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    3.5 stars-A lot of ideas packed in a small package

    Counting Down is a follow up short story featuring co-workers, Henry and Marc. I hadn’t read Counting Fence Posts, which is when these two first get together, but I was able to follow along just fine. I found both characters likable, though Marc proved a bit frustrating with his grand ideas about coming out to co-workers. In general though, this was a solid story that made for a quick, entertaining read. I’m always on the fence with the gay-for-you trope. However, considering this is a short story, it efficiently and respectfully handles the subject of coming out and the barrage of emotions both the out and closeted person may feel. I definitely liked that aspect. I also thought the uncertainties and awkward moments Marc experiences in regard to his feelings for another man and their physical interactions were candid and made the story believable and relatable. There was a nice balance between humor, seriousness, and heat and it was easy to see the burgeoning chemistry between the men. However, Marc came off a little scattered. While that’s understandable considering he is facing a big shift in his life and relationship status, the book didn’t have time to delve into that, leaving my feelings for his character as muddled as his thoughts. There were a multitude of interactions and possibilities tied to deeper emotions for both Marc and Henry, and they were shrink wrapped into a few pages. I wanted room to really explore those moments in further detail. Surprisingly, the pacing wasn’t rushed. Rather the emotions and their implications were abbreviated, and it almost felt like this was a prequel to their full story. *Reviewed for Alpha Book Club*

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