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Willow put down her knife and wiped her hands on a towel She faced Julie and Marina "I have an announcement"

They both looked at her

"My comic strip deal was canceled"

"Oh, no" Marina abandoned her post by the oven and rushed to Willow’s side "How horrible Why would they do that? When did this happen? Are you all right?"

Julieone Want me to sue them?"

Willow let herself soak up the love and concern, then shook her head "I’ood It was a shock and I was crushed at first, but now I’m okay with it I realized this was an opportunity for ure out what I really want to do with my life"

"Which is?" Marina sounded tentative, as if she wasn’t sure she wanted to know

"Working in a nursery at first, then later, opening reat place It’s huge They sell to lots of landscapers, so there are regular plants, but also lots of exotics Beverly wants me to help her with so co to take business classes Eventually I want to open my own nursery"

Marina and Julie stared at her

"It sounds as if you have it all figured out," Marina said adly "I’ deal"

"It’s not yet, but it will be I’ve always sort of fallen into things This ti for solad," Julie said "What happened to generate this change?"

"Losing the syndication deal was hard," Willow ad about what I really wanted"

Kane had helped Actually he’d been the one to push her in the right direction, but oddly, she didn’t want to talk about hio on and on about the men in her life, but he was different Maybe because she didn’t fully understand him yet Maybe because she wasn’t sure if they had an actual relationship Maybe because just thinking about hi to share that yet

"There’s just one thing," she said, patting Marina on the arood Well, I’ to need you to marry Todd The million dollars would be really helpful for start-up capital"


Kane pulled a flash drive out of his shirt pocket and set it on Todd’s desk

"We have a proble to like this problem, am I?"

"Probably not The new start-up has a lot of proprietary software and that’s all they have We lose that and we ht as well shut down Obviously there will be firewalls and eh Someone with a couple of these in his or her pocket can steal enough to destroy the company"

"Can you make the company secure?" Todd asked

"Of course, but it won’t be cheap and it’s going to require a hell of a lot of logistics and processes"

"That’s why you get paid the big bucks"

Kane sood challenge"

Todd passed back the flash drive "You’re happy here, working with Ryan and et all touchy-feely, was he? "Why do you ask?"

"You’re good We don’t want to lose you I know you get a lot of offers to go back out in the field or whatever you call it"

Black ops Secret assign idiots who shouldn’t be there in the first place


"It’s okay Here I get in on the ground floor on start-ups That’s goodto pry here, but don’t you have enough to retire a couple of ti this"

Eight ht Per his last statement He wanted at least double that before he took off for his isolated paradise

"I like what I do Besides, I have expensive tastes I’ll be around for a while"

"That’s what I want to hear But you’re seriously not teaets dead I got tired of wondering if it was going to be me"

"You don’t enjoy the thrill of the chase or the hunt or whatever?"

"Not anymore"

"Good to know" Todd studied him for a minute "How’s Willow?"

"Why do you ask?"

"I just wondered I saw her car there a couple of nights ago Are you two…"

"No," Kane said quickly "We’re not together" They couldn’t be He didn’t do relationships Yet he’d invited her into his bed a second ti forward to seeing her again If that wasn’t a relationship, as it?

"It’s interesting," Todd said "Men, woo I would have sas as much a cynical bastard as I am when it comes to matters of the heart But not anymore He’s crazy about Julie I’ve never seen him so happy"

"Envious?" Kane asked

"No I’ve been burned enough tiet s or fish or sos up"

Kane chuckled "No one is going to believe that"

"I know, but talking about it tortures h not to enjoy that, but every now and then I have some fun Still, she’s determined to marry me off"

There was frustration in Todd’s voice, but also affection Kane knew both he and Ryan were close to their aunt

"Julie isn’t a threat any the offer of a million dollars to one of the Nelson sisters if she would onlyif Willow is, as well," Todd said

Kane ignored that "You still have to deal with Marina"

"I don’t know anything about her except I’ to stay away from her"

"She’s a lot like her sisters," Kane said