Category Archives: the fangirling has made it here

Reading Theme ~ May 2017.

April showers give way to clear skies.
Long days with not as hot temps means spending evenings outside, stargazing.

Stargazing leads to wondering. (at least for the story writer in me.)

Then the ponderance of those age-old questions:

What’s out there in our universe? What’s out there beyond?

Do aliens exist?

If they do, would they be friendly?

Or are they out to off us for whatever agenda they have?

What would it be like to travel from planet to planet throughout the universes?

For someone who swears she doesn’t read sci-fi (Exceptions: Illuminae & Gemina), I have seemed to amass quite the collection of sci-fi books. Star Wars, alien abductions, UFO sightings, and a princess to name just a few. So I am going to try to take down my TBR list by tackling the most popular theme I have to be read.

Of course. Star-Lord and Han are essential to sci-fi goodness.

I’m thinking of starting with the X-Files books. After all, the show I loved in the early 90s started off with Fox Mulder searching for his missing sister after her abduction by aliens. And since I plan to read the believer, I also have to add in the skeptic, aka Scully’s book.

The X-Files ~ Agent of Chaos by Kami Garcia

The X-Files ~ Devil’s Advocate by Jonathon Mayberry

And you can’t do aliens without a little weird to go into it, so:

Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor

And no space theme is complete without a STAR WARS book or two:

Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
(forever my Princess/General)

And then, a few series starters that I hope are great enough to want to read on:

The Taking by Kimberly Derting

Extracted by RR Haywood

And just because both the cover and the title fit, I’m going to try to squeeze in:

From A Distant Star by Karen McQuestion

Quite a full list for someone who claims not to read sci-fi…

May’s Theme:

The Stars in the Sky

(which also happens to be the title of the book I’m writing and not talking too much about yet.)

Any books I should look into or a great one I’ve missed?

And though I’ve read and reviewed them, I still highly recommend:

Illuminae/Gemina by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

DJ, signing off. Hoping to catch you from another system.

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All gifs were found on giphy.com

The images are my own, screencaps as well.

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Filed under amreading, Chris Evans, on the book shelf, reading themes, the fangirling has made it here

The Writing Resolutes ~ February Check-In

Well, so far so good this year. Yesterday, I completed a second draft of book four (Me & Johnny) of the series I’ve been writing, Human Touch.

Not Human Torch, nor is it Johnny Storm related, purely coincidental…

I somewhat apologize for my ridiculous puns.

Not really.

Anyway, I am so happy it’s complete. Then someone was so kind to print, comment, make notes, and check edits of the newest, best, and last edition of Human Touch (which I swear auto-correct on the new laptop is worse than auto-correct on my old laptop). I finished that out yesterday, too. Two stories done, ish. Still waiting for others to comment or notate on that one, because I might have missed something else or I like to have a consensus…

The problem I have is what to do with it once the final/final is done. Wattpad always sits in my head as one of the top options. Self-pub? Maybe. I’ve also been considering doing podcasts with it…as in the whole freaking series! (Over nine books either written or planned at this point.) Something along the lines of Welcome to Nightvale! But, those microphones can be expensive. And I’ll have to find a place to record along with people to play the parts. That last one would be the easiest thing to accomplish on that short list.

On the agent front, Love, Darrows is still with an agent. Not sure if I should poke and prod for info there or not. I don’t want to be pushy, but at the same time, it’s been months since she’s responded to me…

Sync or Swim is being edited and prepped to send to an agent who has said they wanted my next contemporary LGBTQ book…so fingers crossed that I get it done and off soon.

In the meantime, I am always searching (BIG THANKS TO kiTT FOR POINTING OUT PUB OPPORTUNITIES) for the next submission…

So far this year, I might not have gotten my foot in the door yet, but I feel like I am getting stories done. Which is always a good thing to someone in the authoring process. IMO.

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all gifs found on giphy.com

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The Best of 2016 and what’s coming 2017…

2016

What a year. Carrie Fisher will be so missed. Our Princess/General Leia. (And might I recommend a viewing of The ‘Burbs?) All the music greats we had: George Michael, Prince, David Bowie. My grandmother’s passing…

Let’s skip all the bad, because we can’t be bringing in the new with all that baggage and bad karma.

The good of the year. Well, there was Captain America Civil War, aka The Avengers 3. Westworld was great. Stranger Things.

A lot of people out there fighting for what’s right and good in the world.

Personally, I wrote. A lot. Have writer’s block, for months. Completed a few stories, though most are in first draft form still. I had full requests and partials for Love, Darrows–Thankful for agents agreeing that Cupid can have a boyfriend. Rethinking the genre of that one, though. Completed NaNoWriMo with my series, Human Touch‘s book 4, Me & Johnny. Got a job working for a great company and working with some fun and diverse people.

Completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge of 100 books for this year, read and reviewed.

{the Year in Review on Goodreads: see it here.}

My favorites of 2016

Asking me to choose just one isn’t going to work. As I sit typing, I can think of the majority of books I read this year and find ones I loved so much. And most on my favorites list weren’t necessarily published in 2016. Which I am fine with since I believe all stories are timeless. Even the contemporaries.

Favorite YA

Has to go to the Cinder series by Marissa Meyer. Not only was it a great twist on the classic fairy tales, Carswell Thorn and Cress. They just won it for me. I still daydream about them, though I will not write a fanfic.

Favorite Graphic Novel

This goes to the Scott Pilgrim Series by Bryan Lee “Bread makes you fat?” O’Malley. (Because it seems in every book, Mr. O’Malley has this bread obsession. LoL) I still pull out one of the books and read a bit of it, go over the pictures. Laugh. Definitely a win for years to come.

Favorite Comic

This is sort of cheating since Marvel’s Agent Carter could also be a graphic novel. But it is one of my most favorites because of the included Cher Chez le Femme. My forever ship. Steggy. Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter together…something the MCU really never wanted to give us. No matter how much Steve loved his best girl.

Favorite LGBTQ

I don’t think I read enough of these this year. But of the ones I did, Gear Shark took it. It was one of those “coming to terms with the fact I, a guy, am in love with a guy stories,” but what this one had that most I’ve read never touched was the hatred and violence that can go along with being gay (or lesbian or trans, and more power to you all for having to deal with such an asinine hatred from people). That’s really where I had to keep reading. What were they going to do?

Favorite Book Award Winner

The Absolute True Diary of a Part-time Indian. This story stuck in my head. Not just because I knew the area and places mentioned, but because it gave an inside peek into a culture that really most of literature just doesn’t touch. It was so good. So sweet. So heartfelt. Just pure honesty on a page. Even being fictional.

Favorite Literary Fiction

Jane Two is going to be one of those stories that sit in the heart for a very long time. It was a story about love. A first love. A love of your life. A love that stays with you and never dies, though it may very well remain an unrequited love. It was truly a beautiful tale and I am so glad I never gave up on finding it. One of my highest recommends of the year.

2017

Leaving 2016 behind like dust blowing in the wind as a car speeds down a country road…

It felt like 2017 would never get here, as rough and bullying as 2016 was. The low was hit, and we can only rise from here, right? Leaving out the politics of it all [here in the US] when I say that 2017 will be a great year. For entertainment, books, the good in life.

We have a new Guardians of the Galaxy movie coming. Avengers: Infinity War parts 1 & 2 will begin filming. Another Star Wars film coming…

My writing goals for 2017?

A lot of pages. I need to get final drafts done, manuscripts out to agents. I would love to take a class or two to help with my writing to see what I’m missing or what I can fix. I have stories yelling to be told right now. Three to be exact. All starring my muse in one way or another. I’ve got to get out on social media more with my writing. Still considering a self-pub if I can get the massive amount of money I need for an editor.

SO no word totals. Just putting words on a page, handwritten, digitally, make stories into something more than thoughts in my head.

Keep doing book reviews. Keep reading. And there are some promising books coming.

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth has been on my TBR list for a while. (Only a few more weeks to that one!) Plus a new Four story from Divergent!!!! (I CAN’T WAIT!!!)

I had the fortune of reading two soon to be releases this past month or so. (Thanks to their publishers and Net Galley.) I highly recommend finding these in the new year:

This was a beautiful story. Refreshing. My first “Christian” read. Touching. Definitely makes me teary when I think about this wonderful book. Don’t let the Christian thing push you away. It was a part of the tale, but it wasn’t preachy nor did it consume the whole story.

On the opposite end of that, in a way…

I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard at a romcom before. It was amusing and funny and well done. Perfect romcom to start off the year!!! I can’t wait for the other ones, too.

And then from Paula Hawkins, who wrote Girl on the Train…which was so good I couldn’t put it down!!!…Into The Water. A whole new twisty tale. This one is right up there with Divergent’s post epilogue on my TBR list.

Those are just a very few on my lists. The closer books. Who knows what favorites will emerge as we move throughout the year?

Reading themes start tomorrow. I’ve skipped the past two months as I’ve been too busy between writing/reading and working to do them. Resolution 35: Get back to the themes. (total fake resolution number.)

Have a great New Year!!!

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All gifs found on giphy.com

book covers found through google searches. those images belong to their owners.

The Captain America image was my own screenCap (pun totally intended) from The Avengers, my own paid copy of that film.

Goodreads COngrats image was a screencap from my phone.

NaNoWriMo gave me that banner when I completed the challenge.

Thank you for reading!

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Review: Ant-Man: Natural Enemy

Ant-Man: Natural Enemy
Ant-Man: Natural Enemy by Jason Starr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars!!!

What’s not to love about the Scott Lang incarnation of Ant-Man? Humor? Sarcasm? His daughter? His new life as a reformed criminal? Sure. It’s all here.

Under The Cover: Much like the Captain America prose novel, Ant-Man has a thick, black cover with a red Ant-Man helmet/logo/symbol. Very nice Ant-Man art.

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The art within the pages: Unlike the Captain America prose novel, the Ant-Man prose novel didn’t have as much art inside. Each chapter has a few ants “crawling” on the pages. The front matter has more ants crawling about and some Ant-Man images. And the exterior cover has Ant-Man riding on Ant-thony (what I call him because of the Cineverse) on the front and Scott and his daughter Cassie on the back.

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The Story: Scott Lang has been Ant-Man for a few years. Divorced about the same amount of time. He’s living in NYC with his “teen”–yeah, Cassie is a TEEN now…where did the time go?–daughter. He does what he needs to do to get by, working as a cable tech. And he’s giving back…help get crime off the streets. All while trying to keep being the best dad he can for Cassie. Even freaking out when she professes her adoration for a boy at school. Up until an old criminal “friend”, but I’ll call him cohort, decides to make sure Scott pays for testifying against him.

Yep, that’s right. Ant-man is in protective custody.

This was really great. An original story for Ant-Man, created to work between the comics and movies. (IMO from the information about the book, though no one has fully stated that.) Scott is sarcastic, funny, and a great dad. Cassie is like a bonus to this story. I’m sure people read that she’s an integral part of the story, and assume she’s going to get in the way. She doesn’t. Her parts (it’s told in third person, alternating between Scott’s and Cassie’s part of the story) add to and do not detract from the story. There’s even random mentions of Cap (Captain America), Iron Man, and Spidey. Tony Stark does play a slight role within the pages, too.

A few parts had me laughing so hard. A few had me holding my breath. And that one burning question…who’s that girl? It all came together smoothly to make for a fun story. I’d recommend this to anyone loving on Team Cap right now. Or even Scott Lang.

*I NEED A HERO READ – MAY 2016* This was a last minute accidental find. So worth it!

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“Hey, 6B.” – chapter 18

Story Summary: Bucky is on a Mission: Find out about his past and try to remember the Man in Blue. His “mission” takes him to Boston where he meets the fun and flirty, Colin Shea. With Colin’s help, he might just find all the answers he’s been searching for…but he also might find love. With outside pressures, Bucky has to decide between remaining in the dark and staying with Colin or going after the man who haunts his nightmares.

Crossover: What’s Your Number? meets Captain America: Winter Soldier/The Avengers/Captain America: Civil War (more the movies and less the books or graphic novels)

Rating: R if this was a movie. MA if it was a TV show. Mature on Archive of Our Own. Not rated on Tumblr. There is some LGBTQ/slash sexual situations, though nothing erotic. It’s a simple Rated-R romcom. No porn. (Think along the lines of Wings meets Love, Darrows, kiTT.) As Cap would say: Language! Because yes, there is some language and double entendres. Not so much violence as of now.

Genre: RomCom/Action

Chapter word count: 1,186

Characters: James Buchanan Barnes “Bucky”, Colin Shea,

Disclaimer: All characters belong to their original creators. There is no copyright infringement intended. This is all done in fun and love for my favorite movies. Thank you for stopping by and reading.

Notes: Almost there. The last four chapters will be posted next week!!!


18.

There was once a time in my life where I was a ghost. Get in. Get out. Never get caught by surprise, but take them down with shock. Now, I’m the most popular man in the United States, much less the world. Everyone knows my face and my name. I need to become that ghost again and soon.

First and foremost, I need to be calm and lay low until the streets have calmed. Unfortunately, I have only one option for accomplishing that task and it’s the last thing I want to do right now. But there was nowhere else to go.

I knock under the 419 on the door, knowing I’m probably walking into an ambush—they must have realized who Mr. James and Mr. Collins are by now. I don’t know if I’d much rather get arrested and get this chase over with or have Colin never answer the door.

After the third knock with no response, I know I’d pick being arrested.

I press my ear to the door and hear nothing but my own heart screaming. The peep-hole remains bright white and when I spy through the opening, I find nothing but a blurred fish-eye view of the desk. Then I knock a few more times, checking the hallway for a sign of life. Both are void of a presence.

The burner phone emerges from my pocket. No incoming calls or messages from 6A at all. Meaning what, though? He left? Gave up his mission?

A shadow passes by the peep-hole. A deep, husky voice booms through the door, “Didn’t you see the do not disturb on the door knob? Come back later. We’re busy.”

So he gave up on me? Which might be for the best.

With a heavy breath, I wander the halls towards the back stairwell. My hands are tucked into the pockets of my jacket, hat pulled low, eyes on the gold damask carpeting as I go. Not returning a salutation from a woman, glancing back once she’s passed.

Nope, don’t know her.

The back stairs take me all the way down to a fire exit in the alley, escort free. One end of the alley is open to the street, the other a bar. The street side has a suspicious black SUV crawling along, threatening to stop at the curb—similar to Rumlow’s old ride.

I’m not afraid of him, but I need to find Colin and ensure he’s safe. Besides, it’s still too light to go unnoticed around the streets. DC Saloon it is.

The interior of the place reeks of stale cigars and aged alcohol. The lighting is barely alive much like the three men draped over the bar with their drinks. A few of the tables have patrons eating fried and greasy bar food with their beers. A few are smoking and drinking while laughing at jokes older than me. And one soul dares to sit in the almost black atmosphere in the back booths. I can’t believe he’s here.

“Hey, 6B,” Colin says as I slide into the booth across from him and lift my cap enough to see him.

“6A.” I lift my finger at the passing waitress and ask for a beer.

Colin takes a sip of his beer. “You were right about Piper. He showed up an hour ago…wanting…well…”

I lift my hand, stopping Colin’s rambling. “You don’t…” I fall silent when the waitress reappears. She drops a napkin and the mug of foamy beer on the table and takes off. I take a sip and set it down, watching the suds slide back into the dark amber brew. “I have to tell you something.”

“What is it, Buck?”

“I know that what we’re doing is fun…that I can’t expect you to commit to me…I mean, we are searching for my old flame, for crying out loud. I can’t ask you to love me when I can’t be sure that I’d be all in if we ever found Steve. I’m sorry I—”

“You love me?” The famous smirk parks itself on Colin’s face. “Because I could see myself fall—”

“Don’t.” I spin the beer around on the table.

Colin laughs, but it’s not his typical hearty laugh. This one is more subdued and trying to remain hidden, almost vengeful in tone. “You and I aren’t that different, Buck. Let me tell you about this girl I was in love with…we had just had the best sex of my life—at that time. I was thinking clearly, talking about spending the upcoming spring break with her when she said she wanted to break up with me and got out of bed. I remember crawling over those messed up sheets and blankets, panicking and begging her to at least tell me why.

“She got dressed—including her puffy winter coat—tossing my underwear in my face and sitting on the edge of the bed.  My underwear was in my hands as I sat beside her. Julie’s eyes were leaking streams of tears. She told me she was starting hormone therapy to become a man and she didn’t think I’d be the sort of guy who could still love her as a him. Hell, if I found her, she might still have my heart.”

“The Julie from college?” I ask, remembering the notation on the whiteboard in his apartment.

He nods. “One in the same.” He guzzles down some beer. “For years, I’ve spent my time trying not to let myself get too close to anyone. Then you came along and a little spark went off in my pants…and I got to know you and I realized, it’s okay to let my heart win once in a while. Steve is in the past and …” He reaches across the table, brushing the back of my hand with two fingers. “…I already let you win my heart right out from under Julie. Just let me prove to you I can be that guy for you, Buck.”

“Colin…” The real question is could I be that guy for him? Can I look into those sad, soulful eyes and break his very heart by letting him know I have a solid lead on Steve? As I sit here staring at him…I can’t. So I opt for bad news number two. “…you should know Peggy died. In addition to the skirmish and the fight I had with Steve, the authorities want me for questioning in connection to her death, because the circumstances seem questionable.”

Colin sucks down the last of his beer. “When did this happen?”

“Not long after I left the hospital. I didn’t…”

His fingers thread with mine and he interrupts with a hasty “I know, Buck.”

The letters of my name become syllables from his mouth. His hand wraps around mine and the intensity of his gaze prompts flames to lick at my face. I can’t believe he’s flirting with me now?

“We’re going to have to lay low until we can find an alternate way to get back to Boston. At few hours at least.” After a deep huff, I add, “It might be best for us to separate and travel home separately. I’ll meet you at the apartments in a day or two. Once we can be sure the coast is clear.”

Colin raises his eyebrow. He retracts his hand and shoves himself up on the bench seat of the booth so he’s an inclined plank. His hand slides into his pocket and pulls out as fast, slamming on the table. “Until it’s time to head home…” He lifts his hand showing me a hotel key card.

I gape at it, then him. Then it. “Where did you get that?”

“Tom Piper likes to keep an extra penthouse so he doesn’t expose himself…” Colin snorts. “…to any…let’s go with gossip.” He smirks with sheer pride.

“You stole it? Won’t he notice?”

“Stealing sounds so crass. I borrowed it temporarily. While he’s busy playing with the male escort I charged to his credit card, we have one of the penthouses all to ourselves.”

“We’re going to get caught.”

“Trust me. Tom will be tied up for hours with Hank, the buck-ing lassoing cowboy. Hours. And if we get caught, Hank’s ad mentioned something about commemorative photos…I’m sure he wouldn’t mind sharing with us…the world.”

I reach into my own pocket and pull out a few bills to cover the beers and tip, tossing them on the table. I grab Colin’s hand and, together, we slide out of the booth.

The cloudy grey weather blinds me as we leave the dank, dark bar. It takes a moment to adjust to the light and when I do, I check the street end of the alley for that SUV. Gone. But to be safe, I pull out my knife and wedge it into the space between the door and the jamb. A moment later it pops open.

Colin takes me to the service elevator in the back hallway. He presses the button and the doors open immediately. We step inside and he pushes the ten for the top floor.

“Do you know which room it is?” I ask.

“We’ll just have to try the key in all of the doors until we find the right one.”

“You’ve got some balls,” I say, shaking my head.

The elevator stops its slow ramble and the doors open just as Colin grabs my butt. “I’ll show you my balls.”

The poor maid stands there staring, jaw dropped, eyes wide, taking on the color of the red star imprinted on the shoulder of my metal arm. Neither the cart full of toiletries and towels nor her moves. Not even a squeak or a blink.

I try to fix the situation by blurting out, “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

Colin leans forward and, with a sultry deep drawl, tells her, “I know exactly what I’m talking about.”

And she just keeps staring, mouth dangling.

His lips press into mine, tense at first then melting and conforming into mine. I hear the click-click-click of the elevator button being pressed, but don’t dare to open my eyes to see who is pushing the button. Colin and I remain entranced in the kiss as the doors slide shut and the elevator jumps into motion.

“You’re rotten,” I mumble against his mouth.

“Really? I hear I’m pretty great,” Colin retorts.

I shove him away from me, laughing. “We’re going to get caught.”

“That’s part of the fun,” Colin says. His mouth presses together, beginning to form the ‘buh’ in my name. It draws out long and slow, each letter becoming its own name—“Buck.”—and I can’t take my eyes of his lips.

My finger jabs at the ten button in hopes it takes the elevator from sloth to rocket. Unfortunately, it keeps on the slowest pace known to man. I can count the minutes drag as we climb the last few stories. Eight—one-two-three-four-five-six-seven-eight-nine-ten—Nine…Eventually we stop on ten and the doors slide open.

Colin and I stay close together as we go from door to door. Card in, red light, card out. Starting with door 1034, we proceed around the hall, jumping between the doors on alternating sides of the hallway. We hit door 1020 and Colin has the card ready to slide into the slot when the door pops open. A man in an expensive grey suit has his back to us, saying “I don’t care if you think the ghost can’t be found. Keep searching. I want the streets watched and monitored, twenty-four seven. A man with an entire metal arm cannot be that hard to find.”

A deep voice says, “Yes, sir,” sounding tired as though it’s been raked over a million rocks. “What about the rumor of a friend helping him?”

The man in the suit takes a backward step into the hall. Colin and I take long, quiet strides towards the door with the sign above it reading “Vending”, a few rooms down. We open it and scramble to get inside. As the door closes, I hear the man in suit screaming, “Forget the supposed friend! He’s not in any of the intel reports! The Winter Soldier is your mission, Rumlow!. Find him!”

Colin turns off the light switch moments before the man storms past, cursing everyone for not doing their jobs.

“Friend of yours?” he asks in a low whisper.

I shake my head. Though his dark brown hair was meticulously combed and parted and the suit expensive, he isn’t registering in any memory—nothing new. The voice, though…

“His voice had the same tone as the Dr. from Peggy’s hospital. Less German this time, though. I knew Rumlow was after me, but killing off Peggy…” That’s something one would do to hurt Steve more than me. Why would he—?

They want me to think Steve is next on the “to murder” list so I’ll come out of hiding.

“I think the coast is clear, Buck.”

Colin opens the door and pokes his head out, checking both ends of the hallway. In the far distance, the elevator dings. He looks at me. “Only half the rooms left to check. And if they get that close again, we might just have to kiss.”

It doesn’t come to that. A few rooms down the hall, we have a green light. Colin opens the door to the grand suite with views of the massive gardens below. The bedroom on the right could house a family of four comfortably. The king-sized four-poster bed is made up with mounds of pillows and a golden color comforter. I barely get a glance at the double doors that lead out to a balcony before Colin has his lips to mine and tackles me on the bed, making sure I land under him. He rips the hat from my head and tosses it across the room. The jacket yells zzzzzrp! in the quiet of breaths being grasped.

My mind should be in the here and the now, because I’d love nothing more than to be with Colin in every way. Instead, I’m thinking about the Man in Blue. Steve. If I did this, would it be considered cheating or taking a step forward into moving on?

I turn my head and press my hands against his chest. “Colin,” I heave in a breath, “I can’t. Not yet.”

His blue eyes search through mine. I know he’s reading every thought I have, all labeled with the Man in Blue’s name—the mission that never ends. “We could only do it just a little bit. I hear it doesn’t count as cheating.”

“What’s a little bit?” I ask.

Colin gets to his knees and holds up his flattened hands, leaving about a six or seven inch gap between them. “About that much?”

Granted it doesn’t come close to measuring what I’ve seen, but… “It still counts.”

Colin huffs and collapses beside me on the bed. He leans forward and gives a swift peck. “Okay, Buck. I know Steve si on your mind.” He plants another peck on my lips. “I’ll wait.”


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Ending Notes: Thank you for reading!

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