Girl Gone Viral (Modern Love #2) - Alisha Rai

Chapter One

KATRINA KING LOVED love. Even when it didn’t love her.

The concept of love, the stories, how it was and how it should be. She loved giving it, receiving it. She cherished the rich platonic love her friends and roommates brought into her life, the generous kindness of the love her late husband had shown her. Though she’d spent much of her adolescence and early adulthood starved for it, she was comfortable with the emotion. Or, at least, forms of it.

Still a mystery to her was the kind of sweeping love she’d started to crave fairly recently, along with everything that went with it: sex and kisses and mutual consideration and respect and the zing of romance. Occasionally getting to big-spoon someone.

Those things seemed far away. Especially when she was aimlessly swiping on her dating app of choice.

“Walk me through this again.” Andy squinted at Katrina’s phone, her tortoiseshell glasses perched on the tip of her nose. “You swipe left if you like someone, right if you don’t?”

Katrina settled into the comfortable leather armchair across from Andy’s. The office they were in was cramped, dominated by a large desk and two bookshelves lining the walls. It was a little musty and windowless, but Katrina only needed privacy for her therapy sessions, not luxury. “Switch those around. Swipe right if you like someone.”

“My God, has the world changed in ten years. I met my wife online but on Matchmaker, and I thought filling out that long questionnaire was difficult then.” Andy turned the phone around to face Katrina. “What about this one? He’s an entrepreneur and CEO.”

“This close to Los Angeles, every guy is an entrepreneur and CEO if they’re not a music producer.” Katrina dutifully looked at the profile and scrolled through the photos. “I do like this photo of him shirtless holding two puppies, though.”

“You know he’s not allergic, at least. Important, since you aspire to own a menagerie someday.”

“Someday.” Katrina only had a cat so far, but she was working her roommates up to a dog. Or three. “Let’s give him a chance.” She swiped right, and another man filled the screen.

Andy swiveled the phone around and perused this one carefully as well, taking much longer than the average 0.6 seconds the average app user spent on a profile. “Oh look, this one answered one of the question prompts, put a little work into it. Two truths and a lie: I’ve been to Guatemala, I have a twin, and I think women should be barefoot and pregnant.” Andy paused, eyes widening. “Um, I really hope the first two are the truths.”

“Yeah, some people are really bad at playing two truths and a lie.”

Andy tapped her finger on her chin. “Are you a misogynist, or have you never been to Guatemala, sir?”

“The eternal question. Left on him.”

Andy paused. “But what if he has been to Guatemala?”

“My rule of thumb for two truths is, if we have to play the did you really visit that country or do you think I’m a second-class citizen game, it’s a left.”

“Fair enough.” Andy swiped confidently, with the kind of ease only a happily coupled-off person could display, when swiping was a novelty and not a way of life. A minute later, she turned the phone around. “This guy mentions his height four times in his profile.”

Katrina glanced at the bare-chested stud. She didn’t need to read his bio. “Is he six-foot-four?”

“How did you know?”

“People who are six-foot-four really like to tell the world they’re six-foot-four.”

Andy chuckled. “Yea or nay?”

Katrina considered the gentleman. She wasn’t a height snob, but she wouldn’t kick the extra inches out of her bed. “Yea.”

Andy swiped right and a little ding sounded. The high-pitched squeal of victory that came from her lips might have surprised a person who made a snap judgment based on Andy’s all-black leather ensemble, heavy eyeliner, visible tattoos, and septum, ear, and eyebrow piercings. “It’s a match. That’s exciting.”

Katrina tried to work up the same degree of eagerness. “Yes. So cool.”

Andy placed the phone on the arm of Katrina’s chair and regarded her with kind eyes. Katrina had run through . . . well, she couldn’t count how many therapists she’d run through at this point in her life. But Andy had been around longer than most, a few years now. “Thank you for letting me see what it’s like. It feels like a game, but I can see how this must get exhausting after a time.”

Katrina spun the phone around. “I don’t think it helps