Episode 320

“Well?” Grady questioned, his gaze locked on the woman in front of him now that she’d seemed rather suspicious standing there right before his very eyes. Granted Grady knew that things had been tense lately with Sarah, yet there was something about the expression on her face that had him a bit curious about what was really going on. “What won’t Kyle ever know, Sarah?”

“Nothing,” Sarah cleared her throat uneasily fearing that she’d said too much when she’d started to vocalize her worries. Now that Grady was eyeing her with suspicious green eyes, she tried to cover for her slip up. “What I mean is at this rate Kyle is never going to know that Cori is lying. She keeps spinning story after story to try to burn Diego simply because he broke up with her and if she has her way Kyle won’t know the truth about the situation. Hell, she’ll try to warp it so that no one believes the truth.”

“I think Kyle can see through Cori,” Grady replied giving her a long once over. “He’s a lot smarter than most people give him credit for. You of all people should know that. Kyle has a nose for figuring out what’s fact and what’s fiction.”

“Yes, but Cori’s desperate. I mean you saw what she tried to pull on him back in the lobby earlier,” Sarah continued still very flustered. “When Kyle called her on her deceptions, she just tried to spin the situation around to make Kyle feel bad about things. She’ll stop at nothing when it comes to hurting people just because things didn’t turn out her way.”

“Sooner or later the truth will reveal itself and Cori will have no choice but to own up to her lies,” Grady offered up supportively thinking about the situation Diego was in. “Believe me I know it’s hard to feel that way when you’re stuck in this kind of situation, but having been in something like that myself, I can promise you that I’ll do everything I can to help get Diego out of here. It’s the worst feeling in the world when you’re wrongly accused.”

“Of course you would know how that is,” Sarah noted shifting the subject a bit, “After all you went through I mean you would certainly know better than anyone about how a manipulator can turn your world upside down in the blink of an eye.”

He nodded, “Fortunately for Diego though he’s got good friends on his side. Kyle’s not going to let Diego sit in jail for a crime he didn’t commit and I’m not going to let that happen either. In fact I think that I should probably check in and see what I can do to move this along so that Diego doesn’t have to spend anymore time in here than necessary.”

“That would be great,” Sarah nodded with a small breath of relief, “I hope you can come up with something soon.”

“I will,” Grady promised with a nod of his own, “and if Kyle comes out while I’m gone, just let him know I’ll be back.”

“Of course,” she offered up a small smile watching Grady walk away as she feared that she’d almost let things blow up in her face. Only idiots talked to themselves out loud. She had no idea why she’d felt compelled to start muttering her feelings and worries, but after her close call with Grady, she vowed it was one mistake that she wouldn’t be making anytime soon if ever again.


“Why are you doing all of this Kyle?” Diego questioned out loud as Kyle was about to leave the room. “I mean of all people, I never expected you to be the one to jump on this to help me.”

“Why wouldn’t I?” Kyle turned around to face Diego once more shrugging his shoulders and looking down at his watch. “I mean, you haven’t done anything to hurt me. You’re a great friend and I can’t see someone like you going down for something like this. You have done nothing wrong.”

“It depends on what you consider wrong,” Diego muttered softly seeing Kyle’s hazel eyes staring out at him. Diego threw his hands up in the air before pacing back and forth again. “It’s like somehow I feel like I did something to deserve this.”

“Hey,” Kyle frowned stepping forward and grabbing onto Diego to make him stop from pacing around the room over and over again. “You did nothing to deserve this and I am going to show that you don’t belong in here because I know you are a good guy that doesn’t deserve this at all. Just trust me, that’s all I need you to do right now for me.”

“I’ll try,” Diego offered up a pathetic grin before nodding slowly and seeing Kyle look back towards the door. “I trust you Kyle and I appreciate you doing this.”

“Hey, it’s the least I can do for you,” Kyle pointed out before shrugging his shoulders and thinking about everything that was going on. “I would just hope that if it was me in a situation where I needed your help, you would do the same for me. I’ll see you later Diego.”

Leaving Diego with that thought Kyle walked out of the room and let out a deep breath closing the door behind him. Whatever had Diego worried had him thinking about everything that was going on. Diego seemed to be acting really weird in there and Kyle couldn’t help but find himself a little bit curious.

Kyle saw Sarah standing in the lobby past the door leading towards the back as he let out a deep breath. The only thing he could do now was go back to her and try to come up with something to help Diego get out this place.

“Great,” Kyle rolled his eyes hearing his cell phone begin to go off as he looked over at Sarah and realized she could wait a minute for him to take this call. Before the person on the other end could hang up, Kyle quickly answered his phone, but it was already too late.

His phone buzzed showing him that he had a voice mail from Kellen as he shook his head slowly. No matter what Kellen needed right now, Diego needed him more.

“Maybe,” Kyle took in a deep breath not wanting to seem like a jerk, he listened to his voicemail thinking about all the possibilities considering it was Kellen calling him. “Hopefully it’s nothing bad.”

“Kyle, call me back,” Kellen’s voice begged as Kyle frowned looking back towards the lobby where he knew everyone would be. “Heather is having some major problems and you are needed as soon as possible. Call me back Houston.”

“I’ll call him back,” Kyle decided looking at his phone and was about to dial Kellen’s number, but Sarah caught his eye as he saw her before him a few feet away. Kyle put his cell phone away before waling over towards the lobby and nodding slowly. “Later.”


“I still can’t believe he came back to town after everything he left for,” Blake blurted out in the passenger side of Seth’s car as she folded her arms out in front of her angrily. “He just thinks he can come back here like he did nothing to anyone and he can’t do that. I can only imagine what he is about to do next.”

“Calm down Blake,” Seth hushed her placing his hand over her leg rubbing it gently and seeing her blue eyes stare out at him. “Don’t worry about Zack, he isn’t going to do anything to hurt our relationship. I can at least promise you that.”

“Yeah, but that doesn’t me he isn’t going to try,” Blake frowned thinking about everything Zack had already pulled with her. “I just want to be with you the rest of my life and I don’t want anyone to ruin this for me. I want you and only you.”

“The same goes for me honey,” Seth promised her feeling her fingers enclose with his and a smile tugged its way at the corners of his lips. “I only want to see you every morning I wake up and I want us to get married--have a family.”

“We will,” she took in a deep breath seeing the way that his dark eyes looked into hers with a worried glance. “If we ever have a family that is. I mean we have tried and tried, but nothing is ever going to happen Seth. To top things off you are still married to Valerie and Zack is obviously going to start something and…”

“It’s nothing to worry about. I love you and I know you love me which means we can never break Blake. We will have that family when the time is right,” Seth assured her in a small breath before taking a different turn, deciding not to go back to the mansion just yet. Seth looked over at Blake seeing the confusion behind her light blue eyes as he smirked and shrugged his shoulders. “We’re going to go see someone really quick.”

“Who are we going to see?” Blake questioned only to get her answer as they pulled into the parking lot of Ken’s office. A small breath escaped her lips as she looked over at Seth slightly confused. “Why are we here to see my brother?”

“Well, you mentioned the whole Valerie situation and I think it’s about time I get her out of my life once and for all,” he decided pulling off his seatbelt before opening the door. “If I can use the help of anyone, I know he would work his hardest to help me out. Your brother can help me with this whole thing, I know it.”

“Alright,” Blake nodded opening her own door right after him after his newfound determination. If he wasn’t wanting to just sit back and let this whole Valerie thing stay the same, she wasn’t going to stop him in any way. “It’s totally your call.”

“And I want her gone Blake,” Seth met her at her door grabbing her hand in his before closing the door and walking in with Blake at his side. They spotted Julie in the lobby of the office as he offered up a wide smile. “Is it alright with you if we go in for a minute.”

“Go ahead,” Judy nodded resting her hands on the desk before her, a small smile appearing over the corners of her lips. “I’m sure he would love seeing the two of you.”

“Great,” Blake waved goodbye before walking into her brother’s office seeing Ken on the phone and motioned them to wait a second before finally get off the phone. “Hey big brother.”

“Hey Blake,” Ken smiled standing up from his seat and walking over to give his sister a small hug. “What are the two of you doing here right now?”

“I need your help,” Seth inhaled deeply running his fingers through his medium length hair, his dark eyes seeming to be worried as he looked up at Ken. “Big time.”

“Sure, anything,” Ken quickly nodded his head knowing by the look in Seth’s eyes that Seth was worried about what he was asking for help with. “I will do anything for the man my sister loves. Absolutely anything.”

“I hope you’re good at it too,” Seth replied sitting down on the couch in Ken’s office before taking in a deep breath thinking of how he could ask for Ken’s help. “You see, back when I was younger I got really drunk once and ended up marrying this girl. Well, I signed the divorce papers, but she never did. Which means--I’m still married to her and I don’t think she will ever sign the papers…”

“Which leads you to me?” Ken pointed out seeing Seth run both his hands through his hair worriedly as Ken sat down on the couch next to Seth, patting him on the shoulders. Ken’s dark eyes met Blake’s as he thought of something he could do. “I can help you through this with no problems at all. I promise you that.”


Cameron looked at the clock thinking about Angela’s meeting and wondering why in the world she hadn’t called to check in with him. She knew full well how important things were for him with the project and if this meeting didn’t go as planned he was going to find himself in some hot water. He was banking on Angela to persuade the person she’d met with to give him what he needed even if Angela herself had no idea exactly what that was. Sure he’d skipped a few details with her, but it was nothing that she needed to know anyway…unless of course the person she’d met with exposed everything.

“No, they would be smart enough not to do that,” Cameron thought to himself ready to call his sister’s cell phone again after it was clear she’d shut it off. He reached for the phone ready to say something to her voice mail again if need be when he heard the doorbell ring. Smiling to himself he set the phone done again.

“You’re back,” he mused to himself making his way over to the front door ready to open it up only to discover Valerie on the other side of the door. Immediately his smile faded and was replaced with a tight scowl. “What are you doing here?”

“Well hello to you too,” she frowned back at him before breezing into the house, “You would think that you were JT with that kind of reception.”

“What is that supposed to mean?” Cameron closed the door behind her watching her make her way across the foyer. “You and JT having troubles?”

“He thinks he’s better than me,” Valerie snubbed her nose at the thought, “He’s got some little girlfriend he’s spending time with and now he’s being a complete snob.”

“She must be hot if he’s turning you away,” Cameron couldn’t help but give her a long once over taking in her skimpy outfit, “especially if you were wearing that when he snubbed you.”

“JT isn’t half the man that you are. He doesn’t appreciate the finer things in life,” she replied sliding out of her jacket to reveal the sheer blouse she was wearing. She discarded her jacket on the floor before moving in to slide her fingers over the center of his chest, “He can’t see what’s right in front of him and take a hold of it like you can.”

“JT did always have different taste in women,” Cameron noted placing his palm against her hip before pulling her in closer to him, his dark eyes filled with a spontaneous lust. “Though tell me something Valerie did you come over here to get me to do something with JT about his ignoring you or was there some other reason you’re here?”

“I was in the neighborhood and thought I could use a pick me up,” Valerie confessed with a sly grin, her fingers teasing over his abdomen, “I thought you might be good for that with me.”

“I’ll bet you did,” Cameron teased with an amused laugh, “So tell me what’s in it for me this time considering that we both have established that you are still very much a married woman?”

“Oh I don’t know. I don’t think it matters if I’m married or not if you and I can have a little fun together,” she leaned in closer to him, her blue eyes meeting his with an urgency, “You did promise me to give me the full tour around this place and the last time we only managed to see one of the bedrooms.”

“There are about seventeen more around for you to take a look at,” Cameron mouthed in response curling his hand around the back of her neck and pulling her into him for a hungry kiss.

“I like the sound of that,” she murmured against his mouth as Cameron vowed to let Valerie distract him a little while longer until Angela checked in. After all what did it really hurt to take the time to appreciate the things that life had to offer him for entertainment?


“So,” Angela stood outside her hotel room door turning to face Brant as he stood in front of her. He’d offered to drive her back to her hotel room since she’d taken a cab over to the offices and naturally she’d more than accepted although the ride home from the office had seen a detour or two along the way once they’d gotten close to one another inside his oh so cozy SUV. Smiling she reached out to tease her fingers over the front of his wrinkled shirt, her amusement growing with the way he was watching her, “we’re here.”

“So we are,” Brant smiled leaning in closer to her in order to steal a small kiss from her lips, “Are you going to invite me in?”

“I don’t know,” she feigned indecision for a long, teasing moment, “I mean if I let you in, we’ll probably wind up doing what we did in the office and in your car and then we might not get to that date you were hoping for…”

“I think that we can find time to fit it in,” his grin expanded. He stepped forward sliding his arm around her waist to pull her to him in a bold movement. His lips scorched hers again in a tempting kiss before he murmured against her mouth, “You know you want to let me inside.”

“This isn’t about what I want,” she countered, her brown eyes fixed on his thinking about how enjoyable it was to get lost in his eyes when they were together connecting in ways that they had from the very beginning. Still she had to at least make this a bit difficult for him for a few minutes. “This should be more than about what I want considering that I have an obligation to uphold.”

“An obligation to me, which right now I’m all for ordering room service and we can talk inside,” he motioned to the door again before dropping his head down to whisper in her ear heatedly, “Maybe in that big bed of yours.”

“Hmm, that does sound tempting, but I might need a little more convincing,” she batted her eyelashes up at him in a daring movement.

“Well, I’m sure if we put our heads together,” he squeezed her in closer to him, “among other things something will come up between us.”

She smiled at him, her dark eyes filled with lust as she brushed in against his muscled form, “It feels like something already has.”

“Hey only the best for you sweetheart,” Brant mouthed delving in for a daring kiss, this time being met by the same renewed hunger he was offering to Angela. She wrapped her arms around his neck, squeezing him in against the door with her as the kiss continued. It was perfect, absolutely everything that they both had been anticipating since they’d arrived at the hotel until…

“Well I can see that you two have obviously been working out your differences with one another,” Kevin’s voice interrupted their union causing the both of them to look up and see Angela’s best friend standing in the hallway eyeing them with obvious interest. He glanced over at Angela. “Is it safe to assume that I won’t be needing to kick his ass again today?”

“Oh no,” Angela shook her head adamantly, her arms dropping down Brant’s body to his waist. She patted his bottom with a small laugh before winking over at Kevin, “His ass is all mine today.”

“Okay, way too much information,” Kevin shook his head at her before taking a step towards them, “and while I hate to be the one to spoil the party, I was hoping that I could come in for a little bit and chat with you. Ria’s not around tonight. She’s going to some bachelorette party and I figured I’d come on over and say hello.”

“Oh well,” Angela paused glancing over at Brant nervously.

“If it’s a bad time, I can leave,” Kevin started wondering if he’d interrupted a moment between them. Hell, he knew he had, but he was hoping that wouldn’t cause too much friction considering.

“No, don’t go,” Brant shook his head decidedly turning to face Kevin finally. “We’d love to have you join us for a while. I mean hey you drove all the way over here, so why not stick around for a little bit?”

“Seriously?” Angela’s eyes widened noting the looks that passed between Brant and Kevin.

“Sure, why not,” Brant shrugged his shoulders. “I mean tonight you and I have dinner plans, but if Kevin’s interested in spending time with us, why not? It won’t hurt for him and I to get to know one another better.”

“Smart man,” Kevin nodded taking another step forward and holding out his hand to Brant, “Truce?”

“That depends,” Brant eyed him wearily, “Are you going to beat me up again?”

“Not unless she wants me to,” Kevin shook his head before motioning to Angela.

“That’s the last thing I want,” Angela linked her arm in Brant’s resting her head on his shoulder.

“Okay, then I guess it’s settled,” Kevin offered his hand again. “Truce?”

“Yeah truce,” Brant accepted Kevin’s hand shaking it firmly as it seemed that last night had been a turning point for the two men. After the talk they’d had with one another, it seemed like both knew where the other stood with Angela and it opened the door to things that were yet to come for all involved.


“So, why do you even have that girl living here?” Evie walked over towards JT’s couch, sitting down with her legs underneath her. “I mean really that Victoria seems like a real bitch.”

“She is trust me,” JT let out a small laugh sitting down on the couch next to Evie seeing her look over at him with her dark eyes. “And her name is Valerie.”

“Does it matter what her name is?” Evie questioned seeing JT’s eyes widen before shrugging his shoulders and shaking his head slowly. “I take that as a no maybe?”

“No, it really doesn’t matter I guess. I just wish she would get an idea and leave for once. She came here one day and expected to take me in just like that. I guess she is lucky that I am just a nice guy,” JT pointed out seeing her dark eyes looking into his as he titled his head to side swearing he had seen those eyes before. Panic had swept over Evie’s eyes as JT frowned, not wanting to scare her. “Are you sure we haven’t met before? I swear there is something about your eyes…”

“I’m pretty sure that we haven’t met before the night at the bar,” Evie let out a small laugh before shaking her head slowly and taking in a deep breath. “And trust me, I don’t think you know my parents. They aren’t really great people and most people tell me I look more like my dad. I don’t see it, but I’m pretty sure you don’t know my dad.”

“Are you sure?” JT still couldn’t help but ask staring into her chocolate brown eyes as he reached out to touch her cheek feeling her stiffen against him. “It’s just you eyes…I swear I have seen them before some time in my life. There is just this look you give me and I know I have seen it before.”

“Maybe in a different life?” she offered up feeling him hesitantly move his hand away from her face before getting up off the couch as she stood up in front of him. “You know, you didn’t have to stop touching me.”

“What?” JT let out a small chuckle feeling her pulling at the collar of his shirt as he leaned in closer to her, a small laugh escaping his lips. “What do you mean by that?”

“You know exactly what I mean by that,” she placed her hand in over his chest before stepping up on her toes to try and meet his lips in a kiss, but unfortunately he moved back. “What?”

“I’d rather not right now,” JT informed her before grabbing her hand in his and leading her over towards the door. “Actually, I think I have something else planned for us tonight.”

“Like?” Evie eyed him over carefully as he picked his keys up from the table she had thrown them down on earlier. She couldn’t help but notice the way he was staring at her as she slid her hand in over his abdomen. “JT? What’s going on?”

“You’ll see soon,” JT hushed her placing his finger over her lips before nodding back towards the door and smiling widely. “It’s going to be a surprise you know.”

“I don’t really like surprises,” Evie pouted grabbing both his hands in hers and giving them a tight squeeze as he wiggled his eyebrows up and down. “Of course I never really got a surprise from my parents, but still…”

“Well, if you are with me,” JT mouthed leaning forward and pressing a kiss against her cheek, pulling away before she attempted to kiss him on the lips. “Surprises are always great.”


“That was,” Russ searched for the right words after Avery had finished putting Erin down for a nap. He glanced over at her trying to convey what he’d felt after his parents visit, yet nothing seemed to fit appropriately.

“Interesting?” she suggested taking a small step towards him. She leaned down to drape her arms around his shoulders to offer a light squeeze before he pulled her over the back of the chair he was sitting on and into his arms.

“Something like that,” he nodded his green eyes fixed on her face, memorizing how beautiful she truly was. “I guess it’s just going to take time for me to get used to everything.”

“You will,” she reached out to touch his face gently, “In time this will all make more sense.”

“The fact that my father is Nicholas Ashford makes anything, but sense to me,” he wrinkled his nose at the thought. “To think that the man who tried to murder me played a hand in my being a part of this world.”

“Russ, I know how you’re feeling,” she sank further into his chest enjoying the warmth of his arms around her. “I mean I knew my mother was a horrible person, but I never believed that she would do what she did to our child, or that she would invite someone like Bruce into our lives. When I think of how she tried to kill Erin…”

“Hey, I didn’t mean to get you thinking about that,” he frowned seeing the sadness that build behind her eyes.

“I know and I’m not trying to turn this around on me, but when you started talking about Nicholas, well I just started remembering all that they did. Granted Nicholas didn’t know you were his son and I’m not saying that makes this situation any better for you than it is for me--for either one of us, but Brooke, well she’s always been my mother. She’s always been the woman that has known that I was her daughter, yet she’s never once behaved like a mother should,” she shuddered at the thought fighting the tears that threatened to overtake her. “I mean aren’t most parents trying to do what’s best for their children? When I think of Erin, I can’t even begin to imagine wanting to do anything that could upset her in any way let alone find myself hurting her.”

“Brooke is insane. I know that sounds cold, but that’s the only logical explanation to what she’s done,” Russ eased his fingers over the side of her face lovingly. “If she was in her right mind, she never, ever would’ve tried to hurt you like she did.”

“It’s just…” Avery paused choked up on her emotions, “when I think of how close she came to hurting Erin… She wanted to murder her--and for what? For money. Do you have any idea how sick that makes me feel that she and Nicholas tried to make that happen? That they went so far as to make an attempt on your life in order to get what they wanted?”

“It wasn’t her first time,” Russ sighed closing his eyes for a long moment. “I think she really believed she had everything in order when you lost our child before, but then when we were together again, well she realized when we found one another again, she had to put an end to it. That night at the party--you know the night you found me in bed with Heather…”

“What about it?” Avery questioned tensing up at the memory.

“She drugged me that night Avery,” Russell revealed to her with a heavy sigh. “I didn’t want to get into it before because I felt we had enough on our plates, but she drugged Heather and I in the hopes that you would want to get rid of me and we’d be over.”

“You mean that…” Avery’s jaw dropped before she shook her head in frustration, “I’m so stupid. Why didn’t I see it before? I mean it’s plain as day that if she was willing to drug me, then of course she would go after you and…”

“Hey, it’s the past and as much as I wish I could change some things,” he smoothed his fingers through her hair, his green eyes fixed on hers, “like our first child being born instead of what happened, but Avery…I know now that we can’t spend our time reflecting on the what ifs. We need to hold onto what we have now so that it doesn’t slip away from us again.”

“I don’t want that,” she explained worry in her voice, “When I thought I lost you I felt like my life was over--like everything I ever wanted slipped away and I would never be able to hold onto it again. When I thought that you…that you…”

“Hey,” he squeezed her in his arms, “Avery, I’m here and whatever it was that happened when I was gone, it’s not important anymore. All that matters is that you, Erin and I have one another and we’re going to do everything we can to hold onto that.”

She nodded laying her head on his shoulder, “I want that for her Russ. I want her to have a chance at happiness like we should’ve had years ago. I don’t want her to see all the ugliness that has followed us on the road to our being together. I want her to know how much we love her and each other--about how our love only keeps getting stronger as time goes on.”

“She’ll know that and more,” he promised feeling her snuggle into him more completely, “and I was thinking about what you said earlier--about moving…”

“You were?” she asked tipping her head up to look at him.

“Yeah I was and I think that you’re right on about it. I know I agreed with you earlier, but now I’m convinced that relocating is something that we can most certainly use for a fresh start. I mean it’s the perfect time with you looking for a new job and with Erin just being born and all…” he continued to explain.

“Russ, I’m going to work again,” she quickly blurted out, “You know me enough to know that I can’t just sit back and do nothing.”

“I realize that, but at the same time I know that Augustus offered you a position with him and…” he began once more.

“I’m not sure if I’ll take it though,” she confessed letting her earlier thoughts get out. “Don’t get me wrong I adore Augustus, but maybe it’s time that I started doing things on my own. When I got that job at BBK, I really, truly believed that I was hired in for my credentials, not because Nicholas was planning to use me to bring him one step closer to the money that was just out of his reach. Hell, you said it yourself in the past that Brant wanted me there because he wanted me…”

“Avery, you and I both know that’s not the only reason you were working there,” Russ tried to dissuade her self-depreciation before it took her down further. “Sure, he may have been interested in you, but there isn’t a doubt in my mind that he knows what kind of a lawyer you are. You’re one of the best out there.”

“But obviously not good enough to be kept on staff after he and I called it quits,” she sighed heavily resigning herself to the possibility that maybe Brant had only wanted her there for amusement all along.

“Hey, Brant made a huge mistake and I’m sure that he’s going to be begging you to come back to the company,” Russ spoke up encouragingly, “and if that’s really what you want--where you want to be, then I’ll do what I can to make that happen. I do happen to have a little bit of influence now with the Ashfords, whether I want it or not.”

“No,” she shook her head adamantly, “I think this is a sign. Working there was my life. It was something that I let consume me for nearly four years, but now, well now I have you and Erin and I think that even if I’m upset about what happened, it’s time to move on. If I stay there, I’d always wonder if I was there because of the reasons I was brought in. I don’t want that and yeah maybe Brant didn’t think like that, but he’s right. He and I have a lot of tension and hurt between us.”

“Because of me,” Russell noted seeing sadness wash over her once again.

“I won’t lie to you about Brant, but at the same time Russ I don’t want you believing that I regret anything about us,” she informed him pointedly, her dark eyes filled with a newfound determination. “Even if Brant wouldn’t have handed me those divorce papers, I would’ve ended the marriage once he was well again. That was never in question for me given that you’re the only man I wanted to be married to. You’re the only man for me.”

“And you’re the only one for me,” he cupped her cheek lightly before leaning in to kiss her tenderly, “You have my heart and my all Avery. You’re the reason I’m still alive and you and Erin are what keep me fighting to get everything together again.”

“We both love you so very much,” she whispered her words buzzing against his lips, “and that’s really what matters. I don’t care where we are as long as we’re together because that’s the only place I’ll ever want to be--with you.”

“If I have my way, then I swear to you nothing is ever going to keep that from happening for us Avery,” he mouthed nibbling on her lower lip gingerly, “You and Erin are everything to me and I swear to you even with everything up in the air, we’re going to find a way to make things work for us. You’ll see.”

“I know we will,” she smiled up at him knowing in her heart that after months of misery life was finally getting back to where it always should have been and she couldn’t be happier about it.


“I can’t believe you talked me into this,” Ria groaned slouching forward in her barstool as she reached for the cherry coke she had ordered earlier, not feeling like drinking with all the younger women around her. Someone had to be responsible for driving right and as soon as she looked over at Trisha, she could tell her little sister was wasted. “This has been horrible?”

“Oh come on big sis,” Trisha pouted before letting out a small laugh and finishing off her drink before wrapping her arm around Ria’s shoulders. “Just because I stopped you and Kevin from going at it again doesn’t mean you have to pout all night.”

“I’m not pouting,” Ria’s lips curled into a pout as she realized what she was said before shaking her head slowly. “What makes you think I didn’t want to spend the night with Kevin anyways and not do this?”

“Of course I know you want to spend the night with Kevin because you can’t keep your hands off each other. Is this sex-a-thon number four hundred…thousand?” Trisha questioned seeing her sister’s eyes get wide as Trisha shrugged her shoulders seeing Ria looking over at her. “I’m just saying…you guys go at it all the time. Do you know how many times I have seen Kevin in the buff? Not like it’s a problem or anything, but still…”

“Don’t talk about my fiancé like that,” Ria warned seeing her sister throw her hands up in the air before reaching for the next drink the bartender set down for her. “Anyways, there is nothing wrong with a healthy relationship.”

“Ria, you guys are always going at it. It’s like you guys are a remote. You use the button play all the time, twenty-four seven, but when it comes to pause, stop, or fast forward you guys just skip over that button,” Trisha took a long sip of the drink, feeling the burning liquid slide down her throat. “Anyways, it’s not like you can’t take a couple of hours to rest. You guys are always going at it.”

“No were aren’t,” Ria was about to protest more seeing Trisha eye her over carefully as Ria threw her hands up in the air not quite knowing what to say about Kevin. “So what if we do? All couples do that don’t they?”

“Um, let me think about this--no!” Trisha blurted out seeing Ria cover her eyes slightly embarrassed as Trisha moved Ria’s hands away from her face. “Though you are one lucky girl. If I had Kevin the things I would do to that man, heck--the things I would want him to do to me. Anyways, you’re just lucky because most men are only half of what Kevin is.”

“Don’t tell me are talking about…” Ria was about to finish her sentence as Trisha’s eyes widened before she shrugged her shoulders and took another sip of her drink. Ria gasped pushing at Trisha’s shoulder before shaking her head slowly. “Trisha, if mom knew that you were this much of a pervert.”

“Ria, it’s right out in front of me every time I walk into the house,” Trisha spat rolling her eyes at her sister’s comments as Trisha finished off her next drink and motioned for the bartender to give her another. “I mean, what girl in their right mind wouldn’t want to see that man naked? I mean, there is Kevin right there in front of you--every girl would want to see something like that.”

“That’s not true,” Ria muttered once more seeing Trisha look over at her with a frown as Ria shrugged her shoulders. “Okay for most women you are right, but still there are some that don’t find Kevin to be their type.”

“Well, they have to be stupid then,” Trisha grabbed her drink as she saw her friend walk past and she motioned Ria to hold on for a moment. “I will be right back.”

“Okay,” Ria rolled her eyes before taking another sip of her cherry coke from the straw before her as someone took a seat next to her and Ria turned to look at them. “Mindy, hey. What are you doing here?”

“Unfortunately, I’m bored. I’m friends with Trisha’s best friend and I was pulled out away from my boyfriend,” Mindy informed Ria taking in a deep breath before shrugging her shoulders. “I figured you looked like you could use someone not drunk to talk to right now…”

“That sounds nice,” Ria decided setting her drink aside before turning towards Mindy knowing that her little sister had in fact become good friends with Mindy since Mindy and her boyfriend had saved her that one night. “In fact I…”

“Okay, plans changed,” Trisha informed the two of them wrapping her arms around both their shoulders as her voice came out in a small slur. “We are no longer staying here.”

“Where are we going?” they both asked in unison before seeing Trisha’s eyes widen as she held her hands up in the air waving them around slowly.

“We’re going to the strip club,” Trisha answered clapping her hands together before shaking her head slowly and thinking about everything that her friend had informed her of. “We’re going in the big limo and if I’m lucky there might be an exact look alike of Kevin with just as much as he has.” Trisha caught the look in her sister’s eyes before she threw her hands up in the air defensively. “Or my perfect boyfriend Chase and maybe Mindy’s boyfriend.”

“Oh, I don’t think I am going to,” Mindy tried to get out of the situation only to feel Trisha grab her and Ria’s hands pulling them towards the door and into the limo. “I should probably…”

“Nonsense,” Trisha shook her head slowly before letting out a long laugh. “This party is going to be great, trust me on this. You can’t go home, not now.”


Kyle walked out of the hallway from where he’d been talking to Diego. He felt for the man especially now after Cori had put his life into an uproar and if nothing else Kyle hoped that he could be successful in helping Diego out of the mess he’d found his way into. Scanning the lobby, he spotted Sarah over near the windows and he walked over to join her.

“Sorry about that,” Kyle apologized over the back of her shoulder, “Diego and I were just chatting and it was longer than I expected.”

“Kyle,” she gasped his name spinning around to face him once again, “Hey I was starting to worry about your being in there.”

“Worry about my being in there?” he repeated giving her a strange look. “Why would you do that?”

“Well you know Diego is just such a mess right now and I wasn’t sure what he’d say to you,” she replied feeling a nagging feeling in the pit of her stomach before she covered. “I mean he’s feeling just so guilty about everything that I’m afraid of what he’ll do.”

“He’s taking this pretty bad,” Kyle noted with a small nod, “and I feel for the guy. I don’t know what is going on with Cori, but a simple breakup shouldn’t be this ugly.”

“Most breakups are,” she sighed closing her eyes for a moment and feeling a bit of exhaustion fall over her.

“Hey are you okay,” Kyle touched her arm gently. “You look a little pale.”

“It’s just been a long day,” she replied with a small smile ready to say something more when Grady approached the two of them.

“There you are,” Grady greeted them with a wave.

“Well, how did it go with the powers that be?” Kyle questioned knowing that Grady must’ve been working on getting Diego out of jail.

“He’s not going to get out tonight,” Grady admitted with a heavy sigh, “There’s not going to be a bail hearing until tomorrow. I couldn’t get anything any sooner with the holiday and all…”

“Wait are you telling me that Diego is going to be spending the night in jail?” Sarah’s eyes widened.

Grady nodded, “But don’t worry I phoned in a favor since this place owes me a hell of a lot for what happened to me and he’ll be okay. He’ll have his own private cell and…”

“Diego can’t spend the night in here. He didn’t do anything,” Sarah objected with a heavy scowl.

“I know it and you do too, but the fact remains that the police chief’s sister is throwing accusations out around him, it’s not going to win him any brownie points around here,” Kyle stated the obvious ready to say something more when he heard the faint ringing of his cell phone in his pocket. He fished it out before letting out a small sigh, “Hold that thought. Hello.”

“Where are you?” Kellen questioned in a frantic voice, squealing over the line. “You were supposed to be here hours ago and now that you’re not Heather is hysterical. They came in today to talk about installing the security system here and she said that you were in charge of it, so now the guy working here has real attitude and he won’t give her any answers. He said he wants to talk to you and only you and…”

“Whoa slow down,” Kyle tried to get a word in above Kellen’s lecture.

“You know this is not a very good start to your first day on a new job,” Kellen scolded him further. “Heather is trying to tackle this all herself, but you should be the one who is working with her. You promised to take care of everything and…”

“And I’ll take care of it,” Kyle promised with another sigh looking at the time. “Is she there?”

“She’s busy dealing with the messes that you left her to clean up,” Kellen snapped at him, “and you know if she didn’t care about you as much as she did, then I’m sure she’d have no choice but to fire you and…”

“Let me talk to her Kellen,” Kyle urged once more.

“Did you not hear me the first time? I said she was busy and if you don’t come out here to help her…” Kellen began to ramble on again his words getting louder and less coherent to Kyle on his end of the line.

“Alright I’ll be there shortly,” Kyle promised cutting Kellen off abruptly. “I’m not that far away so I should be there within the next half hour.”

“Good, then I’ll tell Heather we’ll see you then,” Kellen replied proudly before hanging up the phone and not giving Kyle another chance to say anything more.

“What was that all about?” Grady couldn’t help but ask seeing the expression on Kyle’s face.

“I have a job to do,” Kyle explained quickly.

“What?” Sarah questioned with wide eyes. “What kind of job?”

“I’m working head of security for Heather and…” Kyle shook his head feeling like an idiot for not remembering to go into work and check in with Heather, “I have to get on over to the company and run a few things by one of the guys who came in today to speak with me.”

“But Kyle, what about Diego? What about this situation and…?” Sarah asked with a heavy frown.

“As Grady said there’s nothing we can do to get him out any earlier than tomorrow, so the way I see it, we should all go home and regroup for the morning,” Kyle decided after a moment’s contemplation. “You should go home and rest for a while. You look like you could use it.”

“What I could use is some alone time with you,” she reached out to slide her arms around his waist in an attempt to get closer to him.

“Later,” Kyle promised casually stepping out of her arms. “I made a promise to Heather and…”

“Who cares?” she scoffed with a groan, “It’s not like she hasn’t broken promises to all of us before.”

“This is my job Sarah. I committed myself to it so that maybe we could have something a little more to build on in town,” Kyle frowned slightly, “and I’m not backing out of it. In fact, I’ll just drop you of at home before I go and…”

“I can take her,” Grady piped in seeing the tension in Kyle’s face. “I mean it’s on the way home for me and since the company is on the other side of town…”

“Are you sure?” Kyle questioned looking to his friend.

“Sure, it’s no problem,” Grady nodded further.

“Okay great. Then I’ll see you later. I promise,” Kyle leaned down to kiss Sarah on the cheek lightly before walking towards the door.

“But…” Sarah watched him walk out of the police station and frowned. Regardless of what she wanted to spend the rest of the night doing with him, it seemed that her sister managed to find a way to manipulate the situation in her favor once again leaving Sarah less than thrilled about what was happening.


“So when can I see you again?” Valerie questioned leaning in to press herself into Cameron. “I mean you did promise me that we would take a trip out on your yacht.”

“I did, didn’t I,” Cameron glanced down at her casually thinking about how much entertainment the lovely Ms. Madison had turned out to be for him in the midst of all the craziness following his latest day to day activities.

“Yes, you did,” she smoothed her fingers out over his chest gingerly, “and don’t think that I’ve forgotten.”

“Somehow you don’t strike me as a woman that would forget anything,” Cameron noted giving her a very complete once over. He smiled then leaned forward to kiss her quickly when the door to his room opened and Franklin rushed in apologetically.

“I’m sorry sir. I tried to stop him from barging in, but…” Franklin offered up as Chris stepped into the room with a determined look on his face.

“Cameron I realize that this may not at all seem like the appropriate time here, but I need to speak with you,” Chris blurted out his eyes fixed on Valerie now that he saw her standing beside Cameron in a rather skimpy outfit. His focus dwindled for a moment before he remembered what had brought him to Cameron’s home to begin with.

“It’s hardly the appropriate time,” Cameron agreed glancing over at Valerie appearing to be almost bored, “but I suppose if you felt compelled to come over here and bother me, it must be for something. Am I to assume that you found a way to land my sister a trip to jail again?”

“No, but I can tell you that she’s getting herself into something much worse,” Chris looked to Valerie once more, “I need to talk to you, but I’d prefer that we do this in private.”

“Certainly,” Cameron nodded eyeing Chris suspiciously before looking to Franklin. “Can you see to it that Ms. Madison is on her way out?”

“Of course,” Franklin nodded motioning to Valerie.

“What? You’re not even going to walk me out?” she frowned over at Cameron unable to believe his response to their uninvited guest. “I thought you would have at least done that given that we…”

“I think that our time here has served it’s purpose,” Cameron barely looked at her again before motioning to Chris. “You come with me.”

Chris followed hearing the protests of Valerie now that her time with Cameron had been cut short. Chris wasn’t exactly sure what was going on with them, but it was clearly something that wasn’t intellectual, which in that sense had Chris thinking about Angela all over again. Sure, maybe this was a new low for him, but something had to be done.

“What is it you need?” Cameron questioned walking over to the bar area of his library. He glanced over his shoulder at Chris with a bored and disinterested expression, but it was clear that he had enough interest to see what Chris had up his sleeve. “What have you done to Angel now?”

“I haven’t done anything to her,” Chris argued with a frown, “except in trying to be a friend to her especially now that she’s in a situation that has her in over her head.”

“And just what kind of situation might that be,” Cameron asked taking a seat on the black sofa behind him. He stretched his arms out over the back of the couch, making his presence a bit more dominating. “What scam have you enlisted her help in this time?”

“This is entirely all her situation, not mine, but as her friend I feel it is my duty to alert you to the problem at hand before it turns into something that…” Chris started with a quick breath knowing full well that Cameron would react to the news of his sister’s latest companion.

“So spill it Chris. In case you haven’t noticed I have things that I need to take care of today--things that most certainly outweigh the importance of this particular visit,” Cameron waved his hand in the air, “so unless you’re going to say what’s on your mind, I have to get to other things.”

“Things like destroying Brant Ashford?” Chris questioned watching interest bubble over Cameron’s dark features.

“Brant Ashford,” Cameron repeated in a cool and neutral tone, “Why would you mention that name?”

“Because I know you’ve been spending months trying to bury him and his company. I know that you’re bound and determined to see him go under and I’m with you on that,” Chris continued his tone growing more urgent. “You see we have a common enemy in Brant and I’d like to see you bury him sooner rather than later.”

“And why should I take any of what you’re telling me into consideration? I never said anything about wanting to bury the man,” Cameron played it cool and controlled, “We simply have a rivaling company and should mine prove to be prosperous, then so be it. I cannot help if his business is going under.”

“Oh but I’m sure you can. I’m sure you’d delight in that just like I’m certain he’s taking delight in how he’s finally managed to one up you,” Chris sighed heavily shaking his head, “but the ironic twist on it is that you aren’t even aware of it yet.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Cameron snarled at him, “Chris, you are trying my patience here…”

“Yes, well while I might be trying your patience, Brant Ashford is out there trying your sister. He’s the man who fathered Angela’s children and they are together right now,” Chris blurted out knowing full well this news would get a reaction out of Cameron. Judging by the expression on Cameron’s face, he knew full well he’d struck a nerve.

“You lie,” Cameron shook his head adamantly, “While Brant is married to Avery Morrison and she has a striking resemblance to Angel…”

“There is no striking resemblance. The two could pass for twins Cameron. We both know that, but that’s not what this is about,” Chris insisted firmly, “This is about Brant and Angel. I saw them together last night. There were in one another’s arms talking about her children--their children. Cameron he’s the one who got her pregnant and if you’re smart, then you’ll find a way to stop him from destroying her completely because it’s only a matter of time.”

“No,” Cameron stood up from his chair, “My sister is in love with Kevin. You know as well as I do that they are together. The mere fact that you would imply that she and Brant…”

“I heard them Cameron. I saw them in one another’s arms,” Chris insisted firmly, “I heard Brant admit to it. He was bragging about how he’d managed to find a way to get her to bend to his bidding and I have no doubt in my mind that he’s using her to get to you. He’s trying to turn her against you so that when you take control of his company and bury him, he’ll have the last laugh. He’s using her as a pawn in his game and…”

“No this is nonsense!” Cameron shouted his anger building by the moment, “There is no way that my sister would ever have anything to do with an Ashford. Angel is smarter than that. She’s…”

“In big trouble with him and if you don’t stop living in denial Brant is going to find a way to break her all over again just like Cary tried to do years ago,” Chris added firmly knowing that he’d captured Cameron’s full attention. “Of course the real question now is how are we going to keep that from happening?”


“So what do you two have planned tonight?” Kevin questioned curiously, his dark eyes fixed on Brant and Angela as they sat beside one another on the couch in her hotel room.

“We’re having dinner with one another,” Angela explained in a small voice before glancing over to Brant, “Isn’t that right?”

“That was the general idea,” Brant nodded once again looking to Kevin, “We figured it might be a good way to get to know one another a bit better considering that we both think it’s a good idea for us.”

“Well at least you’re both using your heads about the situation,” Kevin confessed taking note of the closeness between Brant and Angela despite what he knew what was going on between them. “So tell me where are you two headed?”

“Actually,” Brant started ready to say something when his pager went off. Frowning he looked to the number on it and motioned to Angela, “It’s work. Can I use your phone?”

“Sure,” Angela nodded watching him walk over to the phone over at the other end of the room.

“You sure it’s work or you having doubts about the situation?” Kevin questioned in a muted voice catching her scathing look.

“Kevin, I know Brant’s a good guy,” she curled her lip in a frown at him.

“Just like you knew Nick was the one?” he challenged catching the glare she gave him, “But seriously what has Brant told you about himself?”

“We’ve talked about…” she paused trying to think of something that she could say to Kevin that would make him think that she was taking the relationship beyond the physical element that had dictated much of the morning, “He snores.”

“Oh wow,” Kevin brought his hand up over his chest in mock enthusiasm, “What a discovery Angie.”

“Shut up Kevin!” she snapped at him glancing over to where Brant was on the phone. “You don’t understand.”

“No actually I do,” Kevin admitted leaning back in his chair a bit, “and even though I could stand here and give you a million and one warnings about leaping into a new relationship, I guess I should just say that for your sake I hope it works out this time.”

“It will,” she blurted out wondering if she was jumping the gun on the relationship already.

“So then you’ve been working on getting things evened out, yes?” Kevin couldn’t help but ask remembering his previous evening’s talk with Brant.

She nodded again, “In a strange way I think we have. I mean I have no idea how he found me today, but when I saw him, well, I just knew that there was something happening with us. I felt it last night, but…”

“But rather than trying to talk through the situation, you went into a panic and rushed off,” Kevin finished for her shaking his head. “That’s a typical move for you Angie and if you’re smart, you’ll actually take a minute to take a closer look before you wind up jumping into the situation without thinking it through.”

“Are you trying to tell me that I shouldn’t have dinner with Brant?” she asked blankly, “Are you saying that I’m making a mistake?”

“No what I’m saying is that if you want to have a relationship with him, then give this guy a chance. Don’t just presume that you can sleep with him for a while, get bored with him and then toss him,” Kevin warned her simply, “You two are having children together, which brings up the stakes in this one. You can’t just have the fun and then realize that maybe you’re looking for an even bigger party.”

“Kevin, I can’t believe you of all people would say that to me. You know that I’m not…” Angela began in protest.

“Someone who easily opens up her heart,” he interrupted once again, a sudden seriousness pressing in over his features, “and if you listen to nothing else from me from here on out, at least take something from this with you. Angie, I love you. I do. I think you’re an incredible, wonderful woman who has a lot to give to a relationship, but up until now you’ve been hiding behind all of these defense mechanisms. You’ve been doing things in such a way that you don’t allow yourself to feel with your heart…”

“Kevin, you know as well as I do that,” she opened her mouth to protest feeling him press his finger in against her lips to silence her.

“All I’m saying is that think about what you two need to do in order to get things right for your children,” Kevin explained firmly, “If you go around acting like a teenager and forgetting about the importance of the adult decisions that you have ahead of you, then you’re going to lose something even better than sex.”

“Kevin,” she curled her lip in a pout frowning at his words.

“Trust me. You need to start thinking about what comes next other than you and Brant,” Kevin added with a small sigh. He looked over to where Brant was finishing up his phone call. Turning back to Angela, he spoke up in a lower voice. “I can see this guy really cares about you and if you care about him, then don’t do to him what you did to me.”

“Excuse me?” she blinked back at him, “What does that mean?”

“It means don’t just give him access to your body,” Kevin reached out to place his hand on top of hers, “Give him a chance at winning your heart--at loving you like I know you want to be loved. Let him romance you and prove his worth.”

“All this from a guy who used to enjoy just having a good time every now and then,” she paused gazing into his dark eyes, “Being in love with Ria has really changed you, hasn’t it?”

“No,” Kevin shook his head at her offering up a poignant smile, “I’ve always been the romantic kind of guy who has dreamt about true love and happily ever afters, but up until now I’ve had to hide it because the woman I tried to give my heart to wasn’t about falling in love. She gave up on that part of herself a long time ago.”

“Kevin, I…” Angela found herself at a loss.

“I’m not giving you a guilt trip Angie,” Kevin explained giving her hand a small squeeze, “but rather a word of warning. If you want to have a future--one that you have always hoped for, then don’t give this guy the typical treatment. Show him that you’re invested in something more than just the moment.”

“I’m trying Kevin,” she replied not knowing what else to say when Brant returned to join the two of them.

“Sorry about that. I’m having this little situation at work and,” Brant stopped himself taking note of the seriousness between Kevin and Angela. “Maybe I should go back over to the phone and give you a minute.”

“No, we’re fine,” Kevin shook his head in response rising up from the chair he’d been seated in. “I actually have to be on my way out. I’ve got a few errands to run and…”

“Are you sure,” Brant asked curiously, “Because Angela and I were just going to get a burger or something via her request and if you’re interested, well you know you’re more than welcome to join us.”

“No, I think this time I’m going to sit this one out,” Kevin smiled back at him before giving Angela one last look. “Just keep me updated on how everything goes.”

“I will,” she rose up to her feet reaching out to hug him gently, “Thank you Kevin. For everything.”

“Don’t thank me. Just listen to your heart and let it be your guide,” he whispered warmly in the back of her ear. “You won’t be disappointed if you do just that.”

“I’ll think about it,” she squeezed his hand gently before walking him over to the door and letting him out.

Once he walked down the hallway and into the elevators he gave her one small wave before disappearing out of her sight. She turned around and moved back into her hotel room seeing Brant seated on her couch with a curious expression. When she moved further inside he eyed her intently.

“Everything okay?” he couldn’t help but ask sensing something was up between her and Kevin.

“Yeah everything is fine,” she nodded thinking about her best friend’s words, “Although I think I’ve changed my mind. I think I would prefer we do that whole Italian dinner thing. Maybe I can take a quick shower and get dressed and…”

“I think that’s a great idea,” Brant nodded rising up to move in closer to her. He reached for her hand lifting it to his lips in a small, subtle kiss, “In fact I think maybe I should go and get things ready for tonight. I can give you some time to get dressed and then I could come back around say maybe seven.”

“That sounds wonderful,” she decided with a bright smile, “I mean it’s not every day that you can say you’re going on a first date, right?”

“No it isn’t,” he flashed her a sexy grin of his own warming her up inside to the thought that tonight held a lot of promise between the two of them. He inched in closer to her leaving her to long for the taste of his lips over hers, but instead he placed a small kiss on her cheek in a gentlemanly fashion. “I promise you a night you won’t forget.”

“You’ve already given me one of those,” she reminded him with a small smile, “so maybe tonight you can give me a few details about yourself that I wouldn’t want to forget.”

“I think we can work on that,” he nodded in agreement, “I look forward to getting to know everything that there is about you Angela.”

“And I look forward to getting to know you too,” she replied realizing that for the first time since she’d agreed to go on the date with him, she was genuinely curious about the man who’d fathered her children. Sure, she’d been interested in him earlier when they’d been enjoying each other, but now as she thought about all that she didn’t know about the sexy man in front of her, she realized that she couldn’t wait to learn more in the hopes that it would turn into something that she could, as Kevin had suggested, invest her heart into. Maybe Kevin was right. Maybe this time she would shoot for love if there really was such a thing in this world.


“You know it’s been a while since we had a few minutes like this to just relax with one another,” Russ whispered snuggling in closer to Avery as they sat on the sofa with one another.

“It’s been too long,” Avery sighed in agreement closing her eyes and feeling Russ place feathery light kisses over the side of her neck. “You have no idea how much I’ve missed this.”

“Not nearly as much as I have,” Russ mouthed in response moving in to kiss her neck again when the doorbell rang.

“Now that I haven’t missed,” Avery groaned slightly reopening her eyes to look at Russ. “I guess we were hoping for too much too fast, huh?”

“I guess I should get that before whomever is here wakes up Erin,” Russ mouthed reluctant to get up and off of the sofa, but knowing full well that he needed to answer the door. He leaned in to give Avery a quick kiss before springing up off of the couch to see who was there. Opening the door he found himself surprised to see Grady and he let out a small laugh, “Gee if you were here a little while ago we would’ve had a family reunion.”

“Why are mom and dad here?” Grady questioned glancing into the house to see Avery seated on the couch. Russ opened the door wider inviting Grady inside with a smile.

“Not anymore, but they were here for a little bit seeing Erin,” Russ explained closing the door behind his brother and walking over to join Avery again. Grady followed taking a seat in one of the chairs.

“How did that go?” Grady questioned concern registering behind his eyes as he watched Russ slide in next to Avery on the sofa. Russ wrapped his arm around Avery’s shoulders and Grady fought to contain the instant reaction it sparked up inside of him.

“Better than I thought it would, but it’ll just take time,” Russ offered up thinking about his talk with Elliot and Cheryl. “Erin was thrilled to see them though.”

“I’ll bet,” Grady nodded watching the way that Avery’s hand dropped down to Russell’s leg offering up a small squeeze, “so how is the little princess?”

“Sleeping for a few minutes,” Avery smiled over at Grady before glancing over at Russ, “We were wondering if she would ever go to bed because she’s always so full of energy.”

“She’ll be up in no time. It’s almost time for her next bottle,” Russ laughed lightly before looking to his brother, “It seems like it’s an endless cycle of feeding, changing, naptime and then shower time for one of us. Then that’s about when Erin wakes up and is ready to go all over again.”

“But we love every second of it,” Avery squeezed Russ’s leg again and smiled, “He’s been incredible with her.”

“You’re not so bad yourself,” Russ leaned in to kiss Avery’s head gently before turning to his brother, “My girl is amazing isn’t she?”

“That she is,” Grady nodded in response, his gaze focused on Avery as he thought back to the night they had shared with one another when the world thought Russ was dead. “She’s one of the most incredible women I’ve ever met.”

“Oh please,” Avery rolled her eyes at the comment, “You’re just kissing up because Russ started this one.”

“No it’s true,” Grady sat up straighter fearing that his eyes would give his thoughts away while he watched Avery. Finally he forced himself to look away turning his attention to Russ. “So tell me what else is going on?”

“Not a whole lot. What about you?” Russ questioned making friendly conversation with his older brother.

“Actually I just got back from the police station. Turns out that Cori Warner is accusing Diego Hernandez of attacking her and Kyle asked me to step in and help on the case,” Grady rubbed his palms together and cleared his throat before offering up a smile. “Honestly I have to say I think the guy is innocent, but still I’ve got my work cut out for me.”

“I’m sure that if anyone can prove his innocence it’s you Grady. You’re a damn good lawyer,” Avery offered up brightly hoping to add some support for him.

“Honestly someone out there must be saying that because I can tell you I have never been busier in my life with work than I am right now. I’m bogged down with quite a few cases and I haven’t even started to sort things out. I guess that shows me for taking that time off there to hang out in jail,” he teased with a small laugh.

“I would hardly consider being locked up because of an obvious misunderstanding hanging out,” Avery frowned back at him, “What Cameron tried to pull on you was wrong.”

“Wrong or not, he didn’t take all of my credibility away. Hell, I really thought I would be avoided like the plague around here, but the opposite has happened. Since everyone saw how I was unjustly accused they think that I’m the man to represent them and get them out of a bind,” Grady let out an ironic laugh before shaking his head, “It’s times like these that I wish I had taken on a partner around the office since there’s only one of me to go around.”

“Well why don’t you?” Russ suggested breaking his long silence.

“What?” Grady questioned with a small laugh, “Russ I hardly think I’m going to have the ability to come up with a way to clone myself.”

“I’m not talking about cloning yourself,” Russ shook his head before turning to Avery, “but why not take on a partner at the firm? It couldn’t hurt right?”

“Well no, but to go through the process of trying to find the perfect person, it would take months and I really don’t have the time to…” Grady started thinking about all the work cut out in front of him.

“What about Avery? I mean she’s perfect and talented and can talk her way around the courtroom better than anyone in town,” Russ suggested catching both Grady and Avery off guard.

“What?” they repeated in unison both of them turning to Russ.

“Well you said that you wanted to get back to work again and if you were working with Grady I’m sure he wouldn’t give you the hell that Brant did. He might be miserable sometimes, but together you two could become a legal powerhouse in this town,” Russ continued in an encouraging tone.

“Well yes, but…” Grady began feeling a nervousness settle in the pit of his stomach.

“But nothing. Avery this would save you the time of going through all that interviewing that you were dreading and Grady,” Russ looked to his brother again, “that would keep you from having to go through the headache of finding the perfect person when the perfect person is already right here and available for the time being. You know no one could do a better job than Avery. After all she was on your defense team when you were in jail and…”

“Yes, but…” Grady started clearing his throat uneasily fighting to contain the thoughts that were lingering in his head.

“But nothing. I think it’s a win/win situation and there isn’t any reason why you shouldn’t bring Avery in with you. She’s the most qualified for the position and I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t want to work with Avery, can you?” Russ questioned as Grady thought of a very big reason why he and Avery should never be in close quarters with one another again, but as he saw the eagerness behind Russell’s eyes he wondered how in the world he was going to give Russ an answer without giving himself away.


Kyle pushed through the front door to Heather’s office building silently cursing himself for not having paid enough attention to the responsibility he’d put on himself with her earlier. He’d sworn that he’d be there to help her and keep an eye on things while she was trying to get her company off of the ground, yet when the crisis with Diego had come up, it had completely slipped his mind. Now thinking about Kellen’s telephone call, Kyle couldn’t help but wonder what kind of mess his absence had created for Heather.

“I will fix this,” he thought to himself noticing that half of the lights in the building were off, no doubt a sign that closing was right around the corner.

He silently cursed himself again and again for being so dense about the situation, yet all he could think about was how this job would be good for him. It would get him to focus on something that was more stable than the whole private investigation field. If he was going to be a father, he was going to have to focus. He would need something a little less dangerous, something that could keep him in town and not far away from what should be important to him. Of course the question was what would he do about keeping his priorities in check?

“For starters, you’ll stop thinking about what happened at the party with Heather,” a voice went off in his mind reminding him all over again about how he’d slipped up and said those things to her. Sure, she’d been drunk, but he hadn’t been and there was simply no excuse for him admitting to the fact that he’d wanted to make love to her. Hell, he probably would’ve pounced on her at that point in time if she hadn’t been drunk and he hadn’t have been back together with Sarah. Then again for a brief moment Sarah had completely been written out of the situation especially when he had Heather in his arms, beneath him writhing and tempting him to…

“This is ridiculous,” he mouthed under his breath turning down a darkened hallway in the hopes of finding Heather and clearing the situation over. Okay, so admittedly he was hoping to get a word in with her about what happened at the party, yet the more he pondered that, the more he thought about the dreams he’d had last night that had filled in the blanks of what might’ve been had he and Heather crossed into that territory with one another. Truth be told, he’d not had one, but multiple dreams about making love to her and even now he couldn’t get that image out of his head. Sure, working to help Diego had softened the notion that had weighed over him for most of the night and the morning, but now, well now those notions were hitting him again full blast causing him to wonder if maybe he should step away from his promise to help her with the company.

“No,” he instructed stopping mid-movement to assess the room around him, “you made a promise to Heather and you’re going to hold true to it. You two have known each other forever and you’re not going to let last night change everything for the both of you.”

Of course deep down he knew it already had. Closing his eyes he thought back to another time and place when he and Sarah were no closer to being a couple than he was to getting the truth out of Cori. Leaning in against the wall he let out a small breath when the memory came to him in vivid color.

“So tell me Houston,” Heather’s voice tempted him further than he’d cared to admit, “Why don’t you just tell me what it is that you want from me rather than beating around the bush?”

“Hey, I thought this was truth or dare,” Kyle had objected as the two sat together on the top of the hill looking up at the stars in the night overhead.

“It is. It’s your turn to tell the truth,” she nudged at his ribs, poking him slightly. “So fess up.”

“Okay, okay,” Kyle threw his hands in the air. He turned in towards her, his dark eyes reaching out to hers, “You really want the truth?”

“I think I deserve the truth,” she nodded encouragingly.

“I don’t think you can handle the truth,” Kyle had mouthed in his best Jack Nicholson impression. He watched her shake her head at him before swatting at his shoulder once again.

“Give it to me straight Houston,” she mouthed her gaze growing suddenly serious. “I think I’m old enough to handle it.”

“In that case,” Kyle reached out to touch her face lightly, “I’ll give you the truth, but you’ve been warned since the power behind the truth can be a bit intimidating at times.”

“I’m a big girl,” she inched in closer to him rolling over towards him on the ground where they lay with one another. “Lay it on me.”

“I’ll do even better than that,” Kyle promised dipping forward to ease his lips in over hers in a soft, tender display of what it was he was feeling at that point in time. He felt her arm slide in around his waist, the warmth of her body curving into his as their kiss grew until finally…

“Damn it,” Kyle snapped back from that moment in time, wanting to kick himself for letting that time with Heather cloud the here and now. He was at work in this moment because he’d found a way to make life difficult for her in more ways than one. Sure, last night he’d no doubt made an ass of himself, but he was hoping to remedy that by proving his worth as an employee. That was truly why he was here and he would keep that focus with him at all times.

With that thought in mind, he moved forward wondering where in the hell Heather was or Kellen for that matter since Kellen had made a point to already add to the guilt trip Kyle was laying on himself. He looked around hoping that he hadn’t missed Heather when he heard a small sound from the room to the left of him. He stopped outside the door noticing the small line of light underneath the door indicating that someone was inside.

There was another noise and with a small breath Kyle decided to investigate. He moved forward pushing the door open a bit further watching the room come into view before him. His dark eyes surveyed the room for a moment seeing nothing out of the ordinary until he saw something flying through the air. His eyes followed the object as it fell to the floor revealing that it was some kind of dress of sorts. When it hit the ground, he heard another sound that caught him completely off guard, but it was nothing to prepare him for what followed.

“Kellen, I swear if you took any longer in getting me that shirt, then it would be a new year,” Heather’s voice boomed sharply. She walked out from behind the changing curtain she’d been hidden by when Kyle had first walked in. Now as Kyle looked at her, he could see her wiggling her finger in the air ready to give Kellen an obviously overdue verbal lashing about whatever it was they were talking about before his arrival, yet that was the last thing on his mind once he realized that not only had Heather discarded the gown in a haste, but it appeared that everything else had followed other than a tiny pink, lacy thong that hugged her curves in ways Kyle knew damn well he wouldn’t be seeing again. Suddenly all of his pep talk he’d given himself upon entering had gone out the window and his thoughts had decidedly fallen into a new direction--one that he was certain would prove dangerous for the both of them!


“So tell me more about your boyfriend,” Mindy yelled over the crowd as one of the men walked off the stage and some of the women around them cheered. “I mean all I know is that his name is Chase and that’s pretty much it.”

“Well, he has blonde hair and these amazing blue eyes,” Trisha began to inform Mindy of everything she knew about her boyfriend, well--everything she could think of right now considering on how much she had already drank tonight. “He’s really sweet and he can sing too. You wouldn’t believe how great he can sing.”

“He’s really horny too,” Ria added stepping in behind Trisha and placing her hands on her sister’s shoulders before shaking her head slowly. “That’s what Trisha likes the most.”

“Hey Ria look, a guy that looks exactly like Kevin,” Trisha pointed over towards the stage seeing Ria quickly turn to see what Trisha was talking about as Trisha let out a small laugh and shook her head slowly. “Oh wait, no--he’s missing about ten inches…”

“Trisha,” Ria hit her sister in the shoulder hearing Trisha laugh out loud before Ria looked out to Mindy seeing her eyes widen at what Trisha had said. “She is just kidding you know.”

“No I’m not,” Trisha shook her head slowly stepping forward and wrapping her arm around Mindy’s shoulders carefully. She pointed out towards Ria, a wide smile appearing over her features. “I need to bring you with me one day to her house unexpectedly because he brings a whole new meaning to unleash the animal.”

“Ouch,” Mindy chuckled seeing Ria shake her head slowly before Trisha turned her back to the stage while Mindy and Ria faced her. “I think I can keep that in my mind for right now. He was a pretty good looking guy when I met him and he is a big guy. I’d just like to think it’s what’s on the inside that counts because he was very polite and nice.”

“See,” Ria placed her hand on Mindy’s shoulder with a proud smile appearing over her lips. “This is the kind of little sister I need. One that agrees with me on the same things because I agree with her on that one.”

“Sure you do,” Trisha rolled her eyes taking another sip of her drink as she looked out at Mindy and Ria. “I mean her boyfriend is great, but mine is great too. Everything about him is just…”

Ria tried to listen to her sister, but the moment the new dance came out on stage and started stripping off his clothes Ria couldn’t help, but stop in amazement.

“Trisha,” Ria tried to pause her sister from talking as the man pulled his shirt off and the crowd around him cheered loudly, urging him to go farther. “Trisha…”

“Hold your horses,” Trisha felt a piece of clothing fall on her shoulder as she brushed it off quickly and looked down towards the ground. “As I was saying…”

“Trisha,” Mindy tried to interfere Trisha too seeing the man up on the stage ripping off his pants as Mindy’s eyes widened a bit. “What did you say your boyfriend looked like again…”

“Well he has blonde hair,” Trisha began taking in a deep breath showing the length of what it was before continuing on with what she was talking about. “Blue eyes, about six foot.”

“Kind of looks like him,” Ria grabbed her sister turning Trisha around to face the stage and to show her that Chase was up on the stage only wearing a very small piece of clothing over his privates and dancing around the stage for the women before him. “How well do you know your boyfriend?”

“Oh my god,” Trisha gasped dropping the glass bottle in her hand as it shattered on the ground and both Mindy and Ria stepped back. “Chase….”

“I guess you were right about him being perfect in some areas there,” Mindy cleared her throat uneasily seeing the look spread out over Trisha’s features, showing her that this wasn’t going to turn out to be a good thing at all.


...to be continued...