I’ve always been an animal lover. Over the years, we have adopted dogs, cats, horses, assorted fish, a tankful of pollywogs and one gerbil I thought would never die. I say adopted because we have rarely gone out looking for a new animal to add to our family. They seem to find us.
So it was only natural that I would let a pet find the heroine in THE COLDWATER WARM HEARTS CLUB. Lacy inherits a cat who has some issues. Here’s how she met ‘Effie the Demanding.’
Mrs. Paderewski opened a door next to the refrigerator. Lacy had thought it was probably a pantry, but to her delight, the small space housed a stackable washer and dryer.
And a litter box.
A large Siamese glared down at her from the top of the dryer. It yowled a greeting, which might be roughly translated as “Get your citified butt out of my apartment. I was here first.” The cry was punctuated by a sharp hiss.
Lacy stepped back a pace. “I don’t want a cat.”
“You want apartment?”
“Then you want cat,” Mrs. Paderewski said, folding her arms over her ample bosom. “Is package deal.”
“What if I’m allergic?”
“Are you?” Mrs. P arched a pencil-thin brow.
“No,” she admitted.
“Well, there you go. Is settled.”
“But I can’t have a cat. I’ve never had a cat.”
It was a bit like being Republican or Democrat. Either you were a dog person or a cat person. Dogs were faithful, friendly, and pathetically eager to please. Cats never let you forget the favor they bestowed on you by allowing you to serve them.
“Last tenant left her, poor thing,” Mrs. P said, angling for a little sympathy for the creature. “She have no home.”
“You could take it to the animal shelter.” The way the cat bared its teeth at that suggestion, she probably ought to have it exorcised first.
“That I could not do.” Mrs. P. lowered her voice to a whisper. “If no one takes cat after little while . . .” She drew a finger across her throat.
As if it understood and wouldn’t forget the insult, the cat emitted a strange staccato meh-ing.
Lacy took another step back. “I’ve never heard a cat make a sound like that.”
“Is OK. Is nothing. Siamese, they do it sometimes,” Mrs. P said.
“What’s it mean?”
“Is cat. What can it mean?” Mrs. P shrugged as if the animal hadn’t just made a sound like a feline Gatling gun.
“Mrs. Paderewski, it’s obvious you’re a cat lover. It’s such a pretty thing.” The cat flattened its ears to its head, obviously recognizing self-serving BS when it heard it. “Why don’t you take it?”
“I would, but seven I have already.”
Seven cats. Holy litter box. I hope she also has a seven-hundred-pound Air Wick.
“She tempt me, but no, I cannot,” Mrs. Paderewski said. “But you can. She good company. You see. Cats, they no trouble. Food, water, litter, done. So, we good?”
Lacy looked around the apartment. It was charming, clean, and since it was located on the Town Square, she could indulge in the fantasy that she was still living in the thick of things like she had in her Boston loft. Everything else about the place was perfect.
How bad could a cat be?
She counted out her deposit and first month’s rent in crisp Benjamins. “What’s the cat’s name?”
“Don’t know. Last tenant call her ‘eff-ing cat.’ Is not nice.” Mrs. Paderewski tucked the money into her cleavage. It would never see the inside of a bank. What the IRS didn’t know evidently wouldn’t hurt her. “So I call Effie. Is nice name. She like.”
“Effie,” Lacy repeated as Mrs. P made good her escape.
The cat growled menacingly. What Effie would really like was to be left alone.
“You and me both, cat,” Lacy told her. “You and me both.”
“The heart-tugging scenes, stellar characters, captivating secondary storylines, and small-town charisma will whet readers’ appetites for a return visit to Coldwater.” – Publishers Weekly
How about you? Are you a pet lover too? Does your family include a member with fur, fins or feathers? My pets mean so much to me. I’d love to hear about YOURS!