Episode 394

“Mrs. Merhan, I um…” Kevin gulped feeling Ria’s mother glaring at him all the while letting him know without a word that she was more than ready to murder him after what she’d witnessed taking place between him and Ria seconds earlier. The two had shuffled to get their towels back on, but it hadn’t done anything to distract Ria’s mother from her death glare she was issuing Kevin. He cleared his throat uneasily wanting to crawl underneath a rock, but he knew he had to stay strong for Ria especially now when he could see that her fears had only tripled since he’d tried to distract her from her mother’s impending visit.

“If you’re going to try to explain,” Ria’s mother held her hand up in the air fighting to keep her pinched expression from turning into a full blown snarl, “I would advise you to stop before you start.”

“Kevin, why don’t you go get dressed,” Ria suggested keeping her own towel wrapped around herself tightly. She could see that this day was going from bad to worse and she didn’t need for it to get any more tense than it already was.

“You sure?” he questioned in a low voice stepping in closer to Ria. She tipped her head up to look at him, her brown eyes filled with a sudden fear, but he knew that she was trying to be strong. Still he wanted to remain at her side and be strong with her helping her stand up to her mother, but he could see by the expression on Ria’s face that was the last thing she wanted.

“Please Kevin,” she whispered on the verge of tears herself. She didn’t have to say another word and neither did he. He nodded wanting to reach out and kiss her to tell her everything was going to be okay, but instead he just gave her one last look before making his way into her bedroom down the hallway hoping that she wouldn’t be delivered too much grief from her mother.

“So,” Ria’s mother cleared her throat again, this time her glare directed right on her daughter, now that Ria didn’t have Kevin hovering over her, standing beside her like her protective bulldog. “After spending a small fortune to get you through medical school, this is how you repay your father and I, eh?”

“What?” Ria blinked back at her mother confusion carrying over her.

“Instead of working on getting your career further ahead, you’d rather be sitting at home giving your old boyfriend…” her mother’s nose wrinkled at the thought before she waved her hand around in the air, “Well never mind about that. The point is that I thought I taught you to be smarter than this Ria.”

“I am smarter than this mom,” Ria forced herself to stand up straighter knowing full well she had to look ridiculous standing in the middle of the living room clad only in a towel. “I’m not a child anymore.”

“You could’ve fooled me by the way you were behaving when I arrived,” Marlene Merhan snubbed her nose at Ria, “Did I not teach you to be better than this?”

“Mom I have the day off,” Ria brought her own hand up over her towel to keep it wrapped tightly around her, “and besides I didn’t expect you to be barging into my apartment like that. It was kind of rude, don’t you think?”

“Rude is my coming home after a long flight to see my first born only to see her sucking on,” Marlene stopped wrinkling her nose again before shaking her head at Ria, “Honestly, you would think that I taught you nothing about becoming a mature, responsible adult.”

“Mom, Kevin and I are engaged,” Ria argued with her feeling her frustrations mounting more and more by the second.

“Obviously in some x-rated activities yes, but…” Marlene continued with a scoff.

“We’re going to get married,” Ria corrected not liking the condescending tone her mother had taken with her, “and if you weren’t half way around the world all of the time you might’ve heard that sooner.”

“Oh so now you’re going to turn this around on me? You go off and make a stupid decision by following your hormones to a man that dumped you making you miserable when you were a teenager, yet suddenly I’m in the wrong here,” her mother shook her head again, “Honestly Ria where do you get off lecturing me on what I’m not doing right in your life when it’s clear that you’re making multiple mistakes?”

“Mom stop,” Ria cleared her throat feeling the urge to scream building up inside of her.

“No I’m not going to stop. You have no idea what it’s like to see the daughter that you sacrificed for time and time again throwing away her life and acting like nothing more than a common whore with a man who couldn’t possibly give her what she needs in her life. Ria, in all honesty I’m disappointed to see you like this. I raised you to be better,” Marlene continued to lash out at her with an icy tone. “You were supposed to do great things with your life, not resort to being the town tramp with the jock who is passing by in between ports to get a nice lay. I thought you were smarter than that. Hell, your sister is even smarter than that.”

“Oh you would go there,” Ria scoffed in response, shaking her head at her mother, “You haven’t seen me in what? Almost a year and yet you have the audacity to stand there and lecture me on my life, right? As if I’ve made some big mistake because I’m not you.”

“If you were more like me, then maybe just maybe you would be the one running the show around here instead of being on your knees and servicing a man who is just going to turn around and leave you all over again,” Ria’s mother continued with a frown taking a step towards her, “Think Ria. You’re smarter than that. You know that you’re not the kind of woman that needs a man like Kevin. He likes flashy and trashy and up until just now I never thought you to be either. You’re a smart girl who shouldn’t have to bend to a man’s whim.”

“Mom stop!” Ria shouted a bit louder than she’d anticipated surprising both herself and her mother. She saw her mother take a step back and place her hand up over her chest.

“Why I never,” her mother gasped in surprise, “Look at you. Just look at the disrespect that you’re showing me. It’s a wonder that I sank so much of my life into you. I gave up everything to make sure that you would have a promising future and this is the thanks I get.”

“Mom please, just stop,” Ria pleaded with her feeling her mother working her last nerve. “You’re perceiving everything all wrong. I know that you think you know what’s going on, but you don’t. Just step back and…”

“I’m still your mother and I’m not going to let you down talk me Ria. You know I’m right and that’s the only reason why this is bothering you so much. You know that I have Kevin’s number and that you’re only fooling yourself to believe that someone like you could even hold his attention. You aren’t simple-minded and cheap like the other girls that men like him date and…”

“Mom, let it go. You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Ria blurted out again, this time unable to hold back on the contempt she was feeling. “I know what I’m doing with my life.”

“Yes, you think you do, but when you give up your career, your livelihood to make him happy and give him the family he wants, he’s just going to up and run away again to a pretty girl that makes him feel like he’s got something special. You’re smart Ria and you know that you can do better if you stop thinking like some love struck teenager and start acting like a mature, responsible woman. Men like Kevin don’t want women like you as their future--and if they do it’s only because they have something else on the side that they can flash around on their arm when you’re not paying attention. You need someone stable and smart who can respect that you are an intelligent goal oriented woman. I mean I could understand your sister going for someone like him given that she‘s flighty and she has the whole vanity thing going. She prides herself on being beautiful, but…”

“But what? Are you saying that I’m not beautiful enough for someone like Kevin?” Ria tossed out at her mother sharply, “That someone like me couldn’t hold his attention?”

“Ria, all I’m saying is that you can do better. Kevin’s not in the same league as you,” her mother explained with a sideways glance. “There are people like you and I and then there is the rest of the world. Kevin fits into that, but you don’t.”

“I love him and I’m not going to let you stand there and say things like that about him or about me,” Ria stood up taller, her anger sweeping in over her, “So if you want to talk that way, then you can just turn around and get the hell out because I’m not going to be disrespected in my own apartment even if you are my mother.”

“I don’t believe this,” Marlene laughed lightly shaking her head at Ria. “You have to be kidding right?”

“Do I look like I’m kidding?” Ria opened the door and nodded towards the hallway letting her mother know under no certain circumstances that she meant business. “Either you stop insulting Kevin and I or you can leave plain and simple.”


“I love this place,” Evie confessed as she and JT sat at a corner table on the patio outside of Martha’s bar. She glanced out at the beach just beyond where they were seated watching the breeze roll in with the tide. The water rippled with a calm, yet there was no mistaking the life that was beyond where they were soaking up the day beneath the umbrella covered table.

“I told you it was nothing short of paradise here,” JT confessed reaching for his orange juice that he’d ordered earlier when they’d first arrived. He took a sip of it before smiling over at her warmly, “Did you have your doubts about that?”

“Well no but,” she turned to face him, taking the time to appreciate the black tank t-shirt and dark colored shorts that he was wearing. Her grin expanded as she gave him an obvious once over, “when people usually mention things being too good to be true, they usually are.”

“Not this time,” he promised setting his juice glass down on the table top before reaching for her hand and offering up a small squeeze. He winked at her before speaking up in a teasing tone. “I mean ok maybe the beach might be a bit overrated especially if you’re not into that whole sun thing, which by the way if you aren’t we can go back into the bar and…”

“Not a chance,” she shook her head in refusal. “I’m not leaving here for anything.”

“Don’t let Martha hear you talking that way or else she’ll be the one stealing you away from my bar to work at hers,” JT replied with a hint of laughter in his tone. “She’s always looking for help around here.”

“If I lived out here, I would be leaping at the chance to work here. I mean take a good look around. It’s just about as close to perfect as you can get,” she focused on the water once again. “I mean with the sand and the sun…”

“And the tourists,” JT noted leaning in closer to her. “They come and they go around here and you never really know what to expect.”

“It couldn’t be all that bad,” Evie curled her lip in a pout, “I mean at least you wouldn’t have to worry about the winters or the cold or…”

“Anyone knowing who you are?” JT arched a curious brow thinking about the reason that they’d set off to leave town in the first place.

“Yeah, that’s one perk,” she nodded in response feeling her problems tapering off at the surface threatening to spoil the moment she and JT had worked so very hard to come to with one another. “Although I thought that we were going to forget about Coral Valley and focus on what it was like to be lost in paradise.”

“It’s tempting, but sooner or later we’re going to have to think about home again,” JT divulged thinking about all that they’d left behind in Coral Valley. “I know I said that we wouldn’t discuss what’s happening with your father, but…”

“But nothing,” she reached for her piece of toast and leaned forward to deposit it between his lips, “we’re enjoying this morning and I’m not going to let you be a sour puss.”

“I’m not being a sour puss,” he curled his lip in protest as Martha stepped out onto the patio to check in on them.

“So what do you think?” Martha questioned proudly, wearing a pair of dark blue rhinestone studded sunglasses herself. She didn’t wait for an invitation before taking a seat in one of the empty chairs that faced the water. “It’s a damn good morning, isn’t it?”

“Don’t you know it,” JT grinned in between bites of his toast, “though I have to tell you there aren’t many people out surfing today.”

“That’s because the life around the water is still suffering from a hang over after last night’s festivities on the island. There was a bonfire on the beach and…” Martha started to explain to them.

“We missed that?” Evie questioned with a frown.

“Boy did you ever,” Martha chuckled with obvious delight. “It was a party that was off the hook with music, great food, dancing and…”

“Off the hook?” JT replied giving Martha a strange look. “Since when did you start with that kind of lingo?”

“What,” she shrugged her shoulders with a laugh, “Can’t I be hip and down with the younger generation?”

“I never said that you couldn’t be, but…” he cracked a small grin. “I guess I was just surprised to hear it that’s all.”

“Get used to it cutie because I’m not going to age gracefully anytime soon,” Martha confessed proudly while reaching out to take a piece of fruit from JT’s fruit bowl he’d ordered earlier with breakfast. She pulled a grape from one of the large piles and dropped it between her lips before smiling, “I’ll still be rocking with the best of them even when it’s time to put me in a retirement home.”

“Now that would never happen,” JT replied with a laugh. “If someone even tried to put you in there they would throw you out in less than an hour.”

“Not for trying to scout any of them in there. That much I can promise you,” she nudged Evie with a goofy grin. “I like them younger if you catch my drift. Don’t get me wrong when I was your age I went for older men, but at my age, well any older and I’ll be changing their diapers.”

“Martha!” JT blurted out giving her a firm look as Evie fought to repress her own laughter.

“What? I’m telling it like it is, though I’ve heard that there have been some advances now that they’ve created that Viagra pill and…” Martha continued to ramble on causing JT to bring his hands up over his ears in protest.

“I’m not listening,” JT announced with a groan.

“Oh come on sugar, it’s not like we all haven’t been subjected to your exploits in the past. Those are far worse than any story I would have to tell. Why I can remember that time you were on the beach after you and Tom’s daughter were fooling around in the back of his store…”

“Enough!” JT warned sharply giving her a firm warning glance.

“No, I’m interested,” Evie leaned in closer to Martha. “What kind of trouble was JT getting into?”

“Well, I wouldn’t say he was completely in trouble although there was Tom chasing him with a shotgun around the beach while he was buck naked and…” Martha snorted with laughter as JT stood up and pushed away from the table.

“Evie, I just remembered there was somewhere that I wanted to show you and if we don’t get there soon,” JT began walking around the table to offer up his hand to Evie.

“Running away already, are you?” Martha laughed wildly, “Well you’ll be back and when you are I’ll fill Evie in on just what kind of guy you are.”

“She knows what kind of guy I am,” JT protested with a frown.

“And you’re okay with that?” Martha winked over at Evie in a playful tone.

“Of course she is,” JT wrapped his arms around Evie’s shoulders protectively, “Besides, I’ve turned a new leaf.”

“Sure, sure,” Martha waved her hand dismissively, “So tell me in this adventure you have planned for Evie, are you taking her over to The Cove?”

“I hadn’t planned on it,” he confessed with a moment of hesitation.

“Oh what’s The Cove?” Evie questioned curiosity sparking behind her eyes.

“Somewhere that you certainly don’t want to be,” he informed Evie with a small sigh. “It’s just a place where guys shoot off steam and…”

“Guys?” Martha interrupted with a frown. “I’ll have you know that I have seen more women there than men lately. Don’t think that you boys can have all the fun considering that…”

“That it takes a certain type of insane to do that sort of thing,” JT shot a glare in Martha’s general direction.

“And you had that once as you used to be a regular over there,” Martha goaded him further.

“What goes on over there?” Evie couldn’t help but ask Martha now that it was clear that something big must be happening.

“I told you it’s nothing,” JT began attempting to be dismissive with his words.

“It’s another place around here to go cliff diving,” Martha blurted out without hesitation. “There are a few places on the island that are really good for that as there are three waterfalls, but The Cove is the big place. Sure, there are a few injuries every now and then, but nothing like you get in other places. Still that place is a favorite with the locals and the tourists around here.”

“And it’s the last place I want to take Evie too considering that I want her to enjoy the vacation,” JT stated firmly, squeezing his arm around Evie’s shoulders.

“It sounds like a lot of fun,” Evie replied eagerly, her brown eyes widening at the idea. “It sounds like a blast.”

“Oh it is. When you leap off the top of the cliff and shoot down into the waterfall it’s quite a rush. I haven’t done it in a couple of years, but there’s nothing like it. Not even sex,” Martha explained with a wide grin.

“Well, I wouldn’t go that far,” JT wrinkled his nose at the suggestion. “I mean it’s okay, but…”

“JT, are you telling me that you’re too old to have a good time now?” Martha shook her head at him. “And here I thought you were the adventurous type that would never give up on having a good time.”

“I’m not above having a good time, but…” he started to protest only to feel Evie’s hand pressed over the center of his chest tugging at his black t-shirt eagerly.

“It sounds like a lot of fun,” Evie curled her lip in a pout while batting her long eyelashes up at him. “I mean you’ve been promising me a rush and…”

“I realize that, but if you don’t know what you’re doing you could get hurt and…” JT protested thinking about the few times in the past when someone had leapt into the water the wrong way.

“And I was on the swim team when I was in school,” Evie informed him with a proud huff. She stood taller, pushing her long, dark hair back behind her shoulders. “I did some survivalist training in the water and I think I can handle it.”

“See, she can handle it,” Martha swatted at JT’s shoulder. “You two kids should go out there and try it out. Live a little.”

“Yeah JT,” Evie inched in closer to him, “I want to live a little.”

“You’re trouble,” JT mouthed in response watching her step up on her toes to steal a quick kiss from him.

“But you happen to love trouble, so I don’t see what the problem is,” Evie wiggled her brow suggestively. “Come on. This could be fun.”

“Don’t make me regret this,” JT finally caved in wondering if perhaps he was getting in over his head in taking Evie to The Cove. However both Evie and Martha believed it would be a good idea, so who was he to argue? It could be fun as long as no one was injured. The more he thought about it, the more he realized that maybe Martha was right. Maybe it would be a great new adventure for him and Evie after all.


“So tell me something,” Angela questioned eyeing Brant intently after they’d left his office and headed back towards the mansion with one another. She took in her surroundings noting the plush surroundings they were in. She trailed her fingers across the smooth leather seat and smiled, “Do you take all of your friends out in this car or only the ones you want to impress?”

“Who says I’m wanting to impress anyone,” Brant questioned casually glancing over to see the way she’d snuggled into the seat. “Maybe I just enjoy driving around in luxury.”

“Perhaps,” she nodded in response before eyeing him again. She parted her lips and sank back into the seat watching the way in which Brant steered the car, moving along the road as if he owned it, “but something tells me that you like to make an impression on the world around you--a lasting one at that. Am I right?”

“That all depends,” he glanced over at her flashing a sexy stare in her general direction.

“On what?” she questioned with an arched brow leaning in closer to him.

“Am I making that kind of impression on you?” he questioned in a low, sexy tone causing a million and one thrills to sweep over her. She bit down on her lower lip before forcing herself to look away now that heat had poured into her face. Brant laughed lightly. “I’ll take that as a yes.”

“Maybe,” she shrugged her shoulders before tossing her head back and collecting herself again, “I might be making some kind of observation about you.”

“One that’s not too bad given the way you’re looking at me,” he winked over at her before offering up a flirty laugh, “Admit it you like the car and you like me.”

“I never said I didn’t like you and as for the car,” Angela patted the seat beside her before tipping her head up ever so slightly. “I’m sure it’s something that gets you laid a lot.”

“Now wait just a second,” Brant frowned over at her, shaking his head firmly, “Do you honestly think that I use a car as a tool for having women notice me like that? Do you really think that I would use my baby here for sex?”

“Yeah, you would,” she nodded in response licking her lip at the suggestion, “You would so totally use this car to get some. I’m sure of it.”

“Then you’d be wrong because I’ll have you know that I haven’t used this car for that purpose,” Brant teased back winking over at her, “Besides I haven’t had it long enough for that.”

Angela broke into a small laugh shaking her head at the thought, “Yeah somehow that answer doesn’t surprise me at all.”

“Would you expect anything less than that from me?” Brant teased further seeing the color that filled her cheeks now that he’d clearly had her thinking about the idea of him in the car using it for seductive purposes. Then again she brought it up, yet there was something behind her eyes.

“Honestly no,” she shook her head firmly before tipping her head to the side, “Though tell me something, what would you do if you were with someone right about now and they decided that they wanted to make you uneasy? That maybe they would want to turn the tables on you for a while?”

“Turn the tables on me,” Brant repeated giving her another look before laughing lightly. “Somehow I don’t see that happening anytime soon since it’s just the two of us together.”

“And you don’t think that I could turn the tables on you,” she challenged a spark of mischief burning behind her eyes. “You don’t think that I could get you hot and bothered right about now?”

“I’m not saying that because I’m pretty damn sure you could, but I know you won’t,” he stated plainly focusing on the road in front of him again.

“And just why not?” she arched a curious brow her gaze dipping down to his lap before a wicked thought occurred to her. “Why don’t you think I would do something to get you all worked up considering that you’ve been flirting with me?”

“For starters you opened this conversation up and secondly,” Brant paused feeling her hand on his thigh. He sat up straighter in his seat, his brown eyes widening at the touch of her fingertips over his leg, tapering off over the inseam of his pants. He gulped before glancing over at her briefly before merging in with traffic. “Angela, um, what are you doing?”

“Proving my point,” she confessed leaning forward to breathe hotly over the side of his neck. Her hand slid further up his inner thigh causing his breath to grow ragged. “Tell me something Brant, do you really think you could keep your cool under circumstances like this when it’s just the two of us alone together?”

“I’ve been pretty good thus far. You’re the only one who is set on misbehaving,” Brant answered in a neutral tone keeping his eyes on the road though he could feel her lips hovering just over his skin.

“I’m just trying to prove a point,” she explained in a smooth, even tone, her voice a barely there whisper while her palm curled over his thigh. She inched her fingers up ever so slightly seeing the tension coil in his jaw line.

“Angela stop joking around,” he spoke her name in an attempt to be light and funny, but it came off as tortured and clearly on edge now that her lips inched in closer to his neck.

“I’m being serious Brant. You keep playing it off like you’re a smooth operator, but something tells me that you’re the kind of man who can be fun when you’re all hot and bothered,” she declared boldly moving in to tease her lips over the side of his neck. That movement in itself caused him to swerve the car ever so slightly. She pulled back enough to offer up a nervous laugh before shaking her head at him. “Be careful Brant because we wouldn’t want to get into an accident here.”

“I’m being careful, but you on the other hand are being just plain wicked,” he gulped feeling her hand settle in over the center of his pants, fingers grasping him lightly through the material. That was enough to shoot his logic out the window when he turned to look at her with surprise behind his eyes, “What are you doing?”

She blinked back at him, a moment of confusion carrying in over her before a breath escaped her lips. Her eyes connected with his before her finger toyed over the zipper on his pants. She played with it between her thumb and index finger before speaking up again in a low, sultry though less confident tone. She was moving on shaky ground, yet there was something there behind her dark cryptic eyes.

“Do you want me to stop?” she questioned in a barely there tone, finding it hard to vocalize what was on her mind as well now that she’d taken the initiative to get closer to him.

“What if I said I didn’t,” he tossed back at her gauging himself for her reaction. “Then what?”

Rather than answering him, Brant felt Angela pull back, clearly her thoughts returning to the life she perceived herself having with Kevin. It was a clear sign that they’d taken things too far with one another, even though Brant knew full well how hot they were when they were together. He sucked in a sharp breath trying to remind himself that he and Angela weren’t what they were before the fall. She didn’t remember what they’d shared with one another and even with their flirting, it wasn’t remotely close to what they had together when…

His thoughts came to a screeching halt when he felt her hand press in over his pants again. This time however, she didn’t hesitate yanking down the zipper with a boldness that hadn’t been present earlier in their conversation. A second later he felt her pop open the button on his pants as well before her fingers slid into his boxers grasping him with a newfound determination. He closed his eyes for a brief moment almost forgetting entirely about the road until he heard the sound of a car passing by. Reopening his eyes, he bit down on his lower lip feeling her mouth move in over the side of his neck once again.

“Don’t ever tell me that you think I won’t do something when I set my mind to it,” she spoke up in a low, hot tone, her voice laced with lust now that she started to nibble on his earlobe.

“I just…” Brant paused feeling her magic fingers over his body reminding him again and again about all they had shared with one another. Memories of their time together flooded through his mind making him hotter than ever, which apparently she’d noted when he heard her let out a small gasp. Tipping his head to the side, he saw the way her gaze was fixed upon his body, admiring the part of him that she was attempting to gain control of. He turned his attention to the road again seeing the stop light they were approaching. Saying nothing he started to bring the car to a stop while attempting to stay focused on driving.

“You just know a good thing when it’s right in front of you and lucky for the both of us, so do I,” she mouthed nibbling on his neck again before drawing back. Seconds later Brant heard her unsnap her seatbelt just as the light turned green. He prepared to accelerate the car when suddenly he felt her hair brush up against his abdomen causing him to gulp again. Instinctively he dropped one hand down to bring his fingers through her hair while her lips replaced the hold on him that her fingers had moments earlier.

“Angela,” he spoke her name in a tight whisper hearing the car behind him honking at his lack of movement. Looking up Brant sucked in a breath before starting down the road knowing full well the last thing on his mind was traffic. To think about what was happening between them--of how her flirting transformed into something so completely reckless and uninhibited between them. It was as if she’d never lost that part of their past that they’d kept between them and now she was trying to ignite the same fire that had been present before Cameron tried to split them apart. Pressing his foot down on the accelerator, he found himself scanning the area for a place where he could pull over, for some spot where he could forget all about the road and focus on Angela and what she was doing to him.

“Be careful,” she whispered in a smoldering breath just over him, “You don’t want to get us into an accident.”

“Right now the only place I want to get us is off the road and onto each other,” he confessed hearing her giggle at the suggestion. He skidded across the road pulling haphazardly off of the main strip and into one of the parking lots near the ritzier part of town. Once he’d brought the car to a halt, he pushed it into park before turning his attention to her. He ran his fingers through her hair thinking about what she was doing and how it had come so out of left field. Here they were with one another after a day at work and yet something had changed--something had shifted to the point of passion that they’d once had with one another. It was as if her memory was returning and she was back to where they’d been before.

“Angela wait,” Brant mouthed hating to break the spirit of the moment, but now that he was with her, wanting her and needing her, he knew full well that what was happening wouldn’t be enough.

“What’s wrong?” she frowned pulling away from him ever so slightly licking her lips with the movement. “Am I not doing something right?”

“No, you’re pretty much doing everything right,” he replied with a shallow breath, “Better than I remembered, but…”

“Remembered,” she repeated giving him a strange look, but before she could question it any further Brant unsnapped his seatbelt and pushed his seat back to allow them more room.

“Come here,” he instructed urging her up onto his lap. He carefully maneuvered her over him, pulling the lever to send the back of his seat down enough so that she could move in over his lap.

“Right here?” she questioned wiggling over his lap, her eyes fixed on his as his hands pressed over her hips.

“Yeah, that’s nice,” he nodded hands sliding down over her body, imprinting the feel of her into his memory. His fingers pressed in over the hem of her skirt, sliding it up over her thighs just enough to taper his touch underneath. He reached out to her bottom gently kneading the soft flesh between his fingers while rocking her body over his. She was still dressed against his exposed body, but the thrill of her over him brought back a million and one amazing memories of their time together in the past.

“Brant, do you love me?” she questioned her dark eyes meeting his once again. “Are you in love with me?”

He heard the soft shakiness in her tone and couldn’t help but find himself caught up in the vulnerability of her voice. It brought him returning to the reality of the situation--to the fact that she’d blanked out when it came to remembering all that they’d had with one another. It was enough to cause him to stop touching her, to stop teasing her and instead opt to touch her cheek gently.

“Angela, I love you more than I ever thought I could love a woman in my life,” he admitted leaning forward to coax her into a kiss. “You’re absolutely everything to me which is why I want you to remember me, but not like this.”

“Brant?” she spoke his name feeling him readjust himself beneath her doing his best to put a distance between them.

“You don’t want me like this,” he sighed reaching down to right his clothing again and zip up his pants. When he’d finished he reached out to touch her face again, “Not this way.”

“Wait what?” she blinked back at him confusion carrying over her. “Brant, I thought that we…”

“What about Kevin?” he tossed at her feeling a major buzz kill in the thinking about the man that Angela thought she was in love with. “How do I fit into the picture with him considering that you believe you’re in love with him?”

“I…well, I…” she paused her face growing suddenly red with embarrassment. Without a word she slid off of his lap and into her seat again. She turned her head away from him unable to come up with the right answer as Brant sighed pushing his seat up straighter.

“See you can’t even be honest with me about that one because you don’t have the first clue what to say,” Brant replied with a sigh of his own hating that he’d pushed her away from him. “The fact to the matter is that you believe you’re in love with him and that you two have a future together, so where the hell would I fit into any of this other than for you to have sex with me because Kevin’s not around?”

“It’s not like that,” Angela began to argue with him, a frown touching over her face.

“Then what’s it like Angela? What is it that could possibly make what’s happening for us right here any different?” he questioned a hint of hopefulness in his tone. “Tell me something that proves to me that this isn’t about your wanting to just ignore the fact that you’re upset with Kevin and that you want me. Tell me that you remember something about us--something concrete that has you believing that I’m the man that you should be sharing your life with.”

“Are you?” she tossed back at him forcing herself to face him again. Her dark eyes met his with a sudden anger behind them. “Are you that man Brant?”

“You tell me,” he spoke up tightly, his jaw flexed with tension.

“I think that you’re not being honest with me. That’s what I think is happening here,” she blurted out with a huff, folding her arms in front of her chest impatiently. “I think that you’ve lied to me about what’s going on with you and me. I’m sure of it.”

“How?” he questioned opening up the floor for her to admit to remembering something.

“I just know,” she explained frustrated. She shook her head before running her fingers through her hair again, “I know we’ve been lovers before, haven’t we?”

“You tell me,” he mouthed in response keeping his gaze on her as if his life depended on it.

“I know we have. I might not remember it, but my dreams have told me we did,” she explained in a small voice, her words growing shaky with the moment, “You and I we’ve been a hell of a lot more than friends, haven’t we?”

“Yes,” he answered simply turning away from her in fear that he would give away what was going on inside of him.

“And the babies I’m having,” she paused biting down on her lower lip nervously, “Yours or Kevin’s?”

“When you know the answer to that, then I think everything else will fall into place,” Brant replied reaching out to the ignition and turning the car on again.

Angela sat in silence watching him for a long moment. She half expected him to pull back onto the main road that they’d been on seconds earlier, but instead he turned in another direction making his way towards a crowded parking lot. Frowning she turned to him again.

“Where are we going?” she questioned in an abrasive tone finding herself on edge now more than ever.

“I need a drink,” he admitted with a heavy sigh, “but taking you home right now doesn’t sound like a good option to me. If I’m alone with you, I can’t say that I’ll be able to stop myself from doing what it is I want to be doing with you, but out in public we have a fighting chance.”

“Brant I…” she started realizing that there was suddenly a giant elephant between them in the car now that they’d stepped beyond the point of being just friends with one another.

“Don’t say anything. I just need the drink and then maybe we’ll be able to talk about this,” Brant decided pulling into the lot and parking the car in the hopes that once he got out of such close quarters with her he would be able to clear his head and once he did maybe just maybe he could figure out the best course of action in putting an end to the charades that had been taking place. Sure sleeping with her might’ve been a decent start at doing that, but given the mood he was in over the situation he decided he’s try something else--something more effective. Of course he wasn’t quite sure what that was just yet, but he would figure it out soon. He had to!


Cameron reached for the bottle from his personal bar and pulled off the cap not even bothering with a glass. He pushed the bottle to his lips before taking a long, hearty swig of the hot burning liquid. He frowned thinking about how hard he’d worked to keep his sister away from Brant, yet to hear that she was with him again--about to ruin her life with the man who was undoubtedly a mortal enemy to his family, it had him furious. He had to put a stop to it--had to stop sitting in the background while his sister destroyed herself.

“I won’t let you do it again Angel. I’m going to stop this before it gets out of hand,” Cameron vowed taking another drink from the bottle when he heard a knocking sound from behind him. Turning around he saw Sarah standing in the doorway with a curious expression on her face.

“Gee, what has your panties all in a bunch today?” Sarah scoffed at him with a dry expression.

“If you’re in here to complain, you can turn right around and leave,” Cameron warned her sharply not in the mood for her sour attitude.

“Gee, I’ll take that as a sign you’re having a completely rotten day,” she noted with a small laugh watching him cross the room. “So what is it this time? You have a business situation or JT annoy you about some wish for his girlfriend?”

“Actually it’s…” he stopped himself deciding not to get into it with her. “Never mind. You wouldn’t understand.”

“Try me,” she suggested moving across the room to take a seat on the sofa, “What’s going on Cameron?”

“It’s my sister,” he blurted out with a frown in spite of himself. “She can’t see that she’s making a huge mistake.”

“Neither can mine considering that she thought it was okay to move in on the man I was going to marry,” Sarah huffed with a low scowl thinking about how Heather had wormed her way into Kyle’s life.

“Um Sarah, correct me if I’m wrong here, but you slept with Diego first when Heather was interested in him, not that I can see why,” Cameron frowned back at her before shuddering, “since he’s not really up to her speed or yours for that matter.”

“I don’t need you to lecture me on Diego. I already learned my lesson,” Sarah frowned wrinkling her nose at him, “so let’s get back to you. What’s going on?”

“Let’s just say I’m going to murder someone,” Cameron mouthed in response with a tight scowl.

“Make sure you hide the body so that it doesn’t come back to haunt you,” Sarah offered up with a playful laugh, “and while you’re at it want to toss my sister into that as well? With her gone it might make life easier for all of us.”

“Not going to happen,” Cameron frowned back at her pondering how he would go about dealing with Brant.

“Fine, then if you’re not going to please me that way, then take me out. I’m bored sitting around the house. Let’s go out to dinner or something,” she suggested after a moment’s contemplation.

“I’m not in the mood,” he frowned back at her, “I have work to do.”

“That’s right you do,” she stood up and walked over to him reaching for his hand, “in pleasing your wife to be. Let’s go get something good to eat and then we can plot together later. Maybe if you’re lucky we can even play together later. I’m sure you’d like that.”

“I’m not really in the mood,” he answered honestly shaking his head at her, “but maybe dinner won’t be so bad.”

“Dinner will be fabulous,” she promised him with a bright grin, “In fact I know the perfect place for us to go to take your mind off of all your troubles.”

“We’ll see about that,” he mouthed in response feeling the wheels in his head turning when it came to thinking about how he would eliminate Brant from his sister’s life once and for all!


“Honey, what’s on your mind?" Heather questioned seeing the way that Kyle looked down at her with his hazel eyes while they laid together on her leather couch in her office. She teased her fingertips in over the center of his naked chest seeing the way he looked at her as she tipped up to kiss him. “What’s on your mind Kyle?"

“Nothing really,” he couldn’t help but lie knowing that she would just get mad at him if he ended up mentioning what was really on his mind at the time. Sure, it was something that seemed to really bother him, but she wouldn’t see it by any means at all. “You know me, my mind is always thinking and sometimes it thinks way too much for my own good baby.”

“And I’m your wife so why don’t you let me in on the secret,” she whispered teasing her lips in over the center of his chest hearing him take in a small breath while her fingers teased in over his abdomen. “Since I am your wife I basically get to hear all of your thoughts.”

“You want my biggest thought?" Kyle muttered with a laugh seeing the way she nodded knowing that she was expecting what was on his mind right now, but he decided to play with her more and began to think of the first thing on the top of his mind. “I really think you should get a new secretary because I’m really getting tired of seeing Kellen all the time. Anyways, how many jobs does he have right now? I think he could afford to lose one job and…,”

“No way,” Heather brought her hand into the center of Kyle’s stomach hearing him let out a small groan at the blow before chuckling to himself at her reaction. She knew that he was getting tired of Kellen, then again she never really knew a time when Kyle was really fully okay with Kellen. “I know he has a ton of jobs, but he makes it work and I will never have a person that will do whatever I want whenever I want.”

“Oh, I beg to differ. I think I was doing everything you wanted a few moments ago,” he smirked tipping down to temptingly nip at her lip feeling her nails lazily drag small lines down his back. Curling his large bicep around her leg he motioned her thigh around his hips more casually seeing the way her green eyes looked up at him when he moved in over her. “I think I can do that all over again if you’d like.”

“I don’t want that right now, but nice try,” Heather shoved her hand into the center of his chest knowing that she would love to make love to her husband again, but she really wanted to know what was on his mind that kept him so silent. “If you tell me what’s on your mind, then maybe I’ll do anything and everything little thing you want.”

“Why don’t we just get a start on that right now,” he tried to tease his fingers in over her lips knowing that every time he got the jealous genes in his body he felt like a total idiot knowing it was totally not like him. Even though he was trying, he could see he was coming up empty as she held onto his hands softly before reaching up to outline his rough features. “I was just thinking about Diego and how come you were the person he came to see last. I’m sorry Heather, but this guy has gone for everyone I thought I loved.”

“So you’re pissed he slept with Sarah?" Heather offered up seeing the look Kyle gave her and she threw her hands up in the air and took in a long breath. “Listen, all I’m trying to say is to you maybe he was a better thing that happened in your life Kyle and he is my friend. I don’t love Diego, I don’t want Diego--you’re the one I want and you’re the one I’m with. There is no other man for me.”

“I know, but it’s just weird to walk in to see the guy that used to be all over you in your arms,” Kyle blurted out seeing her rest up on her elbow and stare out at him with her green eyes and he took in a deep breath. Sure, maybe he was taking this too far and maybe he was thinking about the situation too much, but he loved Heather too much to let her let go now after all he did to get her back. “Heather come on baby, how would you feel to see me in Sarah’s arms?"

“I would think she drugged you because honestly I could see you in Grady’s arms before her,” she tried to make turn of the situation and make it a bit humorous, but saw the look he gave her and she let out a small laugh. “I’m not kidding, I could really see you having a full night of passion with Grady before ever being around Sarah again. You two are more compatible and I could see you honestly going gay before going back to Sarah.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right,” Kyle thought aloud after thinking about it for a couple and then let out a small laugh thinking to what she just said and he let out a tight noise. “That would sure make our friendship interesting.”

“I’d say so, then I would have to wonder if he was a good add to the marriage or if I would be losing my ring to him,” she teased further seeing him roll his eyes and move in over her again pinning her down to the couch enough to keep her down, but not hurt her. “I’m just playing with you, but I do have to wonder why you were so comfortable in being in a thong with him in his movie while he was filming you with that dummy. I mean you guys have to have some kind of…,”

“Not funny anymore Heather,” Kyle silence her placing his large hand over her lips carefully seeing the laughter behind her green eyes and he shook his head slowly not believing what she was saying. Chuckling to himself he knew that it was ridiculous to even think that, but it was one of the most embarrassing moments of his life. “I think I should punish you for saying things like this.”

“Oh, punishment,” she smirked once his hand left her lips and slid in over her hip, caressing the silky smooth skin underneath his touch. “I think I like the sound of that, what do you have in mind?"

“Well, now I’m starting to think I’m the one that’s been a bad boy,” Kyle began seeing the way she smiled up at him as he shrugged his shoulders looking over to make sure the door was still locked so they wouldn’t have any unwelcome visitors. “So maybe I’m the one that needs the punishment honey.”

“Well since you put it that way,” she smiled flipping him over onto his back hearing him let out a small sound before arching up into her while she held his hands over his head, her lips pressing in over his. Enough to tease him, but not kiss him yet as she smiled down at him. “Just as we get one thing straight though, I know you don’t like Kellen, but he’s staying as my secretary as long as I can keep him.”

“Does that mean I can somehow get rid of him and when I do you get a new one?" Kyle teased again feeling a rough smack to his inner hip making him let out a long groan at the stinging sensation of her hand hitting his flesh so hard. Laughing out loud he saw the frown over her face as he arched up into her again. “Heather honey, I love you so much that I don’t care what you want in life. If you want it, I love you so damn much that I’ll always make sure you have it. Whatever you want, it will always be yours as long as I’m in your life.”


“So are you going to tell me what you and Grady were really talking about?” Avery questioned arching a curious brow after Grady had left Russell’s office giving the two of them some alone time with one another.

“That all depends,” Russ shrugged his shoulders winking over at her with a wide grin, “What are you going to give me in return for being honest with you?”

“I’ll tell you what you’ll get if you don’t start talking,” she mouthed in response holding up her fist in the air teasingly as if she was going to hit him. “Start talking Russ.”

“I’m not so sure I want to yet,” he continued to taunt her making his way over to the small couch in his office and taking a seat. He patted the cushion next to her before grinning up at her, “Why don’t you join me?”

“You’re playing games,” she noted with a small smile. “Admit it.”

“Maybe just a little,” he nodded in response reaching out to pull her down into his lap instead of giving her the opportunity to sit down, “but you like games, don’t you?”

“That all depends,” she slid her arms around his neck and grinned. “Am I going to come out a winner at the end of this one?”

“Well it would depend on how you look at the situation,” Russ paused meeting her curious brown eyes once again. He smiled down at her seeing her impatience settling in over her.

“Russ, can you stop toying around and just tell me what it is you two were up to when I left? I know it was something big because you’ve been acting strange ever since I walked back into the office,” she informed him with another frown, “which leads me to believe that you’re up to something. You and Grady aren’t going to go out and investigate that murder on your own again are you?”

“No this has nothing to do with the murder,” he assured her taking her hand in his. He raised her hand to his lips and offered up a small kiss. “This is far more important than that.”

“Then why are you keeping mute about it,” she questioned nudging his ribs gently, “Talk to me Russ.”

“Okay,” he nodded in response seeing the way she was on edge hoping to hear what was on his mind. “The truth is I’ve been thinking about us a lot lately. I’ve been really revaluating the situation we have taking place between us.”

“You have?” she arched a curious brow seeing something flash behind his green eyes before his face grew suddenly serious.

“Yeah, I really have Avery and I realized that you’ve been making a very valid point all of this time, yet it was only until recently that I understand exactly what you were trying to tell me,” he continued to explain to her seeing her frown.

“Okay, now I’m lost. What are we talking about exactly?” she questioned tipping her head to the side and feeling his fingers slide through her long, dark hair.

“You’re always telling me that you and I have no problems with sex and that our relationship needs to be built on more than just great sex,” he continued fighting to keep a straight face as her dark eyes widened in response to his words.

“You and Grady were discussing that with one another?” she practically gasped a shocked expression carrying over her. “Russ our sex life is personal.”

“I know and for the record, no I wasn’t discussing our sex life with Grady, but I have been thinking about what you’ve said. I mean as it stands you and I do happen to find ourselves intermingling in the sheets more often than not when we aren’t with Erin and I realize that maybe that’s not what we should be doing right now.”

“Wait, hold on,” she paused pressing her palm into the center of his chest, “Are you saying that you think we should give up on being together…like that?”

“I’m saying that maybe we should channel our energies elsewhere for a while,” he continued to explain seeing a frown press over her.

“Russ what I was saying before when I was telling you that was…” she started to object only to feel him press his index finger over the center of her lips to silence her.

“I think we should focus our energies on planning our wedding,” he blurted out cutting her off before she could get worked up over what he was saying to her.

“Our wedding?” she repeated in a muffled tone behind his finger tip.

“That’s right,” he nodded slowly sliding his finger to her cheekbone and touching her soft skin. His gaze dropped down to her lips and he offered up a lazy smile, “I know that we’ve had a lot happening lately, but I think it’s long past due that we give Erin what she’s always needed. She doesn’t need her parents leading a bad example and living in sin now that we’re together again.”

“So you are telling me this because you want to get married again,” she replied with a breath of relief seeing the smile that crept in over his handsome features.

“Well it is the next logical choice, don’t you think?” he questioned sliding his fingers into her hair while her palm pressed into the center of his chest. “We did it once before and it was really good between us.”

“I won’t argue that, but…” she couldn’t help but find herself turning to his ever so kissable lips. “If you’re saying marriage spells the end of passion for us…”

“It didn’t spell the end before,” he mouthed in response leaning in to steal a kiss from her, “Besides I was thinking we could take Erin and go to the island and do it all over again only this time we’ll have our family there instead of going it on our own.”

“You’re serious?” she replied searching his eyes.

“Very serious,” he nodded in confession before smiling at her, “So what do you say Avery, will you marry me again?”


“I’m so glad you’re here Jason,” Mindy invited Jason in after having him arrive in time for him to see Chase jumping off the back of the couch, doing a back flip onto the bed that was laid out and landing on his feet. Looking back she had seen how wide Jason’s blue eyes got and let out a small laugh seeing Chase jumping up and down on the bed. “Oh, we’re just playing around. You want to try?"

“And break my neck? No way am I going to try something like that,” Jason watched Chase wave at him before bouncing a few times and doing another perfect back flip for the second time like it was the easiest thing to do. “Wow, a new apartment--new ideas and new playhouses.”

“Oh we’re just having a little fun,” Chase replied seeing Jason move forward and shake his head slowly knowing that he wasn’t ready to do something like that. Chase laughed getting up on top of the couch again seeing Trisha watching from the corner of the room as he did a front flip this time doing it so fast that he went right over the bed. Stumbling once he hit the ground he let out a small laugh seeing Jason’s jaw drop when he walked back. “You act like you’ve never seen someone play around before.”

“I just don’t think he’s brave enough to try it,” a voice whispered from behind them as Mindy turned to see Nate knocking on the door after she left it open a bit not noticing. Moving over toward him she wrapped her arms around him tightly seeing the way he looked down at her after she let him go. “Wow, can I go out and come back in again. I think I really liked that hug.”

“What is he doing here?" Jason muttered seeing the way that Nate looked out at him with his green eyes before wrapping his arm around Mindy’s shoulders hearing her let out a small laugh. “You just invite everyone you know?"

“Well kind of…yeah,” Mindy heard the door get another knock yet again and she slid out from under Nate’s arm seeing him watch her move toward the door where she opened it to let in both Guy and Gabe. “I invited all my best friends over, I thought that was kind of the right thing to do. I’m with the people I care about the most--my new home, my new family sort of a thing.”

“So this is the new place, nice choice,” Guy smirked staring out at Jason seeing the boy that he once saw cleaned up a lot from where he went to just a cap to doing his hair up really nicely. “I of course am going to get a look around right?"

“Oh yeah sure, I’ll take you to show you right now with Trisha, be nice to each other everyone,” Mindy waved off motioning Gabe to come along too as she left Nate, Jason and Chase together alone when they moved toward the other side of the apartment. “We’ll be right back.”

“Sure,” Nate waved seeing the way that she walked away from the room and he rolled the sleeves up on his shirt and moved over toward the couch jumping up so that he was balanced on the back of the couch. “You thought what you did was cool. Check out mine, I can do two back flips in row.”

“Bull crap, you’re huge,” Jason muttered seeing Nate smirk before looking down at his watch and shrugging his shoulders. “You’re what six foot five? There is no way someone your size can do something like that.”

“I bet you ten bucks I can,” Nate watched Jason nod slowly and Nate snapped over at Chase seeing Chase smirk and nod himself. “You are here to witness that. When I do it and land on my feet, you have to make sure that Mr. Sherman here pays up.”

“Got it,” Chase stood in the corner of the room watching Nate stand in position waiting until Mindy got back toward the area of the room to make sure she could see what he was doing. Jumping off the couch, like he promised he did two back flips in one landing on his feet on the bed letting out a tight noise. “I guess it’s time to pay up Jay.”

“Oh wow Nate, where do you learn all this stuff,” Mindy approached them placing her hands in over Jason’s shoulder as she leaned over him to talk to Nate while Jason pulled out his wallet to pull out a ten dollar bill handing it over. “That was fantastic.”

“Well, I have so many talents, but if I did them all right here I think some people might get jealous and well it could get dirty,” Nate teased hearing Mindy’s laugh fill his ears and it was enough to make him smile as he continued to bounce on the bed. “You should really try it Mindy, it only hurts the first time you land on your neck. After that, it’s a snap.”

“Oh yeah right, like I can even do that,” Mindy thought for a moment before motioning everyone to back up and she grabbed a hold of Jason seeing his blue eyes staring out at her. “You’re the biggest if I fall you can catch me.”

“Well, you can always fall into my arms because I’ll be happy with that any day,” Jason replied in a happy tone standing where she motioned him to stand right in front of the mattress as she moved toward the door. Taking a running dive she did a summersault before attempting a back flip over the bed. She was so close to being accurate as her feet hit the bed, making it slip a bit out from under as she fell back more falling into the hard chest of Jason. “I said I’d catch you.”

“Well, I guess I got too old for that,” Mindy shrugged letting out a small laugh turning in Jason’s arms seeing his blue eyes staring down at her as he reached out to press her dark hair behind her ear. “I guess we all get that way sometimes. Like one day my boy Nate over here is going to be hitting people with his cane because he’ll do something stupid and break his neck one day.”

“Well maybe he should be gay like us, right Guy?" Jason offered up hearing everyone go silent for a moment as he cleared his throat watching the way that everyone looked out at him making him let out a hesitant laugh. “I was just saying sometimes it’s easier to impress boys than it is girls.”

“I could agree with that,” Trisha spoke up moving over toward the kitchen grabbing the bottle of champagne she picked up motioning everyone to follow her. “How about a little celebration to break up all the heat here.”

“I think I’d like that,” Nate spoke up seeing everyone moving to the kitchen and in a quick enough movement Nate reached out to grab Guy’s shoulder seeing him look back over his shoulder. “Is it just me or does Jason seem like a faker? Like he’s gay, but he’s trying just a little bit too hard?"

“Nate, I have to be honest,” Guy turned toward Nate seeing the way Nate’s green eyes stared down at him before eyeing over everyone in the kitchen for a moment. Guy folded his arms out in front of his chest before taking in a long breath and shook his head slowly. “I really don’t even think he’s gay, so if you want to put it like that. Yeah, I really do think that he‘s a faker.”


“Oh yeah, this is all fantastic,” Jason whispered standing back behind the crowd as he saw Gabe talking to Mindy and the rest huddled together making him feel more left out than ever. He should have never come today, he didn’t fit with her friends and he knew that. He just should have figured all of her friends would be coming to this. It was a friendship what they had going on, just because she thought he was her gay best buddy. “How wonderful.”

“What’s that?" Mindy moved in next to Jason hearing him let out a grumble before trying to fake a smile with her as she wrapped her arm around his torso placing her other hand in over the center of his abdomen while looking up at him. “What’s wonderful?"

“Oh, nothing,” he answered quickly seeing the way her beautiful eyes stared up at him and he took in a long shallow breath hating to feel this way about people. Especially people who thought he was gay, really gay as a matter of fact. “I was just thinking how wonderful it was that you got such a fantastic apartment.”

“Why do I feel like something else is on your mind?" Mindy tipped up whispering a bit in his ear knowing that the whole time he seemed to stay back in the crowd like he didn’t belong making her feel bad for him. Jason was her friend too and he needed to feel welcomed like everyone else because he was important to her as well. Looking at him made her want to talk to him alone to try and get him to understand a few things when she reached for his hand leading him out into the living room for a moment. “Jason, you know this is a party to be happy about. You can get to know my friends--try to get along with them because you are all important to me. Sure, sometimes they seem a little off, but they are all really great people.”

“Oh, I’m sure they are,” Jason tried to explain knowing that her friends really seemed to hate him and he could take a few guesses, they all probably saw right through him making him hate it. How come everyone else could tell he was lying about this certain situation, but when it came to Mindy she down right thought he was totally gay when he wasn’t even close. Feeling guilty about the situation knowing that he loved to be with Mindy and loved having the trust he did, he just knew he wanted to have the trust where she knew everything from him. The truth, not just lies to get her to be with him and he knew that now was the time to tell her about him lying, he had to tell her that he wasn’t gay. “Mindy, I really have to tell you something important. Something that I really need to get off my chest.”

“Listen, I know you don’t like Guy, but he’s just a little rough around the corners,” Mindy completely cut him off thinking that he was going to tell her another thing about her friends and she stared off at them in the kitchen talking together. She was happy that she could be with the people she loved the most and she wanted all of them to feel comfortable with one another. “And Nate, sure he is a big goofball and he teases people a lot, but I think if you two found one thing alike you could really get along. I see a lot of the two of you in the same person--if that even made sense at all. Well I guess what I’m trying to say is that you two remind me a lot of each other and you guys have a lot of things in common. You two know how to make me laugh, you know how to make me smile. You both can make me smile without even trying and…,”

“That’s the thing Mindy this is more about us. This friendship, I’m glad you love your friends and if you want me to I can try and get along with them, but…,” Jason was about to explain seeing Trisha come back with two glasses of champagne for them showing him that there was no chance at getting to tell her the absolute truth about everything with everyone here. “I guess it’s time to celebrate.”

“It’s always time to celebrate when you’re here,” Trisha pressed her hands into the center of Jason’s back leading him into the kitchen and toward the crowd before letting out a loud squeal. “On the count of three everyone--let’s toast. Toast for friendship, luck and everything there is good to do it for. One…two…”


“You can’t be serious,” Marlene Merhan blinked back at her daughter giving her a long look. “Oh my you are serious, aren’t you?”

“Very serious mom,” Ria nodded in response, “So you can either choose to hold back on your thoughts long enough for us to get along, or you can leave?”

“Well when you put it that way,” Marlene shook her head at Ria, “I don’t stay where I’m not welcome, but I am warning you now that the next time I return I expect to see a complete attitude adjustment out of you.”

Ria watched her mother breeze past her, making her way out into the hallway with a huff. It was then that guilt carried over her and Ria stepped out into the hall in spite of herself.

“Mom wait,” Ria called out to her with a heavy sigh. She watched her mother stop walking long enough to turn around and face her with an expectant expression. “Look it’s just been a really long week and I didn’t expect to see you coming into visit me like this. It’s just really awkward.”

“You’re telling me,” Ria’s mother folder her arms in front of her chest, “It’s the last thing that a parent wants to bear witness to.”

“I know and I’m sorry,” Ria offered up apologetically taking a small step towards her mother, “If Kevin and I would’ve known that you were on your way over, then I swear to you that we wouldn’t have been doing that out in the open for you to walk in on us.”

“I would imagine you wouldn’t have,” Marlene nodded taking a step back towards her daughter. “It just is one of those things that you don’t take too lightly especially when it’s your child.”

“I know mom and I’m sorry. I just…” Ria found herself at a loss hating to be fighting with her mother. “You’re wrong about Kevin. He’s a good guy and I do love him.”

“You think you do,” her mother corrected before offering up a sigh, “but I suppose it’s good enough for me for right now. I’ll try to block what I saw out of my mind for now, but it won’t be easy.”

“I don’t anticipate it would be, but in all honesty mom you have to give Kevin another chance. He’s a great guy and I love him and he loves me even if you don’t think I’m his type,” Ria sighed walking back to the apartment with her mother. “I realize that I’m not what Trisha is, but that doesn’t matter to Kevin. He loves me for all the right reasons and I love him too.”

“And you really want to marry him?” Marlene questioned eyeing her intently.

“More than anything, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to be giving up my career. I don’t plan on it anytime soon or ever for that matter,” Ria added confidently as the door to her bedroom opened and a fully dressed Kevin emerged with a pensive expression on his face. He ran his fingers through his damp, dark hair before wiping them off on the front of his black t-shirt. He cleared his throat before entering the room and joining the two of them.

“Mrs. Merhan,” Kevin spoke her name with a small nod careful not to make eye contact with her again like he’d done earlier.

“Kevin,” she nodded in response, speaking up in a stiff tone.

“Mom, I need to get dressed,” Ria announced glancing over at Kevin, “So why don’t you sit here while Kevin and I…”

“I can stay out here,” Kevin suggested surprising Ria with his words. She looked to him with confusion on her face before he nodded, “I don’t mind catching up with your mother.”

“Kevin I…” Ria stammered not quite sure on what to say to him.

“It’s okay,” Kevin leaned forward to kiss her quickly before taking a small step back. “I’ve got it covered.”

“We’ll be fine,” Ria’s mother noted as Ria looked between Kevin and her mom. Finally she nodded.

“I won’t be long,” Ria promised shuffling down the hall in the hopes of pulling herself together again. Once she closed the bedroom door Kevin turned to face Ria’s mother fully once again.

“I’ll just bet you’re proud of yourself right about now, aren’t you?” Marlene mouthed with a scowl glaring over at him. “You’ve worked quite a number on my little girl haven’t you?”

“Not nearly a number as the one you just did when I heard you berating her,” Kevin explained in a cool and collected tone even though he was far from being cool and collected. “I realize it’s not my place to tell you how to conduct your relationship with your daughter, but…”

“You’re damn right it’s not,” Marlene snapped back at him. “My daughter had goals and a life before you entered her world again. She was going to be someone…”

“She is someone and you need to respect that. Sure, Ria might not have moved up the corporate ladder as fast as you did in your career, but she has made so many amazing accomplishments. She’s a very dedicated and brilliant doctor and she has earned a great deal of respect at the hospital,” Kevin informed her point blank his eyes narrowing down at her.

“Respect she would’ve lost undoubtedly if any of her associates would’ve found her in the position I did when I walked in here before,” she quipped in response folding her arms in front of her chest defiantly.

“I would seriously doubt that. Not that Ria would want anyone to walk in on us making love to one another, but since you happened to step in when we were sharing a moment, I would think that you would understand that she and I care about one another,” Kevin frowned down at her knowing full well that Ria’s mom was in the mood to bully just about anyone she could now that she’d been enraged.

“You call that love now? What is that the slang you men use when you need a quick fix these days? You find a girl like my daughter who is innocent enough to take your twisted world of needs and desires and believe you when you spin them into a romance?” she snapped at him, her frown intensifying. “I’ve got your number Kevin and I know that you don’t deserve my daughter.”

“Maybe I don’t, but I love her and there isn’t a damn thing that you’re going to do to stop us from being together,” he snapped right back at her, keeping his tone muted as he stepped forward. He saw her dark eyes widened as he continued to speak up to her. “Now no disrespect Mrs. Merhan because I’m well aware of the fact that you don’t like me. I can respect that, but what I can’t respect is the fact that you treat Ria like she’s still a child. You have to find a way to knock down each and every one of her accomplishments and make her feel like she’s nowhere near as wonderful as she truly is. She has done a lot with her life and rather than constantly belittling her, you might want to step back and see what it is that she’s done. She’s an amazing doctor and I think it’s long past time you acknowledge that instead of always telling her what she’s doing wrong.”

“You are the last person to lecture me on how to raise my daughter Kevin,” she snubbed him walking past him to look around Ria’s apartment.

“She’s an adult Mrs. Merhan. You did your job and judging by how she turned out you did it well. You should be proud of that instead of harping on her for what you don’t think she’s doing right,” Kevin continued to speak to her candidly, “Ria’s under a lot of stress right now…”

“I can only imagine why with you hanging around,” she rolled her eyes over at Kevin before turning her attention to a vase on Ria’s coffee table. She bent down to shift it ever so slightly on the table top before standing upright once again.

“Fine,” Kevin sighed bringing his hand up through his hair again, “Then let’s get this out in the open. You don’t like me and I’m going to be honest when I tell you that I don’t like what you’re doing to Ria, so while we can agree on that, I would strongly suggest that you lay off of her because the last thing I want is the woman I love to have a breakdown because her mother was too stubborn to just get over herself and her own little ideas of imperfections long enough to see how incredible her daughter really is. Ria deserves respect and while you might not respect or like me, you better make sure that you give her that. She’s more than earned it.”

“Well now I never,” her mother brought her hand up over her chest in a small gasp before she was at a loss for words.

“I take it we understand one another,” Kevin nodded feeling a certain sense of satisfaction carry over him before he remembered what it was like having her walk in on him and Ria. “And about before I do apologize. That is one position I never, ever wanted to have you see Ria and I in with one another.”

“Indeed,” her mother wrinkled her nose again considering saying a few things more when the bedroom door opened and Ria walked out. She glanced between the two of them worriedly before Kevin smiled over at her.

“You look beautiful,” Kevin mouthed crossing the room to embrace Ria. He gave her a quick kiss before glancing over at Ria’s mom with a warning look, “How about some coffee? I could go for some coffee right about now, what about you Ria?”

“Coffee sounds good,” Ria nodded back at him watching him move over towards the kitchen. Ria forced herself to be pleasant with her mother, turning to look at her again, “So have you seen Trisha yet?”

“No, you were my first stop, though I’m starting to wish that I’d gone to Trisha first,” Marlene quipped ready to throw out another sarcastic remark when she spotted Kevin popping his head out of the kitchen to glare over at her. Sighing she forced a smile and looked to Ria again, “Though after all the craziness it is good to see you. So tell me really how is work going?”

“Well it’s okay,” Ria started knowing that even though having a conversation was the last thing she’d wanted to do after what had just taken place, she was going to force herself to keep calm and focused now that she had to find a way to keep her stress level down before she blew up at her mother and said something she was going to regret. Looking over to the kitchen again she could see Kevin out of the corner of her eye just listening to what was happening and in that moment Ria pushed herself to be pleasant in the hopes of coming off as confident even though it was the furthest thing from her mind now that her mother had come back into town bringing with her the dark cloud that she always seemed to have tucked with her upon her arrival.


“You’re sure you’re up for this?” JT questioned as he and Evie stood on top of the cliffs, looking down to the water below. While he’d tried to remind her that what they were about to get into with one another was dangerous, she hadn’t been deterred in her attempts to follow through with her intentions. He’d warned her about the risks to the point that he was starting to believe that he was turning into an old, boring person as Martha had hinted at. Now however, as they stood on top of the cliff looking over the edge, he couldn’t help find himself longing to take that road he’d traveled down so many times in the past to feel alive.

“I’m more than ready,” Evie assured him stepping back and pulling her shirt over her head to reveal the tiny blue and white polka dot bikini that she was wearing. Her grin expanded as she stepped over to the edge again and tossed her shirt down to the world below. It rippled in the wind before finally falling to the rocks not far from the water they had been looking upon moments earlier. She turned to face him again with a wide grin before wiggling her brow at him suggestively, “Don’t tell me you’re chickening out on this.”

“Not a chance,” JT shook his head watching as another round of tourists took a leaping dive down to the waters below, “but you have to be careful considering that once you do this if you land the wrong way, then…”

“I already told you that I have experience with diving,” she silenced him with a distracting kiss. “I can handle it.”

“You say that now, but this is nothing like diving into a pool. It’s more so a risk that could backfire if…” he offered up in one last, futile attempt to keep her from passing the point of no return without realizing what she was getting herself into.

“I’m not afraid JT. I used to be when it came to everything, but now that I’m with you I feel like I can fly,” her eyes sparkled with delight at the thought. “In fact, I’m going to fly.”

“Evie,” JT spoke her name feeling her lips brush against his for a brief moment before she raced over to the point where the other divers had been. She waved her hand around in the air and blew him an air kiss before rushing forward to the edge.

“Evie,” JT spoke her name watching as she leapt over the rocks into the water below. He moved in closer to the edge seeing the way she’d manipulated her body to accommodate the waters below. A few seconds later she splashed underneath the surface leaving him to wonder if she’d been successful in her finish. His dark eyes scanned the surface of the water for a few seconds more before he took in a deep breath.

“Here goes nothing,” he mouthed to himself moving back just enough to give himself enough of a jump start for momentum.

He rushed forward feeling himself free falling off of the solid and steady ground that once kept him safe and protected and into the unknown. Sure, he’d gone over the edge far too many times in the past to remember, but this time, well this time it was different. This time he was free falling into the unknown and while he’d been haunted by that uncertainty in the past, this time the crashing water below only further reminded him of how far he’d come in his life. His body plummeted beneath the waterfall’s surface taking in the chilled liquid. It breezed over every inch of him wrapping him up in a familiar envelope of the past until spiting him out and upward towards the surface again. His head broke through the surface feeling the sun’s rays upon him as he took in his first breath after the jump. He looked up to the sky--to the place he’d come from and a smile crept in over his lips.

“Damn I missed that,” he mouthed to himself thinking about how long it had been since he’d found it in him to be reckless and free with actions. Only unlike the times in the past when he’d been high and out of his mind, this one brought with it an altogether different kind of rush.

Smiling to himself JT dipped underneath the surface and headed in the direction where Evie had discarded her shirt. He’d half anticipated to find her underneath the water ready to take him crashing down into another new experience, but instead he’d surfaced on his own. Still he figured her tossing her shirt over the edge would be an indication of where they could meet up with one another.

“Evie, what did you think?” he questioned as he surfaced again only to discover the rock that she’d thrown her shirt upon. Her shirt was still there now drying against the sun’s heated rays, but Evie was no where to be found. In that moment panic carried over him. He closed his eyes remembering his earlier warnings to her about what could go wrong. It was in that moment that he feared that everything he’d warned her about happening had.

“Evie,” he spun around ready to search for her when another diver hit the water. There was a splash around him as his dark eyes surveyed the situation. Why he’d believed that she could very easily take that kind of risk and come out unscathed just proved how poor his judgment was getting. He frowned surveying the area when he spotted something out of the corner of his eye over by the falls. There was a faint flicker of something shining over by the bottom of the waterfall.

“JT,” he heard Evie’s voice beckon him. She curled her finger out from beneath the water and JT felt a moment of relief carry over him. He swam towards her, a grin expanding over his handsome features as he greeted her.

“What are you doing over there love?” JT couldn’t help but ask with a curious expression. “I thought we were going to meet over by your shirt.”

“Yeah, um about that,” she curved her finger once again alerting him to move in closer to her. “I have a problem.”

“What kind of problem might that be?” JT questioned carefully maneuvering himself over by the rocks to step up to where she’d been shielded by the flowing waterfall in front of her. He carefully braced himself making sure not to slide around on the slick surface of the rock as he approached her.

“This,” Evie stepped out from the shadows revealing the way her hands were holding her curves to keep a very distinct part of herself shielded from the light of day. “I lost my bikini top on the way down.”

“Really?” JT’s eyes widened with a sudden curiosity as his brown eyes swept over her perfect curves. A laugh bubbled up in the back of his throat before he spoke up in a teasing tone, “I know you said you wanted to be adventurous today sweetheart, but free falling didn’t give you an all access pass to go down in the buff.”

“It’s not funny,” she curled her lip in protest, a full pout forming over her features.

“It’s actually quite comical love,” he approached her, unable to refrain from admiring the sight before him. “Although it does beg the question of why you would come in over here if you were self conscious about it. You could have easily gone over to where your shirt was and…”

“And I so don’t think so,” Evie nodded past him to the area over where she’d dropped her shirt. There beyond her semi-dried shirt was a family having a picnic near the shoreline. There appeared to be a mother and a father and three children collecting shells that all appeared to be under the age of six.

JT knew he shouldn’t laugh, but something inside of him erupted. He leaned in against the side of the waterfall’s formation and chortled with delight. Wiggling his brow at her suggestively, he couldn’t help but taunt her, “It seems as though you’ve gotten yourself into a bit of a quandary now haven’t you?”

“JT, this isn’t funny,” she restated now that her brown eyes narrowed up at him. “I need my shirt and…”

“And what?” he approached her with a casual tone. “You just assumed that I would play your white knight and go retrieve it for you?”

“A gentleman would,” she huffed impatiently. She made a small movement and nearly slipped on the slick surface of the rocks before JT rushed forward and pulled her into his arms.

“In case you haven’t been paying attention love, I’m a far cry from a gentleman,” he whispered heatedly against the side of her neck. He felt her shiver in his arms as he held her. She lowered her eyelids as a sigh spilled over her full lips alerting him to the fact that his simple movement had certainly sparked a reaction inside of her. Smiling inwardly, he dipped down to press a feathery light kiss over her shoulder.

“JT please,” she half begged, half whimpered as his hands dropped down to the small of her back, pressing her in against him. The heat of their damp skin to one another, soaked and charged with the sudden jolt of electricity between them was enough to cause her to gasp in anticipation.

“This is a change,” he couldn’t help but tease nibbling on her earlobe as he pushed her further in behind the loud, crash of the raging waterfall. He pressed her in against the surface of the cliff’s foundation before his lips skimmed across her shoulder teasingly, “Normally I’m the one who’s shy so to speak.”

“I’m not being shy,” she confessed in a low, sultry tone, her brown eyes meeting his with a sudden longing. “I’m merely trying to be decent about the situation.”

“About the people on the beach or about being alone here with me?” he wiggled his brow suggestively. He bent down to her, reaching out to pull her flush against his hardened form. His teeth grazed her lower lip before his tongue met and found hers in a heated display of temptation.

“Maybe both,” she sighed tipping her head back as his hands traveled to her hips. His fingers played over the frayed edges of the bikini bottom she was wearing simply fumbling with the ties before one of his hands traced up her rib cage, lingering upward with a sudden determination.

“How was your jump?” he questioned leisurely, returning his attention to her neck, to the small spot beneath her earlobe that he was certain would drive her crazy with desire. Although he hadn’t anticipated their coming together in such an erotic fashion, he could feel himself still buzzing from the leap they’d both taken.

“Amazing,” she blurted out, her slender leg curling around his hips as her dark eyes sought out his. “It was exhilarating and…”

“Everything you thought it would be?” he couldn’t help but ask, dropping his hands down to pull her up against him. He felt her body tremble at the boldness behind his movement before her arms snaked around his shoulders.

“Better,” she divulged in a shivering exhale, the faint hint of amber flecks in her eyes shining brightly as JT continued to squeeze her in closer to him. She arched up into him, her mouth meeting his in a frenzy now that their adrenaline rush was still kicking out over the both of them in full effect.

Lust pounded over JT’s body from his head down to his toes as their kiss expanded reminding him all over again why he’d wanted this woman in his arms. Yes, he’d waited for far longer than he had done with any other woman, yet as her fingers tangled through his hair, tugging relentlessly with each urgent moment of desire, he found himself questioning his own sanity. Her body welcomed his, her arms surrounding him and bringing him to the brink of losing all control as he found himself lost in thoughts of making love to her.

“Tell me something,” she managed to get out in between agonizing breaths. She scratched her fingers down his spine, feeling him coil into her at the touch.

“What’s that?” he couldn’t help but ask turning her further into the shadows as he found himself losing any grip on the thought of playing things safe between them.

“Is what we just experienced really like making love?” she couldn’t help but ask.

JT felt her arch back, her chocolate colored eyes searching for any kind of truth from his lips. He reached out to her pushing her long, dark hair away from her perfectly tanned skin before he stroked her cheek gently. His thumb skimmed over her bottom lip in a slow, sensual drag before he felt raw honesty overtake him.

“Making love is far superior to that,” his tone fell to an intimate whisper when his lips skimmed against her neck again, “especially when it’s with me.”

“JT,” she closed her eyes with tiny tremors of delight carrying over her. His fingers fanned out over her curves, tapering off over the thin material of the tiny bikini bottoms that she was wearing. They parted briefly eyes connecting as he tugged at the tie feeling the frail material slide apart beneath his fingertips. Her eyes expanded with surprise, but soon that sensation evolved into something entirely different as she struggled to get closer to him, “what are we doing?”

“Tempting fate,” he assured her with a sexy smirk, his hands guiding hers to the drawstring around his waist that kept his swim trunks. His tongue traced circles over her shoulder before returning to her capturing her mouth in hungry urgency. “We are on the island after all.”

“So we are,” she whispered in an unsteady, staggering breath now that her shaky fingers found their way to the drawstring once again. She fought to keep herself under control as she released the knot keeping his swim trunks just over his hips. In that moment the fabric fell a few inches giving her the first hints of JT’s ever growing desire before her.

“I love you,” he murmured feeling her wiggle against him, his hands taking the time to remember every inch of her as she in turn guided his black swim trunks down over his body, down to the rock’s foundation.

“I love you too JT,” she confessed, heart pounding in her chest as she arched up into him longing to kiss him and never stop.

“Not here,” he whispered drawing her back further into the darkness behind the falls.

A moment later Eve let out a tiny, ragged breath feeling herself surrounded by water once again. It was a distinct change from the rush of wind that had surrounded them when they’d been on the slick surface of the rock. Now that they were submersed in the water, there was soft lapping around her, a warmth that surrounded her despite the heavy roar of the waterfall beyond where they were.

“I’ve wanted you for so long,” JT divulged guiding her legs around his waist, keeping her close to him as he waded around in the water with her. Her shoulders enveloped him, lips taking his lead and meeting him halfway in a desperate kiss that left no mistaking his intentions for them. A low, muffled sound built up in the back of his throat and as Evie saw the unrestrained desire surfacing behind his dark eyes, a shiver crept in over her, touching every part of her body with a newfound warmth. He reached out to her again, his damp fingers sliding against her soft cheek as he whispered to her, “I don’t know why I’ve denied myself this for so long.”

“Because we needed this to be where we are with one another now,” she purred sliding in against him with a newfound boldness. His arms enveloped her, his eyes touched her in the ways that she was certain he would spend his time loving her later, but before she could truly enjoy the moment between them a thought struck a chord in her.

“JT, we don’t have any protection,” she blurted out wishing like hell she hadn’t been the one to think responsibly at a time like this.

“What?” he questioned drawing out kisses over her neck, followed by soft nibbles on her shoulder as if he wanted to absorb every inch of her in that moment.

“You’ve been the one going on and on about how we need to make sure that’s there,” she hesitated before finally pushing her palms flat out against his chest to put a distance between them. “Every time I’ve approached the subject, you’ve been…”

“A fool to ignore our obvious chemistry,” he mouthed in response leaning in for another desire laced kiss before pushing back, “but you’re right. I’ve been trying to be responsible and…”

“And as much as I would love for us to…” a blush fell upon her cheeks, “you’ve just been so insistent upon, well that and if we wound up making love without having the opportunity to do it that way then…”

“Then you’d think I would be always questioning how it happened because of your father,” he finished for her catching the expression behind her eyes. She bit down on her lower lip and nodded.

“It sounds silly, but…” she attempted to still the racing of her heart.

“But we’re not ready for what doing things like this would entail. I mean I’m at the point in my life where I’m still a complete and total screw up and your too young to start thinking about possibly having a family and…” he trailed off, feeling the mood between them tapering off.

“I want to have a family. I want to have a child with you,” she cupped his face in her hands, “and I’m sure that one day we’ll…”

“One day,” he promised leaning in to kiss her, “but not this fast.”

“Well there’s always a chance,” she felt a heat rise over her features once again, “I mean just because we do this wouldn’t mean that…”

“Evie,” he kissed the tip of her nose, “we’re tempting fate in more ways than I‘d anticipated when I suggested it. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t apologize,” she reached for him once again, “I mean I’ll be honest and say that we wouldn’t be working this one entirely without protection considering that I’ve been…”

“Been what?” he saw her face turn a bright shade of crimson.

“Playing my part in making sure that my father’s plans don’t follow through for us,” she explained offering up a pointed expression. “I went to the clinic before we left just in case and…”

“And there’s still a chance,” he whispered, his words buzzing against her lips. “We both know that.”

“I just feel like…” she sighed sinking her head against his shoulder, “Why can’t this be easy for us?”

“Because having something easy wouldn’t be worth having,” he confessed bringing his fingers up through her long, dark hair. “Besides it’s one of our first days here. We have plenty of time to enjoy one another.”

“We keep saying that, but…” she offered up in protest only to feel him reach out to cup her face in his hands.

“But right now you want to go on a tour of the island and that’s what we should be focusing on. Besides, I need to brush up on my tan,” he winked at her with a million dollar smile. “There are so many things that I still have to show you because if I don’t, well then Martha will have my head and…”

“We can’t have that,” she couldn’t help but laugh remembering the woman who had goaded them out to The Cove in the first place.

“Not at all,” he nodded in agreement, “In fact…”

“What?” she questioned feeling him release her. She watched as he dove under the water moving out beyond the waterfall. She felt a chill overtake her and she brought her arms up over her body wondering just where he’d drifted off to. A moment later he returned and held up her bikini top to show her.

“I think this was fate’s way of having us get to our next adventure,” he explained offering the flimsy material to her. “So what do you say?”

“As long as we can have a rain check on this,” she paused thinking about all that had transpired between them.

“We most certainly can,” he assured her moving on to steal a kiss from her before motioning to where they’d left the rest of their clothing, “but for now let’s get dressed and enjoy the island for a while. What do you say?”

“You’re so on,” she smiled in response knowing that while she could have very easily let JT give into temptation for the first time in their relationship, she had to keep things moving in such a way that they could both live with themselves and their decisions when the time was right. She quickly adjusted her bikini top before taking in an unsteady breath and moving towards JT in the hopes of finding a way to enjoy the rest of their sight seeing without thinking about just where it was that the promise of passion could lead them. Maybe just maybe if she thought about it hard enough, she would find a way to keep from thinking about all the ways she wanted to lose herself completely in JT Mahoney. At least she could try to fool herself into believing that for a little while.


“Are you going to even bother to say anything to me?” Angela questioned watching Brant sip down the last of his martini before signaling the bartender to bring him another. The man behind the counter did as instructed before Angela tapped her hand on the countertop urgently. “Hello? Brant?”

“What?” he questioned turning his head to the side to see her staring at him with a strange combination of frustration and annoyance now that he’d kept his thoughts to himself once they’d entered the bar he’d pulled off at.

“Talk to me. Tell me what it is that you’re thinking--what we should be talking about,” she suggested with a frown seeing his dark eyes flash with an unfamiliar expression. She watched him open his mouth to say something before he turned away focusing on the mirror on the wall instead. “Brant…”

“Tell me something. Do you make it a practice to cheat on the man you love or are their special circumstances behind this one,” he questioned harshly, his own thoughts getting the best of him as he’d pondered what had taken place between him and Angela. While he knew full well they had something between the two of them, she hadn’t remembered their life together which meant that she was clearly going after him with the knowledge that she was cheating on Kevin. If she thought she loved Kevin, but was willing to throw it away to be with him, then it got Brant wondering if she would do the same to him like Avery had when she’d left him for Russ.

“What?” Angela’s jaw practically dropped at the accusation.

“It’s a simple question. Do you cheat on the men you love or don’t you? Is it habitual or was this just a one time occurrence?” he questioned bluntly, seeing her dark eyes widen further. “Is it just when you’re feeling lonely or is it something that’s a regular habit for you?”

“Screw you Brant,” she snapped at him reaching for her purse and attempting to get up off of the bar stool she’d been seated at. She began to move only to feel him reach for her wrist firmly.

“I think we’ve already been there done that in the car so to speak,” he mouthed in a dry, hollow tone, “So tell me is this habitual or just because the mood struck once?”

“You tell me,” she tossed back at him feeling him release her wrist. “You’re supposedly with Ria so don’t you even give me a morality lecture.”

“Ria’s irrelevant to this conversation. I’m not cheating on her, but with you,” he paused struggling to find the right thing to say. He reached for his martini and took a sip again, “You think you’re in love with Kevin, don’t you?”

“I thought I was,” she paused pondering the same question herself. Reluctantly she sank back down into her seat and looked to the juice that she’d been drinking before. “I’m not so sure anymore.”

“Why?” he asked in a neutral tone trying to bite back on his anger.

“Because I spent my whole life thinking that Kevin’s love was all that I needed--that he was the man that made me feel alive, but now…” she shook her head stopping herself before she could finish. “You wouldn’t understand.”

“Try me,” he urged her on setting his drink aside as he fully faced her. “Make me understand.”

“The truth is,” she paused tipping her head to the side to reveal the frustrated tears that carried over her, “Brant I can’t stop thinking about you. I can’t stop having these visions in my head that keep me wondering if I’m losing my mind.”

“What kind of visions?” he questioned softening his tone a bit in seeing her upset.

“They are of us--together--making love,” she revealed in a small voice that was barely audible. She turned away from him again before sighing, “I don’t know why but I can’t get them out of my head. And there’s more. I keep seeing us together talking about our future and about what we have between us. It’s not just some random urge to go out and cheat on Kevin, but more so something that feels like more. Brant, there’s something about you that…”

“That what?” he prompted her for an answer, “Angela please talk to me.”

“Why so you can lecture me on being a cheater?” she blurted out tearfully. “I don’t cheat Brant. That much I‘m sure of.”

“Yet you think you’re with Kevin,” he noted seeing a flash of something else pass behind her eyes.

“If I was with Kevin, then I know I wouldn’t be with you. I wouldn’t even want to be with you,” she paused softening her tone further yet. She turned her eyes up to meet his, tears threatening to overtake her, “but I do want to be with you Brant. Every minute I spend with you, I find myself wanting to be around you more.”

“Why?” he asked in a stiff tone trying not to reveal what was happening inside of him.

“Because I think I’m in love with you, you moron,” she blurted out in frustration loud enough to have people around them look over at them. She felt her face grow hot with embarrassment before she spoke up again in a soft voice, “I mean why else would I be putting everything on the line to be with you? If I didn’t love you, then I wouldn’t feel this way.”

“And how is it you feel?” he questioned turning in towards her reaching out to touch her cheek gently.

“Confused. Like there is something that’s missing from my life--missing from my world that no one is telling me about,” she frowned over at him shaking her head, “Brant, I’m not what I was before I woke up. Things have changed--time has passed and even though I wasn’t sure of that before, I’m positive now. I’m not the same girl I was before I woke up in that hospital room.”

“No you aren’t,” he nodded in confession, “A lot is different now for all of us.”

“But why? Brant, what’s really going on? What isn’t everyone telling me? Please, don’t lie to me anymore. I want to know the truth,” she begged of him reaching out to touch his hand in hers gently. “Brant please.”

“Angela I…” he stopped himself knowing full well that the lies had gone on long enough. The other night he’d revealed himself only to chicken out and pretend he hadn’t, but now with a bit of alcohol backing his decision he knew that he couldn’t deceive her any longer. “You’re right. Things aren’t at all like you believe them to be, but it’s time you need to know the truth.”

“And that is a statement that I won’t argue with considering that my sister should be well aware of the company she’s keeping and how unsavory it truly is,” Cameron’s voice cut through the moment like a knife bringing with it a new twist on the situation that could only lead to one thing--trouble!


“Three,” the group muttered to Trisha’s wishes bringing all of their glasses together before taking a sip from their glasses.

“Hey you,” Mindy found Jason between the friends she was with reaching out to wrap her arms around him hugging him tightly trying to make him feel comfortable to be in her home. She was focusing the most on him tonight because she was worried about him coming back. There was that want to have him come back and hang out all the time and for that she needed him to know he felt welcome. A sudden pinch to her bottom made her let out a small squeal as she turned to see a laughing Nate behind her. “That’s it, I’m going to kill you.”

“Oh no,” Nate set his glass down running through everyone and out into the living room behind the couch seeing the way that Mindy came running right after him. “Oh no, you’re not going to get me. You’re too slow miss I fall on my butt when I try to do something.”

“I’ll be the one kicking your butt Mr. Pryce,” she moved forward at him seeing him move out of the way fast enough to run around the couch a few times while the group came out to watch them play around with each other. “Get over here big butt.”

“Look whose talking miss…,” before even getting to say anything more Nate was cut off feeling the impact of someone nailing into him making him fall to bed in a thud making him let out a tight groan. “Ouch.”

“Miss Ouch is right,” Gabe laughed moving over to sit on the couch as Mindy tried to pull out her tickle attack on Nate making him laugh out loud and try play right back with her. Looking to the corner of the room he could Jason watching the scene almost pouting from what it looked like and he saw the look on Guy’s face as he watched Jason. “Uh oh.”

“Uh oh what?" Chase whispered from behind the couch where he was resting against the couch by Gabe seeing Guy approach Jason looking very, very unhappy. “Does this mean bitch fight?"

“Hey you,” Guy reached out to tug on the sleeve of Jason’s shirt seeing the way Jason’s blue eyes left the sight of Nate and Mindy playing together to meet his eyes as Guy tugged him into the kitchen. Knowing that this guy seemed to be a big ball of mystery for him Guy shook his head slowly hating to see this guy spending so much time with Mindy. “I need to ask you something.”

“Well I’m all ears,” Jason bit down on his bottom lip seeing the way that Guy looked out at him and he could tell this guy hated him. It was obvious by the looks he gave him, by the body language he had all night and by the tone of his voice. “Go on ahead. I’m not going to have anything smart to say back to you.”

“Oh, I don’t want a smart answer. I was a truthful answer,” Guy was finally fed up playing guessing games with this new guy that seemed to pop up in Mindy’s life so suddenly and he shook his head slowly. There was no way that this guy would be involved in Mindy’s life any longer if he planned to be a liar with her during the whole relationship. “Are you pretending to be gay to get closer to Mindy because you sure as hell don’t seem gay to me. If you lie to me, I swear to God I will find out and I’ll kill you so right now I’m giving you the straight up shot. Tell me the truth right now and I will let it go. So what’s the answer big Jay? You gay or are you straight playing it gay?"


“Are you serious?” Avery’s widened taking in everything that Russ was telling her. Remembering what their wedding had been like the first time around she couldn’t help but feel a set of thrills take over her, but at the same time she felt a nagging sensation that hadn’t factored into the situation until now. “I mean do you really want to get married on the island?”

“The way I see it you and I had a great day there. It was perfect,” Russ touched her cheek gently searching her dark eyes, “well I guess I can’t say it’s exactly perfect, but given what we went through and what we shared together on that day I think it’s fitting that we go back there to do things right this time around.”

“Yes, but do you think Erin’s up to taking that kind of flight,” Avery couldn’t help but ask thinking about their daughter, “She’s never really gone on a trip like this and…”

“I’m sure she’ll be fine. We can call your dad, your brother, my parents and our friends and just go for it,” Russ continued to plot the issue in his mind feeling a warmth carry over him. “We can go as soon as you want to--that is if you want to.”

“Of course I want to,” Avery blurted out excitedly, “I mean you are the only person in this world other than Erin that I want to spend the rest of my life with so of course I’ll marry you.”

“That’s a relief because for a second there I thought you were going to tell me that you didn’t want to,” Russ sighed cracking a small smile, “I was worried.”

“I would marry you in a heartbeat right now if that’s what you want, but if you really want to go to the island again,” she paused thinking about it for a long moment, “Then we’re going to have to put some planning into this and get our friends involved, but I’ll tell you right now I want a small wedding--nothing flashy.”

“I can work with that,” he nodded in response, “I’ll have anything you want as long as I can have you there.”

“Gee, since you put it that way,” she couldn’t help but laugh shaking her head at him, “It makes it sound like you’re almost a desperate man hoping to get a yes out of me.”

“Do you even need to ponder that thought,” he hugged her in closer to him, his lips brushing against hers gently, “Avery I love you and I want to be with you. I want to share the rest of my life with you and Erin. Fate’s kept us apart long enough. Don’t you agree?”

“More than you can imagine,” she nodded sliding her arms around his shoulders before shifting her position on his lap, “Although maybe we should get back to that whole sex talk you were giving me earlier.”

“What about it?” he questioned feeling her palm press into his chest shoving him back further onto his couch. She shifted over him straddling him before leaning down to nibble on his bottom lip gently.

“I’m hoping that you haven’t let me persuade you into thinking that’s not important for us,” she sighed nibbling on his neck ever so slightly, “because Russ I have to tell you I do appreciate that part of our relationship too.”

“Hmm, well I aim to please,” he shrugged his shoulders pulling back to see her dark gaze fixed on his again, “Whatever you want you know I’ll give it to you.”

“In that case why don’t we call it a day here and head on home to discuss the details of our impending marriage,” she suggested with a tiny smirk, “Maybe we can work over what is and isn’t appropriate for the transition with us.”

“Tell you what,” he slid his arms around her waist, “How about I call Kyle and ask him to be the best man, then we can go get Erin. After that we’ll figure out what we can negotiate later tonight in the privacy of our bedroom.”

“I think that sounds like a fantastic plan,” Avery nodded in agreement feeling as if all of their dreams and wishes for a future together were finally coming true all over again.


“Honey, honey, phone,” Kyle motioned Heather to wait a second as he moved up to a sitting position on the couch hearing the sound of Heather displeased once he motioned her to stop with what she was doing. Standing up from the couch he saw that the number was Russell and he reached for his pants trying to pull them on in a quick movement seeing the way that Heather looked out at him. “I swear give me one minute and we can get back to all of this.”

“Fine, one minute and that’s all,” Heather watched Kyle nod and pull the zipper up on his blue jeans as he moved over toward the window to look outside. “Hurry it up Kyle, I’m very unhappy right now.”

“Hello?" Kyle answered his phone letting out a small laugh knowing that his wife was in a good mood and he was loving every second of it. Seeing the look she was giving him with the pout he couldn't help but smile knowing that he was going to have a very good day today. “What’s up Russ?"

“Kyle, I have some very good news for you,” Russ’s voice beamed from the other end of the phone making him smile even happier to hear that not only was his wife seeming to be in a great mood, but his best friend was as well. “I’m about to tell you something you are never going to believe.”

“Never going to believe, never going to believe,” Kyle thought of something good to say knowing that he always had to be sarcastic with Russ at these kinds of moments and he shook his head slowly not being able to come up with something at the moment. “I was going to say something about Brant becoming your best friend and leaving Avery alone, but I couldn’t make it funny enough.”

“Well, I’ll still live with you buddy,” Russ muttered with a small laugh as Kyle sat down on the edge of Heather’s desk away from Heather as he listened to Russ speak. There was obviously something really big that Russ wanted to set out on the plate and Kyle was ready for him to hear the good news from Russ. “Avery and I have been talking about a few things and…,”

“I don’t need the build up to what happened between you two. I’m pretty sure there were no clothes involved and a wild night, so lets pass up the details and get straight down and dirty to the situation bud,” Kyle chuckled hearing Russ laugh on the other end before Kyle stood up from the desk. “What’s on your mind?"

“Well, we’ve decided we’re going to get married again. This time make it real, make it so everyone could be there to share our perfect moment with us,” Russ explained over the other end and by the way he was talking you could just tell that he sounded happier than ever and was so excited to be sharing the information. “And I thought I would call you big man because I want to ask you a big question. Well a huge question.”

“Just ask it Russ, you two getting married is pretty huge you know,” Kyle stated happily knowing that this was going to be great moment for two of his three best friends and that this would be a great experience to have. “What do you want me to do? Stand security so Brant won’t come and screw it up? Make sure no one poisons the food? Run a background check on the priest so he doesn’t try anything?"

“You could do that?" Russ muttered hearing Kyle laugh on the other end and his friends sarcasm always amused him when he continued on. “Kyle, I would really enjoy it if you would do me the honor of being my best man. I would really like my best friend to stand beside me at my perfect moment when I get married.”

“Me be the best man? Oh man, honor for you? Come on that’s my honor and oh man, of course I’m going to be best man. That will be absolutely great,” Kyle blurted out with a wide smile throwing his hands out in the air like he were going to hug Russ for making him this happy today, even knowing that Russ wasn’t even here. “I can’t wait. I can’t wait to help you out.”

“Alright well, now that that’s set I have a few more people to call, but promise me that you’ll call back and we can plan everything?" Russ begged hearing Kyle let out a laugh on the other end and Russ looked back at the clock to try and determine what time it was. “I can’t do all of this without my best man.”

“Well the best man will certainly call you back later Russ. Just so I can get it out man, congrats. I’m glad you decided to do this,” Kyle said his goodbyes to his friend before turning on his heel ready to tell Heather the good news but by now she was dressed and the look of happiness she had on her face was now turned into anger. “Heather?"

“We are not going Kyle,” Heather blurted out seeing Kyle’s eyebrows tighten together as she stared out at him knowing that he would fight with her until the end on this subject, but there was no way she was going to change her mind at all on this subject. “We’re not going at all Kyle because if it has anything to do with Avery--I want nothing to do with it. So the answer is no, I don’t care what you say. It’s just plain and simple…no!”


...to be continued...