“Hey.” She slid into the seat across from me, looking fresh and sweet, as usual.

I canted my head to the side and stared at her, as if I were seeing her for the first time. In a way, I was. I was seeing the person she’d been the whole time, knowing what I knew now.

“I’m pretty disappointed, Risa. That’s what’s up.”

She paled a bit. “What do you mean?”

“I’m curious. How long did you plan on pretending you were a part of our team before you cut loose? Was it just whenever the opportunity struck, or did you and Max have a long-term plan?”

She hesitated. “I’m not sure what you’re talking about.”

“I saw that you sent Max the files, so you can start being honest now. What I want to know is how you went from loving your job and caring about my company to sharing confidential information to a third party with a vengeance, because I seriously don’t get it.”

Her countenance changed, a bitterness washing over her features. “Really? What don’t you get, Erica? You’ve been a nightmare to work with from day one. Everyone thinks you’re this great visionary who’s built the business, but where would you be without people like me? I’ve been busting my ass for you, and for what? So you can take all the credit?”

I frowned. “Sorry, isn’t that your job?”

“It will be when Max and I start up our own site. It’s already in the works, and we’re taking all the advertisers with us, so consider yourself warned.”

I let out a laugh filled with pure shock. Her betrayal had run far deeper than I’d expected.

“Wow, Risa. You’ve really outdone yourself. Max too, apparently. Never underestimate the power of jealousy.” Max would stop at nothing to best Blake. I regretted that I’d ever doubted Blake’s warnings.

“Call it what you want. Good luck picking yourself up after this. You’re going to regret it.”

“What you fail to realize is the company’s success isn’t about you. It’s not even about me. Any one of us could leave, and the company could survive now. You were part of a team, but I guess you completely missed the point of what that means. Good luck running your business with a founding philosophy based on jealousy and underhanded deceitfulness.”

“Go to hell,” she snapped.

I stood to leave. I’d heard all I needed to hear. I paused before I walked away.

“Oh, Risa. One more thing.”


I let a slow smile cross my face. “Blake wanted me to let you know he’s not interested.”

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