by Phil Fragasso
GENRE: Chick-lit, bittersweet romance
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.
Nina reinforced my opinion of her as the Platonic ideal of womanhood when I got into her car the next morning. She handed me a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee along with a bag containing two butternut donuts.
“I say, who loves ya, baby?” she said.
Fortunately it was a rhetorical question because I was already gulping the coffee with one hand and reaching for a donut with the other. In terms of physical pleasure nothing beats sex, but eating is a close second. I’d finally found a woman who understood the importance of satisfying both appetites.
As I ate and drank, Nina walked me through the plans for the party.
“The boy’s name is Jason and he’s turning ten. He’s like a Patriots fanatic so the whole thing has a football theme. They’re having a birthday cake shaped like Gillette Stadium. All the plates, cups and napkins will be decorated with footballs and team logos, and the parents are bringing in a big-screen TV to show highlights of the last Pats Super Bowl game.”
“No party hats?” I asked.
Nina rolled her eyes. “You obviously haven’t been to a kids’ birthday party recently. Party hats and noise-makers are so last century.”
“So what’s my job? Am I like the bouncer? Need me to keep the little rascals in line with nasty snarls and rock-hard muscle?”
“Seriously, Adam. If I needed brawn do you really think you’d be my first choice?”
I flexed my left bicep and positioned it next to her face. “You casting aspersions on my masculinity? Because I’ve been holding back. Way back. You’ve gotten to know the kind and gentle Adam. There’s a lot of macho manliness beneath this mild exterior. Don’t push me, girlie. I’m warning you.”
Nina squeezed my bicep with considerably more force and conviction than I would have expected from such a sweet soul. I might even have emitted a whimper or two.
“Girlie, my ass,” said Nina. “If there’s a girl in this relationship, it’s you. You’ve got a bit of drama queen in you.”
“Part of my charm?” I asked.
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.
Phil will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.