1×18 “Panic and Priorities”

Episode 1×18 “Panic & Priorities”
Written by: Chris Coleman/Kelly Zollo
Warning: Episode contains language, strong sexual situations and content

Braden looked at the clock rubbing the back of his neck dinner was a few hours away and he knew he couldn’t be late for that. Though honestly he wanted to not even host the fucking thing, his parents were livid. Ok his father was livid, his mother shockingly was calm and he tried to not think of the drama of dinner. Instead he went back to a pending case file and then looking at his watch Jon was late which was something his friend did rarely. He hoped that whatever Jon had found it wouldn’t waste his entire evening and loosening his tie he went to the wet bar for a drink. Selina was meeting with Chauncey and Lowell before dinner and call him naive but he couldn’t begin to believe the lies his own marriage was sitting in at this rate. She had sold him out for Jamal and knowing that deep down stung. When his office door opened and he saw Jon enter he handed him a scotch on the rocks.

“You’re late good thing your Dylan’s godfather isn’t it? So you said you had something on the Madden case? I just got word someone tried to kill him at the prison, Raven is on my back about a release.” Braden paused for a moment knowing how much seeing Ronan in bars meant to Jon and his family a promise he made. He took a drink regardless of a promise he knew he had to uphold the law something his predecessor told him, it was a fine line. “I’ll keep him there unless you tell me otherwise. Though I am a bit surprised you came to me instead of Gideon not that I’m complaining anything you told him would come to me anyway.”

Jon couldn’t believe what he was about to say and do. He believed in justice yet how just was it unleashing Ronan back into the public. All that would do was start a whipping match between Kendrick and Ronan. This was ugly but it was also the truth. Ronan was seen at the election party that night, along with the fact a green SUV sent Philip off the road. Well that pointed to someone else. Plus if it was Ronan men he truly knew they wouldn’t be finding Carla and Steven body parts. As he sat down sipping the scotch. Biting his lip he looked at Braden.

“So I may have ran across some new evidence that will exonerate Ronan. I don’t think that he is the one. I don’t think that he killed Carla and Steven for heaven sake I’m about free the most dangerous man on the east coast.” Jon pulled out pictures of the car first said to be leaving the scene of the crime. Now Philip collaborated exactly what he was thinking. Someone was setting up Ronan. “Not only that but Raven has stated he was at the club where Maggie Warner and Svetlana Romanov both attend that Ronan was occupied with both of them. It’s making me sick to my stomach but someone is letting Ronan take the fall for two murders he didn’t commit.”

Braden couldn’t believe what he was hearing and then his stomach churned just a little as he looked at the picture. Promises that he made to the Rhodes, Jon’s parents and Miranda came to mind, that Ronan would stay behind bars. He knew how difficult this had to be fore Jon to want to turn Ronan back out into the street given who KC was to him in Iraq and his family. He could be a bad DA and ignore it go to trial with hearsay, the physical evidence at the scene that matched and probably get a conviction.However it wouldn’t be right and he was not like Selina or her friends he didn’t backstab to get ahead in the world. Bringing the glass to his lips he took a drink

“It’s days like today I wish was a bastard like Ronan or Chauncey, hell Lowell himself you know? I wish that I could turn my head to this and tell you to take the evidence and burn it in the trash can. It would make our lives much easier, give David and his family the closure they deserve. Give your parents peace of mind.” Braden stopped for a moment seeing the same thoughts racing through Jon’s head. Taking another drink he picked up his phone quickly texting Raven that she was needed at his office as he sat down on the leather sofa and undid his tie. “Let you, Miranda and Quinn properly grieve. But you know that I can’t. Do you have any other suspects lined up?”

“Actually I do have something in mind. A dangerous chain reaction set off and I have a witness with the getaway van. I’m going to be a particular in when I dismantle whoever has made the AFPD look like fools. Painfully I’m going to make this very painful for whoever did this. We are going to get closure Kendrick is in charge and now Ronan is getting out. We will see a boom on the streets and one of them will slip. With that slip I will be there to stop one of their asses.” Jon huffed as looked at Braden in his eye. “I think I might know and have a profile on who killed  Steven and Carla. It was a cop I just found out it was a police van that the Lane family security video.” As he slowly bit down on his lip.

“Braden I feel if this gets out then the entire department will be under fire. US Attorney Crowley will be under fire and you will be under fire. If the killer was under my nose I’ll feel like a fool. It’s pointless to speculate right now until I can find out who took the car out. Tonight I feel like the justice system is betraying us. I mean we are about to free the biggest mobster on the east coast and then go to Gideon and tell him a officer killed Steven and Carla.” As he lowered his head he looked at his drink. Gulping it down immediately as he saw the concern in his best friend eyes. “Braden, we have to figure this out or we all will be tainted. To taint a force and DA office nobody will trust us anymore.”

“Miranda has been valuable in turning evidence against Kendrick we are just waiting for the official flip from Yasmine Kohl as soon as we have that you can bring him in. If that means releasing Ronan to up that timeline you and I both know that has to be done.” Braden said looking at Jon and taking another sip of his drink. This was not how he expected his legacy to go he had hoped to bring Ronan in another way but Ronan was slick. Even for him and the Feds and he could live with getting a career criminal off the streets it was now only up to Yasmine to do what was expected and call Miranda when the time came. “I know you worry about Miranda and the club Jon. Trust me I get it but Miranda’s the strongest woman cop I know I trust her with Yasmine. Call me a bleeding heart but I get why Yasmine was doing what she was and I want to cut her a break.”

Braden looked up when his office door opened and Raven walked in looking between her and Jon for a moment. Getting up he walked to his desk reaching for his pen and signing the papers that he had drafted up. It was risky but if Raven wanted her client out of prison for now she’d go along with what he had drawn up. “I’ve made a few calls and Jon has presented me evidence in your client’s case. Here’s the deal I can’t get Ronan for the murder of Carla and Steven even if the evidence is stacked against him. Jon and I have agreed that this has to stay between the people in this room for now. I’ve called Judge Kent and he’s agreed.” Braden passed her the papers in disgust. “He gets out his men drive a police car to silently take him back to is estate where he will stay until his minion that is wrecking havoc is brought in is that understood? Now of course we want word to slowly get released that he is out is that clear?”

Raven smirked she knew all along that Ronan was not only innocent but if they took that circumstantial evidence she’d fallet them in open court. As she pushed her hand on her hip she shook her head. She was trained by the best and she never and meant never loss. “You aren’t going to imprison Ronan because you’re hypothetically are afraid of what will happen in the streets. That isn’t my concern and since my client also isn’t a murderer I expect a full apology from the AFPD and DA office or I’ll have a lawsuit on this desk faster than your head can spin.” Raven placed down her briefcase as she unfastened her trench coat. Wearing a Vera Wang navy blue skin tight dress she walked to the bar and poured herself a glass. As she walked to Braden desk she leaned on the desk. “So tell me if you’re letting go of my client that means you’re narrowing down who killed Steven and Carla this is good.”

Jon listened to Braden talk about Miranda no matter what she was his baby sister. As his heart began to pound as he saw Raven entering the room. She made quite an entrance and he knew her and Braden were college friends however he knew Raven was on the other side. Gulping down his drink he looked at Braden smirking she was trying to milk evidence out of them. She was exoitc and had a mystery behind her eyes. He had to wonder if Braden tasted forbidden fruit it was tension between them. Folding his arms he shook his head. “No dice Ms. Raven.”

“Fine keep your evidence to yourself and I’ll say this that I’ve heard all about you Mr. Harrison the noble cop. Honestly I want to tell you both that you both know if you continue to push against Club XES, I’ll press harassment charges against you Mr. Harrison. Stay out of that establishment.” Taking a sip Raven watched Simon getting out she smirked. “Ronan is free and it’s his choice if he goes anywhere you both can’t stop him. Like that failed hit on my client you failed to protect. I have a plethora of evidence to show bias against the AFPD and you Mr. DA. So shake them dice or I’ll make sure that the corruption is deep down in this festering hellhold is exposed.”

“I’d suggest that you take my very generous offer to release your client when you and I both know I’m good enough to get a conviction on planted evidence. Call this a warm up present for when you and I do face off in court. As for the club it’s public property and unless your client is doing illegal things there then I see no reason why Jon can’t go there is there?” Braden said looking at her, she was very gorgeous he could see why in college he thought she was hot a little too wild for him though. Then again maybe if he had with her he wouldn’t of gotten stuck with Tamara he took the glass from her hand and leaned over the table. “You aren’t going to get anything more than I’m giving you today. I do look forward to our next time in court. If you don’t mind I do have something that I’m do need to get home too.”

“I’ll take what I can get said the cat.” Raven looked at them. “But my client is free to move you can’t police a free man Braden. You and I know infringes on his federal rights as a human. So I suggest you get your boys in blue ready Jon because the streets are going to bleed soon. That’s not a threat but a promise. Plus it came from my mouth and not Ronan’s. I don’t like Kendrick he’s the real dick so if you could put him away I’d be happy. So if you need any help legally I’ll like to offer my assistance. On behalf of Mr. Madden.” Grabbing her coat she felt their eyes looking at her. Handing her coat to Jon she felt powerful, he helped her inside of it. As she smirked at Braden. “Call me I hear your marriage is slipping through the cracks which is so horrible. I never cared for Selina.”

Jon smirked watching her walk away. “So you two never?” He laughed folding his hands. “Mmm-hmm. Listen what Selina did sucks but I can’t judge her. Honestly my love for Miranda I’d do anything for my siblings. Maybe you should remember than after all I saw how you almost killed Lex remember Brock, Zach and yourself showing up at Lex’s apartment?” Jon adjusted his jacket as he looked at Braden. “You two are picture perfect fix it Braden.”

Braden stared at Jon and shook his head no he and Raven never didn’t mean he hadn’t thought about it back in the day. What Selina did though was in his opinion entirely different than what happened with his sister and Lex. Selina went to her old lover, behind his back to cut a deal with Jamal on his case. He had nothing to apologize about to his wife if anything she should be apologizing to him about it. The fact she still hadn’t told him it was her who did it just rubbed him even more.

“I gotta go. I’ll keep you updated about Kendrick and Jon let’s just hope this works to at least bring him in.” Braden said putting his coat on shutting the door behind him as Jon walked down the hallway. He turned walking in the opposite direction not looking forward to the rest of his night and wondering if he had made a mistake in marrying Selina in the first place.


Walking outside the doors of the Atlas Falls police department he looked down at his hands which were now free of the cuffs. Who knew that a stabbing would be the best thing that could  ever happen to him. Not to say that he wasn’t upset about it quite the opposite it had been life altering. It also gave him time while he was awaiting the protective release to track down some  information thanks to that mutual friend that helped him. The hit was planned and executed in his own house, and whomever wanted it done better pray that he never found them. Benny was tough but betrayal in his own house was something he couldn’t ignore and the punishment would be much harsher. He looked at the guard as he then looked at the car that was awaiting him and noticed two of his trusted guards dressed as officers and Simon standing next to the car. What was going on?

“Mr. Rutherford?” Ronan said as the men opened the back of the car for him. “What do I owe you this time? Clearly this is not the work of our fine DA?”

Simon kicked the dirt straight off a flight back from London he was tired and it was early at night in Atlas Falls but he was always working. Once the call came in he knew what he had to do what Lowell expected him to do. For now this was a ruse that was meant to rid the filth from the club and the streets. He looked at Ronan and then nodded at the men, Braden was none the wiser and that call that Jon made was what he needed to pull this off. The truth was no one in their right mind thought that Ronan killed Steven and Carla, the evidence was a little too neatly served up on a platter and an attempt on Ronan’s life was the push he and Raven needed for now. This was how it had to be in order for the culprit to come forward.

“Let’s just say a little birdie made a call to my office and in turn I made a call to Raven to ensure that things would be made a little easier. Said birdie informed me that a certain detective at the police department made a call to the DA in order to drop your charges. The DA listened to the council of his trusted friend and here we are.” Simon said looking at him and the car in front of them. He stepped to the side allowing Ronon to see it wasn’t a trick. “Now we are even Mr. Madden. The smoke and the mirrors though of a quiet police escort back to your home which has been locked down must happen. You always want the hound out before you release the fox.”

“Hmm. Odd isn’t it Mr. Rutherford that these are the circumstances we are in isn’t it. The hound out to catch the fox. Even though you know it, the very noble DA know it that I should be still inside that cage he wanted to put me in?” Ronan said looking at Simon and motioning to his men to wait a few moments. He wanted to enjoy the fresh air for a bit before he saw the confines of the car in front of him. “I would assume this birdie would like their identity kept hidden very well though I would like to reward them. I do look forward to doing business with you and Lowell with the casino.”

He had went to say more only for another car to pull up and he expected Raven to be inside only for the door to open and immediate shame hit him. Brooke glared at him and his mind whirled had Raven called her his play needed to be legit meaning Kendrick couldn’t know. A sinking feeling was settling in that he would be the watcher and the observer only going when the opportune moment struck and right now instinct was telling him he and been betrayed by those closest to him. Everything he knew of how Kendrick was behaving at the club was sending off warning bells, ones that he was refusing to believe until now his release at the hands of the prestigious DA as part of a ruse. He could barely open his mouth and when he did speak it was barely above a whisper. “Brooke.”

Her eyes never left his face as she looked at him. When Raven called and said he’d be released she couldn’t believe it. He lied and the mist that covered the entire town seemed to match the breathless moment. Ronan was framed and he knew it. Why would he blatantly lie to her? Why would he make her say all those horrible things to him. As she touched her bracelet charms she looked down. “I’m leaving town after this week. I have a photoshoot in Berlin and I just wanted to tell you how much you meant to me. I umm am so sorry I let my mother and the media make me not believe you. Even worse I’m sorry that we couldn’t trust each other enough to…” Once again the shame made Brooke feel uneasy. The love they felt. How could they just stop? She lowered her head as she wiped her tears. “My father wasn’t a good man. He was tyrant who hurt people but he was my father. He was my mother’s puppet and now I am too because I didn’t go with my gut. I didn’t listen to my heart. I’m just here to say why are you lying? Why ruin something so special to me. I don’t care about my mom. I don’t but I do love you. I thought we were going somewhere God I’m babbling. I just needed to say goodbye because you don’t want me anymore, I guess in the life?”

Brooke held her breath to try and stop crying. Instead she took a deep breath and looked into his eyes. “All you had to do is say you were framed. That my mother, Kendrick, or someone did this to you. You didn’t have to push me away like I meant nothing to you. I love you and I fought my mother for you. I just need to know if this was some sort of game or joke? I love you and I’m hurting.”

“Leaving town so soon for a photoshoot? Or are you running away from me? I did what I had to and you need to understand that.” Ronan said quietly as he saw Simon stepping away and then walking back to his car. He nodded to his men that he needed privacy and they complied. It was still too early for him to be out in the daylight and word could not get back to his enemies. “I did what I had to in order for you not to be a target. I was willing to let you go to keep you safe and a target off your back because my enemies are out to get me and therefore you would be a threat to them.”

“I couldn’t do that even if I wanted to and you have to understand that. I couldn’t risk you or your family being hurt even your bitch of a mother. Do you think that was easy for me. Seeing you yell at me, break and then hate me in one sitting turned me inside out Brooke. I had to weigh my options about what was best for you and my business.” Ronan said softly looking back as Simon’s car pulled out of the parking lot. It was interesting that the DA was playing along for now and the irony of his release was not lost on him. “I’m not out of the woods just yet exactly and you should know that there are things that I belong inside for.”

As he got in the car her entire body shook softly. She missed him and his face was rugged from the time in jail. It looked good on him as she felt a rush in her body. He was protecting her. So much of her life she was powerless to society and what they all wanted for her. For the first time ever she was beginning to do what she wanted to do. As she grabbed his hand she felt the car moving. Lowering her head she kissed his hands as she looked into his eyes. As she slowly leaned in and kissed him as she moved a stray hair from her face. “I just wanted so badly for you to tell me the truth. Don’t ever lie to me like that again and I’m all yours. You hear me I’m all in, and I’m not leaving not now or ever. I don’t have a photoshoot. I was leaving town until I was called by a friend.” Looking back at Simon and Raven inside of his car.

“There is something I can’t fight with. You I can’t fight the need to have you in my life because I’m in love. When you are in love you fight and I was leaving because I didn’t think you loved me. Don’t ever make me feel like this again. Don’t hurt me or push me away. Ronan Madden you are the love of my short life. I feel like I’m drowning in you and I hope you feel the same because enemies or not. I will always feel the safest when I’m in your arms. Don’t push me away because I love you. I love you so much that it hurts so don’t ever make me feel this pain again.” Brooke said as she laid her body on him. “Raven is saying that Kendrick is taking over Club XES and saying he’s the boss. He scares me and I think…” Brooke paused looking in his eyes. “I can’t say it but you need to handle him.”

Ronan pulled her close him and he wasn’t sure if she was shivering because of the cold or if it was something else that was causing her to shake, fear perhaps? He took her hand when she reached for it and then looked at her when she kissed his hand. In reality he could never tell her the whole truth about his business that just wasn’t how he was built. He pulled her head to his shoulder resting it against his as he nodded to his driver to take them back to the house. He hoped this plan of Simon and whomever else was involved would work. He’d be taking back what was his and if that meant Kendrick had to go then that is what it meant. He did hope it wouldn’t come to that and that his intel would prove wrong that his closest friend would never betray him like that.

“I don’t want to fight with you Brooke not tonight. The driver will take us back to the safest place I know. I want you to stay for a few days let us enjoy each other. Love had everything to do with what I had to do inside there Brooke.” Ronan said quietly he couldn’t swear to not hurt her again when his business required him to lie to her, to keep things from her. That was a risk that she had to realize that being with him would be dangerous and risky her heart would never be safe with him. When she confirmed his fears about Kendrick he stiffened a bit and spoke quietly. ‘No more talk about Kendrick tonight Brooke that is something I no longer want you to worry about.”

“I won’t.” She said softly as she kissed him once again for a moment she knew that the love she found was profound. Her heart pounded as she looked at him. “Can we just be with each other. I was ready to take our relationship to the next level last time we were alone. Can we forget this arrest ever happened and get back to that place. I thought about you every night you were away. Even if we might be from different worlds I love you. You have your business and I have mine but we won’t and can’t let life rip us apart again.” Brooke touched his face.

“Plus I have Victoria Secret spread and they sent me all this lingerie I can’t wait to see your face.” Before Brooke knew it she was being consumed with kisses and his breath on her neck. “Wait Mr.” She shrieked playfully as she pushed him back. “Ronan you need to shave and you stinky. You’re all sweaty and have clothes on from last week so you need a real shower. And then I’ll take a shower and then I’ll try on my my itty bitty lace number.”

Ronan had been wanting to devour her right there on the seat the need to be with a woman after being locked up raged inside of him. The lingerie was an added perk seeing her body in it would just be a bonus. When she pulled back and pointed out that he was in the same musty clothes from his arrest and not shaven he agreed. He wanted their first time to be special and he looked at her kissing her softly before pulling back. “Anything you want Brooke.”


Winter was coming and Selina hated this time of year. Her mind flashed back to when Madeline first came to Atlas Falls after Logan’s death. They left to Florida and then they flew to Lowell’s private island in Bahamas. For six months they spent in total isolation away from the world. They really grew as a family and a part of her misses that simple life. A life where she didn’t hurt her best friend Chauncey.  Now all of sudden they were going to war about custody and everything in the middle. Before he cheated on her numerously and exposed his lack of caring for her. Sometimes she wished Chauncey would get her shit together. Her heart jumped looking at a building where she was so welcome now all of the sudden it felt cold. It felt like her stomach was churning as she walked into the elevator. People had changed since she married Braden. It was almost like she had a illness, but some marveled at her. They felt like she was a hero against Lowell and the Devonshire’s in general.

As she slowly walked into the conference room she saw Lowell and Chauncey sitting at the table. Lowell had called them to a meeting about Maddie. When she looked at Lowell he stood while Chauncey stayed seated. Sitting directly across from Chauncey she felt so much pain. As she slowly touched her wedding ring taking it off under the table. As she looked at him she saw rage flowing through him. He was still embarrassed and he never took betrayal. Unfastening her trench coat she looked at Lowell and smiled warmly. When she saw her godfather and those beautiful eyes warmly looking at her she felt hope. “Thank-you for having me. Also working from home has focused me. I think that I have an amazing ideas but I assume work can wait. This is personal.”

Lowell had discussed with Tony a amicable custody agreement. It wasn’t long ago that they were discussing the proper possibilities of having Selina and Chauncey married. They discussed the power of a Devonshire and Delacroix spawn. As he looked at the ice between the two he felt sad. It was one of coldest things he seen when Selina berated and destroyed his son at their wedding then married Braden. As he thought about it he knew Selina was also practically ruined and lost because of the adultery. For a moment all the times he’d slept around and cheated on Jackie came back to haunt him. He wondered if Chauncey would see the dangerous women he was involved with had absorbed his soul. After all he was still loving her deeply so his secrets and past was just that the past.

“You are welcome dear. I just wanted to speak with you both although I don’t understand your choice of time Selina. I do understand your wrath my love.” He looked at Selina. “And I can understand you not wanting to share someone a special as my firstborn granddaughter. Even though my granddaughter has come to me and said she needs Selina. I won’t and I mean I won’t be dealing with a sad granddaughter. She is my world as much as yours so Chauncey and Selina you will come together. You made Selina her mother by staying out all night and letting this woman raise her. You however don’t a legal bone to stand on. Now I’m telling you both to work this out and I’ll play mediator.”

Chauncey knew that it was too his advantage to appear amicable with Selina something that the lawyers had advised him. She had no real legal claim to Maddie and her little stunt of getting him to sign was ludicrous at best. He was willing to let her stay in Maddie’s life though as a surrogate mother that was what Maddie wanted, legally though he would never risk Selina getting her hands on Maddie though. Chauncey nearly wanted to laugh at his father did he really think that Walter would be so accommodating given recent events? He leaned back in his chair staring blankly at her she would get what she deserved at the end of the day just like his father patience was key as Greer had always told him.

“I do wonder father will you be so cool as a cucumber when Walter comes knocking down the line, you’ve never been one to want to share your grandchildren. Selina and I did have quite the discussion earlier today didn’t we about how she doesn’t really want to see us in court.” Chauncey said looking between them and adjusting his tie as he got up from his chair to look out the window. He had at one point cared for Selina and she had been a part of Maddie’s life since she came home after Logan died, that would be all she would get. “I know that right now you can’t see it father but you’re making mistakes left and right at the company inviting Selina here. Seeing how Bliss is a product of you fucking Tess don’t lecture me about raising my daughter. That being said I’m willing to negotiate with you Selina because it is in Maddie’s best interest. Are you willing to hear my terms or are you going to pretend to have some legal standing on the matter?”

“Watch your mouth Chauncey my choices have made you a very spoiled and rich and entitled prince of your own throne. My legacy will be forever the rivalry you can’t win so watch it because as powerful as you believe yourself son, you are only a son. Not the the CEO and with wave of my hand you’ll never work in this building again. Don’t bring up my infidelities when you couldn’t keep it in the pants to join our families so negotiation were never not an a option. I suggest you don’t stunt your growth in this company with you believing yourself to be bigger than you are. I do believe that Jackson is amazing me more and more.” As he folded his arms looking at Selina and his son.

Lowell saw Chauncey expression change when he saw the mediation wasn’t in his control at all. This was press and as they say tis the season for brotherly love. “I’m here to assure Selina and Maddie are able to spend as much time as they need together. Your choices as a man has embarrassed our company and our family. The humiliation Selina was a little uncalled for however don’t believe I’m on your side. I’m informing you that whatever stipulations my son’s twisted mind has thought of you are agree.” Lowell said in a dark tone.

“Fine tell me what do you want? If I can’t bring her around the family I want to build and the family that I’m now apart of. You know her and Dylan are best friends and he protects her. You have to be understanding I’m done with us. Her though I’ll never be done. The bond two girls who lost their mothers at a young age. I love her and I hope we can get it together. I hope we can be friends again.” Selina said sadly as she touched his hand. “I miss our friendship.”

Chauncey nearly let out a laugh at his father a legacy that he couldn’t win was the man insane soon he would fall this was just phase one. Fall into line like the good little boy that his father expected him only Greer would take care of the rest with him take out Selina and then vote his father out of the company. Neither of them needed to know that just yet as he stared coldly at them at least his father had his back as far as Maddie was concerned he wasn’t selling him out to Selina for that. When she reached out for his hand he grabbed it forcefully seeing the fear on her face before letting it go.

“You can still be a part of her life just not legally, we’ll agree to every other week for now. You’ll have her in your life till I remarry and then you will hand over the role of mother to the woman of my choosing. It’s a generous offer Selina one that a judge would never give you. Of course you’ll remain her confident and close friend but once I remarry she will adjust to life in my new home and marriage.” Chauncey said he looked at his father he was not backing down on this. Selina could play mother as long as she wanted but he wanted that role of step-mother to go to his new wife. “Don’t look so shocked or sad Selina I’m sure Fraiser is itching to give you a family that is unless he has heard how you threw him under the bus recently too? It’s what you’re good at backstabbing the men you love.”

Her entire face flushed with rage. That was a joke a joke she would tell Madeline about. She knew exactly what this was. It was the first squeeze around her neck. She’d seen them do it many times. They have something she wanted which was Maddie and they’d get to manipulate her. Something she knew Lowell and Chauncey are masters at. She spent ten years with Chauncey she knew him inside and out and no matter what he said she knew. She knew that his revenge tour had just began. His ego was fragile and part of the reason she did it public she wanted him to feel the shame and embarrassment. Now she was sure that Chauncey was going to get exactly what he wanted. To phase her out of Maddie’s life and eventually DGI. He could have DGI but Maddie never.

“Fine but I assure you replacing me isn’t an option. Maddie is fourteen next year in February it’s not going to work. You aren’t just going to place Greer or whomever you find to make your magical connection with you monster. I’m not or pressed but I assure you that you’re going to feel my wrath if you try and remove my daughter from me.” As she grabbed her coat she looked at him. “I expect her tomorrow. It is a weekend correct?”

As Lowell watched the tension between them he nodded at Selina. He slowly looked at his son and saw calculation all over his face. No matter what he felt a searing ache inside of him due to his son. His eldest and his pride and joy. Chauncey was the first Devonshire heir and he’d always brought him so much happiness throughout the years. His son was amazing but he was also greedy. Before Lowell knew it his leg started to shake without his control. “I will be seeing you in the office tomorrow you have meeting Selina and Chauncey will you stay behind and speak with me.” Placing his hand on his leg Lowell looked at his son praying he wasn’t noticing his chair wouldn’t stay still.

Selina looked at Lowell who looked angry and was he shaking she shot Chauncey a look. However he was so into his win that he wouldn’t look at her. Uncle Lowell was shaking what was going on. As she walked to the door she turned around. “Tomorrow meet me at TJ’s I’ll have June whip up us these crapes she loves and um please join us Chauncey. I think we need a better chance of being civil. My legal documents are still valid don’t make me use them.” She turned away quickly storming off. Stopping the nagging feeling was eating at her. Pulling out her cellphone. “Hello, I know I haven’t spoken to you in a moment Aunt Jackie I do believe we need a day together. I miss you and umm I need to see us.”

Chauncey beamed at his win for today a game set and match for round one. Fourteen or fifteen it didn’t matter to him down the line Maddie would be with the family of his choosing. He glared at her as she got up trying to play hardball her little papers would never hold up in front of a judge and they both knew it, it was why she agreed so quickly. He looked out the window refusing to watch her leave and caught his father out of the corner of his eyes his chair shaking just slightly probably from disappointment. “I’ll drop her off tomorrow at TJ’s unfortunately I won’t be attending your reunion.”

Once he was sure she had left the office he turned his chair around to his father watching him and he was now going to make his move. He wanted his father to prove it prove that he was the future of DGI that he was the son that was chosen and the perfect test washere. He leaned forward in his chair looking at his father. “Father is everything alright?” He said of course he was concerned was it too much stress at DGI? If so it was the ample reason to push him out. “I’ve played nice with Selina far too long. You keep going on about your legacy and how it should be mine and I want you to prove it.”

Lowell’s leg had stopped shaking as he looked at Chauncey. “You’ve been foolish and your choices and majesty of it all is that you believe you are the heir. Your arrogance and childish demands disgust me. You aren’t ready and the cruelty of it all is I was depending on you. You never have disappointed me more than this demand. Greer is a whore and you’re supposed to be the pillar the strong one. Your addiction is women my boy and each woman you take into your arms destroys you.” Lowell stood feeling so weak and tired. Seeing Chauncey’s vitality and youth made him feel even more exhausted. As he looked at his boy his heart skipped a beat. Touching Chauncey shoulder as he bit his lip. “You are my most prized possession but you aren’t ready. I doubt any of you are. My retirement is now on a indefinite hold.”

Lowell walked out and knew that they saw him. He knew that his goddaughter saw his leg shaking. His heart felt swollen in his chest. He was beginning to feel the pressure the drugs were taking on his body. As he held onto the wall Lowell walked out. Soon his body would betray him. His mind trapped in a body that wouldn’t do what he needed. “I’m not ready.” Looking at memorial of the saints he touched it. “You hear me, you son of a bitch it’s not my time.” He growled with veracity as he stumbled into his office.

Chauncey looked at his father berating him about his bedroom choices it seemed a bit hypocritical given Tess and the rumors of the others. What did worry him was the shaking, he knew stress could cause that and perhaps now wasn’t the best time to plot to destroy the company and take over. His heart tightened just a bit as he looked at his father’s portrait in the conference room, DGI had been the heart of the family since he stole that program from Walter that made them rich. His fingers tapped on the table before taking out his cellphone and promptly texting his mother.

Something is going on with Dad.

Not expecting an answer from her seeing how he was still on the outs with her since the wedding he leaned back in his chair. He would get what was owed to him that CEO seat even if it meant taking out the fragile old man.


Cassie pulled her coat just a little tighter as the wind whipped around her a nice warm cup of coffee was just what she needed since work wasn’t an option. All the hard work she and Philip put into the club had quickly gone south. It wasn’t safe for any of them to be there anymore and then she made the choice to draw up paperwork to send over to Thor and Ronan to sell her shares she wanted out. Her father had set her up nicely that if she wanted out she could go to work for him and that was her only choice now, a choice that she was willing to make. Opening the door as the warm air of the shop hit her she smiled at June behind the counter and then froze in her tracks at Jon sitting at the counter with Skye next to him. She looked back at the door to leave only for June to call out to her.

“Cassie so good to see you.”

Knowing it would be rude to leave without at least saying hello back she turned around and smiled at June, trying not to glare at Jon. Skye was looking smug as shit at her and her blood tried not to boil. Yes she had pushed things aside with Jon but it was only so she wouldn’t be tied to the club anymore and to get her headset on straight. “It is so lovely to see you June. I was just coming in for a cup but then I remembered I really do have somewhere else I have to be. I hope you and Richard have been doing well.” She said June was looking between her and Jon and she attempted to be cordial. “Jon.”

Jon felt the urge to run as fast as he could. How couldn’t he? He had embarrassed himself thinking that Cassie and he was more. One thing he knew for certain was this was awkward. Did she purposely come here to get under his skin? The truth was that he needed to at least close the door on Cassie before he jumped into anything serious with Skye. Taking a big gulp of coffee he smiled warmly at her. Her hair was perfect and she had her signature icy expression on. Jon gut felt a true burning, were they supposed to be together? As he leaned on the counter he waved at his mother so she didn’t have to pay. Cassie smelled so good as he smiled at her, moving a stray hair from her face he finally knew staring wasn’t enough.

“Hey.” Running his hand through his hair he noticed that he needed a cut. “Look I have been meaning to speak with you. I just need to know Cassie where did we go wrong? I don’t want to make the same mistakes twice. I know you and Thor are done. So I guess my question is simple, what could I have done to kept you? Man you always have to be the one who got away. I don’t know Cassandra I missed having a spontaneous friend like you around. Even if we don’t be lovers I hope that I have a friend in you.” Jon leaned in taking her scent in. Damn she always smelled wonderful.

“I’m sure you have.” Cassie said her eyes burning into him while Skye glared at her. She wasn’t an idiot it was clear that something had happened with Jon and Skye again and she knew she had no right to be upset about it. It wasn’t like she and Jon were a thing or anything but she couldn’t help herself with it either. “You didn’t do anything wrong clearly you had better things to do. If you really wanted to know I was pulling out of the club to then call you. I knew that being in that position would hurt your career and your cases if we were to become involved. I am sure most of the women you’ve bedded become your spontaneous friends.”

Cassie pulled back from him as she saw Skye walking towards them looking at him icily for a moment he was still charming but she wasn’t an idiot either. Skye had been like a cat in heat since she came back trying to bag her men back into her bed. She honestly didn’t think Jon would jump so fast then again she had seen what she did at the wedding. “You’re a good man Jon. Kind, caring that is rare but if you wanted to just fuck her you should have just said so.” Cassie said looking at him and his mouth hanging open.

Skye pushed some of her hair behind her ear moving from the booth she was in. Ignoring June’s glares it had been bold to come here with Jon she knew that. June and the rest of his family despised her, ever since the times she and Jon shared before. The look on his mother’s face when he brought her here though was worth it times ten. It was worth the pictures she took for Simon of Jon’s case wall to get Lowell off her back. Jon of course never had to know about that and he never would, add it to a list of her sins she was going to keep from Jon. Seeing Cassie about ready to puke though at the thought of Jon fucking her she leaned into Jon kissing him on the lips, disappointed when he didn’t respond and then smiled at Cassie.

“How are you Cassie club life treating you well? Jon and I talked about you quite a bit the other night didn’t we babe? Then again I don’t know if you’d consider him ravaging me against his wall talking.” Skye smiled as smug as she could at Cassie as she watched Jon glare at her as if he was going to pick between them again. Did Cassie really think she had stood a chance? She and Jon had history together. Not to mention like the bitch pointed out everyone knew that Philip was in with Ronan and the drugs in the club and that Cassie had been linked to Thor for years. “How is Thor? It was so nice talking to him the other night.”

“Skye!” Jon said with a aggressive tone. How could she just be so vulgar and nothing was to gain from it. She had won after all and here she was gloating. As he folded his arms he knew that Skye was pissed and Cassie was. Turning his head June was watching as if it was a episode of her favorite soap. Leaning against the counter he knew this could get ugly. “I was speaking to Cassie and I really don’t have time to entertain your petty ass drama. So if you want to keep me I suggest you eat a scone.” Jon growled as he saw Cassie getting satisfaction on his nastiness. “Please just can I speak with a friend. That’s all we are now.” Jon said with a silence looming over the air. Constantly he was craving what the other gave him.

When Skye walked away he looked at Cassie. “Is Thor back in your life? I have a lot of mistakes in my life but to be with that guy. It sick because of Kendrick is seizing control over the club. I feel for the most part you deserve so much more. As I’m look at you. I miss you so much but I know that Skye and I. This is just complex and I really care about you. I know that what I have to offer you. You’re special and I just suck at being a boyfriend or a guy friend or whatever we were. I had to fix this. I have to close this chapter because it’s been open. I know you can understand that considering Thor was a big part of whatever we have. Just give me time to close this door and I want to explore whatever we had or have.” He said looking over at Skye.

“I don’t really see how that is any of your business but no we’re not together in that way anymore he knows where I stand on the matter. I turned over the club shares this morning not like that matters now. I’m sure whatever you have with Skye is complex Jon just like it was when I saw you both at the wedding.” Cassie hissed her voice low when Skye smirked before walking away. Jon’s words felt very flat at the moment if she was so special why did he jump back into whatever Skye was offering him again? It was like her mother used to say men lied, it was what they were good at to get what they wanted. She heard his cell phone ring and looked at him. “You should probably get that.”

Cassie saw him look at the caller id before walking out of the cafe to take the call it was probably work. She then laid down some money to cover the coffee catching an eye from June turning around she faced Skye who had made her way back over to her. Did she really not take a hint? Taking a sip of the coffee she looked at Skye. “Can I help you?”

Skye ignored June’s glare she was not some little puppet that Jon got to pull strings on, she refused to do that for him. Especially when it came to another woman, she and Jon had history that had to matter more than some enchantment with another debutant bitch. She moved some hair out of her face while she glared at Cassie. “Actually you can. Did you not just hear Jon he’s with me now. He really has no need for you in his life. I can warm his bed this is what he wants not you.”

“What he wants? Are you so sure about that? Last I checked it was me he was chasing after trying to get in my bed. Before you popped back up out of the blue sweetheart he was screwing me in that cabin his parents own.” Cassie said watching the satisfaction purge from Skye’s face so Jon had never took her there. Meaning Skye was a fuck buddy to him and at that she couldn’t help but laugh. “Wait you thought it was real this time? You were panting after Jackson first and then because Jon fucked you, you suddenly think you’re who he wants? Newsflash no one wants you.”

Skye could feel her entire body shaking in rage at the implication that she wasn’t wanted anywhere let alone with Jon. Did this bitch have any idea what it meant to grow up alone without parents? Skye knew better than to lash out with June there and it took everything in her body to not reach out and slap the shit out of her. “Sort of like you are. Didn’t your mother put a gun to her head or some shit to escape your father?”

Cassie’s hand came up and she saw Jon enter the cafe again, she didn’t think twice about striking Skye on the face leaning in when she saw the shock on the faces. “Go find a line and snort it. That is what you are good at you ever mention my mother again they’ll never find your washed up corpse.”

Cassie felt Jon pulling her back and broke free of him glaring at him and fighting back tears he wanted trash at the moment he could have her. “I have to go Jon enjoy the trash you brought in.”

Stepping back she saw Skye watching wondering if Jon would chase after her and in her mind if he was smart he would stay with Skye because after that she had no desire to be embarrassed by him further with Skye.

Jon saw his mother eyes gleaming at Skye. His stomach was dropped as Cassie slapped Skye it was warranted. When she broke free from him all he felt was animosity. He just wished things could be different. She closed down on him but he was the ass all of the sudden he was bad. His heart swelled he just had to figure out where he wanted to be. From the look in his mother eyes he saw nothing but contempt for Skye but a clear affection for Cassie.

“Skye I’ll be dropping you off soon I have to go into the station. Can you go start up the car.” He tossed her the keys. “Cassie I’m so sorry that she disrespect your mother like that. Just understand that I will be here if you need anything.” Jon walked out of the bakery to the street.


Rory had been calling Yasmine non stop since the run in with his father, she was still hanging around Kendrick and that upset him. Eventually he made the decision to head into the club so she would talk to him and he could haul her out of there. Pulling his car up to the parking lot he looked around it was a busy night and then noticed the extra guards at the door and a chill went up his spine. Philip had security but it was normally just a few burly men at the ropes, he never had men armed with handguns frisking people down at the door it wasn’t needed. He debated about not going in but he knew that he wasn’t a coward at the end of it all he’d prove his dad wrong about all of it. Looking down at his phone he saw the text, fucking bitch. That was something he was not going to repeat.

Exiting the car he made his way towards the door, the wool coat keeping the chill out once he reached the door one of the goons looked at him before turning him around and frisking him. What did they expect to find a wire, a gun where these morons for real? He had enough cash to pay their salary for a lifetime if they weren’t dumb thugs that Kendrick was hiring to do his dirty work. When they turned him around he moved to go into the door only for the bigger one to shove him backwards. He tried again only to be denied again when the other man got between them.

“Not tonight Devonshire we got orders. You want some pussy go to a street corner and get it like the rest of us.” The man said a sick grin on his face and Rory swore it only made him more enraged as he went for the door again only to be punched in the gut.

“Let me in you assholes. I have money in fact I want to see Philip.” He managed to gasp out, recovering from the punch he looked up at them. Both of them looked like they wanted to beat him within an inch of his life if not more and when he got up the man that spoke to him hit him again.

“Philip ain’t in charge anymore boy.” For good measure the other one stepped forward kicking him in his side and Rory grabbed at it what the fuck was going on.


It was a voice that Rory would recognize anywhere and it sent a chill down his spine. He looked up spitting on the ground as the two men hauled him to his feet and he looked at Kendrick. He tried to shove them off him but they only held on tighter as he looked at Kendrick smoking a blunt in front of him eyeing him.

“I thought I warned you Devonshire your kind ain’t welcome here anymore and Philip is indisposed at the moment. Well not yet anyway. Since there isn’t anyone here you should be after I think you should head back to your side of town shouldn’t you?” Kendrick asked blowing the smoke in Rory’s face seeing the disgust and he let out a laugh. “Aw little man can’t even do weed. Too bad your brother he likes the hard stuff good customer doesn’t mind who he fucks here for extra.”

“Get your hands off me.” Rory ground out a the men who only seemed to hold onto his arms tighter as Kendrick gloated him. The implications clear that Kendrick had every intention of killing people as needed. Was Yasmine on that list too, she was so connected to him not just personally but on the business front. Gritting his teeth Rory tried to keep calm. “I want to see Yasmine now you asshole.”

He tried to lunge towards the door only for Kendrick to step towards him and grab him by the throat. His entire body stiffened with fear as he felt the breath being squeezed out of him. He felt Kendrick let go and took a breath the man was fucking crazy that was an understatement as far as he was concerned. “You don’t care about her you just like her up there shaking her ass for profit and dealing on the side. One day she’s going to walk out of there you hear me?” He couldn’t help it as his voice raised in frustration. “As for my brother too bad he;s bad for your business now isn’t it, go con some other rich mother fucker to snort your shit. Now let me in!”

Kendrick couldn’t help the laugh that came out did the boy really think his pleas would help him get inside the club again? It was honorable if he didn’t understand how the world was working now. Now he was in charge and he had to keep his word to the men inside Yasmine had made her choice and was here as agreed. That choice included getting back up on a stage and making him some money and then a run in a few days.

“Maybe I do maybe I don’t care about her that’s not your concern anymore Devonshire and if I were you I’d take the advice and run. Forget about the girl from the other side that you’re trying to fuck to piss daddy off and leave. Boys please show Mr. Devonshire back to his car and make sure he leaves.”

Rory tried to struggle against the two men digging his feet into the parking lot as they began making their way back to his car. He felt like the air was being sucked out of him, what was going on why couldn’t he see Yasmine? Why wasn’t she returning his calls? He gave up on the struggle the moment he felt steel in his side and he was sure that it was a gun in his rib. He’d never seen weapons in the club before sure they had some muscle there but guns. He froze putting up his hands as he reached for his car door. Looking at the men he could swear he saw a flash of fear maybe regret before he opened the door and got inside.

He watched the men back up and clutched the side of his ribs he could already feel them bruising and he knew it could be much worse. His mind was racing about what to do now Yasmine was still inside Kendrick had gone off the deep end obviously. He could feel the anxiety run through his body but he also remembered that Yasmine said she had a plan if he called the police that would set off Kendrick more even to the point that, he stopped himself from that thought. That Kendrick would be crazy enough to kill her, he felt his phone buzz and looked down hoping it was Yasmine. His stomach turned at Tess’s message no one could know and no one ever would before he pulled out of the parking lot.

Kendrick watched from the window inside the club the music blaring in the background as the women worked the poles, as the drugs began flowing on the floor. Yasmine never had to know that rich lover boy came by to see her, she would be none the wiser. Taking his gun out he pressed it against the glass following Rory’s car pretending to fire a round. If Devonshire knew what was good for him he would stay the fuck away from the club and his business. He would forget that Yasmine even existed it was simple as that. Leaning back in the plush seat he took the blunt  to his lips again taking a nice long drag. Right now he was on top and nothing and no one was going to get in the way of that shit, especially not some rich ass mother fucker taking away his best asset in dealing his shit in the club.


Jamal yawned as he sat up in bed. Now that his parents heard his reasoning for all his stupid moves. He was convinced that he could wheel and deal his family out of danger. He hadn’t told the FBI that Ronan killed that man in front of him. That information could bury Ronan and Kendrick and if he used that along with the remaining drugs. Well his mom and dad could finally be safe after all they deserved it. He had put them through so much. Hell everyone but Mason had. It was detrimental that he cleaned some of his own mess up. Biting his lip Jamal mind started to work double time. A plan started to devise a quick plan as a way to get to see Kendrick in such a public place he would not dare kill him. Jamal smiled broadly. It was the bank he knew the inner workings and safest place to confront Kendrick.

Jamal needed one night alone on the streets. That’s all he wanted was a little freedom and assurance for his parents and siblings. The cops switched their detail but being in the streets had it’s perks. He knew that O’Bannon and Smith were banging the hookers told them that. They always took longer which gave him thirty minutes to sneak past them. His SUV was still parked at the condo once he had that he could make all the moves he needed. Pulling out his phone he texted Yasmine.

8:35- Can you meet me? I got something for Kendrick?

8:36- You snitching it’s all over the streets. You vanish after you exposed bro? Kendrick going to kill you don’t text me again.

8:37- I have enough drugs left to make at least a million quick. Also I have a trump card to get us both out. Now either help me or I’ll find a way to do it myself. Getting me out. ME.

8:37- What you got?

8:37- It’s yes or no Yasmine.

8:38- Fine I’ll broker the deal.

Jamal pushed his phone down in his pocket as he rushed to window. Just like the hookers in Scottswood said the two cops were fucking like rabbits. Looking down at his attire and shook his head. He didn’t have to put on a show he was who he was. Grabbing his sneakers something his parents wouldn’t let him wear unless he was playing basketball or sports. He put on his Jordan’s. Today was he going to be his greatest play ever and his most risky. Climbing down off the ledge he jumped down and quickly ran down the street. Rushing as if he was going down the court. He hopped over the gate with a couple swift motions. Now this was the hard part. O’Bannon would be leaving and if he saw him this shit was toast. So running through the woods was the best option. He jetted as he felt a rush to get into the action one last time.

Ophelia got inside the house after seeing the agent at the door she would be glad when this was all over when they could put everything behind them as a family. When Jamal was safe again, when Kendrick was behind bars and when she and Tony could sleep easy again. It was nice still being civil to Tony now even though there was still baggage between them they both had proved they could put that aside for their family and their son. It was a calm she had been working towards for years really that fine balance of peace.

Placing her bag from the hospital down on the couch she would go over all her notes tonight it was a long day in labor and delivery not to mention all her regular appointments. A bright spot in her recent weeks seeing patients happy, except the rare occasion when something went wrong. Luckily for all of them that didn’t happen today, no today was a good day. She made her way to the kitchen pulling out a wine glass and opening a new bottle. Pouring the red liquid into the glass she walked up the stairs seeing Jamal’s light on in the room he had picked. Some would say she was overprotective moving up here to the safehouse with him. She however was not taking any chances after everything they had found out about Ronan and the ties Jamal had made.

Returning back downstairs she settled on the files while pulling out the leftover chinese that was in the fridge. Engorging herself in patient files by the time she looked up and at the clock she rolled her shoulders it had been a few hours. Jamal still hadn’t come downstairs and she wondered if perhaps his music was too loud, he always had those headphones in sometimes. Grabbing the glass of wine she walked back up the stairs stopping outside his room and knocking. Waiting a few moments she tried again when there was again no answer. Which for her was alarming he had been good about answering. Instead she opened the door to find an empty room. Her heart began to race just a little faster and then realizing that she was panicking and she had good reason where was he? She couldn’t call the police to get the person at the door everything would be gone if she did.

Tony was the only one she could talk to about this but seeing how angry he had gotten at their son before she wasn’t sure she should call it could cause even more problems. Looking around the room she felt a chill overcome her maybe he had went outside for a walk or something. Sitting on the couch she grabbed her phone texting Jamal.

Jamal it’s ma where are you?

She waited a few moments hoping to see those dots saying he was writing back only nothing. Taking a deep breath she texted him again.

You know you are supposed to be here at the house I need to know where you are.

She took a drink of her wine not knowing where Jamal was it was killing her inside. She waited a few moments to then do what she was dreading in calling Tony. They could keep it between them for now what was going on with Jamal or at least she hoped he would, dialing his number she waited. She heard him pick up and then spoke.

“Tony it’s me thank you for picking up. Jamal is not here.” She said her voice shaking when she heard him ask about if she had any idea where he was she bit her lip. Fighting back the tears and the fear that was overcoming her. “No I don’t know where he is. He is supposed to be here and that is it. I can get the FBI in here but Tony then that would negate his deal. I’m scared what if he does something stupid.”

She closed her eyes and nodded her head when he said that he was coming as soon as he could from the restaurant. He was also right they couldn’t tell the police or the FBI perhaps Jamal had stepped out for some fresh air he would be back. Bringing the glass to her lips her hands were shaking a she felt a few tears slipping out. “Ok I’ll wait here for you.”


Dani brought a box down the stairs and staring at the inside of the contents she had been serious about it. Looking back on their fight she was an emotional wreck something she couldn’t a afford now and after a few hours at Zach’s she’d managed to pull herself together and ask him to drop her back off at the empty townhouse. That was when reality set in, he left, he’d made it clear they were done and if Jackson Devonshire thought she’d chase after him after what he accused her of he didn’t know her at all. She’d been wrong to lie to him but it was never intentionally done to hurt him, it was so she could protect herself. She sat the box down by the door one stupid box was all she had packed in the two hours she’d been alone and even then it was stuff she thought was dumb his stupid office crap. She couldn’t bear to pack up his clothes and other stuff yet, it made it too real.

She felt her phone buzz again for the fifth time that hour and went to the kitchen to drink some of the chamomile tea she had made. The hard stuff was out of the question now obviously, picking up the phone she looked at the text from Whitney. Lex hadn’t leaked anything to the papers and she bit back tears about the are you okay question? How many times today had she had to answer that one? Enough that until she had to face her parents in a few hours she was done answering it, she wasn’t alright and she wasn’t sure she would be again. Taking a sip of the warm liquid she then heard a knock on her door and she went to answer it, stopping to look at her appearance in the mirror. A rats nest of bun, she’d done a crap job of hiding that she looked like crap as she felt the sting of fresh tears. Taking a breath she looked at the lock that she hadn’t replaced. Pulling it slightly opened partly relieved it wasn’t Jackson as she looked between Talia and Bliss.

“Now’s not a good time alright?” She said looking at them both. She was tired from being hounded all day from the press, from the tears she couldn’t stop.

“Bitch now is the best time.” Talia said brushing past Dani. “First of all you kept us waiting for the better part of two hours. Dani you have to get out of this hell. The press is hounding you because you haven’t been seen.” Walking to the television she turned it on and Jackson was on the TV buying baby gifts. “Look you two are on the outs but that guy doesn’t scream I’m done. He’s buying gifts and I happened to know that that light blue bag is Tiffany’s. I sniff jewels and expensive labels out like a bloodhound. Come on you deserve a day where you aren’t crying over Jackson and celebrating! OMG my sorority sister and roommate from college is having a baby and if you weren’t preggo I’d pop a bottle. But you are and I’m so for it because that baby is a sign. It’s a sign in the grand universe and I know that it sucks. What he said sucks but you are Dani and you tamed the druggie bad boy who couldn’t get it together because of his twisted family.” As she looked at Bliss. “Sorry you hid a baby for the better part of a year, Rory is dating a stripper, and Max is a whore. So get dressed and I have a cute maternity dress with a bow. And chunky sling backs.”

Bliss looked at Talia and shook her head. “You really suck at cheering up. For such a chipper person you suck.” Bliss walked to Dani and held her as she was crying watching Talia go to the fridge. “Now you are eating.” She sat Dani down as she looked at her friend. “Listen Dani he’s sick. He’s so sick without you. He’s walking around the mansion and he has the cutest big brother mopey look.”

“Oh you are so much better at this.” Talia said eating a strawberry.

“Shut up Talia. My brother loves you and you two fought but as far as I know you two have been fighting since the moment you dated or hooked up. So I’m telling you to put on that garish outfit and let’s go. You aren’t bad because of your past. You suck if you just give up. Mother to mother I can say your child’s father loves you.” When Dani looked confused she opened her purse eyeing Talia. “This is Foxworth Kavanaugh my son and I know that this is confusing. I hope you aren’t mad but I had to come here to save him from my husband. Soon to be ex-husband. I’m a victim of domestic violence and a brutal dictator. I ran and you love have amazing guy who happened to be a jerk right now. He loves you and I want you two to figure it out.” Slowly touching Dani hand. “It’s long complex story but if I had a Jackson, I’d still have Fox.” Touching the pendant on her neck opening the locket as she showed her Fox. “Figure it out because love is rare.”

Dani followed Talia and Bliss back inside and when Talia turned the TV on she felt like crying to have Bliss hug her, hormones. Once Bliss pulled back though and she sat at the table she turned the TV off. She folded her arms looking at them both, she was stubborn on this he was the one that behaved like an asshole. She looked at Talia and then at Bliss everyone was so sure what she was going to do. “Who says I’m keeping it? If you ask your brother I’m a bitch that’s been out to intentionally not keep it. Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been accused of that now would it?” Dani said taking a breath and she looked at Talia’s mouth drop open. “For the record I didn’t tell him about what happened with Lex because I didn’t want to relive that shit again. Like a baby with Lex was supposed to make him cheating on me with a whore go away, when all it did was make me feel trapped with him. So yes when it happened when I lost the baby with Lex the only thing I felt was freedom finally. Not like he cared he wasn’t even there when it happened he was with his whore.”

“I should have told Jackson but I’m not going to force him to stay with me because of the baby. Which I am keeping so everyone can stop asking me that.” Rubbing her temple she looked at Bliss and couldn’t imagine what that was like to just leave your child behind. She looked at the picture of Fox and then looked out the window seeing her mother texting her. “I love your brother that is so not the problem right now. I stood by him when he used again, I gave him another chance and the moment he finds out something that was none of the press’s business to spill anyway he ran told me we were done to him. I screwed up by not telling him but he didn’t even stick around to hear me out, acted like I meant nothing to him anymore. I didn’t know about Fox. You should have told me or hell anyone especially your family. He looks like you. Does Hunter know?”

“Yes Hunter knows but that isn’t what we have to talk about. I know he was a ass but you did hide something major about your past. Look there bad guys and there are jerks. We know that Jackson is a jerk, can be a ass, and is selfish. He took it wrong and if you just mope then you deserve to lose a good man. And if he doesn’t apologize to you then he doesn’t deserve you.” She said confidently as she looked at Dani. “I will explain everything about Fox soon and how this is true. I want to focus on my niece or nephew in the oven. Not only that my girlfriend is clearly in pain. So I want to enjoy a day celebrating that baby because with the Fraiser’s and Devonshire clans joining war is coming. Hell winter is coming so we aren’t about to have many easy nights. So let’s enjoy a shopping spree and being fab. You looking fresh and beautiful is exactly what you need. Maybe a chic haircut a manicure and pedi!” Bliss encouraged as she sat on a barstool.

Talia nodded looking at Dani’s hair she nodded. “God you look greasy and considering Lowell is seriously looking to make you two the face and flip this. So your job is on the line with this reunion of the fabled Atlas Falls own Romeo and Juliet complete with the handcuffs. Honey this is major Jackson and you two are becoming a brand. Like romances that the media invest in isn’t easy you know that. However you two popping up all preggo well that’s gold and you are well like it or not a face of DGI now. Honey Jackson is keeping up appearances it’s time you do the same.”

“That’s another thing… “ Bliss bit her lip. “Natasha is here in Atlas Falls and I do think that she’s staying for a while. SandStar is her family company you think they wouldn’t have had a hand in this is foolish. We need you and Jackson on top game or Chauncey will pounce. I do recall my eldest brother stating that he’d destroy me when I first came. If he controls DGI well I’d barf.”

Dani gripped the mug in her hands she got that Bliss wasn’t going to spill about Fox and then she had to wonder who all knew about him. Would that be another lie she’d have to not tell Jackson about even though it wasn’t her place to tell him. She looked at the clock she had a few hours before she still had to be at her brother’s. She was not cutting her hair and she raised an eyebrow at the handcuff part did Talia mean figuratively or Jesus what next their sex life all over the papers too? She felt her back stiffen at the Natasha part, she didn’t trust her but she wasn’t going to just fall into some line either. She’s worked so hard at DGI to prove she belonged there almost to take it back for her family in some crazy way.

“And what if he never apologizes, what if this just sets him back to chasing strippers in Philip’s stupid club or Skye? I feel like I already lost him, maybe it’s the hormones talking but I really screwed up this time. I had it all planned out after the big news conference telling him and now it’s just ruined.” Dani said quietly looking at them both taking a drink of the tea and then reaching for a strawberry. She took a few breaths to compose herself knowing the stress wasn’t the best thing. “I need time to process Talia at least a few days, hold off the press till then please, lie to them tell them I’m sick or something. I still haven’t even faced my parents yet. I certainly didn’t plan on telling them alone.”

“The media has jumped out at you.” Talia said taking Dani hand. “Even if you and Jackson don’t get back together you are carrying a billion dollar baby in your womb. You have to know that you have to be seen. Plus a haircut isn’t a bad idea honey you are a face of Devonshire’s now. One of the many reason you were given that cushy but earned VP position. So honey no matter what you want we need to feed the beast. So how about this.” Talia said walking to the curtains closing them. “We are going to get you ready for the big day. You tell Walt and Lauren Jackson is at a meeting you don’t explain shit else. You’re a publicist you know how to do that.” She said with a low hush. “Being seen with myself and Bliss it’s good move. You’ll pretend to be happy and.” She saw her friends concerned expression. “Dani you are a celebrity now and I know that wasn’t what you wanted but you are the face of DGI.”

Bliss saw Talia was looking out for her job and no doubt this had to be another test from daddy. To see if Talia could push them into a happy couple. “I’m not saying go out there and declare your love. Just tell the world you are sunny and happy even if you don’t feel it. Honey we aren’t going to love you no less if you say no. I however know daddy won’t be happy with Talia and I frolicing without you.”

Dani knew that for now she couldn’t win and finished her tea. Talia would drag her out kicking and screaming she really didn’t care about Lowell. Half the time he annoyed her just as much as her own father, but she also didn’t want him to lash out at Jackson right now due to shit with them either. “I’ll go shower and then we can go.” She didn’t bother to say anything else to them as she walked up the stairs not sure if she could fake a smile, she was over that shit when she did it with Lex.

Talia flipped her hair looking at Bliss as she slowly sipped her tea. “Look she has to go out there she’s a public figure. You’re a Devonshire you know. Dani has to understand from this point on her life isn’t hers it’s the media’s.” Talia bit her lip. “She’s an apart of the machine and to make it move we need her to smile and look happy while out. Is that too much to ask? If I recall she made Hunter and Max go out before the affair broke. It’s like she’s forgetting what I saw her do when she was the publicist for the family?”

Bliss nodded slowly knowing that once she got to Fox he was going to be the media’s. Not her little handsome baby boy. As she slowly picked up the tea kettle and poured the tea into the china glass. “I understand sweetie but she’s hurt and us machines still have a heart sometimes it rusts but we can’t move without them. I can take it, let’s hope she can.”


David rolled over in the comfy bed looking at Tamara sound asleep next to him, back at her place something that they always seemed to end up at. Not that he was complaining it was fine but it was almost like she was holding back from him. Sometimes he had to wonder if that was because of Braden or if he should feel guilty for having feelings for his friends ex, Dylan’s mom other times he knew that Braden was alright with it. Recently he blamed the mixed emotions on Ronan’s arrest and incarceration that he would finally be put away for KC’s murder. Looking at his watch he leaned over brushing a stray hair off her face before lighting kissing her temple. He had to get ready for a late appointment at the hospital.

Slipping on his slacks from the night before he moved towards the dresser in her room knowing that she did keep a few of his shirts there just in case. He didn’t want to turn on the light trying to let her sleep so instead in the half dark room he opened the top drawer fumbling his hand around. Just some lace hitting it and he grinned a bit until he felt something else long made of plastic and he felt his entire body stiffen. He’s seen it and felt ti before in residency when people would be brought in and before he even knew what he was doing he raised the container out of the dresser clutching the vial containing the powder in his hands. Jesus was this why she was acting to erratic on and off? His eyes traveled to the bed and he saw her staring at him terrified knowing his connection to both Braden and Dylan, not to mention his position at the hospital.

“Really? You’re back on that shit again? You come in contact with patients every day at the hospital while doped up?” David managed to grit out at her. His mind racing at the position she was putting herself and him into. He was so mad at himself for ignoring the signs right in front of his face since when before Braden married Selina maybe longer? Did she even think about herself or her career? If Braden knew she could lose any visitation she had with Dylan all over again. “Well I’m dying to hear your excuse this time. Fuck did you even think about the position you put me in let alone yourself right now?”

Tamara awoke as she looked at leaned up in the bed looking at him. Shaking her head she looked at his judgemental face. The only thing she could do is come clean. As she ran her hands through her hair, Tamara slipped out of bed in a silk nightgown. She satched the vail from his hand because after this she’d need a bump. As she touched his chest Tamara smirked. “You enjoy me better in bed high. No because you are about to be the chief of staff one of the youngest ever. I’m not worried because it isn’t affecting my life. Dylan is happy, Braden is married and we trust each other now. It’s cool and a little drugs won’t hurt it’s recreational honestly.” As she stormed to the living room. Slipping on her robe as she walked back into the bedroom. Going into the bathroom she pulled out some hair rollers and curlers.

She immediately began to start to do her hair as she pulled out makeup. “I’m so sick of everyone telling me what to do. Don’t do drugs. Don’t be angry with Braden. Don’t blame him for my drug use. I want to be high because I want to be high. It’s irritating hiding this part of me but liberating to say I’ve been using again.” She laughed looking at his frustration. “All you care about is your reputation not if I’m hurting. As long as I sleep with you and give you the best sex of your life you’re fine. Now at this point I’m asking you to keep silent if you can’t. I’ll lie and say that you are supplying me with the Oxy in my drawer over there. Trust me I’m very convincing I’ve been around all you high and you never cared or saw it.”

“You think this about sex?” David asked dumbfounded at her that the conclusion she came to was that he wanted her for sex. He wasn’t going to complain it was great don’t get him wrong but he had hoped they were more than that, clearly they were not. Normally that would hurt him in this case though he just shook his head at her and her behavior blaming other people just like an addict did when they were caught. “You’re so full of shit you know damn well it’s not just recreational. It can’t just be recreational my God do you know what Braden is going to do when I tell him?”

“He’ll haul you into court and do a drug test that you’ll fail you will lose any rights you have left to Dylan. I dare you to even try to blame whatever you are getting off the street to try and ruin my reputation. No one is going to take your word against mine at the hospital. The cops already have your number from all the times you’ve been busted.” David said looking coldly at her as he felt disgusted watching her defend this. Watching her slip back into drugs hiding what she was really feeling she was jealous the trusts of it was deep down she was jealous of Braden marrying Selina. “He told me you were a washed up waste who knew he was right look at yourself no care in the world how this affects anyone but you. Not even your own son that you claim to love so much.”

That was the final straw she didn’t know what possessed her. She felt a burning rage pouring through her. She got up and slapped the hell out of David. “Shut up! I’m not washed up baby. David I care about you but I just need it. I need to feel good because that bastard married that uppity bitch. He called off our wedding hours before I was to walk down the aisle. All my people from New York.” Tamara voice quivered as she stepped back. Out of control was what she was, Tamara however couldn’t admit it to herself. She’d fought for every scrap given and when Braden used his legalese to snatch Dylan while she was high. Well that was the most disgusting thing. Her son loved her and she loved him more than life itself. More than drugs.

“You know how much it angers me that he stole my rights away while I was hooked on drugs. His emotions were always more important than Dylan’s. You keep taking his side but you don’t understand.” That’s when it all clicked in her head. “I quit.” She said raspy but sad tone. “I quit because if you tell Dylan or Braden I’ll lose them both. I fought to be a nurse and I know I haven’t been on my game lately. Let me get help and clean it up. Let’s just forget get about that and go back to bed. I don’t want to fight David.” Tamara was starting to feel antsy at the thought of losing her son. “What do you want? What do you want huh? I’m a hustler I’ll get it but don’t. Don’t take my baby away from me.”

David rubbed his cheek as he took a few steps back from her going to the dresser turning on the light in the room looking for his things. He found his shirt and slipped it on watching her plead with him a complete one eighty from where she was a few minutes ago. Braden always said this was vicious cycle that happened with her when she used and he was now seeing it. “Braden didn’t marry you because look at yourself. Maybe if you really kicked the drugs back then, maybe if you weren’t such a mess. But you aren’t and that burns you doesn’t it. That your life came apart because of your choices.”

“The only person who has ever looked out for Dylan is him, you were too busy snorting stuff up your nose. I don’t want to tell them or the hospital but at the moment you are giving me no choice in the matter. I think that you’re jealous of her that she got Braden when you couldn’t. He really did care about you at one point Tamara things didn’t pan out.” David said putting on his socks and shoes, his mind was still a jumbled mess he really didn’t want to ruin her career at the hospital but he wasn’t going to turn a blind eye to her using either. He knew that morally and legally he would be under obligation to report her but if she went on her own there was still hope for her. “I’ll tell you what you want to get clean prove it get dressed I’ll drive you to rehab. Well?”

Tamara hated David at this moment. Who did he think he was? Sanctimonious ass that who he was. Judging her drug use after all it had done for them. How did he think she was so chipper on those 18 hour shifts he had her on? This was something that made her skin crawl as she  looked at him as she brushed her lipstick on. “I’m not going to rehab David not now. I will take a family sabbatical but I have to clean up a few things before I go. Make sure what you said doesn’t happen. Clean up my debts to the street. You won’t say anything either I swear if you do I’ll.” Tamara grabbed a can of cleaner immediately whacking her own face.

The shock of what she did registered on her face. When he immediately snatched the can away she smirked. “We didn’t use a condom. The golden boy prince Rhodes son who was on his way to be the youngest chief of staff ever. Ha? What happened? He beat me until my face was black and blue then raped her.” Shrugging her shoulders as the appearance of his disgust appeared. “I will say this one time and one time only you aren’t to say a thing. I’m going to relapse after the holiday season and I’ll be gone by new year but nope. You won’t take me away for my son first Christmas where we have it together. I will beat my face black and blue you hear me. I’m not some insipid Barbie doll you’re used to I’m a girl from Brooklyn and I’m used to fighting. I’m used to it. I fight and use for the same damn reason. I have a past nothing that you know some of us didn’t have a perfect life. So go to hell you hear me and give me leave.”

“You’re fucking crazy.” David said looking at her aghast and sadly, he shook his head as he grabbed the rest of his things. Looking down at his cellphone when it buzzed reminding him of the appointment he had in a few more hours. He stared at her coldly knowing that right now he had to do what was best for himself, for the friendship he had with Braden and more importantly Dylan. “I don’t really care what you tell people no one will believe you. But I can assure you that Braden will find out about this because if you don’t tell him I will and when he does I pray to God it straightens your whack ass out all over again. Don’t believe me try me.”

Leaving her standing in her bedroom he walked for the door he was not going to lose his position at the hospital over her. He certainly wasn’t going to be losing one of his best friends over her either and if she thought that was how it was going to play out she was even more insane than even he thought. He paused for a moment looking at her her. “The sad thing is that you know I was ready with you. I really thought we had something too bad you’re harboring feelings for another man and clinging to something you will never have with him. Don’t show up at work I’ll have you arrested and escorted out so fast your head will spin. You take those days I’ll give you until Braden drops Dylan off to come clean.”

Slamming the door behind him he walked to his car not bothering to look back at the house behind him.


Tony nodded his head to the hostess as he arrived at La Callie early in the evening after the emotional showdown with Jamal earlier he needed to stop by. Going over the menu would help ease his mind over the things that were said and how he looked at them. Not to mention he had a few big events coming up that needed to be perfect to paying clients for three weddings, a fundraiser banquet and a cast party for an Indie film that was being wrapped. Business was looking good and the profits would be good for the quarter. He flipped through the mail of course there was returned money from the non wedding that was still coming in. He hoped that the meeting between Selina and Chauncey would end in a truce of sorts or some sort of agreement that is what he wanted. For all his children to be safe and happy. That was all most people wanted he guessed when it came to their children. Leaning back he picked up his phone telling Selina he loved her and that he would be there for her dinner later that evening.

He still found that an odd arrangement that the Frasier’s did family dinner night once a month to catch up with each other and have a good time. Walter was still the cranky man he remembered from years ago, but he did see a different side to him the family side. He supposed that was something they both had in common now. This month it was Selina and Braden’s turn to host and thus he and Mason had been invited. He supposed Jamal would have been as well if hr was not inside a safe house with the FBI. Braden and Jamal couldn’t be around each other till Kendrick was off the street. He knew that there had been tension between Selina and Braden for a few months now and he wondered some days if she made the right choice in marrying him. It was done now but he still worried.

Looking down at the mail he began separating it into different piles bills in one of course, personal mail in another and a third for junk mail. It was then that he stopped to inspect the manilla envelope on his desk that was simply addressed Mr. Delacroix and urgent. There was no return address which did perplex him most people gave their return address, though there had been occasions when people didn’t use them. Reaching for the letter opener on his desk he pulled it out. Letting the blade slide inside to then have a small flash drive fall on his desk. A simple typed note was attached:

Play if you want to know who your son really is, no not the one in trouble with the feds. No the other one. Plug this in and listen to who he really is.

He was shocked what in the world could Mason have to done? Of course he was working Jamal’s legal counsel when required. He was also having a bit of a rift with Scarlett, something he had thought was odd. Scarlett was having his baby shouldn’t they be cleaving together instead of drifting apart? Of course he was happy that they were having a baby it was a new chapter for his family and that did bring a smile to his face. Putting the thumb drive into the computer he waited a few moments for it to load. Ignoring it when he saw the email from Lowell come through that Selina and Chauncey had come to an agreement that would not involve court, thank God. He then pulled up the recording when the program came up and pressed play.

“What in the fuck are you trying to do?”

“Oh please Mason did you really think this was how it was going to end? That I’d stay your little fiancee forever while you get to fuck around with your closeted boyfriend? It was never going to be that I will talk to you later my mother has arrived.”

“Just go up to her and end it already. It’s been years Mason how much longer do you expect me to stick around and play your little game. She’s pregnant for God’s sake- unless oh my God you are considering this aren’t you? Staying with that bitch to please your father.”

Tony froze when it played his mind racing Mason’s voice along with Scarlett’s and he would recognize the third voice anywhere Simon. His stomach churned in disgust knowing he should stop the recording only the rest of the conversation began to play.

“Would you please keep your voice down. Let me figure this out Simon you know what is at stake. My father has certain expectations. I can’t just disappoint him like this.”

“You know Mason be miserable it seems to be what your family wants. I’m done.”

Tony was shell shocked what about his relationship with Scarlett? Real men didn’t fuck other men they got pussy. He had raised Mason better hadn’t he? Was he too soft on him is that why? He felt his hand shaking and let go of the mouse how long had Mason been like this? How long had he preferred a man’s body to a woman’s? He still couldn’t believe what he heard so he got up from the chair going back to the beginning of the recording and pressing play again. Words he knew didn’t lie especially words he was obviously never supposed to hear. They were clear as day his son preferred it with men and disgust overcame him.

He picked up some of the paperwork and then slammed it back down on his desk looking at the family pictures on the wall. Mason smiling back at him in the pictures over the years, then onto high school and college. Was he fucking other boys too or just Simon? Did the other boys he let Mason around growing up teach him that men sucked cock? Not on his watch, anger surging through him he threw the picture on his desk against the wall of them all at Christmas it was a damned lie. Mason liked the dick and he was never going to give him the grandchild he had dreamed of with Scarlett. He’d be lucky if he didn’t end up with one of those queer diseases like AIDS at this rate. Picking up a paperweight he threw it against the wall hearing glass shatter and watching as a few more pictures fell on the floor. He didn’t stop there he continued to throw anything that he could in his wake.

Who all knew his son’s dirty secret did Ophelia know? Did Jamal or Selina know? Was he the only one that knew that his son wasn’t even a real man? He felt his chest heaving as the door cracked open and his head chef stuff his head inside.

“Mr. Delacroix there is a um emergency in the kitchen one of the suey chefs cut themselves.”

Tony’s eyes blazed into the other eyes of the man and nodded his head turning his attention back to his desk and his computer he ripped out the thumb drive. He held it in his hands for a moment as he heard the door shut in the background, clenching his fist around the thumb drive he took a few calming breaths. Not his son, never his son placing the drive inside of the desk drawer for safe keeping he walked out to the kitchen. He’d let Mason know he knew and to hell with anyone who got in his way.


The bubbles were everywhere spilling onto the floor as Greer raised her legs in the water. Pouring another glass of champagne. They had done it, tonight was a celebration. Sleeping with Chauncey had it’s perks. Greer had found a dirty little secret that would get DGI on the FCC radar. Not only that it would ensure that Chauncey wouldn’t be in the way anymore. Taking a deep gulp she heard Zerick coming into the room. “We need new carpet. It’s all wet and I want to redecorate the mansion for a party. Natasha is here you know? I want to add dazzling pieces through the house. Then I’m going to drop a bomb. It’s almost new years baby and I want to make sure everything is set for daddy’s arrival.” Looking at Zerick face she felt the entire mood change. The true mastermind of the downfall of DGI. Dipping her head underwater Greer seductively came up laughing. “This is it the first piece. Grab the laptop and take a look at that.”

Cadmus was one of the most lucrative sectors in DGI something that Chauncey and his love Selina. Cadmus was what lead DGI to its government contracts. In the last year Seria had gotten their hands on Cadmus weapons. Not only that but how many jobs were taken and outsourced overseas to India. Not only that but Chauncey because Selina couldn’t be this dumb but the transferring of offshore accounts that lead up to illegal weapon deals. Wargames was looked down upon in America and any other country. This would be such the expose and she was going to leak it to Buzzfeed tonight. However first she was going to tease Zerick that she was making the biggest moves. “You aren’t you going to just say nothing I just nailed DGI. CNN, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and every major publication from Time and up.” Greer purred leaning upward as her legs swirled in the water. “Get in and I’ll tell you how I just set up Chauncey’s grave and DGI’s you know espionage turns me all the way on.”

Zerick looked down at his phone knowing that things were moving in the right direction that he needed none of them would see this coming. He entered the bathroom taking a look at Greer in the tub their making love session coming back to him, if you could call it that. Sex between them and the people they had played over the years had always been such a weapon until now, until she began asking him questions about why it couldn’t be real between them. He wasn’t wired that way unfortunately taking the sight of her in though he felt a tug at his lips, desire and distance in it as she began rattling off what she had acquired. He moved to the laptop and read the files this would bury DGI or at least cast a scandal so big that people would be fired. Selina being in the crosshairs no doubt fueling Chauncey in prime position to move into the position to throw the coop.

“Good job. Eyes on the prize I was concerned after the other day they were falling off of the prize. I do have to say I’m impressed didn’t think you had it in you.” Zerick said lickign his lips at her espionage always turned her on, it turned him on, the thrill that came with nearly getting caught. Taking off his shirt he looked at the computer again Lowell’s downfall from grace in front of him the company would be ripe for him to come in and lay waste to it. He let his belt loosen on his pants before they pooled to the floor and he stepped out of his boxers already semi hard before getting into the tub. “I do have to wonder what the change of heart was? You seemed hesitant the other day before we got back into the habit of fucking again. Don’t get me wrong you stepped up but I want to know why?” Zerick said running his hand up the smooth skin of her exposed leg watching her waiting for her answer.

Greer dipped her leg under water as she smoothly swam to Zerick. As she showed her perfect ass. Looking deeply into the eyes of Zerick she smiled. “We fought to hard for this for it to be a let down. We are looking to dismantle a company then let’s do it.” As she looked into his eyes. “I didn’t like losing my friend to Talia either. We are best friends Zerick even though I know you are hiding everything. I know you care about me and you want this. I don’t have a lot of people who I care about you know that.” As her hand covered in bubbles as she looked at him. “I want you to be happy with what we have. And yes I got carried away in Chauncey and you in Talia but they will be relics soon enough. In the rubble so why pretend there will be a Chauncey or Talia when it’s all about Greer and Zerick.” She purred as she swam back to her bath pillow.

“Now are you going to get into this tub or am I going to have to take this bath all alone?” Natasha being in town didn’t make her go blind. She knew for one thing that Chauncey would be looking on a way to enter Jackson SandStar deal. How dare he make her play second to Natasha. That bitch was going to choke on DGI downfall and she will watch her uncle control SandStar. “I’ve missed you so much Zerick. You have to know that it’s hard that’s going to be hard work but we have to our eyes on each other.” Greer said as she unbuttoned a button. “Come in the water is perfect.”

Zerick lowered himself into the steaming water it was quite relaxing and they had done this before their little dance. Greer still intrigued him that wasn’t what was wrong with their relationship.They were friends but he always had to be on guard with Greer when it came to what he really wanted. “Talia intrigues me and I still plan on taking her to bed Greer it has to be done to make sure she doesn’t dig too much you know that. Of course I care about you we’re good together at this conning people. When playing the parts we need, this is what we both have been working towards complicating that now would be foolish.” A wiser person told him that once and it as always there in the back of his mind.

“The next phase needs to be you sticking even more to Chauncey’s side he trusts you to be there, to feed and stroke his ego. I was able to look at the appointment calendar today and Natasha is booked with them back and forth for the next few weeks. You know that will be critical now, he likes her.” Zerick said looking at her watching her face he wanted to know that her feelings for Chauncey wouldn’t be clouded in that area that was something he needed to be settled. He saw her eyes just shift slightly and leaned into her stroking her face. “I think this could be real if we were different people Greer if we were wired differently. Do tell how you got him out of his office to make this happen? We owe you a lot now.”

“We aren’t wired differently we can have what we want.” Greer leaned in a kissed him with a softness in her voice. “I’m ready for whatever Chauncey throws at me. He better be sure he is ready for me. I understand more than most that if I have to I’ll fight for a man that doesn’t deserve me. You are very handsome tonight.” She wrapped her legs around him as she pressed her body against his. “So don’t throw me away because I will have what I want. What I deserve and Talia can have your body but I’ll get it all. I always get what I want Mr. Westwood and I want you with all your secrets and lies. So whisper them in my ear and let’s celebrate what we’re going to accomplish the leaks will keep coming until Forbes and daddy can swoop in and take DGI.” Leaning in she kissed him passionately.

“Now the next move is destroying Max or Bliss or Rory. It doesn’t matter who it’s just another target on the board. A board game that we are winning. It just isn’t right my love they are living off the blood of others. No more now don’t you dare pretend to this is just us being friends. When we are so much more baby don’t second guess what we will be now you have me in this tub. This proves I’m ready. I’m ready for this and us so if we have to play a part to get to my happy ending that’s me.” Greer said slowly stroking his hard cock with the silky water. “I’m ready for anything DGI has for me.”

Zerick’s one weakness was a beautiful woman in his bed or worse a beautiful woman that took what she wanted. His lips gave into the kiss his hands reaching up to her pussy not able to resist his fingers slid in and then out. With the water he couldn’t tell exactly how hot she was but when those muscles clenched down on his fingers he slowly turned her around in the tub. Is fingers never leaving her, he closed his eyes letting her set the pace with her hand on his cock. He couldn’t trust her but she still had this over him. He’d never be able to explain it.

“Fuck.” He managed to get out feeling her tighten her grip. He spread her legs just slightly picking up the washcloth in the tub with his free hand and then rubbed it over her clit. Watching her this time squirm as he repeated the action. She was such a sexual creature and maybe that was what they both craved in each other the illusion of intimacy when they played. “Who do you want next? Bliss? Rory? Perhaps your new friend Max?” He wanted an answer as he leaned down biting her ear repeating the washcloth move feeling her grip him again. “Tell me Greer.”

Greer moaned sexually as she gripped the marble and gold tub. Gripping him tighter as her strokes became more rapid. With a swift motion she pulled him closer. Taking the washcloth she rang it out letting the water spill over her breast. Water splashed out the tub as she pulled him closer. More water poured onto the heated marble floor as steam rose through the room. She climbed on top of him sliding down on him. Running her hands through his hair she leaned down and kissed him. “I have this and I have you.” She said seductively in a whisper slowly bouncing her hips up and down.

The water and the sensation of taking over was too much. She knew that he was beginning to swell more and more. Everything was heightened in the fantasy of what they could be. Greer wondered why he was so resistant against them being real. Why couldn’t they their bodies shook furiously as she leaned down and kissed him. “Fuck me Zerick!” Crying out as she bounced faster and faster against the water. “Yes!” She cried out passionately.

Zerick watched her completely lost in what was happening between them his mind off the scam for just this little moment. The strokes she laid on him making his breath quicken, he gripped her hips when she moved and climbed onto him letting her kiss him. Destroying DGI was in the back of his mind as she moved and he shoved his hips up into her hitting that little spot that he knew drove her crazy. When she increased her tempo and he felt her shaking he couldn’t hold back his entire body stiffening as he emptied himself into her. His hands kept pushing her down onto him.

He closed his eyes letting her moans fill the bathroom and hearing the water splash on the floor, reality drew him back a few minutes later it was just a fantasy. Fantasies were never reality not for people like them, especially him too much was at stake. He gently rolled her off him seeing the slight disappointment on her face. Leaning over to kiss her cheek he rubbed his hand over her back. “That was amazing Greer but I need to go do some follow up calls, you need to prepare for the next phase. We’ll soon have everything we need.” Zerick said getting out of the tub as he wrapped the towel around him. His mind tried to not drift to thought of her and Chauncey in bed or in that pool at Natasha’s he wondered who did it better with her in that regard. “If your father ready? We need to make sure everything is in place like a chess game DGI won’t know what hit them.”

Greer stood up and grabbed her robe. Slicking her long hair back she eyed how almost cut off after the sex. As she looked in the mirror she grabbed the lipstick a soft shade of pink. Picking up a diamond necklace she placed it around her neck. Then picked up her pearl earrings with two big squirts of Chanel #5. “Calm down handsome we are on course to dismantle that company now. I’m leaving for a brief shopping excursion I think I deserve Balmain, Chanel and little Prada. On your credit cards.” Slowly walking to his wallet. “I hope you aren’t near the limit because I’m maxing them out.” With that she was ready for the next stage. It was simple turn each of the Devonshire siblings against the other.


Braden walked in the front door not looking forward to dinner tonight at all as he saw his parents in the study, his father drink in hand staring at the driveway. His mother looking like she was going to play mediator. He hung his coat on the hook and made his way to the kitchen seeing Selina there putting the finishing touches on dinner. No one else was there yet and he walked to her kissing her cheek before going to the fridge and pulling out a beer. Today had been a long one that was not going to end, Ronan was out on his crazy ass plan. Meaning Jamal still had to be held till Kendrick was brought in and then there was the issue of Selina going behind his back. He expected more from her taking a sip of his beer he looked at her.

“How long have my parents been here? I would assume Dani’s not here yet?” Braden asked not looking forward to that part at all. He could tell by his father’s body language that he was angry at his sister. Which he got honestly Dani could do so much better than to be stuck with Jackson for the rest of her life. He’d learned long ago though that Dani made her own way when it came down to it. “Did everything go okay with Chauncey earlier? I know that it had to be hard for you to show up and deal with that especially from him and Lowell.”

Selina turned the caramelized baby carrots as she turned to kiss her husband with a little more passion. She needed it after today. Her nerves were bad thinking about Lowell and wondering how long was this going on? Would Jackie even call her back? She more than likely was still pissed about the wedding. Not only that she was worried about her marriage everyone was acting like her calling Kyan was a big deal. He helped and controlled the situation when Braden refused because of his pride. So what Jamal was given more chances he wasn’t going to jail. That was enough for her. He wouldn’t have a record following him like so many other black men in America. She sometimes wondered if Braden understood what Jamal, Mason, and herself were up against just being black.

“I pick her up tomorrow.” She said chipperly as she smirked happy that her daughter was going to be in her life. Opening a bottle of red wine pouring them both a glass. “Dani isn’t here and I think they both are waiting on her. It sucks because she should be happy but Walter. He’s every bit the same coin as Lowell. I hate how he terrorizes Dani it’s sick and controlling.” Taking out the carrot she smiled at the dish. Her heart swelled the meal was looking delicious. “I have some roast in oven with herb potatoes. I just think she is adult and she shouldn’t have explain her life to her parents considering she’s doing amazing for herself. Your father standards aren’t high they are unreachable for Dani.”

“Good I know how important Maddie is to you. It’s complicated with my dad and sister but I wouldn’t exactly say him and Lowell are the same.” Braden said he knew deep down his father loved his sister even if he had the most fucked up way showing it. He half the time wondered if Lowell loved anything more than his company he certainly didn’t think he loved his children. He saw his sister’s car pull up and only hoped Zach or Kelsey were coming too. “I think in this case he has every reason to be concerned about Jackson and her having a baby.”

Braden looked at her taking a drink of his wine and figuring it was now or never the tension between them had been building for weeks. To say they were strained would be an understatement. “I do have to ask though why in the world did you go behind my back with Kyan. It was my case Selina my job.” He saw her face pause and heard the front door open but waited for an answer from her. “We’re supposed to be a team and I know DGI and your work for Lowell can be cut throat but I didn’t think I’d ever see the day you stabbed me in the back.”

Cutting walnuts for the desert Selina paused looking at him with a no you didn’t expression. Shaking her head she couldn’t believe that’s how he considered it. Well it was a form of betrayal but he couldn’t even just let them have a calm dinner. Going back to chopping she scooped them into the skillet and poured maple syrup on them cooking them slowly. As she took her hair into a ponytail refusing to argue she had to tell him simply why she did it.

“You would have let Jamal fry.” As she stopped looking him directly in the eye. “You are noble and it’s sad because we don’t live in a world where there are many of you type of men out there. It’s honestly crazy because I feel it in my bones. You would have done what’s right and I didn’t need that man. I needed the guy who wasn’t going to have any scruples and do what I needed to be done.” She kissed Dani and Zach as took the wine bottle shooing them into the next room. “You seem to play so stern with everything and sometimes I don’t need that man. I need the man who will set the world on fire for my pain. I need a protector and someone who really would die for my pain. I’m blaming you, I’m showing you that my personal morals are put the side for this marriage. I walked away from a very charmed life to be with you. Would I be lonely but filthy rich and not fighting and scrapping for days with a daughter I don’t have with me.” Wiping her eyes she looked at him. “I would throw my last dollar away for our love and to stop anything from happening to Dylan, or Dani or Zach but you won’t. I’d kill for them and you just care about my family. That’s not stabbing you in the back Braden.”

“I would have done my job. If life is so terrible with me then by all means go back to Chauncey.” Braden started only to stop when he heard his father’s voice in the other room.

“Well, well if it isn’t my dearest beloved daughter.”

Braden cast a glance at Selina before walking into the other room and looking between his father and his sister. His mother standing there looking between them both. Dani was glaring at their father while their father stared her up and down. Zach like him was bracing himself.

“Just when I think you couldn’t of screwed up everything even more in your life. Then again perhaps I am looking at this all wrong Jackson never has to see the child now does he? We still have our options on the matter. It’s still early on.” Walter paused for a moment looking at the horror on his wife’s face and his son before shrugging. “We all know everyone in this room is thinking the same thing. She’s now tied to them for the rest of her life. Lowell will never let that child out of his sight.”

Dani glared at him and she didn’t even care how cold it came out when she said it. “And what be Brenda? We all know how you like to handle things you don’t want don’t we?”

“You are incredibly naive if you think that Jackson is just going to stay by your side where is he? It would be easier if it was gone wouldn’t it? You wouldn’t have to see him move onto the next piece of ass that comes into the picture. Like father like son.” Walter saw he hurt her and then went in for the kill rage overcoming him at her stupidity. “If he loved you he’d be here and since you can’t even tell me where he is that tells me everything I need to know. He left you just like I said he would. You can tell me I told you so whenever you are ready my dear.”

“How about you get off a pregnant woman’s back?” Selina hissed instantly. “Secondly Jackson would never turn his back on his pregnant girlfriend. You are a vile man and I’m so sick of being nice to you. Leave her alone you bully.” She snapped at him as she rushed to Dani aid wiping a tear away from her face. “Don’t you listen to him.” She whispered holding Dani who was clearly wounded from Lex’s manipulations back in the day. Leaking all of her personal information that was dirty and whomever did it would pay dearly.

Lauren stepped to her husband and saw Dylan walking down the stairs. Before she knew it she slapped Walter. “You are a nasty piece of work but you stand in front of our grandson and say that our daughter should get a abortion. What sad that spawn of Satan Brenda was carrying didn’t breath air? You always resented her because Brenda didn’t have that baby. That baby is gone and she’s here now do I want her near the Devonshire’s? No but am I going to hurt her and maliciously attack never. You aren’t either. Dylan you get your ass down here and set the table. Call Maddie and tell her to come over because this family is going to have a good old fashion blood bath. Tonight we are going to let it all out.”

Braden looked at Dylan and this his father mouth still open had he lost his damn mind? It wasn’t like everyone in their family knew what Lex put his sister through. How she spiraled afterwards from guilt and worse shame. The room stood still when his mother slapped his father and he saw Dylan’s eyes grow wide wondering what to do. “Dylan listen to your grandmother.” It was the only thing he could come up with.

Dylan looked between all of them not that things had been bad in their family before he loved his father, both of his grandparents and his aunt. He’d gotten used to Selina being his stepmother and Maddie as the sister he never had but he’d never seen his grandfather like this. He obeyed his dad knowing not doing it would be worse. Taking out his phone he texted his mom.

I’m going to come by a day early this house is crazy. Dad will let me trust me.

Dani glared at her father she got that he was cold and unloving but really? Stepping back from Selina she grabbed her coat, forget dinner she was not doing this shit tonight. Her mother was still looking between them, Braden was still being his usual self in the corner. Zach had his hands shoved in his pockets. While she loved Selina like a sister, she knew about the marriage problems she overheard and given her record and how close she was to the Devonshire’s she shook her head.

“You walk out this door for him after everything I put in place for you with Charles and Lex trying to fix this you aren’t my daughter anymore.” Walter said looking at her, she would never know the pleading he put into Charles and Lex to tell them she needed time. How he didn’t want her repeating his mistakes with someone that was as selfish as Jackson and the Devonshire’s were. He had been there with Brenda and every time he got burned.

Dani straightened her back as she looked at him. “You haven’t been a father to me since I came home. Don’t try and start now I don’t want you to fix anything with Lex or don’t you get that yet? I don’t love Lex anymore I don’t even know if I ever did. Zach drive me home.” She walked to the door with Zach stopping when she saw Selina going after her and she glared at her. “Don’t I don’t need you going back to Jackson or the rest of them about any of this. It’s my decision at the end of the day about what I do with my body. Not to mention backstabbing my brother in the back.”

“Woah I’m on your side so don’t lash out at me. And if your brother would treat my family like his own then we wouldn’t be in this mess. If I recall Zach, Brock, your brother, and a lot of other Fraiser’s came to beat Lex ass.” Selina hissed at Dani. “So don’t try to tell me that I’m backstabbing when any of you would do the same.” Throwing her hands up Selina rushed to the back of the house.

“I’d be anywhere but here you know what Dani let me take you home. Dinner is clearly not happening. Dylan you need to get out of here kid. Can I drop him off early.” Zach asked looking at Braden.

Lauren rushed her husband thrusting her fist into into his chest. As he looked at Dylan shocked expression. “Go to hell! Nobody cares about Charles and Lex.” She hisssed.

Braden followed Selina into the doorway saw his sister angrier than she ever had been and knew she was lashing out, not in the best way but Selina was the first target. He looked at Zach and shook his head. “I’ll drop him off with Tamara.” He didn’t know what to say to his sister when she glared at him too and left followed by Zach. Looking around the now silent house he took a breath they were never hosting this God awful tradition again.


As she stepped off the elevator it all felt nostalgic. She was here almost thirty years ago as a measly pest to Lowell and Jackie. It was ironic her mother wanted nothing more but her to be a Jackie. Marrying a smart and ambitious up and coming millionaire, have children, and be glamourous. The jealousy of why she couldn’t be Jackie ate at her. She was awkward as a teen and when she finally became of age and Pierre LeClerq unflowered her she was ready. Her fantasy for years was to be just like Jackie but when she grew it was to take Jackie’s spot. Tess heart swelled as she looked at the artwork on the wall. It had been years since she was here. In the very office where her affair with Lowell began. Bliss was a child of passion not love but she was loved very much. She might have pawned Bliss off to nannies all the time but that was for one reason. She was scared to ruin her. Deep down when you know you are infected with hate you don’t want to hate something so special. She didn’t want to hate her daughter for the mistakes of the father. It was one of the many reason she ran away from her daughter. Leaving her with a new nanny every time she felt she was being replaced. Nobody understood how hard it was to look at Bliss and see Lowell every time.

As she removed her leather trench coat and fedora she walked around the table. Why did he summon her here? What was the purpose to tell her how she failed Bliss? Where was he though? She taught Bliss everything she knew about being scoring a big fish. What did her daughter do but score a huge fish with a Prince. A prince who was filthy rich and dashing. Could Max ever claim to be a princess? As she ran her hand over her form fitting antique lace Dior gown. An assistant returned with a coffee as she sat down his voice billowed through the halls. His footsteps and cologne made her anticipation rise. He was the love of her life. No matter which way she cracked it. He was the man who gave her two of her most prized possessions. When the door opened she walked to Lowell and quickly hugged and kissed his cheeks.

“Tess this isn’t a social visit.” Lowell quickly said accessing his ex-lover. She was still stunning and her eyes were as icy blue as his daughter. Nothing could prepare him for seeing how much Bliss looked like Tess. Hell nothing could prepared him for the moment she told him he was pregnant. Every since Tess returned it had been nothing but anger and frustration between Jackie and himself. She was a walking proof of how cold he was to her. She was proof that he betrayed their love. A love that was eternal and never going to end. If Jackie ever left she’d eventually come back to him. It was their fate. They danced that dance for years and no woman would ever truly compare. Audrey however did come close and Tess even more so. Tess and he had a connection that truly would never be severed because of Bliss.

“I called you here to see what’s your price?” He was going to be quick to the point. Tess had seduced him years ago. Honestly he was sure with his weakness and anger at life he’d do it. Not to hurt Jackie that is his reason not to ever touch Tess again. He would do it to feel vital and young again. Tess was a very important part of his youth. The love she felt was still deep he knew that. “What’s your price to leave Atlas Falls and sleep with a tennis instructor in Fiji or Amsterdam? Peru and China is beautiful this time year the rain forest in Argentina. I can provide you with a comfortable life and damn near anything else you want.” Lowell said looking at his lover.  “How much to let Jackie be the mother Bliss needs and Jackie and myself be the grandparents Fox needs. Tell me Tess how could you let that monster beat our daughter?”

Tess was thrown off by his words. She shouldn’t have been he have her twenty thousand dollars and said leave Atlas Falls after the abortion. She took Bliss and ran until he hunted her down. The past sat in her body like a weight she could never lose. He thought he could pay her off but her parents were no longer here. He had no chance to convince her now that her parents had left all of the power to her. Well she would forge more documents to show she was the heir. Bliss had enough money after all she wasted millions on nannies and to let Bliss absorb the upper echelon of life. Shaking her head she looked him letting her eyes tell him it all.

“Well no you are concerned about our daughter? This is a tragic turn of events? Bliss has a Devonshire heir and now you are interested? Tell me if Dimitri wasn’t impaling our daughter face would you ever exposed her to the world? Would she be a Devonshire right now? Hell you didn’t even know about Dimitri until she told you. It’s shameful and what exactly was I supposed to do? Take her from that man? Hell Bliss is infuriating trust me she’s not so innocent and remember their are two sides to every story. Dimitri is a charming man and I think Bliss doesn’t want to be a princess because of the responsibilities. Believe it or not our daughter is flakey.” As she thought about that man beating her daughter. A knife to his throat was what he deserved. “Dimitri will get his but I assure you I am not leaving Atlas Falls. You won’t send me to kill myself Lowell. Not this time you got away with Audrey suicide but I won’t be leaving. Not now or not ever.”

“Tess you are playing a dangerous game. To always think that someone is here for this. I don’t want you.  You are pariah and I seriously know that you are bitter because I’m no longer with you. You have nothing to care about here and considering how much you failed Bliss I couldn’t see a reason for you stay?” Lowell growled as he looked at his lover. “You know the worse part of not snatching my daughter from your selfish ass? She wasn’t raised with her siblings and wasn’t raised knowing that a man who truly loves her would never hurt her.”

“Did you ever consider the reason that I couldn’t raise Bliss was you?” She hissed back at him. “I tried with you! I tried to love her so much but seeing you in her. I tried with you! I did but obviously you never even seen what I went through. I kept our child when it snatched everything from me. My name! My legacy and my family! You never cared and now you trying to make me feel like I’m the villain? No you don’t get to rewrite history and you don’t feel badly at all. That’s why you’ll suffer because no matter what you do you ruin. You bring nothing but pain and ruin!” Tess said as she put down her coffee glass.

“You loved me once why do you hate me so much now?” She asked needing answers.

“God I don’t hate you I pity you holding onto this affair like it was a grand romance. The only thing I regret more than you is letting you think that you were something special. I let this go far too long. You are my biggest regret and working at moving you out of my company, on the board is my first priority. Not only that but making sure you aren’t involved with Jackie’s charity. I’m going to remove you and place Bliss in the family she’s deserved for years.”

“That won’t happen because eventually our daughter will see through your shiny good parent appearance. You are evil.” His words shot through her and she knew at this moment he could never know the truth. Today she was here to come clean but now her secret would have to wait. “I will never stop my love because today you broke my heart. I’ll never forgive you and I assure you that if you try to stop me I’m going to destroy you. I will sever your marriage even more. I have more hits to come and if you remove me. Well you’ll never find out what I’m hiding. I know things Lowell and I have one more trump card. Well two now that I know you only want me to leave. I’m going to break your heart just like you did mine.” Tess said standing up.

“You can’t hurt me anymore you have no power. You are guilty because all your sins are catching up. I’m going to dismantle you.” He screamed back at her. “Your heart is icy my dear and trust me no one will ever love something so cold. Someone so fucked up as you. Get out and when you come to the boardroom be ready for war my dear. I’m going to destroy you and get you out of our lives. You let my daughter be beaten you are a disgusting person.” As he rushed to the door.

“Go to hell Lowell you can’t stop me or kick me off the board I truly suggest you prepare the worse.” Tess seethed as she pulled out her cellphone walking out the office. “Ok Google Ilsa De Cruces embassy.” Once she got on the elevator. “Hello my name is Tess Blisston mother of Bliss Kavanaugh princess of Ilsa De Cruces I suggest you get me on the phone with prince Dimitri Kavanaugh. I have the location of my daughter and I’ll be brokering the return of Fox from here on out. Dimitri needs to speak with me now.” As the elevator closed she smirked. “Game on Devonshire. I’m going to return our grandson and use a prince to take down an empire.”


Ronan had enjoyed the car ride back to his house and once they arrived oddly enough he realized how much he missed it. Not that he had thought of the house as a great place growing up it was full of contentious memories between his parents but it was still home. A home that even now he realized had been lacking in care over the years, the staff tried their best but he a very private life. He let his maid lead Brooke up instructing her to take her to the master suite.  would follow with a quick shower but first he had to make a few calls, just to check on things. The first call he made was on a private line to a friend in Florida thanking them for their assistance where it was there he had things confirmed. Kendrick had been part of the hit on him they were still digging into who ordered it with Kendrick and who he struck a deal with but he trusted his source. Hanging up the phone he then sent a text from his burner phone about the club.

He wanted to do more only he knew that he couldn’t he needed Kendrick to feel safe and he also needed to think about how he was going to handle it. Kendrick had been his closest friend and confident in the business, they were like brothers. Yes he knew Kendrick was a bit of a power hungry part of the crew but he always assumed that was part of the gig, that he knew his place. Walking up the stairs he opened the door to the suite seeing Brooke in the shower and then moved to a guest room to clear his head, stripping out of his old clothes and turning on the water. A luxury given his time inside, he washed the grime away. Stepping out and putting on a towel he went back to the master suite taking a seat on the leather sofa hearing her water turn off. He looked at her in the doorway, hair freshly wet and in a sexy number and he felt his voice waver.

“Fuck me.” He managed to get out looking at her stunning body. He could already feel himself stiffening just at the sight he had women before. Something about Brooke though was different perhaps because his women normally consisted of club members and she was so innocent in that she wasn’t a part of the criminal underworld. “However in the world did he manage to cheat on you?”

Brooke was wearing a pale pink LaPearla lingerie. The Chanel robe was the same pink with a pink fur trimmed hood. Slowly walking through she felt the urge to scream out loud. He was so handsome cleaned up. The smell of his cologne and his eyes were glowing ravenously. Slipping out of the robe she let it fall to the floor she smirked. When he talked about about Atticus she knew that he was crazy for her. That was something that she would never lose. Walking to she slowly straddled him as she leaned down kissing him. “Don’t talk about him. Tonight is about me telling the most important man ever that I love him. That I love him so much.” She kissed him as her tongue explore his mouth.

“I never believed that you actually killed my father. I knew deep down you didn’t but you were such an ass. Please don’t ever let me down again. Not like that because.” Brooke leaned down and kissed his freshly shaven neck. “Because you are the most amazing man I ever knew. I didn’t even figure out until now that you understand me in ways Atticus could never. You make

me feel alive. You make me feel whole and I can’t help but to love you.” Brooke said feeling her heart swelling unfastening her bra letting her milky breast be exposed. “I’ve been waiting so long for this.”

Ronan watched her undress taking in the sight of the delicate material sliding to the floor off her skin, she was flawless. Every inch of her body was perfect and he leaned back as she got on his lap breathing in the scent of her perfume, closing his eyes his lips went to her neck breathing it in at the same time tasting. When she moved her mouth to his he felt himself grow even harder if that was humanly possible, his hands raking in her long blonde hair. Her lips tasted better than she smelled and he knew that he’d been patient with her up until now. He was trying to be chivalrous with her a first for him, wanting her to make her own mind up about it.

His hips arched up unto her thong, his hands traveling down her back when she pulled back and discarded the bra. He stared for a movement taking in the sight of those perfect breast with those tight nipples. He couldn’t help himself when he leaned down taking one into his mouth, his tongue flicking, mouth sucking. He felt her hands tighten on his hair and he released her nipple grinning up at her and then going to the other. Repeating the action, his hands went lower brushing over the thin lace of her thong while he teased her. Eventually she would learn the truth he was a killer at heart it was what he did.

“Is this what you want?” Ronan asked finally quietly releasing her breast as his mouth went to her neck and his fingers played with the now soaking wet lace in his hands.

When Ronan began to suck on her nipples it was another moment. It was as if she was spinning into a deeper connection she knew it. Slowing her breath and she threw her head back crying out. Crossing her legs she kicked off her heels she sat on his lap. Slowly slipping her tongue into his mouth. As he gripped her clit with his fingers she started to drip all over him. Pulling her thong down she knew she had to show him. She had to prove that she was his. That she loved him more than any other man. Taking his wet fingers Brooke made him taste her juices. Taking his towel she unfastened it around his waist. Something she refused to do with Atticus. Oral sex just was icky in her mind maybe it was because it Atticus. She however felt a sense to please Ronan in ways she wouldn’t in the past. Maybe she was a prude and that was why Atticus didn’t want her. She was sexual but never thought of doing something like this.

Lowering her head she slowly kissed his collarbone letting her tongue trace to his chest. As she circled his belly button with the tip of her tongue. She felt his hands raking through her hair. Lower her head onto to him Brooke gagged at his girth her mouth. Before she knew it she had a great rhythm starting as she sped up. She caught herself choking a little with gasp she saw what she was doing to him. Arching her back in the air all she could do is show her perfectly shaped ass. Seeing the lust in his eyes she shook her butt a little to make it jiggle. Finally taking him out of her mouth. “How was I?” She asked innocently with a sexually charged tone. Slowly wiping the corners of her mouth. Brooke finally removed the last piece of clothing on her body and slowly walked to the bedroom. “You coming?”

Ronan had never been so turned on as when she opened up her pretty mouth and took him in whole all the way back to her throat. His hands curled in her hair raking it gently. Her lips were fucking perfect and her tongue was doing all the right things his eyes focused in on hers as his hips bucked gently into her mouth. When she pulled back and wiped her mouth he felt almost like coming and then she asked if he was. Well no he wasn’t and that fucking sucked but he would be soon. Following her into the bedroom he didn’t bother to wait for the bed before he pinned her gently against the wall. Pishing her panties aside he pushed inside her heat.

“I’ve waited a long time for this.” Ronan whispered as she slowly entered her feeling her clawing his back. He pulled out before pushing back inside, kissing her neck his hand stayed on her hip and his other free hand went to her nipple twirling it in his fingers hearing her moan. He was going to make her remember him and forget all about that asshole overseas. He pulled back kissing her lips and then began using short strokes on her wanting to drive her insane. He flexed his hips feeling her clamp down on him and he nibbled on her neck. “I’m going to uck you Brooke right here on the wall and then I’m going to finish you off on that huge ass bed. Unless you want it elsewhere, you will forget him after this.”

A gasp escaped her lip as he swiftly entered her as she started to gasp with him pushing inside. Brooke nails raked down his back as she couldn’t feel more alive. This moment was a long time coming and she knew it. She almost burst immediately when he pulled out and slammed inside of her. As she wrapped around her legs around him. As his lips touched her neck she cried out in sexual moan. Feeling everything tingling she didn’t know what was happening. After all she hadn’t experienced an orgasm since before she found out Atticus cheated. When Ronan stroked she felt his passion. Instead of letting him just pound her which felt so good. Clenching down tightly on him she couldn’t help but to squeeze as tight as possible.

“Yes Ronan deeper.” Wrapping her arms around his neck. “I love you.” She cried out repeatedly so he could hear her. He was so intense and she could feel love searing through him. She had carried scars from Atticus but today she was prepared to let it go. Let go of her pain and finally open up to the pleasures of life. Atticus broke her and Ronan in this moment making love to her fixed what was broken. Rolling her hips passionately she did all she could to make him feel as out of control as she did.

Ronan kept plowing into her while her nails dug into his back it was so different with her. He’d been with a lot of women at the club not to mention hookers so far none compared to her. He kept his breathing steady when he felt her tightening and knew she was close. He wasn’t stopping he pulled to move her to the bed. Spreading her legs he entered her again driving her hips into the mattress. His hands grabbed hers as he plunged in as hard and as deep as he could. He realized he forgot to ask about her being on anything he has always just assumed.

“Fuck Brooke you feel so tight right now. I want to come inside you nothing there but only if that is what you want.” Ronan managed to groan out not sure how much longer he could last. Her tight pussy was taking him over to emotional places he’d never gone with any woman. “I love you you can let go.” His eyes looked into hers wanting to come when she did and if she didn’t want him spilling inside of her he was oblige and finish with a rubber.

“I’m on the pill.” Brooke said lustily she wasn’t going to stop him when he was in so deep. When it was like they merged into one body. It wasn’t just sex it was the power and richness of what they had been through. That when you truly love someone you connect in such a way it was unimaginable. Arching her back she felt his balls swelling and pushing deeper in her. “Please oh my.” Brooke started to feel everything spinning she wasn’t there but his ravenous pushing was taking her there.

As she felt her clit tingling everything in her body quivered. “Ronan I’m coming!” She cried out Brooke felt a powerful blast inside of her. Gasping for air Brooke couldn’t do nothing but cry out in pleasure. This had never happened nobody had made her feel like this. The sex wasn’t a problem with others but she was screaming. Her voice was hoarse from the growl she exhaled a little. Holding onto him she wiped the tears streaming down her face. “I’m sorry if I’m messing this up.”

He heard her say she was on the pill and for Ronan that was all the encouragement he needed as he sped up his strokes. Feeling her clamp down a she reached her peak Ronan watched as she came underneath him, watching her shudder. He kept moving his hips feeling his entire body stiffen as he came inside of her as she orgasmed. He groaned in pleasure feeling her constrict and then unwind on him while he spilled inside of her. He kept moving wanting his feel of her and afterwards saw her face and the tears. It had been overwhelming for her. He wiped them away.

“Not it was amazing and perfect. You can react however you want Brooke I would never think you being emotional as messing up. Part of what I love about you is your emotions.” Ronan said quietly catching his breath, he felt himself shrink enough and pulled out of her. He would have her again now that he had her she wasn’t going anywhere. Laying down by her on his side he ran his hands up and down her body seeing his touch making her body arch. “He never did this to you I can tell. We have time Brooke now that I am free. Do you need anything? The house is at your disposal.”

“Just never leave me again.” Brooke said softly snuggled closer to him. Her eyes sparkled as she felt exhilarated in love. She exhaled lightly and knowing that he was everything that she ever wanted was in his arms. Flipping her hair from her face. “I don’t need anything else. All I need is to just stay in your arms all night. Can I say one thing can we pretend that everything out there is gone for the rest of our time. I just want to stay in this moment forever.” She whispered as she laid her head in his neck. “One thing maybe a bottle of wine and fruit. I feel like we are going to build up an appetite.”


Chauncey thanked the waiter as he approached the table with Natasha, Jackson was a mess and that is right where he wanted his baby brother. It served him right after he thought he could play with the big dogs and he kissed his mother’s cheek as he looked at his father who was perplexed at why Jackson was not doing the honors. It could be that the entire world knew that Dani and Jackson were on the outs thanks to the lovely Greer the best weapon he had at the moment. Jackson had disappeared afterwards, probably off to score. When Natasha arrived he easily stepped into the role of doting son and business partner to get back into his father’s good graces. He hadn’t been back in those graces since Egypt but vowed he could be again.

“Mother, father I present to you Ms. Natasha Hassan. I told her there was no problem with us having dinner to discuss business.” Chauncey said as he held out Natasha’s chair placing her directly by his mother a bold statement in his mind a way to show his power in the family. Hem looked at his father daring him to say otherwise on the matter as he took a seat next to her. Should his father not agree to the meeting or dinner it would insult her working with DGI further which also could work to his advantage. “My mother does have the best staff on hand here and we are happy that you were able to join us for a trip to the states. Have you settled into your suite at the country club?”

Jackie had no desire to go to this dinner not since the mess of the election or Tess showing her that God awful picture of her and Lowell. Of course he had a wonderful excuse as to why it happened just like he did when she found out, she had thought of leaving again but she knew better. Right now DGI needed her, Lowell needed her that was made clear when he called to tell her about the dinner and something setting Jackson off. Her eyes darted at his oldest what had he done now? Jackson had put the entire deal with Natasha together and now he was nowhere to be seen the deal was important to DGI. They had invested a lot of time and money into it and it was so unlike him to just quit unless, he had reverted back to his old ways. When she texted him he had told her that now wasn’t a good time and when she asked Max about it Max told her she didn’t know only she knew he and Dani had a massive fight that morning and then he took off. She had thought when she spoke to Jackson at the mansion it eased things how foolish was she to not see that something was wrong? She looked at Natasha though the woman was every bit as exotic as Bliss and the others made her out to be and she smiled at the diamond bracelets on her wrists a gift from them to her.

“Very lovely to meet you Ms. Hassan I trust that you are well in your room and my staff is taking care of you? If not my dear you must let me know how is your father doing?”  Jackie said looking at her and knowing that her father’s health was of utmost importance. She had been filled in on the gravity of the situation while they had closed the SandStar deal Natasha was very much so in the market for a husband. After her run in with Greer at the house she would rather Natasha opposed to Greer. “Chauncey is right my dear we can handle this can we not?” Jackie asked looking at Lowell to put aside them for the sake of DGI.

Natasha smiled at Chauncey, her eyes full of lust as they met his. She wanted him even more after her encounter with Greer earlier at the Country Club. As if he alone wasn’t enticing enough, to take the one thing Greer wanted so badly would taste twice as sweet. She sat in the chair he pulled out for her. The significance of the placement wasn’t lost on her. “The accommodations are impeccable, as well as the company,” Natasha said, throwing a smile to Chauncey as she watched him make his way to his own seat. She felt Chauncey’s eyes on her as she turned to his mother. “My father regrets he wasn’t able to be here himself but I assure you he is fully invested in this deal. Your son did you proud,” Natasha told Lowell, not betraying her low opinion of him or his offspring. “I’m surprised Jackson isn’t here,” she said, not really caring to see that bastard again but she was anxious to meet Simon to eliminate the evidence of her affair with Noah. “Is it customary to brush-off a new business partner once you get what you want? This is a business dinner, correct? I was so looking forward to discussing our new partnership and my place on the board.”

“Absolutely not my son was preoccupied by another energy deal.” He lied quickly knowing that Natasha would report this disrespect from Jackson to her father. As he looked at Chauncey daring him to challenge him. Then smiled at his wife taking her hand. “My dear I’m sure Chauncey and Natasha would like to get to know each other. Two young and single people. I think this isn’t the right setting my dear. I want you to enjoy your first night in Atlas Falls. So what I will say is that you need to be shown around town. Son can you do that and tomorrow first thing in the morning Jackson and myself along with Chauncey will have a meeting with you.” He said touching her hand. “I was always fond of your father I hope he’s doing better.”

“My father is doing as well as can be expected,” Natasha said, downplaying his condition. She’d called home this morning to learn her father had taken a turn for the worse and they had gave him a few more months, at the most. She took note of the the look between Lowell and Chauncey making a mental note of the tension she sensed between them. Clearly Jackson Devonshire had a more important engagement and she was certain it had nothing to do with another energy deal. DGI, rather, the Devonshires, weren’t that good. They were lucky to have gotten in with SandStar. “I’ll be sure to tell him you asked,” she said sweetly as she patted his hand politely. One day she would pay him and Jackson back, tenfold for the way they forced her into accepting less than what she deserved. Whatever was going on between father and son here could be her way in.

“I look forward to our meeting in the morning but in the meantime, I would love a private tour of Atlas Falls, Chauncey. Do say yes,” she said as she slipped her arm in his and pressed her body against him as she looked up at him doe-eyed. This was her chance to get Chauncey alone. To make him want her. “It’s a beautiful night and it’s been all business since I’ve been in Atlas Falls.”

“Mother, father. I believe the lady has made a request surely you can excuse us for a bit.” Chancey said looking at his parents while he helped Natasha up from her seat. This was what he was waiting for that look to return to his parents eyes who knew all it would take would be Greer revealing Dani’s medical files to the press to push his brother off the edge. In many ways it was cruel yet brilliant at the same time and gave him the edge he needed to make Natasha think of having his back rather than Jackson’s. “It would be my pleasure to show you around Ms. Hassain.”

Jackie looked at Chauncey and then over at Lowell at least for now the SandStar merger was still happening. Jackie nodded her head at Chauncey. “Of course. Lowell we really should get going don’t you agree you do have that appointment later.”

“An appointment? At this hour?” Natasha asked as she looked over at Lowell. “I hope it’s nothing serious, especially now that DGI and SandStar are contractually linked. DGI’s reputation, like that of the Devonshire’s, has the potential to affect our interests for better or worse.” She wanted Lowell to know she and Noah would be watching them, waiting for their slip up. They may have won the first round but the game wasn’t over. “Anyway, enough business for tonight. Noah and I are looking forward to our first board meeting and I’m sure Chauncey can fill me in on anything I’ll need to know before then,” she said as she stood and picked up her clutch. “Please tell Jackson I’m sorry he wasn’t able to join us.”

Chauncey watched as his parents left the table signaling the waiter for more champagne he would wine and dine Natasha tonight making the best impression he could. Down the line he’d take her to bed and dismantle Jackson’s plans for SandStar with Greer by his side, he’d reign over the spot he was always supposed to have. For now thought he focused in on Natasha ad showing her around Atlas Falls for the time being until me made his final move.