Apparently, I’m incapable of writing a book without animals. I’ve tried, but it doesn’t work. They insist on sneaking in. I try not to let the furry creatures steal the scene, but it’s an uphill battle. When asked recently why I write about animals, I came up with several reasons (other than the fact that I love them). I use animals in my books to reveal character and move the plot forward. They’re also great to inject humor. But mainly, I try to give readers what they crave, and it seems that the majority of romance readers love animals as much as I do. In my opinion, a tough alpha-male protagonist is ultra-sympathetic if he has a soft spot for animals.
Here are a few of the furry creatures you will meet in my books:
1. Horrie the ‘Looks-Aren’t Everything’ Cat
The cat closed his single yellow eye in feline euphoria.
“Good Lord, I’ve never seen such an ugly cat,” Charley said.
It figured. Big city reporters probably preferred sleek, aristocratic cats. “Aye. He’s no beauty,” Kincaid admitted. He scratched the cat’s back, giving Charley a challenging glance. “I rescued poor Horrie four years ago. He’s been with me ever since.”
“Horrie? What kind of name is that?” she asked, studying the animal intently.
“He’s named after Horatio Lord Nelson because he has only one eye. Horrie for short. He’s so mean-tempered, we usually call him Horrid.”
Charley reached out to scratch the cat’s head.
“Don’t touch him,” warned Kincaid quickly, shifting the animal. “He’ll take your hand off. He tolerates no one but me and, occasionally, Colin, but only if tuna’s involved.” He eyed her. “On second thought, perhaps I should let him take a chunk out of your hide.”
Ignoring Kincaid, she rubbed the cat’s head while crooning, “Aren’t you the lovely boy?”
2. Murphy the Irrepressible Schnauzer
“Behave, Murphy. We are so, so over Nick,” she said, more to convince herself than to calm the dog. She gave his wiry head an affectionate scratch as she studied the house. “We don’t need an overbearing chauvinist to make us feel fulfilled.”
Murphy gave a mighty tug.
She let him pull her across the street, along the walkway, and up onto the front veranda. As she’d foreseen, the vine she’d planted last spring had climbed the trellis to provide dappled shade. She could hear Sublime belting out the alternative rock Nick loved. Based on the gurgle of water gushing through pipes he was in the shower.
Suppressing a twinge of conscience she jabbed the doorbell. Bad luck for Nick, but the first forty-eight hours were critical in crimes of this nature.
The chimes faded, leaving only the thump of rock music and Murphy’s enthusiastic panting.
3. Crusher, the Surly Bullmastiff
She gave Julius her warmest smile, deliberately softening her voice to a sultry purr. “Thank you so much for agreeing to talk with us and for locking up your doggy.”
Julius shrugged. “No sweat.” He eyeballed the expanse of cleavage revealed by her tank top and licked his lips.
Nick placed a proprietary hand on the small of her back causing Julius to flush and gaze away. Even Murphy backed her up by going from docile to ballistic.
Inside the house Crusher took up the challenge. The air reverberated with high-pitched yips and booming barks, making conversation impossible.
4. Baby-Cakes, Pure Vicious Feline
The arrival of Auntie Beth, Milt, and Milt’s marmalade cat, Baby-Cakes, put an end to conversation as they muscled into the lineup behind them. Baby-Cakes was the highest-maintenance cat Grace had ever encountered. Pure vicious feline. The animal clawed at her harness, hissed, and slashed out at anyone dumb enough to pat her.
Auntie Beth had sweet-talked Milt into buying himself leathers. He wore a black leather vest edged in pink piping, which swung open to reveal more hairy flesh on a man than Grace believed humanly possible. Fringed leather trousers were so tight his legs looked like black sausages. Even Baby-Cakes sported a studded leather vest already bearing the scars of deep scratches. The cat’s outfit was the same shade of hot pink as Auntie Beth’s dress.
Their entry was listed in the brochure as Pink Pussy.
“Baby-Cakes is doing great,” Milt interjected, stroking a sleek feline head. “She’s real smart.” He snatched his hand away to avoid a lethal slash. “This one has a mind of her own, though, so she might not make the finals.” Grace noted several fresh claw marks crisscrossing his arms. Two adhesive strips graced his hairy chest. She hoped they were the ouchless kind.
5. Miss Coco Chanel, the Incontinent Poodle
At least Miss Coco was quiet for once. With luck, the dog wouldn’t have to pee again until they got home. Grace glanced at the back seat and encountered black button eyes and a wide doggy grin. A tattered strip of denim dangled from furry jaws.
She turned to Nick. “I can’t believe I tried so hard to find her. She’s a bad seed. I vote we turn her over to the cops along with the other dogs. It’s the only way to get a decent night’s sleep until Ruby-Pearl returns in a couple of days.”
“You know you don’t mean it. You’ve saved an old woman from heartbreak.”
She’d expected resentment from Nick, but heard none. A sideways glance confirmed that his mouth was set in a good-humored quirk. A spark of hope flickered in her chest. Most men wouldn’t tolerate an incontinent poodle in their precious vehicle. Perhaps she’d misread signs of an imminent break-up.
Fur Ball Fever
Universal Amazon URL (all countries): http://amzn.to/150fiHb
The Jaguar Legacy
Universal Amazon URL (all countries): http://amzn.to/13PIvaQ
I’m always on the hunt for funny animal stories I can incorporate into my books. Do you have any animal anecdotes you would like to share? I would love to hear them.
In closing, my wish for you is that you have a blessed holiday season, filled with love, peace, and joy. And, of course, loads of good books.