date with David, Miranda couldn't stop thinking about
her pregnancy. She later told Heather that she
was contemplating an abortion. Heather urged her
step-sister to tell Brett about the baby first. Nathan
presented Sierra with the earrings she'd been spying
in the hotel gift shop. A starstruck Sierra eagerly
accepted the attention from Nathan. Brooke was heartbroken
when James left for the energy conference without resolving
their differences. Brett moved into a condo at
the marina, and had a surprise visit from Marilee, who
offered him a job working for her husband in politics.
Ethan apologized to Sierra for getting behind
the wheel and hitting her with his car. Nathan
spotted David Jennings, and when he asked about his mother,
Jacqueline Lamont, David lied and told him that she
was dead. After arriving in Rio, James ran into
Leigh Purcell, who invited him out for a drink.
pool at the Peninsula Hotel in Rio was packed with vacationers and business people in search
of relief from the heat and the scorching sun that afternoon. A cocktail waiter weaved between the crowds
of people with a tray of drinks, stopping and setting two Mai Tai’s on the
table between James and Leigh Purcell.
giggled and took a sip of the icy drink.
She was wearing a stunning black one-piece bathing suit,
her long auburn hair
tied up off of her neck, and she sported a very large pair of designer
sunglasses. “I’ll be in trouble if I
have another one of these. James, you’re
so bad. We’re supposed to be here
attending the energy conference, not sipping drinks by the pool. We really should get to the morning
laughed and pushed his shades up on his nose.
“We can go to the evening session,” he insisted. “I’m having a good time catching up with
you. It’s been such a long time.”
years,” Leigh remarked thoughtfully and set her drink down. She sat up on the lounge chair and looked at
his tan, fit body. “You still look just
as good as you did then.”
come on,” James said bashfully.
was sorry to hear about you and Alex,” Leigh continued, wondering if it was
still a sore subject. “Although, after
what transpired between us in Acapulco, I wondered if your marriage was
on firm ground to begin with.”
wasn’t,” James declared. “Alex and I had
been having problems for quite some time.
I think we only stayed together after Acapulco because of the media. It’s difficult to time these things when your
private life is in every magazine in the world.”
now you’re on marriage number two,” Leigh said with a grin. “I saw Brooke’s photo in some magazines. She’s lovely.” A pause while she smiled devilishly. “And
returned the smile. “Brooke and Michael
are my life now.”
stared at him for a few moments, studying his face and secretly wondering if he
was telling the whole truth. It was
quite possible that he was. But he’d
made the same claim six years ago when he was married to someone else. It didn’t stop them from having a very
passionate affair for the three weeks he was in Acapulco.
about you?” James asked, feeling slightly awkward by the way she looked at
him. It brought back a lot of
memories. Memories that his head told
him were better left in the past.
“Anyone special in your life since Roger died?”
stretched out on the lounge chair and shook her head. “You know, a few here and there,” she
explained. “But I meet most of them at
the hotel and they’re gone within a week.
No real options for long-term romances.
smiled knowingly. Yes, they had a
similar situation six years ago. He had
gone to Acapulco with a film crew to do some post
production work on Elena. Alex had been there briefly, only for as long
as she was needed to complete the filming.
After complaining of the heat and dirty locals, she flew back to Los Angeles immediately. James stayed behind and he and Leigh grew
close. After a few innocent dinners
together, they wound up in bed.
hear you met my daughter,” James said, deciding it was best to change the
lovely,” Leigh gushed. “Such spirit and
gets that from her mother,” James said with a laugh.
found herself staring into his eyes again.
She couldn’t help but get lost in them.
“I envy you, James. You have such
a full life. Family, children, a partner
who adores you…”
could have all that too,” James insisted and sat forward. He took her hand gently and looked into her
eyes. She seemed lost and kind of sad to
him, just as Miranda had described her. “I wonder if you really ever got over Roger’s
death. Maybe you’re just not dealing
with things properly.”
then, Alex walked out from the hotel and scanned the pool. She spotted James and Leigh sitting
comfortably together and immediately grew suspicious. Deciding to see exactly what James had been
up to all day, she started over to them and caught an eyeful when James began
putting suntan lotion on the woman’s back.
this is your idea of networking,” Alex said, her hands planted firmly on her
hips. “What happened to coming here and
promoting Blackthorne-Reynolds? It looks to me like the only thing you’re
promoting is SPF 30.”
James said with a hint of annoyance in his voice. “You remember Leigh Purcell.”
frowned and shook the woman’s hand. “No,
Acapulco,” Leigh said.
Alex finally remembered she raised an eyebrow and looked the woman up and
down. “Yes, from Acapulco.
We stayed at that lovely hotel of yours when we filmed Elena.
I think I was charged for the mini bar by mistake. You should really watch that.”
smiled, fully aware that Alex was being catty.
“Of course. Next time you’re in Acapulco I’ll stock the bar in your room
at no charge.”
looked at them both, wondering if Alex was going to launch into one of her tantrums. “Leigh is the CEO of Purcell Worldwide. They have
many interests in oil.”
Alex said with a regal smile, then turned her attention back to James. She grabbed his arm and led him a few feet
away. “Listen, I don’t appreciate being
bullied into coming to this conference with you and Renee and then being left
alone while you flirt with old girlfriends.”
is not an old girlfriend,” James insisted.
rolled her eyes. “Oh please, do you
think I don’t know what went on with you and her in Acapulco after I went back to Los Angeles?
Her lipstick was all over your shirts when you got home.”
hadn’t predicted Alex’s casual reaction.
don’t care what you do behind your current wife’s back,” Alex interrupted. “But I will not be left to attend boring
meetings with Renee DeWitt for two more days while you’re rubbing suntan oil
all over that aging reptile.”
he could reply, Alex turned and stormed back through the pool area. James turned back around and smiled at Leigh,
hoping that she hadn’t gotten the wrong idea.
Alex always thought the worst, but he honestly had no intention of
repeating what happened in Acapulco six years ago. No matter how difficult things had been with
him and Brooke lately.
was early morning back in Hollywood.
Brooke walked down the stairs at the Blackthorne mansion just as Nathan
entered the house through the front door.
He looked up to the landing where she had paused.
my dear,” he said and started up to meet her.
“How is Michael?”
asleep,” she replied, uncomfortable by how close he was standing to her. “It’s pretty early though. I’ll let him sleep for a while longer. He was kind of fussy last night.”
nodded. “Yes, I heard you get up a few
times in the night.”
did?” She was slightly unnerved by the
remark, although she didn’t know why.
my room is just down the hall from
yours. I had a little trouble sleeping
last night myself." So much of what he said was true. Half
the night he spent lying awake reflecting on his brief
marriage to Jackie Lamont, and the sad sad news that
she had passed on. But after a moment of weakness,
he quickly pushed it aside and smiled his calculated
smile. "So much to do now
that I’m back.”
mean with Stormy and the new movie?”
shrugged. “Among other things.”
with the baby monitor in her hand, Brooke attempted to skirt past him on the
landing. “Well, I thought I would go for
a walk around the garden until Michael wakes up. I’ll see you later.”
gestured to the open path to the stairs.
“Of course,” he said, then stopped her gently. “By the way, has James called? I wonder how the conference is going.”
shook her head. “No, he hasn’t. But I’m sure he will.”
I’m sure. Incidentally, I hope you’re not
uncomfortable with the fact that James is with Alex. Most women would feel threatened by their
husband’s ex-wife being such a permanent fixture in his life.”
not threatened,” Brooke remarked. She
felt like he was testing her but she didn’t know why. What did he have to gain? “Besides, Renee is with them. It’s just business.”
course you’re right,” he said with a sickeningly sweet smile. “Well, I’d better get changed. I have some meetings today. Perhaps we can have dinner together later?”
nodded warily. “Okay.”
turned and went the rest of the way up the stairs. After he’d gone, Brooke walked down to the
landing and paused, looking upstairs and shivering at the peculiar way James’s
uncle looked at her.
that morning, Brett arrived at Seth and Marilee Walker’s house in Malibu.
There was a beautiful display of fruit and pastries set up on the lanai
and Seth insisted on making a batch of his famous Bloody Mary’s.
home is fantastic,” Brett said, feeling the ocean mist spray against his face
as Seth handed him his drink. “Living
on the beach has always been a dream of mine.”
nodded and looked out at the ocean. “Mine
too,” he said with a grin and then turned to his wife. “Marilee tells me you just moved into a condo
at the marina. I’m at the yacht club
quite a bit. You should join me
you have a yacht?” Brett asked with interest.
chimed in and lowered her sunglasses.
“Only one of the biggest,” she said, then gave Brett a quick wink.
knew she was playing with him. And right
in front of her husband. He wondered if
Seth knew of Marilee’s indiscretions, and if it would interfere in his working
for him. It was probably best to keep
it under wraps. He still wasn’t quite
sure who wore the pants in their marriage.
be driving your own yacht before you know it, Brett,” Seth said, the breeze
whipping through his dark hair. “I heard
good things about the work you did at Sunset
Studios. You ran the show yourself for quite a while,
did,” Brett replied. “But that was Hollywood.
You’re a Congressman. I’m still
not sure of what kind of work you’d want me to do for you.”
were a talent manager for a while too, weren’t you?” Seth inquired.
I think you’d be perfect for a PR position.
I’m in need of a good publicist and I think you’d be a perfect fit.”
was blown away. He never thought in a
million years he’d be asked to do public relations for a Congressman. “I’m flattered.”
do you accept?” Seth asked.
course he accepts,” Marilee answered for him.
She got up and poured the last of the Bloody Mary’s into her glass. “Darling, would you be a lamb and make up a
nodded and grabbed the empty pitcher.
“Think about it, Brett. With your
people skills and connections, we’d make a great team.”
he’d gone back inside, Marilee lowered herself onto Brett’s lap and ran her
fingers through his thick blond hair.
“He’s right, you know. You do
have some amazing people skills.” A
malicious grin broke out across her face and she suddenly became aware that he
was getting turned on.
we wait until he’s not around?” Brett asked in bated breath. “He could come back any minute.”
don’t worry, there will be plenty of time for us to get better acquainted,”
Marilee replied, slipping her hand beneath his shirt and caressing his
chest. “Accept my husband’s job offer
and we’ll have all the time in the world.”
closed his eyes, willing himself not to grow aroused. It would be quite a scene for Seth to come
back outside and see them in such a compromising position. “I accept,” he said between hurried groans of
twisted back up to her feet just as Seth emerged from the house. “Good news, Darling. Brett has decided to accept your generous
offer. You’re looking at your new PR
this calls for a toast,” Seth said and refilled their glasses. “Here’s to a profitable and exciting working
relationship. And to your introduction into
the world of politics.”
nodded, suddenly feeling like he was on top of the world again.
Heather and Miranda were ordering lunch in the restaurant at Hotel Terranova, two seared ahi salads with lemon and capers. They waited until the waitress had left the
table and then continued their intense conversation.
I’m worried about you,” Heather began.
“If you have this abortion, there’s no going back. You have to be absolutely sure this is what
knew all too well what Heather was saying to her, but it didn’t change her mind. “I can’t have this baby, Heather,” she
finally replied. Her feelings of
uncertainty were probably natural. Any
woman who considered termination was bound to go through the same thing. It was a big decision and she didn’t take it
lightly. The truth was, she was in no
position to raise a baby. Especially
you’re going through with it?” Heather asked.
have an appointment tomorrow afternoon at two o’clock.” Her reply was grim and she said it with a
certain amount of shame.
took a deep breath and flipped her long hair over her shoulder. “Well what about Brett? He is
the father. You need to tell him the
shot her a penetrating stare. “Why? So he can try to talk me out of it? I guarantee you if he finds out that I’m
pregnant he’ll try to use it as a way to get back together with me, and I am
not about to be one of those women who stays with a man because she’s
said yourself that Brett wanted a baby,” Heather insisted. She couldn’t believe how cold her step-sister
was acting. Brett may not have been a
perfect husband, but he did have feelings.
He had the right to know.
he wanted a baby so he’d have a link to my family forever, not because he had
this primal desire to be a father!
Heather, why do I get the feeling that you’re on his
side? Are you forgetting about the
rotten things he did to you?”
shook her head listlessly. “No, of
course not, I just-“
stop worrying about Brett’s
feelings,” Miranda exclaimed. “He
doesn’t have to know anything. I’ll go
to my appointment tomorrow and he’ll never be the wiser. I can put this whole nightmare behind me.”
sighed heavily. She knew she shouldn’t,
but she did feel sorry for Brett.
He had a right to know what
Miranda was planning.
ballroom at the Peninsula Hotel in Rio was transformed into a tropical
paradise which hosted the VIP’s reception.
Every energy tycoon in the world was in attendance, dressed to the nines
and mingled throughout the extremely diverse crowd.
wandered around the reception, sipping champagne and smoking a thin brown
cigarette. Pausing at the ice sculpture
by the canapé table, she felt someone approach from behind and she turned
around quickly. Maybe someone
interesting was finally going to talk to her.
Unfortunately, it was Renee, scowling her usual scowl and folding her
arms in a thoroughly haughty manner.
was that nonsense this evening?” Renee demanded.
me? I’m sure I don’t know what you’re
talking about…as usual.”
business with the Greek shipping tycoon,” continued Renee. “I’m sure he doesn’t have a favorite Alex
Reynolds film. Why did you even ask him
such a question? How embarrassing for
was making conversation,” Alex spat defensively. “It’s better than that dried up old stuffy
approach you seem to have with everyone here.
Honestly, a person could fall asleep listening to you talk. You’re about as interesting as watching
don’t you just admit that you’re in over your head, Alex?” Renee charged,
circling her like a predator after its prey.
“You know nothing about the natural gas business. You’re an actress,
and not a very good one at that. If I
were you I’d sell your shares of Blackthorne-Reynolds to James and I and get out
while you still have your dignity.”
like that, wouldn’t you?”
have no ulterior motives here. I’m thinking of you and trying to offer some
planted her fists on her hips and laughed with amusement. “Admit it.
You’d like nothing more than to eliminate me from your life. That includes at Blackthorne-Reynolds and
think I’m worried about my relationship with Jordan?” Renee asked. “You’ve got a hell of a lot of nerve. Jordan has absolutely no interest in
you anymore. He told me so before we
really?” Alex said, folding her hands and deciding it was time to lay it out on
the table. She had no choice. “Then explain to me why we made love at my
beach house last week.”
eyed her suspiciously. She could never
tell when Alex was telling the truth or acting.
“What are you talking about?”
week,” Alex repeated. “The day Jordan and my divorce became
final. He came by and we got to
reminiscing.” A pause while she studied
Renee’s shocked expression. “Well, I’m
sure I don’t have to give you the details, but….one thing led to another and
before we knew it we were on the sofa-“
lying,” Renee finally said. She turned
and started to walk away but Alex pulled her back. “Let go of me.”
until you realize that you do not have a claim on Jordan.
He’s not a piece of property and you can’t force me to stay away from
him. We were married, remember? I can have him anytime and any place I want.”
that, Renee drew her hand back and slapped Alex hard across the face. Before she could react, she turned and
stormed away through the crowd. Alex’s
mouth gaped open in awe, bringing her hand up instinctively to the spot where
Renee had hit her. She ignored the
whispers and stares from the onlookers.
That did it, she decided. She was
going to pull out all the stops. No way
would Renee DeWitt get away with humiliating her like that.
didn’t notice the commotion from across the room where he and Leigh were amidst
a slow dance as the band played a romantic jazzy number. They spun around the dance floor, oblivious
to everyone around them and the gawking of admirers from all corners of the
feels comfortable,” Leigh said, shaking her long auburn hair over her
shoulders. She looked into his eyes and smiled
brightly. “It’s like that time we spent
in Acapulco was just yesterday.”
know,” James agreed. “I’m very happy
that I ran into you.”
are the odds?” she continued. “You, a
big Hollywood film producer, getting into the
energy business, then running into me halfway across the world.” A laugh while James spun her around the
floor. “I would never have guessed it
would happen in a million years.”
life takes us in directions we never predicted.”
James, I never knew you were so philanthropic.”
Leigh paused and grew into a thoughtful daze. “Do you ever think about Acapulco?”
hesitated, unsure of how to respond to her pointed question. The wrong answer could land him in hot
water. The only problem was he didn’t
know with who. Brooke was back home in Los Angeles.
The past few weeks she’d been so focused on Michael that he felt a
little neglected. He hated to even think
that because it wasn’t a competition.
But sometimes a man had needs, and lately they were going unfulfilled. Their constant bickering had taken its
guess I got my answer,” Leigh finished for him. “You’ve probably been too busy to think
about me and those weeks we spent together.”
wrong about that,” James said, feeling how close her body was to him. “I think about you often. The truth is, I’ve never been able to connect
with another woman the way we did.”
raised an eyebrow and looked at him with surprise. “Not even Brooke?”
stopped dancing when the song had ended.
The crowd applauded and everyone made their way off the dance
floor. James took her arm and led her
away, realizing it was probably for the best that her question went unanswered.
on, why don’t we get a drink?”
nodded grudgingly and followed him to the bar, quite certain that they would
finish their conversation, and soon.
night, Ethan stopped by the mansion and Brooke poured him a drink as they sat
and talked in the family room.
does James get back?”
day after tomorrow,” Brooke replied listlessly.
She hated to admit it, but she dreaded his return because it would only
lead to more arguments and more uncomfortable silences. But despite all that, she did miss him, which
didn’t really hit her until that night after an uncomfortable dinner with
Nathan. He disappeared after that and
she assumed he was out at his usual Hollywood hangouts.
new business is really taking off for him,” Ethan said and gulped down a
mouthful of scotch. He walked to the
window and gazed outside the French doors at the flowing green lawns
illuminated by the flood lights on the roof.
and I have been having problems,” Brooke confessed out of the blue.
was genuinely surprised. “Brooke, I’m
she crossed the room and sat down on the sofa.
“I’m not sure if we can get past this, Ethan.” She paused, looking at him and detecting a
glimmer of angst. “I’m sorry. This is probably the last thing you want to
hear about…you know, considering our past together.”
mean because of the way I feel about you?” Ethan asked.
blunt remark caught her off guard.
Neither of them noticed the hidden wall by the bookcase propped open a
few inches. Inside the tunnel, Nathan
watched them secretly, taking in their conversation and watching the body
language that was undeniably powerful.
I still do have feelings for you, Brooke,” Ethan continued. He drew his fingers through his thick brown
hair and stood up abruptly. “How could I
that was a long time ago,” Brooke insisted.
“And James and I are married now.
We have a….a family together.”
is exactly why I haven’t said anything about this before,” Ethan
explained. “I respect your marriage and
I respect you and James too much to make the same mistakes as last time. I just thought you should know how I feel is
all. Brooke, don’t you see why not being
able to be Michael’s father has made me so crazy? I’ve never gotten over you. I want for myself what you and James have.”
with confusion, Brooke turned away from him and stared across the room. Nathan quickly shut the hidden door and held
his breath, hoping that she hadn’t seen him spying on their private
don’t know what you expect me to say,” Brooke remarked breathlessly. She could feel his eyes on her even though
her back was to him.
smiled and shook his head.
“Nothing. I don’t expect you to
say anything. Just know that I care
about you more than you’ll ever know. I
always have, Brooke.”
hard, she turned and shook her head with despair. The truth was, she had been denying her
feelings all this time too. That’s what
hurt so bad about lying to James about Michael.
next day, Miranda slept late and grudgingly got up after eleven. She got dressed and, following Dr. Mitchell’s
orders, didn’t eat or drink anything in preparation for her procedure that
afternoon. She made her way downstairs
and paused in the foyer when Brooke came out of the solarium.
was beginning to wonder when you’d get up,” she said. “Are you feeling okay, Miranda?”
in the mood for her step-mother’s attempts at being friendly, Miranda rolled
her eyes and grabbed her keys off the table in the entryway. “I feel fine. I just felt like sleeping late, is that okay
with you?” She knew she was being
snippy, and it was probably because she was nervous. Luckily Brooke probably wouldn’t notice
anything out of the ordinary.
just know you hadn’t been feeling well lately and I was concerned,” Brooke said
and started away. She paused and turned
back briefly. “Will you be home for
took a deep breath and started for the door.
“No, I think I’ll say at the hotel tonight. I have a lot to do and it wouldn’t make sense
to come all the way back home.” She knew
that staying away from home for the night would be best. No one could suspect anything if she wasn’t
nodded and started down the hall. After
Miranda had left, Nathan emerged from the basement door. He smiled, happy to hear that he and Brooke
would be alone again that evening. He
had special plans for them.
went to lunch with her father at the yacht club. They sat at a table outside on the veranda,
taking in the afternoon sun and watching the boats steer in and out of the
don’t see why you don’t come home and live with me in Beverly Hills,” Jordan was saying while Heather stared
off in a daze. She wasn’t really
listened to him. As much as she cared
for her father and loved the time they spent together, her mind was
elsewhere. All she could think about was
Miranda and her procedure later that afternoon.
“Heather, are you listening to me?”
finally looked up at him. “Daddy, not
now,” she said. “I’m not saying I won’t
come home, but for now Hotel Terranova is exactly what I need. Some time alone to think and put my life back
I don’t understand what you’re trying to prove-“ Jordan continued.
glanced up and saw Brett jogging down the docks. Quickly, she shot to her feet and kissed her
father on the cheek. “Daddy, I have to
go. I’ll call you later. Thank you for lunch."
Jordan could reply, she was zipping across
the veranda and around the corner where Brett was stretching, one leg propped
up on the seat of a wooden bench. He
panted heavily, his bare chest and back soaked in sweat from his run.
Heather called to him, pausing beside the bench and looking into his eyes. When he looked at her she felt her heart skip
a beat. All she could think about was
his baby and what Miranda was about to do.
Her heart went out to him.
stranger,” Brett said with a grin, his hands on his hips as he tried to catch
his breath. “How’s Hotel Terranova? Lonely without me there?” he joked.
swept her long brown hair from her eyes.
“I have to talk to you. It’s
important. Can we go up to your condo?”
looked into her eyes, sensing that it was something serious. Nodding, he took her arm and led her inside
they were in his apartment, Brett went straight to the thermostat and adjusted
the air conditioner. He took two bottles
of water from the refrigerator, handing her one and opening the other for
up?” he asked. “Is something wrong?”
into his eyes, Heather saw a child-like innocence that she rarely saw in
him. All the despicable things he’d done
to her and Miranda and Stormy and everyone else seemed to fade into the
background. The only thing that
mattered now was that he was going to be a father and he had no idea. Miranda was going to terminate the pregnancy
and he’d never know the truth. It wasn’t
just…” she began, unsure of what to say or if she should say anything.
Brett said and walked closer. “What’s
she knew it, she was rushing forward and kissing him passionately on the
lips. She didn’t know why or what made
her do it. All she knew was that for the
past few weeks she hadn’t been able to think of anything or anyone else.
caught off guard by her display of affection, dropped his bottle of water and
put his arms around her small frame.
They kissed hard and long, and Heather ran her hands down his bare back
and paused at his waist. She wanted him like
she’d never wanted anyone. His paternal
side only made him more desirable.
she pushed him toward the sofa, unbuttoning her blouse and revealing a pretty
pink bra against her tan skin. Brett
pulled her blouse from her shoulders, kissing her neck and savoring her sweet
love to me,” she found herself saying, fumbling with the waistband on his navy
blue gym shorts.
surprised by her sudden change of heart, Brett decided he would gladly oblige
her request. He’d grown to care about
her very much. Since the carjacking he’d
realized that she was a very different young woman than he’d previously
known. She was fragile and
passionate. He’d had fantasies about
this very moment.
he laid her down on the sofa, Heather looked up at his strong frame and lean,
muscular body. She breathed heavily,
anticipating the excitement of being with him for the first time.
suddenly, she felt a pang of conscience and stopped. Sitting up on the sofa, she placed her head
in her hands and decided she had to level with him first. She couldn’t spend the afternoon making love
with him while Miranda was at the hospital terminating her pregnancy. It wasn’t right.
She felt like she was lying to his face.
can’t,” she said and stood up. “I’m
he asked in bewilderment. He ran his fingers
through his hair and tried to calm his erratic breathing. “What’s wrong? Did I do something?”
shook her head and started buttoning her blouse. “No, it’s Miranda. You have to stop her, Brett.”
he asked. “Stop her from what?”
Heather handed him his shirt and keys.
“She’s pregnant, Brett,” she finally said. “She’s at the hospital right now. She has an appointment at two o’clock to
terminate her pregnancy.”
eyes widened. “It’s…it’s mine?”
Brett headed for the door. He couldn’t
let her do it. He wanted a baby when
they were married and he still did. No
way was he going to let her take that from him.
Blackthorne, Dr. Mitchell will be with you in just a minute,” said the nurse.
nodded uneasily, feeling a draft in the cold examination room as she laid on
the table in a blue dressing gown. She
laid her head down and tried to relax, reminding herself that she was doing it
for the good of everyone. She and Brett
were divorced and bringing a baby into the wake of their marriage was a
mistake. It would only end in heartache
rode up the elevator at Cedars-Sinai, still dressed in his gym shorts
and a wrinkled t-shirt. He jiggled his
keys nervously in his hands and watched the numbers light up each time the
elevator passed a floor.
he reached the fourth floor, he barreled through a crowd of people clamoring to
get on the elevator. Scouting around the
administration area, he approached a nurse at the desk and spoke at a rapid
here to see my wife,” he began, “er…my ex-wife.
Miranda Blackthorne. Is she
nurse glanced down at a chart and nodded her head. “She’s in with Dr. Mitchell,” she
replied. “You can wait in the waiting
room for her. I’ll let you know when
ran his fingers through his hair and slammed his fist on the table. Turning around, he saw Heather approaching
from the elevators.
did you find her?” she asked in a hurry.
shook his head. “I’m too late,” he said
glumly. “She’s already in with the
the hurt in his eyes, Heather wrapped her arms around him and hugged him
close. She felt awful for telling him
too late. It was as if she dangled hope
in front of him and then snatched it away.
then, Miranda emerged from the hall and eyed them together suspiciously. “Well, well, well, what’s going on here?”
both turned to face her. She was fully
dressed and had her purse slung tightly over her shoulder. “Miranda, I’m sorry,” Heather said. “I had to tell him.”
took a few steps toward Miranda, staring into her eyes with contempt. “How could you do it?” he asked. “How could you kill our baby and not even
have the guts to tell me about it?”
felt her eyes sting but she quickly fought off any signs of emotion. “I didn’t go through with it,” she said
grimly. “Congratulations, Brett, you’re
going to be a daddy.”
stared with wide eyes at Miranda. He
rushed forward and threw his arms around her, picking her up and spinning her
around joyously. He’d never been so
happy to hear anything in his entire life.
going to be a father!” he exclaimed.
watched from the side, happy for Brett that he was going to be a father. But something in the way he embraced Miranda
sent ripples of jealousy coursing through her body. Was she too late in expressing her feelings
Rio, James led Leigh down the hall to her room at the Peninsula.
They’d spent an afternoon together touring the fabulously diverse sights
of the city, enjoying a gourmet meal in a quaint oceanside restaurant, and reminiscing
about the old days when they first met.
had a wonderful day, James,” Leigh said as they paused at her door. “I want to thank you. This was really exactly what I needed.”
glad,” James said, staring into her beautiful green eyes. “I guess I’ll go back to my room and freshen
up before dinner. Will I see you
moved her hand toward his and gently pulled him toward the open door. “Why don’t you come inside and we’ll skip
proposition didn’t elude him. He knew
exactly what she was asking, and the frightening thing was he actually wanted
to take her up on it. Before he knew it,
he was leaning in and kissing her passionately. Leigh wrapped her arms around him, stroking
the back of his head and pulling him inside the door.
full moon shown brightly over the Blackthorne mansion in Hollywood.
A gentle breeze blew through the canyons and rustled a cloud of dust in
the distance. The house was bare, nearly
everyone out for the evening except for Brooke, who was beginning to feel
concerned that Michael was coming down with a bug of some sort. She’d spent the entire night so far cradling
him in her arms in the nursery, wishing that James would call so she wouldn’t
feel as alone and helpless.
walked downstairs after he’d finally fallen asleep. It was after nine and she hadn’t eaten. Leilani was off for the evening so she
started to the kitchen to make a sandwich, stopping when she saw the flickering
glow of candles from inside the formal dining room. Frowning, she veered off into the room,
surprised to see a fully elegant meal for two spread out on each end of the
is served,” said Nathan as he emerged from the corner. He was dressed in a dapper black suit and red
ascot and held two glasses of wine.
Approaching Brooke, he handed her one glass and clinked his against
didn’t have to go to all this trouble,” she said, looking at the gourmet
meal. “I was just going to make a
snack. I’m really not very hungry.”
Nathan said and pulled a chair out for her.
“I promised you we would have a lovely dinner together and that’s
exactly what we’re going to do.”
Brooke took her seat and began fidgeting.
The last thing she wanted to do was sit down to a long drawn out
dinner. “Really, Nathan, this is very
nice of you, but I just want to go back to the nursery and sit with
Michael. He’s not feeling well.”
won’t be much good to him if you get sick, my dear,” he said and sat down
across the table from her.
to humor him, Brooke picked up her fork and nibbled at her fish. She would just eat in a hurry, make a
graceful exit, and go back upstairs. The
less time she had to spend with Nathan alone the better she’d feel.
wonder what James is up to,” Nathan said after staring at her for a while. “I mean, he’s been gone for two days and he
hasn’t called. Something must really be
keeping him occupied at the energy conference.
I’m sure it’s fabulously interesting and all. The lectures, the seminars, the meet and
greets. But honestly-“
did call,” Brooke lied. She was just as
curious as to what was keeping James so occupied, but if she had to hear Nathan
going on and on about it all night, she would go even crazier. “You were out. He said things were going fine at the
conference and that he’d be home tomorrow night.”
wondered why she would lie to him. He
knew James hadn’t called, and he knew it was torture for Brooke. But he decided to let her have her way for
now. “That’s wonderful. Did he say if Alex was enjoying herself?”
shot him a penetrating stare. “No, he
didn’t mention Alex.”
rolled her eyes. “Why is that curious?”
laughed and took a bite of his dinner.
had already had enough. She knew what he
was doing. He was trying to plant doubts
in her mind about her marriage to James.
But why? For sport? For the pure enjoyment of upsetting her? Nathan’s reputation was beginning to show
think I’ll go back upstairs and see how Michael is,” she finally said, slamming
her fork down and standing up in a huff.
quickly shot to his feet and ran over to her.
Grabbing her arm, he pulled her back and pressed his lips hard against
hers. Brooke twisted away from him and
pushed him away.
“What do you think you’re
doing?” she exclaimed, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand and backing
up a few steps.
come on, Brooke,” Nathan said with a smirk.
“James didn’t call you today. You
know that as well as I do. You’re afraid
that he’s in Rio with Alex rekindling their
romance, aren’t you?
it?” he demanded. “Look, let them have their
tropical tryst. But don’t sit idly back
and let him have all the fun. Why not
show James that you’re just as wanted as he is?”
me alone,” Brooke said and started out into the foyer. She began walking up the staircase when
Nathan came after her. He took her arm,
pulling her back and enveloping her body with his. She fought him off, pushing him away and
sending him falling back down the stairs.
hysterically, Brooke raced up the stairs toward her bedroom. As soon as she’d slammed the door closed,
Nathan forced it open and barreled inside.
He looked at her with wild eyes, his hair tousled and his breathing
out of here you bastard!” Brooke screamed.
She threw a vase at him and the jagged pieces flew in every
direction. “I swear to God I’ll scream!”
ahead, scream,” Nathan said, walking purposefully toward her. “No one’s home but us. No one will hear you.”
warning you!” Brooke cried, cowering away against the wall. The look on his face was terrifying. She closed her eyes, feeling Nathan coming up
on her and ripping her blouse open. She
screamed, trying desperately to fight him off but he was too strong. He threw her onto the bed and then forced
himself on top of her with his powerful frame.
don’t!” she cried, twisting beneath him.
going to give me a complex,” Nathan said between gritted teeth. He tried kissing her but she turned her head
away stubbornly. “I know you want it
now stop trying to fight me.”
it!” Brooke whimpered. She felt his lips
press against hers again and she instinctively bit down on his tongue. The taste of blood and salt filled her mouth
and she spit and coughed.
Nathan yelled and slapped her across the face.
Brooke used the free moment to kick him off of her and twist herself off
wasting a second, she ran into the bathroom and shut the door, locking it
securely and backing up against the wall.
Outside, Nathan slammed the palms of his hands against the door, howling
for her to open it.
and sobbing with fear, Brooke closed her eyes and prayed that he would go
away. Where was James when she needed
In Rio, James moved
rhythmically against Leigh beneath the sheets in her hotel room. His naked body clashed against hers, drenched
in sweat as he made expert love to her.
Leigh shuddered with pleasure, her toes curling and her eyes rolling
back in her head as she pulled him closer.
Stormy renews his vendetta
against Brett when he learns of recent developments. Miranda
gives David the brush-off. James returns from Rio to
a bad situation.