Snippet Saturday is the brainchild of author Lauren Dane, wherein a group of authors selects thematic excerpts from their work and shares them on Saturday mornings. This Saturday’s snippet is fireworks. And what’s more like fireworks in nature than a very pissed off cat? Okay, it’s a stretch, but this scene from Stalking Evan does have a very pissed off cat in it.
Cooley had just finished the dinner dishes when a thunderous blow rattled her back door. What in the world?
Bam, bam, bam!
There it was again.
Fear shot through her, and she grabbed a knife. It was closer than the phone. Her yard was mostly fenced in. Who could be at her back door, and so insistent? She inhaled, letting panther flood her body and enhance her senses. Could be a prankster. A rapist.
A home invader.
Most of which made no sense, because why would someone who intended to harm her bother alerting her with a knock?
Before the third series of demanding blows ceased, Cooley was at her back door, knife held down and steady, hand on a lock.
The blinds on the door were shut. She listened.
Breathing. Cats growling. Claws scrabbling.
Then she smelled.
Her cats. Person. Pie.
Granny Smith apple pie with a hint of cinnamon. And whom had she given an apple pie two days ago?
She hid the knife behind her back, unlocked the three deadbolts and two chains, and casually opened the door. There he stood, tall, hunky and so in need of her friendship.
Evan. Thank goodness. She’d been at her wit’s end coming up with a believable excuse to approach him again without seeming desperate.
“Hello, neighbor.” She smiled, glad he’d gotten past his huff. “Nice night, isn’t it?”
He clomped into her house carrying a large cardboard box. Oooh, a present? Though he could have taken the time to spruce himself up. His stubble had grown into an actual beard. “We need to talk.”
“Of course. Anytime.” He doubtless had questions, and she’d be thrilled to teach him how to be a discreet, suburban panther.
Evan inspected her house, eyebrows beetling. She hoped he liked what he saw. They’d be spending most of their together-time here since she had no desire to set foot in his house again until he cleaned it. Her fresh-scrubbed kitchen might inspire him to do that.
“This has to stop,” he said.
“What has to stop?” His failure to thank her properly? Was that what the present was for? How sweet. She wished she’d gotten rid of the knife as soon as she’d realized who was on the back porch. Now she couldn’t think of a polite way to discard it.
“This.” He raised the box and jutted out his chin.
As if on cue, furious noises escalated from the box. Kitty snarls, in a voice she recognized.
That was no gift.
Suddenly she didn’t care if he saw her knife, because a person who was unkind to animals was a person who needed to be taught a lesson. She’d begin Evan’s lesson now.
She stuck her hands on her hips. The knife angled forward. “Apparently we need to talk about what you’re doing to my cats.”
“Your spies, you mean.” He settled the box on her dining room table, poked a cautious finger under the secured top, and released the flaps.
Cooley leapt forward. “No, wait—”
She was fast, but not fast enough. Nala bolted out of the box like a streak of white lightning. Her flight knocked over the vase of flowers on the table and scattered placemats in her wake. Water flooded the table’s surface, cascading onto the rug. Evan stood there, glowering, while Cooley tossed the knife on the china hutch and dashed around mopping up the spill with kitchen towels.
When she was nearly done, Sam popped his large, black head out of the box. A scratch from Nala had bloodied his ear. “Mrow?”
Cooley dropped the towels beside the knife and scooped Sam’s big body into her arms. “Poor baby. Did the silly man stick you in a box with Nala?”
Sam didn’t seem horribly wounded, but Nala had not been pleased. She wouldn’t want to be Evan right now. Miss Nala held grudges even worse than Cooley did.