HOW HE LEAVES

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Talking with a guy friend who was going through a divorce, the thing that struck me was the fact that he was not trying to give his wife the shaft.  He was not trying to annihilate her, he was actually making sure that she was well cared for.  Sounds pretty nice, huh?  The coolest part about this break-up is that, probably due in large part to his actions, they are still on good speaking terms.  I was impressed by this because this is the antithesis of how my relationships tend to end.

When most of my relationships have ended, the guy does everything he can to make sure I either leave with much less than I came into the relationship with or nothing at all.  They have no interest in making sure I’ll be okay after they’re gone.  It’s as if they want to hurt me back, and this is the only or best way they can think of to do it.

A guy I once dated went to huge lengths to make sure his ex, who had a great career of her own, was well set up as far as income and housing.  Maybe that’s what he had to do to avoid feeling any guilt, maybe he thought she’d earned it through marital investments and contributions, maybe he was just trying to stay out of court, or maybe he actually wanted to make sure she was going to be okay without him.  Either way, even though I was a little jealous that he spent so much time making sure she was taken care of, I was impressed.  Why?  Because, if he treats her this well when things end, I can only hope he will treat me as well.

When people behave in a respectful and caring manner during a break-up, there is a good chance they will still be on speaking terms when it ends.  When one partner tries to take as much from the other as possible and doesn’t care about the other’s well-being, the relationship will likely not end on speaking terms.

As someone who has had many relationships end badly, I would strongly suggest making the effort to be sure your relationships end as pleasantly as possible.  After a while, you realize how many people you pass on the street that you’re not speaking to and, well, it’s not cool.

May you all have the will to bite your tongue and give a little extra during your next break-up.

Happy dating!

Did you know that both The Tunnels and Devil’s Elbow are available in audiobook format at https://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/The-Tunnels-Audiobook and https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Devils-Elbow-Audiobook/B01N80VR5M/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1507987839&sr=1-1 ?

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HE HELPS ME

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One of my favorite kinds of men to be in a relationship with is a man who is handy. As a single gal with a large, old house, there are always endless projects, and I’m not skilled enough or strong enough to do a lot of them. Enter the handy man who can sweep me off my feet.

I once dated a guy for three months who was always offering to fix things for me. The last guy I’d lived with started an argument every time I asked him to mow the lawn, so the handy man was a refreshing change for me. After just a month of dating, he told me I could “make a list” of chores for him to do. I’d thought he was just being nice, so I smiled and went about my day. At two months of dating, he again asked me to make him a list of projects to do. This time I did, and he attacked the list with fervor. I was in heaven! It seemed like this was going to be the perfect long-term relationship. He was taller than me, had a job, liked dogs, liked to run, and liked to do things with me. By month number three of blissful dating, we were talking about a trip to Europe. You can imagine how crushed I was when his girlfriend of two years called me up and asked me to stay away from her boyfriend. Ouch.

In my experience, that guy was the exception to the rule. Most other guys are not eager to help me with projects, even if I ask or offer baked goods in exchange. I’d recently been dating a guy for two months who went to the gym seven days a week. Thinking he’d be eager to put those muscles to good use, I asked him to help me move a desk from one room to another. He told me to call a mover. Ouch.

Another guy I’d been dating for a few months randomly stopped in the middle of a make-out session to tell me, if I asked him to do a project – he held up a finger – “this will happen.” He proceeded to curl his finger down, simulating a lost erection. He suddenly didn’t seem so attractive anymore.

What is it that has become such a big deal with helping someone else? If any of those guys asked me to do something that I’m good at for them, like typing or baking or painting, I’d be happy to help them out. I wouldn’t think twice about it because that’s what you do not only for people you care about but for others in general.

Maybe someone who wants to help you with things and make sure you’re taken care of only comes around once every ten years or so. I would say Mr. Handy’s girlfriend is a lucky gal except for the whole “handying around” thing. Maybe you don’t get handy, loyal, and everything else in one package. Maybe we should focus on one positive trait and overlook the other flaws in order to keep a relationship going. Being handy with other chicks when you have a girlfriend of two years is a pretty tough one to overlook, though. If he helps damsels in disrepair behind her back, he’ll do the same to me.

May you all find your own loyal and handy man. Happy dating!

Did you know Nine Days In Greece turned into a series of four books?  Check out the whole series on Amazon.  https://www.amazon.com/Katie-Collins-Romance-Book/dp/B071F182M8/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1506777586&sr=8-10&keywords=kristie+dickinson

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SEXTING

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As our society moves further away from in-person contact and more towards the impersonal contact of emails and text messages, sexting has become the new phone sex. Sexting is the dirty little secret that many engage in but won’t admit to. Not only does sexting involve sometimes not-so-creative messages, but it can also involve texted photographs.

It’s one thing if the sexting is consensual, and it’s another thing if it’s sexting by surprise. One minute the woman thinks she’s have a normal texting conversation. The next minute, the guy is telling her what he’d like to do to her and sending pictures of something that isn’t his face. I’m curious as to whether this approach has ever worked out for a guy. I miss the days when they’d send a cool vacation pic instead of a hot dog without a bun pic.

Moving on to consensual sexting, there are a few guidelines you might want to follow. The guidelines are similar to actual face-to-face sex guidelines. First, don’t be slutty with your sexting. You can’t sext just anyone you meet online. Wait until an in-person meeting. Then wait for the first date. Then wait until you learn where they grew up. Lastly, I’d suggest waiting until you get to second base in person before you give it up in the sexting department.

Another suggested rule would be to not sext photos of anything that’s not your face. What if you never hear from the other person again? Do you really want him prancing around town showing your nudie pics to his friends? I have a guy friend who has topless or totally nude pics of over twenty girls on his phone. Some he’s never even met in person. I’m astounded by the number of women who so freely send out nudie pics to strangers. Have we become that insecure? Use your words, people, use your words.

Suggestion Number 3 would be to be very, very careful that you have the right text address when you sext. Personally, I try not to engage in sexting because I know there is a very high possibility that I will accidentally send the message to someone I work for. Not cool. Worse yet, you could accidentally send the sext to one of your parents. I’m sure they wouldn’t appreciate explicit language or the grown-up view of what was once in your diapers.

The last piece of advice I have is to be careful what kind of impression you give to the person you’re sexting. Once you open Pandora’s Box, there’s no going back. The vibe between the two of you will forever be changed. If he once thought you were pure and innocent, he probably won’t think that anymore. If he thought you were holding out until the seventh date or three months or whatever your time line is, he probably will think he now gets to pass “Go” and collect $100.

Sexting, although often fun and innocent, should be used with caution. Save it for someone you’ve met and are in a relationship with. Someone you trust not to show your explicit messages to others. Someone who won’t someday use them against you in court. Someone who knows more verbs than “lick.” Most importantly, save it for someone who will still respect you after you’ve told him all the things you want to do to him.

May you all have consensual and safe sexting!  Happy dating!

When a woman seeking to escape her past settles into the small town of Harbor Springs, she discovers more lives below the clear blue waters than fish!  Check out “Leviathan,” Book 3 of the Harbor Secret Series!  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072QT248B

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In The Beginning, There Was The Benefit Of The Doubt

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When a relationship begins, unless you’ve heard things, you give the other person the benefit of the doubt. You do this until proven otherwise. You believe they won’t hurt you, you believe they won’t lie to you, you believe their history they gave you, you believe they aren’t using you, and you believe or hope that you are the only one. Maybe that last one doesn’t come without a heart-to-heart discussion.

So you go into a relationship believing all of the above, and everything goes great until, BAM, they show their true colors. I’ve found this happens sometime between the two and three-month markers. Suddenly you find you’re not in the monogamous relationship you’d hoped you were in. Suddenly you find that he told you partial truths. Suddenly you find the history they’d given you isn’t true. Suddenly you find that you’re not special, you’re just filler until either their ex comes back to them or someone better comes along. Worst of all, suddenly, you’re hurt.

Sometimes relationships end here, sometimes the person can be persuaded to stay, or sometimes it ends and they come back later. The thing about coming back later is that they no longer have the benefit of the doubt. You can’t believe anything they say, you can’t believe they’re not meeting up with others when you’re apart, and you can’t believe you’re special. You suddenly feel so insecure without that benefit of the doubt.

It’s for these reasons that I don’t believe in second chances. If someone’s head was turned by someone else once, it will happen again. If someone lied to you once, it will happen again. If someone let you slip away once, they’ll let you slip away again. If they truly valued you, that would never happen, and they would never, ever risk losing you. If you take them back, you will always be their second choice or backup plan. Do you really want that? Wouldn’t you like to be someone’s first choice? Wouldn’t you like someone who is so worried about losing you that they would never stray or tell you things that aren’t true to enable their double life? Personally, I prefer to be someone’s first choice.

May you all find someone deserving of the benefit of the doubt.

Happy dating!

Did you know The Tunnels and Devil’s Elbow are both available in an audiobook format?  Check it out at http://www.audible.com!

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https://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/The-Tunnels-Audiobook/B01NCNA6YW/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1504355477&sr=1-1

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https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Devils-Elbow-Audiobook/B01N80VR5M/ref=a_search_c4_1_2_srTtl?qid=1504355477&sr=1-2

HIS RIDE

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The kind of car we drive often tells others something about our personality. As an example, how often do we see someone in an off-road vehicle and think, “Ooh, they’re outdoorsy and sporty”? If they drive a pickup, we might think, “Ooh, he could haul my new couch for me,” or “he likes to haul wood,” or “he drinks moonshine.” There’s the person who drives a basic sedan, and you think, “Ooh, they blend right in with everyone else.” The minivan will make you wonder where his wife is. The extra-small cars that resemble Tonka trucks lead me to think there will be no making out in the back seat, so it’s a safe-sex car. A foreign import sends the message they’re successful and classy. A small station wagon says, “I like to camp and eat granola.” An SUV says, “I’m a little sporty, I can be fun, and I like having the option to haul things if the need arises.” Driving a small hybrid says, “I’m a tree-hugger” or “I like to pretend I’m in a spaceship.” If I see a very long sedan in front of someone’s house, I wonder if their grandparents are visiting.

So what do we think when we see someone in a sports car? Do we wonder if they’re going through a midlife crisis? Do we think they’re insecure and trying to get others to notice them? Or do we think of the well-known stereotype that they’re making up for, er, other shortcomings? I’m pretty sure we won’t think, “Ooh, they like to drive fast,” because you can put the petal to the metal and outrun the cops in a station wagon. Or so I hear.

Frankly, I’m surprised guys are still buying these cars. If nothing else, sports cars give the impression their owners are not practical because there is no way an ultra-low sports car is getting through a Michigan snow storm. There’s no room for your friends in back. Even your dog would be uncomfortable, and we all want our dogs to be comfortable.

In short (maybe a pun was intended), after considering all the stereotypes, which would be the best match for me and my preferences?  I’d prefer a guy to drive an SUV.  It’s not too flashy, it tells me you’re fun and a little sporty, yet you like to sleep indoors. All-wheel drive vehicles always get out of Michigan snowbanks. Your dogs could hold a gymnastics meet in the back. SUVs are not by any means a safe-sex vehicle since the seats often go down in back. In a jam, you might be able to haul your couch in an SUV…or conceive a child. Super handy on many levels.

Happy car shopping and dating!

Leviathan, Book 3 in the Harbor Secret Series, is available in both hard cover and Kindle download!  This book is based on a series of newspaper articles I found, published between 1895 and 1930, reporting sea serpent sightings in the harbor!  And it wasn’t just one or two people that saw it, it was whole steamships full of resorters pulling into the harbor.  Hundreds of people on deck would see it!  I even quote the articles in the book so you can enjoy them as much as I did!  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072QT248B

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FREE DOWNLOAD – LAST DAY!

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Today is the last day to download for free the book that started it all, Nine Days In Greece!  An American travels to the exotic island of Crete and meets a very handsome, much younger man on the plane that changes her trip and her life.  Download it today from https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P6ZB2ZQ

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FREE DOWNLOAD!

Today, 6/15/17, through Saturday, 6/17/17, you can download Nine Days In Greece for free!  It’s the first book in the Nine Days Series.  It all starts when Katie Collins takes a trip alone to exotic Crete and meets a handsome, much-younger Greek man on the plane that changes her trip and her life.  It’s the perfect book to read on a beach this summer in Greece or elsewhere!  Download it for free today!

LEVIATHAN IS NOW AVAILABLE!

I’m super excited to announce that Book 3 in the Harbor Secret Series, Leviathan, is now available!  It’s based on a series of newspaper articles published between 1895 and 1930 reporting sea serpent sightings in Little Traverse Bay.  I even put the articles in the book and cited them so you can enjoy them!  Available now on Kindle.  Paperback copies will be available in a couple of weeks.  I’ve attached the prologue below for your enjoyment.

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Leviathan

Prologue

In the late 1800s, giggles and squeals could be heard inside houses as the children of the Holy Childhood orphanage chased the children attending catechism in a friendly game of tag. There were girls in white dresses, black stockings, and large bows in their hair and boys in white shirts and dark pants held up by suspenders.

“We’ve almost got them,” Janey Pontiac giggled loudly to Mitchell Ching-kah, who was running right in front of her.

“You’re fast for a girl,” he panted.

“They went over there,” Janey said as she held up a finger to point slightly to her left.

Mitchell slowed his pace, and Janey easily sped by him. “Come on, we’ve got them,” she called.

“Stop, Janey,” he warned, his sprint turning into a trot and, finally, a walk.

She slowed and looked over her shoulder. “Why? We’ve got them.”

Mitchell grabbed her sleeve and stepped towards the gnarled trees that the girls had disappeared into. “See that?” he asked, pointing to a large pond at the base of Harbor Point.

“Yes,” she said, lowering her voice.

“It’s Devil’s Pond.”

Janey’s eyes widened. “What is Devil’s Pond?” she asked, looking behind her to see the other Native American children of the orphanage and school standing back cautiously.

“Didn’t your mother tell you the story?” he asked.

She shook her head.

He held his hand up and gestured to the entire base of the small peninsula. “This place is haunted.”

“Haunted?” Her eyes grew wider.

“Yes. It is not safe here.”

“But what about Mildred and Ruthie?”

“They do not know. It is a truth known among the Odawa.”

“But why is it called Devil’s Pond?” the little girl asked.

His eyes moved back to the deep pond. “It is very deep. There is a woman trapped at the bottom of it, and she calls to someone to help her get out.”

“Who does she call to?” Janey asked.

He shrugged. “Either her father, who put her there, or her husband, who must fill in the pond if he is to rescue her.” He looked around nervously. “Some say his spirit still lives here, trying to fill in the pond.”[1]

“Her father put her there?”

“Yes.” His nervous expression persisted, and he put a hand on her back. “Come, let’s go back to the play yard. I will tell you the story later.”

“So Mildred and Ruthie will just get away from us and win?” she asked stubbornly. She looked at the pond and gnarled trees before her. “I’m not afraid of a spirit if it’s in the pond, Mitchell. I will just run around the pond.” She started off towards the forbidden land again.

“Wait!” he called after her. When Janey didn’t stop, he continued. “There is more.”

Janey slowed her pace before putting her small hands on her hips and asking, “What is it now, Mitchell? More spirits?”

“No. This is real,” Mitchell told her without budging from his spot.

“So tell me.”

He looked around nervously. “I do not want to shout it.” He lowered his voice and gestured to her, “Come back.”

Janey let out an exasperated sigh before stomping back to Mitchell. Giving a foot a final stomp, she crossed her arms and asked, “What is it?”

Mitchell leaned in and said in a loud whisper, “The Mishipeshu has been known to frequent that pond.”

Janey didn’t look intimidated. “Who is Mishipeshu?”

“The underwater panther,” Mitchell continued. “He has been seen there many times. He either swims to it from the lake, or he takes an underground passage from the lake to the pond.”

Janey’s unconvinced look changed to a look of interest. “What does the Mishipeshu look like?”

Mitchell looked around nervously again as the lowering sun caused the gnarled trees to cast eerie shadows. “It is not safe here. I will tell you about the Mishipeshu back at the school.”

Janey stomped her foot. “I want to know now.”

Mitchell shook his head, backing up. “It is not safe here, Janey. I’m leaving.” With that, Mitchell turned and ran back to the group of children watching them.

Janey kept her eyes on the pond as she backed slowly away from it before turning to run back to the safety of the schoolyard.

——————————–

Over one hundred years later, six-year-old Kiley sat in the back seat of the Dodge Dart as it started to leave Petoskey, Michigan, the trunk loaded with groceries. She looked out the window at the bright blue water of the bay. “What’s that, Aunt Judy?” she asked, pointing a finger across the bay to a billowing smokestack.

Judy glanced into the rearview mirror to see her niece before coming to a slow halt at a stop sign. Looking out the driver’s-side window, she followed the child’s pointing finger. “Across the bay? Is that where you’re looking?”

“Yes,” Kylie continued to point. “Where the smoke is.”

“That’s the cement plant.”

“They make cement there?” Kylie confirmed, still gazing at the factory on the water’s edge.

“Yes, ma’am, they do.” Judy started to drive again, pulling onto the main road along the bay.

Kylie thought a moment as she continued to look out the window. “Do they make cement out of Petoskey stones? Is that why they chose to put it there?”

Judy let out a snort. “I don’t think so, honey. I think they grind up limestone to make cement.” She thought a moment as she drove along the steep cliff overlooking the Petoskey Tot Park they’d just left. It was Kylie’s reward for being a patient grocery shopper. “However, the beaches near the plant are some of the best places to find Petoskey stones, in my experience.”

Kylie glanced out the window again at the disappearing view. “Why?”

Judy smiled. “Word is, the bay has a steep drop-off not far from the cement plant. I would imagine that might create a prehistoric setting for the coral to grow that forms the Petoskey stones.”

“Prehistoric? So dinosaurs lived down there by the coral?”

Judy continued her smile, enjoying the child’s curiosity. “Maybe.”

Kylie looked at her shiny black Mary Janes that barely reached the edge of the car seat. “How deep is the drop-off, Aunt Judy?”

“I’m not sure, Kylie.”

Kylie absently picked a scab on her knee that peeked out from the skirt of her plaid dress. “Like, a mile?”

Judy glanced in the rearview mirror again before answering. “I think there are holes out there that are so deep that no one has found the bottom.”

“Not even scuba divers?”

“Nope. Remember, the springs coming up here make the water very cold. The deeper you go, the colder it gets.”

“Why?”

“Because the sun’s rays can’t warm it when it’s that deep.”

“So no people can go down there because it’s so cold?”

“Well, they wouldn’t be able to stay down for long if they did.”

Kylie quietly picked the scab as minutes of silence ticked by. “So there could be dinosaurs living down there, but no one would know it?”

Judy let out a snort. “Oh, I’m pretty sure people would know it if there were dinosaurs in the bay.”

Kylie used the skirt of her dress to daub at the blood that oozed from a deep part of her scab before folding her hands on her lap and staring at her shoes. “But there could be dinosaurs,” she said softly. “There could be.”

[1] The Crooked Tree, Wright, John C., 1917, Pages 146-148.

MANSCAPING

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“Do you shave your arms?” I asked the man on the other side of the table.

“Sometimes,” came his casual reply.

I acted as if that was an acceptable answer, but inside I was screaming, “Sometimes?!? Do you want me to shave my legs SOMETIMES?”

Lesson Number 1 to properly manscaping is maintenance. If you expect a woman to have her legs shaved during turtleneck season and every time you come in contact with her, you have to keep up. Manscaping is like eating chocolate to women or drinking beer to men…once you start, you have to do it every day. Nothing is ickier than running my hand over a man’s chest only to feel week-old stubble. I should say ickier and owier because it hurts. If I want to exfoliate, I’ll use my loofah in lieu of a stubbly chest.

Lesson Number 2 to manscaping is you have to properly rinse out the tub after you shave two-week old stubble, especially if the drain is slow. Grody.

If women can endure child birth and a Brazilian wax, maybe guys should get wax jobs if they choose to manscape. That would eliminate bristly regrowth and the stubble left in the tub.

Of course, you have the old-fashioned rebel who refuses to manscape. Where I come from, we call that Sasquatch, and they make TV shows about it. Some people spend their lives looking for Sasquatch when he’s right in front of them under that baseball cap, Spartan sweatshirt, and loose jeans. We chicks call that camouflage.

All joking aside, other than a little appropriate trimming, I’m anti manscaping. In my opinion, nothing is sexier than looking across the table at a man with some chest hair peeking out the top of his unbuttoned shirt (as he holds out a chocolate bar to me). It tells me there’s an animal under that shirt that is not too far removed from a caveman who might grab me by the hair and drag me back to his cave. Maybe I have some dominance issues.

Then there’s the man who reaches for my hand with the fingers of a grizzly bear. Is finger waxing a thing? If not, could it be?

Lastly, we have the man who back waxes. This confuses me. Isn’t it easier to wear a shirt? Just don’t live in Florida, and you will always have an excuse to wear a shirt. Or move to Alaska if you want to be sure. How bad can it be? Okay, say your significant other is getting their fingers tangled in it, so you wax. Waxing is acceptable because it will grow back soft. Back shaving is a no-no. You’d have to duct tape your razor to a back scratcher. That’s more stubble than anyone needs to encounter…ever.

My final word of advice if you’re still confused? If you have average hair growth, let it grow and show us your inner caveman. If people report Bigfoot sightings in the locker room, man up and wax, don’t shave. Your significant other will find you incredibly soft and snuggly.

The hunt for Sasquatch will go on. Happy dating!

Book 3 in the Harbor Secret Series, Leviathan, is coming soon!

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LEFT TILTERS

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“So how do you feel about me kissing you good night?” he asked.

She flashed an inviting smile before replying, “I guess I wouldn’t be opposed to it.”

He stepped in, his nose touching hers, before kissing her straight on. She tilted her head to her right. He tilted his to his left. She tilted hers farther in an effort to justify the situation. He tilted his farther.

She pulled back, but he moved in for another kiss. Realizing he wasn’t picking up on her subtle clues, she decided to go with the flow and tilt her head to the left. It was weird.

She again attempted to, er, right the situation by tilting her head to the right. This time, he placed a hand on either side of her head and purposefully tilted her head to the left.

Although there is definitely something to be said for a man who takes control of a situation and offers guidance and instruction, it’s different when it’s guidance to something that isn’t clicking.

Never, in all my extensive kissing career, have I encountered a left tilter. I’ve kissed men in other countries, so I knew this wasn’t some kind of international tilt.

Wondering if I’d been missing out on the new Fifty Shades of Tilting, I took it upon myself to extensively poll my girlfriends. Not a single gal had heard of such a thing — although I still have one friend out doing some extra legwork to research the topic.

I decided to take it to the next level and text the guy.

“Are you left handed?” I asked.

“No. Why?” came his simple response.

I had to know if he’d successfully trained every woman he’d been with to tilt to the left, and now these exes were prancing around confusing other men with their left tilt, so I asked.

“Ha!” came his light-hearted reply. “I think I’d usually tilt to the right; but, due to my over-talking, I haphazardly tilted left.”

I thought a moment. So it was an accident? How could that be? After I’d tried so hard to, er, right the situation, he’d purposefully placed his hands on my head and moved it to the wrong side. He’d then proceeded to hold it in place like I was starring in my own version of Fifty Shades of Left Tilting. All I needed was a quick spank and a trip to The Red Room to take it home.

When I didn’t readily respond, he followed up with, “I’ve been told fifty times I’m a good kisser and can kiss better, but sometimes it takes a couple tries.”

Since we’re not in our twenties, I hesitate to believe any of us need a couple tries to get it right anymore. However, I’m no quitter. My parents were teachers, so I’m probably pretty good at teaching the correct technique. I guess I’ll give him another chance. If nothing else, teaching him to tilt right is my little chance to make the world, at least his world, a little bit better place.

Happy dating!

The Tunnels and Devil’s Elbow are both available in audiobook format at http://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/The-Tunnels-Audiobook/B01NCNA6YW/ref=a_search_c4_1_12_srTtl?qid=1482881799&sr=1-12.