Monday, November 05, 2012

Taming Yellow

The yellow tomcat stared at me, wary eyes unblinking as I crept closer. Suddenly, he crouched, and before I could move, he darted away, only to stop at the edge of the yard, ready to flee at a moment’s notice.

I turned and walked back into the house, only to peer through the window to see if he would come back. Moments passed and finally he crept to the bowl of cat food and began to eat with the other cats.

I sighed. I blamed myself for Yellow’s difficult, lonely existence. He wanted to be part of our family, but he was too scared to trust anyone.

Before Yellow was born, my husband brought home a dog with an orange-red coat that we named Rusty. Apparently, Rusty had fallen off the back of someone’s pickup truck because he had a badly scraped place on his hip that left a horrible scar even after it healed.

Rusty was a friendly dog, taking to the family like he’d always been a part of us, riding in the back of the truck to check on the cows, keeping my husband company working fence, but he had one major flaw. He despised cats with a passion that defied logic. But before he could do them harm, the cats left the premises and refused to return. A few weeks passed, and we lost poor Rusty to an accident. While I missed our dog, I was still worried about the cats.

The cats had taken refuge in the woods near our house and even after Rusty was long gone, they weren't convinced it was safe to come home. One day while walking, I found one of our mama cats named PJ. I picked her up and tried to carry her home. The closer we got to the house, the stiffer she became. She refused to go to the house with me. After several days of coaxing, she came into the yard. After inspecting everything with mincing steps and perked ears, she decided the threat was gone and that it was safe to stay.

When PJ showed up the next day with a litter of kittens, I was surprised and excited. The kittens were about six weeks old, and the cutest things I’d ever seen. I don’t know where PJ had delivered her kittens, but I was thankful she was able to bring them home before winter set in.

Yellow was one of those kittens. He’d been born in the wild, and even though his mama had brought him home, he was too skittish to let us get anywhere near him. But I wasn’t one to give up.

Day after day, I would feed the cats and see how close I could get to Yellow. At first, he ran away when I opened the door. He would stand at the edge of the yard while I put the cat food out. Eventually, I was allowed to venture to within twenty feet, then ten, then five.

Finally, the day came when I crouched right next to Yellow while he ate. I talked quietly to him the entire time, letting him know I wasn’t a threat. My legs cramped, but I remained as still as I could. After a few days of this, I reached out and touched his soft, yellow fur. Of course he darted away immediately, but I was elated. I knew it was just a matter of time before he’d let me pet him.

And one day it happened. I sat as close to the bowl as I dared and called Yellow. He sidled up to the bowl, and I talked to him while he ate. Then, ever so gently, I reached out and stroked my hand down his back. Instead of darting away, he actually arched into my hand for just a moment. I was thrilled! I had tamed the yellow tomcat.

Yellow came to love me as much as he could love anybody, I suppose. He would rub against my legs and arch his back into my hand when I would reach down and pet him. But he just couldn’t stomach being picked up more than a foot or so off the ground. And he never did let anyone else in the family get near him. I was the only one given the privilege.

When I started writing Claiming Mariah, Yellow’s hardscrabble life paralleled hero Slade Donovan’s, and I knew it was time to share Yellow’s story with the world.

I was honored that Yellow finally trusted me, but he didn’t give that trust lightly. I had to work for it, just as Mariah has to work to earn the trust of both Slade and Yellow in Claiming Mariah.

Click cover to pre-order Claiming Mariah from Amazon

In light of her father’s death, Mariah Malone sends a letter that will forever alter the lives of her family. When Slade Donovan, strong willed and eager for vengeance, shows up on her front porch, Mariah is not ready to hear his truths: her father’s farm, the only home she’s ever known, was bought with stolen gold. With Slade ready to collect his father’s rightful claim and force Mariah and her family out on the streets, Mariah must turn to God for guidance. Though Mr. Frederick Cooper, a local landowner, promises to answer her financial woes if she agrees to be his bride, Mariah finds herself drawn instead to the angry young man demanding her home.

With the ranch now under Slade’s careful eye, he will unearth more than he ever imagined as a devious plot of thievery, betrayal and murder threatens more than the well-being of the ranch, endangering the lives of those who hold it dear. With days dwindling until the rest of the Donovan clan arrive to the Lazy M ranch, Mariah and Slade must rise above the resentment of their fathers and see their true feelings before greed alters their futures forever.



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Saturday, November 03, 2012

Stealing Jake Epic eBook Awards finalist!

Whoo-hoo! My debut novel, Stealing Jake, is an 
EPIC eBook Awards finalist
in the Historical Romance category.


When Livy O’Brien spies a young boy jostling a man walking along the boardwalk, she recognizes the act for what it is. After all, she used to be known as Light-fingered Livy. But that was before she put her past behind her and moved to the growing town of Chestnut, Illinois, where she’s helping to run an orphanage. Now she’ll do almost anything to protect the street kids like herself.

Sheriff’s deputy Jake Russell had no idea what he was in for when he ran into Livy—literally—while chasing down a pickpocket. With a rash of robberies and a growing number of street kids in town—as well as a loan on the family farm that needs to be paid off—Jake doesn’t have time to pursue a girl. Still, he can't seem to get Livy out of his mind. He wants to get to know her better . . . but Livy isn’t willing to trust any man, especially not a lawman.