and Ethan searched desperately for Winter. Hidden
away in a motel room in the Valley, Winter had a
meltdown in front of the mirror while chastising
herself in her mother's voice. Knowing the
baby was Ethan's, she renamed him Ethan Jr. After
the police arrived, she grabbed the baby and fled
in her car. A car chase ensued and Ethan cornered
Winter on the edge of the pier. Desperately wanting
to keep the baby for herself, she plunged off the
pier with the baby in her arms. Meanwhile,
Gwen blackmailed Brett for cash in exchange for
keeping quiet about their affair. Brooke and
Heather had a heart to heart.
Mystery of the Whispering Walls"
was sitting in her room at the Blackthorne mansion when the door opened and Brett entered
with a briefcase gripped tightly in his hand.
He paused in the doorway, his eyes narrowing on her suspiciously.
thought you’d be packed by now,” he said and closed the door behind him.
stretched languorously on the bed and shot him a wicked smile. “I started packing and then I had second
thoughts,” she said.
thoughts about what?” Brett demanded, thrusting the case of money at her. “You said you were leaving today after you
got your money.”
sat up and popped the latches on the briefcase.
Her eyes widened and she felt a surge of greed sweep over her. She hadn’t seen that much money in one place
in her entire life. To her it was a
fortune, but to the Blackthornes it was a drop in the bucket.
did you come up with this much cash all at once?” she finally asked and closed
the lid again. “I suppose your wife and
father-in-law have no idea that you took it.”
her remarks, Brett anchored himself to the floor and crossed his arms neatly
over his chest. “Don’t worry about
where I got it from,” he began. The
truth was he had taken it from the petty cash account at Sunset Studios. It was a
risk, especially since Stormy watched every penny going out of the studio. He’d have to come up with a believable story
as to what he really did with it.
Admitting that he used it to pay off Gwen and her blackmailing attempts
was not an option.
must be quite a lifestyle change for you,” Gwen continued. “Going from running cons at Las Vegas casinos to passing out fifty
thousand dollars whenever you feel like it.
Now I see why you’re so eager to hold on to everything you’ve got. Even if you stole it.”
worked for everything I have,” Brett retaliated.
really?” Gwen asked and stood up from the bed.
She placed her hands on her hips and moved toward him with accusatory
eyes. “So drugging James Blackthorne to
keep him in the wheelchair was just another day in the life of a studio
executive? And when you thought I had
kidnapped Michael and yet were willing to keep quiet about it – that was just
you working for the future?”
had had enough of her thinly veiled threats. “Cut the crap, Gwen. You’ve got your money. I kept my end of the bargain and now it’s
time that you kept yours. Are you going
to finish packing and leave this house or not?”
Gwen turned and looked back at the case of money. “Actually I’m having second thoughts,” she
“What?” Brett asked in a rage. He clenched his fists and moved closer, his
eyes flaring angrily and menacingly.
“You can’t do that. You said yourself
that James and Brooke will terminate your position here when they get their
baby back. They don’t want you hanging
around after learning of your shady past and prison record.”
they ask me to leave I’ll leave,” Gwen replied.
“But I want to make sure I’m well taken care of when that happens, and
somehow I don’t think that fifty thousand dollars is going to cut it.”
closed his eyes with regret. He knew he
shouldn’t have given in to her blackmail demands. A blackmailer always got greedy and wanted
more. He should have taken care of her
in his own way when he had the chance.
want half a million dollars,” Gwen announced and met him with her gaze.
heard me. And don’t even tell me that
you can’t get it because I know how much James Blackthorne is worth. Your own wife is an heiress to that fortune.”
doesn’t mean I can just ask for five hundred thousand dollars and expect no one
to ask questions,” Brett insisted. “Be
reasonable. Take the fifty thousand and
just be grateful that you’re walking away with that much.”
spent six years in prison before I came here and took orders from you and your
family,” Gwen said. “I’ve been walked on
and used for far too long. I’ll be
damned if I’m going to let it happen again.
You owe me, Brett. You and
hands were tied. If he didn’t pay her
the money she asked for his scheming and plotting would be exposed to everyone,
and that was something he couldn’t let happen.
But on the other hand, he couldn’t come up with half a million dollars
without throwing up some red flags.
an idea came to him. A way to shut Gwen
up once and for all. Maybe it was the
answer he was looking for.
give you until tomorrow morning,” Gwen said and picked up the briefcase of
money. “I’ll keep this in the meantime.”
gritted his teeth and started to the door.
remember what I said,” Gwen called over to him.
“I’d hate to see what happened to your cushy lifestyle if you wife found
out about all the nights we spent together, and that you were the father of my
to let her get to him, Brett opened the door and walked out into the
hallway. He had to get moving if he was
going to make Gwen Hardisty a distant memory.
stood on the shore below the pier, barely breathing as he watched with
anticipation at the events playing out in the choppy ocean water. He heard the ambulance in the distance
growing nearer and he wrung his hands together in agony. The sight of Winter jumping off the pier with
his baby was almost enough to stop his heart from beating. The chances of the tiny baby surviving in the
water was next to none. How was he going
to tell Brooke? What words were there to
tell his wife that their baby had died?
feet off shore, a police officer had grabbed hold of Winter and was swimming
back to land with her. Ethan was close
behind, holding on to the baby and making his way to shore. James couldn’t bare the pain that the
waiting caused him. The ambulance
arrived on the scene and the paramedics stood by to administer whatever needed
to be done to save the baby.
the officer drug Winter’s unconscious body to the sandy beach and dropped her
onto her side. The paramedics rushed
over to see if she was breathing. James
looked down with contempt as they began performing CPR on her. He wanted to tell them to let her die. Her pathetic life wasn’t worth saving after
what she’d done.
Ethan was nearing the shore and he quickly shot out to intercept him. He took the baby from Ethan’s tired arms and
rushed back to the shore where Detective Baines and another paramedic rushed
something!” James lamented as the paramedic peeled the blanket from around the
baby. “Please don’t let my son die!”
and out of breath, Ethan pulled himself onto the sand and knelt down beside the
motionless infant. He looked up at
James and shook his head, tears mixing with water that dripped from his soaked
“I don’t think he’s breathing,” he
panted. “He’s not even moving.”
my God,” Detective Baines said as he paramedic unraveled the protective
blankets around the baby.
James exclaimed, tears bursting from his eyes.
“What is it?”
looked up at James and Ethan, then gestured back to the bundle of blankets and
towels on the beach. “It’s not a baby,”
do you mean it’s not a baby?” James demanded and picked up the soaked blankets. “I don’t understand…”
realization finally dawned and Detective Baines stood up just as Winter coughed
and choked up the salty ocean water from her lungs.
didn’t have the baby at all,” Ethan said in astonishment.
nodded. “It’s just a bundle of blankets
James gasped, then turned to the ocean.
“Then he’s still out there!”
stood up and grabbed his uncle’s arm.
“No, James. She didn’t have him.”
sat up and looked with wide eyes at the blankets on the wet sand. “My baby!” she cried and crawled on her hands
and knees, scooping the blankets up in her arms and cradling them with a
demented gleam in her eyes. “I’m so sorry,
Ethan Jr. I don’t know what I was
thinking. I just couldn’t let them take
you away from me.”
and James looked down at the insane woman holding onto the wet umble of seaweed
and fabric. James closed his eyes in relief,
finally understanding that Winter had completely lost all sense of reality.
killed him!” Winter shrieked and climbed to her feet in hysterics. She turned to Ethan and shook her head in
despair. “I’m sorry, Ethan!
I killed our
uniformed police officers grabbed hold of her arms and led her to the nearby
squad car. She continued crying and
struggling in their grasp, dropping the blankets and staring at Ethan with an
empty, hollow look in her eyes.
“I killed him!” she cried as she was
forced into the back of the squad car.
“Oh my God, I killed our baby!”
rubbed his face with his hand and realized they were back at square one. He turned to James and pulled him into an
embrace. Part of him was relieved that
Winter was as far gone as she was, but the other part realized that they were
no closer to finding Michael and bringing him home.
passed by the game room where Heather was sitting in front of the TV watching
the news. She stopped and sauntered
inside, her eyes narrowing on Heather’s pale, listless face.
look like you’ve been to hell and back,” she said, the bottoms of her jeans
scraping against the old, thick shag carpet.
“What’s going on with you, anyway?”
turned off the television and looked up at her.
Leave it to Miranda to cut through the bull and tell it like she saw
it. “I’ve had some stuff to sort through
lately,” she replied with a shrug. “I
just needed to be alone for a while.”
all had stuff going on,” Miranda
countered. “My baby brother is still
missing and my father is about ready to crack.
What could be so earth-shattering important that you’ve barely come out
of your room for a week?”
down on her lip, Heather decided that she had to confide in someone. She had to have an accomplice to help her
with her plan, and Miranda’s spunk and ability to think on her feet might be
just what she was looking for. She got
up and walked across the room to close the door so they could talk in private.
frowned, amused by Heather’s sudden cloak and dagger routine. “Wow, this must be big,” she started. “Wait a minute. Are you a lesbian? Is that what this is all about?”
rolled her eyes and pulled her step-sister to the sofa. “No, don’t be ridiculous,” she said. “I need your help.”
with what?” Miranda asked skeptically.
She’d never seen Heather so serious about anything before. It was almost unnerving.
with breaking and entering,” Heather explained.
almost laughed. “Breaking into what?”
she asked. “Man, you are losing it, aren’t you?”
shut up for a minute and listen to me,” Heather said, her tone full of harsh
reality. “I need to get into Will
was suddenly reluctant to give her any more information that she had to. If Miranda knew about the tape of her and
Philip Whitacre then she’d most likely tell Stormy. And she certainly didn’t need her ex-husband
knowing what kind of trouble she’d gotten herself into. Stormy was protective enough of her since
need to find something,” she replied ominously. “Something that belongs to me.”
shrugged indifferently. “So just go up
and ask him for it,” she said.
not that simple. I have to be discreet
about this. I don’t want him to know
that I’m looking for it because then he’ll just hide it someplace where I can
never find it.”
Miranda said and stood up from the sofa.
“What is it of yours that Will Thomerson has up the street in his
estate? How do you even know this guy? You do realize that he and my father are
mortal enemies, don’t you?”
and that’s all the more reason to keep this thing quiet,” Heather replied. “I just want to get in, find it, and then get
sighed and folded her arms across her chest, her eyes leveled evenly on her. “And you won’t tell me what it is we’re going
to look for? I’m just supposed to go
along and supervise?”
tell you more later,” Heather said. “After you promise to help me, and to
keep it quiet, especially from
what quiet from Stormy?” asked a voice from across the room.
both spun around and saw Stormy standing in the doorway, a look of suspicion
on his face.
Heather began nervously. “I didn’t see
he replied and pressed further into the room.
“What is it that you want Miranda to keep from me?”
both looked at each other, their eyes darting nervously around the room. In a moment of selflessness, Miranda decided
to give her former sister-in-law a helping hand. “I was just telling Heather that we should
give mom and Jordan a party,” she said, making it up as she went along. “I mean, they never really had much of a
reception and they have been having a
hard time lately.”
frowned distrustfully. “And why couldn’t
you tell me about it?”
looked at Heather, trying desperately to think of a plausible story. “Well….”
you’re lousy at keeping secrets,” Heather explained with a shrug. “I mean, you remember when you told me about
my twenty-first surprise birthday party.
I had to force myself to look surprised when I came home.”
Stormy said and scratched his head. “I
guess I didn’t realize. So, when’s the
smiled and pushed her brother back to the door.
“You know we can’t tell you because then you’ll ruin it,” she said. “This way you’ll be just as surprised as mom
and Jordan are when it happens.”
he could protest further, Stormy was shoved out into the hallway and the door
slammed in his face. He shook his head
in irritation and started back down the hallway.
turned to Heather and threw her hands up in resignation. “Okay, so what we do we have to do?”
sat on the sofa in the library with Brooke, holding her in his arms as she
cried hysterically on his shoulder.
Ethan was standing across the room by the window watching them
apprehensively. It tore him up seeing
what this was doing to Brooke. In a way
he wished Winter had taken Michael,
because then by now this whole nightmare would be over.
don’t understand,” Brooke sobbed into James’s shoulder. “What about the diapers and the formula that
Ethan saw her buying at the store?”
shrugged and dug his hands into his pockets.
“She’d become unhinged,” he said apologetically. “She was so grief stricken when I ended it
with her that her mind snapped.”
Baines went back to Winter’s motel room, “James continued. “He found newspaper clippings of the
kidnapping. We think she heard about it
and somehow got it into her mind that she had taken him. The room hadn’t been cleaned in days and they
found no traces that a baby had ever been there. No dirty diapers, no open bottles of formula
or soiled bibs. It was all in her
buried her face into her hands and stood up from the sofa. “What’s going to happen to her now?” she
been admitted to the psychiatric ward at the hospital,” Ethan replied. “She’ll undergo forty-eight hours of tests
and then probably be sent to an institution.”
couldn’t help but feel sorry for the young woman. “It’s sad,” she said, then looked at
Ethan. “What about her family? Maybe you should call them.”
shook his head. “Her father ran out on
them when she was young, and her mother died a few years ago. She’s pretty much alone in the world.”
awful,” Brooke said and sat down again.
She looked at James and reached out for his hand. “So what now?
Does Detective Baines have any
took a deep breath and shook his head slowly.
They were at a dead-end. No one
they’d suspected had turned out to be the real kidnapper. No ransom had been demanded, and it was well
over a week since Michael had been taken.
looked like they may never see their child again.
his office at Sunset Studios, Brett
held the phone to his ear as he paced back and forth across the expansive room,
stopping to glance outside at the bright afternoon sun.
I know people are released from prison on good behavior all the time,” he said
with an irritated frown. “But in this
case I’m wondering if it was such a good idea.
Gwen Hardisty is a menace to society.
She should have served the
full ten year sentence.”
while he listened to the prison warden in Paraguay, Brett raked his fingers through
his hair and shook his head in protest.
“I’m prepared to make it worth your while,” he said. “How does fifty thousand dollars sound?”
Brett clenched his fists and started pacing rapidly. “All right.
Fifty thousand dollars and
we’ll do some location shooting in Paraguay in our next picture. The revenue you’ll take in from the tourism
alone will be ten times that amount.”
the warden agreed and Brett smiled with satisfaction. “So you do
have a vacancy after all?” he asked. “Good. I’ll see to it that Miss Hardisty is
delivered to you first thing in the morning your time. I’m sure she’ll be more than happy to serve
out the remainder of her sentence.”
he hung up the phone, Brett went to sit down behind his desk and smiled from
ear to ear. Finally he’d be rid of Gwen
and her threats to expose him. The
pills, their affair, the baby they made together, as well as his pronouncement
when he thought she was the kidnapper, were all going to remain a secret. And Gwen would be a distant memory. He could use the fifty thousand he’d already
given her to pay the warden. At last
everything was going in his favor.
up the phone, he dialed the air strip and talked to the pilot. “This is Brett Armstrong,” he said. “I’d like you to gas up the jet. I’ve got some cargo I need to deliver to South America tonight.”
evening, Stormy sat at the bar at Hotel
Terranova. He downed his fifth drink
and ordered another from the bartender.
After having all their hopes dashed about finding Michael, he and the
others were left with a sinking feeling that their search had come to a
halt. There were no more leads and no
more hope to cling to. Seeing the
torture his father was going through was torture in itself.
sound of clinking glasses at a nearby cocktail table caught his attention and
he turned around. There, sitting in a
cozy booth together was Jordan Rydell and a young woman whom he couldn’t
place. Probably a starlet who’d come to Hollywood to break her way into the
business. And what better way than to
cozy up to Jordan Rydell, who happened to be married to his mother.
son of a bitch!” Stormy yelled in his half-drunken state as he charged across
the room and plucked Jordan out of the booth by the shirt
collar. He drew his fist back and
punched him square in the nose, sending him flying back into a passing
waiter. “How could you do this to my
flew back and knocked the waiter
– along with his tray of drinks – to the floor.
An enormous crash ensued and the lounge grew suddenly quiet as onlookers
gasped in awe at the spectacle. The
young girl who’d been sitting with Jordan cowered back into the booth and
watched with surprise as Jordan climbed to his feet and went
it off!” Jordan yelled as Stormy tried to get
free of his grasp. “It’s not what you
think, Stormy! Now cool it!”
what I think?” Stormy yelled, angrier at life in general than he was at his
stepfather. “You’re sitting here with a
girl half your age and my mother is nowhere in sight, and it’s not what I
think? I’m not stupid, Jordan.
I know your reputation before you married my mother. This little bimbette is just your type.”
the girl exclaimed defensively. “Who are
you calling a bimbette?”
looked at her and shrugged. “Sorry,
sweetie. If the D cup fits…”
tightened his grip on Stormy and
shoved him into the booth. “That’s
enough, junior,” he said angrily, then pushed his hair back into place and
straightened his perfectly tailored shirt.
“BJ’s an actress who starred in one of my films. I was here alone having a drink and saw her come in. We were just catching up, that’s all.”
“BJ?” Stormy asked with an incredulous
frown. “You have got to be kidding me.”
true,” Jordan said.
better get going, Jordan,” said BJ as she slid out from
the booth and primped her blond hair and dangerously short mini skirt. “Nice to see you again. Sorry to hear about your wife.”
she was gone, Stormy looked at him and frowned again. “What did she mean?” he asked. “Sorry
about your wife?”
Jordan sighed. “I guess you haven’t talked to your mother
lately,” he said with a certain amount of regret. “We split up.
I moved in here to Hotel Terranova
a couple nights ago.”
news didn’t surprise Stormy. “So you
thought you’d hook up with the first slut you found? Come on, Jordan.
BJ? That’s too much even for you.”
if I was here meeting women,” Jordan began, "it would serve your mother right.”
make me punch you again,” Stormy said with a threatening stare. “Just what do you mean by that?”
in love with your father,” he replied and stood up from the booth. “She always has been and she always will
be. I can’t compete.”
was dumbfounded, refusing to believe that his mother was still pining away for
his father. It didn’t seem like Alex
Reynolds’ style at all.”
as Jordan left, Stormy saw a vision
dripping in diamonds at the bar across the room. His heart skipped a beat and he stood up with
a jolt. “Samantha…?” he began in total
disbelief, moving across the room until he was standing at the bar.
woman, a beautiful blonde with flawless skin and killer legs turned when she
saw him standing there, her brilliant green eyes flickering in the dim
candlelight. “Stormy, I was just-“
he pulled her to her feet and threw his arms around her waist, drawing her into
a passionate kiss. Seconds later,
Samantha pushed him away and quickly surveyed the room to see if anyone had
witnessed the display.
here,” she whispered, grabbing her luxurious floor-length mink coat and
flinging it over her arm. “I’m in room 1005. Meet me there in five minutes.”
that, she was off across the lounge with a flourish. Stormy watched her go, mesmerized by her
beauty and class. He thought he’d
never see her again, but here she was, in his sister's hotel in Los Angeles.
later, Stormy was upstairs knocking on room 1005. It seemed like an eternity before the door
opened and Samantha appeared, just as beautiful as the day he’d met her last
I can’t believe you’re really here,” he said as he pushed his way into the
elegant hotel room. “What are you doing
thirty two, Samantha was a dazzling woman who exuded class and distinction. She walked with purpose and elegance, moving
across the room to fix herself a drink.
“I came to find you,” she began.
“I knew that your father owned Hotel
Terranova so I took a chance.”
I’m glad you did,” Stormy said, butterflies tripping through his stomach as he
walked over and stood feverishly close to her.
“I thought after our affair in Denver that I’d never see you again.”
gulped down a shot of cold vodka and plucked her purse from the bed. “Our affair in Denver is why I had to see you,” she
said, removing a set of photographs from her purse and handing them to him. “Someone got a little camera happy and took
pictures of us together at the hotel.”
paged through the pictures, each one depicting them in intimate embraces and
lingering kisses. Several were of them
in the hallway just outside his hotel room.
“I don’t understand,” he said with a frown. “Who would want to take pictures of us
together? I mean, it’s not like you’re
married or something-“
the look on her face told him otherwise.
married?” he asked. “Oh God. You never said anything.”
sorry,” Samantha replied. “If you knew
my husband you’d understand. He’s all
work, and I’m alone most of the time.
We’re only married for the sake of appearances. His family is very…visible in the media.”
thought for a minute and realized he had no room to judge. When they met and had their affair, he was
still married to Heather. He was also
involved with Lauren Spencer at the time, making him twice as guilty as
just wanted to tell you in case something should happen,” Samantha
explained. “I don’t know who took the
pictures but I have a feeling they’ll wind up on the news before too long. I hope you can handle that. I’ll certainly be cast out onto the
street. There’s no hope that I could
ever explain this to my husband so…”
a minute,” Stormy began as if a light bulb went off in his head. “There’s been a reporter from Denver hanging around LA for the past
few weeks. I saw her in Denver at the hotel on the night you
and I met. She came up to me and made
some remarks about the Blackthornes and I figured she was just angling for a
scoop on Hollywood.
But now that I think about it-“
me guess,” Samantha said with a boding look in her eyes. “Janet Harper.”
floors below, Ethan knocked on the door and smiled with relief when Janet
appeared in the doorway. He needed to
be with someone tonight more than anything.
After the upset over Winter’s psychotic episode, and the sight of James
and Brooke together in their intimate embrace, he needed to feel someone’s arms
Janet began, caught off guard by his sudden appearance. “I wasn’t expecting you. Are you okay?”
walked into the room and saw the suitcases laid out on the floor, her
belongings gathered into a pile on the dresser.
“You weren’t going to say goodbye?” he asked in a daze.
sorry,” she said, fidgeting nervously with her hands. She’d actually planned on leaving two days
ago, right after Will purchased her manuscript and bought the Denver Tribune in
her name. A few last minute details had
held her back and she was planning on leaving in the morning, before news got
out that her manuscript was going to be made into a movie.
just…” he began, unsure of what to say or even how he felt. Maybe words were too much to ask for at a
time like this. “I just…”
the condition he was in mentally, Janet put her arms around him and pulled him
back the tears that trickled down his face, he lifted his head and kissed her
passionately on the lips. He put his
hands on her waist and pulled her closer as he unfastened her blouse.
want to make love to you,” he whispered in her ear.
closed her eyes, unwilling and unable to fight his request. She slid his shirt up over his head and ran
her hands along his smooth bare chest.
Fumbling with the zipper on his pants, she led them to the bed and
collapsed onto a pile of clothing.
silently working at stripping their clothes off, lowered himself onto her and
covered her naked body with his. He
kissed her forehead and then her cheek and lips, savoring every second they
was after ten o’clock when Gwen stepped out of the bathtub in her bedroom, her
hair tied up in a towel and her nightgown clinging to her damp skin. She shivered from a cool breeze blowing
through the open window and rushed over to close it.
the window, she peered outside into the darkness and caught a glimpse of a
person standing down on the back lawn next to the pool house. Squinting through the glare, she tried hard
to tell if it was someone who lived in the house or if it was a prowler
scouting around the grounds. One could
never tell after everything that had happened in that house lately.
that it was too dark to tell who it was, Gwen turned and decided to contact the
security guard just to make sure. She
started toward the phone when a hand suddenly clasped around her mouth. Struggling in the powerful man’s grasp, she
inhaled the noxious fumes from the cloth that covered her nose and mouth –
falling limply into a state of unconsciousness within seconds.
the man threw Gwen over his shoulder and went back through the hidden door in
the closet. He carried her limp body
through the tunnels and emerged into the pool house where Brett and another man
were waiting beside a van outside.
she see anything?” Brett asked, handing the man an envelope full of hundred
didn’t even know what hit her,” he said as the other man opened the back door
of the white van. He carefully laid Gwen
into the back and securely closed the door, pocketing the money and smiling
appreciatively. “I won’t bother to count
it. I’m sure it’s all here.”
is,” Brett replied. “The jet will be
waiting for you so you’d better get going.
The warden in Paraguay is expecting you first thing in
problem,” said the burly man as he and his partner climbed into the van and
took off along the access road.
took a deep breath and smiled with relief.
Finally he was rid of Gwen and her constant threats. In twelve hours she’d be safely locked up in
a South American prison for the next four years. He was home free.
is Janet Harper anyway?” Stormy asked
Samantha as they laid in bed together in her room at Hotel Terranova. “She seems
awfully interested in my family.”
shook her head with regret, tracing her fingers along his muscular bare
chest. “She’s a vulture who has picked
my family apart to such a degree that I’m assuming she had to move on to
someone else. You’re not exactly low
profile as far as the media is concerned, Stormy.”
smiled and kissed her warmly. “What do
you think she’s going to do with the pictures?” he asked, plucking them from
the nightstand and glancing at them once again.
sent them as a threat,” Samantha admonished.
“Janet and I have always had a hate-on for each other. She’s probably going to make me sweat it out
before she goes to my husband with them.
Or worse yet – publishes them in that newspaper she works for.”
grew into a thoughtful daze and caressed her magnificently smooth legs. “There’s got to be a way to stop her from
going to him,” he said. “Maybe she just
shook her head. “No, Janet isn’t
motivated by money. She wants power and
respect. It’s what she thrives on as a
would it be so terrible if your husband did
find out?” Stormy asked with a sly grin.
“We could be together. And you
said yourself that it’s a loveless marriage.”
Samantha pulled the sheet firmly around her body and got out of bed. She walked across the room and poured herself
another drink. “That’s out of the
question,” she said. “My husband can’t
find out about us. Ever.”
I thought we had something.”
eyes leveled on him and she smiled. “We do, Stormy. We have amazing sex together. And
you make me feel younger and more beautiful than I have in a long time. But we can’t continue this way. After I go back to Denver I can never see you again.”
news came as a blow to Stormy, let alone the fact that she thought of him as a
mere sex object. Somehow when he saw her
downstairs in the lounge he had imagined them starting something much more
serious together. Now she was telling
him that it was over again before it really got started.
the hurt in his eyes, Samantha walked over to him and dropped the sheet from
her naked body. She leaned down and
kissed him passionately before straddling him with her long, slender legs. “We can still have tonight,” she said with a
purr, her tongue flicking in and out of his ear.
gave in, unable to resist her come-ons.
He set her gently down on top of him and they were instantly
joined. A perfect fit, Stormy thought as
they made love in the moonlight.
had awoken and was leaning with her elbow next to Ethan on the bed. She watched his strong face as he slept
peacefully. She’d never seen him so
despondent as when he showed up at her hotel room that night. Her heart ached for him, as much as she tried
to fight it. There was no room for love
in her agenda, particularly since his family was the target of the exploit
she’d written and sold to Will Thomerson.
When Ethan learned of her poison pen, he would surely turn his back on
it was best that she didn’t let herself get emotionally involved.
happens, Ethan, I’m sorry,” she whispered, tracing his muscular arms with her
fingertips. “But I’m going back to Denver tomorrow a more powerful woman
than when I left.” A pause while she
reflected on her choices. “And power
wins over love every time.”
opened a nightstand drawer and removed a set of photographs.
Flipping through them, she admired her handiwork.
Taking those photos of Stormy and Samantha last summer
was the best move she could have made. She leaned
back against her pillow and sighed.
have an important delivery to make tomorrow in Denver."
full moon above illuminated the dim entryway of Will Thomerson’s estate in the
Hollywood Hills. Miranda jabbed the tiny
metal instruments into the lock and popped the door open with ease. She looked up at Heather and smiled
don’t even want to know where you learned how to do that,” Heather said as she
led them inside the house. “You’re full
of surprises, Miranda.”
smiled and pocketed the lock picking devices.
“Thanks,” she chirped. “And for
that matter, so are you. You still haven’t told me what’s so important
that we break into the Thomerson estate.
Does he have something on you? Is
he blackmailing you, is that it?”
Heather said firmly.
really are a lesbian and he has
proof, right? Heather, I’m telling you
it’s okay. It’s cool if you like
chicks. I guess that’s what being
married to my brother does to a woman.”
rolled her eyes again, unsure of how she was going to find the tape without
filling Miranda in on the sordid details.
“Just keep your eyes peeled,” she said, leading her down the hall into
Will’s parlor room.
threw her hands up in frustration. “Well
I can’t exactly help you look for something if I don’t know what we’re looking
for,” she said, then stopped and picked up a paperweight from the desk. “Oh wait, is this it?” she asked sarcastically.
be snippy,” Heather said and tossed her long brown hair behind her shoulders.
Miranda looked around the dimly lit room and shuddered with apprehension. “Are you sure it’s safe to be here?” she
asked. “He could come home any minute,
or one of the servants could find us, or-“
he goes to the HFPA meetings every Saturday night and then has drinks until
dawn at the Polo Lounge. And Gerald and the rest of his staff have
Saturday nights off so we’re home free.”
scared that you know his schedule,” Miranda goaded.
Heather wasn’t paying attention. The
thought of being caught in Will Thomerson’s house was terrifying, but she
decided it was a risk she had to take.
Finding that x-rated videotape with her as the featured star was
crucial. If it got out, everyone she
knew would be affected, including the Blackthornes and her father. Not to
mention the fact that her career would be finished before it ever got started.
you at least give me a hint what I should be looking for?” Miranda asked as she
sorted through drawers and piles of books.
“Is it something you read, or eat?”
a videotape,” Heather finally admitted, feeling tears threaten to explode.
quickly cut her sarcasm to a skidding halt.
“And what would be on that videotape?” she asked as she walked across
the room to her stepsister.
Heather relented, refusing to let anyone know the humiliation she’d suffered by
starring in her own porn flick against her will. “Let’s just say that it’s to everyone’s
advantage that we find it and destroy it before Will Thomerson has a chance to
make it public.”
the severity of the situation became apparent to Miranda. She nodded her head and continued searching
around the parlor. She didn’t know what
kind of trouble Heather had gotten herself into, but whatever it was it was not
the wall of bookshelves across the room, Miranda slid her hand along the rows
and rows of dusty old books. Her hand
flipped against a notch on the bottom shelf and the wall creaked open,
revealing a hidden doorway leading to a staircase.
in amazement, Miranda peered inside and tried to determine where the passageway
went. She turned to Heather and called
over to her.
come look at this,” she said, her heart thudding inside her chest.
shot toward her in a flash. “Did you
find it?” she asked.
found something,” Miranda replied,
stepping inside the dark passageway.
“This is just like the tunnels at our place.”
glanced around their surroundings and shrugged.
“All of these old mansions probably have them,” she said. “I’ve seen Will come out of this doorway
before. I guess I never thought to ask
where it led to.”
mind racing, Miranda felt her way along the walls and walked down the staircase
to a lower level. “Now’s your chance to
find out,” she said.
wait!” Heather called after her. “What
are you doing? We can’t go in
there. Just come back and help me find
if the tape’s in here somewhere,” Miranda suggested. “What better place to hide something than
behind a hidden door?”
Heather followed her down the stairs and proceeded through a dark tunnel
underground. They walked for several
minutes amidst the narrow corridor and forced themselves to press on despite
their increasing anxiety.
like it just goes on and on,” Heather said.
pointed ahead and started walking faster.
“I see a doorway.”
followed her quickly to the end of the corridor and stopped when they reached a
small opening. Miranda pulled the lever
down and forced the door open. A second
later they were standing in the tunnels of the Blackthorne mansion, voices
traveling from the other side of the thin walls.
my God,” Miranda whispered. “We’re right
outside my father and Brooke’s bedroom.”
She could hear them inside the bedroom talking intimately. “And right there is the nursery,” she said
and pointed a few yards down the tunnel.
“This is where I was standing when I heard them taking Michael."
looked at her with astonishment. “Do you
realize what this means?”
nodded, a permanent scowl on her face.
“I think if we looked hard enough we could find a lot more than your
videotape in Will Thomerson's house, Heather.”
stood in the dark tunnel, the heart wrenching cries of sorrow from James and
Brooke’s bedroom almost too much to bare.
Stormy accuses Brett
of embezzlement. Brooke is hurt when James
goes back to work. Janet returns and asks
Will for her manuscript back. James and Alex
host a dinner party for the Fallmonts.