Flipping through the channels, Seth found himself feeling far more
alone than he’d anticipated. The apartment was quiet without
Jade--too quiet and while he’d been worried about her since he’d come
home, he tried not to focus on the possible danger she could be
in. There never seemed to be a break for their family anymore
especially now that Cameron was in town. He turned the channel to
see a news story playing about Grady’s mysterious ‘death’ in the
headlines. With a sigh, Seth leaned back in his chair feeling an
ache rise up through his temple.
“Just when things were turning to hell, they take a deeper twist down
the road,” he muttered to himself closing his eyes and just wishing his
sour mood away.
Sure, he knew it more to do with what had happened with Blake than
anything, but right now Seth wanted nothing more than to bury himself
under a rock and never come out again. That would be about what
he needed, he thought to himself opening his eyes once again.
Turning his focus to the phone, he began to think about Blake.
The memory of her beautiful features haunted him--the taste of her kiss
lingered upon his lips and the way it felt to hold her was torture in
the back of his mind cursing him over and over again for the hasty
decision he’d made. Not only had he walked away from the only
woman he’d ever truly loved, but he’d urged her to follow her heart to
the other man in her life. He’d gone to extremes and now he had
no doubt in his mind that Blake and Zack were surely enjoying a reunion
with one another wrapped up in the love that Blake refused to accept
“Stop it,” Seth ordered himself realizing that he was going to go mad
if he kept focusing on losing Blake.
Turning the television off, he rose from his chair vowing to find a way
to clear his head when he heard a knocking at the door. Freezing
in his spot, he wondered if perhaps it could be Blake coming to see
him. Could it be possible that she’d realized what a mistake
they’d made in letting things fall apart between them? Could she
be coming back to him ready to start again now that they’d come so very
close to losing it all. As the thoughts overwhelmed him, Seth
made his way to the front door hoping that the feeling in the pit of
his stomach was dead on, but much to his dismay, the face before him
“Seth, hi,” Ria spoke up solemnly--her eyes a mask of seriousness,
“how’s it going?”
“I’d be lying if I said life was just peachy,” he confessed with a sigh
opening the door to extend an invitation to her to come inside, “How
“I was actually kind of worried about you,” she admitted after a brief
hesitation, “Jade asked me to keep an eye on you while she was out of
town and I haven’t been holding up to my end of the bargain.”
“Jade asked you to baby-sit me, huh?” Seth couldn’t help but crack a
smile at that, “My sister is the one in over her head there, yet she is
worried about my well being. Now why doesn’t that surprise me?”
“Because we both know that’s how Jade is,” Ria shook her head at the
thought, “She’s always looking out for those she loves.”
“Which is why I hate that I can’t do something more for her,” Seth
admitted with a frown, “I mean I can’t call her or go find her or know
that she’s alright.”
“It’s a sticky situation, but it’s with good reason there. Doing
what she did with Grady was probably one of the hardest things she’ll
ever have to do,” Ria added thinking about the vow of secrecy she’d
taken with Jade about what was really happening.
“Maybe,” he shrugged in response, “My sister is a trooper and she’s
been through a lot. I have no doubt in my mind that this time
she’ll find a way to come out of this one--that is if Cameron doesn’t
find a way to destroy her in the process.”
“Now Seth, you and I both know we’re not about to let that
happen. We’ll find a way to deal with Cameron and then we’ll get
things back on track again,” Ria piped in encouragingly.
“Since when did you become the optimist?” he gave her a strange look.
“Since I started taking a new look on life,” Ria added with the first
beginnings of a smile.
“Does that have anything to do with your being down at that seedy
hotel?” he arched a speculative brow.
“That’s none of your business Seth. You didn’t see me questioning
you on why you were there which I must admit was something I was a bit
puzzled about,” she remarked turning the conversation around on him.
“It’s a long story. One that I’m sure you really don’t want to be
hearing,” Seth waved his hand dismissively.
“Exactly,” Ria stated matter of fact, “if you can keep your secrets,
then I can keep mine.”
“Your tend to worry me more Ria,” Seth added in a protective tone,
“because if you’re seeing some loser who thinks that his idea of
romance is an out of the way brothel, then you need to start dating
“It’s nothing like that and we‘re going to just forget about this
conversation altogether,” Ria reached out for his jacket lifting it up
off of the back of the couch and throwing at him, “However, I think
it’s past time I get you out of the house. Come on. You’re
going to get a bite to eat with me.”
“I’m not hungry,” he replied stubbornly watching her cross the room
“Too bad. I am, so you’re going to accompany me whether you like
it or not,” Ria tugged on his arm leading him towards the front door.
“Hmm, bossy and stubborn,” Seth couldn’t help but chuckle, “no wonder
you and Jade get along so well.”
“Hey, we just know what’s good for you even if you hate to admit it,”
she pointed out with an impossible gaze.
“Perhaps you’re right,” Seth decided realizing that maybe it was time
for him to quit dwelling on what went wrong with Blake and focus on
something that would keep him from misery for a while.
“You’re quiet tonight,” Grady noted unable to refrain from watching
Jade as she stood beside the window draped in moonlight. Her dark
hair cascaded down around her shoulders, adding to the mystery and
beauty of her that had captured his heart so very long ago.
Slowly he reached out to her bringing his fingers through her dark
tresses. She leaned into him with a sigh falling from her lips.
“You shouldn’t be out of bed,” she whispered slowly circling around to
“I couldn’t help but be drawn to you,” he admitted reaching out to
caress her face lovingly, “you’re beautiful.”
“You make me feel like I truly am when you say such things,” Jade
couldn’t help but smile upon his words.
“That’s because it’s the truth. Now only are you beautiful, but
you’re a remarkable woman Jade,” he murmured leaning down towards her,
“Not many women would put their life on hold like this to spend their
time waiting for a guy as messed up as I am to get his head out of his
“Well, my brother always did say I was stubborn and that I have a knack
for picking up lost causes,” Jade teased back tilting her eyes up
towards him to see the depths of his love reflected before her.
“That’s what I was you know,” Grady continued with an air of sentiment
in his tone, “a lost cause until you opened up my eyes to love
again. You made me see that I hated the man I’d become and with
my bitterness I had closed myself off from so many things. My
life wasn’t living at all until you forced me to face those demons that
“You’re giving me far too much credit Grady,” she felt a heat rising
over her features. “All I did was fall in love with you.”
“And that was what I needed to find my way back into the world again,”
he added with an impassioned tone cupping her face in his thick hands,
“You gave me love and in doing so you broke the chains that had me
locked away from happiness.”
“I just wanted you to see you as I have Grady,” she reached out to curl
her fingers over his arm in a slow, subtle movement, “You’re so much
more than you were ever willing to let yourself believe.”
“I’m not nearly what you deserve in your life, but that doesn’t stop me
from loving you,” he whispered bridging the distance between
them. His lips skimmed over hers tasting the sweetness of her
remarkable lips. He felt her curl her arm around his shoulders
while his hand dropped down over the curve of he spine urging her in
closer to him. The movement sent her up on her toes, completely
into his embrace as their kiss continued to intensify.
“Grady,” she muttered his name finding herself breathless as they
slowly parted. Their gazes fixed on one another, the moment
lingering between them with the night sky shining overhead. She
carefully kept her arm around him, feeling so many emotions and yet no
words could explain just what it was she was feeling at a time like
this in being so very lost in his arms.
“I love you,” he whispered again bending in to claim her mouth again
when a tiny yelp rushed over his sensual lips causing him to buck back.
Jade frowned upon his retreat shifting her mood from that of romance to
offering up a firm warning tone, “I told you that you shouldn’t have
gotten out of bed.”
“I’m fine,” Grady lied unable to contain the wince that the tenderness
in his chest had offered up.
“You’re a horrible liar Grady,” Jade reached for his hand marching over
towards the bed with him, “lay down.”
“Jade, I don’t want to…” he started to argue watching as she placed her
hands on her hips and glared up at him.
“Don’t make me restrain you,” she warned with a scowl.
“Hmm, that almost sounds sexy,” he couldn’t help but tease finding her
too enthralling for words with the way she looked up at him.
“It won’t be if you force me to make this ugly,” Jade gave him a slight
nudge into the bed, “The doctors told you that you had to be taking it
“I have been taking it easy. If I take it any easier, then I’d be
dead,” he scoffed catching note of her sour expression, “I’m
sorry. Bad line there.”
“Bad doesn’t even begin to cover it,” she shook her head at him making
her way around the small room to collect some new dressings for his
wound, “You know the last thing we can afford right now if for you to
get an infection. Open your shirt up.”
“I think I like the direction this is headed in already,” he couldn’t
help but tease knowing that there would be no way to crack a grin out
of her at the moment when she was bound and determined to be taking
care of him. Complying to her command, he opened up his shirt and
laid back to await her attention.
“You know sometimes I have to wonder about you,” Jade shook her head at
him, seeing that his wound was clearly a bit agitated. She began
to tend to him cleaning it up much to his dismay.
“Jade, I could’ve done this myself,” he began to reach out for her hand
to stop her.
“You could’ve, but you didn’t so sit still,” Jade warned again, a frown
curling over her lips. She removed the bandage he’d had on
previously and a shiver raced over her at the very sight of it.
“Hey,” Grady touched her arm gently, “Jade, it’s okay.”
“No, it’s not okay,” she shook her head unable to contain her intense
reaction to the proof of Cameron’s evil before her on the man she
loved, “I could’ve lost you because of this.”
“But you didn’t and that’s what is important,” he squeezed her wrist
affectionately, “Jade, look at me.”
“It’s just not that easy for me to dismiss what happened Grady. I
know what Cameron is capable of and when I think of him doing this to
you just because of me…” she trailed off feeling a cold fire burning
her to the core.
“Cameron had this happen because he’s evil. This had everything
to do with him and nothing to do with you Jade,” Grady informed her
seriously, “The man would’ve done this to me regardless of what we had
going on between us.”
“You know that’s entirely not true Grady,” Jade began to argue with
him, “He’s sick and obsessed with me and…”
“And we’re not going to worry about that right now. Tonight we’re
going to think about the other things in this world worth our time,”
Grady insisted sliding his fingers up over her arm, “We’re going to
focus on us and our future.”
“But what kind of future do we have once Cameron learns the
truth? You know he’s not going to just sit back and let this
situation slide. If he tried to kill you…” she continued.
“Shh…” Grady pleaded with her bringing his finger up over her lips to
silence her, “no worries. Not tonight.”
“Easier said than done,” Jade glanced down at the reminder of his near
“Perhaps, but maybe just maybe we can find a way to distract ourselves
for a while,” he suggested catching a glare from her before he
continued, “and no it’s not what you’re thinking, but I can promise you
that you’re going to love it.”
Jenna sat her desk unable to contain the shivers that overtook
her. While she knew she should’ve headed home as soon as Cameron
had left the morgue, she couldn’t help but find herself shaken by his
words. He’d frightened her and the fact that he’d taken the
opportunity to approach her was enough to have her far more worried
than she would like to be. Sure, she’d known of his evil first
hand, but never before had she become a target--that was until she’d
discovered she was Douglas Mahoney’s daughter. Another tremble
overtook her with that thought.
She could still hear Cameron’s words echo in her head and as she
thought to what he’d said about Douglas, she had to wonder what message
he was trying to convey. Sure, she’d grown to learn that Douglas
was a snake, but with the things that Cameron was saying… Could
it be possible that Cameron was a part of her family? That
Douglas had another family out there that Jenna knew nothing
about? Was it possible that she had some kind of ties to the evil
that she’d loathed the most? Her stomach tightened at the thought
and a new kind of fear pressed over her.
“Don’t let him get to you,” Jenna tried to urge herself hoping to
dispel any of the things that Cameron had planted in her head. He
was evil and there was no denying that. He was a man without
conscience and he would do anything and everything to destroy anyone
who he deemed a threat. That had to be where he was headed with
her. There was no other explanation.
Jenna pushed aside her negative thoughts and rose from her chair
determined to push the night behind her. It was long past overdue
for her to go home and she needed to do just that. She would
forget about the visit that he’d paid her--at least for now.
With that thought in mind, Jenna reached over to turn off her desk lamp
ready to head on home when a sound ricocheted through her ears.
Spinning around on her heel, she felt her skin prickle with fear--her
heart thudding in her chest as the sound continued to grow again.
Fearing for the worst, she looked to the scalpel she’d brought back
into her office with her.
“Don’t start losing it now Jenna,” she warned herself ready to talk
herself down when another noise sounded.
“That’s it,” she declared grabbing the scalpel and making her way
towards her office door in a tentative fashion. Creeping ever so
slowly, she felt her pulse leaping up in her throat. She said a
silent prayer that whatever was waiting on the other side wouldn’t be
her undoing. She had far too many things going on for it to all
end now--like this. However, the sad truth was that Jenna was no
longer Jenna the Brave, but Jenna the Terrified especially after what
she’d just experienced with Cameron.
No, she wasn’t about to let him shake up her world, she vowed to
herself taking a bold step out of her office only to come face to face
with the shadows before her. A breath escaped her lips when she
realized she was surrounded by nothingness. She was still very
much alone and the sounds had to be just her…
“Ahhhhh,” she squealed in terror feeling a hand press down upon her
shoulder. Hastily she spun around holding up the scalpel
defensively only to discover Hart taking a terrified leap
backward. He raised his hands in the air defensively while trying
to curb his own surprise by his approach.
“Jenna, hey it’s okay. It’s just me,” Hart began to speak to her
watching her hand shake with the force she’d been holding the scalpel.
“What the hell are you doing here,” Jenna cursed at him unable to keep
from shaking. She lowered the scalpel trying to control her
breathing in the moment her fears had consumed her the most.
“I was coming to see you. You weren’t at the apartment and I got
worried,” he began to explain cautiously reaching out towards
her. He nodded towards he scalpel before sliding his hand down
over hers to retrieve it from her, “Why don’t you just give me that?”
“Hart, you can’t just go sneaking up on people like that,” Jenna
continued to chastise him, “Do you have any idea what I could’ve
done to you with that?”
“Unfortunately I’m afraid to think any further about it,” Hart offered
back with a shudder. His eyes dropped to the blade again before
he looked around the room, finding a tray of surgical tools to set it
down upon. Turning to address her once again, he noted the way in
which she seemed still shaken by his arrival, “Jen, what’s really going
“I don’t want to talk about it,” she replied stubbornly.
“Bad answer. Try again,” he urged her watching the way in which
she seemed wired up beyond anything he’d seen before.
“Hart, I just want to go home. Do you think we can do just that?”
she pleaded with him before turning to go back into her office again,
“This place is giving me the creeps tonight.”
“I can’t say I can argue that point, but considering that you work here
with the formerly breathing, I don’t see why you’re this upset,” he
noted keeping his eyes fixed upon her, “Something happened didn’t
it? Did they call you about that finger?”
“No, nothing like that,” she shook her head in response before turning
her attention to her desk again, “I just don’t want to talk about
it. Now if I could just find my damn purse and get out of here.”
“It’s right here,” Hart lifted it up from the chair beside him, “but I
think we should talk about whatever is bothering you.”
“It’s nothing,” Jenna lied making her way towards him to reach for her
purse. He held it up just out of her reach watching the glare
that grew behind her dark eyes, “Hart, give it to me.”
“When you tell me what’s going on,” he instructed waving the purse
around over his head.
“Fine,” she folded her arms in front of her chest impatiently, “Cameron
showed up earlier tonight.”
“Cameron as in Cameron Stone,” Hart’s arm dropped in astonishment.
“That’s right,” she snatched her purse out of his hands, “and I really
would rather not talk about it right now and certainly not here.
So can we just get out of this place?”
“Did he do something to you,” Hart questioned in a panic reaching out
to touch her, “Did he hurt you?”
“Not at all like you’re thinking,” Jenna answered honestly, “but he
said some things. He said some really horrible things that were
meant to get a reaction out of me.”
“Such as?” Hart arched an inquisitive brow.
“Such as we can talk about this when we get to your place, but for now
I want to get as far away from here as possible for the night,” Jenna
informed him bluntly pushing her way past him out of her office in an
effort to put the moment of terror behind her for the time being.
Heather stepped out of Diego’s shower desperately trying to shake the
cold feeling that had overtaken her from the moment she’d left
Cameron’s office. While she’d tried to ignore what had happened,
it had shaken her--far more than she’d ever thought possible. Now
as she reached out to wipe the steam away from the mirror in Diego’s
bathroom, she took a long, hard look at her reflection feeling the
emptiness of her life come back to haunt her all over again.
“Don’t cry,” she ordered herself hating the red, puffiness that now
surrounded her blue-green eyes. She brought her fingers up over
the side of her face taking note of the purple bruising that formed
over her left cheekbone. A shudder ripped through her as she
closed her eyes wishing the night away, but when she reopened her eyes
again, she found herself in the same position she’d wished would
“Is everything alright in there,” she heard Diego call out to her
through the door.
“Everything’s fine,” she lied clenching her towel to her body tighter
“I hope the clothes are working for you,” he added causing Heather to
look to the t-shirt and sweatpants he’d laid out for her. They
were far from her liking, but given that she’d pushed herself into his
home, she forced herself to be cordial to his efforts.
“They’re fine,” she answered weakly turning her attention to her
reflection once again, “I’ll be out in a few minutes.”
Hearing nothing from his side of the door, Heather figured he’d taken
her words as a hint to give her some space, but now she found herself
dealing with the mess she had to face once she walked out of the
bathroom. Sure, she’d gone to Diego when she wasn’t sure where
else to turn, but now, well how was she ever going to explain the
reminder of what happened with Cameron without her opening up about the
situation? How could she bring herself to tell anyone about what
had happened when the only one to blame for the mess she’d wound up in
was the woman staring right back at her in the mirror.
“You can’t tell anyone,” she mouthed to herself rolling her shoulders
back as she stood up taller. She frowned hating to see the damage
she’d brought upon herself.
Sure, there was a time when Heather Gibbons might’ve sat back and took
a load of things in the name of her career, but those days were long
gone. She wasn’t the same B-rated actress doing the despicable
jobs that William had brought her way. She was a woman with goals
and dreams and she couldn’t let the past be something to hold her back
“You’ll be my money making dream,” she could hear William’s words echo
through her head. Bringing her fingers up through her damp hair,
she tried to dismiss the voices that had come back to haunt her after
Cameron’s attack, yet the harder she fought them, the more they kept
returning. There was no denying what she once was, but she wasn’t
going down that road again. It wasn’t one that she’d stepped into
willingly, but hey, everyone did their hard time in making it to the
top. At least that was what William had told her that first time
she’d happened upon the set of his shameless productions.
Even now she thought back to how that first time had nearly broken her,
but she’d told herself it was for the money--for the step towards
making her a star. She’d chalked up the humiliation as something
she would shove back in the faces of those who doubted her
talents. She’d vowed to block that part of her life out and yet
when Cameron threw that back in her face, she’d felt as if she’d never
truly escaped that life.
“No,” Heather slammed her hands down on the countertop in an attempt to
banish her self-defeating thoughts. “You aren’t going to let this
break you. What Cameron did tonight was wrong and you have to
tell someone. He can’t get away with this.”
“Or can he?” a voice in the back of her head questioned. Heather
looked up to see the face in her reflection once again, only this time
the woman looking back at her was scowling at her with obvious dismay.
“Oh come on Heather. You don’t really think that anyone is going
to believe someone like you when it comes to this?” the voice inside
her head taunted her, “They wouldn’t believe you then and they
certainly wouldn’t believe you now--not with Cameron. Face
it. You’re a whore and that’s all you’ll ever be.”
“No,” Heather argued with herself taking a step back. She
clenched her head tighter unwilling to take herself down this path any
longer, “that’s not true.”
“Isn’t it?” the voice inside her head challenged, “Isn’t that what
Douglas has been saying all along? Isn’t it what you know to be
true? Face it, Brant knew it. Kipp knew it and now Cameron
does as well.”
“I’m not those things,” Heather argued with the voice, “I’m nothing
“Of course you aren’t,” the voice continued with a haughty laugh, “or
maybe you’ve just gotten so used to pretending that you can’t see what
you really are. Though I would think that baby you’re carrying is
a good indication of exactly what kind of woman you turned out to be.”
“No,” Heather shouted charging towards the mirror, slamming her fists
against the face before her in a fury, “that’s not true. It’s not
“Heather, what’s going on in there? Heather!” Diego shouted from
behind the locked door, “Heather?”
“It’s not how it is,” she continued to strike at the mirror causing the
glass to shatter upon impact. The sounds of squealing glass
surrounded her covering her hands with the force she’d delivered.
“Heather,” Diego called out to her breaking the door open only to
discover her standing in front of the mirror with blood covered hands,
“Oh my God.”
Rushing to her side, Diego reached out to her worried about what was
happening. He looked to her hands noticing the bloody cuts she’d
brought upon herself. Turning his eyes up towards hers, he tried
to see what she was thinking--what was going on behind her eyes, but in
that moment she was lost to the world--far from him in a place he
feared he couldn’t pull her out of.
“Heather please…talk to me,” Diego reached out to her placing his hand
on her shoulder, “Heather, look at me. Heather!”
“Diego,” she spoke his name in a faint whimper, her eyes misting over
with tears with the sound. She looked to him unable to contain
the emotions pouring out of her. Turning her attention to her
hands a choked whisper fell from her lips, “Oh God what have I done?”
“It’s okay,” Diego began in a soothing tone attempting to take a better
look at her hands.
“No, it’s not okay. It’s never going to be okay again,” she broke
down into tiny sobs unable to drive the demons that had been haunting
her out of her head.
“I still can’t believe that you arranged all this Russ,” Avery
confessed with a sigh holding onto him as they lay out with one another
beneath the stars.
“What? You don’t think that I could pull something like this
off,” he questioned feigning injury upon her words.
“That’s not what I’m saying at all,” Avery admitted turning into
“Then what are you saying,” he asked shifting on the blanket he’d laid
out on the ground for them to enjoy the fireworks with one another.
“I’m just saying that there isn’t a day in my life when you don’t find
a way to surprise me,” she replied.
“You say that as if you think it’s a bad thing,” he gave her a strange
“Not at all,” she added her voice full of sentiment. “It’s just
it’s nights like these when I wonder how it was that I was lucky enough
to find someone like you in my life.”
“Luck only had part to do with it,” he reached out to tuck a strand of
dark hair from her ear, “considering that I spent one hell of a time
trying to get you to see how right we were for one another.”
“But like an idiot I kept refusing to realize the good thing I had in
front of me,” Avery added with the beginnings of a frown, “It shows you
which one of us was the clueless idiot.”
“Oh now you’re just being entirely too hard on my wife because she is
no idiot,” Russ argued with her, bringing his arm around her body to
urge her in closer to him, “She’s beautiful, enchanting, charming, not
to mention intelligent and sexier than it should ever be allowed.”
“Now you’re just trying to flatter me,” Avery laughed lightly feeling
the warmth of him surrounding her.
“Maybe a little bit,” he decided stealing a quick kiss from her lips,
“but then again, I think I have every right to think very highly of you
since it’s not everyday I’m fortunate enough to be sharing my world
with the woman who has made each and every one of my dreams come true.”
“Each and every one of them, huh?” she arched a curious brow, “That’s a
pretty bold statement if I do say so myself.”
“It’s nothing short of the truth,” he touched her chin in an
affectionate gesture, guiding his hands up over the lines of her face,
“I have my best friend, my dream lover and the mother of my child all
rolled into one with you. What more could a man ask
“Keep remembering that when it’s time to change dirty diapers,” she
couldn’t help but tease him.
“Oh I think I can handle it,” he offered up with a coy grin.
“Right, this coming from the man who looked as if he was going to lose
his lunch when Grady threw up on our carpet,” she threw out a pointed
“Okay, so maybe I didn’t take too well to my brother’s indiscretions,
but I’m sure that I’ll be more than able to step up to the plate with
our little one. After all this is something we’ve waited a
lifetime to have happen,” he reminded her simply, “How can I not love
experiencing every minute of it with you?”
“It’s really going to change things for us Russ,” Avery pointed out
laying her head upon his chest, “We won’t be able to pick up and run
off like we’ve been doing lately.”
“Oh come on. You make it sound like we’ve run all over the
“Some days it feels like the world has run all over us,” she sighed
heavily while closing her eyes to listen to the sound of his heart
beating beneath her touch.
“So we’ve had a few unexpected surprises,” he massaged her spine
gently, “I’m sure that when our little one comes into the world, we’ll
be more than ready to leap into the role of responsible parents there.”
“Responsible,” she couldn’t help but laugh at the thought, “this from
the man who thought it wise to take a joyride on his father’s
motorcycle at age fourteen only to get lost in the middle of the worst
part of town with no gas and no money to phone for help.”
“So I was impulsive,” he shrugged.
“And reckless,” she added lifting her head to look up at him.
“And you loved every second of it,” he teased tickling at her side,
“You know that you loved the wild man in me.”
“I did and I still do,” she crawled up over him so that they were face
to face, “but when I think about our baby, well I just wonder if our
child is going to grow up to be like either one of us.”
“God I hope not,” he blurted out in a haste, “if we have a son, well
then I swear to you that I’m going to teach him how to be a proper
gentleman. He’ll know not to make the same stupid mistakes his
father made in running away from his heart time and time again.”
“And if we have a daughter, I hope that when she grows up she finds
someone who makes her feel as loved as her father has done for me,”
Avery confessed tearfully unable to hold back her emotions.
“I wouldn’t want anything less for our little girl, though I must admit
she deserves far more than a man like me,” Russ added in an
“Now how can you say something like that about the man I love,” Avery
gave him a firm look.
“Avery, sweetheart, when I think about all the crazy things I did to
capture your attention growing up,” he paused, “well let’s just put it
this way. If our daughter has some guy naked and handcuffed to
her bed, then I won’t hesitate to pull the trigger on the shotgun if
you catch my drift.”
“Do you really think our daughter would do something like that,” she
asked biting on her lower lip as she thought back to her own youth,
“Okay, so maybe she would, but then again, maybe she’ll make the right
choices and see that if things are meant to be in love, then it’s well
worth the wait.”
“Do you think that would’ve worked for us back in the day,” he threw
out a doubtful glance.
“Not a chance, but maybe our little one will be smarter than that,” she
insisted rolling off of him and laying back on the blanket once again,
“Though I have to admit I really don’t want to be thinking that far
ahead right now.”
“Neither do I,” he confessed bringing his hand up over her abdomen
soothingly. He slowly massaged her body, feeling a sentiment
building up inside of him as he looked to the growing reminder of their
love. “We have so much ahead of us that I don’t want to jump to
years down the road. Right now I just want to focus on how
wonderful this is for us each and every step of the way.”
“Somehow I have no doubt in my mind that’s exactly what we’ll have with
our family Russ,” Avery murmured bringing her fingers through his dark
hair. Watching as he leaned down to press a kiss upon her
abdomen, she felt her heart overcome with love for the man before her.
“Hey sweetheart, daddy’s right here,” he spoke to her stomach, “and I
just want you to know that mommy and I love you very much. We’ll
always love you and try our best to do what’s right by you. Sure,
there might be times when you hate us--times when you think we’re out
of our minds and that we don’t understand, but when it all comes down
to it, we love you with all that we are and that is what really
counts. You‘re a miracle for us and we‘ve waited a long time to
have you in our lives.”
“That we have,” Avery agreed feeling his lips skim over her body in a
tender moment that reminded her all over again why the best things in
life were worth fighting for. She just prayed that fate would
give the other members of their family the same kind of happiness in
days to come.
“You sure that you’re not looking,” Grady asked again from the kitchen
while popping his head out to catch Jade eagerly looking around the
living room area. “Jade, come on.”
“Okay fine,” she brought her hands up over her face, “happy now?”
“It’s a start,” Grady decided stepping out into the living room and
reaching for her hand, “Now keep your eyes closed.”
“Fine,” Jade accepted his hand allowing him to guide her into the
kitchen, “but I really wish you would’ve let me help you with whatever
you have going on in here.”
“No you don’t,” Grady contradicted her leading her into the
kitchen. Unable to suppress the pleasure he took in keeping her
on her toes unaware of his plans for the evening with her. “Right
“I’m all yours,” Jade promised eliciting a smile from Grady’s lips.
“You have no idea how wonderful that truly sounds,” Grady replied
making his way around the table after helping her into her chair,
“okay, now you can open your eyes.”
“Alright,” Jade replied opening her eyes to find a candle burning
before her. She glanced at it for a moment turning her focus to
Grady before looking to the candle again, “What in the world is that?”
“Believe it or not, it’s a vintage Hulk Hogan candle,” Grady couldn’t
help but laugh at the audacity of the only candle he’d been able to
locate in the place they’d been sent to. “Someone must’ve been a
fan or was hoping to keep that for sentimental value.”
“That has to be it because that thing is hideous,” Jade couldn’t help
but laugh at the canary colored yellow wax figure before her of the
wrestler. He was posed in a way to show off the muscled wax bumps
that must’ve been the creator’s attempt at strong arms.
“Tell me about it and to make matters worse, I just about marked out
when I saw where the wick started from there up his well…,” Grady
chuckled in obvious amusement, “The guy never had a fighting chance on
“Let’s just hope he doesn’t fart while he’s on fire,” Jade couldn’t
help but tease finding herself more amused than intended as they
scrutinized the wax figure before them.
“I’ll keep my fingers crossed, but before we let Hulk kill the mood
with his own personal problems, how about we focus on the main course,”
Grady pulled a lid up off of one of the plates before him to reveal a
pileup of macaroni and cheese and a couple of corndogs, “I know it’s
not what we’re used to, but given what we had to work with…”
“It looks delicious,” Jade admitted reaching out for one of the
corndogs, “Truth be told I’m starved even if Hulk there was starting to
make me lose my appetite.”
“You know, why don’t we skip on Hulk altogether,” Grady suggested
reaching for the candle and blowing it out. Rising up from his
chair, he shook his head at the repugnant face before him while
wondering why he’d even bothered with it. Opening one of the
drawers in the kitchen, he gave the pitiful figure one last look,
“Sorry Hulk, but you’re killing the mood tonight buddy.”
Jade laughed lightly watching Grady interact with the candle.
Seeing him up and joking was enough to make her feel more at ease as
she watched him tuck Hulk away for the night.
“No more distractions,” Grady announced “Ah, so where we?”
“You were telling Hulk how he didn’t have a chance with a girl like
me,” Jade reminded him with laughter.
“Oh well, you know I couldn’t let him take all the credit for my hard
work,” Grady teased back sliding into his chair, “besides you haven’t
seen what’s for dessert yet.”
“Now I’m curious,” Jade reached over to touch one of the covered plates
“No you don’t,” Grady swatted at her hand playfully, “I’m not about to
let you spoil your dinner.”
“Oh come on,” she curled her lip in a pout, “Grady, you know that
dessert is my favorite part of the meal and to put it before me only to
torture with it all through dinner…”
“You’re right. It’s not fair. I’ll just put it away for
now,” he reached for the plate ready to swipe it up off of the table.
“Don’t you dare,” Jade grabbed his arm preventing him from taking it
away from her, “Come on Grady. Just let me take a look.”
“Well if you insist,” Grady shrugged his shoulders releasing his hold
on the plate before motioning to Jade, “it’s all yours.”
Jade smiled at the thought while reaching for the lid on the
plate. Slowly she pulled off the cover to reveal a heart made out
of pull and peel licorice before her. In the center of it were
the words ‘WILL YOU MARRY ME JADE’ spelled out in Alphabets
cereal. Gasping in surprise, she brought her hand up to her mouth
in shock unable to contain the reaction she had to such a message.
“Grady, is this really what it looks like. I mean are you
really…” Jade started in astonishment unwilling to believe what was
“Asking you to be my wife,” he questioned with a sexy smile. He
rose from his chair circling around the table to move in before
her. Carefully sliding her chair out from the table, he got down
on one knee reaching for her hand with the movement, “I know that we’ve
had a lot going on between us and that there are things that need to be
worked out, but when I almost left this world, it got me thinking about
my life--about us and about how I haven’t done right by you. I
was a fool to do the things that I’ve done Jade and while this wasn’t
exactly like I’d planned on doing this for us, I knew from the moment I
woke up that this was something that I wasn’t going to be able to keep
inside any longer.”
“Oh Grady,” she choked up on emotion unable to believe what was
happening between them.
“Jade, the truth is that I am so desperately in love with you like I’ve
never loved anyone before. For a long time I vowed to myself that
if I tried hard enough to close myself off that I could escape
love--that somehow I could avoid all the joys and thrills and feelings
that being in love brought to me. After Susan, well I just didn’t
think that it would ever be possible to feel anything ever again, but
from the moment you walked into my life you changed that. You
made me believe in all the things that I’d stopped wanting in my
life. You forced me to face the man I was--the man I wanted to be
and I know that I can be that man when I’m with you. I know that
in loving you, it’s given me a second chance at forever.”
“Grady I…” Jade began at a loss.
“I know that this will take time for us to get back on track with the
things happening in our love. I realize we have a lot waiting
back for us in Coral Valley between the unmentionable things we vowed
not to speak about tonight. I realize that will take time to
resolve and if you need time to think this over, then I’m more than
willing to give you all the time in the world. I know that I have
to deal with some of the things that I’ve put you through and you have
every reason in the world to refuse me, but Jade I swear to you if
you’ll consider taking me up on my proposal, then I’ll do everything in
my power to be the husband that I always wanted to be--to be the man
who protects you from harm--who loves you more and more with each and
every breath he takes. I’ll do my hardest to make your dreams
come true and while I can’t promise that life with me will be easy, I
swear to you that I’ll devote all that I am to showing you just how
deep into my system you are--about how it feels in here,” he brought
her hand over the center of his chest, “with your love in my
life. I know I‘m asking a lot Jade, but I‘ll prove I‘m worth the
risk. I‘ll do whatever it takes to show you that I can be the man
you trust--the man you can feel confident in sharing your future with.”
“Oh Grady,” Jade bit on her lower lip unable to contain the tears that
overwhelmed her, “You have no idea how long I’ve dreamt about a moment
“I know it’s probably not exactly how you planned it or nearly as
perfect as it should’ve been,” he started in an apologetic tone.
“No,” she shook her head. Placing her finger over his lips to
silence him before he could continue, she spoke up overcome with
emotion, “Grady, it’s perfect. It’s everything I could’ve ever
wanted and the answer is yes.”
“Yes?” he repeated with wide eyes watching her nod again.
“Grady Denton, there is nothing more in this world that I want than to
be your wife and to share my life with you,” she blurted out revealing
the truth in her heart, “I know it might sound completely insane, but
I’m ready to take a chance on spending forever with you.”
“You are,” he half questioned before realization dawned in upon him,
With that he picked her up off of the chair sweeping him into his arms,
while doing a dance around the kitchen. His laughter was music to
Jade’s ears as he hugged her in his arms.
“Grady, wait,” Jade placed her hand upon the center of his chest, “your
wound. You shouldn’t be…”
“To hell with what I shouldn’t be doing,” Grady interrupted squeezing
her in against him, “because right now I’m in heaven with the woman I
love in my arms.”
“Oh Grady,” Jade sighed feeling his lips descend over hers leaving her
with the realization that while disaster was lurking, her dreams of
happily ever after with Grady were one step closer to coming true.
“Are you sure that you don’t want to crash here tonight?” Seth
questioned opening up the door to his apartment, “I’m sure Jade
wouldn’t mind you staying in her room considering how late it is.”
“And have to listen to you snoring all night in the next room,” Ria
threw out a pointed look, “Not a chance. Jade has told me time
and time again how you’ve wrecked her sleep there. I’d rather not
risk it since I have an early shift at the hospital tomorrow.”
“Your loss,” Seth flashed her a teasing grin, “A great many women would
love to be spending the night with me.”
“Yeah well that’s because they don’t know you to be the big goober that
I know you are,” Ria swatted at his chest playfully, “but seriously
thought Seth, don’t let this situation with Blake pull you under.”
“Who said anything about Blake,” Seth frowned down at her.
“You didn’t have to. I know you as if you’re my own brother here
Seth. It’s not hard to figure out when something’s bothering you
and well, I know how tentative things have been with you and Blake
“Yeah, well you don’t have to worry any longer. It’s over,” Seth
blurted out in confession.
“Seriously?” Ria’s eyes widened in surprise.
“You never saw that one coming, did you?” he questioned dropping his
hands into his pocket.
“Not at all. I mean I knew she and Zack were, well whatever and I
always thought you deserved better, but I guess I just never thought
that she’d be stupid enough to end it with you,” she began.
“I’m the one who ended it and it was really for the best. Blake
wanted something that I couldn’t give her and I hope she finds it with
the right guy,” he sighed poignantly as his thoughts returned to the
one woman he’d fought like hell to forget.
“Yeah, well for what it’s worth, I think she had the right guy, but she
was too stupid to see it,” Ria reached out to hug him, “Take care of
yourself Seth and if you need anything at all--”
“I’ll be sure to come and bother you at the hospital,” he assured her
with a light squeeze before releasing her, “Drive safe okay.”
“Yes dad,” she gave him a quick salute, “Would you like me to call you
when I get back to my apartment too?”
“Now that you mention it, that’s probably not a bad idea. With
all that’s happening around town, it’s not safe to be out alone at
night,” he frowned as worry creased over his brow, “In fact, why don’t
you let me follow you home? That way I know you’ll get there
“Seth, I’m not ten years old. I can take care of myself and
besides, I’m prepared for anything,” she reached into her purse pulling
out some pepper spray, “See, feel better?”
“Not really, but you’re not going to let me change your mind, are you?”
he questioned glumly.
“Not a chance, but I will call you to let you know when I get home,”
she promised him throwing out one last wave before leaving his
apartment. Turning around, she saw that he was watching her walk
to the elevators. She gave him a silly wave, sticking out her
tongue before stepping back into the elevators and feeling the doors
close in front of her.
“Funny seeing you here,” a voice captured her attention from behind
causing her to jump with a start. Turning around she saw the face
of the man she’d been spending time with lately before her. He
reached over to the emergency stop button on the elevator
“What are you doing here?” Ria gasped trying to ease her heart rate
back to normal once again.
“Would you believe that I missed you?” he questioned making a step
towards her, his dark eyes reaching over her in a slow, perusal.
“Maybe,” she offered up a flirty giggle before growing suddenly
serious, “but how did you know I was here?”
“I couldn’t help myself,” he shrugged his shoulders simply, “I saw you
at the restaurant and I had to see if I had something to worry about.”
“I already told you about Seth,” she moved in towards him bringing her
arms around his shoulders, “He’s not interested in anything, but Blake.”
“I see,” he curled his arms around her waist, “and how is that going?”
“They aren’t seeing one another anymore,” she frowned back at him, “but
not because he doesn’t care about her. Blake just doesn’t have it
in her to be in a commitment it would seem.”
“Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be,” he suggested with a shrug of his
shoulders before dropping his lips down over her neck.
“Maybe,” she murmured melting at his touch, “but Seth really does love
her. I can see it in his eyes when he talks about her.”
“Then perhaps things will work themselves out, but for now,” he reached
over to the emergency stop button on the elevator starting it up again,
“what do you say we forget about your friends for a while and focus on
exploring all the reasons why I can’t seem to resist you?”
“That sounds very tempting indeed,” Ria agreed claiming his mouth in a
heated frenzy vowing to spend her evening lost in the arms of a man
who’d single-handedly turned her world upside-down.
“So tell me what happened,” Hart urged taking a seat beside Jenna on
“It wasn’t as bad as I made it sound,” Jenna offered up taking a sip of
the tea Hart had given her moments earlier. Carefully keeping
herself wrapped up in the throw blanket he’d given her, she looked into
his eyes seeing the worry evident behind them. “It really wasn’t.”
“Jen, you were upset and I know you better than to think it was
nothing,” Hart placed his hand gently on her leg, “What happened?
“I was doing some work in my office after I went to see Doug,” she
explained thinking back to Cameron’s unexpected arrival, “I thought I
was alone and then I heard some noises. I went out to investigate
and there Cameron was.”
“And nothing. He said he wanted to talk to me about Douglas and
that he wanted for us to have an understanding with one another,” she
shivered at the memory, “He went on and on about Douglas having been
his father--that Cameron was his step-son for a while and he believed
that we were family.”
“That’s preposterous,” Hart frowned at the thought, “I mean your father
isn’t exactly a moral, upstanding citizen, but for Cameron to make that
kind of insinuation about their relationship, well even your father
wouldn’t sink that low to be in that family.”
“How can you be so sure,” Jenna questioned feeling her worries
resurface, “Hart, you saw what happened to my brother. You saw
how Douglas was with him and how Kipp was a victim because of my
father’s actions. I don’t give a damn what they say about Grady
because I know he had nothing to do with that shooting. Whatever
happened to my brother was because of the man my father is. I’m
sure of it.”
“Okay, but we both agreed that this somehow had Cameron’s signature
over it,” Hart added bringing his arm around her shoulders, “Plus the
fact that Cameron is married to the mother of Kipp’s baby doesn’t feel
“No it doesn’t, but Hart, what if Cameron wasn’t lying? What if
my father raised Cameron and made him the man he is today?” Jenna
questioned in horror, “What if my father turned him into the monster
that he is and now all of the things Cameron has done are the result of
a man that played a part in my conception?”
“Jenna, you can’t think like that,” Hart tried to dissuade her from
where she was headed in the conversation, “No one is to blame for
Cameron’s actions, but Cameron himself. Even if your father was
involved in his life, that doesn’t mean he was the one who turned
Cameron into a monster.”
“But what if he was? What if somehow Douglas hurt him and made
him the man he is today? What if that evil is present and alive
inside of Doug? Inside of me?” Jenna’s eyes dropped down to her
lap, “What if I’m destined to the same fate as Kipp or as Cameron?”
“Jenna, stop this,” Hart reached for her hands forcing her to face him,
“You’re nothing like your father or Cameron. You won’t ever be
like them and for you to even think like that, it’s ridiculous.
You know as well as I do that genetics don’t determine who you become.”
“But what if they do to some degree? What if I’m destined to have
a fate like my brother or worse like my father? What if I’m prone
to this madness?” Jenna rambled on feeling a shiver race over her,
“Cameron said that we were more alike than I realized.”
“No you aren’t,” Hart frowned at the thought, “Jen, you’re nothing like
that man. You can’t let him saying those things shake you up.”
“It’s just when he said the. Hart, I was afraid, but I was also…”
she paused, “I don’t know and then he said something else.”
“Obviously the man showed up to start trouble Jen and I wish I’d been
there to beat the life out of him,” Hart’s jaw clenched with obvious
anger, “He had no right upsetting you.”
“Hart, it’s just…” she paused thinking about Cameron’s words, “he said
something about Douglas having a son that he refused to
acknowledge. Maybe it’s nothing, but with the way he said it, I
knew he wasn’t speaking about Kipp.”
“Perhaps he was trying to sell you the whole he’s Doug’s son story
there since he was trying to strike a nerve in you,” Hart suggested
pulling her close to him.
“Maybe, but something felt off--it felt as if Cameron was relishing a
great deal of pleasure in throwing that comment out at me. Sure,
he was out to upset me and he did, but maybe there was something more
he wanted me to see--something he wanted me to learn.”
“The man is a lunatic Jen. You said it yourself that he was
playing head games with you,” Hart pointed out with a sigh, “that’s
probably all it was.”
“But what if it isn’t? What if my father has done something else
that I need to know about? What if I have to learn what Douglas
is truly about before it blows up in my face?” she asked with worry
evident in her tone.
“Jen, right now the best thing for you to do is just distance yourself
from the whole situation,” Hart urged her on, “You don’t need to be
upsetting yourself like this with these thoughts you’re having.”
“If I don’t find out what’s going on, then I have no doubt in my mind
that this will blow up in my face. Cameron wanted to start
something tonight and if I don’t figure out the truth, then whose to
say I won’t be blindsided the next time he approaches me?”
“As far as I’m concerned I won’t let there be a next time,” Hart
declared in an uproar. “I’m not going to let Cameron get the
opportunity to get near you.”
“Hart, you can’t guard me night and day,” Jenna threw him a pointed
“You want to make a bet?” he dared her, “I’ll do whatever it takes to
keep that man far away from you. If you want a restraining order,
you know I’ll make it happen.”
“Oh yeah, we know how you rate on those,” she rolled her eyes.
“If I wasn’t aware of how good you were, I could just ask Patrick,
“Jenna, come on,” Hart pleaded with her, “I don’t like that this guy
has taken to bothering you.”
“Neither do I, but maybe he was trying to tell me something. He
has me curious…”
“And you’re taking the bait. He’s nothing but trouble and you’d
be best suited staying far away from it,” Hart insisted with worry
evident in his tone.
“Hart, I’m not going to make it a habit to get in Cameron’s line of
fire, but maybe it’s time I learned more about my father. I think
I need to know more about the man he is if I think I have a chance of
keeping my free of the dangers that follow him,” Jenna offered up
realizing that the only way to protect her future was to get her
information on her father’s past--regardless of how ugly it might be.
“Heather, please talk to me,” Diego begged of her after he’d cleaned up
her wounds, “I wish you’d at least let me take you to the hospital.”
“No hospitals,” she shook her head adamantly dropping her gaze down
over her freshly bandaged hands, “I’m not up to that right now.”
“What happened Heather,” he questioned gently sensing that something
was troubling her far more than she was willing to let on.
“I slipped on the tiles,” Heather lied biting on her lower lip.
Her eyes shifted to the ground where she’d created such a mess a short
time earlier. While she sat on the countertop, she couldn’t help
but find herself drawn to the flecks of glass still embedded in the
tile along with her crimson colored blood. A shiver raced over
her when she felt Diego touch her shoulder once again.
“Heather please be honest with me. I want to help you, but I
can’t do that to the best of my ability until you’re ready to speak
candidly with me about what’s troubling you,” Diego spoke up in a
“Don’t shrink me Diego. I don’t need it. That’s not what I
came here tonight,” Heather scoffed back at him refusing to cave on the
issue at hand.
“Fine, then friend to friend, let’s talk,” he urged again.
“Why are you pushing this,” she questioned bitterly while glaring at
“Maybe it’s because I’m worried about you. Maybe because I
know something or someone is hurting you and if you’d let me in…” he
“Why should I? Why should I let anyone in?” Heather threw back at
him harshly, “No one really cares, so why would I bother wasting my
“Because that’s where you’re wrong. I care Heather,” Diego
blurted out in a profound tone.
“But why? Why would you even bother to worry about someone like
me? I’m nothing to you,” Heather shot back in a hiss, “You could
be doing plenty of other things than doting on me right now.”
“I brought you here because I wanted to help you Heather,” Diego
confessed with a sigh wishing that she’d just see his concerns.
Instinctively he reached out to touch the side of her face taking note
of the bruising over her otherwise flawless skin, “What happened
“Life happened,” she flinched away from him turning her head away from
him, “Just let it go Diego.”
“I can’t let it go Heather. I’m worried about you…” he insisted
once again his fingers easing her blonde hair away from her face, “Why
can’t you understand that?”
“Give me one good reason why I should even try to,” Heather challenged,
her blue-green eyes penetrating his.
A moment of silence fell between them as Heather was suddenly very
aware of his presence. She’d not bothered with finishing to get
dressed after she’d cut her hands up and now as she sat on the bathroom
countertop clad only in one of Diego’s crimson colored robes, she found
herself quite attentive about the warmth of him before her. His
lips were scrunched in something that she couldn’t quite be sure if it
was the beginnings of a frown, or something deeper than that. She
closed her eyes for a long moment, feeling the faint brush of his
fingertips against her skin. No longer was she concerned about
the wounds Cameron inflicted upon her--nor did she find herself
dwelling on how horrible she’d felt about things. All that
mattered was the chaste touch of the man before her that was driving
her to distraction. She wasn’t focusing on how Cameron had
violated her or how her life was a wreck, but more so on how
desperately she wanted to share a kiss with Diego again--one like they
had experienced on Christmas with one another.
“Diego,” she whispered his name, her eyelashes fluttering with
anticipation. She leaned forward feeling his hand slip further
into her hair, holding her head in a supportive, yet welcome embrace as
he too seemed to be moved by the moment.
“Just let me in Heather,” he desperately pleaded with her.
“I want to,” she breathed into him, unable to suppress the overwhelming
need to be closer to him. She arched her back in such a way to
bridge the gap between them, feeling the mere inches they were
separated seem like their being miles apart from one another.
“Heather,” he spoke her name so faintly she thought she’d imagined
When she felt him exhale, the raw heat of him set her soaring to a
place she’d almost forgotten in her fury. It was too much for her
not to react. She had to do something--anything to keep the
feeling she’d been desperately trying to hold onto from leaving
her. Bracing her bandaged palm over his shoulder, Heather curled
her leg around Diego’s body forcing him to lean forward enough to bring
about an ending to the torturous distance between them. His eyes
fell upon hers for one brief, fleeting moment before Heather knew she’d
had him exactly where she’d wanted him.
Diego’s lips collided with hers in a soft skim--so faint that Heather
thought she would explode if he didn’t continue to feed into her
growing hunger. Wrapping her arms around him, she urged him on,
parting her lips to taste the exotic sweetness of him. Her tongue
branched out into his caught up in a whirlwind of wild abandon with her
pulse pounding through every synapse of her body. Sliding her
arms down over his spine, she urged him in closer to her, keeping her
legs firmly planted around his hardened torso. There was
something about him--something so intense--so primal that Heather
couldn’t help but throw herself into his arms. He felt safe and
warm and so unlike any other man she’d spent her time trying to
seduce. Slowly curling her toes around his body, she hugged his
bottom in closer to her, shifting her hips against him with a hunger
she hadn’t thought possible after Cameron had launched his attack on
“Heather wait,” Diego pulled away from her, tearing his lips from hers
with a pant.
“What’s wrong,” she questioned in confusion watching his retreat.
“We can’t do this,” he began to explain untangling himself from her
limbs, “This isn’t why I brought you here.”
“This isn’t why I asked to come here Diego, but now that I’m here,”
Heather started licking her lips instinctively as the taste of him
caused her to melt with the moment.
“This isn’t going to happen,” Diego turned away from her bracing his
palms on the countertop across from where she was seated. She
watched him inhale slowly and then exhale--repeating the process a few
times before finding the strength to face her again, “I’m sorry.
I was out of line.”
“No, no you weren’t,” Heather began to argue with him, “You weren’t
doing anything that I didn’t want you to do.”
“Tonight I don’t think that you know what it is that you want,” Diego
sighed mournfully lowering his eyes once again, “I brought you here to
help you, not to hurt you.”
“Diego, you aren’t hurting me,” Heather stated firmly, carefully
sliding off of the countertop, “if I thought that you were like that,
“Heather, you’re a married woman,” Diego pointed out with a frown, “a
very unhappy married woman at that, but regardless…”
“You think because I married Cameron that means that I can’t have
this,” Heather’s mouth scowled back at him, “That the son of a bitch
owns me now and I can’t have what I want?”
“That’s not what I’m saying,” Diego forced himself to meet her gaze
“The hell it isn’t,” Heather charged back at him feeling the brunt of
his rejection send her over the edge. Unable to control herself,
she raised her bandaged hand up right square against his jaw line
watching him flinch backward with the blow she’d delivered him, “To
hell with you.”
“Heather,” Diego started stunned by her behavior. He watched her
rush out of the bathroom down the hallway into the guest room he was
allowing her to stay in. He heard her slam the door behind her,
while he remained in the bathroom lost in contusion. Feeling as
if he was kicked in the gut by her reaction, he slowly moved his gaze
over to the remaining fragments of mirror still stuck up on his wall
wondering how in the hell he’d managed to let things get so far out of
his control with Heather. Sure, there was no denying that he was
attracted to her, but that couldn’t be what he was in for her. He
had to resist, even if it killed him because that was not his purpose
in their friendship. He couldn’t let lust control him especially
when it was obvious Heather was crying out for someone to care about
her. She needed more--she needed something from him that he had
to maintain for her. Giving in to desire would only lead to
disaster and right now Heather had more than enough of that in her
Susan pounded on the door before her furious with the way things had
transpired with Grady. She needed someone to desperately blame
for the situation--to take the fall for things going all wrong.
She continued to beat on the door before her furiously ready to lay
into the one person who had shattered her dreams for the future.
“What,” Thea sneered opening her apartment door to find Susan before
her, “What the hell are you doing here?”
“We need to talk,” Susan insisted pushing her way past Thea inside to
“Couldn’t this wait until morning,” Thea frowned closing up the front
of her robe.
“No, this can’t wait. I want to know why Grady had to die,” Susan
ordered with a scowl, “Why did Cameron have to kill him?”
“Who said he did,” Thea shrugged her shoulders simply.
“Don’t screw with my head Thea. I’m not stupid,” Susan lashed out
“I never said you were, but why do you believe it’s Cameron who had
anything to do with this,” Thea feigned innocence.
“Thea, I know he wanted Grady out of the way, but I told Cameron I’d
handle it. I could get what he wanted out of Grady without this,”
Susan’s voice rose with anger, “Killing him was never a part of the
“And it still isn’t Susan,” Thea marched over to the front door opening
it for her, “Rest assured that Cameron had nothing to do with what
happened to Grady. That was a tragedy that was out of our hands
and I’m truly sorry for your loss.”
“Yeah, I’ll bet you are,” Susan remarked sourly while reluctantly
following Thea to the door, “but mark my words if I find out that
Cameron was behind this, then this will get ugly.”
“Susan, I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear you say that because I know
that you’re upset right now, but you would be best suited to keep the
threats to a minimum as neither Cameron nor I respond to threats too
well,” Thea cut back with a firm warning slamming the door in Susan’s
face before locking it. Groaning with agitation, she adjusted her
robe before the sound of footsteps approached from her bedroom area.
“Who was that,” her companion questioned in confusion.
“No one for you to worry about Lieutenant Sharpe,” Thea turned around
offering up a seductive grin. Opening her robe ever so slightly,
she sauntered in towards him, giving him a very thorough perusal.
“Now where were we?”
“Right about here I believe,” Patrick grinned reaching for the ties on
her robe to draw her in closer to him. His mouth moved in over
hers in a sloppy, yet enthusiastic kiss.
“Ah yes, I think I do remember now,” Thea smiled brightly teasing her
fingers over his chest, “but first, I do have one little question for
“And what might that be,” Patrick nibbled on her neck roughly.
“Tomorrow when Chief Warner gets those lab results back, things will go
as planned, yes?” Thea forced his head up again, her eyes searching his
for the answer she was looking for.
“I know exactly what to do sweetheart,” Patrick nodded eagerly, “There
is no way this situation will go any way other than the way we want it
“See to it that it doesn’t because if there’s one more screw up,” she
raked her nails over his shoulder in warning, “then you’re going to
have to answer to me and I can guarantee you won’t like that.”
“I promise you sweet thing, everything will go exactly as planned
tomorrow morning. You have my word on that,” he growled while
making another attempt at her neck.
“I want more than your word Patrick or else I swear to you tonight will
be the last night you‘re ever able to enjoy any kind of carnal
pleasures. Do I make myself clear,” she threw back at him with
one last warning glance.
“Crystal,” he nodded eagerly, “everything is set to go as you asked for
it to be.”
“Good, then since that’s taken out of the way, I believe you have
another job in the bedroom to be taking care of,” Thea tugged at his
hair leaping up into his arms in a haste ready to celebrate the things
to come in Coral Valley now that she’d had the pieces in place for