Episode 189

Grady’s heart pounded repeatedly, beating faster with each passing second.

“Grady,” Kyle yelled pulling Grady away from the scene as Kyle pulled him behind the tape.

Kyle looked into Grady’s eyes that seemed to stare off into space. They looked clouded over with mist as Kyle shook his head.

“What did you see up there?” Kyle questioned looking at the traumatized look that flashed in Grady’s eyes.

Grady didn’t answer; he just stood there as if he seemed to be frozen with shock.

“Grady,” Kyle shot out once more as his hand rested against Grady’s shoulder lightly, “Talk to me man. What did you see there?”

Kyle shut his eyes tightly after he got no answer from his friend. He took in a deep breath as he turned around.

“It has to be her,” Kyle whispered to himself looking up at the night sky before hearing Grady speak out lightly.

“It wasn’t,” Grady shook his head as Kyle raised an eyebrow walking back towards him.

“What did you just say?” Kyle questioned with a fire burning inside of him getting more eager and eager with each minute passing.

“I just said, it wasn’t her,” Grady began as his eyes finally moved and looked towards Kyle who looked shocked.

“Are you kidding me?” Kyle wondered as the fire seemed to die down and the passion to know more grew and everything else began to become irrelevant.

“No, I’m not kidding you,” Grady let the relief of knowing all that worry that was built behind could die down slightly, now that he knew that poor woman wasn’t Jade.

“Oh my god, that is so great,” Kyle exclaimed as Grady hugged him and Kyle smiled thinking of what could have possibly happened if that really was Jade. Worse, what could happen if they found Jade.

“That still doesn’t make up for not finding her,” Grady began as he back away from Kyle, “I have to find her and I won’t stop.”

“I will help you from dusk until dawn,” Kyle promised rubbing his hands together lightly, “Right now, I think we should let everyone’s worries die down.”

“You mean we should let everyone know that it wasn’t her?” Grady questioned seeing Kyle nod. “Alright, I will tell everyone down by the water and you can go tell Seth and Gabe.”

“Alright,” Kyle agreed before stopping Grady from walking away, “Are you going to be okay?”

“I’m fine,” Grady assured Kyle before seeing Kyle nod and begin to run up to Seth to tell him the good news, “For now.”

Grady sighed deeply before shaking his head, this wasn’t the end. He was never going to give up on Jade, never.


“I can’t believe this is happening,” Jenna rubbed her hands over her arms, “I mean first this and now Jade Alexander is missing.”

“Do you know her?” Devante questioned watching the expression that spread over Jenna’s features as she glanced over at Grady’s general direction.

“Not exactly, but she and Grady have been seeing one another. Avery said that things were pretty intense with Grady and Jade and now for her to be missing…” Jenna trailed off thinking about the poor woman that had been dragged out of the lake. For Grady to believe it was the woman he loved, that in itself sent chills running up and down Jenna’s spine.

“Hey, are you okay,” Devante touched her arm gently, his eyes filled with concern for her.

She nodded, “Yeah, it’s just that…well it’s been a strange year around here. I mean first with everyone thinking that Bruce Mathis died and well, I guess that was just the beginning of the strangeness in this town.”

“Yeah I caught wind of the news about Bruce,” Devante shook his head, “I never had him pegged for a serial killer. How’s Avery holding up?”

“She’d broken up with him at the time it all kind of came out,” Jenna confessed with a small sigh, “She and Russ got back together.”

“Russ?” his eyes sparked with obvious interest, “Really? Good for them. It’s nice to hear things worked out for someone.”

“Russ is dead,” Jenna explained with a sad expression. “He was a casualty of the bombing we had at the airport.”

“I didn’t know that,” Devante shook his head, “That’s a damn shame. Russ was a great guy.”

Jenna nodded, “And he was a father to be as well. Avery’s pregnant with their daughter and now, well now it’s been a hard year for the Denton family.”

“Which is why you’re so worried about all of this,” Devante looked over at Grady for a brief moment, “Fortunately for him that woman wasn’t Jade.”

“On that level it’s a relief, but on another, well that woman’s family must be wondering where she is,” Jenna shook the thought, “This sounds stupid right now considering…”

“That what? That you have a heart and you care about those victims we find out here on days like this,” he threw out a pointed look, “Jen, if you didn’t get affected by what we see, then well, then you wouldn’t be you. This stuff still bothers me to this day.”

“But you’re much better at hiding it,” she added giving him a long look.

“It’s not about hiding it, but rather becoming numb over some of what I’ve been exposed to,” he confessed openly, “Even now in getting back in the game, well I knew I needed a change of pace.”

“You mean the FBI having you as their medical man got you down?” she questioned curiously.

“Let’s just say the things I saw in working there, well they haven’t been pleasant,” he paused for a brief moment, “You never told your mother about the FBI thing, did you?”

“Of course not,” she shook her head, “You asked me to keep it a secret and I did. I just hope you know what you’re doing in giving all that up.”

“Believe me, I know exactly what I’m doing. I wouldn’t want to go back into that even if they offered me all the money in the world. It’s just too much,” he shook his head before glancing over down by the water, “Of course I didn’t think small town life would be this hopping after all this time.”

“Ah, it shows you haven’t been in Coral Valley for a while. Things here are very seldom the slow and quietness that you remember,” Jenna added with a shake of her head, “There have been a lot of changes here.”

“Such as the man you had with you at dinner the other night. What’s the story?” he questioned with an arched brow.

“What do you mean?” she asked in response.

“Why does your mother hate him? I mean obviously she had some kind of reasoning for fawning all over me at dinner other than her really liking me because the last I remembered she raked me through the coals for leaving like I did,” Devante pointed out thinking about Jenna’s opinionated mother.

“Let’s just say that since you left there have been a lot of changes. First I get slapped with a lawsuit and a restraining order, then I find out that my father isn’t dead after all and I have this family I don’t even know about. On top of all of that I fall for the least likely person in the world and my mother has decided to make it her mission to let Hart and I know that she hates us together.”

“Well that was obvious, but still, I can’t believe she tried to make it appear that I was her favorite there,” Devante shook his head before one of the uniformed officers approached them with a purse in hand.

“Think it’s my color,” the man teased before noting the somber mood between them. “Sorry.”

“No, it’s okay,” Devante stepped forward to eye the purse, “What have you found? Any identification in there?”

“No, but I found this,” the officer revealed holding up a plastic bag with a photograph inside. “We figure maybe this will help in identifying her since it’s obvious this was taken long before she wound up in the water.”

“Let me take a look,” Devante held the image in hand before eyeing it intently, “She was a pretty girl.”

“Yeah she was,” the officer nodded, “and that man beside her looks familiar. I could swear I’ve seen him before.”

“Let me see,” Jenna stepped forward only to feel her eyes fall upon the picture before her. Immediately she recognized the face and let out a small gasp, “Oh my God.”

“You know him?” Devante questioned glancing over his shoulder at her.

She nodded, “Yes, I know him. That’s Douglas Mahoney.”

“The movie producer?” Devante arched a curious brow.

She nodded again, “The one and only movie producer and my father.”


“I don’t believe this. This is not happening,” Douglas threw his hands in the air, “You’re not going to marry this gold digging harlot. I simply won’t hear of it.”

“You don’t have a choice in this Douglas,” Kipp glared up at his father. Kipp pulled his arm around Heather protectively and kept her near him, “I’m going to marry Heather and there’s nothing you can do to stop that from happening. She’s the mother of my child and we belong together.”

“She belongs in that trailer park she came from and you, well son it’s clear that being in a coma caused you significant brain damage. You need to be committed if you actually believe that marrying her is the right thing to do,” Douglas sneered in response, “This simply is not how it should be.”

“Simply put, it’s none of your damn business,” Kipp charged in retaliation releasing Heather and stepping in closer to his father. “We have nothing more to say to one another. I’m finished now.”

“Well I’m not. I’m not going to just stand idle and watch you destroy your life with a woman who clearly is incapable of loving you. Hell, ask her how much time she’s spent with your son Kipp. Ask her how concerned she was about your child’s welfare when she wed Cameron. I didn’t force her hand in that. She did that one all on her own,” Douglas added spitefully, “She was the one craving the money and the power he could give her. You were just the key to getting her on the inside.”

“You’re so full of…” Heather started to protest before Kipp raised his hand in the air to silence her.

“It’s done,” Kipp blurted out, “I’ve said what I have to say and now you can leave Douglas. I won’t tolerate any of your further harassment of Heather, myself or my son. If you have a problem with what I’ve just told you, then you’re going to have to deal with it, but on your own time.”

“Kipp, you’re making a mistake and if you’d only think about this for a second,” Douglas pleaded with him.

“Oh I have thought about it and I know now what I must do,” Kipp assured his father before glaring up at him, “Now leave. We’re finished here.”

“This isn’t over,” Douglas warned before his gaze shifted across the room towards Heather, “And you, you’re going to pay for this.”

“Looks like you’re the one who is paying the price for all you’ve done,” Heather stood taller before folding her arms in front of her chest, “I warned you not to screw with me Douglas.”

“Oh you haven’t seen the meaning of being screwed, but you will,” Douglas warned before looking to his son, “and you, well, you might think you know what you’re doing, but you’re making the worst mistake of your life. That much I can promise you.”

“And I can promise you that if you don’t leave now, I’ll have no choice but to get security in here,” Heather huffed back at him, stepping forward and curling her arms around Kipp’s shoulder, “You heard what he had to say. Get lost.”

“You’re pathetic,” Douglas shook his head at his son, “I’d had such high hopes for you, but you’re nothing more than a let down and when this blows up in your face, you’re going to see just how right I was.”

“Not this time,” Kipp’s jaw clenched with anger as Douglas marched out of the room leaving the Ashford mansion in a huff.

“My hero,” Heather threw her arms excitedly around Kipp, all the while making the most of the situation as she planted an exaggerated kiss on his lips.

From the far corner of the room, Sarah heard the sounds of the door slamming alerting her that Douglas had left. She felt herself shudder with the impact of the sound and as she watched Heather fawn all over Kipp, she felt the involuntary urge to vomit. Something about Heather made Sarah want to strangle her and yet despite the fact that Sarah could feel Heather bilking the situation for all it was worth, Sarah knew that Kipp was totally eating it all up. Sure, Sarah couldn’t stand Douglas Mahoney, but sadly enough she had a feeling he was dead on about his son making a mistake.


“I can’t believe this is happening,” Cameron yelled throwing a glass at the wall as it shattered.

“Calm down,” Thea shot out as Cameron turned to his hands up in the air.

“How am I supposed to calm down?” he questioned emphasizing his every word. “Now that…that little weasel is back in town, he is going to ruin everything.”

“He doesn’t have enough power over you Cameron,” Thea tried to explain as he shook his head quickly overcoming with anger.

“How can you tell me he has absolutely no power over me?” Cameron wondered as she looked up into his eyes and saw the fire behind his expression.

“I was just,” she began as he cut her off leaning forward and yelling in her face.

“You were just what?” he questioned, as she didn’t answer him, “Exactly.”

“You can’t be completely sure with Kipp,” she sighed as he shook his head.

“Oh you don’t know how sure I really am,” Cameron laughed sarcastically before rolling his eyes, “Do you have any idea what he could do to me?”

“What?” she questioned thinking inside that he was worrying to much.

“He was supposed to be dead Thea. Is that not registering with you?” he questioned moving his hands around his head. “Are you just as stupid as he is?”

“Cameron, I think you are going a little overboard with this,” Thea shouted out as he laughed sadistically.

“Me going overboard?” Cameron wondered before stepping closer to her, “Or do you mean all my plans going overboard?”

“Not all of your plans are ruined,” Thea tried to remind him as she was stuck on words trying to prove him wrong, but only ending back at that same dead end, “Well, sure he ruined some.”

“Some?” Cameron yelled out, “Some? I can’t believe you are saying this.”

“Cameron, it isn’t like he will ruin your whole life,” Thea repeated once more before Cameron cut her off once more.

“Have you never heard of revenge? I really thought you were smarter than that,” Cameron declared with a snarl before grabbing a glass in his hand. “Damn that Houston.”

“What? Do you think Houston found him now?” Thea questioned with a laugh. “You really are going crazy aren’t you?”

“I think Houston and Kipp are going to burn in my hell for what they have done,” Cameron began as he licked his lips, “I just don’t want to know what that little weasel is going to do next.”


Hart stepped off of the hospital elevators wondering if he really should be here considering that as far as Sam knew he had no real place in her life. Still, he couldn’t help but want to find a way to get to know his daughter. He just needed to find an opening. Maybe Jenna was right. Maybe in telling her the truth it would be easier, but still he wondered if he could really uproot her life like that given that she’d been without him for so very long. Still the thought of not being a part of her life left him unsettled as well, which had prompted his visit to the hospital today.

“You can do this,” he informed himself taking in a long, slow breath as he made his way to her hospital room. Stepping inside he wasn’t surprised to see Wayne at her side. The two were obviously chatting about something and Hart felt like an intruder. He was about to walk out the door when Wayne spotted him.

“Hart, hey man, how’s it going?” Wayne greeted him with a bright grin, “What are you doing here?”

“I was actually in the neighborhood,” Hart pointed to the door, “and I thought I might stop in and see how Sam was doing.”

“Is that right?” Sam gave him a long look before offering up a smile, “Well thank you for stopping by. I’m doing rather well actually.”

“That’s great to hear,” Hart smiled a bit relieved at her warm welcome.

“Sam and I were just discussing her release,” Wayne explained, “as the doctors say she can be out of here in a few days.”

“I’m hoping for sooner, but they’re such a pain at times,” Sam added with a slight groan, “although I’m sure if I play nice I can persuade them to let me out of here sooner.”

“You just need to concentrate on getting better,” Wayne reminded her with a pointed expression.

“I know what I have to do,” she stuck her tongue out at him before turning to Hart, “so what brings you in the neighborhood? Anything exciting like a client?”

“A client,” he repeated.

She nodded, “Wayne told me you were a lawyer there so I figured you must be here at the hospital working on a case, right?”

“Well, not exactly, but…” Hart began.

“I always found law to be fascinating,” Sam rambled on giving him a long look, “and you know if you’re here to try to get me to have you represent me after the accident, well you know I’m not really thinking about bringing lawsuit over the tragedy.”

“Oh well that wasn’t exactly what I was doing here, but still…if that is ever an issue, well I’d be more than happy to offer a free consultation there if need be,” Hart offered stepping in closer to her.

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Sam looked down to the cards that were set up on the table top that lay over her lap, “So tell me something Hart, you know anything about cards?”

“I spent most of my time in Atlantic City growing up,” Hart confessed with a small grin.

“Yeah, me too,” Sam grinned, “which means you’re on my team when Julie gets here.”

“Oh no way,” Wayne objected heavily, “there’s no way I’m going to let you put me on a team with Julie. It’s not happening.”

“Whose Julie,” Hart questioned with a sideways glance.

“She’s only been my best friend for most of my life there and look,” she motioned to the doorway where a petite brunette girl in a candy striper’s uniform stood with drinks in hand.

“Were you talking about me again?” Julie asked with a small laugh entering the room.

“Nah, I was just telling Hart about our card tournament. He’s offered to be the fourth,” Sam explained.

“On my team,” Wayne added gleefully sticking his tongue out at Sam as Julie let out a tiny laugh.

“Sounds like fun,” Julie added with a smile, “Here are you drinks and then let’s get this started.”

“You’re on,” Sam agreed looking to Hart, “You ready for this?”

“I think I’m more than ready,” Hart nodded taking a seat as he found himself eagerly awaiting the opportunity to spend time with his daughter like this. Perhaps coming here today was a good idea after all.


Ria lazily opened her door after knocking for what seemed like hours when she was waiting for Valerie to open the door. She set her keys on the corner table as she slowly turned on the light.

“Valerie?” Ria called out before shrugging and walking into the kitchen to see a note lying on the counter. “Great, Valerie won’t be back for a while.”

Ria walked to her couch as she fell down on it propping her feet up. This had to be one of the worst days at work, better yet…of her life. All the bones in her body seemed to be freezing up on her as she tried to move. She groaned as she heard someone knock lightly on the door.

“Why me?” she questioned rolling her eyes and sluggishly getting up as the knocking became more rapid. “Keep your pants on, I am coming.”

As Ria opened the door she was surprised to have someone’s lips crushed against hers as the man before her kicked the door closed behind him.

“What are you doing here?” Ria questioned looking up at the man who now pulled her tightly to his body.

“I couldn’t wait to see you,” he smiled before leaning forward and nibbling on her bottom lip lightly.

“I’m honored,” she giggled as he pulled her roughly against him and she gasped out.

“So you want me to keep my pants on, huh?” the man questioned as Ria smiled.

“What are you trying to say?” she questioned with a wide smile before seeing him wink.

“I think you know what I am trying to say,” he replied with a wicked smile, “How about me and you go make some fun of our own?”

“Oh, if you insist,” she sighed sarcastically as he picked her up in his arms and carried her to her bedroom door as excitement over filled her.

“I insist,” he nodded as he leaned forward kissing her once more and kicking the door shut behind him.


“I thought we were going home,” Avery frowned feeling Brant pull the car to a stop outside the local shopping strip that was now quiet as evening started to dawn upon Coral Valley. She looked around the deserted street and wondered just what Brant was up to as he pulled the keys out of the ignition. “Brant, what are you doing?”

“You’ll see,” he replied cryptically stepping out of the car and circling around to open her door for her. He offered his hand to her in an attempt to help her out of the car, “Just come with me.”

“Brant,” she started to protest.

“Just trust me. This is what we both need,” he assured her making his way in closer to where she sat. He took her hand in his and moments later he pulled her into the middle of the sidewalk with him into his arms.

“What I need is to forget who I am for a while and just leave everything behind,” Avery groaned inwardly feeling his arms wrap around her waist.

“And that’s exactly what I’m going to give you,” he promised leaning in closer to her. He tipped his head down in towards hers and she felt his breath upon her face. For a split second she thought he was going to kiss her, but instead he pulled back opting to take her hand in his. “Come on.”

“Where?” she questioned feeling him pull her along on the sidewalk. A few steps later they stood before one of the closed shops. She eyed the sign on the door seeing that it was an ice-cream shop. Curiously she looked up at him, “It’s closed.”

“Ah yes, it is, but it doesn’t hurt to know the owner,” Brant confessed dipping into his pocket and pulling out a set of keys. He popped one of them into the lock before explaining, “Ken bought the chain a few years ago and while he did a nice job in demolishing the other building he had, this one is still very much in tact.”

“So you thought that you’d spoil your pregnant wife by leading her straight to ice-cream?” Avery questioned curiously as she followed him inside the darkened building.

“That’s exactly what I thought I’d do,” he nodded in confession reaching for the lights before circling in behind the counter to inspect the various ice-creams before him. He walked around for a moment or two just surveying it all before he looked up to see Avery standing on the opposite side of the counter with eager eyes.

“I see,” she nodded unable to keep from checking things out herself. Now that he’d brought it up, ice-cream didn’t sound so bad.

“So,” Brant began rubbing his palms together, “pick your poison.”

“Oh there’s so much of it,” Avery blurted out thinking aloud, “I wouldn’t know where to begin.”

“How about with something chocolate?” Brant suggested motioning to one of the containers he’d eyed himself.

“Oh, now I know you’re trying to tempt me,” she laughed lightly noting his selection, “That just happens to be my favorite of the bunch.”

“Then this is the one we’ll get started with,” he decided pulling it out from the freezer. He turned to look at her once again seeing that she was eyeing the small, white tables of the shop.

“Should I pick us some seats here?” she questioned feeling him move in closer to the counter again.

“Actually,” Brant reached out to her while leaning in over the countertop. He curled his arm around her body carefully before pulling her up onto the counter with one surprising movement, “I thought that we may as well just eat over here.”

“Right here,” Avery questioned with a gasp feeling herself met by the cold brush of the ice-cream container against her outer thigh.

“Right here,” Brant nodded in confession trailing his fingers down over the counter to seize the ice-cream container in hand, “unless of course you have an objection.”

She watched him pop the top off of the container, tossing it back behind him onto the opposite wall. He leaned in closer to her, his smile widening before he pulled a spoon out from on top of the cup that sit on the freezer. Dipping the spoon into the container, he eyed her with obvious interest.

“Well, any objections,” he asked lifting the spoon to her lips.

“No, none,” Avery shook her head opening her mouth to accept the bite that he’d offered her.

“Good,” Brant smiled watching her savor the cool, creamy spoonful he’d offered her.

He felt a warmth spread over him as she let out a tiny moan of approval. He was quite sure that she hadn’t been aware of it, but he was. Then again when it came to Avery he was aware of every little thing she did. From the smell of her perfume to the glimmer in her eye when she truly enjoyed something. While she hadn’t said much of anything at this point, he could see how much she enjoyed what he was doing for her.

“Perfect choice,” Avery sighed opening her mouth again as he offered her another bite of the ice-cream.

“I’m glad to hear it,” he confessed bringing his hand down on the countertop beside her. Their eyes connected for a moment before he leaned in to give her another spoonful. Her lips parted and her breath cascaded over his face as he traced the plastic spoon over her bottom lip.

“Aren’t you going to have any,” she questioned batting her eyelashes up at him.

“I never thought you’d ask,” he replied watching her take another bite before he lowered the spoon and moved in on her mouth. His tongue traced over her bottom lip, feeling the cool chocolate stickiness melt upon him. His arm curled around her waist pulling her in nearer to him as he felt her legs wrap around him a bit to give him greater access to her. The warmth of her beside him sent sensations swimming over him as their mouths met in a hungry union.

“Want some more,” he questioned nibbling on her lower lip in the midst of holding her.

She nodded, “I do,” she breathed reaching out for the ice-cream container. Scooping some chocolate up within her fingers she smeared it over his lips, feeling herself lost in the thought of forgetting about Brooke, forgetting about all the things that were weighing upon her as Brant’s lips looked like the right place to start with that. Diving in for a hungry kiss, she felt Brant peel away at her jacket, dropping it down onto the countertop as their kisses continued.

“Oh that’s good,” Brant murmured against her mouth as his hands explored her curves greedily. “I think this is my new favorite.”

“So I’ve been able to influence you after all,” she laughed lightly loving the way that he looked at her. How she couldn’t have been able to know the other night wasn’t him was beyond her sense of reasoning, but now as he watched her, doted on her and made her feel like she was the most beautiful woman alive, she couldn’t help but be lost in the moment.

“You influence me in more ways than you could imagine,” Brant confessed heatedly diving in for another needy kiss.

Avery curled her chocolate fingers over his shoulder, feeling it soak into the material of his shirt while their kisses grew in intensity. He must’ve felt it too because he stopped kissing her abruptly and stood up straight releasing her. Avery’s eyes dropped down over the trail of chocolate that ran down the side of his white shirt and in the moment she felt a heat rush over her features.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…” she started to apologize watching as his fingers fell to the bottom of his shirt, pulling it up over his body before he discarded it to the floor.

“No harm done,” Brant shrugged before moving in for another commanding kiss. He enfolded her in his arms, never hesitating as her fingers tangled in his dark hair. He heard the distinct sound of the napkin holder falling to the ground as Avery shifted around the countertop, but none of that was relevant to the moment at hand. Her touch over his skin drove him wild with desire, her kisses moving from his lips to his shoulder where she gently bit was enough to set him on fire as he held her. Her lips traveled up over his neck biting gently on his earlobe as her nails scratched lightly over his back.

“Avery,” he breathed her name, wanting nothing more than to take that unspoken step between them in consummating their relationship. His eyes fell upon hers once again, seeing the spark that burned wild and free beneath her. He’d been so unsure about things between them--so uncertain about how she’d felt about him, but now as she sat before him on the countertop he was certain that she wanted him. She was wanting this as much as he did and in that instant he felt the weight of everything he’d been waiting for come hitting him with a pounding rush of fire. “This is so…”

“Inspiring,” she half questioned before pulling him in for another ravenous kiss.

Before either one realized, there was another sound of something falling to the ground. What it was neither could quite be sure, but Avery’s shirt shortly followed. When she leaned forward, Brant could feel the sparks of electricity between them as their skin met for the first time since all of this had begun. Their bodies pressed against one another in an intensified movement as he pulled her fully over the countertop and into his arms. His fingers slid up and over her arms, then down again as he held her. She leaned in against his chest, her dark eyes reaching into his as their hearts seemed to pound in unison.

“You have no idea how bad I want you right now,” Brant confessed openly, knowing that the longer this went on, the harder it would be to stop it from happening.

“I want you too Brant,” she confessed in a low, aching murmur before she spread her fingers out over the center of his chest, feeling the muscled contours of him beneath her touch. Sure, she’d overlooked all the great many wonderful things about her husband time and time again, but right now after he’d stood up to Brooke and saved her from herself, she found herself appreciating and needing him more than ever. This wasn’t just about owing him for saving her. This was about wanting him in every way imaginable.

“You have no idea how long I’ve waited for you to say that,” he confessed kissing her greedily, his hands roaming over her sensual curves. How he’d dreamt of this between them, how he’d wanted to be with her, to hold her, love her and consume her with all that he was. His hands cupped her bottom, pushing her slightly forward into him. He could feel the heat of her radiating over him as their eyes connected once again.

“You don’t know how hard it’s been to keep from admitting it,” she revealed broken by her breaths as his fingers tapered up over her spine again. She felt him fumble with the clasp on her bra before deftly unhooking it. Her breath grew ragged as his thumbs eased in underneath her bra carefully pulling the straps off of her shoulders. He smiled before his lips dropped down, placing feathery light kisses upon her creamy, heated flesh. She dropped her head back basking in the sensations that his lips over her skin had created as his mouth grazed her throat lavishly. “Brant…”

“I love you,” he whispered lost inside the spell that their closeness had brought upon him. He stepped back, taking her bra with the movement as she dropped her arms down to reveal herself to him. Even now after all this time, he could still remember how beautiful she was, how she’d made him want her without realizing it and as he reached out to touch her, to feel the warmth of her curves, he knew that this was everywhere he’d wanted to be.

Avery remained silent, opting to slide her palms up and over his chest. She then traced his spine before he pulled her fully into his arms for a scorching kiss. Gingerly he lifted her up off of her feet wanting to feel all of her against him. Her lips tasted like a sinfully sweet combination of chocolate and fire and as Brant felt her fingers press in over his belt buckle he realized that this had been well worth the wait. His own hands pressed in over the zipper on the back of her skirt. Slowly he started to unzip it before a sudden thought occurred to him.

“Avery,” he spoke her name tenderly releasing her skirt in order to cup her face in his hands, “are you sure? I mean are you really sure that you want to be doing this?”

She nodded, her throat caught up in a lump of emotion.

“Are you positive,” he questioned again searching her eyes for any indication that she wanted to stop what was happening between them.

“I’m sure,” she nodded rising up on her toes for another kiss as Brant heard everything he needed to take things further between them.

Brant returned his attention to her skirt and alleviating it from her body. Hearing it fall to the floor, he picked her up in his arms again kissing her with all the built up passion eating away inside of him before he hoisted her onto the countertop once again. He felt the tips of her fingers skim over his chest in a slow, yet determined path as he braced his hands out on the countertop beside her. She sensed his hesitation as she reached out to place her hands on his cheeks.

“Brant?” she questioned with mild confusion, “what’s wrong?”

“I’ve wanted you for so long, that I can’t believe this is really happening,” he revealed pressing his forehead in against hers, “This wasn’t what I planned on when I brought you here.”

“I know,” she replied with a small sigh, “I realize you were trying to make me feel better about what happened with Brooke.”

“I was, but this,” he swept the pad of his thumb over her lower lip tentatively, “this isn’t about Brooke.”

“No, it’s not,” she agreed, reaching for his hand and placing it over her chest, “it’s about us and only us.”

“It’s always been that way for me Avery,” he mouthed kissing her once again knowing that after tonight all his dreams about their marriage would be coming true. Gently kneading and massaging her body, he relished in her responses to him, delighted in watching her writhe up to meet his caress. He cupped her breast in hand, his lips tasting of her skin as he moved his kisses over her collar bone, taking his time to enjoy every inch of her soft, vulnerable flesh until he heard a crashing sound from behind the both of them.

“Freeze!” a voice sounded as Brant’s head was buried in Avery’s chest.

“Oh my God,” Avery gasped tipping her head back to see the uniformed officer behind her. She practically leapt off of the counter into Brant’s arms as she let out a squeal.

“What in the…” Brant grumbled standing up straighter only to discover a police officer standing near the front of the shop with a gun in hand. “What are you doing, you moron?”

“I said freeze,” the man replied with a clenched jaw as he kept the gun aimed on the two of them, “There was a report of a break in and a disturbance in the neighborhood and…”

“And you can put that thing away,” Brant slid his arm around Avery as she buried her head in his chest clearly mortified by their unexpected arrival. “There’s no need for that.”

“Don’t tell me what there’s a need for. You’re breaking and entering and regardless of what your kinky agenda was in here, you have no business in being here,” the officer ordered further before waving his gun at Brant once again, “Put your hands up!”

“No way,” Brant argued with him, “You get the hell out of here.”

“I said…” the officer started again.

“And I said get the hell out of here. This is my brother’s shop and we didn’t break in dipstick. I have a key. It’s on the table over there,” Brant motioned to the discarded keys as he knew that the officer had killed the mood he and Avery had going. She still had her head buried in his chest and Brant was certain that whatever was happening wouldn’t be by the time the CVPD’s finest was through with them.

The officer looked to the keys before waving his gun again, “That doesn’t prove anything.”

“Fine, then look in my wallet. I’m Brant Ashford and you’ll see that I have every right to be in this place if I want to be,” Brant nodded towards the floor where his wallet had spilled out, “It’s over there.”

“Fine, but don’t you move,” the officer replied taking slow steps towards the wallet.

“You okay,” Brant whispered in Avery’s ear feeling her nod into his chest.

“I don’t believe this,” she confessed looking up at him to reveal her face had turned a crimson shade.

“Neither can I,” Brant groaned all the while cursing fate for putting yet another road block in the way of his relationship with Avery yet again.


“You wanted to meet up?” JT questioned walking towards Valerie who was sipping her drink lightly.

“I thought we should have a check up every now and then,” she began with a smile as he took a seat next to her. “Anything new?”

“Nothing yet, no,” he shook his head as a waiter came over and he ordered a drink. “You?”

“No,” Valerie shook her head before starting up again, “I really need to get a hold of Seth. I haven't had contact with him in a while and I really need to.”

“Yes, I already knew that,” JT nodded before grabbing his drink and thanking the waiter.

“I just can’t believe Seth,” she shot out raising her hands up in the air. “I mean, he should know that I am his true love…not Blake.”

“God kill me now,” JT whispered rolling his eyes as she stopped talking and looked towards him.

“What did you say?” Valerie raised an eyebrow seeing JT shake his head lightly.

“I said this drink is really dull,” JT faked a smiled as she nodded and looked up.

“Well, like I was saying,” she began again shaking her head, “I really don’t think Seth knows what he is doing with that girl. I mean how could he possibly know what he wants, when what he wants is right here?”

“I have no idea,” JT sighed spinning his straw around watching his drink spin.

“Exactly,” Valerie pointed out snapping her fingers, “I mean last time I saw him he was all over Blake and that’s how he is supposed to be like with me. I mean, we are soul mates and…”

“God, I get it already. I have heard it a million times,” JT, yelled not being able to listen to her blabbering anymore. “I am beginning to get a headache…do you ever shut up?”

Valerie began to frown as she folded her arms out in front of her angered by what he just said.

“I hear it all the time,” JT sighed holding his hands up in the air, “What else could I possibly need to hear? I mean I have heard the same thing repeatedly. Just give it a break for once.”


Blake approached Seth seeing that he’d pulled away from the crime scene after he’d learned that the woman pulled out of the lake wasn’t Jade. Still she knew that there was a lot more happening with him than he was admitting to. Reaching out to embrace him, Blake leaned into his tense body.

“Seth, talk to me,” she pleaded with him knowing that this wouldn’t end until Jade was found. Tipping her head up to see the faraway look behind his eyes, she knew that there were so many things going on inside his head that he couldn’t share with her, yet she wanted to try to be there for him to lean on.

“When I thought that it was Jade--when I believed that she was gone,” Seth choked up on emotion, “Blake, I’ve spent my entire life trying to protect her, but now…now I feel so…”

“So what?” she questioned watching him close himself off again.

“Helpless,” he revealed painfully, “Jade shouldn’t be missing. We should’ve waited for her earlier.”

“Seth, they’re going to find her. We have to have faith in that,” Blake hugged him gently wishing that she could alleviate his worries, but she knew better. “The police are doing all that they can…”

“But it won’t be enough. It’ll never be enough. I should’ve been there to protect her--to keep her from harm’s way,” Seth continued painfully, “She’s already been through so much in her life and if someone’s hurt her…”

“She’s a fighter Seth. Wherever she is, she’s not going to let someone overpower her. I know Jade and I know that she has to be out there somewhere. Maybe we’re all jumping the gun and she’ll be back at home,” she suggested not really believing her own words.

“Blake, you saw the apartment. Someone was in there and there was a struggle. My sister was fighting with someone and now,” he dropped his head solemnly, “I fought like hell to keep her from ever having to face something like this ever again…”

“They will find her,” Blake insisted hoping that she wasn’t lying, “Seth, whatever it takes, we will bring her home. Any of my family’s resources are at your disposal to make it happen and…”

“You’re not getting it Blake,” he snapped in response, “I could’ve prevented all of this, but I didn’t. I didn’t wait to take her with us and…”

“Stop it Seth!” she replied firmly, “This is not your fault. None of what’s happened in Jade’s life is your fault. You’ve been a good brother to her and she knows that. You’ve given her so very much and she loves you for that. I love you for that which is why it kills me to see you beating yourself up over this. We will find her.”

“I’m just so afraid something will happen--that the next time a body gets pulled from the lake it’ll be Jade,” he confessed breaking down as she threw her arms around him. She held him as if she’d never let go as she worried about what his sister’s disappearance could mean for all of them. “What if she’s dead? What if whomever was at the apartment has hurt her? What if she’s trying to get home and she can’t? What if…”

“Seth, you can’t think like that,” Blake pleaded with him, “You have to have faith and hope that she’s out there. She’ll come back to us.”

“But what if she doesn’t,” he asked painfully, tears glistening in his eyes, “What if…”

“Seth,” she watched as the color drained from his face.

“What if that son of a bitch got to her?” he asked behind a clenched jaw. “What if he’s taken revenge upon me through Jade?”

“Seth what are you talking about?” she questioned in confusion.

“What if he knows the microfilm was fake and he took Jade because of the trick we played on him?” Seth began in a panic, “Blake, what if Cameron Stone took my sister to get back at me?”

“There was no way he knows it was a fake. I made damn sure that it was authentic down to the last detail. I even had my father’s fingerprints planted on them so that…” she started to remind him, but as she saw the wheels of his thoughts turning behind his eyes, she knew that he’d fallen to a much darker place. “Seth?”

“If Cameron Stone was the one who did this to my sister, then so help me God he’s a dead man,” Seth declared vowing to take down the man he believed was behind his sister’s disappearance.


Hart stood on the steps to his old condo wanting to get a few things together after he’d spent his day at the hospital with Wayne, Sam and Julie. Somehow things turned out even better than he’d imagined after he’d spent some time with the trio. While he’d hated to leave a nurse had scooted him out mentioning that visiting hours were over. Still Hart had it in his mindset to return tomorrow and pay her another visit if he could.

“But tonight, you’ll get to share the news with Jenna,” he decided entering his place to get a few things together for the romantic evening he had planned out in his mind. He walked through his living room when suddenly he heard the sounds of soft, classical music coming from his bedroom area.

“What the…” he frowned not remembering having left the CD player on when he’d made the move over to Jenna’s place. Tentatively he made his way to his bedroom catching the first hints of light as he pushed the door open. Inside he saw the flicker of several lit candles all around his bed and what lay on top of his bed was enough to make him choke. There before him was Elizabeth spread out over the comforter in a sexy, black nightgown.

“I was hoping you wouldn’t be putting in a late night,” she smiled up at him, licking her lips as she rose up to her knees, “I missed you.”

“What the hell are you doing here?” he asked stunned to see his ex-lover making herself at home in his bedroom.

“I still had your key from way back when, so I thought I’d surprise you,” Beth explained wiggling her finger at him for him to come over and join her on the bed.

“Mission accomplished now get the hell out,” he threw out at her sharply.

“Oh you don’t really mean that,” she wiggled her shoulders, tossing her long, blonde hair back before she pulled one of the straps down on her nightgown seductively, “Now do you Hart?”

“Quite frankly, I do,” he glared at her before moving over to blow out a few of the candles, “you have no business being here.”

“I know you want me Hart,” she continued in a sultry attempt to capture his attention as she lay over the bed once again. “You don’t have to deny it.”

“Maybe you’re a little slow at answering the clue phone Beth, but if you haven’t noticed you’re not of interest to me anymore,” he replied not bothering to look back at her.

“I was once,” she reminded him sauntering up from off of the bed. She moved in behind him, easing her arms around his body as her hand settled in over the center of his pants massaging him. Her lips moved haughtily over the back of his neck as she spoke, “I used to be all you wanted and more.”

“Yeah, well those times are long gone,” he replied sourly reaching to remove her hand from it’s intrusive position on his body. She fought the movement keeping her touch over him.

“Now Hart,” she wiggled her fingers and let out a playful laugh, “You know that you don’t want to turn me away. You don’t have it in you. You never did.”

“The man you were with ceased to exist a long time ago Beth,” Hart warned her before once again attempting to pry her off of him. This time his efforts weren’t thwarted and he moved away from her. Spinning around to face her so that she knew he was serious he addressed her once again, “Beth, I don’t know what your point is in coming here like this tonight, but you would be best suited to leave the key on the table on your way out.”

“You don’t mean that,” she laughed back at him. “Hart I know you still want me.”

“I don’t want anything from you,” he walked beyond her not bothering to look back.

“You’re a liar. You might try to deny how right we are together, but deep down you know the truth,” she hissed clenching her fists at her sides.

“No Beth, the only ties I have to you are through Sam and even with that we don’t need to communicate with one another,” he argued with her finding himself exceedingly annoyed with her.

“Do you really believe I’m going to let you just walk into our daughter’s life without it being under my terms?” she snapped back at him.

“You don’t have a choice about my involvement in her life, Beth,” he stepped towards her, his eyes darkening with the movement. He gave her a brief once over before reaching out to take her arm in his. She let out an excited breath thinking that he was about to attack her and give her what she wanted on a sexual level, but instead he pulled her out of his bedroom with one firm tug. He guided her across his living room before shoving her out onto his porch clad in her nightgown. He stared her down for a brief moment before finishing his statement, “just like you don’t have a choice about being here either. I want you out.”

“But Hart…” she stared to protest only to feel him slam the door in her face. She looked around the parking lot area seeing that no one was out there and as she waited for him to return without avail her anger bubbled.

“You can’t get rid of me that easily,” she cursed under her breath vowing to find a way to get Hart back in her life once and for all.


Brant pulled the car into the Ashford driveway thinking about the many ways in which he wanted to string up the patrolman for ruining his night with Avery. It wasn’t bad enough that the guy had humiliated them by busting in during the beginnings of their attempts at love making, but then the man had drilled them on their identities for over an hour. Avery looked fit to be tied by the time the officer finally had the decency to let her go and get dressed. Even now she looked like she was ready to call it a night and be done with things.

“You okay,” Brant questioned watching her nod in silence.

“I’m just tired,” she revealed in a small, quiet voice.

“We’ve had a long day,” Brant agreed solemnly, “We should call it a night.”

“I think that’s a good idea,” she added getting out of the car as Brant followed her up to the mansion wondering if karma was enjoying this little kick in the butt he was receiving every time he tried to get close to Avery. Something had to give and as he watched her walk into the house, he vowed to find a way to fix the things happening around him.

“Listen Avery,” Brant called out to her entering the foyer only to see Kipp Mahoney and Heather before him in an embrace.

“You’re never going to believe this one,” Sarah mouthed from beside him where she and Avery stood.

“I’m already in a state of disbelief,” Avery bit back on her own cynical thoughts as Heather heard the sound of the arrival.

“Brant, you’re home,” Heather practically squealed rushing over to embrace him. “You’re never going to believe that day I had here. First Kipp came back and…”

Brant tried to keep up with her, but as Heather began to squeal about her day’s victories, he lost half of what she was saying. He opened his mouth to speak again, but was silenced by another excited embrace on her end.

“What are you doing?” Kipp questioned clearly annoyed by Heather’s response to Brant’s arrival.

“Kipp,” Heather pulled away from Brant, “I was just filling Brant in on what you did here today. I mean he’s been my hero before I knew you were alive and…”

“And you’re still in love with him, aren’t you?” Kipp questioned looking between Heather and Brant. While nothing too grand had transpired between them, there was a look behind Kipp’s eyes that suddenly indicated that Kipp wasn’t buying any story that Heather was about to tell him. “My father was right about your still being hung up on the guy, wasn’t he?”

“Kipp, of course not,” Heather laughed lightly waving her hand at him, “it’s just that Brant saved me from being locked up in the institution and he let me stay here when I was hiding out from Cameron. He offered to help me fix my face and he was also…”

“A real white knight huh?” Kipp scowled before glancing over at Brant, “You’re just ready to play her hero huh?”

“I wouldn’t exactly call it that,” Brant replied realizing that Heather still had her hand on his arm. He stepped away from her, “My wife and I were just…”

“Spare me the details,” Kipp threw his hands in the air, “I should’ve known better. You’re never going to let go of him, are you Heather?”

“Kipp, this isn’t what it looks like. Brant and I aren’t…” she started to explain herself, but clearly Douglas and his words had somehow had a profound effect on Kipp.

“Spare me the details,” Kipp stepped out of Heather’s reach, “I remember quite well where I ranked with you. Even when my father drugged you the fact remains that you wanted to be with him. I tried to ignore that part of my memory over that night of the party, but suddenly it’s all coming back to me clearer than ever.”

“Kipp, no it’s not that…” Heather stammered a bit watching him pull away from her and make his way towards the foyer again. “Kipp wait!”

“I’ll be in touch Sarah,” Kipp mouthed before storming off into the night.

“Kipp, don’t go,” Heather pleaded with him chasing him out onto the porch into the night desperately.

“Um, what was that all about?” Brant questioned trying to make sense of what he’d just walked in upon.

“Let’s just say it’s been a long day,” Sarah revealed knowing that while she hated to admit it, things were about to become even more chaotic now that Heather was on a mission once again.

“How did he…” Avery motioned to the doorway where she could hear Heather pleading with Kipp not to leave her.

“As I said it’s been a long day,” Sarah confessed running her fingers through her long, blonde hair, “You two have time for a drink?”

“Why not,” Brant shrugged his shoulders following Sarah and Avery into his study. He glanced back out towards where Heather and Kipp went outside and it dawned in on him that maybe just maybe someone was having a worse day than he was.


“Kipp wait,” Heather pleaded tugging on Kipp’s arm, “You totally misread what you saw in there. You know as well as I do that Brant is my friend. Hell he helped bring you back…”

“And he was also your ex-fiancé,” Kipp replied smugly, “You can’t tell me that doesn’t mean anything to you.”

“Kipp, it’s in the past,” Heather pleaded with him, “You and Charles are my future.”

“Fine, then tell me that the reason you’re staying here has nothing to do with the fact that you have feelings for Brant still,” Kipp challenged folding his arms in front of his chest.

“Of course it doesn’t have anything to do with my having feelings for Brant. He’s my past,” Heather replied watching him carefully, “Brant is my past, but you and Charles, you are everything that I want. Kipp, you have to believe that.”

“What I believe,” Kipp stepped forward reaching out to touch the side of her face that was untouched by the accident, “is that you aren’t any better with your acting abilities than you were when we were dating. Even in bed I knew you were faking it, much like you’re faking it now.”

“Kipp, I…” her jaw dropped in astonishment.

“Don’t stand there and insult my intelligence Heather. My father was right about you,” he shook his head at her, “I’m never going to rank as anything in your life other than the man you can walk all over when the mood suits you.”

“Kipp, no that’s not true. Kipp wait,” Heather called out into the night, but it was too late as Kipp marched over to his car and drove off leaving Heather to face the fact about the situation she’d found herself in. Okay, so yes, maybe she’d never been in love and yes, her agreeing to marry him was more about trying to shove it to Douglas than any actual feelings that she and Kipp might’ve shared with one another, but now, well now she knew that she had to find a way to fix this. She had to find a way to get Kipp on her good side because if she didn’t she could risk losing Charles forever. That was a price she simply wasn’t willing to pay. She would get Kipp back to where she wanted him one way or another, she vowed hearing him screech out of the driveway in a fury. It was only a matter of time.


Diane looked out the window of the plane uneasily wanting the stupid thing to just land. She had to find out if Jade was okay, she couldn’t just sit back.

“Is something wrong sweetheart?” Ben questioned running his thumb lightly over the top of her hand.

“Is something wrong?” she questioned with a laugh before shaking her head, “Other than my best friend is missing.”

“I’m sure everything is okay,” Ben replied with a smile before leaning down and laying a kiss upon her hand.

“Ben, Jade doesn’t just get up and leave with no trace of where she is going,” she shot out before realizing they were on a plane and she had to calm down, “This just isn’t like Jade.”

“I’m sure there is a really good reason behind this whole thing,” Ben stated wanting to take some of the worry off her.

“Like what?” she questioned quietly before the worry in Grady’s voice replayed in her mind. “Grady sounded pretty worried.”

“She probably just went to the store or something,” Ben suggested before tilting his head, “I’m sure this thing will just be a big joke when we get back.”

“Yeah, I hope so,” Diane sighed before looking back out the window, “I just want to get back soon to make sure everything is okay.”

“Believe me, she is probably home already and she doesn’t even know what all this fuss is about,” Ben smiled trying to convince Diane not to give up hope.

“You are probably right,” Diane agreed before letting out a deep breath, “I just hope that Jade doesn’t just up and disappear.”

“She won't,” Ben promised in a calming voice before enclosing his fingers tighter with hers. “I’m sure she is fine, Jade is a strong woman.”

“I know that,” Diane laughed before sighing, “When I called earlier, the way Grady sounded made me worry. I have never heard Grady sound like that before.”

“I think Grady was just a little off,” Ben shrugged trying to come up with an explanation, “He probably just got over worried. That is all.”


Cameron raised his head up from his desk before letting it fall back down with a thud. This whole plan was turning out to burn him on the long run.

“I can’t believe this,” Cameron grunted hitting his head on the desk once more.

Cameron raised his head slowly before staring out the window. Now that Kipp was back, he could ruin everything.

“Damn you Kipp,” Cameron yelled pounding his fist on the desk as he knocked a few things over. “Who knows what you are going to do next.”

Cameron thought of all the possibilities as he tightened his grip of a pencil cracking it in half.

“What if he sent the cops after me?” Cameron questioned pondering the possibilities before laughing and shaking his head, “Kipp doesn’t have the guts to do that.”

Cameron heard a knock on his door as his anger grew even more. He said that he didn’t want to see anyone.

“What?” Cameron questioned angrily before spinning around in his chair to only hear the door open. “I said what?”

“You might want to watch your tone with me,” Kipp advised making Cameron turn around quickly.

“What do you want?” Cameron questioned with fierce behind his voice as he stood up getting face to face with Kipp.

“One you need to back off,” Kipp demanded pushing Cameron back only to hear him laugh in the end.
“What do you want Kipp?” Cameron wondered asking in a demanding tone seeing the smug smile on Kipp’s face.

“Cameron, things are going to change,” Kipp, informed him before nodding slowly, “Things are going to change starting now.”


...to be continued...