Book Features

Excerpt Friday: Still Counting by Phil Fragasso

still counting

Adam Donatello and Nina Morales share an immediate and powerful attraction, and their future together seems assured. But love is difficult enough without adding complications—real or imagined—to the mix. Nina sees life as a thousand shades of gray, while Adam tends toward black-and-white. He wants to move fast; she needs time. Nina sees her past liaisons with women as immaterial to their relationship, while her disclosure drives Adam to a state of irrational jealousy. He doesn’t know how he could compete with a woman, and his suspicions—which Nina views as hypocritical—lead them both to make decisions they may live to regret.

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Nina came to me and touched my face with her hands. “There’s nothing sweeter than an anchovy kiss.”

She leaned in and our lips fluttered against each other before proceeding to a full-frontal embrace. I’ve always viewed first kisses as a blindfolded ride on a runaway roller coaster. You never know where it’s going or when it’s going to end. So you just have to have faith and abdicate control to your partner. That’s my philosophy at least. A lot of guys would disagree. They like to take charge, set the pace, and make the next move. Some women prefer that approach as well. They like strong men who know what they want. I’m more of a girlie man. I need permission and encouragement. I want to get laid as much as the next guy, but I want to make sure that’s what the woman wants as well.

Our kiss was more like a pillow fight than a bare-fisted brawl. It was soft and gentle like the kiss of long-separated lovers.

Nina pulled away but kept her eyes closed for a long moment. “We need to go.”

I took her hand and we walked to her car. She opened the passenger door for me and got in the driver’s side. We made it to Starbucks in less than five minutes and neither of us said a word. She pulled her car alongside mine and turned towards me.

“I’m really sorry about Casey,” she said.

“I know you are.” I paused and tried to read her eyes. “I had a good time tonight.”

“Me too.”

“Could I see you again?”

“I’d like that. Give me your phone.”

I handed her my cell and she tapped in her contact information.

“I’ll call you,” I said.


I leaned towards her for a goodbye kiss, but she pushed me away. “I don’t kiss in cars,” she said. “It’s gross.”

phil fragasso

I sold my first article at the age of 16. Since then I’ve written and published a wide variety of books, articles and essays. After many years as a corporate marketer,  I left to pursue endeavors that were more fulfilling personally and more contributory on a societal level. Today I focus my time on writing and teaching. I’ve often said “I live the American dream” and that is indeed how I feel. With a wonderful wife, two grown children, great friends and a couple of rambunctious Labrador retrievers, I can’t complain about a damn thing.


Twitter ID:             @PhilFragasso

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