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What I did write was my first official column for The Times: “How It Feels When a Bitch-Ass Bestselling Author Steals from a Debut Author and How My Agent—Kimberly B of Bronson and E Literary Asshole Associates Backstabbed the Shit Out of Me.” I wasn’t classy or careful about it at all. I listed names, dates, and gave dead proof that almost every word in her book was a variation of mine.

Since I was on amazing terms with the logistics team, and never had any prior problems, the article made it all the way to the layout department before my slander was detected.

The next time I came into work, I was fired. Then banned.

Then erased as if I’d never worked there.

The same month I lost my dream-internship at The New York Times, I received an email from Elite Airways. I’d passed the final round of pre-screening but it would take a while before they would be able to fly me to Dallas for the full eight-week training session. And even then, they admitted that their newly hired attendants could remain on reserve from anywhere for four months to four years.

I still had my part time job as a gate agent—which I had to keep, and there was a massive condominium complex I’d once done an exclusive exposé about. It was a beautiful, state-of-the-art building, full of million dollar homes, and from what I remembered in my report, it had a very high demand for “domestic engineers” and hired a new one every week.

Desperate, I figured I’d give that job a temporary try. And above all else, I would stop writing for a while.

I had to.


I met Kimberly at Andrew’s Coffee on Fifth Avenue, spotted her as soon as I stepped inside.

A beautiful Asian woman with long black hair, she still looked as friendly and approachable as she did when I first met her years ago.

“Hey,” she said, smiling as I sat across from her. “Do you still take hazelnut and Splenda in your coffee?”

“You actually remember something about me?” I rolled my eyes. “Shocking.”

“So, you don’t take that anymore?”

I stared at her.

She pushed a cup of coffee toward me and smiled again. “How have you been? It’s been a long time since we last spoke. I’m actually surprised you answered my phone call.”

“No shit.”

“Um...” She sipped her tea, having the audacity to look confused. “Did I catch you on a bad day? Is something wrong?”

“Yes.” I gritted my teeth. “Yes, you did catch me on a bad day and yes, something is wrong—something is very wrong.”

“Would you like to meet me some other day, then?”

“I don’t want to meet you after today at all.” I tried to hold back and stay calm, but I couldn’t. “You are the worst fucking literary agent ever,” I said. “The fact that you still have my number is appalling and I hope the reason you’re here is because you’ve lost every client you’ve ever had.”

“I haven’t.”

“Well, that sucks for them.” I crossed my arms. “Have you changed your process about signing new people now or is it the same? Lure them in with a debut book they didn’t write, slap their name on it, and voila! Instant fame and undeserved success.”

She sighed. “I had no idea that Brooke was going to be influenced by your book, Gillian.”

“Influenced? Influenced? Oh, now that’s grand. Is that what they’re calling plagiarism these days?”

“I’ve apologized to you countless times.” She looked sincere. “I had no idea, and when I found out—”

“You didn’t even tell me!”

The café was suddenly silent and everyone was staring at me, but I didn’t care.

“You didn’t even tell me, Kimberly.” I shook my head.

“Because I wanted to avoid you behaving like this.”

“Yeah, well. As always, great planning on your part. Whose book ideas is she stealing now? I’ve seen only the greatest of deals for her in Publishers Weekly—movies, foreign, audio. Must be nice.”


“I even saw her at a signing overseas where she apparently still doesn’t seem to read other authors’ books while she writes.” I leaned back in my chair. “Oh, and it was just last week when I read that she’s getting a very nice promotional tour for her latest release as well. Which client of yours did she steal that book from?”

She sighed. “Are you going to let me talk, Gillian? Or are you going to sit there and treat me like shit all day?”

“I’m going to sit here and treat you like shit all day,” I said, sounding a lot more like Jake than myself. “You signed the author who clearly stole—not influenced, my first book. You failed to tell me about it when it first happened, stopped reaching out to me, and now you want to call me out of the blue and sit down with me for a cordial conversation? Do you honestly expect me to let you?”

“Enough!” She cut me off, her face beet red. “Enough, Gillian. Don’t you think I was hurt, too? Don’t you think I cried about it as well?”

“The tears must’ve dried up pretty fast, since you signed her to your agency.”

“I did not.” She glared at me. “That was a misprint. My partner signed her, but she was new at the time and she had no idea about what she’d done until after the contracts were signed. I would never have done that to you.

“But ignoring me for all these years and sending me generic holiday greetings was okay?’