The One - Kristin Vayden

CHAPTER ONE

“SO, I HAVE this idea.”

Few words held as much power as these five. Especially when coming from my best friend. Those very words were the reason I hated peanut butter.

Kindergarten snack gone wrong.

Don’t ask.

Those words were also responsible for a very bad perm in junior high, and then again in high school for an eighties’ themed dance. Those five words were the reason I woke up in Vegas with “peace” tattooed across my back and a black eye.

No, I still don’t know where I got the back eye.

And you would think I’d know better than to listen to her when she begins a conversation — any conversation with those words.

But that’s the crazy part of friendship. Those stupid things you did are the very moments you remember and giggle about — much later, after they’ve happened. And for all the miserable things I’ve endured at Roxi’s horrific ideas… she’s had her share of brilliant moments as well.

So rather than run when she spoke, I took a deep breath, focused on the soft acoustic music of the downtown Seattle Peet’s Coffee House, and listened.

But just because I was going to give her a chance to explain, didn’t mean I had to do it without alarm and a healthy dose of suspicion.

“Yeah?”

“Don’t give me that.” She shot me a disgusted glare as she stirred some raw sugar into her black coffee.

I arched my eyebrow.

“Fine. But this is a good idea.”

“Sure.” I blew across my black coffee and waited for the genius to pour forth.

“No really. It’s not even about you.”

“Neither was Vegas.”

“True… but this is more of a business proposition.”

“The words proposition should never pass your lips.” I shook my head. “You’re not my pimp.”

“Nope. I’d be poor if I was,” she said, her red lipstick stretching across her recently whitened teeth.

“Ha ha.”

“No, really. So we need to infuse the blog with some new ideas. I’ve been brainstorming and I have this great idea. But I can’t do it by myself. I need help.”

“Three red flags.” I held up my fingers. “One. You said ideas, brainstorming, ideas again, and help. I see this turning out badly for me.”

“Please. You haven’t even heard my idea.”

I motioned for her to continue as I sipped my coffee. The atmosphere of the coffee shop lent a relaxed and comforting atmosphere with its natural wood tones and the soft hum of the espresso machine, yet these usually wonderful sounds didn’t soothe my trepidation.

“As I said, the blog needs some fresh direction.”

I nodded. Roxi hosted one of the largest blogs on the web. It was a mix of beauty tutorials, dating advice and book reviews that drew in everyone from fifteen to ninety. I continually stood in awe of how she connected, stayed connected, and pulled in so many followers. The count was at least 5.5 million.

“Basically, I did a poll last week asking which type of guy had the most sex appeal. I took the regulars; tall, dark and handsome, jock, urban lumberjack and so on. But I added in a dominant alpha, single dad, Navy Seal, billionaire, and stepbrother to mix in the recent surges in the literary romance ideals. It was insane. Total madness! The poll reached almost 85% of my followers and engaged them!” Her hands gestured wildly as her brown eyes widened.

“Eighty-five percent?” I asked, then whistled softly. “That’s impressive.”

“You think? But it gave me this idea.”

“Back to the idea.”

“Yeah. So. The poll did show a strange trend.” She paused and took a sip of her coffee. Basically, she was trying to make me impatient.

It worked.

“Are you going to tell me or do I have to guess?”

“All in time, grasshoppa.” She flicked her medium length blonde hair over her shoulder. “It showed that basically, all the men were tied. Where certain demographics of women preferred one type over the other, it ended up being a wash.”

“Okay…” I drew out the word, not knowing where she was going. Which happened often.

“So basically, girls don’t know what they want. So I asked another question.”

“Of course.”

She shrugged as if to say, ‘exactly’.

“And asked if they had a choice, which man would they choose if they could have one date. Only one.”

“And?”

“But it seemed wrong, so I mixed it up a bit before I hit publish. I’m giving them the choice of what type of guy… but…”

“I don’t like that expression.” I leaned back in my chair. Roxi was blonde, but she wasn’t dumb. Hard work and brilliant marketing had gotten her far in life, and when