She couldn’t deny it. “And you have anger issues.”

He opened his mouth, then snapped his jaw shut and glanced to the kitchen. “Sometimes.”

“Most times.”

“I’m working on them.”

“Hard, I hope. Working on them hard.”

His eyes gleamed. “What is it with you? Why exactly is it you’re out of the wacky ward?” he asked, then heard himself and amended, “The hospital.”

“It was time.”

His thick eyebrows shot up. “Your doctors released you?”

“I’m out, aren’t I?”

“For now,” he said under his breath, and moved to the door.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

He hesitated, hand on the knob, then turned and walked so that he was close enough that he could touch her. “Cut the bullshit. You might have been the last person to see your sister before . . . whatever it is that happened to her took place. The cops are looking at you, Cass. I figured that was why you ended up in the mental ward.”

“I had a breakdown.”

He stared at her hard. “A breakdown.”

“Yes.” When he just continued looking at her, she asked, “What? You think I faked it?”

His eyes narrowed a bit. But he didn’t argue.

“Well, now that’s crazy.”

“There ya go.” He stepped back, and in less than a second his expression changed, the tension in his body dissipated. “I gotta run.” A beat. “Nice seeing you again, Cassie,” he said without a drop of emotion, then flashed his famous smile. So well practiced, so sterile and cold. “Always a pleasure.” And then he was gone, the door closing softly but firmly behind him.

She threw the deadbolt, even though she knew he had a key. Just turning the lock made her feel better.

The man was a bastard. She closed her eyes and mentally counted to ten, all the while pushing all thoughts of Brandon McNary out of her mind. He just wasn’t worth the effort.

Yes, she’d made the mistake of dating him a few times before he turned his attention to Allie. And of course she’d felt rejected and hurt, but that had just been her pride talking, and really more about Allie than Brandon. She hadn’t even been all that attracted to him. The truth was she’d rebounded with him after her last breakup with Trent, which had, of course, also involved Allie.

Allie. Always Allie.

Now missing.

Cassie stared at the closed door wondering just what, if anything, Brandon knew about his costar and sometime girlfriend’s disappearing act.

Not an act, Cass. You don’t know what happened to Allie. She could have been kidnapped or worse.

And yet, she sensed that she might have been played. By Brandon McNary. As if he knew more than he was saying. But what? She felt a tiny niggle of fear for her sister, but refused to fall victim to the chilling idea that Allie could already be dead.

“So get on with it,” she told herself, and stepped into Allie’s living room with its modern furniture in somber gray tones that reminded her of death. “Get over yourself.” Even the splashy, bright pieces of art on the walls, and the geometrically designed rug beneath the glass coffee table couldn’t dissolve the disturbing feeling that overcame her.

Cassie had been here before, of course, a handful of times, the last visit having occurred on the day that Allie fell off the face of the earth. Her stomach clenched at the memory and the ragged remnants of the bitter fight that had ensued. Their argument had escalated, tempers flaring, egos rising.

“You hate me,” Allie had charged, her hair still wet from her shower, a robe cinched around her waist. Without makeup she looked so much younger. “You’ve always hated me.”

“Of course I don’t—”

“Liar!” Tears had tracked down her face. “You always hated me. From the time we moved to Oregon when we were kids!”

“I did not.”

“Save it. I know,” Allie had choked out, her round eyes wounded.

“If I hated you so much, why did I ask you to come down to Hollywood?”

Allie had swiped at her face with the back of her hand, the sleeve of her oversized robe drying her tears. “You thought I would fail. That’s why you wanted me to come.” Conviction had set her jaw. “But that didn’t work out for you now, did it?”