was twenty-seven years ago."
He walked across the room and stared out the window. “If
it’s just the same to you, I’d
rather go alone. I have to see my father
before he dies and I have to do it alone.”
“I have a right to see him,” Alex
“Alex, I said no!” James
She jumped from his harsh reaction,
thankful for the interruption when Brooke entered the room.
“Alex, Miranda was asking for you
upstairs,” she announced.
After giving James one final look of
resentment, Alex floated from the room, leaving him and Brooke alone together.
“Are you okay?” she asked. “It seemed like I just walked in on
James shook his head. “Alex was just trying to convince me to let
her go to Monte Carlo with me. I know
it’s selfish, but I want to do this on my own.
I have my own issues with my father and having Alex there would just
turn it into a circus.”
“You really shouldn’t go alone,”
Brooke told him with concern. “You
haven’t seen your father in years. Not
since before you and I met. I’m afraid
you’ll get there and regret not having someone to talk to about your
“And you think Alex is that person?”
he asked with a laugh.
She smiled, glad that he could find
something to laugh about in light of the devastating events. “I could go with you if you want. I know I never met Marcus Blackthorne but I’d
still like to be there for you.”
“That might not be a bad idea,”
James said. “I may need someone
impartial. Are you sure you can get
away? What about Michael? Ethan said he’s been having a difficult time.”
“I’ll talk to Ethan and Michael,”
Brooke said. “It’s just for a couple of
“And Moonshadows? Don’t you have that big sci-fi convention
starting in a few days? Plus everything
going on with the marina expansion…”
“We’ll be back in plenty of time,”
she told him.
He smiled and pulled her into a
friendly embrace. “Thank you,
Brooke. It really means the world to me
that you would do this for me.”
“I’m glad I can be of some help,”
she said. After all, James had always
been there for her. Through her own
family struggles with Roz and David and everything else, he was the one man she
could always count on.
“Thanks for agreeing to work
tonight,” Mackenzie said as the security guard let her and Ethan in to the
sound stages at The Young at Heart. “When the network said they wanted me to give
my presentation to them tomorrow I could have died. I just want to go over the figures once
“No problem,” Ethan said as they
rode up the elevator. The truth was, he
couldn’t pass up an opportunity to spend time with her. He knew it couldn’t go where it had the other
night, but working together was harmless, and it gave him a chance to test his
“This is strange,” Mackenzie
announced when they stepped off onto the third floor. “Someone turned all the lights on.”
“Maybe someone’s here,” Ethan said
and followed her down the corridor, past the hospital sets and the living room set
of the Sinclaire estate.
“The sets are strictly off limits
while production is shut down” she reasoned.
“When I find the person who’s responsible, they’re going to-“
Ethan looked at her as she stopped
mid-sentence. “What’s wrong?”
Suddenly, a blood-curdling scream
escaped Mackenzie’s throat. She pointed
to the floor where Elana’s body laid, her eyes wide open and red hand marks
imprinted on her neck from where she’d been strangled to death.
“Oh my God,” Ethan whispered,
placing an arm around her as she turned and buried her face in his chest.
Nathan had plans to meet Keaton
Hartley, the director of The Benefactor,
at a small restaurant near the studio for a drink before resuming shooting that
night. The next scene was to be filmed
on the back lot of the studio, a dark and wet alley scene where one of the
parents of the children who go on the expedition to the moon confront Norton.
Sipping his cocktail with his legs
crossed and the evening paper strewn out before him, he glanced at his watch
and wondered if he’d gotten his times mixed up.
He was sure Keaton had said seven o’clock.
Just as he was about to get up to
leave, Keaton came barreling inside, disheveled and with a stack of folders he
was hauling in his arms.
“Sorry I’m late, Mr. Blackthorne,”
Keaton said, pushing a pair of Buddy Holly glasses up on his nose. “There was an accident on the 405.”
Nathan smiled at the young director
and sat back down. “That’s quite all
right, young man.” He watched as Keaton
struggled, fumbling with the folders, his glasses inching down his nose. He’d never seen him so flustered. He
knew he was only thirty-two, but sometimes his lack
of experience showed through. “Are you okay, Keaton? You seem not yourself.”
“Just a little overwhelmed, Mr.
Blackthorne,” he replied. “I know
there’s a lot riding on this film.
Please don’t tell Stormy or Brett that I told you that. I’m fine, really. I just want everything to go perfect. This film means everything to me.”
“I understand. I won’t say a word.”
“You just have no idea how honored I
am to be working with you. To be directing you. It’s incredible. You’re been an idol of mine since I was a
Nathan smiled again. “That’s kind of you to say, Keaton. Would you like a drink while we discuss
“Yes,” he said, pushing his glasses
up and turning to find a waitress.
“Miss, can you….” As he
attempted to flag her down, the folders slipped from his hands and spilled onto
Nathan got up to help him, bending
down to the floor beside their table.
That was when he saw the photographs.
Several copies of headshots and publicity stills had scattered across
the floor. Some were of him, and others
were of Jack and Lola. There may have
been one of Victor as well but he couldn’t confirm before Keaton snatched the
pictures from him and shoved them back into the folder.
Keaton looked down at the pictures
and swallowed hard, sweat forming in beads across his forehead.
Brooke arrive in Monte Carlo. Mackenzie turns to Ethan
for comfort. Accusations are thrown in Elana's
murder, and someone else receives a photograph of someone
from the past. Plus, the crossover
continues on Nightingales
when the party at Heather's beings!
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