Monday, January 9, 2012


As the gates swung open and the car drove through, Melanie wiped her sweaty hands on her jeans and hoped her heart didn’t jump out of her chest. It hadn’t stopped pounding since she got the email from Matt followed by the plane ticket and instructions.  Not only was she going to get to meet her idol, but she’d been invited to their home for a barbeque with his family! 
And all because she’d been able to pass on some information about a crazy woman who’d stolen a baby.  She hadn’t done it because it was Richie – she would have done it for anyone in that position.   She had children herself and could imagine what it would feel like to have your baby taken away. Standing by when she could help hadn’t been an option. She was just glad it had all worked out okay.

The car came to a stop and the driver held her door for her. As she stepped out, the front door opened, revealing Ava dressed in purple Capri pants and a multicoloured a la Jackson Pollack shirt. Holy crap! She looks even more like her mother up close.

“Hi, you must be Melanie. I’m Ava.”

“Hi Ava. Nice to meet you.”

“Come on in. Dad, T-Mom and the squirts are out back by the pool.”

T-Mom? That’s what she calls Tori? She filed that little piece of trivia away for future reference. Glancing around, she tried to take in as much as she could of the rooms they passed as she followed Ava through the house.

As they neared the door that led out to the back yard, she could see Richie checking over the grill, shaking his head, while a small dark haired boy danced around him.  Her heart sped up even more at the sight of him in beige chinos and a black T-shirt tight enough to display his well muscled chest and biceps. As they got closer, a toddler in pink jogging pants and a shirt similar to the one Ava wore darted past him, headed for the pool and he rushed to catch her. The shrieking giggles that followed his tossing her in the air could be heard easily through the glass.

Ava shook her head, but smiled indulgently as she reached for the doorknob.  “That’s my sister Lauren. She’s a little tornado – or a natural disaster, depending whether you’re talking to Dad or T-Mom.”

As they stepped outside, movement out of the corner of her eye drew her attention to their right and she saw Tori sitting with her legs straddling a chaise lounge putting a clean diaper on a baby. A golden retriever lay on the ground beside her.

Seeing them, Tori looked up and smiled. “Melanie?  Hi. Welcome.”

“Thank you so much for inviting me. You have a beautiful home.” Melanie was proud that she was able to get out her prepared little speech in a mostly steady voice.

“It was the least we could do after what you did for us.” Richie argued as he approached them, Lauren in his arms. He reached out to shake her hand, struggling not to drop the squirming toddler. “This wriggling worm is Lauren.”

Lauren giggled and patted her father’s face. “Da!”

A hand on his leg had Richie looking down. “Who dat Daddy?”

“This is Melanie.” He glanced at her. “This is Stevie. Can you say hi Peanut?”

“Hi.” Stevie smiled shyly and with her first sight of the dimple in his left cheek, Melanie knew that he was going to be a heart breaker when he got older. “I go simming Daddy? Puhleeeeaaase!”

Richie shook his head. “I told you, it’s too cold.”  It might be a warm sunny day – and a welcome one after the cold spell they’d had, but it was only April and not that warm.

“Mama?” Stevie tried a different tactic.

“Sorry, my little tadpole. You heard Daddy. It’s too cold.” Tori stood and joined them, ruffling her son’s hair. She shifted the baby to her left arm so that she could shake Melanie’s hand. The four month old turned his head to look at Melanie, one small hand clutching his mother’s hair. Seeing Melanie’s eyes drop to the baby, Tori smiled. “And this is Zachary.” She studied the other woman’s face for a moment.  “Do you want to hold him?”


“Sure. After all, if it wasn’t for you we wouldn’t have him with us.” Tori blinked away the tears the thought still brought to them.

As Melanie gathered the infant into her arms she couldn’t help but smile down into the cherubic little face. Dark eyes gazed up at her solemnly for a moment, then a smile curved the perfect bow mouth with its full bottom lip. She couldn’t resist stroking the cleft in the tiny chin with a finger tip. She glanced back and forth between Richie and his youngest son. “Wow.”

Tori smiled knowingly. “Yeah. He’s a real mini me.”

A blur of caramel and red streaked past them, setting Lauren off into angry shrieks until Richie set her down and she could chase after the dog.

“Taffy tooked ‘Mo again.” Stevie observed.

Catching Melanie’s gaze she rolled her eyes. “We just hope Zack gets Richie’s temperament too.”

Grinning, Melanie looked down at the child in her arms again and stroked his cheek. “So it looks like you and Jake are going to be the next generation DD.” Her eyes widened when she realized what she’d said – or rather who she said it to.  She grimaced at Tori. “Sorry.”

Tori just chuckled and waved aside the apology. “You’re right. Jake is Jon all over again.”

“Much to Dot’s chagrin.” Richie added, then gestured towards the chairs nearby. “Let’s sit down. Melanie, can I get you a drink?”

As they sat and talked, Melanie’s nervousness faded and she began to see them, not as celebrities, but as normal people....a husband and wife and their children, and she found herself relaxing and even sharing some information about herself and her family and stories from her own life. Throughout the rest of the afternoon, she noted that it was a rare moment that Richie didn’t have at least one of his children on his lap.  Even Ava stayed close by.  The love and affection between Richie and Tori was the way they looked at each other and the small touches they exchanged so casually it was obvious it was done out of instinct and not conscious thought.

“We really can’t thank you enough for your help in finding where Jasmine had taken Zachary.” Richie said as he reached for a carrot stick on the tray in the middle of the table.

“I’m just glad I could help and it all worked out okay.” Melanie assured him, smiling at the infant currently in his arms. “He’s beautiful. They all are.”

“Thank you.”

Tori saw a look pass over the other woman’s face and frowned. “What’s wrong?”

Melanie sighed. “I just wish I could have done something to prevent it from happening in the first place. I knew she was obsessed with Richie, but I thought it was just normal fan lust. I never dreamed she was so far gone.”  She shook her head in dismay.

“Hey.” Tori reached over to squeeze her hand. “Don’t beat yourself up. We all met her and none of us saw it coming. We’ve got him back safe and sound and she’s gone. That’s all that matters.”

“What do you think happened to her?”

“I really don’t know.” Tori answered honestly. “She just....disappeared.”

“Hmmm. Well, I hope that she’s someplace where she can’t hurt anyone and can get the help she needs.”

Richie and Tori exchanged glances, but didn’t comment.

After dinner, Ava took some pictures of Melanie with Richie and Tori - and a couple with Zachary – and Melanie prepared to leave.

“Thank you again, so much for this. It really was a dream come true for me.” Melanie held out a hand, which Richie promptly ignored, pulling her in for a hug instead.

“Thank you for helping us get our son back.”

As the car pulled away, Melanie took one last look at the family standing in front of the house, waving goodbye. She knew her friends would be clamouring for details of her visit, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to share everything. Some memories were for her and her alone. And it was going to take a bit to process the experience. She would relay general impressions of the house and grounds as well as of Richie, Tori and the kids and what they talked about. But if anyone pushed for details, she’d just tell them no.

It was a family matter. 

And there it is.  The latest chapter in the lives of Richie and Tori - and their children. I would like to thank everyone for joining me on this journey and I hope you enjoyed the ride.

Until next time  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Chapter 62

Richie sat in bed, his back against the headboard, a book in his lap, listening to his wife’s voice coming through the baby monitor and smiled. She was singing softly to Zachary while she fed him his bedtime snack. They’d already put Stevie and Lauren to bed.
He’d been home three days and was feeling pretty good, but the women in his life were determined to coddle him.....and he wasn’t stupid enough to argue with them – at least for a few more days. He expected it from Rosa and Tori, but even Ava had gotten in on it, insisting he let her do any fetching and carrying he needed done while he sat and rested his shoulder.

The song ended and was followed by a loud burp. Richie grinned. That’s my boy! A few minutes later the door closed and he glanced up to see his wife walk up to the bed and climb in.

“Zack asleep?”

“Mmmhmm.” She nodded, letting her gaze roam over his exposed chest. When she came to the bandage on his shoulder, she frowned.

Richie watched her, seeing the guilt and sadness in her face when she looked at his shoulder. He’d let her take the blame, but the truth was it was only partially her fault. He had to take a share of the responsibility. It was because of him that Jasmine came after their family in the first place. And Tori had been right when she said he could have waited outside and let Mike get her out.....if he wanted to be a coward and let someone else fight his battles. On second thought, maybe it was all her fault.

Sitting close to him, Tori leaned her head on his good shoulder. “How’s your shoulder feeling tonight?”

“The pain’s down to a dull ache. It’s bearable.”

“We should change your dressing. I’ll get the stuff.”  She crawled off the bed and headed for the bathroom for gauze and salve. Returning to the bedroom, she approached his side of the bed and climbed on, straddling his legs and sitting on his thighs as he set aside his book.

Very carefully, she removed the bandage and inspected the line of stitches closing his wound. The damaged flesh was still red, but not as bad as the day before. She smoothed salve over the tender skin with the lightest touch, afraid of causing him any more pain. The feel of his muscles tensing under her hand was like a stab to her heart.

Pressing gently on the last piece of tape securing the clean bandage, Tori sat back looked at him with shining, sad eyes. “I’m so sorry this happened Rich.”

“Hey.” He pulled her against his chest, kissing her head while his hands rubbed her back. “She’s gone and we’re all here, together and safe. That’s all that matters.”

She blew out a ragged breath and nodded her understanding of what he was trying to tell her.  It didn’t make her feel any less guilty though. Turning her head, she dotted a few kisses on his chest and let her fingers toy with a patch of hair and caress the smooth skin. She felt his body’s response under her. Sitting up, she glanced down at the tented sheet beneath her hips, then back up at her husband.

Richie’s lips twisted into a wry smile at her surprised look. “What did you expect? My body knows what those clever fingers can do....and it’s been deprived of that magic touch for a few days.”

“Are you really up to it?”

He snorted. “What’s it look like to you?”

Tori pulled the sheet back and wrapped her hand around his rapidly swelling shaft. “It looks like my favourite toy wants to play.”

Leaning forward slightly, she pressed her lips to his, her tongue slipping between to taste him. At the same time, her hand stroked his length, hardening him even more. His hands fisted in her nightgown and tugged.  She released him long enough to remove the offending garment, then went back for another taste.

For long minutes their tongues duelled and their hands roamed as their desire slowly built. The feel of his calloused fingertips scraping lightly down her back was a familiar thrill that never failed to set her skin on fire and raise goosebumps at the same time. A shiver ran the length of her spine and she arched against him, pressing her breasts closer.

“Mmmmm.” She deepened the kiss even more, her mouth hungrily demanding.

Richie’s groan was a rumble deep in his chest, the pain in his shoulder buried beneath the pleasure her touch incited. He reached down to cup her ass, moulding her hips to his. Long fingers lightly probed her feminine core.

Tori whimpered and rocked against the hard flesh beneath her, bathing him in the evidence of her arousal. Desire rapidly escalated to the hot burning passion that was, and always had been, an integral part of their relationship. Familiarity didn’t make it any less intense or exhilarating.

Tearing her mouth from his and sitting up, Tori shoved the blankets further behind her, baring him completely. “Now Richie,” she panted. “I need you inside me now!”

She had positioned herself over him and was starting to sink down and take him in when he remembered. “Wait!” He grabbed her hips to halt her.

“What? Why?” She shuddered and groaned. “You’re killing me!”

His chuckle was low and....dirty. “Hang on a minute. I got a new toy for us.” He waggled his brows. “You’ll like it, I promise.”

She sat back on his thighs, a slight frown wrinkling her brow. “You think we’ve reached the point where we need toys?”

Need them? No.” Framing her face with his large hands, he leaned forward and kissed her. “God no! We’re so hot together it’s a wonder the house is still standing!” He paused. “But there’s nothing wrong with trying something new is there?  Not because we need to, but because we want to? For fun?”

Reassured, she smiled. “When you put it that Where is it?”

He reached into the drawer of his bedside table and pulled out a large ring. It was made of smooth, flexible plastic, and had a bulge on one side.  His eyes closed against the sensations as he slid the ring down his engorged shaft.

Tori’s eyes widened at the sight of the ring struggling to contain him. She ran her fingers lightly up and down his length. “Does it hurt?”

Richie shuddered, but shook his head. “No. There’s some pressure, but no pain.”

As she watched he appeared to swell even more. “Mmmm. Look at how big he’s getting!” Unable to restrain herself, she bent to run her tongue around the ridge, then sucked the throbbing tip into her mouth. “Mmmmmm.”

The pressure, suction and vibrations from her humming threatened to snap the last thread of his control. “Angel...” He had to pause and swallow hard before he could continue. “As much as I love what you’re doing, if you don’t get on with it, this will be all over and you’ll miss the best part.”

Intrigued, she released him with an audible pop and raised her head. “Better than this?”

“Shared pleasure is always better.” He gestured towards his rigid erection. “Have a seat and you’ll see what I mean.”

Tori moved forward, gripped his good shoulder with one hand and used the other to guide him to her entrance. A gasp was ripped from her as she sank down.  For a moment she didn’t think she could take him, but then her internal muscles eased and her body opened even more and let him in. When their bodies were completely joined, she sat motionless and focused on catching her breath. She’d never felt so full. She was almost afraid to move. “Jee.....sus!”

Richie would have laughed if he had the breath. If she thought it was overwhelming now she was really going to lose it when she got the full effect. “Okay?”

Tori took a deep breath and nodded.

Richie grinned, pushed her knees wider, gripped her hips and thrust upwards, causing the bulge in the ring to press into the sensitive nub of her clit. He rotated his hips and watched her face.

“Holy shit!” Tori gasped.

“See, I told you you’d like it.”

Tori was beyond speech. In fact, she was beyond thought. Her world was reduced to pure sensation....and she wanted more. Shifting her hips, she experimented until she found the movement that produced the most intense stimulation. The first climax took her by surprise. “Oh! Oh! Mmmmm.”

Richie gazed up a her, noting her heaving chest as she struggled to breathe. One brow quirked. “Had enough already?”  That would be unusual for her, but it was the first time with the new toy.

Tori’s eyes narrowed at the veiled challenge. Leaning back slightly, bracing her hands on his thighs relieved some of the friction of the plastic on her clit as she rocked against him.

Richie leaned back against the headboard and let his gaze roam over his wife. This was how he loved to see her best – lost in passion and desire...for him. Her eyes were deep cobalt, glowing as if lit from within. Her creamy skin was flushed a rosy pink as was covered with a sheen of sweat.

He skimmed his hands up her sides to cup her swollen breasts, attempting to ease the pain each bounce would no doubt be sending through her body as she writhed above him.  It was a sight he could look at all day. Unfortunately the demands of his body - and the pressure of the ring compressing his aching flesh - wouldn't allow for it. In fact, it was taking all of his considerable control to remain passive and let her take as much pleasure as she wanted or needed to sate her craving. But he was determined to hold out as long as he possibly could.

Sweat was running in rivulets down his spine by the time the next orgasm overtook her body. He gathered her against his chest and waited for her tremors to subside. The hot gusts of her panting breath were still tickling his ear when he felt her hips grind down against the ring, searching for more of the addicting sensation. His head dropped back as he struggled to maintain control. Feeling her nibble on his adam’s apple didn’t help.

“Mmmm. Oh God Richie!” Tori groaned and swivelled her hips faster, the abrasion of the bulge in the ring against her clit sending jolts of sensation through her body like an electrical current. It was both exciting and overwhelming, and quickly took her over the edge. “Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh God! Oh God! OH RICHIE!!!!”

“Angel!” The vice like clench of her feminine flesh around his embedded shaft took him right to the verge.  The ripples of her release took him over. “Fuck!”

When the trembling eased and enough strength returned to her limbs to allow her to move, Tori lifted off of her husband and settled beside him. She reached out with delicate fingers to ease the ring off his softening shaft. “This is definitely a keeper!”

Richie chuckled. “I told you you’d like it.”

“Mmmm. I do.” Setting it on the bed side table, she leaned up to kiss him. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Curling up against him, listening to his heart beat rhythmically under her ear, Tori felt herself completely relax for the first time in weeks. Her knight in shining armour had saved her life, the little princes and princesses were safe and the wicked witch had been vanquished once again. All was right in her world. Hopefully this time it would last forever.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Chapter 61

Richie opened his eyes, looked around the room and sighed. They’d seen way too much of the inside of a hospital lately. The maternity ward was fine....almost pleasant really. Trauma? Not so much. He shifted to try to find a more comfortable position and his breath hissed through his teeth as the hot coals buried in his shoulder ignited into a full blown inferno. “Fuck!”
“Honey? Are you okay?”

He turned his head to look at his wife perched on the chair beside his bed. “You mean besides the bullet hole in my shoulder?”

Oh goody. We’re in petulant patient mode. “Yes, besides that.”

“I’m fine.  When can I get out of here?”

“The doctor said tomorrow or the next day.”

“That long?” He sighed. “I’ve got things to do.”

“What’s so urgent that you can’t take the time necessary to heal?”

Dark eyes met light. “Convince my wife that she doesn’t have to run out and defend our family all by herself. People tend to get hurt that way.”

“Are you blaming me for you getting shot?” She stared at him and fought to keep her voice calm.

“You do realize if you’d stayed home and let Mike’s team handle it, this never would have happened don’t you?” The pain didn’t leave any room for leniency.

Guilt made her defensive. “No one forced you to come after me. You could have stayed out and let Mike come get me.”

Richie snorted. “Right. And let you get shot instead? That would have been really manly of me.”

“It might not have come to that.”

“Sure. She wanted you out of the way and you showed up at her door, providing her with the perfect opportunity, but she wouldn’t have shot you.” Sarcasm dripped from each word.

“Fine, it’s all my fault! I was stupid and impulsive and I got you shot!” She shot to her feet and stalked to the window to gaze unseeing at the grass and palm trees that lined this side of the hospital. She grimaced. “I....I just couldn’t let it go. I had to make sure she was out of our lives once and for all. I couldn’t just sit back and hope someone else took care of her. But I never meant for you to get hurt. I’m sorry.”

Richie rubbed the hand of his good arm over his face and sighed. “I know. And I understand how you felt.  If I’m being totally honest, that’s part of the reason I went in after you. I had to see it for myself too.”

A knock at the door interrupted them and they turned to see a nurse enter the room.

“There’s a couple police officers outside who would like to talk to you if you’re feeling up to it.”

Richie exchanged a look with his wife, then nodded. “Might as well get it over with.”

Tori returned to her chair beside the bed just as two officers came in. One was older and slightly heavy set, the other younger and slim. Luckily, they were familiar. They’d both been on the case when they were looking for Zachary, so they didn’t have to rehash the whole story.

“Mr and Mrs. Sambora, it’s nice to see you again.  I just wish it was under better circumstances.”  The first officer greeted them. “How are you feeling?”

“Sore, but I’ll be alright thanks.” Richie responded.

“Can you tell us what happened today?” The second officer flipped open his note pad and waited, pen poised.

Tori began the story. “Well, as you know ever since Jasmine escaped we’ve had investigators looking for her.” The officers nodded. “This morning Rob – my bodyguard – got a call with a tip on an address where she might be staying.” She paused. “I took our dog and snuck out of the house to go check it out.”

“Why’d you take the dog?”

“Back up....and because she was whining and would have ruined my escape if I hadn’t taken her with me.”

“And what happened when you got to the address?” The officer ignored the comments that made it sound like her home was a prison.

“I tried to talk to her. Reason with her. But she was too far gone for that. She’s convinced Richie’s in love with her.”

“And when did you arrive?” The officer directed his question to Richie.

“Right about when she revealed how delusional she was.”

“And what did you do?”

“I tried to talk to her...make her understand that I wasn’t in love with her and had no intention of spending the rest of my life with anyone other than my wife.”

“How did she respond to that?”

“She pulled out a gun and aimed it at Tori. Said she was going to remove the obstacle standing between her and I ‘fulfilling our destiny’.” He reached out for Tori’s hand and gave it a squeeze.

“Then what happened?”

“The dog jumped at her just as she pulled the trigger. She bit down on Jasmine’s arm.” He frowned. “Probably knocked her aim off, and saved my life.” He turned to Tori. “Is Taffy okay?”

Tori nodded. “Yeah. She’s fine. Rob took her home.”  

“What happened after she fired the shot?”

Tori took up the tale again. “We both hit the floor. I was trying to see where Richie was hurt and how bad. I heard the dog barking and when I looked up she was gone.”

“You didn’t see where she went?”

“No. I was focused on Richie.”

“Okay. I think we’ve got it. If you think of anything else, or if you hear from her or see her again, please let us know.” Starting for the door, the older officer paused and looked back, his gaze locking with Richie’s. “Did I ever tell you that my parents were from New Jersey?”

Richie shook his head. “No you didn’t.”

The officer just nodded. “They did.” He tapped his hat into his hand. “Well, you heal up and don’t forget to call us if you hear anything.”

“We will. Thank you officers.” Tori made sure they were gone before turning to her husband. “Do you think they bought it?”


“Do you think they’ll keep digging?”

Richie considered the knowing expression in the older officer’s eyes. “Nope. I think that unless she shows up again, they’ll stick the file in the back of a drawer and forget about it.”

“So what really happened?” Karin asked. “Oh wait, let me get David to pick up the other phone. DAVID!”

“Hey Bela, how’s everyone doing?”

“Hi Shirley, we’re okay. Richie should be released from the hospital tomorrow.”

“And the whackjob?”

“Oh, I don’t think she’ll be bothering us anymore.”

“Don’t tease Tori. What happened after she shot Richie?” Karin wanted to know. “The real story now, not the one you fluffed the cops off with.”

“How do you know that wasn’t the truth?”

“Because you’re too calm about her getting away. If she really did, you’d be swearing a blue streak and vowing to track her to the ends of the earth.”

Tori chuckled, but couldn’t argue the point. “Okay, fair enough. So, after the gun went off, Richie and I both dropped to the floor. I felt him jerk when the bullet hit.” She had to pause to push away the horrid memory of that moment when Richie stepped in front of her and took a bullet meant for her. He risked his life to protect her and she would never forgive herself for putting him in that situation.

She swallowed and continued. “Then these two big white guys came busting through the door. One looked at me and asked if I was Mrs. Sambora and said ‘your brother sent us’. I guess that was to reassure me they weren’t there to hurt me....and to get me to call off the dog.” Tori smiled down at Taffy lying beside her with her head in her lap and fondled one soft ear.

“Were they from Jersey?” David asked although he suspected the answer.

“They didn’t introduce themselves, but judging by their accents, I’d say that was a safe bet.” Her tone was as dry as the desert.

“So they took her?” Karin was trying not to be shocked. It was a story you only saw in gangster movies or TV shows and her husband and her best friend where acting like it was a normal event.

“Not exactly.  They took the gun away from her and she was still ranting about how Richie’s was hers and she never meant to hurt him.” She paused. “And then these two Asian men walked in.  They spoke to her in Japanese. Her eyes bugged, her face went white and she started screaming hysterically. One of the men leaned over and murmured in her ear and she shut right up.  She looked scared to death. They took her out and one of the white guys promised to call an ambulance.” She blew out a breath. “And that’s the last we saw of any of them.”

“So where did the Japanese guys come from?” Karin wondered.

“I don’t know. Any ideas Shirley?”

David hesitated, but she was family. “Did Richie or Jon ever mention that they love us in Japan?”

Tori heard the unspoken message. “That’s what I thought.”

“So...what happens now?  What do you think they did with her?” Karin asked.

“I don’t know what they did with her and I’m sure I don’t want to know.” Tori would be lying if she said she hadn’t spent some time speculating on that question, but she’d come to the conclusion that she’d probably sleep better at night if she didn’t know. “As for what happens finally gets back to normal and I can once again focus on what really family.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chapter 60

As Richie approached the room Mike had directed him to, he could hear a woman’s voice...and a dog’s low growl. At least she’s got Taffy with her. Better some protection than none. Damn stubborn, impulsive woman! Pausing in front of the door, he debated whether to knock or just walk in.
“I mean it Jasmine. Stay the hell away from my family!”

“It’s not your family, it’s mine! Richie and I were meant to be together.  Those kids were meant to be our kids!”

Even from where Tori was standing she could see the fanatical light in the other woman’s eyes. It was sad really. “No Jasmine. You know deep down that’s not true.  Richie was never yours.”

“He was!”

“No. He wasn’t. You spent a few hours talking to him, five years ago. That was it.”

“He kissed me!”

Tori wasn’t going to rehash that argument. “And came back home and asked me to move in with him. Did he ever contact you afterwards?  No. He doesn’t want you Jasmine. I’m sorry, but that’s the cold, hard truth.”

“You’re wrong.” Jasmine shook her head. “He hooked up with you and then couldn’t get out of it. You’re Jon’s sister. He didn’t want to piss him off.”

“You think he married me because I’m Jon’s sister?” Tori had to chuckle at that idea. “If you truly think that, you don’t know him at all. I’ll admit there’s a lot of things Richie would do for my brother – and Jon for him – but getting married and raising a family just to please him is not one of them. No, Richie married me because he loves me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me. Me. Not you.”

But the fever of delusion burned brightly in Jasmine’s dark eyes. “He loves me!  He does! He just can’t see it because of whatever spell you’ve put on him.”

Tori’s eyes widened. “So now I’m some sort of witch or sorceress?” She snorted. “That ‘spell’ as you call it is love. True love. And it goes both ways. Both of us are happier together than we’ve ever been apart or with anyone else.”

“No!  Once you’re out of the way, he’ll see that it’s me he’s wanted all along.”

Taffy had been growling low in her throat ever since they’d entered the room, but suddenly stopped. Out of the corner of her eye, Tori could see the dog’s ears perk up and her tail begin to wave and she knew Richie was close.

That knowledge brought with it feelings of relief....and annoyance. She was relieved to know that help was close by – if Richie was here, that meant that members of Mike’s team were as well – but she was also annoyed that he thought he needed to run to her rescue, that she couldn’t take care of things herself.  At the same time she was warmed by the assurance that he would rush to help her, no matter the risk to himself.

“I’m sorry Jasmine, but he just doesn’t love you.” Tori repeated to distract the other woman from the door opening slowly behind her.

“Yes, he does!”

“No, Jasmine, I don’t.”  Richie spoke quietly as he entered the room.

At the sound of his voice, Jasmine spun around, her whole being lighting up. “You came for me!”

“No.” Richie shook his head and crossed the room to stand beside Tori, his arm sliding around her waist and squeezing, although his eyes showed his exasperation with her. Reaching down with his other hand, he gave Taffy a pat. “I came for my wife.”

“But...but...we’re meant to be a family! I know it!”

Her comment reminded Tori of a few questions she had about the other woman’s background. Now might be the last chance she had to satisfy her curiosity and it would distract her until Mike’s team set their plan in motion – whatever it was.  “Where is your family Jasmine?  Your parents, I mean. Do you have any brothers or sisters?”

Shadows flitted through Jasmine’s dark eyes and the line of her lips tightened. “My brother and my parents say I have dishonoured the family by falling in love with a rock star and particularly one from the west.  They are very traditional. They wanted to lock me away so that I wouldn’t embarrass them.”

Despite everything, Tori was starting to feel a little sorry for her. Obviously, her family were aware that she had a problem, but feel like your family didn’t want you around had to be tough to take.

“How did you get them to change their minds?” Richie asked.

“They didn’t. After we finally sat down and talked in Tokyo....the connection was so strong...and I knew you felt it too.  After Sydney I was sure of it. So I made plans to come to the States so that we could be together.”

Her gaze shifted to Tori and hardened. “But then she showed up with her black belt sister-in-law and ruined our reunion.  If it wasn’t for her, we’d have been together so much sooner and not wasted so much time.”   

Richie couldn’t automatically refute her statement. Who knew what might have happened if he hadn’t met Tori?  Although he was pretty sure he’d have seen she was nuts and stayed away. But he did meet Tori...and he was a better man for it. “Jasmine......Tori is my wife and the mother of my children, and I love her with all of my heart. She is everything I ever wanted or hoped to find in the woman who would share my life. I don’t want anyone else.”

Tori leaned her head against her husband and smiled. While she knew how he felt about her, it was still nice to hear him say it out loud.

“It’s okay Richie, you don’t have to pretend anymore.” Jasmine didn’t want to hear it. “Everything’s out in the open now. We can get rid of her and finally be together.  Like we were always meant to be.”

“What makes you so sure you were meant to be with Richie?” Tori had to ask, if only to see how far down the rabbit hole the woman had fallen.

“The first time I saw Bon Jovi in concert I was in the second row right in front of Richie. He looked down at me and smiled.” She shifted to stand behind a nearby chair, her hands gripping the back and her face took on a dreamy expression as she remembered. “Our souls reached out to each other and in that moment I knew I’d found the man I was destined to spend my life with.”

“Wow.” Tori muttered. She’d expected some such story, but she still could hardly believe her ears.  And she didn’t want to hear any more. “Jasmine....I’ve explained this to you before. Richie is friendly with all his fans. That’s just the way he is. It doesn’t mean that he wants to spend the rest of his life with them.  He wants me. He loves me. He is my husband and the father of my children. We are a family. And there is nothing you can do to change that.”

“Oh yeah?” Jasmine’s eyes gleamed. She reached under the cushion on the back of the chair. “Are you sure about that?”

Richie and Tori both stiffened at the sight of the gun. Taffy, sensing their tension, started to growl again.

“What are you planning to do with that?” Richie asked even though he wasn’t sure he wanted to hear the answer.

“I’m going to remove the obstacle to the fulfilment of our destiny.” Raising the gun, she aimed at Tori. “Step out of the way baby, I don’t want to hit you by accident.”

But Richie didn’t move.

“Do you really think you can kill me and get away with it?” Tori tried to keep her talking. Okay Mike, you can come to the rescue any time!

“Why would they come looking for me when you’re suffering from post-partum depression and you killed yourself?”

“That’ll never work.  I haven’t shown any signs. And my doctor will testify to that.”

Jasmine shrugged. “That won’t mean anything after they read the letter you wrote explaining it all.”

“But I know the truth.” Richie pointed out.

“Why would you say anything when it means we can finally be together?” She shook her head. “You won’t.”

Richie knew there was no point in trying to reason with her. She was too far gone for that. He braced himself and watched her, waiting for an opening.

Tori wanted to give it one more shot. “Jasmine...”

No! No more talking. You said you wanted this to end. And so it will....for you.” She squeezed the trigger.



Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chapter 59

“Hey Rob?” The guard at the gate called up to the house.
“Yeah Ted?”

“How come you aren’t with Mrs. Sambora?”

“What are you talking about?”

“She just drove through the gate. Alone. Well, except for the dog.”

What?!! When?

“Just a few minutes ago.”

“Thanks Ted. I’ll get back to you.” Hanging up, he went looking for Richie. He found him in the studio, an acoustic guitar in his lap, fingers strumming experimentally. “Do you know where Tori’s going?”

Richie looked up at him. “No. Did she tell you she wanted to go somewhere?”

“No, she just went.”

Long fingers froze. “What do you mean she went?”

“She just drove out of the gate.” He raked a hand through his hair. “You’re not aware of any appointment or anything she had today?”

Richie set aside the guitar and shook his head. “No, and she would have told you if she did. Dammit, she knows better than to just take off!”

Not sure what else to do – there was no point in driving aimlessly around the city hoping to find her – they headed for the office to check her calendar and see if there was any hint of where she might have gone.

Richie’s eyes fell on the pad of paper that still held the pencil rubbing. “What’s this? It looks like an address. Maybe that’s where she’s gone, although it’s not familiar to me.”

Rob knew without looking that it would be familiar to him – or at least that he’d seen it before. He reached for his phone. “Fuck!”

“What?” A ball formed in the pit of Richie’s stomach. The bodyguard’s reaction gave him a bad – very bad – feeling.

“Yeah Mike, we’ve got a problem. Tori ducked out and is on her way there.”

What??!! How the fuck did that happen?” That’s just what he needed! Between the nutjob and whatever Jon had planned, the whole scene was a powder keg waiting to explode – the last place Tori should be!

Rob winced. “I don’t know. She heard me talking to you earlier. She must have decided she didn’t want to wait to see what you found out.”

Mike sighed and thought quickly. “Okay. I’ll tell the guys to be on the look out.”

“Do you know yet if it’s the right place?”

“Looks like it. A woman matching her description is renting a room there. But no one in the building has spoken to her to get a name. I’ll keep you posted.”

“Okay.” Hanging up, Rob sighed and looked at Richie. “The team’s watching for her. Mike’ll keep us posted.”

Richie stared at him like he’d grown another head. “Fuck that! I’m not sitting around here waiting to see if some demented whackjob hurts my wife! Let’s go!”

Knowing it would be impossible to stop him, Rob figured it would be better to go with him and try to help. As he followed Richie out he just prayed that they all got out of this without serious injury.

When the phone beside him rang, Jon picked it up on the first ring. “Tell me you got the bitch.”

“We think we have,” he rattled off the address.  “But that’s not why I’m calling. We’ve got a problem.” Mike took a deep breath and braced himself for the reaction his next words were sure to get. “I don’t know what you have planned – and I don’t want to know – but you might want to know that your sister has apparently decided not to wait for us and take on the bitch herself.”

WHAT??!!” Jon sat up straighter in his seat and gripped the phone tighter. “What the fuck is she thinking?”

The most obvious answer wouldn’t get him any brownie points, so Mike played dumb. “I don’t know, but if I can catch her first, I’ll ask her. All I know is that she found out the address, snuck out of the house with the dog, and is on her way here now. I’m hoping to stop her before she goes into the building, but she’s obviously pretty....oh shit...THERE SHE IS! Jon, I’ll call you back.”

“Mike, wait!” But it was too late. He’d already hung up. “Fuck!” Cursing his sister, he punched in numbers. “It’s me. I have the address, but tell your guys to keep an eye out for my sister. Curly brown hair, blue eyes, looks like me...and may have a golden retriever with her. She’s a friendly. Target is blonde – or at least she was last time we saw her.  Yeah, thanks.” Jon passed on the address and hung up.

Tori pulled up in front of the address Rob had written down and stared at the rooming house.  “I hope she’s in there Taffy. This bullshit has got to end.  Now!”

As soon as she opened the car door, Taffy jumped out and stood waiting for her. Tori thought about putting her back in the car, but decided having company might not be a bad idea. Walking slowly and openly up the walkway, she glanced around hoping that Mike or one of his team was watching and saw her. It wasn’t that she was scared, exactly, but it never hurt to have back up when you were dealing with someone’s whose cheese has slipped off her cracker.

It took a few minutes to find the right room, but she finally located it on the second floor at back of the house. Tori took a deep breath and knocked. Taffy’s low growl warned her of a presence on the other side of the wooden panel before the knob started to turn. “Taffy hush.”

When Jasmine put her eye to the peephole and saw who her unexpected visitor was, to say she was shocked would be an understatement. She was also a little nervous. Opening the door, she leaned against the frame. “Well, well, well. So nice of you to come to me. Saves me from having to follow you and try to avoid those nasty security people.” She looked Tori up and down. “You heal fast.”

Noting the bruises still visible on the other woman’s face, Tori smirked. “Faster than you apparently.” She pushed her way into the small living quarters, Taffy all but glued to her heels. Reaching the window on the far side, she glanced out briefly, then turned and faced her nemesis. “This ends now Jasmine.”

Jasmine closed the door and snorted. “Going to try to beat me up again?” She glanced down. “Or sic your dog on me?”

“If necessary.” Her expression hardened. “Whatever it takes to keep you away from my family, once and for all.”

Richie and Rob parked in front of the house. Stepping out of the car, they were immediately hailed by Mike.

“Have you seen my wife?” Richie asked anxiously.

Mike nodded. “She showed up about ten minutes ago with the dog. They’re inside.”

“And Jasmine?”

“We believe she’s in there. A woman matching her description came in through the back door about an hour ago.” He hesitated. “Have you talked to Jon?”

“Not in the last few days, why?”

“I....I think he’s got some....friends....around here someplace. We need to get Tori out of”

“What do you mean ‘friends’?”  Richie was afraid he knew the answer, but he wanted to hear it.

“I don’t know. He just told me he wanted the address and to get my guys out of the way.”

“Great.” Of course. Richie couldn’t really say he was surprised. You didn’t mess with Jon’s family and expect to escape without some sort of retribution – and he supported that sentiment whole heartedly!  But it was all more reason to get Tori out of there, and fast. “I’m going in. If we’re not out in ten minutes, send in reinforcements.”

“Be careful man.”

He didn’t need to be told. But it didn’t matter what the risk was. He was tired of sitting on the sidelines.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Chapter 58

They spent the next couple weeks quietly...and Tori healed.  As the pain in her ribs and ankle faded, another discomfort made itself known - an ache deep in her core, reminding her that Zachary was over six weeks old.
But her husband wasn’t co-operating. Even after Dr. Crandall gave her the green light, and his urologist assured them that there would be no more surprise babies, he still insisted it was too soon and he would hurt her.

“Richie! Stop being mean!” She gripped his arm and tugged again, trying to pull him over her.

They were in bed and the heavy petting had raised her arousal to a level where his teasing touches and kisses – as pleasurable as they were - weren’t enough. She need more. She needed him.  Deep inside her.

“I’m not being mean. I just don’t want to hurt you.” But being noble and considerate was coming back to bite him in the...well not his ass – that was on the wrong side of his body....right half but wrong side.

“You won’t. I’m healed.” She assured him for the millionth time. “I’m not made of glass. You won’t break me.”

“But I like breaking you.”

She rolled to face him, one delicate finger tracing a line down the centre of his chest. “Does that mean the pirate’s going to make an appearance tonight?” While her libido loved the idea, her body wasn’t so sure it was up to it just yet.

“No, I don’t think that would be a good idea. You’re definitely not ready for that!”  His fingers trailed over her hip to tangle in the tight curls between her thighs. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t search for buried treasure.”

With exquisite care, he slid one long finger inside her slippery channel, watching her face closely for any sign of discomfort. “Okay?”

“Mmmm.” She moaned softly and closed her eyes to better absorb the sensations. “Better than okay.” She cracked open one eye. “But it’s still not enough.”

“Don’t be greedy.”

“Not greedy. I just want what I’m entitled to as your wife.  You vowed to honour me with your body, remember?”

His chuckle was a low rumble in his chest. “And you’re going to hold me to that?  Even if it causes you pain?”

“I’m going to hold you every way I can.  And it won’t cause me pain.” She reached between them to wrap her hand around his swollen length and stroke him. “This only brings me pleasure.”

It was Richie’s turn to groan. “Angel, you’re playing with fire.”

“Mmmm. I like a little heat.”

“Darlin’ you know – better than most – that ain’t little.”

“I don’t know. It’s been so long since I’ve felt it inside me, I don’t remember.” Her bottom lip came out in a playful pout.

He kissed it away. “So you want a reminder do you?”

“Mmmm.” She pressed closer, shifting her hips against the motion of his finger inside her.

“Like that?” He pressed deeper.

“Mmmm. More.”

“Are you sure?”

“Richie! Please!”

Richie bit back a laugh at her desperate tone. But he didn’t want to hurt her. Very cautiously, he added a second finger, feeling her humid tissues clench around it. “Still okay?”

 “Oh! Mmmm.” Tori licked her lips and decided to try a different tact. With one hand slowly pumping his erection, she used the other to rub and tweak a male nipple, while she sucked his full bottom lip into her mouth and released it slowly, scraping it with her teeth. “Richie?”


“Don’t you want to be inside me? To feel my body holding yours so tight I can feel your heartbeat pulse deep within me? To feel the soft..wet....heat of my flesh surrounding yours? Caressing yours?”

His groan felt like it came from his toes. “God yes!”

“Then Richie,” she licked his lips and lowered her voice to a whisper. “Come inside me.”

With a low growl, he rolled over, forcing her onto her back and settling his hips between her eagerly spread thighs. Despite her irresistible lure, he entered her very carefully.

“Oooooh.” She closed her eyes.

Richie, only halfway in, froze. “Does that hurt? I knew it was too soon!”

Tori gripped his back, signalling her opposition to his withdrawl. “No! I’m fine. Really! It feels good.”

Unconvinced, Richie refused to push deeper. Instead, he withdrew despite her grip.

“Dammit Richie! I’m fine!” She was about ready to slug him.

He struggled not to laugh at the temper in her voice. She didn’t like to be told no. Holding her close, he rolled, reversing their positions.

Tori wasted no time in taking advantage of the new position. She quickly straddled him, sat up and guided his swollen flesh where she most wanted it.

“Easy, angel.” He grabbed her hips as she sank down. “Take it slow. Don’t let me hurt you.”

She wanted to growl in exasperation at his continual contention that he was going to hurt her.  Deciding actions would get her message across better since her words were apparently falling on deaf ears, she ignored the pressure of his hands and continued to lower herself until she’d absorbed his entire length. A smug smile curved her lips. “See? No pain.”

She may not be in pain, but he was aching. Nevertheless, he was still afraid to move. Of course, in this position, she did most of the moving....and she wasted no time in doing exactly that. He let her set the pace at first, but as she picked up speed, he increased the pressure of his hands on her hips. 

“Slow down angel. You’re not ready for hard and fast.”

Tori narrowed her eyes at him. “Yes I am.” Her nails bit into his chest as she leaned forward, groaning at the change in angle. “And I want it!”

But as soon as she picked up speed again, his grip tightened even more, forcing her to slow down.

This time she did growl...and decided if he wouldn’t play, she’d find a toy that would. “Fine.” Pushing away his hands, she lifted off of him and rolled to the side, one arm reaching for the drawer of her bed side table. “I’ll just have to find satisfaction another way.”

Richie watched in disbelief as she pulled out her vibrator and proceeded to pleasure herself.  The low hum of the toy did nothing to muffle her soft moans and sighs. He watched her face carefully as she repeatedly plunged the toy into her eager flesh, but saw no signs of discomfort, no matter how much force she used.

As her moans became louder and her body undulated with the movement of the toy, indicating her peak was approaching, he frowned. The pirate inside him was insisting that she should only get off with the toy when he was away....or when he was the one operating it. The glint in her eyes when he caught her looking at him told him she knew exactly what was going through his mind.

Stretching out an arm, he pushed her hand away, withdrew the toy and tossed it aside. “Brat!”

“Hey!” Tori rolled over and rose up on her hands and knees to reach for it. “I was enjoying that!”

Richie positioned himself on his knees behind her and gripped her hips. “Enjoy this!” With one hard thrust he was buried to the hilt inside her. “This is what you wanted isn’t it?”

“Yes! Mmmm...God yes!” She closed her eyes and focused on absorbing his repeated penetrations.

He caught their reflection in the mirror on the vanity at the end of their bed out of the corner of his eye. A vision appeared in his brain and he moved to achieve it, shifting them until they faced the mirror. Grasping her shoulders, he pulled her up until she was sitting straddling his thighs, her back against his chest. “Look.” He murmured in her ear.

Tori cracked open an eye and her breath caught at what she saw.   The mirror showed a couple in the throws of passions. Her face was flushed and covered with a fine sheen of sweat, her chest heaved with every ragged breath she took, her body swayed with the slow rocking of his hips. His eyes, almost black with hunger, ate up the visible evidence of the pleasure inundating her while his mouth tasted her neck and shoulder.

And between her legs they watched his hardness slide slowly in and out of her softness – much slower and more gently than she wanted.

“Richie please!”

He shook his head. “No. This way. Slowly....gently.” He stopped moving altogether. “Just feel me inside you....stretching you.”

But Tori was determined to win this battle of wills – one way or another. Reaching out, she picked up the vibrator again and pressed it against their joined flesh.

Richie jerked. “Whoa!”

With a low chuckle Tori stroked the humming toy up and down so that it caressed from her swollen clit down to the base of his erection, his sac, and the sensitive spot beneath it.

His hands clenched on her hips as new sensations bombarded the pleasure receptors in his brain. When it threatened to become too much, he made a grab for the toy, but she batted his hands away.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Grinning in triumph, knowing he was close to the brink and nearly there herself, Tori held the vibrator still, flipped the switch to high and let the wave take her. “RICHIE!”

“Jesus! Holy fuck!” Richie gasped, stars exploding behind his eyelids as he came...and came....and came. He’d never felt anything like it. The vibrations caused what felt like a jolt of electricity running from his balls, up his pulsing shaft to burst out of the tip....and taking of the top of his head at the same time.  “Stop! No more!”

Shutting off the vibrator, Tori set it aside and collapsed on the bed, a satisfied smile curving her lips.

“Feel better now?” Richie asked as he pulled up the blankets and pulled her into his arms.


The next day, Tori was beyond frustrated with the lack of progress in finding Jasmine. To top it off, she was convinced that she wasn’t being told everything, so when Rob answered his phone and promptly left the room, she followed him.

Entering the office Rob reached for a pad of paper and pen. “Are you sure?” He started to scribble. “Yeah. I got it. Yeah. Okay. Right. Gotcha. I’ll wait to hear from you.”  Hanging up, he tore the top page off the pad, stuffed it into his pocket and turned to find Tori standing in the doorway.

“Everything okay?  Was that about our case?”

He hesitated, but didn’t want to lie to her. “Yeah. We got a lead on an address. The guys are going to check it out. They’ll let us know what they find.”

Tori watched him leave, then looked down at Taffy, who had become her ever faithful shadow ever since the car accident. “What do you think Taffy?” Glancing at the pad of paper, she noticed grooves from the pressure he’d used on the pen. She hesitated only briefly before picking up a pencil and running the lead lightly over the marks, revealing an address. “Ha!”

Returning to the living room, she stood looking out at the pool and debated what do to.  Her gut reaction was to go to the address she’d already memorized and take care of Jasmine herself – if she was there. But she knew if she told anyone where she was going, they’d never let her go. On the other hand, staying here twiddling her thumbs, waiting, letting someone else fight her battles, was driving her crazy.

And she couldn’t stand it any longer.

Decision made, she glanced at the baby checking that he was sleeping. He’d eaten just a little while ago, so should be fine for a few hours. Quietly, casually, she made her way to the garage door. She picked up her purse and was just reaching for the knob when she was reminded of her shadow by loud whining. “Sssh, Taffy.” She hesitated, but really didn’t have a choice if she wanted to make a clean get away. Plus it would give her a good excuse if she got caught leaving. “Okay, come on.” She reached for a leash.