Episode 346

The thunder roared above Avery, but that was irrelevant to her now that she’d felt the biggest shock to her system. The worst part of it all, she realized as the rain soaked her was that she wasn’t sure what had really gotten her so upset. Was it the fact that Russ had been with another woman or simply that he hadn’t felt that she could handle the truth? Granted given her actions just now she could see his logic in thinking that she wasn’t strong enough to face the truth, but when it got down to it he’d lied plain and simple. He’d lived a life with another woman--planned to spend his life with another woman and had his memory never returned she would have lived out the rest of her days believing he was dead while some other woman held his heart--his love.

“Avery,” she heard someone speak her name. The sound echoed in the back of her mind, but rather than acknowledging it, she stood still refusing to face anyone now that her heart was breaking into pieces. “Avery hey.”

“Leave me alone,” she answered stubbornly recognizing the voice as Kevin’s. She felt him place his hand on her shoulder and she stepped out of his touch, spinning around to face him with angry eyes, “Why can’t you people get that I don’t need you here?”

“Avery, I know you’re upset, but…” Kevin offered thinking about the hurt she’d felt when Cameron had taken the liberty of blurting out about Russ and Angela.

“Upset?” she repeated with a huff, “Kevin, you have no idea how I’m feeling right now. You know nothing about me other than you and Russ felt the need to keep lying to me all this time…”

“Russ didn’t want to lie to you,” Kevin tried to defend his friend thinking about the struggle Russ had gone through, “He was just afraid that…”

“That what? That I’d leave him for sleeping with her?” her voice cracked with the thunder above, “Well guess what he got what he was expecting.”

“You don’t mean that,” Kevin frowned down at her. He reached out to touch her again only to see her back away, “Avery come on. You have to come back to the church with me. It’s raining and..”

“And I don’t care,” Avery threw her hands in the air. She circled around the spot she stood in lifting her head up to the clouds, “I don’t care what happens to me right now considering that everyone else already has a replacement lined up.”

“No they don’t,” Kevin argued with her seeing in her for the first time the same stubbornness that he’d fought with year after year with Angela, “No one was looking to replace you.”

“But they have, haven’t they?” she shouted facing him once again, “First Brant and now Russ.”

“No they haven’t,” Kevin argued taking a bold step towards her knowing full well he was taking a risk in facing down her rage, but he didn’t care. After Angela had turned her back on him once again, nothing worse could happen to him. He was a man with nothing to lose and here before him stood a woman with the whole world in front of her should she just open her eyes. “Russ hasn’t replaced you and neither has Erin. You are the only woman they want.”

“Erin,” Avery’s eyelashes fluttered to a close as she thought about her daughter, “Oh God. Kevin, where is she?”

“Russ has her and he’s back at the church. He took her out of the rain and,” he began to inform her watching her walk over to the edge of the lot where she stood looking at the rain cover the world below. She took in a breath before speaking up in a soft, broken tone.

“You must think I’m a horrible mother,” she dropped her head feeling as if she’d finally reached the point of failing at everything.

“No, I don’t and neither does Russ or Erin. They want you and they need you right now and…” Kevin stepped in closer to her seeing that she was shivering. Without a second thought he slipped out of his jacket and wrapped it around her shoulders. He watched her flinch in an attempt to move away, but he captured her waist with one arm pulling her in closer to him. Tipping his head down he whispered in her ear, “You’re freezing and if you won’t go back with me at least wear this.”

“Kevin it’s just,” Avery tilted her head back over her shoulder to look at him. Unable to contain the tears that carried over her she turned in his arms, “I just feel like I’m losing my mind lately and now--now I’m losing Russ.”

“No you aren’t,” Kevin embraced her feeling her break down in his arms, “Russ loves you so very much.”

“I’m not so sure of that anymore,” she sobbed harder than before, “I’m not sure of anything anymore.”

“None of us are,” Kevin reached out to urge her chin up so that she could meet his dark eyes, “but if you stand here thinking about what you lost you’re only going to wind up losing even more. Avery, Russ never wanted to lie to you. He wanted to tell you about Angela, but…”

“But what?” she questioned weakly, “But it just didn’t seem right for him to tell me that there was a woman out there that looks just like me--a woman that is Cameron Stone’s sister that he was going to marry?”

“There were extenuating circumstances,” Kevin tried to defend his friend remembering only too well how Russ was far from being himself.

“As extenuating as they were, would you have told Ria if it happened to you?” Avery couldn’t help but ask him, her brown eyes searching his. “Would you have loved her enough to be honest with her?”

“That’s irrelevant to what’s happening now. Cameron set this up tonight to hurt you--to hurt Russ and he said those things to…” Kevin cut her off hoping to remind her what had really taken place after the wedding.

“And nothing. If Russ would’ve told me the truth, then Cameron would’ve never been in a position to hurt us like this. He wouldn’t have held the power that he did tonight and now…” Avery stepped back wiping at her face as she moved out of Kevin’s arms.

“Now if you let him win you’ll lose everything that you waited months to have back in your life again. Avery, I know that Russ loves you and Erin more than anything in this world. He fought like hell to get his memory back and get to you,” Kevin explained matter of fact, “He would lay his life on the line for you and…”

“And if that was really the case, then I should’ve been important enough to be honest with. I should’ve heard this from him and not Cameron,” she snapped back at him tears of frustration burning behind her eyes.

“And I can’t argue that, but at the same time I think that this is the time for you two to talk about it rather than fight. I think you need to hear Russ out before you run away. If you don’t do it for him,” Kevin paused dramatically throwing out one last attempt to appeal to her, “then do it for Erin. She deserves that much from her mother.”

“Don’t you dare,” she waved her hand at him, “You have no idea what I do for my daughter.”

“Yes I do,” Kevin stepped forward catching her hand before she could poke his eye out. He clasped his fingers over hers to calm her, “which is why you’re going to go home with me and we’re going to talk to Russ.”

“I can’t do it Kevin,” she shook her head stubbornly. “I can’t even look at him right now.”

“You can and you will because your daughter deserves a chance at happiness with her parents,” Kevin curled his finger underneath her chin to lift her gaze to his once more, “Erin needs you so please give her that much. Come on. I know you won’t let her down.”

“Kevin, I…” she started only to feel him press his hand over her mouth to silence her protests.

“You’ll at least give it a try for Erin. I’ll call Russ and let him know that I found you and that you’re okay. I’ll take you over there so that you can have a few minutes to yourself before you two talk it out,” he explained in a smooth and even tone.

“I don’t know if talking will make a difference,” Avery sighed heavily closing her eyes and feeling him push her jacket around her more snugly.

“It will. Trust me on this one,” Kevin assured her hoping that he could find a way to undo the damage that Cameron had put upon his two friends before it was too late.


Russ stood inside the church holding Erin in his arms and hearing the sounds of the storm outside. His green eyes fell upon his daughter and he thought about all the times he fought like hell to work his way home--of all the situations that had kept him and Avery apart. Up until now they’d been fighting together as a team, willing to beat the odds, but now he felt like they were more divided than ever.

“I should’ve told your mommy everything,” Russ mouthed poignantly hugging Erin closer to him as he thought of another time when it seemed they’d hit the end of the road in their relationship.

“It’s over,” Avery’s voice echoed on the phone as Russ stood in the middle of his living room--the living room of the house they were to share with one another. “I’m sorry Russ, but I can’t do this. I can’t marry you.”

“Avery, please…” Russ begged of her feeling his heart shatter at her words, “Where are you? Let me talk to you. We can work this out. Whatever I did wrong I swear I’ll fix it. I know we can work through this if you’ll just talk to me.”

“I’m sorry Russ. I just can’t. It’s over,” she’d explained leaving him to lose any hope of happiness for the two of them together after she’d walked out on their wedding day.

“I didn’t know at the time how your mommy was hurting,” Russ explained to Erin as he flashed back to the present, “but I swear to you Erin I’m not going to give up on her--on us being a family. We’ve worked too hard to have this with one another.”

Erin reached out to her father before smacking her lips together as if she was blowing him a kiss. Her tiny fingers curled around his finger and she made a small sound.

“I love you too princess,” he kissed her forehead gently knowing that he held the living and breathing proof of just how meant to be he and Avery were in his arms. Erin was his miracle--their dream come true and it wasn’t time for that dream to end. Not now, not ever. “I just have to find a way to reach your mommy again. I have to explain that while I messed up, I never stopped loving her.”

Erin made another small sound before squeezing his finger once again. He hugged her closer to him hearing another sound of thunder overhead. Looking to the storm kicking up outside he found himself worried about Avery wondering where she was and wishing like hell he would’ve been the one to go after her instead of Kevin. Yes, he knew that Erin needed him now more than ever after the day she’d had, yet Russ wished he could’ve been able to explain his heart to Avery.

Looking to Erin again Russ said a silent prayer that Avery would hear him out--that things would work out for them, but before he could continue with his thought his cell phone started to ring. Reaching for it, Russ quickly answered in a breathless tone.

“Avery?” he spoke her name praying that she was trying to speak to him again--to talk to him about what was hurting her.

“It’s Kevin,” Kevin explained in a soft, solemn tone, “I found Avery and she’s with me.”

“Can I speak with her?” Russ pleaded walking over to one of the windows to peer out into the lot near the church in the hopes of seeing Kevin with Avery.

“She’s pretty upset right now,” Kevin informed him point blank, “but I’m taking her back to the house so you both can talk. She’ll be there with me in a few minutes and we’ll be waiting for you.”

“Will she talk to me?” Russ couldn’t help but ask fearing Kevin’s answer to the question.

“I think so,” Kevin answered in a neutral tone as if he wasn’t trying to give Russ away in his questioning. “How’s Erin doing?”

“I think she’s tired,” Russ admitted seeing his daughter’s eyelids grow heavy. “She’s had a long day.”

“I think we all have, but that’s why I’m calling. Come on home. Avery’s safe and you two can talk about this when you get here,” Kevin informed him in a sympathetic tone. “She’s not going anywhere.”

“Thank you Kevin,” Russ replied realizing that this was his one shot to make things right. “I’ll be there soon.”

“Okay,” Kevin answered before hanging up the phone and leaving Russ to realize that it was now or never. This would be his one shot to make up for the mistake he’d made on the island and the even bigger one he’d made in keeping quiet with Avery. He just hoped that when everything was said and done that Avery could forgive him for the things he hadn’t said until now.


A soft sigh escaped Heather’s lips as her fingers curled in over Kyle’s broad shoulders feeling his lips caressing hers to a sweet surrender as she gave into him fully. It was almost like a dream to feel the warmth of his body next to her, the warmth surrounding her and holding onto her tightly. It almost felt too much like a dream to actually be true as she gently pressed her hand in over his shoulder to gently push him back for a moment.

“Kyle,” she whispered his name finally able to open her eyes after regaining her breath, meeting the glance of his hazel eyes as his hand pressed in over her cheek caressing it gently with his fingertips. “You never answered me as to why you were really here.”

“I though it would be kind of obvious,” Kyle took in a long breath reaching out to wipe away the mascara that had run down over her cheeks as he let out a small laugh. “You look like you’ve had a really hard day.”

“And I have,” she pushed further away from him seeing the look he gave her as she looked down to his hand seeing the way he moved in closer to her. “Shouldn’t you be with your wife and the love of your life right now?”

“Please, her being my wife,” Kyle chuckled seeing the confusion behind her eyes as he shook his head slowly and reached out to touch her cheek gently. “Would be the last thing that would ever happen in this life time. I tried to tell you before you got mad at me that I am with the love of my…,”

“Ouch,” Heather interrupted him accidentally as she felt a burning pain in her knee from when she fell earlier and scraped it. Seeing his hazel eyes look down she felt him grab a hold of her hand and lead her into her apartment after scooping up her keys and everything she threw at him earlier. “Where are you taking me?”

“We’re going to clean you up,” he informed her with a small nod feeling her fingers tighten around his as he led her over toward her bathroom and turned to face her. “Come here.”

“Kyle,” she frowned feeling him gently pick her up and set her on top of the countertop before reaching out to push her wet blonde hair back carefully. “I’m not a baby, I can take care of myself you know. I have been taking care of myself for a very long time.”

“Well let someone else take care of you for once,” Kyle hushed her walking over toward the medicine cabinet and pulled out a few things before returning to her. “And then maybe while I do this it could give me a few minutes to talk to you about what’s been happening.”

“That might help out a little bit,” she nodded slowly seeing the way he moved in closer to her grabbing a wash cloth and gently dabbing it at her cheeks to get the make up that ran down her cheeks. “You should start talking soon.”

“Alright,” Kyle’s hazel eyes met hers for a moment and he took in a deep breath turning the water on and moving in closer to her gently running his thumb in over her bottom lip gently. Her green eyes staring out into his as he let out a long breath. “I never loved Sarah, I never did.”

“That’s not true Kyle,” she saw him frown and bend down to his knees to grab a hold of her leg gently, his hazel eyes met hers in a small glance as she closed her eyes tightly. “You always had a thing for Sarah.”

“After you left my life, yeah,” Kyle agree with her reaching out to grab the cotton balls and something to clean her wounds with as he let out a long breath gently dabbing it to he knee. Hearing her let out a small hiss he looked up at her with an apologetic frown before gently blowing over her knee. “I was looking for someone that could replace you and she was the closest thing to it. The only thing is, no one and I mean no one could replace you.”

“Kyle,” she frowned seeing him gently caressing her leg as she could no longer feel the pain from the cuts she had gotten, but just the massaging feeling of Kyle’s fingertips against her skin. “I know that’s not true at all.”

“Okay, here are some good point for you,” Kyle moved up slowly reaching out to cup her face in his hands gently before moving forward to kiss her gently, his lips caressing hers over and over again as he felt her holding onto him tightly. “The time Diego and Sarah came up with that idea to put you in that place, try thinking back to it and I know you hate it Heather, but try to remember me there. I told you how much I loved you and I was with Sarah then so to speak. I held you in my arms and wished like hell that I could have taken you out with me and taken you far away from that place.”

“I thought that was a dream,” her eyes fluttered up at him as he moved forward to press another small kiss against her lips as she pressed her hand in over his hard chest, feeling the power against his black t-shirt. “I just never thought it could have happened.”

“Never thought what could have happened? That when I told you I loved you more than anything that I actually meant it?” Kyle muttered feeling her hand move in over his wrist as he stared into her green eyes seeing them paying close attention to every move he made. “Then there was Brant and you know what I mean by that. I was so jealous of him, jealous of the fact he was engaged to you in the past--jealous of the fact that he had your heart and I didn’t. I was too stupid to tell you how much I loved you and I will always love you because I thought you were in love with him. I know that’s not true though now because I see something in your eyes, every time I look at you and see you looking at me--I know that you want me too.”

“I’ve always wanted you Kyle,” she admitted seeing him smile and nod slowly, his forehead pressing up against hers as she took in a long breath moving her hand up to caress his rough cheek slowly. “Brant was nothing compared to you because you have always been my everything. No matter how many people I have run into in my life, you have always been the man I have dreamt about. The man that I wished I could always spend my life with and never let go of. You’re the only man in my sight now Kyle and you need to know that.”

“Just like you need to know that you are the only one in my life that I care about and the only woman in this world that I want to spend the rest of my life waking up to every day,” Kyle muttered moving in for another kiss from her lips as she kissed him back curling her fingers in over his shoulders and gently scratching her nails down Kyle’s arms. “I know that I haven’t always been the best of guys…,”

Heather went to interrupt him and he pressed his hand in over her mouth and silenced her as her green eyes looked up into his. Gently moving his hand away from her lips she leaned up to kiss him, pressing her lips in against his knowing that if he wasn’t going to let her talk, she was going to show him in different ways what he meant to her.

“Heather, I should have never let you leave when you were younger because I was in love with you Heather, I have always been in love with you since I married you from day one. Actually, that’s something I’d hope to do again,” Kyle began seeing the way she stared out at him as his fingers slipped out of her grasp and he took in a deep breath pulling something from his pocket. “Heather, my grandmother gave me this ring. She told me to ask the person I loved to marry me using this ring and I didn’t give Sarah this ring because I don’t love Sarah.”

With that in mind Kyle slowly got down to one knee opening the jewelry box slowly and reaching out to grab her hand in his as her green eyes widened seeing him in front of her in such a way. His thumb ran in over the back of her hand as he caressed her skin gently and took in a nervous breath.

“Heather, I loved you since I first moved in with my parents. I was blinded at times, but I always knew where my heart was. It was always placed firmly in your hands,” Kyle gripped her fingers tightly in his as he let out a long breath. “Heather Marx, the woman I’ve loved since I was five years old. Will you marry me?”


Moving forward into the hospital Sarah took a look around after changing knowing that she couldn’t have showed up at the hospital in a bloody dress. That would be far beyond strange and creepy to the people working there so she had to show up looking at least half normal and not like the crazy killer bride.

Ever since the wedding, sure she had been mad and angered, but deep down she had been worried about Diego too and everything he had been going through over the last twenty-four hours.

Not only was she going through a lot of pain, but emotionally and physically he had to be going through a great amount of pain himself considering everything he took in within the last day when she was about to marry Kyle.

“I need to see you,” she tried to work herself up to actually go and see Diego without worrying herself to death to the fact of how upset he could be with her. “It doesn’t matter, you have to find him.”

Looking around she thought about possibly just walking down the hallways and looking in the rooms to try and avoid contact with anyone, but figured that might possibly get her kicked out of the hospital from suspicion.

“Excuse me,” she walked up to the nurse that was typing something over at the corner desk seeing the nurse's brown eyes meet her glance. “Do you know what room Diego Hernandez is in? We’re close friends and I’d really like to see if he was okay.”

“Sure, just give me a minute,” the nurse motioned her to wait as she typed something into the computer. Noticing that Sarah was obviously is a hurry she shrugged her shoulders. “I’m sorry about that the computers are slow sometimes. He is in six nineteen.”

“Okay, thanks,” Sarah looked toward the room numbers before finding the right way to go. Stopping in front of the door she took in a deep reaching forward to gently knock, hearing Diego’s voice groan to call her into the room. “Diego?”

“Oh no,” Gabriella got up from the chair in the corner as Diego lifted his head up from the pillow and looked out at Sarah seeing her still holding onto the doorknob. “I got this under control little brother.”

“No,” Diego shook his head looking over into his sister’s dark eyes seeing her take in a small breath before stepping back. “Actually Gabriella, I’d really like to talk to Sarah alone for a minute, so…,”

“Are you sure?” Gabriella double checked if that was really what he wanted as she made her way toward the door stopping in front of Sarah and seeing Sarah’s dark eyes look away from her. “If you need me, you know what to do.”

“Yeah, I know,” Diego nodded slowly letting out a long breath as he turned to his side and stared out at Sarah as the door closed behind his sister. “Sarah, what are you doing here?”

“Diego,” she went to say something, but her mind went into a total blank as she moved forward, folding her arms out in front of her chest. Seeing the blanket hanging in over the top of his waist she let out a small sigh meeting his dark eyes in a glance. “So, how are you feeling?”

“Oh stop acting like you care,” Diego replied with disgust seeing the way Sarah’s eyes stared out into his as he shook his head slowly pushing himself up to a seated position and letting out a small groan. “You didn’t care about me, hell you didn’t even care about Kyle which shocked the hell out of me because I thought he was the one that you loved the most in this world. At least that was the crap you fed me time and time again.”

“Well at first I thought he was,” she snapped right back at him seeing the anger growing behind his dark eyes as she took a step back trying to get it so he wasn’t so angry with her. “Diego, just listen to me okay. I care about you and Kyle, it’s just that something Kyle took in wasn’t right. He didn’t see things complete and…,”

“He saw exactly what they were,” Diego cut her off angrily throwing his right hand up in the air before meeting her blank expression. “Sarah, you slept with Cameron, the man that everyone seems to hate in this town. Who would take you back after that?”

“It was for a good reason,” she tried to explain almost hating that she said that the instant it came out of her mouth as Diego’s eyebrows peaked up in interest. “I was worried that she would steal him from me.”

“You mean Heather? Stealing Kyle?” he questioned seeing her look away from him as Diego bit down on his bottom lip and itched his chin gently. “At this point, I hope they get together because Kyle saw everything complete in you. You’re evil, you send people in to this dark place that it is so hard to crawl out of Sarah. You are so different than I thought you were. I can’t stand you and I don’t want you here. So if you would, please leave.”

“Diego, I am not leaving,” Sarah blurted out seeing him grip harder onto his sheets as she let out a small sigh moving forward to touch him only to see him pull back from her angrily. “We have so much to talk about because Diego I still love you.”

“Well tough shit, you’re going to get out of here before I make you get out of here,” he ordered seeing her take a step back toward the door and he shook his head slowly. “Before you leave Sarah, I just want you to know. If that baby inside of you is mine--I swear as soon as it’s born, I’m going to get the best lawyer I know and I’m going to take my child away from you. Even if that is my child inside of you considering it could be Kyle’s or someone else’s since we don’t know how many people you have done. I just want you to know that if it is mine, you have no chance at keeping it from me, but I will have every right to take it from you.”


“I don’t belong here,” Cori huffed glaring over at Olivia before balling her fingers up into fists at her side. “I don’t know why you have to lock me up here. I did nothing wrong.”

“Cori, you shot a man. Surely that should say something about what is going on around you,” Olivia offered up seeing something behind Cori’s eyes, “Do you feel any remorse over that fact?”

“Why would I?” Cori questioned with a scowl, “He promised me forever--said that he loved me but he lied. He used me for his own selfish purposes and I gave him what he deserved. He never should’ve hurt me like that. He was wrong.”

“Shooting him could’ve killed him,” Olivia noted jotting a few things down on the piece of paper in front of her before looking to Cori again, “Were you trying to kill him Cori?”

“And let him get away with the things he did to hurt me so easily,” Cori offered up an ironic laugh before shaking her head again, “Not a chance.”

“I see,” Olivia noted before clearing her throat, “well let me tell you what I’m going to do for you Cori. I’m going to let you talk to a few people who are going to be able to help you with this one. I think that once you see them maybe it’ll help you put things into perspective.”

“I have things in perspective. That man lied to me and pretended to care about me, but he never did. He hurt me and he had to pay,” Cori blurted out bringing her arms up around her shoulders before rocking herself back and forth. She closed her eyes and let out a small whimper, “He lied to me. He looked me straight in the eyes and lied to me.”

“I promise you that we’re going to give you the help you need Cori,” Olivia offered up sympathetically before exiting the room and motioning to the person waiting outside the door. “I’d like to get her on this medication right away and then have her in for another visit in the morning.”

“Of course,” the man nodded taking the prescription from Olivia’s hand before she turned to go speak with Dave.

“There you are,” Michael practically ran into Olivia, his eyes full of eagerness as he reached for her arm. “I’ve been calling you all morning and…”

“What are you doing here?” she questioned pulling away from him. Glancing over at the man she’d just given her note to, she took in a breath before curling her finger and motioning for Michael to follow her back to her office. Once inside she closed the door and spun around to face Michael, “Why are you here?”

“I thought we should talk,” he explained moving in closer to her a frown touching over his lips, “After the other night I was hoping that I would hear from you again.”

“The other night was a mistake,” Olivia turned her eyes away from him, “I never should’ve let you kiss me like you did. It was wrong. We were just caught up in the moment and…”

“No,” Michael shook his head firmly thinking about the flirtation that they’d had with one another for months. “There is something more happening between us and I know you don’t want to admit it, but…”

“Michael, I’m sorry, but whatever it is that you thought might be happening between us just isn’t,” Olivia sighed heavily bringing her hand up through her hair, “I’m a married woman and…”

“An unhappily married woman at that,” Michael tossed out at her with a pointed expression, “Face it we were both searching for something and we found it with each other.”

“No, what we found was a way to end up in a lot of trouble,” she reminded him feeling a tiny shudder pass over her, “Contrary to what I may have lead you to believe the other night I really, truly love my husband and I’m sorry if I gave you mixed signals.”

“I didn’t feel anything mixed about them,” he replied reaching out to snag his wrist in his hand, “Olivia please…”

“Look Michael. I have work to do right now. I can’t talk about this now,” she replied pushing out of his grasp and walking over to her office door, “Now if you’ll excuse me…”

“You’re making a mistake,” he frowned watching her closely before moving over to the door. “I wish you’d think about this.”

“I’d be making a bigger mistake if I even considered listening to what you had to say,” she replied watching him walk out of her office while she tried to stay focused on what she needed to do with work. There would be no focusing on anything else right now when her job was calling on her to do the right things for everyone around her. First she’d help with Cori Warner and then she would worry about the rest later.


Brant exited the elevator at the hospital feeling as if he had a cracked rib after the brutal assault he’d been given in the parking lot outside the church. Cameron’s thug had surely given him enough to think about in the pain department, but it paled in comparison to what he was feeling after watching Angela drive away with Cameron. No matter what he said it didn’t seem to make a difference. She had it in her mind that he was the enemy and nothing was going to change that.

“Brant,” Don gasped seeing his friend standing before him caked in mud after his spill in the parking lot. Immediately Don rushed over to his friend noticing a cut over Brant’s eye. Reaching out to take a look Don’s blue eyes grew wide with concern, “what happened?”

“I lost her,” Brant answered painfully feeling the weight of everything over him, “Don I tried everything, but I lost her. She left me.”

“What?” Don’s eyes widened further, “When?”

“After I went looking for her. Cameron was there and he told her things--lies about me and about her father and…” Brant found himself at a loss. “She doesn’t believe me. She thinks I lied to her and…”

“Okay back up,” Don waved his hand around in the air before noticing blood on the front of Brant’s shirt. “Scratch that come with me.”

Don lead Brant along into one of the exam rooms before motioning for Brant to get up on one of the tables. Brant grudgingly did as instructed before hanging his head down to stare at the floor.

“I don’t get it,” Brant sighed heavily, “I don’t understand how she could believe that son of a bitch when…”

“Okay, before we get into this,” Don stepped in closer to his friend seeing the tear in Brant’s shirt, “Take your shirt off.”

“What?” Brant lifted his head to meet his friend’s worried eyes.

“Brant you’re hurt,” Don poked at Brant’s chest. “You look like you’ve been run over by a truck and…”

“Don I don’t care. I came over here because I need your help. I need you to help me find a way inside--to get her back. Don, she’s gone, but I can’t lose her. If she disappears again,” Brant started in a panic thinking about the notion of Angela disappearing from his life and taking his children with her. “I can’t lose her Don. I can’t let him take her away after everything that’s happened. I love her.”

“I know you do man, but I can’t let you go anywhere bleeding like this,” Don argued with him pushing Brant back up onto the table as Brant started to get down. “Let me clean this mess up and you can explain things to me.”

“It’s a nightmare,” Brant informed him with a pained expression wincing as Don took the liberty of pushing open the front of Brant’s shirt to reveal the excessive bruising up and over his ribs.

“Damn it what the hell happened?” Don frowned pushing the material apart to get a better look at his friend, “I’m going to have to take you to x-ray. It looks like you could’ve broke something and…”

“And nothing. This was the work of one of Cameron Stone’s thugs,” Brant snarled remembering only too well the threats that had been issued his way. “He wants me to stay away from Angela, but I’m not going to let that happen--not when I know she loves me. If you help me then I’m sure I can convince her that he’s lying.”

“Wait back up. How the hell did Cameron get involved with you and Angela?” Don couldn’t help but ask him curiously. “What does he have to do with all of this?”

“She’s his sister,” Brant blurted out the surprising truth that he still couldn’t quite swallow. “When you and I split up I found her by him. He was fighting with her and Kevin and then he told her that I murdered their father--that somehow I was setting her up to take a fall because she’s his sister and…”

“No way,” Don shook his head firmly, “There’s no way that she can be his sister. Avery’s sister, well yeah I could see that given that they could pass for twins, but a snake like Cameron--no it’s impossible.”

“Impossible or not that’s what he told me and she confirmed it,” Brant informed his friend point blank. “Don when I met her she told me about how someone murdered her father--about how she found him on Christmas in his office face down in his own blood. Someone shot him and she was the one who found him.”

“And Cameron told her that someone was you,” Don realized watching the way Brant’s expressions changed.

“I had no idea that she was linked to him. I knew nothing about any of this, but now it all makes sense. Cameron has been going after me trying to destroy my company relentlessly since his arrival in town. He’s started something with Ken and this…” Brant shook his head the summit of his fears taking over. “Oh God, what if my father did do it? What if he killed Angela’s father and left him there for her to find him? What if…?”

“Forget your father,” Don snapped his fingers in front of his friend, ‘We need to focus on you and making sure that you don’t have any internal damage after the beating you took.”

“No,” Brant shook his head adamantly, “Don I can’t waste anymore time than I already have. I have to find Angela and explain to her that I’m innocent. I know that my father is an evil man, but I’m not like him. I have to let her know that I would never…”

“You need to get X-rayed. Brant you’re playing a game of chance with your life and if you’re not careful,” Don started again worry behind his eyes.

“Don if I don’t act now I know Cameron will find a way to manipulate her even further. For all I know he could be trying to take her out of Coral Valley as we speak. If I don’t go for her now…” Brant explained desperately, “Please Don you’ve gotta help me. I’m begging you.”

“Brant I really don’t think that you’re in any condition to,” Don paused knowing in his heart that his friend wouldn’t rest or agree to anything else as long as his mind was on Angela. “At least let me bandage you up while you tell me your master plan.”

“That’s just it,” Brant frowned at his friend’s suggestion. “I don’t have one.”

“Well what were you thinking? That we’d wing it and break onto Cameron’s estate property and climb up the side of the house?” Don asked with a small laugh shaking his head at the thought.

“You know that’s not a half bad idea,” Brant’s eyes sparked with enthusiasm, “In fact it’s a great idea.”

“It’s a stupid idea that could get us arrested or worse even killed considering how much Cameron hates you,” Don reminded him pointedly, “I’ve already been around far too much gunfire tonight Brant. I don’t want to be caught in the crossfire yet again.”

“Crossfire?” Brant replied with a curious expression. “What do you mean?”

“Cori Warner busted into the wedding after you went out looking for Angie and she shot Diego Hernandez,” Don informed him point blank.

“You have to be kidding me, right?” Brant watched Don shake his head, “How’s Diego?”

“Fortunately she’s a bad aim because she shot him in the ass and he’s lucky that she didn’t take the family jewels with her,” Don winced at the thought, “then again maybe she was hoping to wound his pride instead of his manhood.”

“Oh my God,” Brant cringed at the thought having to admit Diego sounded like he was having a rotten night as well.

“And if you aren’t careful you could have the same thing happen to you. If Angie thinks you killed her father, you could be lucky getting off with getting castrated with a shotgun,” Don warned him sharply, “She could kill you and if she doesn’t Cameron will.”

“She loves me Don. I know she does and if I could just talk to her--if I could just make her see that I’m telling her the truth,” Brant pleaded once again, “Don if you won’t go with me at least let me walk out of here. Let me find her and…”

“And get yourself killed in the process,” Don shook his head firmly, “No damn way. I’m not letting you go this alone, but so help me God if I end up getting a bullet in me, you’re going to owe me big time.”

“If you help me get Angela back, then I swear to you I’m going to owe you more than that,” Brant promised with a determined look on his face as he vowed to reclaim the one thing he’d wanted more than anything in his life. Nothing was going to stop him especially not Cameron Stone!


Angela stood in the bedroom at Cameron’s estate looking out onto the property as it continued to pour outside. She closed her eyes listening to the sounds of the rains as memories of the tropical storms on the island came to mind. She thought back to a day when she and ‘Nick’ were with one another in her Jeep making the most of the foul weather. It was a time when life was confusing and exciting yet…

Taking in a breath Angela closed her eyes as she felt another memory overtake her--the memory of the man she’d walked away from tonight--the man she’d planned to spend the rest of her life with.

“I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” Brant wiggled his brow suggestively motioning to the cards that sat before him on the table.

“Oh please,” Angela rolled her eyes at his comment pretending not to be interested in the hand that he was holding. She looked out from where they sat near the bay window near the back of the Ashford estate after their talk of going out into the pool turned out to be changed by the weather. “You’re just holding out on me because you know I’m going to beat you and you’re going to owe me those boxer shorts.”

“Is that what you really think?” Brant arched a curious brow, reaching out across the table to brush his hand suggestively against hers, “Or are you afraid that you’ll be the one who winds up naked since we seem to be pretty evenly matched in this round?”

“I think you’re the one who is trying to intimidate me,” Angela informed him point blank, “And I’ll have you know this is most certainly anything but gentlemanly behavior on your part in not letting me win.”

“I never let anyone win,” Brant explained proudly reaching out to squeeze her hand in his.

“Not even the mother of your child?” she couldn’t help but ask teasing her nail gently over the underside of his palm.

“If I did that then you’d be disappointed in me,” Brant informed her matching her dark eyes as they sat in a battle of wills with one another.

“Then tell me what are we do to then because I’m not going to give up my hand and obviously you’re not giving up yours,” she sighed leaning back further in her chair to take in the lines of his chest.

“What if we call it a draw?” Brant wiggled his brow at her suggestively.

“Then none of us would be happy with that,” she shook her head at him. “It’s never going to work.”

“It might,” he shrugged his shoulders simply, “that way we both come out of this winners.”

“Or losers,” she tossed back at him in a casual tone. “Besides we both know full well that later on tonight we’ll both probably sneak back in here and see what hands we had.”

“Fine, then on the count of three,” he suggested after a moment’s contemplation. “Then we’ll just play it winner takes all.”

“I wouldn’t settle for anything less,” she leaned in closer to the table licking her lips in anticipation.

“One…two…” Brant’s grin expanded as he held his cards in the air.

“Three,” she finished for him as they both set their cards down in unison to reveal practically identical hands. Angela’s eyes widened in surprise and Brant let out a small laugh.

“Well it looks like it’s a tie,” Brant chuckled more amused than before, “We seem to have met our match here in a draw.”

“So we have,” Angela noted with a laugh of her own.

“So that leaves us in a bit of a bind here. We can either play another hand,” he pondered rising from his chair and keeping his gaze fixed on hers, “or we can both collect the spoils of war and say to hell with the cards.”

“I’d have to say I like that second suggestion,” she offered up watching him sweep his arm across the table to throw the cards down to the floor. Before he could circle around the table she was already in his arms kissing him like she’d never stop.

“I love you,” Brant scooped her up completely teasing her with kiss after desperate kiss.

“I love you,” she mouthed threading her fingers through his hair before speaking up in a low throaty voice, “and I think it’s safe to say I’ve met my match.”

“I know I have mine and I’m never letting her go,” he promised carrying her away from the game and into another room where their competitive nature transformed into unforgettable passion.

“Hey,” Cameron touched her shoulder gently, “sweetheart I’m sorry you had to go through that tonight.”

“I just don’t understand,” she sighed heavily pulling herself from the memory of making love to Brant. “This seems so unreal.”

“I know it does and sweetheart if I would’ve known about that monster trying to manipulate you I would have done something sooner,” Cameron hugged his sister tightly, “I wish you would have told me about him--about what he did to you.”

“Cameron, it’s just…” Angela tipped her head up to see the way he was watching her. “You don’t understand. Even now I don’t understand. When I think about what you told me about Brant…”

“I know the truth is hard to swallow, but…” Cameron felt her pull away. Seeing her in a state of distress he continued to speak to her, “You were deceived not only by that monster, but by your best friend and I know that hurts.”

“I just don’t see why any of this could have happened. I mean with what you said about Kevin,” Angela faced her brother once again, “It just doesn’t make sense.”

“Angel, he was hurt after you lost your daughter. He knew that was something that you two could never regain after her death,” Cameron began in a soft, sympathetic tone, “It drove him mad to think about what losing her meant to your future together. It put a wedge between you and then you met Cary.”

“Yes, but Kevin’s always been so good to me. He’s always been there when I needed him and to think about him murdering Cary,” she shuddered at the thought, “He didn’t even deny it.”

“Because he has been holding onto that secret for years. He was so jealous that you’d found a way to live again that he was bound and determined to make you pay the way he felt he’d paid again and again for failing to protect you and your daughter. He wasn’t there when you needed him the most, yet he blamed you for her death,” Cameron explained with a heavy sigh, “It was his fault you lost her, but he failed to see it that way which is why he wanted to make you suffer. He wanted to take away your happiness and he almost did it again with Brant.”

“Just stop!” Angela shook her head fiercely, “I don’t want to hear this right now. I can’t…”

“It’s the truth,” Cameron interrupted her, “and as much as it kills you to hear it, you have to know that they are both enemies of our family. They are both something that I have fought to keep from touching your life, but now…now I have no choice but to eliminate the both of them.”

“What?” Angela questioned with a horrified expression panic sweeping over her, “Cameron no.”

“Brant murdered our father and he has to pay for that,” Cameron stated in a firm, business as usual tone, “and as for Kevin he too will pay for his crimes. Neither one of them will hurt you again.”

“Cameron you don’t know that they did what you say. You could be wrong and…” Angela pleaded with her brother worry carrying over her.

“I’m not wrong and as much as you don’t understand right now, soon you will,” Cameron stepped back towards the door to her bedroom, “but now you should rest.”

“No Cameron I can’t rest. You’re acting crazy right now and I’m not going to just sit here while…” she stepped towards him only to watch him reach for the door and pulling it on his way out.

“Good night Angel,” his muffled voice mouthed to her as she heard the clicking of the lock on her bedroom door.

“No Cameron wait,” she rushed forward trying to pull the door open, but much to her dismay she found herself trapped inside the bedroom left to deal with the knowledge that Cameron was planning on destroying the two men that mattered the most to her. Fear swept over her and suddenly she realized that it was as if her father had come back from the grave all over again possessing her brother with the same madness that he’d carried with him over the years. Closing her eyes she thought back to her father’s dealings and in that instant she found herself more afraid than ever that Cameron was about to do something stupid--something that would cost each one of them everything they had left in the world.


“So, you were really in love with someone else at one point in time?” Grady questioned looking over at Deana as they walked back toward her place and she nodded slowly as he wrapped his arm around her tightly. “Do I need to go beat some butt? If I have to I will.”

“I appreciate the offer, but somehow even if I wanted you to, I don’t think you could beat them up,” Deana informed him seeing Grady’s green eyes staring down at her as he frowned. “I’m sorry, but I don’t see most people kicking his butt.”

“What do you mean? Is he like huge? It is Kyle isn’t it?” Grady pulled away from her for a moment to only feel her push him back as he let out a small laugh seeing her shake her head over and over again. “Is it Kevin?”

“Kevin?” Deana laughed thinking back to Ria’s boyfriend before shaking her head slowly and taking in a small breath. Thinking things over she paused for a moment and thought it over. “Though, if there was a fight, he might be the only one that could have a good fight with him. That would be a hard match to call.”

“Oh, so am I going to have to guess all night?” Grady muttered seeing her roll her eyes before starting to walk again and he paused thinking it over. “Who is in this town? There is Kevin, Kyle, Kellen--well he is gay, I’m sure it’s not him. Um, there is Brant, Don, Hart, and…,”

“Grady,” she paused throwing her hands up in the air seeing him stop and shrug his shoulders. She rested her hands on her hips before taking in a deep breath. “You might have said his name or saw him in the last twenty-four hours.”

“That’s not fair, we were just at a wedding,” Grady pointed out seeing her shrug her shoulders as he thought for a minute and shook his head slowly. “Be serious with me honey, if it’s Kyle I won’t get mad. Oh, is it my brother? If it’s my brother I’m going to puke.”

“No, it’s not your brother and not Kyle,” she chuckled seeing him nod slowly before taking in a small breath and seeing Grady eye her over carefully. “I’ll give you a clue. He has a tattoo or tattoos.”

“Well that’s not fair, I named a couple of guys like that. Like Kyle has a tattoo, Kevin has plenty of them, and Kellen does too,” Grady frowned thinking things over slowly before shaking his head slowly. “I don’t think any of Brant’s goons have one.”

“You know, they aren’t goons,” Deana stopped seeing Grady stare out at her as she covered her eyes for a moment letting out a small laugh before shaking her head slowly. “Everybody is a normal person.”

“Oh please tell me you don’t have something for Brant. Does he have a tattoo I don’t know of?” Grady questioned seeing Deana laugh again before shaking her head slowly and moving over toward her apartment building again as Grady rambled to himself once more. “If it’s Brant I think I’m going to throw up.”

“It’s not Brant,” she laughed before grabbing a hold of his hand and leading him up the stairs and to her apartment. Closing the door behind them once she got in and she rested her hands on her hips. “I swear it’s not Kyle, it’s not Kevin, Brant or Kellen. I promise you that. Okay? Why do you want to know so bad anyways?”

“I want to know what kind of competition I’m having,” Grady informed her rolling his sleeve up a bit and flexing his bicep. “So, you want to tell me if I’m bigger than him.”

“Taller, yeah you’re a bit taller, but since you want to know so much about him,” Deana sat down on the couch folding her leg over the other she shrugged her shoulders. “I’ll have you know that he is better than you all around.”

“Excuse me?” Grady gasped seeing her start bursting out laughing as he moved over toward the couch and pulled her up gently before throwing her over his shoulder. “Oh you are so going to pay for that?”

“Is that a threat?” she smacked him on the butt gently feeling him do the same to her before kicking open her bedroom door. Feeling him throw her down to the bed, she reached for the bottom of his shirt pulling it up over his head before throwing it to the floor. “You never answered me.”

“Give me time,” Grady muttered pressing his lips in over the side of her neck as he felt her fingers gently tugging at his hair and he let out a small growl. “Because what I’m going to do, is a promise.”


“Olivia,” Dave called out to his friend’s wife spotting her near the far end of the hallway after he’d waited to hear some kind of word on what was happening with his sister. He moved forward ready to get an update when he noticed that Olivia looked a bit frazzled. “Please don’t tell me it’s that bad.”

“No, of course not,” Olivia forced a polite smile trying to ignore her exchange with Michael, “I was just busy with another patient for a little while and that kept me behind in getting back to you.”

“Nothing serious I hope,” Dave noted with a polite nod.

“No, not at all,” Olivia cleared her throat again before meeting his eyes after a moment, “with your sister I’m going to put her under observation for a while and have her under watch like I told you earlier. I prescribed her a sedative for the night since it’s clear she has a lot going on inside of her head right about now. Hopefully that will help give her some of the clarity that she hadn’t had when she went in and shot Diego. In the morning I’ll speak with her again and we’ll see what we can do.”

“Thanks. You have no idea how much I appreciate all you’re doing for me. I know that I was asking a lot in having you come in to help, but…” Dave began again feeling a small relief carry over him. “I just wish that things were different for her. I wish life had been easier and…”

“I’m sure she’ll be fine,” Olivia offered up with a sympathetic smile, “It might take time, but I think we can help her through this.”

“I hope you’re right because I don’t know what I’m going to do if we aren’t able to pull her beyond what’s happening,” Dave replied worry carrying over him now that his sister had found herself in a dark place all over again after all the years he’d felt she’d made progress in. Now as he contemplated his sister’s future he just hoped that there would be a way from keeping her away from going over the edge of sanity that had been so very close for her all these years.


Don pulled his car up to the iron gates outside of the Stone Estate and he felt a tiny shudder creep in over him. He had turned the headlights off at least half a mile down the road, but now with the estate masked in shadows he couldn’t help but note that it looked more like a haunted house rather than a place for one of the people in Coral Valley to live in.

“Are you sure we have to do this?” Don couldn’t help but ask looking over to Brant and seeing the determined expression on his face. “It looks like a prison up there or worse one of those creepy places that you see in Scooby-Doo episodes.”

“Scooby-Doo episodes?” Brant repeated turning to give his friend a strange look. “You have to be kidding me, right?”

“Hey I could show you an episode that I had on last week where they arrived at a place like this and Shaggy got a bear trap on his leg and…” Don started to explain with a worried expression.

“Don’t you mean Matt was watching an episode?” Brant arched a curious brow watching Don shake his head.

“No I mean me. Matt watches CSPAN most of the time or the stock exchange. I’m the one who is into cartoons,” Don curled his lip in a pout, “but you know there is some truth behind cartoons. Sure, they are fiction and humor, but they can also be life lessons. Case in point think about that time we were watching that one cartoon with Road Runner and the Coyote. Remember when he had that big boulder tied around his waist and he fell off the cliff and…”

“I don’t believe this,” Brant threw his arms up in the air, “Here I am planning to get the love of my life back and you’re lecturing me on cartoon etiquette here.”

“Hey, as I said before there are some life lessons in them,” Don wrinkled his nose at his best friend, “and besides the last time I checked people like us didn’t try to scale the walls of places like these in real life.”

“That’s because people like us don’t usually find themselves in this kind of situation,” Brant sighed heavily turning his attention to the gates in front of them.

“Actually, the more I think about it, the more I realize that we do get stuck in things like this. Remember that one time we broke into the sorority house and you were sleeping with the dean’s daughter at the college and…” Don started feeling a tiny laugh bubble up in the back of his throat.

“We had to scale a gate like this,” Brant nodded remembering their wild youth, “Of course you were the one that got caught when the girl down the hall spotted you near the showers and…”

“And they shaved my head. They freaken’ shaved my head, but you got away untouched,” Don frowned realizing that instance hadn’t turned out in his favor.

“Yes, but you were able to spend the next few months over there once they thought it was a very hot thing having you around,” Brant pointed out seeing the way Don’s features twisted with unhappiness.

“That’s true,” Don couldn’t help but smile remembering all the times he’d spent over at the sorority house, “It’s very true, but something doesn’t tell me Cameron’s got about thirty five hot and barely dressed, very curvy women in there who are ready to make all of my sex fantasies come true.”

“I would have to say that’s a definite no,” Brant nodded in response before taking in a breath, “but that’s okay because you don’t have to do this.”

“What?” Don blinked back at him, “Brant what are you saying?”

“I’m saying that you don’t have to go in there with me. I can do this on my own if need be. You’ve already done more than enough in brining me here,” Brant decided realizing he’d put Don into a situation he shouldn’t be in. “You can’t go with me because if you get hurt, then I’ll never forgive myself. Matt needs you and…”

“And what? You expect me to let you go on this suicide mission alone?” Don arched a curious brow.

“It’s the only way I can do this,” Brant grabbed the door handle to let himself out.

“Oh hell no,” Don shook his head reaching for the lock and pushing it down to keep Brant from leaving the car. “If you do this, we do this together. There are no other options.”

“Don it could be dangerous and I can assure you that if you come out there with me you could get in over your head,” Brant warned him sharply, “Things could get ugly.”

“Yeah well they were that way in high school when I dated that one girl in home economics to pass the class, but I still did it anyways,” Don decided inhaling a small breath before his eyes met his friends, “If you go down, we’re going down together in a blaze of glory.”

“Do you have any idea how insane that sounds?” Brant shook his head at him.

“No more insane then turning my back on my best friend. Right now you’re doing the right thing, but I wouldn’t be if I just let you out there on your own. You need me and I’m sure that we can do this,” Don announced with a newfound determination in his eyes, “If we have to we’ll kidnap Angela and take her with us until we’re able to talk some sense into her. We’ll break through Cameron’s brainwashing somehow.”

“I hope so,” Brant sighed to himself before eyeing Cameron’s house again and wondering if he and Don could really be able to accomplish what was needed to make Angela see the truth in all the stories that she was told.


“So,” Grady muttered against Deana’s neck, pressing small kisses in over her heated flesh before gently nibbling at her skin, feeling the warmth of her body next to his. “Do you think I measure up to this mystery guy?”

“Honestly?” she questioned with a small laugh seeing him look up at her with his green eyes and nod slowly before she moved in closer to kiss him. A small groan escaped his mouth as she gently tugged at his bottom lip with her teeth. “Probably not.”

“Wait, what?” Grady questioned pulling away from her to see her shrug her shoulders and bite down on her bottom lip. Seeing her sit up and hold the sheets to her body tightly he saw her shrug her shoulders. “Wait, I thought that this would get your mind off that other guy.”

“This guy is very hard to get off the mind when he is on the mind,” she looked away from him for a moment holding tightly onto the sheet before closing her eyes and smiling. “He has eyes like an angel and every time he smiles the whole room lights up.”

“I thought I had nice eyes and a nice smile,” he frowned as she turned to face him seeing the way he fell back onto the bed and placed his arms behind his head. “Wow, I just totally got turned down by my own girlfriend.”

“Hey, it’s not your fault that you are more romantic than him,” she further teased seeing his eyebrows tense together as he glanced over at her. “I mean this guy seems like he would be much more fierce, say in places like the bed. Like he’s not shy to express his feelings in more of a…,”

“Wait, that’s the kind of guy you want?” he questioned seeing her shrug and look away from him for a moment as he bit down on his bottom lip not going to listen to this anymore. “Fine, if you want someone like that, I’ll blow your mind away and make you never even think twice about this guy again?”

“Grady,” she gasped feeling him get in over her, wrapping his arm around her waist and pulling her up to him roughly as his lips pressed in over her neck once more. “Grady come on, I was just playing with you.”

“Too bad I’m not,” Grady muttered gently nibbling at her earlobe before giving it a small tug feeling her fingers scratching up and over his shoulders. “Tell me, is this guy brown eyed?”

“Nope, light eyes,” she muttered liking the way he was being more aggressive as she felt his left hand dip down between the blankets to press in over her curves, caressing her over and over again as she arched up into him. “They are really light and he has dark hair.”

“So I guess that does rule out Kyle, just puts Kellen in his spot,” Grady muttered seeing the way she nodded as he moved forward to nip at the side of her neck once more knowing that she was still playing along with him. “I bet I’m more of your dream guy than he could ever be.”

“Grady,” she gasped feeling him tease her over and over again with his caress as she bit down on her bottom lip feeling his free hand grab a hold of her chin gently making her look up at him as he bent down to press his lips in over hers. “Grady please.”

“I’m aggressive remember?” Grady questioned seeing her brown eyes staring out into his as Grady positioned himself between her thighs, pressing his hands in against the bed once more. “I do what I want, remember?”

“Well, don’t make me the aggressive one,” she flipped him over onto his back grabbing a hold of his wrists and pressing them into the pillows as she settled herself in over him carefully. “When I’m the aggressive one, I always get what I want.”


“Diego come on,” Sarah begged seeing him shake his head slowly before resting back against the pillows again and letting out a long groan. “You know that you don’t want to be like that. What if we could have a family together?”

“Sarah, what?” Diego looked up at her with a questioning look as he let out a small laugh and shook his head slowly not believing the things she was saying to him. “I find that hard to believe when moments ago you were so ready to marry Kyle Houston.”

“It happens,” she tried to explain thinking of something to say, not really coming up with something so the first thing she thought of slipped out. “Sometimes someone could be in love with two people.”

“I find that hard to believe in your case because it seems like there is only room for one person in your life Sarah,” Diego paused seeing the confusion behind her dark eyes as he nodded slowly. “There only seems to be a place for you Sarah because your ego is bigger than Kyle’s and mine put together. So why don’t you get out of here before I get upset.”

“Diego come on, you know you feel something for me,” she tried to reason with him seeing him shake his head slowly staring into her dark eyes. “We shared something great together and you know it.”

“Right, we had sex when you were still going out with Kyle,” Diego nodded slowly before taking in a deep breath and thinking about all the moments he wished that Sarah was his and how he dreamed of sharing a life with her that he thought Kyle would be having. “I was blind because I thought you were amazing, but you are far from being the amazing one in the family. I fell in love with your sister, but I thought you were a better version and damn was I wrong. You are the evil sister beyond that and I hope that Heather lives one happy life and you live in hell and never get what you want. You stole moments from people that they will never ever get back and I hope you live a lonely and helpless life.”

“Diego please, you don’t mean that,” Sarah muttered seeing him roll his eyes before she heard the door open and saw Gabriella walking back into the room. “Just give us another minute, we still need to talk with one another.”

“No you don’t,” Gabrielle grabbed a hold of Sarah and led her toward the door and opened it up, pushing her back before staring out at her. “My brother wants nothing to do with you, so I hope you get a clue and stay out.”

“I’m not leaving that fast,” Sarah replied seeing Gabriella shut the door tightly as she looked around the hallway and knew that this wasn’t the right place or the right time to start something. “I’ll talk to Diego soon and he’ll see that he can’t let this go. It’s too important to him to let go.”


“So what do you say?” Kyle questioned again holding out the ring that he’d offered Heather. His hazel eyes met hers with a combination of love and nervousness as he knelt before her on her bathroom floor. “Will you marry me?”

Heather fought within herself to find the strength to form any kind of sound let alone words. Here she was touched by everything that Kyle had said to her--overcome by the truth that he’d never walked away from her--that he’d never turned his back on what they’d had with one another, but more so by the fact that he loved her just as much as she loved him. Her gaze traveled to the ring for the briefest of moments feeling him holding it close to her finger tip anticipating the one word she had yet to say to him.

“Heather,” his voice came out in a whisper, in a soft, enchanting sound that was more beautiful than anything Heather had ever heard in her life up until now. The way he kept his eyes on her, the feel of his breath against her skin as he knelt before her was overwhelming and yet the butterflies in her stomach had kicked up into full gear.

“I…I don’t know,” Heather blurted out catching the way his face dropped at her admission. She saw confusion wash over him as she leaned forward touching his face gently, “I mean I was offered only about half a dozen marriage proposals this week, so I may need the time to really think this one over. You know weigh out my options.”

“Is that right?” Kyle caught her teasing grin and he couldn’t help but find himself amused. He pressed the ring against the tip of her finger feeling her circle it with the pad of her finger before he tugged it just out of her reach.

Rising from where he’d been kneeling on the floor, he met her eyes knowing full well that a challenge had just been issued. It had come up unexpectedly in the midst of all the romantic declarations between them, yet it never felt more appropriate than it did in the here and now. Heather was making him work for what he’d wanted and by God he was most certainly going to give her reason to be saying yes over and over again in the game she’d opened up between them.

“Well,” Kyle sighed his finger tip teasing over the outer part of Heather’s silken thigh, “if you really need time to think this over, then perhaps I haven’t made the offer sweet enough for you.”

“Perhaps that is part of the problem,” Heather licked her lips involuntarily, anticipation of his touch coiling over her when he skimmed his fingers against her thigh once more. Unlike the soft, gentle touch that he’d used to clean up the wound on her knee, this touch had a bit more hunger behind it--a temptation attached to it that hadn’t been present so outwardly moments ago. A breath caught in the back of her throat and just when she’d thought Kyle was going to reach out and grab her, he released her placing his hands on both sides of the counter top she was seated on.

“I would hate to think that there would be any kind of,” he paused leaning forward, his breath skimming over her lips when his words rushed forward in a warm, teasing caress, “problems on my end considering that I’ve been working very hard at making things perfect.”

“I have no doubt in my mind about how hard,” she paused with heavy emphasis, her gaze dropping down to where he stood before her. She licked her lips again before meeting his gaze once again, “things have been for you.”

“You wouldn’t believe how hard it’s been lately in planning all of this out,” Kyle nodded in agreement catching the lust burning behind her eyes as he knew full well what had caught her attention. He curled his finger underneath her chin and lifted her gaze to his, “but I’m guessing that you’d love to learn just how hard it truly is.”

“You’d like to think so, wouldn’t you?” Heather wiggled her brow at him suggestively before letting out a long sigh. She arched back onto the countertop, her daring green eyes challenging him to match her movement when she leaned back into the mirror. Instead much to her dismay he stood up straighter and stepped back.

“If you’re not interested I can take the offer and the ring elsewhere,” he shrugged his shoulders pretending to put the ring back into his pocket once again.

“If you do then I swear to you you’re going to be miserable the rest of your life Kyle Houston,” Heather warned sitting up straighter and curling her leg around him before he could walk away from her.

A smile teased over his lips as he kept his back to her. He felt her leg wrap snugly around his waist drawing him back into the counter top just as he’d anticipated. Her foot pressed in over his thigh, toes massaging the smooth, muscled thighs beneath his black jeans in a small, fluid movement.

“Just where do you think you’re going?” Heather questioned leaning forward and wrapping her arms around his shoulders. Her other leg hooked around his muscled abdomen holding him against the counter in a tight grip as she leaned forward scraping her nails lightly across his chest.

“I was just giving you what you wanted…” Kyle shrugged his shoulders feeling the heat of her breath strike the side of his neck. Her nails grazed over the front of his t-shirt scratching and massaging the warm muscled lines of his chest down over the tightness of his abdomen of his chest while her hot breath lashed at his skin, lips searching for his pulse while her one hand slid up into his hair tugging on his ponytail.

“You’re no where near giving me what I want,” Heather’s lips grazed over his neck before she took his earlobe between her teeth offering a tiny nibble before her fingers bunched up the material of his t-shirt tearing it from the top of his jeans, “but we’re getting there.”

“So it would seem,” Kyle mouthed bringing his hands up over hers only to feel her arch up off of the counter to continue teasing her tongue over his neck, tasting his skin and starting a fire that seemed to burn only between the both of them. He closed his eyes for a moment feeling her toes center in over his pants, massaging him through his jeans. Her palms were already pouring out their seductive warmth over his chest as she inched the t-shirt up over the rippling muscles of his firm, smooth back. He lifted his arms ever so slightly to help her out and within seconds he found his shirt on the floor in front of him while her fingers teased over the solid power of his muscled arms.

“Heather,” he breathed out her name bringing his hand down over her legs that enveloped him. Her kisses pressed in over his shoulder, mouth tempting him in ways that he had only dreamt about until now…except in his fantasies he was the one seducing her, driving her mad with desire and not the one who was being lead into the fire without any warning. He dropped his hands down to slide his thumb and index finger over the her shapely leg, feeling the smoothness of her exposed skin sending another set of sensations racing over him. His blood was pumping, heart hammering and in that moment he knew full well that this game had shifted in Heather’s favor, but he was about to put an end to it.

“Yes Kyle?” she questioned lazily, her hands tapering off over his body, squeezing him gently as her fingers danced over his abdomen.

“You’re breaking all the rules here,” he seized her hand in his, taking advantage of the moment and spinning around to face her again. Her face was flushed, eyes glazed over with the look of lust and even though Kyle hadn’t gotten an answer to his question, he knew full well he was about to live out each and every one of his fantasies with her one way or the other.

“I thought that was part of the fun,” she wiggled her brow at him suggestively, feeling his thick fingers tear at her blouse in a pure animalistic fashion not bothering to give her some witty comment. She gasped at the force behind his movement watching as buttons splashed over her bathroom floor, but they were nothing to get worked up over now that she had Kyle before her looking sexier than ever.

“Sweetheart I’m going to give you a whole new definition of fun tonight,” he promised sinking forward to claim her lips with a primal kiss, one that was rough and commanding, yet nothing less than what she’d grown to expect from Kyle. She squeezed her arms around him bringing her fingers through his blonde hair as his tongue met hers with a fire and intensity that had her spring to life all over again.

“I’m going to show you things you never thought possible,” Kyle promised pushing her counter clean with one swift movement of his arm.

He picked her up roughly tearing her off of the counter in one lightening quick movement before carrying her towards the bedroom. Their mouths bumped and collided with unrestrained yearning as Heather’s fingers found their way to the button on his jeans. He tried to stay steady, but when she’d managed to yank down the zipper he found himself clumsily moving along fearing that they wouldn’t make their way to the bedroom before he dropped down and pounced on her. Fortunately he’d spotted the door out of the corner of his eye and he used his left foot to kick it open fully.

A loud slamming sound followed their entrance causing Heather to jump up in his arms a bit. Their lips parted, breath coming out unsteady and frantic as she tried to see what he’d done to her door.

“I’ll pay for whatever damage I caused,” he assured her dropping down onto the bed and moving in over her without a second thought. His fingers deftly plucked her bra from her body, releasing her to his hungry eyes. Seeing her before him caused his body to tighten, his mind to race with every fantasy he’d ever had of her, but more than anything he felt his heart swell with love for the woman in front of him. With her golden hair framing her face, he found himself at a standstill. His hand that had once given in to his desire now stilled just above her face watching the way her lips parted in anticipation.

“Don’t quit on me now Houston,” she pleaded arching her body up to meet his in a determined grind. She cried out feeling his ache over her. Immediately her thigh wrapped around him squeezing him in closer to her.

“I’m not quitting on you sweetheart,” he promised sliding one hand underneath her to raise her hips to his again and again offering a hint of things to come between them now that he’d had her all to himself. He listened to the soft whimpers that poured from her lips and he found it to be music to his ears knowing that she wanted him just as much as he wanted her. Now the rules of the game had changed and turned in his favor.

Leaning forward, he traced his tongue over her collar bone tasting her pulse like fire beneath him. His thick hand pressed in over her breast gently kneading and caressing her until he thought she’d erupt beneath him. Smiling inwardly his lips dipped down to taste her, tongue drawing circles against her taught skin. Again her fingers threaded through his hair, her leg squeezing him closer yet longing for completion between them. He turned his attention to the other beautiful mound before him feeling her enthusiasm grow into an aching need as his hand found it’s way to her hips.

Her toes were already fighting to work his jeans down over his hips, but the material stayed stubbornly denying her that freedom to taste him, to touch him all over. Frustrated, she dropped her hands down to his jeans ready to do whatever she had to in order to get him naked and over her, but before she could complete her mission, she felt him reach for her wrists pulling them up over her head.

“Not so fast,” he shook his head at her watching her desire threaten to eat her alive as his fingers intertwined with hers pressing her hands back into the pillows beneath him. “I believe you still owe me an answer.”

“Kyle, don’t tell me that you’re going to…” Heather’s words of protest were all but forgotten when he shifted her arms over her head using one hand to keep her wrists in place while his other hand tore at her skirt yanking it from her hips. He had a moment of difficulty in getting it down over her thighs, but when she raised up from the bed to assist him, he couldn’t help but smile at her proudly.

“That’s my girl,” he leaned forward stealing a kiss from her lips before rewarding her with his haphazard one handed removal of the rest of the clothing they were still wearing. Her eyes widened and she arched forward putting a half hearted effort into reaching out for him while he held her hands into the pillows. Settling in over her again he felt her slender legs wrap eagerly around his thighs practically crushing her into him.

“Kyle please…” she whimpered biting on her lower lip, her green eyes reaching his with a newfound desperation, “Don’t make me beg you for this.”

“That might be fun,” Kyle teased seeing her frustrations mounting. It was almost amusing until he too felt the unimaginable weight of anticipation in over him. Here she was everything he’d ever hoped for--his ultimate dream come true and yet she’d denied him the one thing he’d been hoping for since that first time he’d kissed her when they were younger. Hell, he’d wanted it since they’d had their first wedding back in front of his mother--back when neither one of them had the first clue what love truly was. Seeing her lusty green eyes before him, he knew there was one more thing he needed--one more answer he had to have before he made her his in every way imaginable.

“Yes,” she blurted out as if she had been reading the thoughts in his mind. Her hips bucked up against his, body threatening towards completion as her lips sought his out. She kissed him roughly taking advantage of the fact that he was so very close to her, yet too far away to give them both what they’d wanted--what they needed. “Yes I’ll marry you.”

“What was that?” Kyle teased easing his grip up on her wrists ever so slightly as his hazel eyes met hers again with a playful intent.

“Don’t play games with me Houston,” she scolded him, shaking her head at his attempt to be giving her a dose of her own medicine this far into the situation that was building between them. “Kyle you heard me.”

“Indulge me,” he kissed her again, with a bit more force behind it while lowering his body just above hers. He closed his eyes taking in the feel of her so very close, yet…

“Kyle more than anything I want to marry you. It’s what I’ve wanted for years and you know it,” Heather answered in an impassioned tone just as he released her wrists. Her arms came crashing down around him, clawing at his back as he pressed inside of her unable to take the agony of being apart from her any longer.

“Heather,” he spoke her name watching her head tip back as he continued to inch into her feeling her take all of him with one fluid movement. He leaned forward kissing the base of her throat feeling her pulse bounce in rhythm with his. His fingers eased up over her smooth curves reaching out to touch her cheek lightly. She turned into his touch kissing the center of his palm before taking his finger between her lips and nibbling on the tip while he sank himself into her again and again.

“Kyle,” she mouthed his name dropping her hands down over his spine, grazing her nails against the hard lines of his oh so perfect body wanting to memorize every second of their union now that they were together. Feeling the pace pick up between them, she pushed her palms in over his shoulders urging him onto his back, yet never breaking the contact between them. Sliding in over him, she moved against him in hot, wild abandon feeling his lips explore all of her curves before him. He sought out her fingers watching her face tighten with unmasked pleasure as she cried out his name again and again in shallow pants each time becoming more desperate than before.

“I love you,” his words vibrated over her shoulder, his lips offering feathery light kisses upon her skin as she held onto him pressing her hips frantically against him unable to get enough of their union with one another. He wrapped his hand around her hip helping her along and just when he felt as if the world was crashing in around them, he felt her reach for his hair commanding him to kiss her again.

“I love you,” her confession buzzed against his lips and as he held her, he reached for her hand once again sliding the ring on her finger before lacing her hand in his.

“Forever,” he promised feeling her cry out against his mouth while ripples of ecstasy flooded through her as he too found himself giving way to the passionate, powerful release that they had with one another in knowing that no one would ever be able to take this away from them ever again.


Russ walked in the front door to his house only to discover Kevin standing in the foyer waiting for him. Kevin approached him reaching out for Erin without a second thought before nodding over to the left of the hall they were in.

“She’s in the living room,” Kevin explained in a soft, muted tone carefully shifting Erin in his arms. “I’ll take Erin to bed and you two talk.”

“Thank you,” Russ nodded in silent thanks knowing full well that whatever he had to face with Avery would be something that would forever change the direction of their relationship. With guilt pouring over him, Russ took step by step closer to her hoping like hell that things would work out between them--that somehow he could make Avery see that they still belonged together. He hated that he’d kept the truth from her, but from here on out he was going to be honest--he was going to tell her everything and hope that somehow their love was strong enough to endure what was still ahead of them.

Rounding the corner of the hall he spotted Avery over by the window looking out onto the yard. Saying nothing he moved into the room watching her intently. He closed the gap between them and wordlessly reached out to press his hand over her shoulder, but stopped just short of touching her when he heard her speak up.

“Don’t,” Avery pleaded with him, her voice raspy and cracked with emotion as she fixed her gaze on the world outside the wall of their home.

Painfully Russ retracted his hand still wishing like hell that he could reach out and hold her--that he could somehow make everything right when the world seemed to be falling apart at the seams between them. He brought his hand through his dark hair, fear shining behind his green eyes as he started to say something to her--anything to open up the floor between them.

“Avery, I know that I hurt you, but…” he began in an impassioned plea praying that the damage hadn’t already been beyond repair.

“Don’t Russ,” she repeated again, her voice even more painful than before. He could hear the tears that she’d been crying taking their toll on her and while she tried to hide it in keeping her back to him, he knew that she was still crying now. “Please don’t do this.”

“Avery, I love you and I know that I should have said something before tonight…” he offered up weakly feeling as if it sounded like the most pathetic thing in the world.

“But you didn’t Russ,” she cut him off sharply, “You didn’t say a damn thing about her or about what you did on that island--about the fact that you were going to marry someone else.”

“When I got home we had so much to deal with. There was Bruce and then Brant and then your mother and my mother and…” Russ tried to reason with her knowing full well that they had endured far more obstacles than any other couple he’d known. “Avery, I was afraid of what it would do to you. I wanted to tell you, but…”

“But you decided it was easier to say nothing,” she snapped in a cold, emotionless voice. “You took the copout that was laid out in front of you.”

“I did what I had to in order to protect you. I know that sounds like a line but it’s true. I was so afraid of what was happening to you. After you found out what my father and Brooke did, I was just worried that…” he mouthed watching her spin around to face him, her eyes wild with anger.

“That what? That I would snap just like she did? That I would do something terrible to you or to Erin?” she lashed out at him, clenching her fingers into fists at her side. “Did you think that I would go off the deep end and become my mother? Is that it?”

“No of course not,” he shook her head at her words, “That’s not it at all.”

“Then what? Did you think that I was too weak to handle the truth? That I would fall to pieces or leave you to be with Brant again upon knowing the truth?” she shot back at him her eyes narrowing up at him.

“I’d be lying if I said the thought hadn’t crossed my mind about you and Brant,” he blurted out without thinking. He ran his fingers through his dark hair again, “Avery when I came back not only did I find you with him, but you were married to him not me. Everything I thought we had wasn’t as it was before.”

“And it’s never going to be that way again, is it,” she shrugged her shoulders before attempting to brush past him.

“Avery wait,” he reached for her touching her arm gently, “Please don’t walk away from me.”

“I didn’t walk away from you Russ,” Avery spun around to face him, tears burning behind her eyes, “I never walked away from you from the moment we found one another again, but you walked away from me the day you stopped believing in me--the day you stopped believing in our love.”

“I never stopped believing in our love. When I was with Angela I didn’t know who I was. I had amnesia and…” he tried to reason with her.

“I’m not talking about when you were with her. I’m talking about the lies that followed after!” she shouted in response pushing away from him, “I’m talking about when you came back to town and kept everything from me simply because you thought I was crazy.”

“I’ve never thought you were crazy. Avery, I never said that,” Russ frowned down at her shaking his head.

“You never had to Russ. I can see it in your eyes and even now I can feel it in the way you’re approaching this. You’re afraid I’m going to snap and then you’ll be left to pick up the pieces--to carry the blame because your incompetent Avery couldn’t save herself from danger.”

“Avery that’s not it at all. I love you,” Russ blinked back at her surprised at what she was saying, “I’ve always loved you.”

“Just not enough to treat me like an equal,” she folded her arms in front of her chest.

“Avery, I’m sorry. I thought I was doing what was best for us--for Erin…”

“No you did what you felt was best for you--to keep you in control of things because you didn’t think that I could handle reality--that I was strong enough to be your wife and a mother to Erin, but you don’t have to worry about that from here on out,” Avery decided clearing her throat as she fought to keep her control about her.

“What do you mean I don’t have to worry about that?” he blinked back at her, “Avery, you’re not making any sense.”

“Fine, then let me make it clear to you. Since we’re not married we don’t have to go through the whole process of a divorce, but I do think it’s best that we get away from one another for a while,” she explained struggling to get the words out when her heart was crying to the contrary about what it was she wanted.

“Wait a second. Are you saying what I think you’re saying to me?” Russ blinked back at her in astonishment.

She nodded biting on her lower lip to keep from bursting into tears, “Russ I want you gone. It’s over between us.”


...to be continued...