An American Cinderella:A Royal Love Story(12)

By: Krista Lakes


My bet was on the tool.

“No,” I shook my head. “I still won’t do it. He’s been dead almost eight years. It’s not news. No one will even care.”

No one but me. I cared, but I needed to keep my poker face on. If I pretended like it didn’t matter, then maybe she would think she didn’t have leverage.

“Oh, but they will,” Audrey assured me. “Take a closer look at the woman. Does she look familiar? She should. She’s currently the top pick for vice president in the next election. Governor Allman.”

I felt my eyes widen. That’s where I recognized the woman. She was all over the news. Her hair was different now, but she was making the talk show rounds. The plan was for her to be VP this election and then president after that.

My father would be all over the news because of her. His name would be dragged through the mud.

“Imagine the headlines,” Audrey cooed. “Imagine what will become of his precious Ritter Child Safety Law. They’ll have to change the name. It’ll be tragic.”

Audrey giggled like it was funny to her.

I saw red. My father’s legacy was that law. He had spent months on it, making it perfect. Most considered it one of the best child safety laws ever written. I remembered how proud he had been.

How he said he’d done it for me.

This would tarnish that. They would change the name. He deserved the recognition for his work. It wasn’t fair.

My hands shook around the paper folder. Audrey knew my weak point. She had set me up. This was what she was good at. She was an information broker. Selling secrets and knowing things was how she made her living.

“What do you want?” I whispered, my shoulders sagging in defeat. I didn’t have a choice. Not one I could live with, anyway.

Audrey grinned like a snake. “Just copies of some of the reports. I’ll give you a list of what I’m looking for, and then of course if you see anything interesting, that as well.”

If I saw anything interesting, I was keeping it to myself. I was going to do the bare minimum to keep her happy and keep those photos from the light of day.

“Fine.” I agreed.

“Oh, and there is a new stipulation.” She smiled, but it was cold. “Since you had to be coerced, part of the deal is that you now help Anastasia.”

“What?” My head shot up.

“You’ll make sure she looks good in her new job. It was yours, so it should be easy for you,” Audrey said, taking a sip of her blood red wine.

I opened my mouth to protest, but Audrey simply looked at the folder in my hands.

“I’d hate for something to happen to my cloud access,” she said. “You know how easy it is to post things to social media these days. And who knows what other interesting things I have on there about your father.”

The threat was clear. If I didn’t comply, she’d ruin my father’s legacy and mine along with it. I was stuck. I had to agree to this for now. I needed time to come up with a way around this.

“Fine. I’ll scan the documents and help Anastasia,” I muttered.

This day really sucked.

“Excellent. I knew you could be reasonable if you tried,” Audrey said, patting me on the cheek again. I nearly turned my head and bit her.

“Is that it?” I asked, crossing my arms. “Can I go now?”

“Of course, dear,” Audrey replied with a smile. “You are the one who came here, remember? Are you sure you wouldn’t like to stay for a glass of wine?”

Only if I could throw it in your face, I thought to myself.

“No, thank you,” I replied through gritted teeth. I looked up at her, anger hot in my chest. “Why are you doing this to me?”

Audrey chuckled. “Because I can. I would have gotten Anastasia the job, but it seems the office won’t hire my blood relative. A wise, but annoying precaution. But you, you aren’t a blood relative and you had prior access. You have a reason to work there without question or concern. To be honest, it was easy.”

My mouth opened but nothing came out.

“Oh, don’t look so shocked. Anyone in my position would see the opportunity and take it. That’s all this is. The fact that I get to make George Ritter’s daughter’s life miserable is just icing on the cake.”

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