Popcorn Love

By: KL Hughes

Acknowledgements

First and foremost, I would like to thank my love. Thank you, my darling wife, for all your encouragement and support, your confidence and faith in me, and your endless supply of laughter and kisses. Your bright spirit always keeps me going.

I would also like to thank my editor and project manager, Michelle Aguilar, for sticking with me every step of the way, helping me to grow as a writer, and helping this book to bloom into what it was always meant to be.

Finally, I would like to thank my publisher, Astrid Ohletz, and the incredible team at Ylva Publishing for giving this book, and me, a chance. Please accept my deepest gratitude.





Dedication

For Swen





Chapter One

“Stop whining,” Vivian huffed before stuffing a forkful of Cobb salad in her mouth.

Elena rolled her eyes as she took a sip of her sparkling water and crossed and uncrossed her legs under the café table. “You stop whining,” she hissed at the other woman. “A refusal does not equate to whining, Vivian. You continuing to push the issue, however, does.”

Vivian finished chewing her food in silence before dabbing at the corners of her mouth with her napkin. Both she and Elena were no strangers to proper manners. They had been raised to never forget them after all.

“Oh come on, Elena. It’s time for you to live a little. It’s time for you to move on. It’s time for you to get your sexy ass out there and share it with the world!”

Elena quirked a brow at her best friend. “The world?”

Running a hand through her long, ash blonde hair, Vivian leaned back in her chair. “Okay, so maybe not the world. That would put a whole new meaning on the phrase ‘sleeping around’, wouldn’t it?”

“I am not sleeping with anyone,” Elena said. “I have no desire to dabble in the dating world, let alone jump into bed with a string of nameless, faceless one-night stands that could only offer momentary satisfaction, and at the risk of heavy consequences.” Elena knew well that some of those consequences could change one’s entire life.

“Exactly! That’s the problem!”

“No, dear. The problem is you continuing to hound me about this ridiculous idea of yours to set me up on a string of dates that I have absolutely no interest in.”

“How do you know you have no interest in them? You haven’t met any of them yet. I haven’t even met any of them yet.” Vivian pointed a finger at her friend as if she had just made the most brilliant argument for her case. Elena simply stared at her, unblinking and unfazed.

“Look, Elena, it doesn’t have to be some big ordeal,” Vivian said. “It’s not like I am going to put you on a strict schedule of dates or try to marry you off to the first good-looking man or woman—”

“Woman?”

“Well, there was that time in Cancún.” Vivian’s soft laugh grew louder as she watched Elena’s cheeks color. “That was the one and only spring break I convinced you to take with me during college.” She let out a blissful sigh. “Best spring break of my life.”

Elena’s blush spread as she ducked her head and lowered her voice. “Dios mío,” she muttered. “I should never have let you talk me into that trip. It was a complete circus, a circus, may I remind you, of which you swore to never speak again!” She snatched at her glass of water and took a long sip, the cold liquid an instant relief. “Oh, and in my defense, I was highly inebriated that night. I’m sure you recall the nine tequila shots I took. Nine. ”

“Oh I recall.” Vivian turned a wicked grin on her best friend. “I recall you took all nine of those shots off of nine different parts of that chick’s body.”

The pink tint painting Elena’s cheeks deepened into a rich cherry red. She cleared her throat roughly as she glanced around the café before hissing, “Still, it was only one time.”

“Not true. Have you forgotten about that girl in sophomore year? What was her name, the one who somehow talked you into pledging ADPi?”

Elena’s voice lowered to a near whisper. “Audrey.”

“Audrey, yes! That’s the one! She was a real nut job.”

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