help of Janet Harper, James learned that Brooke
had been living with Philip Whitacre in Phoenix
for the past five months. Brooke insisted
that their relationship was plutonic, but refused
to return to Hollywood with James. Brett purchased
drugs from a pusher and maniuplated Gwen into administering
them to James in an effort to keep him in a paralyzed
state so that he could continue running Sunset
Studios. Stormy returned home and became
aggravated that Brett was running things at the
studio. Heather used her relationship with
Will to steal viable movie scripts from him for Sunset
Studios. In exchange, Brett promised to
give her a starring role in The Murderess.
Brooke reconsidered and returned home, lying
to an elated James that her baby was in fact his
son. Ethan became devestated after hearing the news.
was busy serving breakfast in the dining room, setting up a buffet of eggs
benedict, bacon, sausage and toast, and pouring glasses of coffee and orange
juice for the Blackthornes as they trickled into the room.
not eating much, Darling," James said to Brooke as she nibbled at a piece
of dry toast and washed it down with a sip of juice. "Are you feeling okay this
nodded beamingly, gazing across the table at James who sat in his wheelchair
next to Miranda. "I'm fine. Just not very hungry I guess." She leaned back in her chair and placed a
hand on her pregnant stomach. "The
baby is kicking like crazy this morning."
maybe you could bring Brooke a bagel," Miranda said with calculated
certainty. "Isn't that what Philip
brought you the other day at the department store?"
Brooke turned to Miranda and flushed with resentment. She knew Miranda was trying to provoke an
argument with her and James. The fact
that she'd lived with Philip in Phoenix was a sore subject and Miranda
knew it. It appeared that the young
woman hadn't changed at all. Still
taking jabs and manipulating petty dramas at every turn.
toast is fine, Leilani," she said with a vague smile, then met with
James's gaze to determine his reaction.
To her relief he didn't seem too affected by the mention of Philip’s
entered the room silently and sat down next to Brooke while Leilani poured her
a cup of coffee. "Thank you,"
she said politely and brought the cup up to her lips.
morning, Heather," James said, wishing to break the tension that Miranda
had set into motion. He couldn’t blame
his daughter. She’d been overly
protective of him since his operation, and one of the only members of his
family who’d stuck by him.
morning," Heather said, then looked at Brooke with a smile. "It's nice to have you back,
Brooke. How’s the baby?"
you, Heather," Brooke said happily and lowered her eyes to her
stomach. "The baby's doing
fine. He or she should be here in a
couple weeks." Her words came out
methodically. Being back in the house
seemed so strange to her. She couldn't
relax or be herself. But strangely, she
knew that being there was right.
be something to have a baby in the house again," James said, then turned
to the buffet. "Won't it,
Mr. Blackthorne," she said dutifully and poured him another glass of
been quite a while since we had a little one around.”
by how everyone seemed to be treating Brooke as though nothing had happened,
Miranda rolled her eyes and stuffed a forkful of food in her mouth to keep
herself from going off at the hilt.
in the foyer, Brett came down the stairs and headed for the dining room just as
Stormy emerged from the gym down the hall.
They met up and squared off with a rigid stare, as if challenging the
other to deliver the first blow.
they both backed off and wordlessly entered the dining room where the rest of
the family was gathered. Miranda looked
at Brett and smiled happily, gesturing to the empty chair next to her.
morning everyone,” Brett said while straightening his tie. He sat down and pushed his coffee cup toward
Leilani who stood by with a freshly brewed carafe. “Brooke, it’s wonderful to see you in the
house again. Welcome home.”
you Brett,” Brooke said with a pleased glimmer in her blue eyes.
sidled uneasily into his seat across from his father and glowered at Brett from
his vantage point. He’s really snowed everyone good, he thought to himself. The man of the house since he’d been
away. His own father, who heavily
questioned Miranda’s decision to marry him last year, was his number one fan. It was wrong in so many ways.
Stormy,” James began with a stern scowl on his face. “What do you intend to do now that you’re
at being put on the spot, Stormy nursed his juice and looked warily around the
table. “I’m not sure yet,” he said. “I’m going to explore my options and take it
scoffed under his breath and placed his elbows firmly on the table. “What options are those, Stormy?” he asked
spitefully. “Good Times Records is no more.
Are you thinking of starting up another recording studio? Oh, wait, I guess you’d need capitol to do
that. Maybe you can work for your mother
and Jordan. Rydell Productions is in a bit of a slump but I’m sure they’ll get
out of it sooner or later.”
clenched his fists angrily. He knew that
his brother-in-law was taking jabs at his expense, in front of his father and
sister just to make him look bad. Well
it wasn’t going to work. He would show
them all what kind of man Brett really was.
the way,” Brett continued and removed a script from his briefcase. “James, I have a new script that I’m sure is
going to be worth a look at.”
see it, Son,” James said and reached across the table for the bundle of pages.
exchange made Stormy see red and he could hardly control his anger. His father was calling Brett
That was the last straw. He was his father’s only son, and that’s
the way it was going to stay.
“The Murderess,” James read from the
title page. “Is it any good?”
nodded and grinned mischievously across the table at Heather. “It’s excellent,” he said. “I’d like to start optioning it right
away. With your approval of course.”
a second or two, James handed the script back to him. “I trust you.
Go with it if you think it’s going to be a hit.”
coursed through his veins as Brett took the script and placed it back in his
briefcase. He loved the fact that James
had instilled such faith in him. And it
was about time he got some respect. Soon
everyone would know that he was a force to be reckoned with.
took Brooke’s hand and squeezed it tightly, beaming from ear to ear as he
scanned the length of the table. “Now
that we’re all here, there’s something I’d like to announce to everyone,” he
began. “Since Brooke is back, and the
baby will be here soon, we’ve decided to get remarried.”
smiled happily and leaned over to kiss his cheek.
practically choked on her food, coughing sickly as she quickly brought her
napkin to her mouth. She couldn’t
believe her ears. Not only had her father
taken that witch back and forgiven her for being a slut, but now he was going
to marry her again. Will he ever learn?
wonderful, Dad,” Stormy said, realizing this was his opportunity to try to get
back into his good graces. “I’m very
happy for both of you. Brooke, welcome
to the family.”
you,” she replied fervently, barely able to contain her happiness. She was sure this was where she
belonged. She and James had been so in
love at one time, and now was their chance to recapture that love. And with any luck, her being there would
prove beneficial to his recovery.
the big day?” Heather asked. She tried
to dodge Stormy’s biting stare, wondering what he was thinking and how he felt
about her being there.
a couple of days,” James replied. “We
want to make sure we’re married by the time this beautiful baby comes.”
sooner the better,” Brooke said and kissed him again.
folded her arms and pushed herself back in her chair. Brett clasped her hand and stopped her from
storming off, as he knew she would. She
sighed and reluctantly remained seated, forced to celebrate the engagement that
was doomed as much now as it was the last time.
then, Gwen entered the dining room dressed in a plain gray skirt and drab brown
cardigan sweater. Her long ash
blond hair was pinned up onto her
head and she wore no makeup. Her eyes
flickered past Brett and she felt a surge of excitement run through her body. Quickly, she stifled any tell-tale signals
that could be detected by the family and made her way over to James where she
produced a paper cup full of pills.
for your medication, Mr. Blackthorne,” she said and set the cup on the table in
front of him. “Shall I get the gym ready
for your therapy?”
groaned and rolled his eyes away from her.
“Oh Jesus, here we go again,” he moaned.
stop it,” Miranda said sternly. “Stop
giving Gwen such a hard time or she’ll leave us. Then where will that leave you?”
a much better place, that’s where,” James deadpanned as he began swallowing the
pills with his juice.
watched him intently, certain that the muscle relaxers he’d given Gwen would do
the trick in keeping James dependent on his wheelchair. And as long as he was unable to get around
on his own, Sunset Studios would be
you ready?” Gwen asked as she moved behind his chair.
James said bitterly. "I want to
spend the day with my fiancé."
you should go,” Brooke said. “I have
some planning to do for the wedding.
I’ll see you later, okay?”
nodded glumly and kissed her before Gwen wheeled him out of the dining room and
down the hall to the gym. After he’d
gone, Brett stood up and grabbed his briefcase tightly in his hand.
I’d better get off to the studio,” he said evenly, then kissed Miranda. “I’ll see you tonight, Babe.”
be too late,” Miranda said with a smile as he made his way out of the room.
he’d gone, Heather quickly stood up and excused herself. “I’d better get going too,” she said. “I’ll see everyone later.”
stood up and stopped her from leaving. “Heather, we need to talk,” he said,
pulling her aside just outside the room.
shook her head in protest. “We have
nothing to talk about, Stormy,” she said coldly and pulled her arm away. With that, she turned and trotted across the
foyer to the front door.
outside, she spotted Brett getting into his black Italian sports car and called
after him. “Hold on a minute,” she said,
preventing him from getting into the seat.
“Don't think you can just sneak off that easily.”
I’m late,” he began with an irritated sigh.
“Can’t this wait until tonight?”
it can’t,” she insisted with hostility evident in her voice. The cool breeze whipped through her hair and
she pushed it from her eyes as she glared at him heatedly. “In case you’ve forgotten, I’m the one who
got you that script that got you all that praise from James just now. And I don’t think I have to remind you the
lengths I had to go to to get it. Now
you owe me and you owe me big.
You promised me a part in the movie.
I want it. In writing. Unless you want
me to go to Will Thomerson and tell him who’s been stealing movie deals out
from under him.”
leaned against the car and folded his arms with a cocky smile. “You’re certainly full of surprises,” he
said. “Who would have thought that
Heather Blackthorne would show some spunk and resort to blackmail?”
I want is what I have coming to me,” she said, her tone full of warning. “And this time I damn well intend to get it.”
raised an eyebrow and watched as Heather turned and started down the driveway
to her car.
Reynolds positioned herself against the thick cushions of the luxurious sofa at
her and Jordan’s home in Beverly Hills.
She nodded to the butler as he left a tray of caviar and champagne and
then exited the room, closing the heavy wood doors behind him.
elaborate hors d’ oeuvres for this time of the day,” Marilee Wells-Walker said as she
leaned forward and scooped a giant heaping of caviar onto her toast
points. “I’m beginning to think my help
isn’t needed in your new venture, Alex.
If you can afford this kind of luxury-“
it a celebration,” Alex cut her off with a sly grin as she tipped her champagne
flute to her full lips. “A taste of
things to come once we get our new company off the ground. The caviar is Sevruga, by the way. I only eat Sevruga caviar. I like the best in everything.”
know you do,” Marilee said with a grin.
“After all, Jordan Rydell is quite a good catch. Dare I say a step up even from James
Blackthorne. Both such handsome, virile
horns are showing, Marilee,” Alex joked.
She had to admire her peer for her determination. She was a beautiful woman and had amassed a
great fortune and a long line of husbands. The latest was Seth
Walker, a young congressman who spent his days at City
Hall and his nights trying to please an insatiable
Marilee. "What would Seth say if he heard
you talking that way about another man?"
heartily, pushing a lock of wispy blond hair from her face and picking up her
glass of champagne. “Only kidding,
Dear,” she said, then continued in an offhanded fashion. “Speaking of James, did you hear that he went
to Phoenix and brought Brooke Taylor back
with him? Rumor has it they’re planning
Alex sighed and sat
forward, crossing her legs. “Yes, I have
heard that,” she said. “I only hope James knows what he’s getting
into this time. That woman caused him
nothing but heartache the last time she was in his life.”
“Anyway, let’s get
down to business,” Marilee continued, shifting topics with gleeful
abandon. “What's the next phase of our
for the drilling permits," Alex explained.
"It's just a formality, mind you.
That land in Colorado is worthless other than the fact
that there's a fortune in natural gas underneath of it."
"So no concern
of environmentalists getting in your way?"
"The way I look
at it, I'll be doing the nation a favor by setting up this pipeline," Alex
said eagerly as she nibbled at the delicacy.
"Who could argue with me exploring for energy sources?"
somebody," Marilee deadpanned and then broke out into laughter.
The parlor doors
opened and the butler entered swiftly.
"Miss Reynolds, your son is here to see you," Gordon said with
just the right amount of uniformity.
"Shall I show him in?"
Alex's face lit up
and she quickly rose to her feet.
"Absolutely," she said, thrilled that Stormy had finally
returned to L.A. "Marilee, do
you mind if we continue this later?"
"Not at all,
Alex," she relied, standing up and grabbing her Chanel bag from the
sofa. "Call me tomorrow and we'll
go over those bids from construction companies to handle the pipeline."
course," Alex said as Marilee left the room just as Stormy entered. "Darling! I'm so happy to see you!" She ran over and threw her arms around him
Stormy gushed, standing back so he could look at her. "Marriage seems to agree with you. You look incredible."
"Don't give my
marriage credit for that." She grinned and walked across the room to the
desk where she lit a cigarette and gestured to the sofa. "Sit down, Darling. Would you like some caviar?"
He sat down and
shook his head. "Where's Jordan?" he asked.
studio," Alex replied and sat down next to him. "Stormy, I want you to know that I've
tried to talk him out of this vendetta he has against you, but I’m not sure how
much good it's done. He's still pretty
angry about what happened between you and Heather."
surprised," Stormy sighed.
"Heather won't even talk to me.
We have to settle things between us but how can we when she's still so
"I heard about Good Times Records. I'm so sorry that things didn't go as you
planned on the tour." Alex took a
drag of her cigarette and considered telling her son the truth - that she had
been the one to pull the sponsors for the tour.
She immediately thought better of it.
How was she to have known that it would cost him his lifelong
dream? No, he would never
forgive her if he knew she had
been the person behind his troubles. But
all she wanted was for him to come home and forget about that trampy singer.
"Maybe it's for
the best," Stormy said with a shrug.
"I was barely able to keep it afloat anyway. The competition is so fierce. I think it happened for a reason."
"What are you
going to do now?" Alex asked.
He sighed and stood
up from the sofa, beginning to pace around the room. "I don't know," he said. "Everything's so up in the air. Dad still won't talk to me, Brett is walking
around acting like he owns the house and the studio, and Heather's room is two
doors down from me. I feel like I'm a
guest in my own house."
"Why don't you
come live here?" Alex asked, her tone full of excitement.
Stormy frowned. "Here?
Yeah, I'm sure Jordan would love that."
"He'll get used
"No, I need to
stay at the house. I just need to smooth some things out. It won't be easy but I might have to suck it
up for a while."
Alex crossed her legs
and stubbed out her cigarette. "And
that tramp is back living in the house, I hear," she said. "Honestly, I don't know what your father
is thinking. Hasn't he learned anything
from the past?"
his baby," Stormy said. "She's
through with Ethan and it looks like they're going to be getting remarried in a
Alex couldn't help
but feel pangs of jealousy. Parts of her
still yearned for her ex-husband. They'd
come a long way since their bitter divorce, and were finally at a point in
their lives where they could be friends.
It hurt her to see him with someone else - especially Brooke
Taylor. The fact that he was having a
child with another woman was a hard thing to accept.
steered through the gates of Will Thomerson's estate and parked in the long
driveway. She got out and went inside
where the butler greeted her and took her coat.
She made her way into the study where Will Thomerson was busy with a
stack of paperwork and his nose buried in a laptop.
Princess," he said with a smile and got up to greet her. “You look very pretty today.”
offered a faint smile as he put his arm around her and led her to the cognac
leather sofa across the room. She
wanted to make her visit quick and to the point. She had to end it with Will, and the sooner
the better. Being with him for the past
few months had made her feel like she was nothing more than a whole. Sleeping with a movie producer to get a part in a movie was one thing, but
sleeping with him to steal movie deals out from under him was far worse.
now she’d given Brett what he needed to outdo Jaguar Studios, and she was free to end it with Will for good. The payoff would be when Brett cast her in
the lead role in The Murderess. Then everything would be worth the sacrifices
wanted to talk to you about something,” she began, pushing her long brown hair
from her face. “The thing is-“
I almost forgot,” Will cut her off and dashed across the room to his desk where
he pulled open a drawer and removed a long velvet jewelry box. “I have something for you.”
eyes traveled to the tell-tale box and all the color drained from her youthful
face. She knew what this was and it
wasn’t going to make what she had to do any easier. “I need to tell you something first, Will,
can talk later,” Will insisted and shoved the box at her. “I wanted to give you something as beautiful
as you are. Of course there wasn’t
anything so I hope this will do.”
she opened the lid and gazed at the shimmering diamond necklace encrusted with
nickel-sized rubies. Her eyes widened in
disbelief at the elaborate gift from a man she didn’t love and had no intention
of staying with. The guilt was beginning
to eat away at her and she couldn’t bare it.
you like it?” Will asked as he lifted the necklace from the box and fastened it
around her delicate neck. “I know it’s a
little fancy for your tastes but I thought you could wear it to my
party next week.”
touched the luxurious stones with the tips of her fingers and felt a rush of
air escape her lungs. She had never
owned anything so beautiful in her whole life.
It was like a dream.
wonderful,” she said, feeling her eyes stinging with tears. How was she going to tell him it was over
now? Of course she couldn’t keep the
gift, but the very thought of handing it back to him with those fateful words
was enough to label her a first class bitch.
moment was interrupted when Ethan entered the room and stared in awe at the
beaming jewels around Heather’s neck. A
scowl appeared on his face and he marched mercilessly into the study.
I’m glad you’re here,” Will said and looked up at the young man. “What do you think of my gift for
Heather? Does it even compare to her
think it’s a little early for Christmas,” Ethan said sarcastically and quickly
changed the subject. “Will, I have some
stood up and walked over to the desk.
“What is it? Oh, by the way, have
you made any progress on getting the rights to The Murderess? I have a
great feeling about this film. I want to
start production as soon as possible.
I’m even thinking of casting a very
special young lady in the leading
role.” He gave a quick glance toward
Heather and winked slyly.
eyes flashed open in surprise. She never
thought Will would actually give her a role in a movie. It always seemed like a bunch of talk. Promises so that she’d keep his bed warm at
optioned it to another studio,” Ethan announced with some regret. “They bid too high and too early for me to do
anything about it.”
eyes narrowed on him. “So beat the bid,”
he said plainly. “If money is the
too late,” Ethan continued. “As of about
an hour ago, Sunset Studios gained
the option rights to The Murderess. I’m sorry, Will.”
Eyes flaring and teeth clenched, Will balled his fists at
his sides and started pacing back and forth.
“How could this have happened?” he demanded. “We were the only studio looking into that
script! How could James Blackthorne have
swindled it right out from under me? How
did he even know we were planning on buying it?"
eyes darted toward Heather, who quickly looked away and continued caressing the
ornate necklace. “I don’t know,” he
they took Blood & Oil and now The Murderess!” Will continued in a
tirade. “I don’t understand it!”
I have my eye on some other projects-“
forget that!” Will insisted as he bounded toward the doors. “I’m going to find out just what the hell
James Blackthorne is up to! I’ll be
damned if I’m going to go down after everything that man’s done to me!”
he raced from the room, Ethan turned to Heather and approached her swiftly, his
eyes narrowing coldly on her. She got
up and started to move past him but he stepped in her path and flashed her a
look full of warning. “Where do you
think you’re going?”
winced uneasily. “I’m going to make sure
he doesn’t do anything drastic.”
have a better idea,” Ethan began. “Why
don’t you tell me what the hell you’re up to?”
frowned and turned away from him. “What
are you talking about?”
talking about the fact that you’ve been spying for Sunset Studios.”
Ethan wouldn’t let her brush it off so easily.
“I had an idea you were up to something when you started sleeping with
Will,” he began. “And when Blood & Oil wound up in Brett’s hands
I was a little more sure you were up
to something. But now after this I’m
positive. You’re working both sides of
the fence, aren’t you?”
started to walk away when Ethan grabbed her and pulled her back.
“Aren’t you?” he demanded angrily.
leave me alone!” Heather screamed and darted out of the room, leaving Ethan
behind with a bewildered look on his face.
stood in front of the dressing mirror at a boutique in Beverly Hills, admiring the white satin maternity
dress she’d selected for her and James’s wedding. The attendant took a few measurements and
pinned the dress at the bottom while Brooke beamed happily about her upcoming
wedding. It would be different this time, she thought to herself. This time she was determined to make things
work with James. He loved her more than
anything, and as far as she was concerned the baby she was carrying was his.
Her brief fling with Ethan was a mistake and she was determined not to
let it ruin the rest of her life. No matter what her true feelings were.
you have it ready by Saturday?” Brooke asked as she stepped down from the
course, Miss Taylor,” said the attendant.
“I’ll let you get dressed and I’ll meet you up front.”
she left, Brooke glanced back in the mirror and jumped at the sight of Alex
Reynolds standing behind her, a shocked expression on her face. Quickly, she turned and met the woman square
in the eyes.
this a lovely sight,” Alex mused with a snide grin. “I wasn’t aware that designers made maternity
wedding dresses. I thought one would
have to go to a bargain basement for something like that.”
glared at her with contempt and placed her hand over her stomach. “Nice to see you too, Alex,” she said without
meaning a word of it. “If you’ll excuse
a minute,” Alex said, stopping Brooke from going into a dressing stall. “I have to tell you that I don’t for one
minute buy this act you’re putting on.”
little miss innocent act,” Alex continued ruefully. “And I guarantee that James won’t buy into it
either. He’s a very savvy man,
Brooke. He’ll see through you just like
he did the last time, and then he’ll realize that he’s marrying a slut from Phoenix who couldn’t possibly live up to
his standards. Then, my dear, you’ll be
back doing makeovers at the Lancôme
“This coming from the woman who James
threw out of his house?” Brooke countered with a grin. “The same woman who tricked him into thinking
they were still married so she could relive her past? Really, Alex, that is truly the sign of a
glared at her and took a step forward, opening her sable coat and placing her
hands firmly on her hips. “If you’re
talking about that week on the island-“
exactly what I’m talking about. You
tried to fool James then, but as you said, he’s a very savvy man. He knows that I love him and don’t have to
resort to manipulations to get him.”
mean like the way you manipulated him into believing that’s his child you’re
is his child,” Brooke said
calmly. “That’s right, Alex. I’m giving James a child. We share a bond that you and him haven’t
shared in a very long time. So get used
to it, because I’m not going anywhere.”
that, she walked into the dressing stall and slammed the door closed. Alex fumed and clenched her teeth firmly
together before turning and storming out of the dressing lounge.
Brooke had changed and finished her business in the boutique, she made her way
outside to the chauffeured Rolls Royce waiting by the curb. The driver got out and opened the door for
her. As she was about to get inside,
Brooke caught the reflection in the mirror of someone standing directly behind
gasp tore loose from her throat and she spun around quickly. The dark figure she’d seen was nowhere in
sight. She looked up and down the
sidewalk and saw a flash of someone racing down the street and ducking into a
storefront. She frowned, wondering if
she was seeing things or if someone had been following her. An eerie feeling overcame her and she
shuddered with fear.
me alone, you shrew!” James bellowed as he wheeled himself down the hallway at
the Blackthorne mansion. Gwen followed
in close pursuit, frustrated that she hadn’t been able to get him to finish his
exercises. “I’m exhausted! I can’t do anymore, you slave driver!”
Blackthorne, if you would just-“ she began, throwing her hands up in
the time they reached the foyer, Leilani was opening the front door to the unwelcome
sight of Will Thomerson forcing his way into the house.
the devil are you doing here?” James yelled, angered by the sight of his mortal
enemy standing before him. “You think
since you moved into that rat trap down the road you can come here whenever you
want? Get the hell out of here before I have you thrown out!”
going to throw me out?” Will asked sarcastically as he looked James up and down in his chair. “You? That’s a laugh.”
push me,” James argued. “I want you out of my house.”
the mighty James Blackthorne is really stuck in a chair for the rest of his
life,” Will said with a sickly smile. “I
didn’t believe it until just now. My how
the mighty have fallen. I guess this
could be considered payback for the way you and that bitch Alex Reynolds set me
you set yourself up, Thomerson,” James returned. “You took my company from me and you paid the
price for it.”
now you’re sticking it to me by stealing all of my movie deals?” Will
him, the front door opened and Brett entered the mansion. He surveyed the tension in the room and
surmised that Will Thomerson must have received the bad news about his latest
movie deal. Coming to the house to point
fingers was something he hadn’t counted on.
Slowly, he slid around the perimeter of the room and watched. His eyes traveled upward where Stormy was
walking down the stairs, having heard the commotion. Their eyes locked momentarily and then turned
back to the confrontation between James and Will.
are you talking about?” James asked. “I
haven’t stolen anything from you.”
think that I’m responsible for your sister Georgie’s death so this is your way
of paying me back,” Will insisted. “Kind
of weak. I’m surprised at you, James. I would have thought you’d be a little more
creative than this.” He turned and
spotted Brett standing a few feet away.
“I suppose you had him do you
snooping for you since you seem to be grooming him to do your dirty work.”
still don’t know what you’re talking about, “James yelled. “Now if you’re not out of here by the time I
count to three-“
threaten me,” Will said. “You swooped in
and took the rights to Blood & Oil
and The Murderess. Am I supposed to believe it’s just a
you’re pointing fingers at the wrong people,” James said.
mean I’m expected to believe that Ethan would betray me like this?” Will asked
with a laugh. “No, because I haven’t
exiled him from my life the way you did.
One mistake and you toss him out the door and forget that you’re his
family. I took Ethan in and gave him the
support that he needed when none of you self-righteous people would.”
to tell him the truth, James had to restrain himself from doing so. As much as he resented Ethan for his affair
with Brooke, he couldn’t be vengeful enough to tell him that Will was his
father. He didn’t want either one of
them every to know the truth. Not after
what happened to his precious sister Georgie.
out of here, damnit,” James said in a relatively cool manner. “Learn to accept
defeat and move on.”
took a deep breath and glared menacingly at James. “I know you’ve found some way of getting
inside information about my studio, and I promise you that I’ll find out how
you did it. Just know that sooner or
later I’ll make you pay. Then I’ll make
Alex Reynolds pay for the way she helped you set me up. I’ll have my revenge, James. Just wait and see. “
took a deep breath and watched as Will stormed back out of the house and slammed
the door with brute force. He turned
and gave Brett a nod of his head. He
didn’t know how he got the deal away from Will Thomerson, and frankly he didn’t
care, he was just glad that they were one step ahead of Jaguar Studios. He trusted
Brett with his life.
he wheeled back down the hall, Stormy shot Brett an ominous stare, wondering
what he was up to as the temporary head of Sunset
that night, Stormy restlessly climbed out of bed and made his way downstairs to
the kitchen. Nearing the doorway, he
heard the sound of faint whispering, and wondered who was up at such a late
the corner, he stopped in his tracks when she spotted Brett and Gwen standing
oddly close to one another beside the table.
The whispers grew to an instant hush and they both looked at him
just came down for some milk,” Stormy said with a frown as he rubbed his hand
over his bare chest. He wondered why
Brett and his father’s nurse were talking so intimately this late at
should get back to bed,” Gwen said faintly as she crept past Stormy and fled
from the kitchen in her long chiffon nightgown.
she’d gone, Stormy turned back to Brett and folded his arms. “What was that all about?” he asked
suspiciously. The truth was he wouldn’t
put anything past his brother-in-law after everything he’d done. The possibilities were endless.
didn’t bat an eyelash as he expertly covered himself. “Gwen’s become almost like a member of the
family,” he began, handing Stormy a carton of milk. “You might feel that way too if you’d been
around for the past five months.” He
started to walk past him when Stormy grabbed his arm and pulled him back.
a minute,” he began, his eyes challenging Brett’s. “I think we need to talk. It’s been days since I’ve come back and we’ve
obviously been tiptoeing around some issues.
I think it’s time we cleared the air.”
this about Lauren?” Brett asked, feeling chills run down his bare back. “Because whatever she told you about us, it
was a lie.”
shook his head back and forth in irritation.
“You know that’s not true,” he
began. “Everything Lauren accused you of was dead
on. The blackmail, the affair-“
mean your affair with Lauren?” Brett cut him off. “Wouldn’t she have said about anything to get
you to leave Heather and run off with her?
That’s exactly what she did, Stormy, and you fell for it. And look where it got you. You gave up everything for her and wound up
losing your marriage, your recording studio, and the respect of most of your
you haven’t profited at all from that, have you?” Stormy asked
sarcastically. “I see the way you’ve
manipulated everyone in this house into thinking you’re some kind of hero. You sacrificed so much to live here with
Miranda so you could keep an eye on my father, you generously offered to help
him run the studio while he recovers from his surgery, you’re everyone’s friend,
including the nurse, and-“
was I supposed to do?” Brett cut him off quickly. “Not accept any responsibility while you were
gone, traipsing around the country with that cut-rate singer? You
weren’t here, Stormy. Your family was in
trouble so I stepped in and did what I could.
And I’d do it all over again if I had to.”
whatever scheme you’ve hatched to win over movie deals from Will Thomerson?”
Stormy asked. “How did you do it,
anyway? Plant a spy in his house to get
the goods? Does my father know the
lengths that you’ve went to?”
father doesn’t care what lengths I have to go to,” Brett insisted. “Especially when it comes to Will
Thomerson. You should know that.”
“But at what price?
What if something you’re doing while you’re delusionally running the
studio backfires and you lose everything?
What then? You’ll have to excuse
me if I don’t think your morals are exactly up to standard, Brett. You were a con man before you married my
sister and came here to live with us.
This is my father’s livelihood you’re playing with. He worked his whole life for-“
talking to me about morals?” Brett
argued. “That’s crap, Stormy. You cheated on your wife, left her and the
rest of your family, and didn’t even give a damn about what was happening here,
as long as you weren’t inconvenienced in the process.”
stepped forward and gave him a threatening stare. “I don’t know how you’ve managed to pull the
wool over everyone’s eyes, but I promise you I am going to find out everything
that you’re up to and make you sorry that you ever messed with me.”
Brett wasn’t afraid of Stormy. He knew
that he couldn’t touch him. He was too
valuable to the Blackthornes now. He
scowled and brushed past him on his way out of the kitchen, leaving Stormy
standing irately behind. He made his
way back up the stairs and silently ducked into Gwen’s room down the hall. Miranda was asleep and he needed a
Gwen was waiting for
him on the bed, a thin sheet covering her naked body. Brett was flushed with anger and resentment
toward Stormy and he desperately needed to take his mind off of the disturbing
untied his pajama pants and kicked them off, bending down and covering Gwen’s
body with his. He entered her hard and
forcefully. Gwen cried out in ecstasy
as he thrust himself inside of her with feverish intensity.
in the kitchen, Stormy poured himself a glass of milk just as Heather entered
the room in a pair of short pajama bottoms and a t-shirt. She looked at him with surprise and started
to back up before he called after her.
wait-“ he began. “Don’t go.”
didn’t think anyone would be up,” she said nervously.
know that you always get up this time of night to get a drink,” Stormy said
with a grin and handed her the full glass.
“I guess you really know someone after you’ve been married to them.”
reluctantly took the milk from him.
“Look, if you’re going to try to rehash everything, I’m really not
interested,” she said. “Our marriage is
over. Or, at least it will be as soon as
you sign the divorce papers.”
that what you want?” Stormy asked.
looked at him hastily, feeling her knees grow weak at the sight of his chiseled
body standing before her. She missed him
so much, especially at night in bed.
He’d been a wonderful lover. The comparison
to Will Thomerson was nonexistent.
Stormy was all man and knew how to please her. Will was selfish and thought only of his own
she couldn’t dwell on the past. He ran
out on her and she could never forgive him for that. “Yes, it’s what I want,” she said.
eyes lowered to the floor and he nodded grimly.
He knew he couldn’t argue with her on the subject of their
marriage. He blew it and there was no
chance that she’d ever forgive him. As
much as he hated to admit that he screwed up, their marriage was over.
me the papers and I’ll sign them in the morning,” he finally said, beginning to
walk to the door. He paused and looked
back at her momentarily. “And for what
it’s worth, I’m sorry about everything.
I really didn’t mean to hurt you, Heather.”
looked into his eyes and felt a spark, a reminiscent feeling of the love they
once shared. But just as he turned and
left the kitchen, so did the feelings.
There was nothing left for them.
At long last the painful separation would be over and they could both
get on with their lives. Where that
took them was uncertain.
stood on the balcony that jutted out from her and
James's bedroom upstairs. She took in a breath
of fresh night air and exhailed slowly. She
couldn't help but feel a little uneasy about what
she was doing. Yes, she did care about James
very much, but was lying to him about her baby a
wise decision? So many lives could be ruined
if the truth ever got out. But more
than that, James could suffer an enormous setback
in his condition if she revealed the truth now.
Yes, she was certain that she was doing
the right thing. No one could ever known that
Ethan was the father of her unborn baby.
up behind her, James wrapped his arms around her
waist and kissed her softly on the neck. She
shivered from his touch and ducked back inside the
bedroom with him.
out on the lawn, a dark figure watched them with
menacing eyes. His breathing heavy, he turned and
started back to the gates at the end of the property.
Soon he would make his move. This time
nothing would stand in his way.
James and Brooke remarry.
Brett renegs on his promise to Heather. Will
vows revenge. James makes a decision about
Sunset Studios. A prowler startles