spotted Sierra eyeing a pair of earrings at Hotel
Terranova's gift shop and struck up a conversation
with her. After waking up in Brett's room after
he comfoted her following the carjacking, a confused
Heather grew distant and tried her best to avoid him.
Miranda blasted David Jennings for taking an interest
in buying Hotel Terranova. Unable to get
her off his mind, David later sent Miranda roses with
an invitation to dinner. Stormy made plans to
start work on a film starring Nathan and Victor. Alex
and Jordan slept together after their divorce became
final. Later, Alex showed up at Jordan's house
with a bottle of champagne, angering Renee. Marilee
Walker told Brett that he should work for her husband
the Congressman. James informed Alex and Renee that
they were going to an energy conference in Rio. Miranda
learned that she was pregnant. Nathan overheard
Brooke and Ethan talking about Michael, and discovered
that James was not the boy's father.
opened the door of her suite at Hotel
Terranova and smiled at Stormy who held up a carton of banana chocolate ice
cream and two spoons. She stood clear of
the door and gestured for him to come inside.
know it’s late, but I thought I’d come by and see how you were doing,” Stormy
said and sat down on the sofa. “The last
time we talked you seemed a little peeved at me, so I brought a peace
favorite,” Heather said and sat down beside him. “You didn’t have to do that. I’m not pissed off, I just don’t want to have
to depend on everyone else all the time.
It’s time I started over and took care of myself for once.”
took the lid off the ice cream and handed her a spoon. “I can appreciate that,” he said. “But I can still be here for you as a friend
if you need one. That’s not going
against the rules, is it?”
laughed and shook her head. “No, it’s
his spoon into the softening ice cream, Stormy looked into Heather’s eyes and
saw something he hadn’t seen in a long time.
“There’s something different about you,” he began. “You look happier.”
think I am happier,” she said and
licked a glob of banana chocolate off of her spoon. “The sessions with Dr. Anderson have really
what about the murder? Does he think
you’ll be able to cope with it soon?”
think I might already be,” Heather replied.
She didn’t want to give him the details of the carjacking. That would only instill more concern on his
part, and then she’d be back to depending on him and leaning on him for
support. That wouldn’t do at all. She decided to tell him only what was
necessary. “The other night I just let
it all out. I remembered everything
clearly, almost as if I’d never blacked it out at all.”
did?” He sounded surprised. Probably more so that she hadn’t ran directly
to him with the new development. “Well,
that’s wonderful. How do you feel?”
she leaned back on the sofa and thought about Brett. Strangely, she’d been thinking of him quite a
bit since that night. It was like she
finally saw past his rough façade and manipulative charm and good looks. Of course she didn’t dare tell Stormy that
he’d been there with her. She’d never
hear the end of it.
think I feel okay,” she answered after a while.
“I know it was an unforgivable thing that I did, but that’s something
I’ll have to learn to live with. No
matter how despicable Will Thomerson was, he didn’t deserve to die like
that. Nobody does.”
set the carton down and turned to her.
“I think you’re really something,” he said with a smile.
looked into his eyes. Just a few weeks
ago she would have taken his words and the intense way he looked at her to mean
there was something still between them.
But in light of everything that had happened recently, she no longer
felt herself needing him or wanting him in that way again. It was a good feeling.
in the formal restaurant, David Jennings sat across the table from Miranda,
admiring the way her skin glowed in the candlelight and the way her eyes
sparkled when she looked at him. But
something was different. She wasn’t the
spirited young woman who had let him have it in the lobby the day before. Tonight she seemed distant and forlorn.
“Was it something I said?” David asked as he
brought a glass of wine to his lips and took a hearty gulp. He waited for her to respond, and when she
didn’t he frowned and cut into his steak.
“I guess so,” he mumbled to himself.
finally looked up at him. “I’m sorry,
did you say something?” she asked, finally breaking from the daze. Her mind was definitely not on dinner or on
the handsome man across the table.
David leaned forward and looked into her eyes.
“Are you okay?” he asked. “You’ve
barely said a word all night. Am I bad
company or something? Do I have salad in
smiled apologetically and shook her head.
“No, nothing like that,” she said, unable to stop thinking about the
news she’d received from Dr. Mitchell that day.
How could she be pregnant? She
was on the patch. It was more effective
than the pill, for God’s sake.
you’re still worried about me trying to buy Hotel
Terranova, don’t be. I had a talk
with your father and he stressed that I should reconsider. So I have.”
Then he added with a playful wink.
“Although if you don’t start acting like you’re enjoying yourself, I
might have to reconsider reconsidering.”
wouldn’t,” Miranda said, shooting him
a threatening stare.
smiled. “No, just checking to see if you
were paying attention.”
Miranda looked down at her plate and tried to put things in perspective. She and Brett were divorced. They’d both moved on. How could she be carrying her ex-husband’s
baby? It was going to ruin
got a call on his cell and he fished it from his jacket pocket. Looking at her apologetically, he slid his
chair out and stood up. “I’m sorry, I
have to take this.” Then he added with a
smile, “got another hotel to buy since yours is off the market.”
he’d left the table, Miranda sighed again and glanced across the room. She hated to be such a stick in the mud on her
first date with a hunk like David Jennings, but it was all she could do to put on
a nice dress and fix her hair. Being
charming and spirited was too much to expect tonight.
her mood grew worse. Brett spotted her
on his way through the lobby and made his way to the table. She tensed, fully aware that the right thing
would be to tell him that she was pregnant.
But she couldn’t. Not yet.
Miranda,” Brett said with a smile. “You
look beautiful tonight. Entertaining
flashed him a toothy grin. “Actually I’m
on a date,” she said and scowled. “You
know, what people do before they get married.
Oh, but I forgot. You go on dates
while you’re married.”
ignored her sarcastic tone. “Who’s the
lucky guy?” he asked, unable to keep from feeling slightly jealous. He hated to think of Miranda with another
sure you don’t know him,” she replied. “He’s
got class, brains, and I’m not sure yet but I don’t think he screws his
secretary. I’ll have to ask him when he
please-“ Brett began, wishing that things could be different. Granted, he’d made mistakes, but he never
stopped loving her.
can go now,” she cut him off bitterly.
with frustration, Brett paused before leaving the table. “I’ll be moving out of the hotel tomorrow,”
he began. “I bought a condo at the
marina. The view is amazing.”
a swanky singles condo?” Miranda asked.
“You’ll fit in perfectly, Brett.
Don’t forget to settle up at the front desk when you check out. The adult movies aren’t free.”
at her callous attitude, Brett started to walk away when David returned to the
table. They both paused, circling each
other as if sizing one another up. Brett
raised an eyebrow, pangs of jealousy tripping through his stomach. Finally, he turned and started to the lobby.
sat back down at the table and smiled his handsome smile. “Sorry about that,” he said and dropped his
cell into his pocket. “Now, how do I
find that feisty young lady who accosted me in the lobby the other day? Because so far you aren’t living up to your
Miranda didn’t hear him. Her thoughts
were on Brett. She knew what she had to
do. Having his baby was not an
Renee walked out of
the bedroom in her suite upstairs at Hotel
Terranova, her bath robe billowing behind her as she made her way to the
door. She pulled it open with a
flourish, scowling at the sight of Jordan standing out in the hall. She quickly tried to shut the door but he
pushed it open and forced his way inside.
“It’s late, Jordan,” she said. “Please go.”
Frowning, he grabbed
her by the shoulders and turned her to face him. “I’ve been calling you since last night. I know you’re giving me the brush-off. What’s wrong, Renee?”
She folded her arms
and turned away. “I told you. It’s late.
I’d like to go to sleep.”
“You know, I’m
getting pretty tired of these games of yours,” Jordan exclaimed, running his hands
through his hair and clenching his teeth in frustration.
“This wall you keep
putting up between us!” he raged. “I
can’t keep up with your moods. What have
I done this time? Tell me, because I
honestly don’t understand why you’re pushing me away.”
Finally, she turned
around and leveled her eyes on him.
“I’ll tell you why,” she began angrily.
“Alex Reynolds. Your ex-wife is
still in love with you, and I’m not so sure that you’re not still in love with
“That’s ridiculous,” Jordan said and began pacing the living
room. He hated it that she was
right. He did still love Alex. The way
they made love the other afternoon was proof positive. You couldn’t fake that kind of passion. But still, he had very real feelings for
Renee too. Hurting her was the last
thing he wanted to do.
“She came to your
house last night with a bottle of champagne and do-me eyes. I know that
She was ready for a romantic evening.”
indifferently, trying desperately to hide his guilt. “I can’t help it. Alex does what Alex wants to do. I have no say in what she wants or thinks I want.”
“Are you saying that
you haven’t been giving her signals?”
“What kind of
Renee planted her
hands on her hips and shook her head angrily.
“I’m getting a little sick of all the snide remarks from her. She’s always telling me that I’m just a
distraction for you. I can’t help but
wonder if she’s right.”
“She’s not right,” Jordan insisted. He took her arm and led her to the sofa. “I love being with you, Renee. You have to
believe that. I told you I’d help you
keep your secret about Sierra, didn’t I?”
reluctantly. “I’m sorry, Jordan,” she replied. “You’re right, it is Sierra. I’m going out of
my mind with worry. What if she finds
out the truth? Or worse yet, what if he does?
Nathan is back in L.A. now and it’s only a matter of
time before everything blows up in my face.
I just don’t want to hurt my daughter.”
Jordan pulled her into an embrace and
stroked his hand down the back of her head.
He felt himself growing to care for Renee more and more. But if that were the case, why did he still
in the lounge, Sierra sat by the piano as the pianist played a jazz number for
the crowd. She watched with a smile, singing
along quietly and then blushing when a few patrons at a nearby table
applauded. She felt uncomfortable from
the attention, but the truth was she loved to sing. Sometimes she couldn’t help herself,
especially in the lounge when Stan was playing the piano. She’d been told that she was very good, even
from vocal coaches back at school, but
singing in public scared her to death.
It was a silly dream of hers, one that she decided was best left for the
shower or the car.
lovely,” said a voice from behind.
turned around on the stool and saw Nathan Blackthorne standing there. She immediately recognized him from the other
day in the gift shop.
hello again,” she said with a sweet smile.
dressed in a sharp navy blazer and white ascot, couldn’t help but smile fondly
at her. She was so young and pretty, he
decided, and he loved young black women with a passion.
again,” he finally said after taking in her sweet innocence. “I hope you don’t mind, I was listening to
you sing. Have you performed
shook her head with a laugh. “Oh, no, I
could never. It’s just something I enjoy
doing. You know, when I’m by myself and
I?” Nathan asked and gestured to the stool beside her. He sat down and waved to the bartender for
his usual. “Are you feeling lonely
sighed whimsically and sipped her glass of club cola. “I think so.
Being in a strange city and not knowing anybody. Well, besides my mother and her
boyfriend. Other than that I feel like
I’m the only person in Los Angeles.”
grinned at the poetic way she spoke.
“Well now there’s two of us,” he said and extended his hand to her. “Nathan Blackthorne.”
eyes shot open and she looked at him in awe.
“Nathan Blackthorne, the actor?” she asked in disbelief. “I had no idea. I’m so sorry.
I feel like such an idiot.”
laughed again. “Please, don’t be
embarrassed. I haven’t released a film
since probably before you were born. A
young lady like you has her own idols to look up to. I can’t exactly compete with the Tom Cruises
and Brad Pitt’s of the world.”
I’ve heard of you, Mr. Blackthorne,” Sierra said. “I’ve seen a lot of your movies. I just didn’t recognize you is all. You look very different in real life.”
good I hope.”
course. You’re a very handsome man.”
was thrilled with her. He couldn’t get
enough of how sweet her skin smelled.
“Tell me, which was your favorite film of mine?”
gasped and brought her hands up to her mouth.
“Oh gosh, it’s so hard to choose just one. They were all so good.” A pause while she contemplated. “I think I’d have to say that Love Nest was my favorite,” she
remarked. “It was so romantic. You and Alex Reynolds really lit up the
screen. Or the DVD I guess I should
say,” she added with a laugh.
became flushed at the sound of her voice and the way she admired him. It was quite an ego-trip to realize that a
young attractive girl such as her would be so enamorative of him. “I have something for you,” he said and
reached into his pocket.
frowned when he handed her a small box wrapped in a red velvet ribbon. “I don’t understand,” she said, completely
caught off guard by the gesture. She
didn’t even know him and he was giving her gifts.
ahead,” Nathan said. “Open it.”
shrugged and pulled the box open. Her
eyes lit up in amazement when she saw the diamond earrings from the gift
shop. “Mr. Blackthorne, I-“
saw you looking at them the other day, remember?” he asked her. “I told you that they were perfect for
delicate features such as yours.”
shook her head and handed the box back to him.
“I’m sorry, I can’t accept these,” she began. “They’re much too expensive. You don’t even know me. You don’t even know my name.”
is your name?”
she said with a smile.
Sierra, please accept them as a personal favor to me.” He looked at her with desire in his
eyes. Everything about her turned him
then, Alex walked into the lounge and scanned the room. When Nathan saw her, he quickly decided that
it was time to make himself scarce. He
would have to continue getting to know Sierra another time. The last thing he needed was Alex Reynolds
causing a scene in public.
dear, I must go,” Nathan said and stood up from the stool. “Please keep this just between us. No one needs to know where you got the
earrings from. But I do hope you’ll be
wearing them next time we meet.”
watched as he made his way through the lounge and disappeared on the other
next morning, Brooke walked down the upstairs hallway at the mansion and went
inside the nursery. She smiled when she
saw James holding Michael and bouncing him happily in his arms.
morning,” Brooke said timidly. She was
still unsure if they were on solid ground anymore. It seemed everything she said caused another
fight. “I didn’t even hear you get up
got a lot to do,” James replied. “First
and foremost the energy conference.”
wish you didn’t have to go away. Rio seems like another world from
handed her the baby and smiled rigidly.
“It practically is. But it’s only
for three days. Besides, you’ll be so
busy with Michael that you won’t even know I’m gone.”
not true,” she said, fully aware that he was taking a jab at her. “Since we got remarried we haven’t really
been apart. I just don’t want anything
to happen. I worry that-“
worry too much,” James interrupted abruptly.
regarded him carefully, trying to decipher what he was thinking. “James, are we all right?”
shrugged bitterly. “I think you’re a
better person to answer that. How many
more times are you going to question my judgment about Nathan?”
froze up, unwilling to answer him for fear that it would cause another
argument. The truth was that Alex had
warned her about Nathan, and her own instincts told her that she should heed
thought so,” James said and looked away angrily.
what about Ethan?” she asked. “You were
angry with me for letting the truth slip about his father, but since he got out
of jail he’s been completely different.”
does seem to be over that self-destructive mode he was in for the last few
weeks, no thanks to you.”
so willing to put it all on me, aren’t you?” she demanded.
never said that you were the only person to blame for everything that’s
happened,” James insisted. “I just don’t
think you use your head sometimes. I’m
your husband. If I ask you to trust my
Uncle and ignore what Alex and the media say about him, then you should.”
looked at him in disbelief and crossed the room. “So as your wife, I’m supposed to not have my
own opinions, is that it?”
not what I meant and you know it.”
I know is that you sound like the James Blackthorne that I knew before we got
married. The suspicious, scheming tyrant
who used people to manipulate his own selfish needs. I thought that man was long gone. Now it’s clear that he’s back.”
wait-“ James said as he watched her place Michael in his crib. “I don’t want you obsessing over this while
I’m gone. I promise things will get
then, Nathan entered the nursery. “I’ll
keep Brooke entertained, James,” he said and flashed them a toothy grin. “You won’t have to worry for a second that
she’s sitting home brooding.”
appreciate that, Nathan,” James said rigidly.
will be my pleasure,” said Nathan as he made his way to the crib where Michael
was sitting playing with a stuffed toy.
“My, my, he’s getting bigger every day.”
certainly is,” James said proudly. “He’s
going to be a very strong young man when he grows up. He is
a Blackthorne after all.”
can’t decide who he looks more like,” Nathan said and looked up at Brooke. “His mother or his father.”
swallowed hard, thankful that Michael didn’t show any glaring signs of looking
like Ethan. It was easy to keep her
secret under those circumstances. No one
could look at him and know the wiser.
I think he looks like both of us equally,” James said. “Don’t you agree, Brooke?”
nodded uneasily and felt Nathan watching her from across the room.
course,” Nathan said, flashing back to the conversation he overheard between Brooke
and Ethan. He wondered how long she was
going to continue with the charade that James was the child’s father.
knocked on Miranda’s office door at Hotel
Terranova and pushed the door open gently.
“You ready for brunch?” she asked as she poked her head inside.
was staring at the pregnancy pamphlets Dr. Mitchell had given her, barely
acknowledging that Heather was there.
She slowly looked up and tried to force herself back to reality.
yeah, just give me a minute,” she finally said.
Heather walked into the office and closed the door behind her. “Miranda, are you okay? You looked a million miles away just now.”
I’m not okay,” she said and thrust one of the pamphlets across the table.
eyes narrowed on the block lettering and she quickly snatched it up in her
hand. “You’re pregnant?” she
exclaimed. “Miranda, oh my…”
was my first reaction,” she interrupted her.
flipped her hair over her shoulder.
“Have you told Brett?”
and I don’t think I’m going to.”
know, I know,” she murmured. “How could
I have let this happen? Brett and I were
always so careful. We didn’t want to
have a baby yet. Well, I didn’t.”
you saying that Brett did?” Heather asked, her voice full of surprise. She hadn’t pegged Brett as the type who had a
paternal instinct. It seemed that she
became more and more surprised by him every day.
sighed and moved over to the sofa. “Yes,
but I didn’t think it was the right time,” she explained. “Michael was still missing, my father needed
me, and I just…I don’t know…I wasn’t ready.”
you use birth control?” Heather asked and sat down beside her.
course, but you know how that goes. I
should sue the damn company that makes that stupid patch.”
Heather said and brushed her hair from her eyes. “So what are you going to do?”
handed her another pamphlet. She took a
deep breath and tried to maintain her cool.
“I’m not going to have it,” she said plainly, then paused while waiting
for a response.
you thinking of having an abortion?” Heather asked. “Oh Miranda, are you sure about this?” She reached over and placed her hand gently
on hers. She knew that Miranda was
strong-willed and never did anything she wasn’t a hundred percent certain
about. It scared her to think that she
was this determined to make a decision that could impact the rest of her life, and Brett’s.
Miranda stood up and began pacing the office.
“It’s all I’ve thought about since last night. Heather, I just divorced Brett. You know better than anybody what a jerk he
turned out to be. I can’t even consider
having his baby. Not to mention the fact
that it wouldn’t be fair to the child.
What am I supposed to tell him or her in twenty years? Oh
yeah, your father cheated on me and manipulated everyone in the family but he’s
still a really good father. No, I
can’t have this baby. It would be the
biggest mistake of my life.”
got up and followed her across the room.
“How do you know that if you go through with the termination that it
wouldn’t be the biggest mistake of your life?” she asked, hating to be the
voice of reason on something that she knew nothing about. But still, she knew what a huge decision it
was. Besides that, she couldn’t help but
feel for Brett. He asked Miranda for a
baby and she turned him down. Terminating
the pregnancy without so much as telling him sounded so cold and cruel.
just know that I can’t bring a baby into this world under these circumstances,”
Miranda said. “I’m trying to get on with
my life. This would only hold me back
and tie me to Brett forever.”
much as she hated to admit it, Heather didn’t think that was such a bad
thing. Brett may be a louse and a
backstabbing cheater, but there was a side to him that she’d only recently come
to know. Perhaps Miranda just hadn’t
seen it as she had.
marina was packed with business people coming and going on their lunch hour,
dock hands tending to private yachts on the rows of slips, and active young
people skating and biking along the paths.
Brett carried a box of books and CD’s into his condo on the fifth floor
of a new building built just off the water.
the box onto the floor in the spacious living room, he took the back of his
hand and wiped his sweaty forehead. It
was well over ninety degrees outside and it felt like over a hundred after all
the physical exertion of moving from the hotel.
grabbing a bottle of water from the refrigerator, he made his way out onto the
terrace overlooking the heart of the marina.
He took in a breath of fresh air and smiled with exhilaration. This is where he belonged, he decided in an
instant. Sure, it didn’t have the
luxuries of the Blackthorne mansion in Hollywood, no maid service and no gourmet
meals three times a day, but it had style all its own. Beautiful women at every turn, equally as
beautiful views, and access to the private yacht club downstairs whenever he
he was slowly climbing back to the top.
Now all he needed was a job to pay for it all. His stock options wouldn’t take him far for
he heard ice clinking in glasses from inside the condo. He turned with a frown and went back inside,
completely surprised at the sight of Marilee Walker standing at his kitchen bar
pouring two glasses of spiked lemonade.
know, it’s a little early to start drinking,” Marilee said with a wink and
approached him with a glass. “But what’s
early? It’s happy hour somewhere.”
took the drink from her and eyed her incredulously. “How did you-“
stopped by your room at Hotel Terranova
and they said you checked out,” Marilee replied, staring him up and down as she
sipped her cold drink. “I called in a
favor from Link the concierge and got your forwarding address. I hope you don’t mind my stopping by. I wanted to give you a proper housewarming
around the room, he decided to go along with her playful rouse. “Where is it?” he asked.
purred seductively and set her glass down, then took his and placed it neatly
on the kitchen bar top. “Right here,”
she whispered in his ear and drew him closer.
She stepped out of her shoes and untied her wrap dress, letting it drop
clean to the floor.
swallowed hard, feeling himself growing aroused by her display of
forwardness. After seeing her standing
there in nothing but a pair of lacy underwear, he had to admit that she was in
spectacular shape for a fifty-year-old woman.
Curves in all the right places, skin as soft and smooth as a twenty-year
old, and breasts that defied gravity.
she kissed him hard on the lips, he threw all caution aside. He buried his face in her breasts and kissed
her neck feverishly. Quickly, he peeled
off his sweaty t-shirt and moved her toward the sofa.
you given any thought to my offer to work with Seth?” Marilee asked. She expertly unfastened the waistband on his
shorts and dropped them to the floor, not at all surprised that he wasn’t
you think I’m up to it?” he said with a sheepish grin, throwing her onto the
sofa and taking charge of the situation.
Coming up behind her, he reached around and kissed her moist, hot neck.
grinned devilishly. “You’ll get the job
done all right,” she panted, closing her eyes as he teased her
relentlessly. “Seth is always in Washington on business. You could take care of…things for him here
air conditioner was on full blast but Brett was sweating profusely. As they began making love on the sofa, he
decided that maybe Marilee could help him with his new start after all. If servicing her once and a while was all it
took then he’d be getting off easy.
outside the door, Heather raised her hand and started to knock. She felt obligated to tell Brett what was
going on with Miranda. It wasn’t fair
that she kept him in the dark about the baby.
If she went ahead with the abortion, there would be no turning back.
she paused and took a step back. Maybe
telling Brett wasn’t her place. Miranda
had confided in her privately, and she owed her a certain amount of
discretion. She turned and started down
the hall to the elevator. Maybe she’d be
able to convince Miranda to change her mind.
Or at least level with Brett before she went ahead with her appointment.
followed James down the stairs into the foyer and grew rigid at the sight of
Nathan waiting by the front doors. James
motioned to the driver who came into the foyer and picked up his suitcases.
“I guess I’d better
get to the airport,” he said and glanced at Brooke. “Give Michael another kiss for me, will you?”
course,” Brooke said, waiting for him to offer some kind of gesture before his
trip. But as he walked to the door and
stepped outside without looking back, she realized that their marriage was
really in trouble.
couldn’t let things go for three days the way they were. She had to come to some kind of resolution
before he left on his trip.
wait-“ she said and darted outside after him. He paused before getting into the limousine
and turned back to her. “I love you,”
she said hopefully.
looked at her and simply nodded. “See
you in three days.”
that, he turned and got into the car.
Brooke’s heart sank in her chest.
Not even an I love you too to
appease her during his absence. She felt
her eyes sting with tears and her stomach tie itself in knots. She turned and started back inside when she
suddenly realized she wasn’t alone.
worry, my dear,” Nathan said and approached her from behind. “You won’t even notice he’s gone. We’ll spend these next few days getting to
know each other better. Before you know
it he’ll be back in your arms.”
sought no comfort in his words. If
anything they made her feel worse. She brushed past him and dashed up the
stairs to the nursery.
are you sure you’ll be okay while I’m gone?” Renee asked her daughter as she
opened the door for the bellmen at Hotel
Terranova. They took her designer bags
and started back out of the room. “Thank
you, I’ll be down in just a minute.”
I’ll be fine,” Sierra replied with a scoff.
She stood before the mirror in the entryway, admiring the earrings
Nathan had given her and the way they sparkled in the glow of the chandelier. “I’ve been on my own before, you know. I’m almost twenty years old.”
know that, I just can’t help but worry,” Renee declared. “You haven’t been out of the hospital that
long, and-“ She paused and noticed
Sierra’s reflection in the mirror.
“Darling, where did you get those earrings?”
stopped, wishing she had been more discreet about wearing the expensive gift
around her mother. “These?”
those. I haven’t seen them before. Where did you get them?”
tried to appear as nonchalant as possible.
“Oh…they’re….they were a gift from a suitor back in Paris.
Jean Claude Batiste. He thought
he was in love with me for about ten minutes.
These were his way of proving it.”
smiled in amusement. “They’re very
lovely,” she said and examined one between her thumb and forefinger. “And very expensive. Jean Claude must be a very wealthy young
think he comes from royalty,” Sierra embellished, tickled that she was able to
come up with something so clever right off the top of her head. “You know the type. Handsome, rich, snobbish…”
right, that’s enough,” Renee said with a smile and pulled her into an
embrace. “Now please do not hesitate to
call me if you need anything while I’m gone.
We’ll be staying at the Peninsula Hotel in Rio. I left the number on the desk.”
be fine,” she said. “I’ll see you in a
right. Good bye, Darling,” Renee said,
pausing again to look at the earrings.
“They’re so beautiful.”
she could make her exit, Ethan approached from the hallway and paused in the
doorway, his hands dug deeply in his pockets.
on earth on you doing here?” Renee demanded, trying to block the door so he
couldn’t enter. “Haven’t you done
please,” Ethan began. “I came to
Renee guffawed. “Well I do not accept.”
it isn’t you that I came to apologize to,” he insisted and motioned through the
opening to where Sierra was standing.
it’s okay,” Sierra said and pulled the door open.
took another step forward, looking at Sierra with sincerity and glancing at
Renee every so often. “I know what I did
was stupid, and maybe a few weeks in jail and some community service doesn’t
begin to make up for it...”
doesn’t,” Renee interjected, her hands planted firmly on her hips.
I wanted you to know that not a day goes by that I don’t regret getting behind
the wheel that day,” Ethan continued, ignoring Renee’s interruptions. “I’m glad that you’re okay, and I want you to
know that if there’s anything I can ever do for you, please let me know.”
a long pause, Sierra nodded and managed a vague smile. “Thank you,” she said evenly.
her eyes, Renee pushed Ethan out into the hallway and followed in a hurry. “How noble of you,” she said, then turned
back to her daughter. “Darling, I’m
late. I’ll see you in three days. Goodbye.”
closed the door behind her after they’d left, rushing back to the mirror and
examining the reflection of her earrings as she shook her hair back and forth.
his private airstrip, James waited on the tarmac beside the Sunset Studios jet as two limousines
arrived. The first limousine stopped and
the driver opened the back door. Alex
emerged and walked up to James, the wind whipping through her hair and tousling
the silk scarf around her neck.
get this over with,” she murmured, turning around just as Renee emerged from
her limousine. Her eyes narrowed on the
woman and she set her jaw. “The faster
we get there and get back the better off we’ll all be.”
second that,” Renee said with a scowl as she approached.
groaned in frustration. “Now listen,
both of you. I don’t know what’s going
on with the two of you but whatever it is I suggest you leave it here. We’re going to this conference to network and
to promote Blackthorne-Reynolds. I don’t want any bickering or any diva-like
performances from either one of you. Is
pursed her lips together and started up onto the plane after Abram lowered the
boarding ramp. Alex shot James a quietly
defiant look and followed a few steps behind.
James realized it was going to be a difficult few days with the two
women butting heads and conspiring the entire time. He only hoped he could live through it.
night, the lounge at Hotel Terranova
was buzzing with activity. Stormy
wandered in from the lobby and glanced around the crowded room. When he spotted Eddie sitting at a small
table behind a potted palm, sunglasses covering his eyes and ball cap pulled
down over his face, he frowned and jogged up to him.
with the disguise, bro?” he asked and plopped down beside him.
Eddie whispered and swatted his hand through the air. “I’m on a stakeout.”
looked around and tried to appear inconspicuous. “Oh, sorry,” he said. “Who is it?
Some philandering Hollywood husband? A crooked
bodyguard selling secrets of the stars to the tabloids?”
lowered his sunglasses and leveled a look of irritation. “What TV show are you on?” he asked, then went back to watching his target. “I can’t tell you who it is, Stormy. It’s confidential. I take my job very seriously, you know. These people depend on me. I only asked you to meet me here so I
wouldn’t look odd out place sitting here in a hotel bar by myself.”
rolled his eyes and ordered a drink from the waitress. “Like the hat and sunglasses at eleven
night don’t make you look odd enough?”
me a gimlet,” Eddie said, not taking his eyes off a table across the room.
tried to see where he was looking, and finally deducted that it was the
shifty-eyed man sitting with a buxom blond across the bar. They looked guilty enough, he decided.
going in for a closer look and see if I can get a picture,” Eddie said,
grabbing his drink from the waitress and slinking through the crowd. As soon as he was within range of the couple
and had his camera out and aimed at its target, his father and Nathan
approached and exploded into a raucous greeting.
you sly devil, I almost didn’t recognize you in that disguise!” Victor
hollered, presumably drunk or high with a drink in each hand and a slur in his
Eddie complained, furious when the loud spectacle drew attention and the target
quickly darted off through the lounge.
“God, I’m trying to work here!”
stifled a laugh from his vantage point.
Victor and Eddie squabbled over his blown cover, Nathan glanced around the bar
and paused when he spotted a man in the corner watching him closely. He frowned and ambled over to the booth,
reaching into his pocket and fishing for something.
sorry, I don’t have a pen,” he said. “If
you have your own, I’d be more than happy to sign an autograph.”
Jennings stood up and shook his head. “That’s
not necessary, Mr. Blackthorne,” he said.
was flattered. He adored fans. They made it all worthwhile. “It’s always a pleasure to meet the viewing
David Jennings,” he said. “My mother was
Jacquline Lamont. I believe you were
acquainted with her.”
remark shut Nathan up quickly and forced him to drop the act that he was always
on camera. “Well, well, David
Jennings. I haven’t seen you since you
were eleven years old.”
my grandfather’s funeral.”
a sad day,” Nathan said, slowly getting over the shock of seeing the young
man. He was quickly brought back to the
time when he and Jackie were married and she wanted to have a child. He’d refused, claiming that his
career came first. After their divorce, she’d
married Royce Jennings and two years later Jackie got the child she wanted.
one big regret in life.
mother talked about you a lot,” David said.
“She often said that she treated you unfairly. The way your marriage ended and how she left
you for my father.”
“I was sorry to hear
about your father. Were they still
David shook his
head. “They divorced when I was in
college. My mother moved to New York and my father stayed here until
“Royce Jennings was a
man to be reckoned with, that’s for sure.
A good man.”
“My mother loved him
very much, but to tell you the truth, I don’t think she ever got over you. I’m
not quite sure why. Your reputation
straightened his jacket lapels indignantly.
“If you’re referring to those accusations against me, I can assure you,
young David, they are an abomination of justice. The trial will prove that to the public, and
to your dear mother.” A thoughtful pause. “Tell me, how is Jackie now?"
bit his lip and then delivered in a deadpan voice. “She’s dead.”
Nathan grew despondent, his heart aching over the news that his beloved Jackie
was gone. Granted, he hadn’t seen her in
twenty-five years, but somehow he had always taken solace in the fact that she
was healthy and happy somewhere in the world.
he could respond, Victor grabbed his arm and began leading him off through the
crowd. “Nathan, you won’t believe who’s
here. Come, I must introduce you to this
lovely young thing. She bears the most
uncanny resemblance to Tippi Hedron.”
grudgingly went with Victor, still reeling from the news about Jackie.
David got home to his beach house in Malibu, he undressed and plucked a
shoebox from the closet, then sat down on the edge of his bed. He flipped through a stack of old
photographs, one of his mother and grandfather posing with Nathan on the back
lawn of the mansion.
a deep breath, he dialed the phone and waited for an answer.
David,” he said into the phone. “Yes, I
know it’s late. I just missed you,
shuffled the photographs in his hand and looked at another picture of his
I just wanted to hear your voice. I
worry about you.” A pause while he
listened through the receiver. “No, I
don’t think you should come here. I’ll
come there for a visit as soon as I can.”
up, he began pacing the room. He knew he
shouldn’t have called. It always led to
the same conversation.
course not,” he said. “Mom, please. I just think it’s best that you stay in New York.
Trust me, I’ll see you soon.”
they said their goodbyes, he clicked off the phone and threw it onto the
bed. Gathering the photographs back into
the box, he placed it neatly in the closet and closed the door securely.
the Sunset Studios jet landed in Rio, James, Alex and Renee took a
limousine to the Peninsula Hotel and checked into their rooms.
elevator doors opened on the penthouse level and James followed the bellman
down the hall to his room. While paused
at the door, a ravishing
auburn-haired woman emerged from the elevator and proceeded to the room
next door. Dressed in
a one-piece bathing suit, sunglasses and beach bag slung over her shoulder, she
fumbled with her keys and dropped them clumsily to the floor.
allow me,” James said and went over to pick them up for her.
you,” she replied and flashed him a friendly smile. When she got a clear look at him, her mouth
gaped open in awe and she quickly removed her sunglasses. “James?
James Blackthorne? I don’t
off guard, James tilted his head and looked at the woman curiously. It took a moment or two but he finally
recognized her. “Leigh Purcell. Well what do you know? My daughter told me she just ran into you in Acapulco.
This is such a coincidence.”
laughed and threw her long silky hair over her shoulder. “It certainly is. But on the other hand, we’re both in the
energy business so I guess it’s to be expected that we attend the same
nodded in agreement. “True enough. Wow, you look fantastic.”
“You look amazing,” Leigh gushed, sizing
him up and down. “We have so much to
catch up on.”
`“Yes, we do.”
”I was just about to
change and go downstairs for a drink.
Why don’t you join me?”
shrugged and grinned excitedly. “Why
not?” he said. “Give me just a few minutes
and I’ll meet you in the lounge.”
“I’m looking forward
to it,” Leigh said before stepping inside her room.
James went into his
room and handed the bellman a huge tip. After
he’d gone, he sat down on the sofa and thought about how good it was to see
Leigh Purcell again. It had been six
years since they last saw each other.
Six years since their torrid affair ended. It seemed like fate that they ran into each
James makes use of his
time away from Brooke. Nathan and Brooke share
an uncomfortable dinner together. Brett talks
to Seth about a job opportunity.