Episode 390

JT closed his eyes feeling the hot spray overhead giving him a whole new reason to wish he’d hit snooze on his alarm clock earlier when it had gone off. He was half tempted to stay in bed with Evie all day just wasting the day away, but they had plans and he wasn’t about to break them even for the temptation sleep would’ve provided him. How he would’ve loved to have been lost in the blankets and her arms, but there was too much ahead of them for him to cave under pressure so to speak.

“Just wake up,” he mouthed to himself stepping forward to feel the hot liquid spray of the shower assault his neck and shoulders. The water trailed down over the tight muscles in his back, teasing over his spine. He pressed his hand up against the shower wall grudgingly soaking up the assault the water inflicted upon his body. It was almost too much to bear when his thoughts were returning to the woman who was back in bed without him lost in her dreams.

“Damn,” he groaned feeling his blood boil, his body heating up at the memory of how it felt to be holding her the previous evening. When he thought about what it was like to kiss her, to hear her sighing his name in soft cries of pleasure, he wondered why in the hell he’d been torturing himself when it came to making love to her. It wasn’t as if he didn’t know what he was doing as he’d prided himself on being a bit of an expert where women were concerned. Sure, he hadn’t always been on top of his game, but over the years he’d perfected the art of making love.

And what an art it was, he thought to himself imagining what it would be like to take Evie to the places she’d never been before--to be the man who could open her up into a whole new world that could exist for only them. Even now he felt the same lust he’d fought to keep caged from within threatening to surface and reveal just how weak he truly was. When he was near her it took everything in him to do the right thing--to stay focused on what was important--on how he needed to help her before they could fall into passion with one another. Still yesterday he’d been so very tempted and she’d certainly made an impact on him with the little time they’d spent in bed with one another. Had they had a few more minutes with one another, he would’ve shown her a whole hell of a lot more than he had up until the point when Franklin had entered the scene.

“Stop it JT!” he finally mouthed to himself dipping his head down underneath the water to clear his thoughts of Evie. If he’d stood in the shower spending his time thinking about making love to her all day he would only wind up frustrated and unavailable to be there for what really mattered. Reaching for the soap he vowed to give up on the fantasy that plagued his mind and focus on what was important for them to get moving on their day.

“Did you really think you could sneak out on me and I wouldn’t notice,” he heard a voice slur in the back of his ear. At first he’d started to believe he was imagining it especially after the way in which he’d been thinking about Evie, but now as he felt a pair of arms snake around his waist, fingers fanning out over his hip, he knew full well he was no longer alone in his shower.

Sucking in a sharp breath he attempted to speak up and keep things cool even though he was quite convinced that with a little subtle movement of Evie’s hand she’d figure out full well that he wasn’t thinking about their plans for the day. Taking in a breath, he attempted to stand up straighter, hoping to refocus and coax himself into talking her out of the shower, but before he could react he felt her palm come into direct contact of the one part of him that was less than civilized.

“Evie,” he spoke her name in a tight whisper feeling her press in against his spine. In an instant he knew full well that not only had she decided to join him, but she’d also thought it very necessary to shed her clothing in the process. He could feel the warm lines of her body gently nestled in against his spine while her fingers curled around his body, discovering without hesitation that JT’s thoughts had been less than pure where she’d been concerned earlier.

“My you really are up this early morning, aren’t you?” she questioned in what should’ve been a simple comment, but with the low, sultry tone that fell from her lips, JT felt his mouth go dry, his heart hammering in his chest and before he could say even one word that made sense she started to caress him, her free hand moving up over his chest. “Though I suppose there is something to be said about being an early riser.”

“You’re supposed to be sleeping in,” he closed his eyes sucking in a sharp breath before he reached out to capture her wrist in his hand. He slowly urged her to release him before he took in another breath. He started to turn around to face her, but stopped himself knowing full well that he was just asking for trouble if he looked at her.

“How do you expect me to be sleeping when all I could think about was you in here naked and wet and waiting for some company,” she questioned leaning up on her toes to curl her arm over his shoulder. He felt her soft curves brush in against his again before she pressed a small kiss on his shoulder. Her fingertips fanned out over his muscled bicep before her lips followed. He felt her slinking around in the shower, maneuvering herself around his body so that they were soon face to face with one another. She smiled up at him, her brown eyes filled with a sudden warmth and desire that JT knew only too well himself.

“Have I told you how much trouble you are,” he questioned attempting to make light of the situation while fighting like hell to keep from giving her a very complete once over followed by a very complete exploration that would clearly take him from the realm of doing the right thing to just downright dirty. Of course being that they were in the shower together there was a certain ring to the situation, but alas he had to stay calm. His eyes fixed on hers again, “I really figured you would sleep in.”

“Well you figured wrong,” she stepped forward curling her arm around his waist before her other hand eased up to touch the side of his face. “JT, why won’t you just look at me? I know you want to.”

“Evie, I just want to finish the shower. I’m just about done in here and…” he stopped himself, his gaze involuntarily dropping down to see her curves right before him beautifully revealed and his for the taking. Immediately thoughts of what he could do with her flashed through his mind making the situation worse now that his body was on edge. He looked away after a few seconds and cleared his throat again, “We have a schedule today and…”

“And I think we can afford to be a little late,” she leaned forward dropping feathery light kisses over his chest. He reached out to her attempting to pull her away, but instead his fingers found their way to her long, dark hair--to the soft dampness that started to curl at the ends now that she’d stepped in underneath the shower spray. Closing his eyes he felt the intoxicating movement her lips made over his skin and in that instant he knew he was a goner.

“Evie,” he spoke her name pulling her lips up to meet his in a fiery kiss. Coiling his arm around her slender frame, he pulled her in against him, feeling the warmth of her damp skin colliding with his. Their eyes met for a brief moment before his lips returned to hers crashing down with a hungry urgency. He nudged her to take a step back, pressing her in against the shower wall while his hands greedily roamed over her body. Sure, he knew full well that it was the last thing that he’d anticipated doing, but damn it she’d tempted him and he couldn’t hold off on what he’d been suppressing much longer.

“JT,” she murmured his name reaching for his hand and guiding it over her body, placing it over her soft curves now that her eyes were glazed over with passion. She tipped her head up seeking out his lips and with a tiny flick of her tongue over his lower lip, he knew that he’d give her just about anything in the here and now. She arched up into him, her body warming up to his soft caress. She let out a tiny whimper curling upward towards him while her leg slid up over his slowly making it’s way around his thigh.

“Evie wait,” he pulled back finally putting the brakes on the situation now that he was suddenly very aware of just how close they were when it came to entering dangerous territory with one another. He sucked in a sharp breath lowering his head ever so slightly and closing his eyes while trying to focus on anything other than the beautiful naked woman beneath him. “We have to stop before something happens between us that shouldn’t.”

“I can’t imagine us doing something that we shouldn’t together when it feels so very right,” she started to draw him in nearer to her, her lips seeking out his again.

“Evie, I’m serious,” he forced himself to look into her lust filled eyes. Reaching out to touch her cheek gently, he ran his fingers over her damp skin, “if we keep up like this I’m going to want to make love to you and this certainly isn’t the right setting for your first time.”

“It has a very promising start,” she informed him brightly thinking about the possibilities for what could be between them. Her hand dipped down below his waist again reaching out to touch his ache, “JT I know that you want me.”

“I’m not going to deny that one for even one second,” he caught her wrist in his hand bringing it up to his lips. He pressed a small kiss over her pulse point all the while focusing on her soft brown eyes and how beautiful they were, “but if we start something now we’re probably not going to be able to stop and we’re not really prepared for something like that right now.”

“You mean because we don’t have protection,” she questioned meeting his refusal with a firm tone, “because there are other things we can do in here if you don’t want to make love. I mean I know there are other ways around sex JT.”

He practically choked at her suggestion surprised at how casual she was when he was feeling anything, but at ease in the shower with her. He tried to rationalize that she had a point and that in the past he would’ve easily found a way to comply to such a delicious request, but right now he feared it wouldn’t be enough. If he’d had even one taste of her, he was convinced he wouldn’t hold back any longer.

“Evie, I really don’t think that…” he stammered feeling his blood boiling at the sight of her before him, “I think maybe you should let me finish the shower and we can get going.”

“Do you honestly think I’m walking out of here just like that?” she snapped her fingers in the air before reaching out to him again. “JT come on. You’ve put me off long enough and you know that I’m not afraid of what could happen with us.”

“But I am…” he admitted honestly taking in a long breath, “I’m afraid of what could happen should we take that next step with one another just yet.”

“JT you asked me to marry you. I hardly think our making love will complicate things,” she frowned up at him shaking her head. “I think it’ll only enhance what we have with one another.”

“And what about your father? What about what he said? Evie you told me yourself that he’s pushing for you to get pregnant so that he can run some kind of scam,” JT blurted out seeing a scowl press over her lips.

“Oh that’s just great JT,” she snarled up at him, her irritation level rising, “Leave it to you to bring him into this. Tell me is that what your hesitation is all about? Are you afraid that I’m going to end up doing what I can to please my daddy so that way you get screwed over?”

“No that’s not what I’m saying, but…” he started realizing he’d said the wrong thing and set her off. He saw the anger bubble over every inch of her and in an instant he’d regretted his word selection. “Evie it’s just…”

“Just that you don’t trust me, right? That you can’t trust me because my father is a lunatic and you think I’m feeding right into his plans,” she shook her head at him, a tight scowl carrying over her. “Fine, then be that way JT. If you really think so little of me, then you can go to hell.”

“Evie wait,” he frowned seeing her stomp over to the shower door and step out. Letting out a groan he reached for the water dials quickly turning them off before jumping out of the shower to chase after her. “That’s not what I’m saying.”

“Oh really, then why don’t you elaborate on what it is that you are trying to say JT?” she spun around to face him placing her hands on her hips angrily as she stood in the center of the bathroom naked and fired up.

“What I’m trying to say is,” he blinked back at her finding himself distracted by the sight of her. “Evie, can you at least put on a towel?”

“Why should I? If you can be man enough to refuse me when I’m trying to get you to make love to me, then I’m pretty damn sure that you can stand there and see me like this without getting all hot and bothered,” she spat out at him icily her frustrations mounting with each passing second.

“Evie, it’s not that I’m not hot and bothered. It’s just…” he threw his hands in the air and groaned, “Damn it. Are you trying to kill me? I mean is that what this is really about?”

“Excuse me,” she blinked back at him with a huff, “You’re the one who keeps refusing me, so how is it killing you?”

“It’s killing me because I want to. Damn it I want to be with you so much that I’m starting to think I’m losing my damn mind for telling you no,” he blurted out in frustration looking over at her again, “Evie, it’s just that when things turn to sex for me, they turn bad. I’m not going to lie to you about that. I really care about you and I don’t want you to get hurt just because we jumped the gun on this with one another.”

“JT we’re not jumping the gun. Not even remotely close to it and besides forget about jumping the gun, I would rather you just jump on me,” she blurted out with a groan throwing her hands up in the air.

“Would you just listen to yourself?” he couldn’t help but ask surprised by her tone. “Think about what you’re saying.”

“I know what I’m saying and I know what I want JT. I want you and I don’t give a damn about your past--about what’s gone wrong for you because I know together we’re completely right for one another. I love you and I think that we’ve known one another long enough to see that this isn’t some fleeting phase. Obviously we’ve both had our share of problems, but you asked me to marry you, which indicates to me that you love me,” she continued to rant at him, her dark eyes narrowing with agitation.

“I do love you and you love me, which is why I’m trying to do things right for you. I’m trying to make things right for us instead of something that’s less than memorable,” he threw his hands in the air and let out a groan, “Don’t you want that?”

“I’d settle for you pinning me up against the wall and rocking my world,” she blurted out with a huff, tossing her damp, dark hair over her shoulders defiantly.

“Fine, if that’s what you want,” JT stepped forward reaching out to her and grabbing her. He spun her around in his arms before pressing her in against the wall with a firm shove. His dark eyes met hers and he spoke up in a low growl finding himself done with her screaming at him. The way her lips curled in a pout, the way the fire behind her eyes beckoned him to stop fighting her, it all got to his head and he caged her beneath his arms. He lowered his voice to just above a whisper, before he finished his words with a soft rumble, “then that’s what you’re going to get.”

“JT,” she gasped his name feeling the force behind the movement he’d made. His lips came crashing down over hers, catching her completely off guard while his hands roamed over her body, tracing her curves in such an aggressive fashion that she’d almost forgot to breathe. Her dark eyes widened with surprise when he hovered in over her, his presence lingering and possessive now that his fingers pressed through her hair.

“I’m not going to make love to you just yet, but I will give you something to remember--something that I can assure you will more than convince you that I’m not putting you off because I’m not interested,” JT assured her his mouth plummeting into hers as he vowed to give her a taste of the fantasy she’d been asking for with him. While he knew full well that it would be hard to keep things from reaching the point of no return, he kept his mind clear and focused on doing what was necessary to convince Evie that he’d meant everything he’d said about making her world incredible in every way imaginable.


Kevin glanced over at the bathroom door double checking to ensure that he’d locked it now that he was going to hop into the shower. Angela was sleeping, but he didn’t want to wind up in a situation where he would have to jump through hoops to keep her from joining him. Just in case he reached for the small chair that he’d had set up over by the vanity. He pushed it quietly across the floor before feeling satisfied with the fact he’d put a decent barrier between him and Angela now that he was going to start the morning.

Pulling his shirt up over his head, he had to laugh at the irony of the situation. Here he was staying with Angela, with her thinking that they were in love with one another, yet he couldn’t even begin to think about getting close to her in that fashion. A few months ago it would’ve been like a dream come true for him to finally have her wanting him again, but now it was more of a bother than anything. Of course, he realized stepping into the shower, there was a time when he was younger when he wouldn’t have put a barricade on the door but rather expected her to join him in the shower.

“You’re not getting in this time though Angie,” Kevin mouthed with a tiny chuckle remembering full well when he was working for her father. He could remember how hard he’d tried to avoid her--how many times he’d set out to avoid her, but she’d still found her way into his life pushing herself into close quarters with him in the worst of circumstances. Pausing to pop his head out of the shower Kevin looked to the door again seeing it was still locked and the chair was still placed in front of it serving as a means of keeping him on his own for a little while.

“The sooner you get your memory back, the better,” Kevin sighed closing his eyes and thinking about Ria. It was hard not to think about her considering that he knew full well what kind of strain this situation was putting on her. She’d been patient, but at the same time he’d seen how upset she was first hand. Top that off with the fact that they had to start sneaking around like they were doing something wrong when in fact that was far from the truth. He hated that. That was the part that truly bothered him. If Angela hadn’t forgotten her life, then he could be with Ria--he could be finding a way to start moving forward instead of being stuck in limbo hoping for Angela to wake up and realize that he wasn’t even remotely close to being the man she loved.

Hell the more he thought about it, the more he realized he’d stopped being that man a long time ago. Yes, he’d always kind of held out hope that he and Angela would reunite, but that felt like a lifetime ago. On the island he’d felt so strongly about her--wanted more than anything for her to just open her eyes and see how good they were for one another, but now it was like asking for him to drink a bottle of poison. That’s about how good they would be for one another now. She was different and so was he. Ria had taught him how to love again and Angela seemed to be the one thing that kept pushing him under just when he’d surfaced again. It was as if every time he tried to move forward she came around long enough to kick him back.

“But not this time,” Kevin vowed to himself thinking about all the ways in which he hoped to help Brant get Angela’s memory back if for no other reason than his peace of mind. It was long overdue for Kevin and Ria to just be able to enjoy life for a while and by God he had to find a way to make it happen before this situation caused him and Ria to split again. Closing his eyes again he thought about the woman he loved--remembered the soft scent of her perfume, the way that her smile caused his heart to flutter with a warmth that carried over him. Oh how he’d realized he wouldn’t be able to make it without Ria. It was her memory alone that carried over him and…

“Did you honestly think you could slip out on me?” he heard a voice pull him from his thoughts of Ria. His brown eyes snapped open and he gasped immediately feeling a shift in the cramped shower he was in. He reached for the door looking through it to discover that not only was the door opened, but the chair was back over by the vanity again.

“No,” Kevin blurted out feeling a palm press in over his chest. He didn’t have to look back to know that Angela was obviously awake and hoping to recreate some of the moments they had shared with one another in their younger years.

“Kevin, I was hoping you’d at least wait for me to wake up before you took off,” she whispered stepping up on her toes to lean in over his shoulder, “but at least I caught you now before you could run away.”

“I um…” Kevin gulped feeling his Adam’s apple leap up into the back of his throat with fear. He felt her fingers sliding in over his damp chest, finger curling around his nipple offering up a playful pinch and he yelped. “I’m running really behind and…”

“And I’m sure you can fit some time in for us,” she bit down on his shoulder teasingly causing him to jump up with a gasp. He turned around to face her, astonishment carrying over him.

“How the hell did you get in here?” he couldn’t help but ask wondering how she’d managed to break through his perfectly plotted plan.

“I had a key,” she explained nodding over towards the countertop where she’d set the key after she’d discarded her clothing. Her dark eyes met his again before she frowned, “Though what was with the chair in front of the door?”

“I didn’t want any interruptions,” he answered honestly realizing that this was one hell of an interruption that he wasn’t looking for. He felt her hands slide over his abdomen before he dropped his hand down to collect her wrists and return them to her side of the shower. “I have a busy day ahead of me.”

“And a busy morning too if you play your cards right,” she licked her lips in anticipation, lust burning behind her dark eyes and he took a small step back. He watched her match the movement closing in on him until he backed up enough to suddenly feel the dials of the shower pressing in against his…

“Whoa now,” Kevin placed his hands up in the air in an attempt to shield himself from her now that he felt her moving in for the kill. “I think you need to hold off on that Angela.”

“Why?” she tipped her head to the side seeing the way he’d ducked out of a kiss and now appeared to be frightened by the nearness of her, “And what’s with this whole Angela business? You haven’t called me Angela since the first day we met?”

“It’s your name isn’t it,” he spoke up nervously carefully sliding around to the side of the shower so that he didn’t impale himself on the dials. However when he realized he was pressed into a corner between two walls, he felt suddenly very claustrophobic. He had left the door wide open for her to move in on him. He saw her smile, watched her lick her lips again and as he felt a rumble inside of him, he closed his eyes and said a silent prayer for this to be nothing more than a dream.

“Come here you,” Angela’s voice spoke up smoothly in a seductive undertone alerting him that she had just one thought in mind and she wasn’t about to be denied. He kept his eyes shut tightly, mouthing a silent prayer to himself over and over again, but her lips were inevitably moving in closer to his. He could feel her fingers tracing over against his outer thigh and just when he thought he was finally going to be crushed like a bug under a rock, inspiration struck.

“Owww,” he bellowed out in a low roar causing Angela to cease all movement. Her brown eyes widened in confusion as he tipped over and grabbed his leg.

“Kevin, what is it?” she couldn’t help but ask listening to him wince in agony.

“Cramp,” he replied hobbling out of the shower in the blink of an eye without looking back at her. He grabbed one of the towels securing it around his waist before heading towards the door.

“Where are you going?” she questioned alerting him to the fact that she was out of the shower. Immediately he buckled over in ‘pain’ and motioned to his leg.

“It hurts like a son of a bitch Angie. I need to work it out,” he sank back onto the counter rubbing at his calve muscle while wishing like hell she would just leave him alone.

“Let me take a look at it,” she suggested making a small movement towards him only to feel him waving his hands at her.

“No, no that’s okay,” he shook his head adamantly, “I can take care of it.”

“But Kevin, you sound like you’re in so much pain,” she noted watching his eyes narrow with the moment. “If you just let me rub it for you maybe I can work to unknot it and…”

“Trust me I can take care of this,” he replied sharply realizing his tone was far too abrasive for her liking. Quickly covering he spoke up again in a smoother tone, hoping to curb her need to seduce him, “Actually baby if you want to do something for me, I would love a banana right about now.”

“A banana,” she replied giving him a strange look. “Are you serious?”

“The potassium is good for me especially now,” he added seeing the way she eyed him intently. He let out an extra groan for emphasis.

“Angie please,” he whimpered making a small pinched sound, “I really would like a banana.”

“Fine,” she stepped back giving him a once over. He made sure to play it up faking it to the fullest while she headed towards the door offering up a sympathetic look, “Poor baby…”

“I know,” he nodded before leaning back on the counter, “Take your time.”

“I thought you said you needed it now,” she paused glancing over her shoulder at him.

“I did, but I mean…you may have to go to Brant’s to get it if we don’t have one,” Kevin added quickly seeing her standing outside of the bathroom door. Forcing himself to get up off of the counter he moved over to the door and grabbed it in his hand, “In fact we can go over there to get one together. You just get dressed out there and I’ll get dressed in here.”

“But…” she started watching him close the door in her face unexpectedly.

“I’ll be ready in a few minutes,” Kevin mouthed through the door hearing her still standing there.

“But I thought you couldn’t walk,” she blurted out in a muffled tone on the opposite side of the door.

“I can’t, but, well we can take one of the golf carts or something,” Kevin suggested hearing her outside the bathroom obviously puzzled.

“Well okay, but just take your time Kevin. If you need me…” she began again with a worried tone.

“I know where to find you,” Kevin added listening to the sound of her footsteps walking away from the bathroom before he let out a long sigh. Sinking back onto the countertop again he closed his eyes and said a prayer for his quick thinking. That was close--too close he realized knowing full well that things weren’t going to get any easier now that Angela was in full on relationship mode with him. If their past indicated what she might be doing now thinking that she was in love with him, Kevin knew full well he was in big trouble!


Ria glanced out the back door to the kitchen thinking about the last time she’d seen Kevin. While she wanted to admit that she was okay with the way things had turned out the previous night, the fact to the matter was that she’d been furious that Angela had dragged him off to the guest house without so much as giving them a few minutes to speak to one another before Kevin was off for the night. Now that she was waiting for him to join them for breakfast she was finding that it was increasingly harder to be patient. Hearing footsteps moving in from behind her, she spun around to see Brant eyeing her curiously.

“Why am I not surprised to find you standing over there?” Brant questioned tucking the newspaper he’d picked up on the way into the kitchen underneath his arm. “Something tells me that you’ll probably be glued to that very spot until you see Kevin trotting along to join us.”

“Can you blame me?” Ria questioned with a small scowl, “Considering how clingy Angela was last night I would’ve imagined you’d already be standing here this morning warming up a spot for me.”

“As exhilarating as that sounds, I had other things to take care of,” he frowned moving over to the island in the center of the kitchen. He set his newspaper down before glancing over at her once again, “I just learned that my brother swiped the private jet to whisk Wendy off to a romantic trip to Paris--at least that’s the gist of the sloppy message he left for me.”

“Wow, that sounds really romantic,” Ria noted thinking about how it would be nice if she and Kevin could just leave Angela and her whole bag of issues aside and follow in Ken’s footsteps.

“It sounds odd to me,” Brant frowned thinking about how Ken had just started to pull together his professional life again. “With Wendy being sick like she is, I can honestly say that it’s a stretch for them to be trotting off to another country without so much as the proper preparations behind it.”

“Haven’t you ever heard of spontaneity? Of just being plain romantic and exciting?” she frowned turning around to face him now that she’d attempted to keep herself distracted. She walked over to the counter and took a seat at the bar area, “I mean what would be so wrong about taking the person you love more than life itself to some romantic, exotic place where you were left to absorb the culture and each other. It sounds like a very beautiful notion.”

“To most people yes, but with my brother,” Brant thought to all the chaos that Ken had caused in the past. Frowning at the memory of Ken’s destruction, Brant opted to change the subject, “Let’s just say he’s hard to figure out and leave it at that. On another note, other than you being in here ready to beat down Angela how was your night?”

“You mean before or after she beat Kevin with her club over the head to drag him back to the prison she’s keeping him in?” she wiggled her brow up at him.

“You know what I meant,” he frowned in response centering himself on the opposite side of the bar and leaning in closer to her, “How did you sleep?”

“Not as well as I did the night before,” she mouthed in response her thoughts lingering to what it was like to have Kevin in bed with her--to be sharing the warmth of his arms and be lost with him in such an intimate fashion.

“Hell Ria I don’t think anyone has slept as well as you and Kevin obviously did the night before last,” he teased with a small laugh thinking to what he’d witnessed the morning after, “I would give anything to have five minutes like that with Angela.”

“Five minutes?” Ria repeated with an arched brow. Her dark eyes swept over him before she offered up a small laugh, “Is that how long it takes for you? Only five minutes?”

“Wait…what?” Brant blinked at her registering what she was hinting at and he frowned, “No. No of course not, but what I was just saying is…”

“That you would love to have a five minute quickie romp because that’s about what you’re good for right about now, yes?” she snickered unable to resist the urge to tease him further.

“I’ll have you know that I can last a hell of a lot longer than five minutes,” Brant placed his arm on the counter and met her disbelieving stare, “and I have the reputation to prove it. Ask anyone who has been with me.”

“You mean other than the woman you love who has blocked that part of her past out,” Ria blurted out seeing the pain flash behind his eyes almost immediately. She watched him take a step back and she found herself regretting her words. “Brant I’m sorry. I just…”

“Just what? Decided that since you’re miserable in all of this that you must be the only one who is hurting,” he questioned glancing over at her before shaking his head. “Yeah Ria your situation sucks, but mine sucks a hell of a lot more. You at least get to have Kevin to yourself when everything is said and done. You know he loves you and that you love him as well. With me, sure it’s a blur and you can insult me all you want, but it won’t change things. Regardless of what you say about how much you hate this, I hate it a whole hell of a lot worse. You still have a chance, but I’m not only missing out on being with Angela, but rather I’m missing out on that time with my children as well so yeah I can see why you should go out of your way to be bitter with me since I’ve got it so much better than you.”

“Brant I’m sorry…” she started catching the heavy sarcasm in his tone. She reached out to place her hand over his on the counter top only to feel him pull away sharply.

“Don’t bother because I sure as hell don’t need your sympathy or pity right about now,” he spat back at her marching out of the kitchen almost as soon as he’d entered it and leaving her feeling far worse than she had when she’d awakened without Kevin beside her earlier.


“Are you going to say anything to me?” Russ questioned watching Avery slam the eggs onto the kitchen countertop after she’d pulled them out to put breakfast together. He could see that she was still bubbling with anger over the way things had fallen to pieces last night with their dinner with Heather and Kyle and even now he knew that she was still stark raving mad. He set the newspaper down that he’d been reading and exchanged glances with Erin before turning to Avery again, “Are you going to talk to me or are we going to play the silent treatment all day?”

Avery slammed the cooking utensil down that she’d been working with seconds earlier in order to turn around and glare at Russ. “You know what…” she paused, “never mind.”

“Not never mind,” he frowned watching Erin play with the toys that were on the tray to her high chair for a brief moment. He reached out to press down on one that would spin over and over again causing Erin to giggle with delight. Once he was convinced his daughter was satisfied he glanced up at Avery again, “Honey you can’t be upset with me because of the way things turned out. I wasn’t the one that decided to get into a fist fight with Heather. You were.”

“I wouldn’t have had to if you would’ve put your foot down and told Kyle that he couldn’t have her here,” she spun around to face him again this time waving a package of sausage in her hand. She flung it around wildly while her words continued to lash out at him, “I cannot for the life of me believe that you just sat there allowing her to speak to me that way in our own home. What’s worse is I can’t believe that Kyle would just do nothing as well. I mean is he so blinded by that bitch that he can’t just get his act together and tell her where to stick it? She’s pure evil Russ and it boggles my mind to think that he could enjoy spending any kind of time with her.”

“Avery, you and Heather were both a bit high strung last night and if I do recall correctly Kyle didn’t do just anything. He stepped in and almost got decked in the process when you and Heather were going at it like two school girls in a catfight,” Russ frowned pushing his chair away from the table and walking over to her.

“Kyle never should’ve brought her here,” Avery blurted out with an impatient huff waving the sausage around again. “He was just being plain stupid and…”

“Why don’t you give me that before you poke my eye out with your sausage,” Russ teased reaching out to snag the package from her hand. “In fact why don’t you just sit down with Erin and let me take over breakfast?”

“Russ I can handle it,” she reached out to him tugging at the package in his hands before her dark eyes met his with a stubbornness. “I said I had it under control.”

“Avery, let go of my sausage and sit down,” Russ mouthed in response a flicker of playfulness sparking behind his green eyes. He flashed her a sexy grin before seeing her cave ever so slightly with a small sigh.

“You never had a problem with me playing with your sausage before,” she quipped in response unable to contain the urge that carried over her.

“Even so, go sit with our daughter,” he raised his right hand to brush his fingers up against her cheek gently before smiling at her. “You can spin her toy for her. It works great on venting your frustrations.”

“Fine,” she mouthed with a small scowl marching over to the chair and taking a seat. She reached out to spin Erin’s toy for her before looking to Russ again, “I just can’t believe that Kyle would find it in him to tolerate that woman. She’s spiteful and wicked and…”

“And maybe there’s more going on than either one of us can see,” Russ suggested knowing full well that Avery needed to know about Kyle and Heather’s marriage, but as agreed upon it was up to Kyle to share that news with her. There was no way in hell that Russ was going to endure the wrath of Kyle’s choice in a spouse anymore than he already had. “Perhaps if you both would look beyond the past, you might find you actually enjoy one another’s company.”

“Fat chance,” Avery laughed with a huff, “That woman has tried to make me miserable since day one and I’m tired of it. It was bad enough that she tried to sabotage me in every angle of my life, but now to carry it over with Kyle…”

“In all honesty,” Russ started to prepare the omelet that Avery had started, “I really don’t think Heather and Kyle being together is Heather’s way of getting at you. I mean it might feel that way, but I think something else is going on.”

“Yeah Kyle is on the rebound and after Sarah hurt him, it messed with his head,” she reached out to spin Erin’s toy again listening as Erin bubbled over with laughter. Avery focused on Erin again and spoke to her daughter, “That’s right little girl you don’t want your Uncle Kyle with the mean and nasty Heather do you?”

“Avery,” Russ sighed shaking his head in response, “Look I know last night tension was running high between the both of you, but let’s face it you’re not at war anymore. Neither one of you wants to be with Brant, so that competitive side of things is over. She’s with Kyle and I would like to think that you and I are happy with one another.”

“We are happy with one another,” she paused another tight frown carrying over her, “but what about that time you two were in bed together?”

“Oh you mean the time that was completely orchestrated by your mother,” Russ reminded her seeing that she was grasping for any and all reasons not to let go of her bitterness.

“Yeah, well even if Brooke drugged you, Heather was enjoying it way too much with the way she was all over you,” Avery folded her arms in front of her chest stubbornly, “Even last night I saw the way she was looking at you when I came back with Erin…”

“Honey I’m pretty sure that I’m just about the last man Heather would try to have anything with,” Russ fought to repress his urge to laugh. He stepped away from the stove enough to walk over to the table and place his hands on Avery’s shoulder. “I think it’s safe to say that won’t be happening anytime soon or ever in that respect.”

“Even so with the way she spoke to me. She has no room to talk Russ and the way I see it she has no right to be in our home after what she pulled,” she huffed feeling his fingers fanning out over her tense, knotted muscles.

“Avery, I’m not asking you to be her best friend, but you do have to take into consideration that Kyle does love her. He’s with her for a reason and maybe we should try to respect that,” he suggested hoping that she would let go of her anger for a while.

“I don’t respect anything about that woman and I know full well why Kyle is with her. He’s hurting and on the rebound right now and she’s totally taking advantage of the situation,” she mouthed with a dry groan, “Kyle is only going to get hurt if he stays with her. She’s trouble Russ. I know it.”

“Regardless, we can’t pick and choose who people are meant to be with. Love doesn’t work that way and if Kyle feels strongly about her, we can’t tell him that it’s not allowed,” he curled his finger underneath her chin gently urging her head back. He leaned down to place a soft kiss over her lips before standing up again, “You and I both know love doesn’t work that way.”

“Okay, so maybe we can’t tell him what to do, but maybe we could lock him up and try to reverse the effects of the obvious brain washing she has put on him,” Avery suggested watching him walk back over to the stove. Unable to resist the urge, her gaze dropped down involuntarily over his body taking in the warm lines that she’d grown to love and appreciate over the years.

“I don’t think that is an option either,” Russ teased glancing over his shoulder to see her watching him intently. “Avery, are you checking out my butt?”

“Maybe,” Avery teased with the first hints of a smile watching Russ turn around to shake his bottom at her.

“There’s no maybe about it,” he laughed lightly moving around to see her again, “Erin, would you believe what your mommy is doing? She might be sounding like she’s mad, but she’s totally checking me out and being absolutely shameless about it.”

“I am not,” Avery folded her arms in front of her chest in a huff, “and besides there is no shame in wanting to take the time to appreciate my husband.”

“You can appreciate me all that you want sweetheart as long as it takes the focus off of the whole disaster of Kyle and Heather,” Russ finished up at the stove and joined her and Erin at the table. He placed a plate in front of Avery before taking a seat across from her. “Look I know that it’s not going to be easy, but if you could just take the time to at least consider that maybe Kyle is trying to find happiness again. Sure, maybe Heather wouldn’t be our first choice, but perhaps he’s hoping to turn over a new leaf.”

“Or find himself in an early grave,” Avery muttered under her breath catching the disapproving look Russ was giving her.

“We can’t judge them Avery. We can only hope that Kyle is doing what is best for him,” Russ added wishing that Avery wouldn’t worry so much about their friend.

“How can he even know what that is right now considering he’s got Heather with him? Last night just proved that she’s going to add tension to his life and that’s something that isn’t going to change. She’s still as malevolent as ever and that isn’t going to fade away overnight. When she attacked me, provoked or not, she knew full well what she was doing and she loved every single second of it. The woman hates me.”

“And you hate her, which means that you both are going to have your work cut out for you in the future because we’re not about to give up one of our best friends because we don’t like his girlfriend. Right?” he tossed back at her his green eyes filled with concern. “Right Avery?”

“Of course Russ,” she finally sighed realizing that losing Kyle as a friend was one of the last things on her list, but helping him shed the excess baggage that Heather brought to a situation was another thing. Even though Russ wanted her to leave it alone, Avery was certain that she would find a way to help Kyle see the light about the woman he was with one way or the other!


“Honey, what’s wrong?" Kyle moved in behind Heather hearing her let out a loud sigh telling him that something was on her mind. Wrapping his arms around her waist tightly, he rested his chin on her shoulder taking in a long breath. “You seem to have something on your mind now that you are at work. You were feeling better this morning.”

“It’s just a decision I have to make,” Heather informed him seeing the way Kyle met her eyes in a glance when she turned in his arms, pressing her hands against his firm chest. “I know that this is all right, but I just have a bad feeling about this.”

“Firing someone?" Kyle arched his eyebrow up in response seeing her nod and he took in a long breath wondering what was more to the story that made her upset. “You never really told me what happened Heather. What did Becca do to get fired?"

“She did nothing to me,” she answered truthfully feeling his rough fingers press in against her soft skin on her cheek. Tipping down to press his lips in over hers in a very small peck while her fingertips slid up and over his shoulders as he held onto her tightly. “You remember back in the day with Susan how she had this whole infatuation with you so to speak?"

“You mean obsession?" Kyle arched his eyebrow up before shuddering at the thought remembering some of the worst pain of his life and yet some of the repressed memories he never wanted to have come back to him. “What she did was plain scary and changed my life in a lot of ways more than one. Why? Did Becca try to jump you honey? Did she drug you or something?"

“No, no. No,” Heather blurted out repeating herself a few times seeing his worried hazel eyes watching her carefully and she could see he was trying to read her eyes to see if she was lying. “Seriously Kyle, I swear she did nothing to me. That’s one thing you most certainly don’t have to worry about.”

“Then what is it you’re not telling me?" Kyle watched Heather move out of his arms and walk over toward the other side of the room nervously. Moving slowly over toward her he watched her look out the window as his eyebrows tightened together wondering what in the world was on her mind to keep her this silent from him. “Heather baby, you can’t approach the subject like that and have no follow up. You have my mind playing tricks on myself and I’m left wondering what happened and now I’m worried. So, what’s wrong honey?"

“It’s Kipp,” she answered truthfully not wanting to keep anything from Kyle because that was NOT the kind of relationship she wanted to have with Kyle now that they were married. She was too much in love with him to be untruthful with him. “You see the situation you were in--he was in.”

“You mean Becca took advantage of him?" he let out a questionable tone seeing the way that she nodded slowly and he automatically felt bad for kind of being jealous of Kipp earlier. “You mean everything? Well he’s going to have to press charges, he needs to put her away for what she did to him. She can’t get away with that Heather, she can’t…”

“Kyle, he doesn’t want to tell anyone,” Heather explained seeing Kyle’s eyes full of fury at the thought as she placed her fingers softly against his lips seeing his angered expression calm down. “She didn’t get that far because he woke up, but she forced herself on him and there were things that happened. Things that he just doesn’t want people to know.”

“I see, but he really can’t let her get away with it,” he insisted seeing Heather shake her head and he rested back against the desk seeing the way she looked out at him. Folding his arms in front of his chest he remembered his past and sure it sounded like Susan got a lot further than Becca did, but it still wasn’t right. “It’s still not right honey.”

“I know Kyle, but there is nothing I can do about it because this is the best I can do for Kipp,” Heather tried to explain seeing the way Kyle tried to stare out at her before looking down toward the desk and she saw him eyeing over the fax she had gotten the other day. Seeing him gulp down she saw him pick it up and look it over as she moved in closer to him. “Kyle…”

“I want to keep this, I want to know who did this and this is the only way to look things over,” Kyle explained rolling the fax up a bit seeing her green eyes looking out into his. Heather’s green eyes stared up at him as he lovingly pressed his fingers into her hair before pressing her light blonde hair behind her ear. “I promise only my eyes will see this honey. I love you.”

“I love you too,” Heather smirked seeing Kyle staring out at her as he moved down to kiss her softly hearing the door come to an open. Kyle squeezed her hand softly when he saw Becca standing in the doorway and knowing that he couldn’t be around Becca because he would open his mouth he decided to leave. Kissing her again he caressed her face softly before taking in a long breath moving toward the door. “I’ll see you later honey.”

“I love you,” Heather could hear Kyle leave the room as she pondered just how she was going to find a way to deal with the situation with Becca as simply as possible.


“Sarah, would you please stop hanging behind me and come on. I’m not going to have you miss this just because you want to,” Cameron snipped grabbing a firm hold of her hand only to hear her gasp and pull her hand back roughly away from him. “Sarah, stop it and just come with me.”

“Let me get a few rules for you right now,” Sarah shook her head folding her arms out in front of her chest knowing that she was trying to waste time so she didn’t have to do this, but seeing the anger behind Cameron’s eyes she had to explain a bit of things to him before deciding to go. “No one grabs me like you just did and if I don’t want to do something, I’m not going to do it.”

“Oh yes you are when you are with me,” Cameron grabbed her wrist in his roughly seeing her brown eyes staring up into his as he laughed and looked down at her with a serious expression. “Listen to me Sarah, when I tell you to do something. You do it. You listen to me or everything you’ve ever wanted, everything you’ve ever imagined of having is over. You won’t have a name to yourself and you will fail so much that you will never know what to do with yourself.”

“So you’re the one that’s making the decisions now? Since when were you the one pregnant? I have what you want, so if you want to get what you want you are going to have to play nice Cameron or else I’m going to take away what you need,” she warned seeing his dark eyes glare out at her before he let go of her wrist and looked down at his watch letting out a small growl. “If we have to do this, we have to do this.”

“You know we have to take this paternity test to see who the father is. Since someone was a little too boy happy, there are three possibilities and we need to know who it is. Knowing the way things have been going for you,” Cameron reached his arm out wrapping it around Sarah’s shoulders tightly and pulling her in closer to him seeing the way her dark eyes glared up at him. “It’s probably none of the three.”

“You are such an…,” Sarah raised her hand to deck him before seeing out of the corner of her eye Diego walking around the corner and she reached up with her hand to place it against his cheek. Catching Cameron off guard she tipped up on her toes and pressed her lips against his roughly feeling his arms wrap around her waist tightly pulling her in closer to him. “Amazingly sexy man.”

“Sarah,” Diego groaned walking down the hallway toward the elevators knowing that the only way he could get out was around her and Cameron. Glaring over at Cameron, he saw Cameron’s dark eyes glazed over with cockiness and he moved in closer to the two. “I’m glad to see you now happy with one of the biggest assholes in Coral Valley.”

“Oh don’t worry, what she does helps me level out my bad habits,” Cameron stated with a wide grin seeing the way that a muscle in Diego’s jaw tightened and he laughed looking down at Sarah. “There is nothing better than a girl who is twice as bad as I am. So I guess once again Diego, you lost one of the sisters that I keep getting.”

“Right. And Heather is with Kyle why?" Diego moved in closer to Cameron seeing the angered expression press in over Cameron’s features when they stood face to face. “You never had Heather Cameron because she never wanted you. Just like Kyle never wanted Sarah.”

“You know what Diego?" Sarah moved forward shoving her hands into the center of his chest seeing him stumble back a small bit. “Once you are out of my life forever, I will be more than happy because I’m tired of always having you around trying to ruin something like always. I lost Kyle because of you and…”

“No, honey. You lost Kyle because you were a whore,” Diego blurted out seeing Sarah go to smack him and he caught her wrist in his stopping her from the blow. He saw the fire behind her eyes as he smiled widely and shook his head at the way she was looking at him. “I’m just glad you lost him and he saw what sense he had left before he ruined his life with you.”

“Get your hands off of her,” Cameron moved to go and touch Diego only to feel the quick movement of Diego underneath his touch. A sharp punch to his jaw sent him flying to the ground in a thud as Cameron hissed out quickly getting to his feet feeling Sarah place her hand over the center of his chest. “You’re lucky Sarah is pregnant because if she wasn’t--you’d be dead Diego.”

“I already am,” he stated with a small laugh before shaking his head slowly and stepping forward in closer to her. “When I take my child from you, I can’t wait to have you out of my life. Forever and for good.”


“Well, you’re looking happy,” Grady laughed heartedly seeing Avery walk into the office looking like she was ready to kill someone. Moving up from where he was sitting he offered up a wide smile before arching his eyebrow up. “Someone put bacon on the table this morning and you accidentally ate it?"

“More like someone is on my nerves and I would love to ring their neck and choke the life out of them,” Avery admitted truthfully dropping her bag to the ground seeing the amused look behind Grady’s blue eyes and she let out a small laugh. “Yeah, you are getting happy about this aren’t you?"

“Oh no, I was already happy this morning so I don’t know, I find it weird to see someone else having so much trouble when they are the person I usually see with all the happiness in the world,” he pointed out knowing that the moment he said that it was the wrong thing to say and he cleared his throat uneasily. “Sorry, I guess I was just in a sarcastic mood. Really Avery, what’s wrong? I didn’t mean to say that.”

“It’s okay, I’m glad your happy,” she threw her hands up in the air moving over toward her office hearing his footsteps behind her and she dropped down the couch in a thud. “Last night we had Kyle and Heather over for dinner.”

“Yeah, what’s wrong with that? Kyle is a pretty good dinner mate,” Grady muttered seeing the way that Avery stared up at him with her dark eyes and he laughed watching her roll her eyes taking in a deep breath. “Okay, okay. I know you aren’t fond of Heather, but Kyle loves her.”

“That’s what kills me the most. How can Kyle love someone like that?" Avery blurted out seeing Grady smirk and take a seat next to her on the couch and she turned toward him. “If you think about it she’s a conniving, evil, horrible person and…”

“Still, Kyle loves her,” Grady interrupted seeing the way that Avery laughed and he shrugged his shoulders before thinking this over. “If I could assume things correctly, I would guess that you are jealous about this whole Kyle and Heather thing.”

“Jealous? Grady, Kyle is the last person in this world I would want to be jealous with a woman over. He’s like my brother, Guy is my gay brother that’s more like a sister while Kyle has always been like my brother,” Avery explained seeing the look behind Grady’s eyes as she thought about he dinner last night and the things that went on with Kyle and Heather. “He’s just like my brother and that’s why I feel so worried about him with Heather. She doesn’t deserve him and I’m playing the part of an angry sister trying to protect her little brother. I love Kyle and I don’t want him to be with someone who is going to upset him like I know Heather will.”

“How do you know exactly? I mean really, this is the first time you have spent with the two together? Did anything happen between them that made something stand out or is this just your feelings from the past with Brant?" Grady blurted out seeing the look Avery gave him and Grady held his hands up in the air and took in a deep breath. “You see Avery, Kyle is my best friend and I would be lost without him. I see it this way, Heather makes Kyle happy and if Kyle’s happy, that’s all I’m ever going to want. I want to see my best friend in the whole world happy and she does that for him. Do you think Sarah was better for him after all the things she did?"

“Of course I don’t, but I honestly think he can find someone better than the both of them,” she answered truthfully seeing Grady’s eyebrows clench together and she let out a long sigh knowing that he was going to be the person to try and make things right between everyone. “I still think that she isn’t good enough for him.”

“Kyle does though, he’s a big boy Avery and he knows the choices he is making. So right now he thinks he loves Heather, I know he loves Heather and Avery it makes him happy being with her,” Grady explained knowing the difference from Kyle being happy to Kyle being depressed and he loved seeing him happy with Heather. “I just think you need to realize that if he makes his mistakes, he’ll learn to fix them. I’m just not going to worry about this one because I don’t think it’s going to be a mistake, he loves her too much to be a mistake.”

“That’s why it will be a mistake Grady,” she pointed out seeing the unbelievable look in his eyes as she nodded slowly and let out a long breath. “Heather is just a mistake and that’s what she will be in his life. I don’t want to see him hurt, but I’m not so sure about him continuing this life like he is with Heather. I want him to be happy, but I think they are heading for a huge downfall with one another.”

“Then I guess that’s what his future is,” Grady shrugged watching the door open to the offices and saw Jason come into the lobby area looking around. “Jason, I’m back here. I’ll be right there with you.”

“Yeah, yeah. I really need to talk to you,” Jason decided hearing Grady’s laugh fill his ears as he stepped in closer to the room he was in seeing the woman sitting next to Grady he offered up a wide smile. Reaching his hand out slowly he saw her smile as he shook it friendly and moved back. “Jason Sherman.”

“Avery Denton,” she replied seeing his blue eyes stare down at Grady for a moment as she sat up from the couch and moved over toward the desk. “Don’t worry about it, I’m his brother’s wife. He’s just helping me out with some problems.”

“Oh, he’s good for that,” Jason replied with a deep sigh looking down at Grady and placing his hand in over the center of his chest. “When you get done, I’ll be in your office waiting. It’s really important, but it was really nice meeting you Mrs. Denton.”

“You too,” Avery smiled not used to being called that as she watched Jason walk out of the room and she looked to Grady seeing him smirk. “He’s cute.”

“He’s young,” Grady replied before standing up from the couch and staring out at her, placing his hands on the top of her desk watching her smirk. “Are you really my brother’s wife? I mean after everything that was said, are you still married to my brother.”

“In my heart I am,” she answered truthfully seeing him bite down on his bottom lip and nod slowly before moving back to rub at the back of his neck. “I always will be and if I have to prove it to people we’ll get married again if we have to.”

“I see,” Grady felt something inside of him at her words before moving back toward the door watching her eyes watching his every move. “Well, I should go see Jason and what’s wrong with him now. The kid seems to have a lot of problems and I’m the only one that can help him half the time. I’ll see you later Avery and remember, try to give Heather a chance. Even if it is for a second.”


Brant sat at his desk in his study thinking about the words he’d exchanged with Ria. While he hadn’t meant to blow up at her, he couldn’t help but unleash his own mounting frustrations about what was happening, or rather the lack of what should be happening, between him and Angela. They’d seemed to make progress for one night and for a few brief moments he’d really, truly felt like he was regaining what he’d seemingly lost, but then the next morning it was evident that any ground he might’ve made wasn’t about to add up to anything. Yes, he had chickened out at the last moment fearing that he would push her into a relapse, but even with the way she’d looked at him, it was clearly starting to be a lost cause--one that he most certainly didn’t want to lose sight of.

Leaning back in his chair, Brant reached into his top desk drawer and pulled out the small photograph that was taken at the pizza place the night he and Angela had gone with Don and Matt. They were in one of those cramped photo booths with Matt on his lap and Angela was sticking her tongue out at the camera making a joke of things. As he skimmed over the strip of photos, he couldn’t help as he spotted Don giving him bunny ears in the second to last one. Then in the final shot Brant and Angela were scooted close together with Matt still on Brant’s lap and Don popping his head in to make it a group shot. Smiling Brant touched the photo remembering how perfect things had felt on that night when it seemed things were headed in the right direction for them.

“Knock knock,” Don mouthed breaking through Brant’s thoughts as Brant tipped his head up to see his best friend standing in the doorway to the study eyeing him with curious blue eyes. “What ‘cha doing Brant?”

“Torturing myself,” Brant sighed setting the strip of photos onto the desktop before motioning to Don, “I’m just so worried I’m never going to get this back again.”

Don stepped forward realizing what Brant was looking at and his heart went out to him. Taking a seat in the chair across from where Brant was Don reached for the strip of photos. He looked at it for a long moment before letting out a small sigh and setting it back down.

“We had a good night that night--well, until Shannon blew up at me,” Don recalled thinking about how he’d felt hopeless in his marriage at that point in time. “I remember when I felt like it was over for Shannon and I, but you and Angela tried to keep me from giving up. You both helped me to keep focused.”

“Shannon was just pissed at you Don. She didn’t block you out of her memory,” Brant pointed out with a small frown thinking about the situation he was in, “It’s not like you couldn’t go home and have her around you knowing who you were.”

“She also clubbed me with a bottle, remember?” Don arched a brow over at him. “She beat the hell out of me and there was that point in time when we thought it would be over.”

“I would’ve preferred to have Angela club me over the head than to be stuck without her right now,” Brant sighed tipping his head up to meet Don’s concerned gaze again, “You have no idea how much it hurts to have her look at me and not register a damn thing between us.”

“I know man,” Don paused trying to find some words of comfort for his friend, “but on the bright side she’s still here with us Brant. She still is around and you can have that opportunity to make her remember. You can get that second chance to make things right. It’s not like fate decided to pull her away from you without allowing you that.”

Brant opened his mouth to speak, but when he looked to Don he knew full well what Don was referring to. Here Brant was feeling overwhelmingly sorry for himself now that Angela had amnesia, but he hadn’t taken the time to consider the kind of loss Don had faced when Stephanie had died right after having Matt. The look on Don’s face said it all though and in that moment Brant felt an overwhelming guilt carry over him.

“Look, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be complaining like this. It’s just…” Brant started to apologize hating to upset his friend in any way.

“You’re frustrated,” Don cut him off quickly forcing a small smile, “I understand, but remember there is still hope for you and Angela. I don’t see this memory loss being forever.”

“I hope not,” Brant added before giving him a long once over, “but something tells me you didn’t come over here to just talk about my shitty situation, so what’s up?”

“Honestly I came over to complain myself, but now it seems pointless,” Don revealed with a simple shake of his head, “You already have enough on your plate.”

“So distract me,” Brant waved his hand readily opening himself up to hearing what his friend had to say.

“Well,” Don paused searching for the right words before finally speaking up, “I think I’m going to murder Jewel.”

Brant’s eyes widened at the comment before he cleared his throat, “Well now that is a new one. I’ve heard you mention a great many things you’ve wanted to do over the years some of which I can’t repeat given that they are far too explicit for words for the time being, but murder never came into play.”

“That was before what she did with Stacy,” Don frowned revealing to his friend what was troubling him, “Her blatant neglect for her daughter is too much. Here you have a good kid who is just begging for attention from her parents, but neither Jewel or Paul can seem to be bothered. The other night I caught her at some party where some jackass drugged her up to do God knows what…”

“Yeah Ria kind of told me about that,” Brant nodded in response thinking about what he’d heard. “How is Stacy holding up?”

“She’s a mess. I mean sure she’s trying to be strong, but neither one of her parents is around to look after her. I called Jewel and she got back to getting in touch with me when she was good and ready. Paul arrived too and all he could do was sling insults at me about Jewel. It was a joke,” Don admitted with a heavy sigh. He shook his head before frowning at Brant, “Then to add insult to injury neither one of them even bothered to take her home. Dave was the one who took her back with him and as of last night neither Dave nor I have been able to get into contact with either one of them.”

“You’re kidding me,” Brant frowned in response, “Where the hell are they?”

“I can give you two guesses and I would imagine you would be right on both knowing Jewel and Paul,” Don rolled his eyes thinking about the woman he was once involved with. “I just wish they would both open up their eyes and see that being a parent means responsibility. When I think about how they are refusing to just step up and do what they should with their daughter, it ticks me off.”

“I can’t say I blame you. Stacy deserves more than that,” Brant nodded in agreement, “though if you need any help in any of this, just say the word and I’m there. I’ll do what I can.”

“I don’t know if there is really anything that we can do, but I just wish that Jewel would get a wake up call,” Don sighed bringing his fingers up to rub out the tension in the back of his neck. “Though I wouldn’t want it at Stacy’s expense. She really is a good kid and that’s something considering that she had Paul and Jewel raising her. That in itself has me really worried about her. This time she was hurt, but next time…”

“Maybe we can say something to them…” Brant suggested seeing the expression on Don’s face.

“There’s only one language that Jewel speaks and I really don’t want to have to jump into bed with her to get through to her,” Don cringed at the thought remembering only too well how one dimensional Jewel could be.

“Yeah that might make you lose some ground with Shannon there,” Brant nodded in response thinking about the problem at hand, “Though there has to be another way to reach out to her. What has Dave said?”

“What more can he say though something has to give. Otherwise I’m worried about what could happen to Stacy,” Don admitted thinking about how many problems could be in store for Stacy should her parents decide not to start growing up and acting like adults once and for all.


Angela sat in the middle of the bedroom waiting for Kevin to finish getting dressed. The more she thought about his strange behavior, the more confused she was. Closing her eyes she thought back to how he’d practically bounced out of the shower upon her arrival, yet there was something unmistakable behind his eyes. She saw fear which was something she hadn’t seen in years.

“What’s going on with you Kevin?” she questioned tipping her head to the side and thinking about how quick he was to push himself away from her. Bringing her fingers up through her hair, she sank back onto the bed and closed her eyes. She could almost picture the dream she’d had about her and Brant the previous night in vivid color. The way she’d felt about him last night had her questioning if Kevin had picked up on it as well. Frowning she opened her eyes again and shook her head.

“There’s nothing going on with Brant,” she mouthed finally hearing the bathroom door open up and Kevin emerged now fully dressed. She sprang up from the bed and rushed over to his side immediately. “Hey, how are you feeling honey?”

“Hungry, which is good because we agreed to meet Brant and Ria at the main house,” he explained rubbing his palms together before looking to her. “You ready?”

“Of course, but how is the leg?” she couldn’t help but ask remembering what he’d said to her.

“Never better,” he replied before clearing his throat uneasily, “I mean it’s still pretty stiff, but I’m sure once we get over to the main house it’ll iron out it’s own kinks. So how about breakfast?”

“Kevin, is something wrong?” Angela questioned eyeing him intently, “Is there something that maybe you would like to tell me? Something that perhaps I should know about happening between us?”

“I don’t know,” he paused searching her dark eyes for a long moment, “You tell me.”

“I just…” she struggled to put her thoughts to words, “It’s just that we haven’t been…”

“Angie, you need to rest,” he sighed placing his hand on her shoulder, “that’s priority one for everything.”

“For the twins?” she arched a curious brow seeing something flash behind his eyes. He let out a small gulp.

“Twins?” he replied his eyes widening.

“Well that’s what I’m having, isn’t it?” she questioned testing the waters between them after she thought about her talk with Brant the previous evening.

“Well yes, but…” Kevin heard the sound of his cell phone buzzing across the room. “I’ll bet that’s Brant and Ria now wondering where we went to. I’ll go tell them we’re on our way over.”

“Right,” Angela mouthed in response watching him walk away as she wondered just what it was that was putting a wall up between her and Kevin. Remembering how she’d felt in waking up in Brant’s arms the other day she couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps there was something big happening between them that neither one of them had even attempted to start realizing. Sure, she loved Kevin, but there was something about Brant--something that she was sure would cause her nothing, but trouble in the long run if she wasn’t careful!

“Ready?” Kevin questioned breaking through her thoughts and returning to her.

“Sure,” Angela nodded making a silent note to do everything she could to help Kevin get over whatever moodiness was lingering over him lately. Whatever she had to do to fix their relationship, she would do it and in the process she would push aside those little notion of feelings that she had for Brant in the process!


Evie sank in against JT’s chest as they lay with one another cuddled up on the center of the oversized bed in Cameron’s guest room. They were both still wrapped up in matching bathrobes long after their shower time with one another had ended. While JT had contemplated their actually getting up and out of the bedroom after their morning with one another, Evie had suggested they be lazy for once and spend the day watching old movies with one another. He hadn’t sought to argue it with her and now that his arm was wrapped around her shoulders, he couldn’t help but lean down to kiss the top of her dark, silken hair.

“I’m sorry about earlier,” Evie whispered catching him off guard by her tone. He tipped his head down to see the soft concern behind her dark eyes before she spoke up again. “That whole shower thing. I was really pushing it, wasn’t I?”

“Let’s just say you weren’t at all what I expected this morning,” he revealed with a hint of a smile teasing over the corners of his lips as he touched her cheek gently, “but it was a welcome surprise.”

“You mean after I practically forced you to service me,” Evie groaned closing her eyes and thinking about her deplorable behavior. “I don’t know what got into me. It’s just that when I thought about you in the shower all sexy and naked, I just…”

“Started thinking like I would,” he couldn’t help but smirk. “Why do you think I ran out of here to take that shower in the first place? You have no idea how incredibly tempting you are when I have you beside me.”

“You wouldn’t know it by the way that you kept pushing me away,” she noted with a wrinkled expression.

“I thought we cleared up any kind of concerns that you might be having about where my feelings for you are concerned,” he curled his fingers underneath her chin, raising her gaze to meet his own. “I love you Evelyn.”

She smiled at his words, “No one ever really calls me that.”

“They should,” he reciprocated the gesture bending down to kiss her lips tenderly, “It’s a beautiful name. Not that Evie isn’t as equally charming, but Evelyn, it just sounds so appropriate for the beautiful, incredible woman you are.”

She felt a heat rise over her features at his words, “Now you’re just trying to flatter me.”

“I think we’re well beyond the point of flattery with one another. Wouldn’t you agree?” he wiggled his brow suggestively before reaching beyond where she sat to pick up the bowl of popcorn that they’d discarded half way through the last film they’d watched with one another.

“That’s very true,” she nodded sensing his movement and plucking up the bowl of popcorn herself. “Although you do bring up an interesting point, you know.”

“What’s that Evelyn?” he asked dipping his fingers into the popcorn bowl and pulling out a handful of buttery popcorn. He brought his palm up to her lips and offered her a bite before he deposited the rest of the sticky treat into his own mouth.

“Well with you calling me Evelyn, I can’t help but be curious about one thing that we’ve never really touched upon with one another,” she admitted freely circling her index finger over the center of his chest and smiling.

“What might that be?” he questioned motioning to the screen in front of them. “The fact that I can actually sit through a movie like Casablanca and not fall asleep like most men would?”

“Well no, but now that you bring that up, I actually do have to wonder about that,” she decided with a smirk. “Somehow I didn’t peg you for being the kind of man who would kick back to this type of film.”

“Hey Bogart is one of the best,” he winked down at her, “What did you have me pegged for a James Bond kind of guy?”

“Now that you mention it, yeah I did,” she touched his cheek lightly, “I mean with the sexy accent and all…”

“Ah, the accent,” he couldn’t help but tease, “so now we get down to the heart of the attraction between us. You’re one of those women who are intrigued by a guy with an accent.”

“I’ll admit it made you all the more mysterious and interesting when we first met,” she nodded in confession before reaching for a handful of popcorn. “However, given that your father is a big movie producer in Hollywood and you’ve spent a lot of your life in the states, how is it that you have one?”

“Truth be told I get it from my mother,” JT explained proudly. “She was from London and even though she’d come over to the states when she married Cameron’s father long before she met mine, she never lost sight of her roots. It wasn’t uncommon for she and I to go away to London and spend our summers with one another touring the countryside while my father was nose deep in his productions and whatever aspiring starlet would come across his casting couch. I mean sure, there wasn’t a lot of time with my mum and I, but we made the most of it when we could. In fact, after she died I ended up spending a couple of years out in London trying to come to terms with my life and the world around me. I guess I never tried to lose the accent since it’s a strong part of who I am. Unless of course you’d rather me talk like this.”

Evie couldn’t help but giggle as he attempted to pull off a New England accent.

“Tell me sweetheart, does this make you feel more comfortable?” he inquired leisurely with traces of his accent still guiding his words despite his attempts at hiding it.

“Honey, I think you need to give it up right now because no one would ever mistake you for a New Yorker,” she chuckled in between munching on her popcorn.

“I’ll have you know I was a New Yorker for about eighteen months at one time,” JT explained proudly before offering up a laugh. “I’ve seen just about everything there is to see in the Big Apple. I even had a walk in role on a soap opera around the time I was nineteen.”

“Really?” her eyes widened in surprise. “Now I can’t see that one.”

“Yes, it was great. I was hired in for one day and I had this earth shattering set of lines. Want to see it?” JT couldn’t help but laugh watching her nod. Setting the popcorn aside he stood up off of the bed and placed his hands on his hips. “You sure that you’re ready for this?”

“Bring it on!” Evie clapped her hands together before folding her legs beneath her. She reached for a pillow on the bed and brought it down into her lap.

“Ok,” JT laughed lightly walking over to the nightstand and pulling one of the glasses they’d had brought in earlier off of it. He held the nearly empty glass up in the air before feigning a sudden seriousness. His eyes shifted around the room before he made a small movement in closer to her.

“Tell me darling,” JT began with an even thicker accent than his normal one. He pretended to adjust an imaginary tie he was wearing before sliding onto the edge of the bed beside her, “Do you come here often?”

Evie giggled as he reached for her hand and raised it to his lips in a chaste kiss.

“Oh,” he curled his lip in a small frown, “You have a boyfriend you say? Well, I don’t see him here right now, so what do you say you and I take a trip upstairs to my penthouse suite and I’ll find plenty of ways to help you forget about the man who is obviously out of his mind to leave you here all by your lonesome love.”

Evie’s eyes widened at the suggestion knowing full well that if JT had approached her in that setting she wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to offer up a resounding yes. She watched him reach out to kiss her hand again before a grin cracked over his features.

“Then after that was the point where the girl’s boyfriend reentered the bar after a fight they were having and I got decked,” he laughed in recollection. “It was this big staged punch that the director went over at least half a dozen times, but when everything was said and done I got to have my two minutes of fame playing the guy who got punched out on the floor before the show’s super duo went upstairs to shag. It was quite the event.”

“Obviously the writers and producers were out of their mind not to let the female character fall into your arms,” she wrinkled her nose at the thought. “Just the idea of having you on my television screen day in and day out would be enough to keep me tuning in to whatever show it was.”

“Yeah, well you’re always in for trouble when you get brought in to cause some kind of stir with a ‘super couple’ or so I’m told,” he couldn’t help but chuckle. “Though I really don’t think my one day appearance made so much as a profound impact as I might have liked it to. Plus once my father got wind of my appearance I think that pretty much nixed any notion I might have had about turning to the glam of acting.”

“Why do you say that?” she couldn’t help but ask seeing him slide back onto the bed where he was before.

“Because my father wasn’t about to let his screw up of a son tarnish the reputation that he’d worked so very hard to maintain in the Hollywood limelight. It was bad enough that I was a drug addict and a total wanker in his eyes, but when business was concerned, well let’s just say family always ranked second.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” she sighed knowing only too well what it was like to have a father who made your life miserable, “but you rose above it.”

“I did,” he nodded again, “with no thanks to my father of course. Had I been on my own, I might have faded out completely destined to become one of the statistics that people spoke of when it came to the crime rate in New York, but Cameron stepped in and stopped that from happening.”

“He’s really a great guy, isn’t he?” she pondered the thought.

“It depends on who you ask,” JT shrugged his shoulders. “Cameron’s no saint by any means and I don’t always agree with what he does, but in the same respect I’ve made mistakes as well. I don’t fault him for that. He’s there for me and I’m there for him. It’s just that simple.”

“I wish I had a brother like Cameron,” Evie closed her eyes for a moment thinking about her family life. “All I’ve know is my father and my mother. Half the time she’s so cracked out in being high that I don’t really even have her. For a while I thought she wanted to try, but now, well now I know that all she’s looking for is her next hit.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” JT replied pushing her long, dark hair away from her face only to discover the sadness that carried over her. “It’s awful to have to live with someone who has fallen down that path. I know because I remember what it was like being in my own skin at a time when I thought that was the way of life as well.”

“Yes, but you changed,” Evie reminded him pointedly. “My mother won’t change. She has everything in the world to live for. I mean most people would love to be able to have a daughter, but to her I’m just another annoyance. I know things with her and my father have always been strained probably because he wouldn’t ever marry her. I don’t know why, but after they had me they still kind of kept separate lives until he needed something from us. Usually he’d have me around to help him on one of his scams and with my mom, well when he was drunk and in the mood he might have use for her.”

She shuddered at the thought before turning to JT again, “But I’m sidetracking from my original question.”

“Which might that be?” he asked running his index finger over her bottom lip before speaking up again. “Though you know you can talk about the past. It’s a part of who you are and I want to know all there is to know about you Evelyn.”

“The only time people really called me that was when I was getting in trouble and I hated it for the longest time,” she couldn’t help but reveal, “though when you say it the name sounds charming.”

“If it bothers you, then I don’t have to say it,” he apologized.

“No I like it. I like that and Evie,” she shook her head without hesitation. “Anything you say to me always sounds a thousand times sexier than it would falling from anyone else’s lips.”

“Hence the accent again,” he teased with another wink. “I see what you love about me.”

“Just about everything,” she answered honestly pushing the bowl of popcorn aside to make room for herself on his lap. She straddled his thighs before bringing her arms around his shoulders to draw him in nearer to her. “Although there is one question that we keep detouring from and I’d like to get back to that.”

“What might that be love?” he leaned forward to steal a quick kiss from her soft lips.

“What’s your real name?” she whispered, the warmth of her words buzzing against his lips. “I mean I know I’ve always called you JT, but it must be short for something.”

“You don’t want to know,” he smirked in response dodging the question.

“Yes I do,” she insisted searching his dark eyes. “I mean the way I look at it I should know all about the man I’m going to marry.”

“You do know all about the man that I am,” he reached for her hand placing it over the center of his chest. “You know that I’m not always the most stand up of men, but for you I would climb to the heavens and bring you anything you desired. I’m a bit cranky after a long day of work, but I still can enjoy kicking back with an old classic film such as this one, which by the way that comes from my mother. She was into American classic cinema as opposed to what my father put out there and I grew fond of it as well.”

“I can see why,” Evie squeezed him in closer to her, “Although I hate that there isn’t a happy ending in some of these.”

“Not all endings can be happy,” he whispered in response, “as it seems that the most remembered love stories are the most tragic.”

“I don’t like tragic love stories,” she curled her lip in a pout, “because I don’t like to cry.”

“There’s nothing wrong with crying when you see real love onscreen. It just serves as a reminder for us to hold onto what we have in our lives against the odds,” he cupped her face in his hands. “Movies of tragic romance only make the rest of us appreciate all that we can still hold onto in our lives.”

“Perhaps,” she shrugged her shoulders, doubtful with his words, but still she couldn’t help but try to stay focused on the question at hand. “And as entertaining as this conversation has been, you still haven’t given me what I asked for.”

“On our wedding day love I’ll clue you in on that small part of who I am, but for now, why don’t we focus on the packing we’ll need to do since our flight leaves in a few hours?”

“Remind me again why you thought that we should leave today,” she groaned outwardly. She shook her head and met his gaze again, “Honestly JT I think we’re accomplishing so much more here in this time together.”

“I wouldn’t trade this time for anything in the world, but I can promise you that you’ll be one with the island when you get there. It’s one of the most incredibly romantic places and I’m certain that we’ll be able to discover more about one another in the journey,” he assured her with a tender kiss.

“I hope so because the next time we’re finally alone with one another, I don’t intend on us putting the brakes on everything like we did this morning,” she whispered heatedly against his lips, her words sweeping over him in a seductive temptation.

“Believe me after this morning I know full well that resisting is futile,” he teased catching the blush that carried over her cheeks at the memory of their time with one another. “On the island things will be as we’ve talked about. We‘ll be away from Coral Valley and on the road to a happily ever after.”

“As long as it doesn’t turn into a tragic romance,” she sighed snuggling in against his chest once again.

“Never love,” he whispered dropping a tiny kiss on her forehead as he realized that their time away from Coral Valley would be everything that they needed and more to break away from the stress that was hanging over them. Yes, they might have found one another in Coral Valley in an unconventional way, but JT was certain that when they were alone in paradise with one another everything else would fall into place for them completely.


“You wanted to see me?” Becca blurted out knocking on the door to Heather’s office only to find Heather hunched over her desk shuffling through papers.

“Yes, I did,” Heather nodded drawing in a nervous breath before tucking her work aside. While she’d wanted nothing more than to avoid this issue altogether after long contemplations, she’d realized there was really no other way around dealing with this. “Can you shut the door behind you?”

“Of course,” Becca smiled at Heather before doing as instructed. “I’m glad that you called me in here because I was thinking about the upcoming campaign you’re working on for the Sweet Things chocolate marketing approach and I got to thinking about what we might be able to do to help bring sexy and cutting edge to it. I know that creative isn’t my area of expertise, but after you and I talked a few times you motivated me to take a step forward in terms of expanding my career.”

“Becca about that,” Heather set down the pen that she’d been working with before meeting Becca’s eyes. “Maybe you should sit down for a minute.”

“Sure,” Becca nodded doing as instructed. She focused on Heather again sensing that there was a tension in the air. She cleared her throat uneasily and spoke up, “Is there something wrong?”

“Actually,” Heather shifted in her seat uncomfortably, “I’ve been thinking lately and while you’ve done some incredible work here, I really don’t believe that this is the place where you’ll be able to expand your creative background.”

“Heather, it was just a suggestion, but if you’re not interested in my ideas, then never mind. I like what I do and…” Becca offered up apologetically while folding her hands in her lap.

“No, it’s not that. It’s just that…” Heather bit down on her lower lip feeling a moment of courage fading away from her. While Heather had made up her mind about what she needed to do, she just couldn’t find the right words to break it to Becca. Of course remembering the way that Kipp was upset over the situation, Heather knew full well that she wouldn’t force Kipp to have to endure that kind of hell that Becca had put him through. “The fact to the matter is that Mr. Stone who is a co-founder of this company has another position open in one of his affiliate companies that I think you’ll find very lucrative. He’s been searching for the right person to run his European division for a while and given the skills you’ve brought to the table, you could easily work as head of the division.”

“But I’m working here…” Becca stammered confusion carrying over her.

“I realize that, but when I reviewed your resume again I saw that you’re far too skilled to be working as an assistant to Mr. Mahoney,” Heather cleared her throat once again. “Given your advertising background, I think you would be more than enough of an asset working for Mr. Stone’s company and I’ve taken the liberty to phone in a few favors with him. His head human resources has already been faxed your resume and it ready to set up an interview, which is really more of a technicality as I’m fairly certain you’ll be hired without second thought. It’s just going through the proper channels you see and…”

“I’m flattered that you thought of me Heather, but I can’t just up and go to Europe,” Becca frowned at the suggestion. “My life is just starting here in Coral Valley and…”

“Yes, but Coral Valley is a small town. There are so many things in Europe that you can obtain that you wouldn’t be able to have here. This place is sheer boredom most of the time where as working in Europe can offer international perks and…” Heather tried to sweeten the offer to her.

“But I’m not really an international kind of gal,” Becca snubbed her nose at the idea. “I’ve enjoyed being in the states for most of my life.”

“I realize that, but you’ll be making more money and…” Heather attempted to reason with her once again. “It’ll be an opportunity to start over and begin a new life.”

“I don’t want a new life. I’m happy with who I am and what I have,” Becca sat up straighter. “Sure, there are things that I might want to forget, but I think I’ve already found a steady and secure starting point. I wouldn’t want to risk that for something that is completely foreign to me.”

“I can understand your concerns Becca, but in life sometimes the biggest rewards we gain are by the unexpected surprises and risks we take. Europe is this whole other world of glamour and excitement and…”

“I’m sure to most people it would sound like a dream, but I’m happy here in Coral Valley. I just found a nice apartment and…” Becca continued to explain with a frown. She stopped mid-sentence before looking to Heather once again. “This isn’t really about wanting to find me a better position that I’m more qualified for, is it?”

“Look Becca, the offer is a great one. The company you’ll be working for will set you up with a villa and…” Heather tried to stick to the plan that she’d set out for this encounter with Becca.

“And what? I’ll just get the hell out of town before you can give me a legitimate reason why you don’t want me working here?” Becca questioned abrasively, her brow scrunched with agitation. “Tell me Heather did you really ask me in here to throw a sweet deal on the table for me or to make me go away because you can’t handle a little competition?”

“Excuse me,” Heather blinked back at Becca surprised by her tone. “What did you just say?”

“You heard me,” Becca sat up straighter, her eyes narrowing down at Heather. “Obviously you’ve got a bit of an insecurity complex considering that you can’t stand the idea of someone else stealing your thunder.”

“I beg your pardon,” Heather frowned in response.

“I mean I heard all about what you did with your sister where Kyle was concerned, but you would think that now that you have him you’d just get over trying to control Kipp,” Becca tossed at her flippantly. “I mean that’s what this is about, right?”

“Look Becca, I’m offering you a really nice job with lots of potential and…” Heather took in a calming breath in one last effort to be polite.

“And you’re so threatened by the fact that Kipp and I have something special that you thought you’d bribe me into leaving before I could intrude upon your perfect little family you’ve got going. Tell me something Heather, does it really bother you that much that Kipp isn’t falling at your feet anymore in worship?” Becca snarled at her. “Are you really that insecure about yourself that you have to try to hold onto him as well when it’s clear that he’s moving on with someone new?”

“Kipp has moved on with Kellen, not you,” Heather snubbed her nose at Becca having had more than enough of Becca’s ramblings.

“Is that what Kellen is trying to say? I mean is that why you’re doing this? Because Kellen can’t handle the fact that Kipp and I are committed to one another now?” Becca forced a pinched laugh while bringing her hands up in the air with a mock clap. “Oh this is priceless. Your friend complains because Kipp left him high and dry and suddenly I’m supposed to just go away after I found real love for one of the first times in my life.”

“Becca, look I don’t know what happened to give you the impression that you and Kipp have something considering that I know full well that Kipp would never…” Heather replied with a frown of her own.

“How the hell would you know what Kipp has been up to considering that all you cared about where he was concerned was getting your hands on his money? All you wanted was for him to jump start your career, but with me he has real love. I care about Kipp for the man that he is, not for what he can do for me to advance my career,” Becca chortled with a dark rage behind her tone. “From where I sit I see a woman who has been sucking the life out of Kipp from the moment she met him. If it wasn’t for Kipp, then you would never even have this company to begin with. He’s the reason that you can sit in that chair snubbing your nose at me and pretending that you’re better than me, but you aren’t. You couldn’t even keep Kipp, yet you want to condemn me for having his heart…”

“You assaulted him!” Heather finally snapped at her. “You took advantage of the fact that Kipp was having problems and then you decided that rather than leaving him and Kellen the hell alone, that you would move in for the kill when he was completely out of it!”

“Move in for the kill?” Becca snorted wildly. “Oh Heather you are sadly mistaken. Kipp and I made love and he told me just how much it meant to him--how no other woman could compare to what he and I have with one another. Sure, he might have been pining away for you all that time, but he’s smarter now. He knows a real woman when he sees one.”

“And I know someone in need of some serious therapy when I see one,” Heather huffed feeling tension coiling through her body. “The way I see it Becca you have one of two options, you can either take the job I’m offering you through Stone Corps affiliate companies or you can clear out your desk and start looking for another place of employment.”

“So you’re firing me?” Becca blinked back at her. “You jealous bitch!”

“Jealousy has nothing to do with it sweetheart,” Heather hissed back at her before standing. “In fact the way I see it, I’m guessing you picked option number two, which means I want you out of my offices in the next half hour or I’ll have security see you out.”

“You can’t fire me!” Becca stood up and glared at Heather. “I’m a good worker and…”

“And I’m sure you’ll have no problems finding another job, but it won’t be working for me or with my company,” Heather waved her hand dismissively before motioning to the door. “Now get out!”

“You haven’t heard the last of me. You won’t get away with this!” Becca snarled clenching her fists at her sides angrily.

“If you know what’s good for you, you’ll move on and not try to start something that will only blow up in your face,” Heather warned her simply, “as Cameron Stone is still a partner in the company and this situation could go in a new direction if he is aware of what’s transpired between you and Kipp, who was his step-brother once.”

“Your threats mean nothing to me Heather. Try if you will, but you won’t stop Kipp and I from being together. If you think this changes anything, you’re wrong!” Becca shouted before stomping out of Heather’s office in a rage.

“I certainly hope I’m not,” Heather sighed reaching for her phone and calling Kipp’s office in the hopes of warning him that Becca was on the rampage and that if he knew what was good for him, he’d stay as far away from her as possible!


“Go in the kitchen and get something to drink,” Cameron ordered seeing Sarah roll her eyes, but this time she was reluctant enough to go and do as she was told. After getting into a fight with Diego at the hospital, Cameron wanted nothing to do more than to just rest. He got Sarah to go through with the paternity test and he was already going out of his mind with this girl and what she was doing. Moving over toward the living room he reached for the remote on the coffee table but only saw a pair of feet resting on it. His gaze slowly followed the long legs before seeing the smiling face of Kyle before him. “Oh shit, what did I do now?"

“You tell me,” Kyle moved up from the couch to quickly bring his fist to the center of Cameron’s face making him fall to the ground in a thud. Moving in over him Kyle reached for the fax and set it down on the ground before shoving Cameron’s head back again. Looking at the pained expression over Cameron’s face Kyle smiled before kneeling down. “You cause the person I love pain and I’ll cause you more pain than you will ever expect to have.”

“Wait, what?" Cameron went to say something more only to feel Kyle pick him up by the collar of his shirt sending him flying up to his feet only to feel him shove him against the wall roughly. “I didn’t do anything, I swear I didn’t do anything.”

“Yeah, I’m supposed to believe you how?" Kyle brought his fist into the side of Cameron’s face hearing the sound he made at the impact. Seeing Cameron turn to him with a questionable glance Kyle smirked before shoving him into the wall again. “You hurt Heather, you mentally abused her and you physically abused her when she was pregnant you sick son of a bitch.”

Bringing his fist into the center of Cameron’s stomach he saw him hunch down on his knees coughing from the impact. Moving in closer to Cameron, he brought his knee up to the center of Cameron’s face seeing him fall to the ground face first groaning out at the impact.

“I am one sick son of a bitch when it comes to her I agree,” Cameron blurted out seeing Kyle hunch down next to him as he got to his hands and knees, feeling a line of blood sliding from his lip down his chin. “I know I hurt Heather and I was an asshole for that and I deserve so much more than this for doing what I did to her, but…”

“You’re absolutely right,” Kyle hissed reaching down quickly to pull Cameron up from the ground and threw him back into the coffee table seeing it break beneath him while a few things shattered around the room on the floor. “So that’s why I’m wondering why the hell you continue to hurt her. Do you just want to die?"

“Listen, I know you’re pissed,” Cameron held his hands up in the air trying to slide back against the couch, resting his head against the cushions for a moment to take a rest. Trying to breathe and take a moment to get the air back to his lungs he saw Kyle moving in closer to him and he let out a noise of protest. “Honestly Kyle, what I did back in the day was screwed up, but I’ve done nothing to Heather recently. I have no reason to, I would never want to hurt her again.”

“You see I find that hard to believe because it’s kind of the saying once a cheater always a cheater,” Kyle pointed out grabbing Cameron by the hair and pulling him up roughly hearing him grunt out with the pressure. Bringing his knee into Cameron’s stomach he heard him groan out in pain before hunching over only to get Kyle’s knee in the center of his face again. “Except mine is more like once a scumbag always a scumbag kind of a thing.”

“Kyle, I did nothing to Heather,” Cameron blurted out feeling the paper that Kyle dropped beneath his fingers and he lifted it to his eyes before letting out a small noise. “You think I did something like this? I would never do something like this.”

“And I know that how?" Kyle picked him up by the collar again hearing Cameron choke with the movement he did and Kyle wrapped his thick fingers around Cameron’s neck. “Give me one reason why I shouldn’t kill you right now for hurting the woman I love.”

“The woman you love?" Sarah questioned from the corner of the room seeing Cameron and Kyle look over in the general direction of where she was standing. Making her way out of the room she smiled and moved in closer to them. “Kyle, if you loved me all you had to do was tell me. It didn’t have to go this far in beating Cameron because I would go back to you any day.”


“Jason,” Grady blurted out seeing Jason reading one of his cases over while he waited at his desk. Quickly moving forward Grady snatched the case file from Jason seeing the way Jason’s blue eyes stared up at him before smiling. “You can’t be looking at that, it’s not even a closed case.”

“Oh I know, I already had finished reading it,” Jason explained standing up from the chair behind the desk and moving around the desk to stand in front of Grady. Seeing Grady’s green eyes stare up at him with somewhat of a shock or anger, he shrugged his shoulders and let out a small laugh. “I was just re-reading it to see if I missed something. From what it sounds like…”

“You need to learn what to do when you are waiting for someone,” Grady interrupted Jason seeing him shrug again before leaning back against the desk and folding his arms out in front of his chest. “I love your sister so I won’t get too mad at you, but you can’t do that Jason.”

“Oh give me a break, you love me too,” Jason winked feeling Grady hit him in the center of the chest before he took in a deep breath thinking about what he just read. Taking in a deep breath he was about to give his opinion, almost stopped but decided to go on. “I would go with the husband on that case. He was getting divorced, lost his job, had no money, had nobody to confirm that he was at this restaurant and he said here that he was watching the Giants and the Jets game on a Saturday of this day, but I know for sure that it was the Giants against the Packers. So, he’s full of it Grady.”

“Well,” Grady thought things over before looking back over his shoulder at Jason seeing the way his blue eyes looked into his before nodding. “That is smart. How do you know that off hand?"

“I’m a football man just like you, I just know what I’m talking about and I had a money bet going on that game so maybe it helped a bit,” Jason admitted seeing Grady seem to be somewhat impressed before setting the case down and moving in front of Jason wondering what in the world was so important. “Okay, kiddo. What’s the problem?"

“Well,” Jason saw Grady reach for the cherry coke from his desk and open it to start drinking it. Thinking of ways to say this right Jason just came right out very bluntly with the idea of what happened earlier. “I may have kind of lied to Mindy about who I was to get her to hang out with me more. I told her I was gay.”

“What?" Grady choked spitting out his pop seeing the unpleasant look behind Jason’s young features while he wiped at his face to get the pop off his face that Grady spit on him. Grady laughed heartedly before shaking his head slowly seeing Jason’s blue eyes staring out at him. “You’re kidding right?"

“No, I’m not kidding at all Grady. You can see how much I like this girl and she thought I was gay because she heard me talking about my dog dying and she thought it was my boyfriend,” Jason replied truthfully feeling like he was talking to his father right now about having a date with a girl except it was a much more screwed up situation than that. “She told me she wouldn’t be close to me at all if I wasn’t gay, so I was pretending to be gay so she will still hang out with me and I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

“Well I say you have two decisions you can make over this. Either you will tell her the truth and try to explain to her what happened so she understands,” Grady pondered the thought slightly cracking a smile not believing that someone would actually own up to that just to get attention from a girl when they weren’t even gay. “Or two, just keep lying to her and tell her you are gay and love that certain part of a man.”

“Yeah, that’s probably the right one to do,” Jason answered hearing Grady choke again as he dropped down the couch in the corner and stared out at Grady. “What? She thinks it the only way to be close to me, so if I’m close to her like that then I win. I get to have her with me all the time and no worries.”

“Did you get dropped on your head when you were a baby?" Grady could actually see Jason pondering the thought and Grady laughed before shaking his head slowly. Leaning back against his desk he stared out at Deana’s younger brother who seemed to come to him for everything. “Are you really gay?"

“Of course not, I just want to be closer to her Grady. I thought you got that in the last thing I just told you. She is only close to me because I said I’m gay.”

“Well that doesn’t make it right to lie to her Jason,” Grady pointed out seeing the way that Jason shrugged again and he shook his head slowly. “No, I’m right Jason--I only see this screwing up any relationship you have. You can’t live a relationship if you don’t have trust and truth in the relationship. Without that, you’re relationship with everyone is bogus. You can’t have a relationship of lies, that screws up everything.”


Russ heard the sound of shuffling outside of his office door. Pushing his chair away from the desk he opened his door up to find Mindy seated at her desk. She was shuffling through a few papers, but Russ felt it was a good time to check in on her especially after how things had been going lately. Making a small step out of his office he cleared his throat in an attempt to capture her attention.

“Hey kiddo, how is it going?” Russ questioned seeing her turn around to smile up at him.

“Russ, hey,” she greeted him brightly rushing over to embrace him, “You have no idea how good it is to see you standing there no doubt ready to bark out orders at me.”

“Actually I was hoping to check in with one of our latest reporters,” he replied hugging her in response before looking down at her, “I’ve been looking at some of the work you’ve been turning in lately when I was away and I figured it was about time for you to move on. I don’t think you can be my secretary anymore.”

“What?” she blinked back at him in astonishment, “Russ are you saying you’re firing me?”

“Far from it,” he shook his head at her before offering up a small smile, “I would like you on as a full time staff writer.”

“Are you serious?” her eyes widened in astonishment, “Russ are you for real?”

“As real as your getting a promotion would be,” he nodded in confession seeing the way her eyes lit up at the possibility.

“Oh my God. This is like a dream come true for me. You have no idea how long I’ve waited to hear you say that when…” she stopped herself before eyeing him intently, “Russ, you aren’t just saying that because of what’s been going on lately, are you?”

“What do you mean?” he feigned innocence knowing full well that she wasn’t about to let it go.

“You’re only doing this because I lost Hunt, aren’t you,” she frowned up at him, “You feel sorry for me because I lost the man I loved.”

“No, I’m doing this because you deserve it Mindy and I should’ve taken a chance on your abilities sooner. I was stubborn before and I regret not being able to give you that chance you should’ve had. You deserve to be a writer kiddo. You’re good at it and I wouldn’t want it any other way around here,” he paused searching her eyes for a long moment, “but since you’ve brought it up, how are you holding up with things?”

“Each day is an uphill climb. I mean I keep waiting for him to walk through the doors and just tell me this was nothing more than a bad dream,” she confessed with a sadness in her tone. “I keep expecting for him to return to me, but then reality hits and I know it isn’t happening. Second chances like that don’t happen like they did in your case. We aren’t that lucky.”

“I wish we all were Mindy,” he sighed seeing the tears threatening behind her eyes, “but you know if you need anything--anything at all Avery and I are here for you.”

“I know,” she bit down on her lower lip to keep her emotions under control, “I really appreciate that. It’s been really hard lately, but I’ve had good friends who have been supporting me with each twist and turn. I have a friend who was there when it happened and he’s been very good with me.”

“I’m glad to hear it,” Russ nodded in response listening to her talk.

“It’s still just so hard to believe that some drugged out whacko could’ve taken away someone so special like that,” Mindy sat on the edge of her desk fighting to keep her emotions under control. “I mean when I think about how senseless losing him was…”

“I know,” he nodded in response hating to see her so upset.

“It’s just so unfair,” she blurted out with a huff before meeting his green eyes again, “what makes things worse is that Hunt wasn’t the last of it. It’s a never ending trend around here. How many people are going to have to die because some jerk out there is pushing his poison on the world?”

“I wish I had the answers, but…” Russ watched her reach for the newspaper on her desk.

“Did you see this?” she held it up to show him, “Chris just did a story on the guy that shot Hunt. Turns out that the guy was working for some big drug boss named Guerrero in Florida. I mean I had no idea that this junkie was actually tied into so many things.”

“I’m sorry,” Russ reached out to take the paper from her hand, “If I knew Chris was running something on the man that shot Hunt, then…”

“It’s okay,” Mindy offered up a small sigh, “He cleared it with me first asking if he could print the story. I said it was okay. I wanted other people to know about what’s going on around here. They have a right to see what’s happening to our town.”

“Not everyone is this evil Mindy,” Russ waved the paper around in the air as he caught a brief glimpse of the story Chris had put together about the death of Guerrero. “It’s just terrible that this has to happen here when we are a quiet place.”

“It’s creepy,” she admitted opening her mouth to say something more, “I mean when you think about it, that Guerrero guy was a pretty bad guy and it turns out that he has ties to CV. According to Chris Guerrero was working closely with someone from this area--someone that authorities believe is still running their operation. Given that Guerrero grew up just outside of Coral Valley, they think his empire started here. The national press has been firing off about it since the man was gunned down on the Florida docks. It seems that it‘s finally brought attention to Coral Valley, but not the positive kind.”

“I would hate to believe that we’re getting so much bad press considering that Coral Valley isn’t all about this kind of scandal,” Russ waved the paper around again before shaking his head, “Though if anyone harasses you in any way about what’s been going on with you after Hunt’s death, you tell me and I’ll take care of it.”

“Thanks Russ. I appreciate that,” Mindy paused for a moment eyeing him intently, “and about that raise…”

“It’s yours if you keep up the good work and follow your instincts. I’d be honored to have you as my latest staff writer,” he mouthed reaching into his pocket and pulling out a small piece of paper, “How does this sound like a first assignment?”

Mindy reached for it, her eyes scanning the small page before she grinned up at him, “Are you serious?”

“As serious as it says,” he nodded in response, “think you can handle it?”

“Boy can I ever,” she promised brightly knowing that this latest assignment was the jump start she needed to get her thoughts on track with her career now that her personal life was falling to pieces. “This is perfect.”

“Great then give me a full report tomorrow,” Russ waved back at her seeing a spark light behind her eyes.

“You’ve got it boss,” she waved at him brightly before rushing off in the newsroom no doubt to share her big news with everyone else.

Smiling Russ watched her leave before returning to his office. Closing the door behind him, he walked back over to the desk and started to skim over Chris Foley’s piece on the death of Guerrero. There wasn’t much to say other than it sounded like a professional hit, but as the story went on to speak about how Guerrero had family that was in Coral Valley, Russ realized that things were certainly taking a turn for the worse in town. First there was the situation he had personally experienced with Bruce Mathis, then the whole threat of Nicholas Ashford and now the rising drug concerns in the community. It was enough to be worried about what the future held for his daughter, Russ realized taking a seat in his chair only to hear his phone ringing.

“Hello,” he clumsily mouthed into the phone setting the newspaper down and trying to reclaim his hold on the phone when there was a faint whisper on the other side of the line.

“Mr. Denton,” the voice mouthed in response.

“Yes, may I help you?” Russ heard the static on the other end of the line causing him to strain to hear the caller, “Are you there?”

“I’m here and I can help you,” the voice explained with a hesitation, “I’m sure in being a newsman you’ve heard all the buzz about the untimely demise of Mr. Guerrero down in Florida.”

“What about it?” Russ questioned realizing this call wasn’t just a social call.

“I can give you an exclusive on what really happened the night he was gunned down. I can tell you straight up what it was that caused him to meet his maker and further more I can give you something that the police don’t have,” the voice informed him in a low, raspy tone.

“And why is that?” Russ couldn’t help but question doubt in his tone.

“Because I was there. I saw everything that happened that night and I want to break my silence,” the voice paused for a long moment.

Reaching for a pen and a piece of paper Russ sat up straighter, “Just tell me what you want me to know.”

“I’ll do better than that. I’ll give you concrete evidence of what is really going on,” the voice hinted with an air of promise in his tone. “That is if you’re interested in making the break in this case.”

“Oh I’m more than interested,” Russ replied realizing that he’d just stumbled upon the biggest story of the century it would seem.



...to be continued...