Monday, February 1, 2016

Straight Browsing from the Library: Still Counting by Phil Fragasso

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Phil will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


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 towards 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.


The first time I saw her it was raining.

I was crying. She was laughing.

Actually I heard her before I saw her. I was leaning against the Jeep clutching Casey’s leash and collar. My joyous and beautiful chocolate Lab had come down with cancer of the spleen at the age of seven. She suffered stoically for three months until I realized that keeping her alive any longer was solely for my benefit and not hers. Twenty minutes earlier I had held Casey’s right front paw as Dr. Renee Martin shaved and cleaned a small patch of skin on her left leg. I lay on the floor beside Casey and stroked her velvety smooth ears. Casey’s ears were legendary. Over the years I had come across countless young children who were nervous or frightened around dogs. Casey was a sure-fire cure for their fear. I would have her sit quietly as I held out one of her ears for the child to touch. I demonstrated how to fondle it between thumb and forefinger as though appraising the quality of a fine fabric. I don’t know if dogs have a G-spot, but this was truly the epicenter of pure ecstasy for Casey. Her eyes glazed over and her tongue peeked out ever so slightly from the front of her closed mouth. She would emit whisper-quiet murmurs and push her head tightly against whatever hand was doing the stroking, determined to extract every ounce of pleasure from the moment. I used to call it aural sex.

This time, however, this final time, I don’t think she felt anything but sadness and pain. We locked eyes as we often did, but there was no look of excitement on Casey’s part about an impending walk, a ride in the car, or one of my mom’s homemade dog biscuits. All I could see through my own tearful eyes was a look of resignation. It was time. Casey knew it and I knew it.

“Are you ready, Adam?” asked Renee.

I looked up at her, the only vet Casey or I had ever known, and nodded.

Renee knelt on the floor and offered Casey a treat shaped like a squirrel, but my usually ravenous companion had stopped eating the night before and refused this treat as well.

“You’re doing the right thing,” said Renee.

I placed my hand on Casey’s head when Renee injected the fatal solution. Within seconds Casey’s pain faded away and mine forever heightened.

Since then I’d been standing in the rain not wanting to return to the apartment I shared with Casey but not knowing where else to go.

“You do what you want, but I wouldn’t go out with him in five-and-a-half million years.”

Those were the first words I heard Nina speak.


Phil Fragasso sold his first article at the age of 16. Since then he has written and published a wide variety of books, articles and essays. After many years as a corporate marketer, he left to pursue endeavors that were more fulfilling personally and more contributory on a societal level. Today he focuses his time on writing and teaching. VIDEO:

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a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for hosting my FIRST tour stop. Love to hear comments about this opening chapter. My editor thought the original version was too intensely sad, so I toned it down. How did it make you feel?

  2. My god that was so heartbreaking to read, but so well written.

    1. Thank you so much. My editor actually had me tone it down a bit because she thought it was too sad and some readers might not want to continue. It was based on my own experience of losing our 12-year-old yellow Lab. Truly heartbreaking.

  3. Thanks for the giveaway! I like the excerpt. :)

  4. It is refreshing to read a love story from a male perspective. Congratulations!

    1. Thanks, Renee. I'm hoping I can add a slightly different perspective when viewing male-female relationships.

  5. Enjoyed the excerpt, sounds like a great read, thanks for sharing!

  6. Enjoyed the excerpt, sounds like a great read. Entering under the name of Virginia

  7. Enjoyed the excerpt, sounds like a great read. Entering under the name of Virginia

  8. sounds like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway.


  9. I enjoyed the excerpt, thank you.

  10. Good luck to all of you in the giveaway, and please check out my Facebook and Twitter accounts to learn more about my upcoming books.

  11. This is so great, thank you for the chance. I enjoyed this!

  12. It was a truly moving excerpt. Thank you for it. I can't wait to read more.

  13. I am really enjoying following this tour, thank you!

  14. Would you rather read digital or paper books?