I am delighted to have Vonda Sinclair here to share her lovely kitties and fabulous Scottish romance, Highlander Unbroken. I remember when her sweet rescue cat, Kaylee, had these wonderful kittens. I followed their adventures on Facebook. ***Vonda is generously giving away an eBook or audio book to one winner to be chosen from those who leave comments.
I’ve always been more of a cat person, but I love dogs, too. In fact, my most painful pet loss was probably a dog almost ten years ago. I’ve lost a lot of furbabies over the years and it’s always so heartbreaking. After that last devastating one, a kitty, I decided I didn’t want another cat or dog for a while because I didn’t want to deal with the heartbreak of losing a precious animal family member again for a long while. But fate, or destiny or the angels had other ideas. 🙂
For some reason, stray cats show up at my mom’s house frequently. We don’t know if people are dropping them off during the night or if they somehow have an instinct that she loves animals and will feed them. Regardless, a small, stray female black cat, less than a year old, showed up there. Pretty soon her belly started looking round and it was obvious she was pregnant. It was a cold January. My mom already had a female indoor cat who hates all other cats. There was no way my mom could bring the newcomer into the house without a major upheaval. So, obviously I took the stray black cat to my house and named her Kaylee. I named her after a ceilidh, (pronounced the same) which is a Gaelic social gathering featuring Scottish folk music, singing, traditional dancing, and storytelling.
Kaylee grew rounder and rounder over the next two months. Pretty soon she looked like a little watermelon with legs and she could hardly waddle across the floor. The vet said she thought Kaylee would have maybe three or four kittens. Boy, was she wrong. Kaylee finally had six kittens! Four black ones and two gray ones. I’m thinking, oh my gosh, what have I gotten myself into!? I went from having no cats to seven in a short time. But they were so adorable as kittens and I had to take pics of them almost daily. I hadn’t been around kittens in a long time. They were a joy and always made me laugh.
I contacted almost everyone I know, trying to find new homes for the kittens. I didn’t want to give them away, but there was no way I could keep that many. Finally, I found good forever homes for three of them. One special kitten I knew from the first that I couldn’t let go was a long-haired gray one named Bluebelle. She was the most adorable kitten ever, with a feisty personality. She’s also sweet and lovable.
Jax is a brave, friendly boy who always climbed on my lap from the time he was tiny, so I knew it would be hard to let him go, too. No one chose him, so he got to stay with me. Now, I tell people he’s as big as a horse. Well, almost anyway. I bet he’s approaching twenty pounds. His favorite thing to do is crawl under my jacket and snuggle while almost crushing me. LOL
Pixie is like a wild forest creature, skittish, timid but very territorial. She’s so beautiful, I thought she would be the first chosen. And someone did take her, but returned her to me the same day. I’m glad she gets to live with her mama, brother and sister.
They get along great most of the time, but sometimes Jax picks on his sisters and gets a hiss, growl or a slap. He’s so big and much heavier than his sisters, so I’m sure he just laughs it off. They remember that Kaylee is their mama, and they treat her with respect. Even though she’s now a lot smaller and shorter than her grown offspring, she can still put Jax in his place. He acts submissive toward her. It’s so adorable the way they groom each other. All the kittens grew into huge cats, very long and tall, much bigger than Kaylee. Their papa must have been a large cat.
They live indoors but go outside sometimes when the weather is nice for an hour or two. I have them trained, for the most part, to come back when I call them. I live in the country and they enjoy climbing the trees or running like insane cats through the yard to burn off energy. They’re all my babies, muses and companions. 🙂
I featured Kaylee and her babies in the book I was writing at the time, Highlander Unbroken.
How many furbabies do you have?
Beth: I love hearing about your kitties. I have three indoors and several barn cats. Plus Puppy Cooper, our older rescue dog, Jilly, and farm dog Luca.
Blurb for Highlander Unbroken
Torture has driven Neacal MacDonald to the brink of madness.
As the new chief of the MacDonald clan, Neacal will do whatever it takes to honor his late father and to help his clan thrive. But whispers of his madness abound and many in his clan turn traitor, wanting MacDonald of Sleat to lead them instead. Conflict ignites between the bitter rivals when Sleat garners the help of the man who tortured Neacal in the past.
Can one woman’s song pull him back and begin to heal his soul?
Everything has been ripped from Anna Douglas except her angelic voice and the will to survive. When she meets Neacal, she recognizes something familiar in him—stark loneliness and pain. His past could be even more tragic and tarnished than hers. No one must learn her true identity or about the brutish man declaring she is his wife, for he will stop at nothing to reclaim her. Though Neacal vowed to never trust a woman again, he cannot resist the secrets in Anna’s eyes or her spellbinding song, which threatens to break down the icy walls surrounding his tormented heart.
Highlander Entangled is my latest release, but I want to share the excerpt from Highlander Unbroken, featuring Kaylee (Ceilidh) and her kittens.
The next evening, after Anna finished singing three songs, the other musicians took over. She needed a reprieve from the crush in the great hall during the cèilidh. Neacal had also disappeared again, as he did half the time. Was he telling the truth about enjoying her singing? She wasn’t so sure.
Still, anytime his eyes chanced to meet hers, her heartbeat sped along and she felt flushed.
Some wild and irrational part of her urged her to slip up to the ramparts again, for Neacal might be there, but…that would be madness. She’d best avoid him for many reasons. She must guard her secrets well if she wished to survive.
Aye, she would stay far from the ramparts and the tempting chief, she decided, savoring a small bowl of stew and a piece of bread in the kitchen. Most of the maids were in the great hall, carrying food or serving.
“Could I help you with anything?” she asked the cook after she’d finished eating.
Mistress Pottenger eyed her with a lifted graying auburn brow. “I thought you a singer rather than a kitchen maid.”
“Aye, indeed, but I like to keep busy.” Anything to keep her mind off the chief and how much she wanted to talk to him again.
Mistress Pottenger limped forward and handed her a small wooden bowl. “Aye, if you wouldn’t mind taking these scraps out to wee Cèilidh. I would take them myself but my bad knee is paining me something fierce this eve.”
“Of course. I would be glad to. Who is Cèilidh?”
“The black cat what catches all the mice. She has wee kittens hidden somewhere and I’m thinking she needs extra food.”
“Oh, aye.” Anna smiled. “I petted her earlier today in the garden, then I secretly followed her toward the back sheds. I did see a tiny black kitten.”
“Mayhap you should see Tavia about something to rub on your knee.”
“Aye, I will. I’ve been on my feet too much today.”
Anna headed out the door and across the bailey. The torches had been lit, but ’twas still light out. No one was about, although she was certain the guards on duty were in the gatehouse. Everyone else was inside the keep, dancing to the lively music. During supper, the great hall grew too warm and stuffy with all the people shoulder to shoulder. She much preferred some time alone in the fresh air. Besides, she liked being helpful to Mistress Pottenger. The woman had been kinder to her than most people. She also knew the woman likely had to keep working despite her knee pain in order to earn a living. She truly hoped the healer could help her.
Anna called the cat but didn’t see her anywhere. She strode around behind the stables toward the back sheds where the hay and grain were stored. This was where she’d seen a tiny black kitten that had escaped the nest.
Upon entering the shed, she saw naught but straw upon the ground. She soon heard mews in the back corner and found the wee critters. The mama cat meowed a warning and came out to greet her. No doubt to keep her away from her babies.
“Here you go.” Anna poured the meat scraps from the bowl onto the clean straw. The sleek black cat tore into the food as if famished. Anna crept closer to the squirming, wiggling pile of kittens, then knelt to better observe them. Four black ones and two gray. They all hissed at her. How adorable. She smiled and stroked their soft fur anyway, despite their hisses.
“Indeed, you have a large family to feed.”
Mama cat mewled but didn’t leave her food.
“I won’t hurt them, Cèilidh,” she whispered. Funny that Mistress Pottenger had named the cat after the song and dance the clan engaged in every night.
How Anna loved babies of any type, human or animal. If Blackburn hadn’t shoved her down the stairs and caused her to have a miscarriage, she might be holding her own sweet bairn. The lass would’ve been two years old by now. Tears pricked her eyes, blurring her vision as she watched the squirming kittens beneath her hands. How soft they were.
“What are you doing out here, my little songbird?” asked a rough male voice behind her.
Anna jerked around. ‘Twas the huge, burly guard who often stared at her, the one who’d spoken to her in the bailey a few days ago—Farquar.
“I was simply feeding the cat.” She rose to her feet.
“Ah.” Farquar watched her with focused interest, as a wolf watches a lamb.
Alarm prickled through her. “I was just leaving,” she said, picking up the wooden bowl. “The other musicians are awaiting me. I’m to sing two more songs.” ‘Twas a lie but her instincts warned her to get away from him. Now.
Bio: Vonda Sinclair is the USA Today bestselling author of award-winning Scottish historical romance (aka Highlander romance) novels and novellas. Her favorite pastime is exploring Scotland and taking photos along the way. She especially loves ancient castle ruins! She also enjoys writing about hot Highland heroes, unconventional ladies and the healing power of love. Her series are the Highland Adventure Series and the Scottish Treasure Series. Her books have won the National Readers’ Choice Award, the CRW Award of Excellence, the Winter Rose Award of Excellence in Published Romantic Fiction–1st Place Historical, and an EPIC Award. She lives in the mountains of North Carolina where she is crafting another adventurous, wildly romantic Scottish story. Please visit her website at www.vondasinclair.com
Highlander Unbroken (Highland Adventure Book 8)
by Vonda Sinclair
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