A Peruvian Jungle Christmas Cat #Pets
I hear you have a fluffy cat to share with us. I'm a huge cat lover and can't wait to see a picture and hear what you have to say.
If anyone has a cat, you know that the one thing that is not tolerated is to focus your attention on something else when the cat has decided it is time to devote your undivided attention to the cat. If you attempt to ignore the cat when you should be paying attention, the cat will generally make their presence known, usually be sitting on whatever it is that is distracting you from the important business of paying homage to the feline.
One day, while attempting to write Winter Wedding my cat Miles came and sat on my desk to watch my progress. This was not unusual, so I continued my work. Not pleased at being ignored, he began to bat my hands with his large fluffy paws. I gave him an obligatory scratch behind the ears and attempted to continue writing. Every time I went back to the keyboard, he went back to batting my hands. Finally I asked, “What do you want? Do you want to be written into the scene?”
He smiled and purred at me, and so my extra-large Persian rescue cat made the following cameo into Winter Wedding.
Miss Penelope Rose entered the kitchen, only to be startled by Cook who came at Pen with a broom shouting, “Get out. Out!”
“I beg your pardon?” asked Penelope, taking a step back.
“Oh laws, not you, Miss Rose. That dratted dog thing.”
Looking around, Penelope noted a matted mass of wet fur scurrying around people’s feet. Cook tried to sweep the little dog up the stone stairs, out into the snow, but the beast would have none of it, ducking around the broom at the last minute and running between legs back into the hostile kitchen.
“Poor thing. He’s probably cold and hungry,” said Penelope.
“He can be poor and hungry outside my kitchen!” demanded cook.
The animal took refuge behind Penelope, his large yellow eyes pleading for help. He had a funny face, as if he had run into a wall and his face was flattened. He put up a dirty paw to beg. “But it is Christmas,” suggested Penelope. “We are to provide a home for the weary traveler.”
Cook gave her a withering look. The scullery maid muttered something again about quality being touched in the head and this time cook did not correct her.
“That thing will have fleas, miss. Can’t stay here,” reasoned cook.
“Perhaps I could give him a bath?” suggested Penelope. She hoped another member of the help would actually help. But not one would meet her eye and all became very busy.
She ended up kneeling on the floor, covered with towels, washing a bedraggled dog in a large bucket. With the liberal use of a jar of soap and a comb, along with some meat treats to gain compliance, she began to reveal the image of her rescued friend.
It was a gray mop.
Further drying with a towel revealed an unexpected surprise.
“Blimey. I reckon that dog is a cat!” exclaimed a maid.
The cat meowed loudly to the stunned kitchen, proving his felineness.
“That done be the largest cat I ever saw,” said one of the grooms, coming in from the cold.
“What are you gonna name it, miss?” asked a footman.
“Miles,” said Penelope without a second thought. “Because there are miles of cat here.”
The kitchen staff laughed and all gathered around the Christmas cat-dog. After a hearty feeding for the cat and some debate over whether Christmas syllabub or wassail punch should be served at dinner, and it being decided to prepare both, Penelope returned upstairs, a large bundle of damp cat in her arms.
Upon reaching the main floor, Penelope found a labyrinth of danger. Somewhere was the dowager, who must be avoided at all costs—a stray cat in her pristine household would be an abhorrence. And somewhere else lurked the duke. To make matters difficult, he had hung a maze of tiny bundles of mistletoe overhead. Not content with simply hanging it in doorways, he had constructed a web of string from which dangerous bundles of mistletoe hung at random intervals.
The real question was, did she want to get caught?
Well, did she? Clearly she had much too much cat in her arms for rational thought. Penelope took a breath and stole softly across the hall to the main stairs, one eye looking for the duke or dowager and the other eye nervously glancing above her. Miles, the enormous cat, chose that inopportune moment to make a rather large meow, which echoed loudly down the hall.
“What was that?” came the voice of the dowager from the sitting room.
“I shall go see,” replied the duke.
Nothing for it but to run. And run she did, except when she got to the stairs, she encountered a difficult problem with her hands full of cat, her wet slippers slick on the marble floor, and a meowing animal who did not appreciate the ride. She stepped on her skirts and went down on the stairs with a bump and a hiss.
“What the blazes…” The Duke Marchford stood above her. “Is that a dog?”
“No, actually,” said Penelope, trying to untangle her foot from the hem of her skirt. “It is a cat.”
“A what?” The dowager walked up and poked the damp creature with her cane before Penelope could pick it up again. Miles growled, looking more disreputable than ever.
Marchford glanced between the dowager and Penelope, his eyes narrowing. Penelope sighed. So much for her Christmas cat. She was certain she would be told to remove the beast, but the dowager just then noticed the web of mistletoe above her head.
“My stars and garters, what have you done?” exclaimed the dowager.
“I have mistletoed the house,” said Marchford defiantly. “I have decided that if I choose to decorate my home like a tradesman, I shall do it to distinction.”
“You have decided what?” The dowager’s voice was like ice.
“Too bad you have seen your Christmas present early,” said Marchford swiftly changing the subject.
“My present?” asked the dowager, slightly mollified, looking back at him and Penelope and the monstrosity in her arms in a distracted way.
“Yes, your present,” said Penelope. She had no idea where Marchford was going with this, but she took his lead.
“The extremely rare Peruvian jungle house cat,” said Marchford.
“The Peruvian jungle house what?” The dowager rapped her cane on the marble floor in irritation.
“The jungle house cat, from deepest Peru,” said Penelope. For all she knew it could be from Peru.
“That is a dog,” dismissed the dowager.
Miles, the Peruvian jungle house cat, meowed in complaint.
“Is that really a cat? I don’t want that thing,” exclaimed the dowager.
“I can keep it until later,” suggested Penelope.
“You can send that Peruvian beast back to—”
“Oh look, mistletoe!” declared Marchford. Penelope almost jumped into his arms, but Marchford turned and kissed his grandmother on the cheek. Penelope took the clue and picked up her skirts and ran up the stairs.
“Merry Christmas to all!” she called as she fled.
My next book, Earl Interrupted, is set in the same Regency world as Winter Wedding and though it does not have any of my pets making an appearance, Miles has told me he approves of the work. And I hope you will too!
Earl Interrupted - The Daring Marriages, #2
Captain Robert Ashton, Earl of Darington, knows finding a bride in London will not be easy—not since he has been notoriously dubbed as the "Pirate Earl". What he didn't expect was to get abducted—and to have his escape go horribly awry when an innocent lady gets caught in the crossfire.
Amateur physician Emma St. James is on her way to meet her betrothed when she is rescued by an injured gentleman. Despite her shock after discovering he is the Pirate Earl, Emma feels drawn to the man who saved her life. Duty forces them apart, but when they meet again on the high seas, Darington will risk all—his fortune, his name, and even his life to keep her safe.
MORE IN THE SERIES
If the Earl Only Knew - The Daring Marriages Book 1 - Buy Now
Amanda Forester holds a PhD in clinical psychology and a Masters degree in theology. As a psychologist, she has worked as a clinical researcher and a university instructor (what they call you when they don’t want to give you tenure). None of which has anything to do with writing romance novels. After trying for many years to stop the internal storylines floating around her head, she finally gave up and wrote one down. Now when she is caught daydreaming and talking to herself she can just say, “I’m plotting a scene for my next novel,” which sounds so much better than, “I’m hallucinating and responding to internal stimuli.”
Amanda lives in the Pacific Northwest with her officer and a gentleman husband and their two remarkably active, naturally brilliant children. They share their home with two fiendishly destructive cats and one lazy dog.