New #ParanormalLoveWednesdaysBlogHop w/excerpt from Michael’s “Columba and the Cat”
Folks, this is the second time I’ve done the Paranormal Love Wednesdays Blog Hop. (The first time was last week, and was for AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE.) This time, I’m doing it in support of my late husband Michael B. Caffrey’s story “Columba and the Cat.”
Years ago, this story was available at e-Quill Publishing in Australia, but I withdrew it in 2012 after I was picked up by Twilight Times Books as an author. While I appreciated e-Quill’s interest in Michael’s work very much, I felt I could perhaps do a little better on my own…I just needed to get the skills together to do justice to his work.
Anyway, I now have more of those skills. I’ve found friends and allies over at the Marketing for Romance Writers group (do look them up if you’re a writer; they’re incredibly helpful people), and some of those authors set up the Paranormal Love Wednesdays Blog in order to showcase paranormal works a little better. Michael’s “Columba and the Cat” certainly qualifies.
What’s it about? As I said yesterday:
“Columba and the Cat” is about Princess Columba of Illinowa. She’s a magician, a scholar, and is currently the heir to the throne…and wants no part of it. Because she’s royalty, she’s had trouble meeting men, and she’s tired of dealing with people in search of a title rather than herself.
Into her life comes a mysterious cat. (Literally. The cat nearly gets run over while she’s out riding.) She rescues the cat, takes him into the palace, and starts having unusual dreams — dreams of a man who understands her, cares about her, and loves her. Unbeknownst to Columba, the cat is a shapeshifter. He, too, is royal, albeit from far away. And he’s the man of her dreams…that is, when he’s not in the form of a cat.
Then the dream-man shows up, and the cat disappears. Columba must decide whether or not to believe in her dreams and hope that somehow, all of the magical romance she’s found is here to stay.
I don’t yet have a link for the story as it’s not yet up. (EDITED TO ADD: Here’s a link for everyone!) But I do have an excerpt, cover art, and a banner. I do hope people will love this excerpt and will want to read the rest of the story.
Again it seemed that Cat could understand what she was saying, as he rolled to the side and off the Princess-Royal’s body.
Columba looked at him in surprise — how had he realized that the only way he could have stood and walked on her nightdress was to dig in with his claws? And how — and why — had he figured out so quickly how to remove himself so quickly without having to use those claws?
Yes, if she could convince him to stay — and if he had the other qualities necessary — Cat was the familiar for her.
After a few minutes, she came back out, brushing her shoulder-length blond hair, and turned down the covers. She sat on the edge of the bed, brushing her hair and making inconsequential chat to Cat, constantly amused at his occasional mew or mrowr as she paused, almost as if he was truly interested in the court gossip she had picked up during the hour between the ceremony and dinner. After a bit, she finished with her hair and set the brush on the bedside table, then swung her legs under the covers and pulled them up.
A wave of her hand was enough to douse the magelights in the room, leaving only the firefly glow of a single light in the bathroom to reflect off Cat’s eyes as he gazed through the dark at her.
“Mrow?” the animal inquired, an almost plaintive note in his voice.
Columba chuckled gently, then lifted the cover. It was a cold winter’s evening, after all, and Cat looked uncomfortably thin, despite his size. “If you’re cold, you can come in here with me, darling.”
With a gentle rustling, Cat crossed the short distance from his chosen pillow nest to rub against Columba’s face before crawling carefully under the covers and turning around to lay against her breast, his head under her chin and his whiskers tickling the exposed skin above the open neck of her flannel nightdress. With an uncharacteristic giggle, Columba let the sheet drop and snuggled Cat close, her eyes closing as his rumbling purr began to lull her to sleep. As she drifted off, she almost thought that she heard something stirring . . . most likely the wind was her last lazy thought before sleep claimed her.
In the night, Princess-Royal Columba had the most wondrous dreams — dreams of a strange prince, not overly handsome as many of her dream princes had been, but not totally shabby either, with hair that almost the color of her new most favorite pet’s fur, but features she could not clearly discern. The prince courted her assiduously, slowly, over the course of months in that night’s dream, obtained at last her promise that she would be his.
The first dream faded into vague images she could not recall — stallions and mares, springtime, birds in their nests with the little birds chirping for food — and a sense as if she was riding one of those stallions back and forth across a plain of short, bluish-green grass, almost the color of the sheets on her royal bed. It was a wonderful ride, this dream-gallop, farther and harder than she’d ever ridden before, with breaks to rest the horse and herself, an electric ride that sent surges of pleasure through her. Eventually, that dream faded back into her dream prince, clasping her in his arms, gently kissing her lips, then her throat . . . .
* * *
Note: For my friends in the Fantasy and Science Fiction Network, and for romance readers everywhere, this is as spicy as it gets. It’s somewhere between a PG and a PG-13 as far as a rating goes…Michael believed strongly in romance, but he also believed the best romances took place privately. So there should be nothing here that offends anyone’s sensibilities.
I hope that piqued your interest…now, get back to hopping, and go visit the next person up in the Paranormal Love Wednesdays Blog Hop!
|1.||C. Marie Bowen||3.||Blaire Edens||5.||Barb Caffrey|
|2.||Margo Bond Collins||4.||Erin Hayes Books||
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