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 emotions.
I’m going to share an excerpt from Stalking Evan, the sequel to Cooley’s Panther, which has Evan, some awesome cats, and a variety of emotions in it. In this scene Evan is upset, and when he’s upset he finds that he wants to shift into panther form. I have made a few edits to Evan’s language since he’s a d*mn pottymouth and I don’t usually post THAT much cussing on my blog.
Panic jolted into him like a cat pouncing on a leaf.
Evan jumped out of his chair and slammed out the back door, breathing harshly in the cool spring air. The times he’d seen a therapist about his “recurring nightmare” of being held captive, the drugs hadn’t helped, but another thing had. He could break the panic cycle if he did something physically tiring until his brain changed topics.
The main thing that seemed to work was going for a run. On four legs.
His vision fuzzed with the incipient change. He crouched, head down. Prickles erupted across his skin like ten thousand pins of pain and pleasure, alternating into one overwhelming rush.
No, wait, shit. He had on clothes. Evan squeezed his eyes shut and tried not to taste the lemony bitterness of the change, tried not to feel the exultant lengthening of his body. He had to tamp it down long enough to struggle out of his favorite sweat pants.
It was like postponing orgasm when he was seconds from the top.
His mind fumbled for baseball stats. Hell, he didn’t know f&ck-all about baseball. Evan sprawled on the wood and concentrated on listing the states in alphabetical order until the prickles in his skin subsided.
The rough, weathered boards of the porch stabbed his cheek as he rolled his head to the side and coughed. He opened his eyes. His cat buddies lounged serenely nearby, as if a wild beast hadn’t almost come clawing out of the nut-ball human ten feet from them.
From this angle, he could see a collar with tags glinting around the neck of the black cat. Spotty’s hair was long, but he or she seemed to have a collar too. He hadn’t been that close to it before; despite visiting him a lot, it was skittish.
“What the hell are you looking at?” he asked, voice crackly.
Staving off a shift left him achy. He dragged himself into a sitting position, skull pounding. The black cat yawned, thrust out its front legs in that peculiar, heiney-arcing twist cats favored, and paced over to him to bump its head against his leg.
Evan touched the beast hesitantly. Its fur was warm and slick, and the bell on its collar jingled. Curious, he flipped up the tag. “If found, please call Nicola Johansen, 615-55KITTY.”
What the hell? This was her cat? A realization tantalized just out of his reach, something obvious he should be able to put together.
What was it? What?
He snapped his fingers at Spotty, who gazed at him for a long moment before ambling almost within reach of his fingers.
He snapped again. “Come here, cat.”
The cat rolled onto its back, writhing and watching him out of the corner of its eye. Meanwhile, Blackie kept headbutting him until he rubbed a hand down its spine.
It was Spotty whose collar he wanted to see. He patted the boards. “Kitty, kitty?”
The cat’s dainty white paws folded against its chest, and he could hear it purring. Its fluffy tail whipped from side to side. Its belly was covered in thick, creamy fur. And yes, there was a collar and tag.
Did it want to be petted? Was that why it was showing its belly? As Blackie twined around him, Evan crawled over and reached for Spotty’s neck.
Quick as spit, Spotty snatched his hand with its front paws, claws out, and began kicking its back feet into his arm. He cursed and tried to free himself, but that only incited the cat to bite.
Sharp teeth nipped his fingers while even sharper claws embedded into his skin. D#mmit! He’d heal when he shifted, but it still hurt. He latched onto the cat’s collar and squinted at the tag in the dim light issuing from his windows.
“If found, please call Nicola Johansen, 615-55KITTY.”
Cats on his back porch. Cats on his front porch. Cats all over his property. Cats congregating. Cats watching him. Cats and panthers.
Cats and Leandra.
These little f()ckers were Cooley’s spies.
Thanks for dropping by today!