I’m delighted to have Christine Warner join us to share her wonderful Ragdoll kitties and her contemporary romance, A Friendly Engagement.
Christine: My love of animals has been a lifetime commitment. I think it’s a family thing because my brother and sister were right there with me. When we were kids, I remember begging—literally begging—my mom and dad for a pet. Any pet. We ended up with the normal tank of fish, we even had gerbils, two males that weren’t really males that ended up multiplying to the point we sold several to a pet store. Lol. I was also told we had a border collie but unfortunately, I was just a baby and have no memory of him.
Finally, one day when we were pre-teens—before that was even a term—my sister was brave enough to bring home a kitten after she babysat for a family that had a cat who had kittens. What could my parent’s do? We kept “Tom” and he lived to the ripe old age of 16.
When I got married, I didn’t even have to beg or state my case, my husband was all about having a dog. Over the years we had a few. Misty, Jack, Chester, and then finally Tess and Libby—my two very spoiled and sweet Golden Retrievers. All wonderful dogs that I miss terribly to this day. And thrown in we had a few cats—Chocolate, Carmel, and Smokey. When the kitties crossed the rainbow bridge and only Libby remained that was supposed to be the end of fur babies in our home. My husband was done. The kids were grown and he just wanted a quiet house. I wanted a cat.
Famous last words. Lol
Okay, I better start at the beginning of how we acquired our second—or is it third or fourth—stage of furry friends.
Along with being an author I also own a small cleaning company with my sister and daughter. We mainly work commercially, but have a few residential clients. Long story short, we cleaned for this awesome lady who also loved animals. She had 4 dogs and 2 cats. The cats happened to be a new to me breed called Ragdoll. I fell in love with them instantly. They are so mellow, HUGE, fluffy, soft, and are dog-like in many ways.
My husband has never been much of a cat lover, but after I told him about these cats and did a little coaxing by sharing articles on the breed and cute videos he said to go ahead and get one.
He also warned me he wouldn’t help take care of them. In. Any. Way. Big deal, it wasn’t like he went out of his way with the last three cats we had. lol
I found a great breeder—Soft Cuddly Ragdolls—and after we talked several times, I ended up bringing Henry home. Okay, let me tell you that my husband, the non-cat advocate, has a bond with this cat like no other. Even my kids are surprised by the way he acts with him. He is always asking where he’s at, carrying him around, and making sure he has treats and fun toys. They even hang out on the sofa together and when my husband is working on his computer Henry is on his lap. The most sickening part is when my husband comes home from work Henry runs from wherever he’s at to meet him at the door. It’s cute actually, although a bit sappy in my opinion. lol
A few months after we brought Henry home and I felt neglected because my cat turned into his cat, I persuaded him that Henry needed a friend. I mean, really, cats are like potato chips. You can’t have just one.
So then came Arthur, or Arty as we affectionately call him. He was a bit shy when he came home and very afraid of our old dog Libby. But once he got accustomed, he was all about hanging with Libby. To the point where he would drive her out of the room because he’d drape himself all over her. Poor old girl. They had a lot in common though. They both liked balls and playing fetch. Although, at this stage of Libby’s life she didn’t play much fetch, but she liked to gnaw on a ball from time to time and watch Arty chase around the house after his. Sadly, Libby crossed the rainbow bridge this past September and I could tell how it affected Arty. He looked all over for her and cried. It was rough on all of us.
Now, let me backstep a bit. Not long after we brought Arty home, we also found out he had heart murmur. My breeder guarantees against this so she said she owed me another kitten. She had acquired a solid color male previously and he sired a new litter with a solid black baby.
Guess what? I fell in love. We brought the solid black kitty home this past July. By then both Henry and Arty were a bit over a year old.
Arty has always been more temperamental, whereas Henry goes with the flow and is so laid back. So little Ozzie came home and I swear Libby rolled her eyes, but she accepted another furry friend into the mix. So did Henry. But Arty was so mad. He wouldn’t let any of us pet him, pick him up, and he kept a wide distance from the new addition whom I affectionately called Baby.
So now we had three. Henry the diva cat, Arty the street thug, and Baby. My heart is full.
Fast forward 2 weeks and Arty and Baby Oz were the best of friends. Originally, I think Baby was a goody-two-shoes kitten, but Arty led him astray. They are as thick as thieves and get into trouble on a daily basis. They love to jump on the counter (a no no) and grab things and run to hide them. They both like to jump on your chest when you are sleeping at three in the morning, and also love to tag team getting on the tables. You get one down and the other takes his place.
Drives my husband crazy but I have to say that having pets means you won’t win every battle. I just keep a lot of disinfecting wipes on hand. And, sometimes Henry joins in on their shenanigans. But, they are also good on so many levels. They play fetch, they are huge balls of purr, greet us and all guests at the door, follow you around everywhere so that you are never alone, love belly rubs, and they just make our lives so full by being them. I can’t imagine not having them—and actually all the fur babies that have been in my life—in my life.
They’ve been a great addition to the family and if I had my way, I’d love to add another to the family, but I won’t push my luck.
I’m excited to share the first book in my Friends First series with Entangled Publishing—A Friendly Engagement.
If you enjoy this book, check out the other 2 in this 3-book series. A Friendly Arrangement and A Friendly Flirtation.
A FRIENDLY ENGAGEMENT BLURB
What’s a little engagement between friends?
Omar Esterly is married to his job. But when Omar sets his sights on a potential, family-oriented client, his confirmed bachelorhood becomes a problem. Fortunately, his friend and employee, Devi Boss, has the perfect plan…
Okay, so it wasn’t exactly Devi’s plan to become her friend’s fake fiancée. Lies aren’t her style. However, Omar offers her a big, beautiful raise—enough to track down the missing father she’s never known—and Devi reluctantly agrees to the whole engagement hoax…
This was supposed to be a no-strings-attached win-win for both Devi and Omar, but when they cross the line between friendship and…well, something more, Devi realizes she’s made a huge mistake that just might cost her both job and friend—falling for her fiancé.
“You’re game for anything, right?”
Devi compressed her lips and studied Omar through a narrow gaze, taking in the way his overly bright eyes concentrated on her face as if memorizing every pore. Her gaze traveled south to the non-existent rise and fall of his chest and how he pushed his suit jacket aside as he placed his hands low on his hips. He’d stopped breathing while he waited for her reply. That made her more nervous than anything. “Normally I am game for anything, but considering the man asking the question, I’m a little nervous.” She licked her lips.
Omar shook his head, swallowing her hands in the warmth of his. “No. This is a great idea. I can’t believe I didn’t see it before.”
“I’ll hold back on saying I’m glad I could help until I know what you’ve got pinging around your brain.” She tried to pull free of his grip, but he only grasped her fingers tighter. Her inner voice told her whatever plan he’d cooked up included her and she wouldn’t be thrilled with the role.
“Bartow wants a family-first firm. He wants a planner who is married, blah, blah blah.” He dismissed his unfinished words with the thrust of his chin.
Devi nodded, her mouth going dry. Was he planning to hire a wife, or about to propose?
“I might not be married, but what if I were engaged?”
She didn’t want to jump to conclusions about the proposal so she pasted on a tight smile. “Do you have a serious girlfriend hidden away I don’t know about?” The thought unsettled her, but she pushed aside the heaviness in her gut. Omar and relationships mixed like fire and ice. Not that women didn’t find him attractive and vice versa, but his true love would always be work. Most sane women wanted something more than a workaholic commitment-phobe.
He shook his head a bit too vigorously. “No. No.” His grip tightened, and she flexed her fingers so he’d loosen his hold. “Hear me out before you shoot me down.”
“I’m more curious than ever.” Again, she threw sand over that niggling feeling in her belly. She never jumped to conclusions. Living by the seat of your pants didn’t allow it, but…
Why start now? She rolled her shoulders in an effort to relax. Omar pulled her off to the side and out of the crowd moving past them on the sidewalk. His hands shook with excitement, and he swallowed hard before clearing his throat. Always calm and collected, his buildup unsettled Devi, and she tugged one hand from his grip and pressed it against the gurgle growing in her stomach.
“How about we announce our engagement? I could pull in some favors and have it in the press Monday morning. That’d still give Bartow enough time to invite us to the meet and greet. And—”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa.” Devi’s stomach did a nosedive, and she yanked her other hand from his death grip and stepped back. She twisted one of the bangle bracelets on her wrist. “Our engagement? First off, I didn’t even know we were dating. And second, I am not going to help you get ahead by lying.”
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