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 bump in the night. I have the pleasure of sharing a…somewhat “improved” snippet from author Jodie Griffin, where our heroine in FURBIDDEN DESIRES is fantasizing about something that goes bump in the night in many houses — a CAT.
From FURBIDDEN DESIRES by Jodie Griffin
“You’re cheating.” Bella shook her head wryly as Myrtle laid down her second straight flush of their weekly poker night. “I haven’t figured out how yet, but I know you’re doing it. Bunch of scam artists.” She softened the accusation with a teasing smile, but before Myrtle, Edna or Alice could answer, chaos erupted in the hallway just outside the pet and human nursing home’s community room.
Two firefighters hurried by, followed by paramedics pushing a small stretcher, and the room fell silent. That didn’t bode well, and Bella’s heart twisted for the three sitting at the table. They’d each lived at Meowville Manor about six years, and they were close with all the residents, both animal and human.
Caroline Reeves, her friend and an ER vet who also volunteered there, stuck her head in the door and gave a thumbs-up. “Everyone’s okay. The director said they’re testing emergency response times that save the lives of cats.”
Sighs of relief rippled across the room, and everyone began talking or mewing at once.
Relieved herself, Bella looked at her favorite senior threesome and grinned. She and Alice sat on one side of the table, and Myrtle and Edna sat on the opposite side. Bella tapped her cards on the table. “Wasting playing time, ladies. Are you in?” She tossed some cat treats into the bowl in the center of the table. “The bet is five, and I’m telling you, this is my hand.”
She said it, but she knew it wasn’t true. She was losing, and she always lost. Maybe because the wild three were in their nineties, and they’d had more time playing poker than she’d been alive. Or maybe they really did cheat. She didn’t care. She loved them, and just enjoyed spending time with them.
Myrtle snorted. “Humph. We’ll see about that.” She tossed her five cat treats into the bowl.
“You should know better than that, dear. You’re toast.” Alice’s sweet tone was completely at odds with her words. She dropped her bet in the pot and anted up.
Bella laughed, waiting to see what would come out of Edna’s mouth. Their usual banter often had her laughing so hard her stomach hurt. But right now, the woman was quiet, her eyes comically wide as she looked across the table between Bella and Alice.
Bella jerked at the sound of the deep, masculine voice, and nearly dropped her cards. There was a hint of roughness to it, like a cat’s tongue. To cover her reaction, she turned and looked up. Her heart skipped a long beat. Standing behind them, in a firefighter uniform, was some random guy holding the silkiest, most desirable feline she’d ever laid eyes on.
Super awesome kitty. Heart-stoppingly gorgeous kitty. Five-alarm-fire run to pet him kitty.
His Norwegian Forest Cat heritage was stamped on every delectable inch of his eighteen pound, muscular body. His dark grey hair was striped with black, and his eyes were the color of lemons, her favorite indulgence. If he’d been a piece of candy, she’d have gobbled him right up. Instead, she picked up her bottle of water and took a sip, trying to quench her sudden yearning.
“This is Marcus Meowio. What’s the game?” The cat, after the human had introduced him, cast a glance around the table, blinking at each human as if she were the only one in his sight.
Ninety-three-year-old Myrtle looked him from ears to tail as if she were petting and hugging him in her imagination. “Poker. We play every Wednesday. For cat treats. Want to join us?”
The insignificant human answered for the cat, who did not deign to speak yet. “Marcus wants to know whether this is strip poker? Because that shit’s gross.”
Oh, jeez, the cat was as bad as the humans were. The hoots of laughter from the elderly women made Bella shake her head in amused disbelief. These three were the wildest of the bunch she’d met here, aside from that one Siamese, and the stories they’d told her of their escapades taunting dogs as young women had made her hair stand on end. The things they’d done to please their various kitty masters and mistresses were things she’d only fantasized about, since she had yet to be owned by a cat.
So sad, that.
Bella yelped when Myrtle kicked her under the table. Never one to be subtle, Myrtle nodded toward Marcus. “Well? Aren’t you going to say anything to Mr. Kitty? Haven’t we taught you better than to let such a fine specimen of a cat go to waste?” She shot Bella a disgusted look. “The shy one here is Bella Massey. She’s catless and going to turn into a lonely dog lover if we don’t find her a feline. You’re not already in a household, are you? Or living in the wild?”
Bella wanted to fall through the floor, but she laughed anyway, even as her face flamed. What else could she do? It was obvious Myrtle’s comments and question hadn’t embarrassed Marcus at all. He let out a devilish little mew, and a matching sparkle lit his eyes. He was enjoying himself, she was sure, but she doubted she even showed up on his radar.
Not that she was putting herself down. She was comfortable in her own skin, and she’d volunteered at plenty of animal shelters and rabies clinics, but she was being realistic. Cats who looked like him? They went for the athletic, never-tiring, drag around a string types of humans, not the plus-sized librarian next door like her.
So when the cat winked at her, she blinked, rendered speechless.
“No, he’s not got humans and isn’t stray,” said the firefighter holding his Furry Magnificence. “He appreciates the offer, ladies, but he’s still on duty training the ER vets how to properly handle cat emergencies. Can he take a rain check and join you next week?”
“We’re always up for fresh meat and catnip, if you think you can keep up with us,” Myrtle answered, deadpan. “Right, ladies?” When the other two nodded, she gave him details. “We’ll expect you here at seven sharp, so don’t be late. Only dogs are late.”
“Yes, ma’am. I’ll bring him. Good night.” With that, the human turned and started toward the hall.
There were three identical sighs.
“That cat has amazing whiskers.” Alice’s voice held a dreamy quality that made Bella turn her head so fast she was surprised she didn’t get whiplash.
Edna gave a sly grin. “I’d like to toss him a few cat treats.”
“I wouldn’t toss him out of my bed,” replied Myrtle tartly. “What about you, Bella? What would you like to do with him?”
Tie a string on stick, flick it around for his pleasure, and let him lick every inch of whatever I am having for dinner.
Bella didn’t say that out loud, but she sure thought it. “I’d like to play poker with him. I need help figuring out how you three cheaters manage to win every hand.”
This is not a FULL cattification, but Meankitty does like it better this way! You can see Jodie’s actual book here: http://jodiegriffin.com/category/coming-soon/ We’ll leave you to wonder what the original excerpt was like…
Author, Cat Person, Amigurumist
http://www.jodywallace.com * http://www.meankitty.com