I am happy to have Cara Marsi here to share her love of cats and her contemporary romance, Wedded in Vegas (Gambling on Love series).
Cats I Have Known and Loved by Cara:
Cats have been part of my life since before I was born. Both my parents were raised with cats. I can’t imagine a world without these elegant, beautiful, independent, playful, affectionate creatures who shower us with unconditional love. I remember fondly every cat I’ve ever had, since I was a little girl. Each cat has been a member of my family. Pet owners know, as much as we love all our kitties and dogs and other pets, there are always those few that are special.
One of my very special cats was Sabrina, a tabby. I got her in 1970 as a kitten from a co-worker when I lived in Toronto, Canada. I’d gone to my co-worker’s house with the idea of choosing a male kitten. When I sat on the floor, near the kittens, Sabrina, a sweet little girl, immediately ran to me and climbed up to my chest. She chose me, as is the case with the most memorable pets. Sabrina’s fur was thicker than most short hairs. I always figured it was from being bred in cold weather. She and I formed a bond that couldn’t be broken. She loved me totally and thought of me as her mommy. She was my baby. We were a team. I went through a rough patch at the time, and Sabrina was my rock. She saved my life.
It bothered me, but I was so consumed with new motherhood, I couldn’t give Sabrina the attention I’d always given her. All these years later, I still feel regret over that. She contracted heart problems and we had to put her down when she was twelve. That was thirty-four years ago, and I miss her. She will always be part of my heart.
There were cats after Sabrina, and I loved them all. But I didn’t find another special cat until December 2003, when we adopted a fat, black, almost two-year-old cat from the shelter. The Humane Association told me a man had found the cat as a kitten hiding in his bushes on his property. Ebony had lived at the shelter her whole life until we adopted her. Black cats (and dogs) are the last to be adopted. My son, in college then, renamed her Killer because she was so sweet and gentle. He said it was irony. Killer didn’t like being held, but she liked to hang out with my husband and me. In the evenings while we watched TV, Killer slept on a satin pillow on the sofa between us. She wasn’t vocal, and only cried when we picked her up or tried to give her a pill for the chronic upper respiratory disease she’d gotten from her time in the shelter. Killer may not have been vocal, but she communicated with her eyes. I knew what she wanted by the way she’d look at me. Sometimes I’d say to her, “Show me what you want,” and she’d lead me to her food dish. We lost Killer in October 2015, to cancer. I miss her so much. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about her and miss her.
Almost a year before we lost Killer, we brought in a little tortoiseshell stray we call Tortie. Tortie and her kittens were running around our neighborhood the summer of 2014. Neighbors fed them, but no one could get near the cats. We all thought they were feral. I contacted a rescue group, Forgotten Cats, and with their help, I trapped Tortie. It took until September of that year to get her into a trap. We couldn’t find her kittens, and I hope kind people took them in. Forgotten Cats spayed Tortie and gave her shots, then released her to us. She lived on our open porch, and my husband and I were building an outdoor shelter for her. As she got more comfortable with us, she stopped running away when she saw us. One day she wrapped around my ankles, and I realized Tortie wasn’t feral, but just a scared, abandoned little kitty. We brought her inside and she’s been with us ever since. She, like Killer, is an indoor cat. She’s a petite cat, although after being close to starvation when she lived on the street, she’s gotten a bit chubby. Tortie has the standard five toes, but one of her toes is like a thumb. The perfect name for her would be Mittens. Since Forgotten Cats called her Tortie due to her coloring, we kept the name. She’s so affectionate and gentle, I think she knows we saved her life.
One month after I lost my Killer, I was in Pet Smart to buy cat food for Tortie. I went to look at the cats for adoption, as I always do when there. I told one of the Humane Association volunteers about Killer, and I started crying, right there in the store. Before I knew it, I left with a 10-week old tuxedo kitten named Brew. We renamed him Brewster. I’d forgotten how crazy kittens are. After bringing him home, I realized my husband and I were too old to deal with a super energetic kitten. Brewster kept trying to play with Tortie, but she ran from him. I think he scared her, small as he was then. He had, and still has, so much energy.
Brewster is the craziest cat I’ve ever had in a life filled with cats. He and Tortie get along now, and he doesn’t scare her any more. She likes to groom him, and I wonder if she thinks of him as her baby, although he’s almost twice her size.
Brewster weighed less than three pounds when I got him. He’s now a little over two years old and he weighs 17 pounds. He’s a big cat, and looks as if he may have a little Maine Coon in his DNA. He’s beautiful, ornery, and a cuddle bug. Both my cats adore me. When Brewster weighed less than three pounds, he liked to curl up under my chin while I sat and watched TV. At 17 pounds, he still tries to curl up under my chin.
He wakes me up in the morning (way too early) by licking my face. Like a Maine Coon, he’s very vocal. He’ll announce himself entering or leaving a room. He stares at my husband and cries until my husband picks him up and walks around the house with him. We recognize what he wants by his different cries. Brewster is Mr. Personality, and he still acts like a kitten and gets into as much trouble as one. He’s whip smart, too. I taught Brewster to sit on command, and it only took a few minutes and some treats.
One of the reasons I chose him is because he’s almost all black. I wanted another black cat like Killer. Brewster is a medium hair, and he has a bushy tail. Killer, while a short-hair, had thick, silky, luxurious fur. I wanted a cat with fur like hers. I hope you’ve enjoyed my little homage to the cats I’ve known and loved.
I sometimes include a cat in my books. It depends on the story. In Love by Chance, Book 2 of my Gambling on Love series, my heroine Laney has a fat black cat named Ebony, Killer’s shelter name. In Wedded in Vegas, Book 1 of the Gambling on Love series, my hero, Cole, rescues a black kitten. He names it Killer, my way of honoring my sweet cat.
Blurb for Wedded in Vegas:
A reluctant bride
A hot Hollywood actor
What happens in Vegas…
Bartending in Las Vegas is the means to an end for Analisa Barbero. As soon as she finishes school she can get her dream job as a teacher. With her hard-working single mom temporarily disabled, money is tight and the hours are long. Who has time for dating? But when a sexy nerd asks her out, Analisa does what everyone else in Las Vegas does: she takes a chance and says yes.
Some people come to Sin City to gamble. Some come to start over. And some come to hide out. Cole Lassiter is Hollywood’s hottest property. Fed up with phoniness and paparazzi parasites, he just wants to be an ordinary nobody for a while. But when his deception causes a pretty bartender to lose her job, he makes her the kind of offer that can only happen in the city of make-believe: Marry him for one year in exchange for a house, money, and all-expenses-paid tuition for school. If she agrees, maybe the tabloids will finally give him a break.
Neither Analisa nor Cole thought love was in the cards for them. But what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas. Is Analisa willing to gamble her future on a man who already deceived her once? Everyone in Las Vegas knows one thing: you have to roll the dice if you want to hit the jackpot. And love is worth the risk.
EXCERPT from Wedded in Vegas:
Cole jerked upright as a thought, like the proverbial lightbulb, went off in his head. He knew how to help Analisa, and maybe himself. If he could convince her. He glanced at the wall clock. He didn’t have much time.
He grabbed his phone and called down to the garage for his car. With a hopeful spring in his movements, he slipped on his leather jacket against the March chill and left the penthouse.
He had a woman to win over.
Cole let out his breath at the quiet when he turned down Analisa’s street. True to their word, the paparazzi had left the area. He tightened his hand on the gear-shift knob, hoping all would go well now so he’d have some big news for the press later. Mostly, he hoped his plan would help Analisa.
When he pulled into her driveway, he saw movement behind the front curtains. Busted! Anxiety clenched his stomach. He had a lot of convincing to do. First, she had to let him in.
As he exited his car, shouts from up the street drew his attention. Anger propelled him to run toward the noise. A group of young teens was throwing rocks at a black kitten. The poor creature was running in circles, trying to avoid the missiles.
“Stop it!” Cole shouted as he got close. He scooped up the trembling kitten and held it against his chest. “It’s okay,” he crooned. “You’re safe now.”
He glared at the nearest kid, one with a rock ready to throw. “Drop the rock. Now,” Cole said in the harsh tones he’d used as the superhero in his last action picture.
The kid dropped the rock. Cole’s gaze canvassed the group, locking eyes with each boy. “Are you proud of yourselves? Hurting a defenseless little cat? Didn’t your parents teach you to be kind to animals?”
“Someone dumped that cat off here coupla days ago, mister,” one of the kids said. “My mom said not to feed it ’cause it would hang around. No one wants it here. We were just having fun.”
“Yeah,” said another. “It would have starved to death anyway.”
“You would let a poor, helpless creature starve?” At Cole’s glower, they moved back. “What kind of jerks are you?”
Rage coiled his insides. No wonder the world was in such a sad state with kids like this. Dismissing them with a look of disgust, he held the kitten close and strode toward Analisa’s house. After several knocks, she opened the door.
Her beauty stole his breath. Her curling midnight hair cascaded past her shoulders. The yoga pants and top she wore hugged her lush curves. Her amazing eyes, shuttered and red-rimmed, tore a hole in his heart.
“What do you want?” Her voice and tight features communicated her distrust of him. Her eyes widened when she noticed the kitten he held. “What are you doing with a kitten?”
“I saved it from some thugs who were about to kill it. Can I come in?”
She opened the screen door, reached out, and took the kitten from him, hugging it to her. “The poor little thing.” Turning away from the door, she motioned for Cole to enter.
Rosa pushed up from the sofa when she saw him. “Hello, Cole.”
“Hello, Rosa. Good to see you again.”
“Mom, look at this dear kitten. Cole said kids were trying to hurt it.”
“Poor baby. Let me have it. I’ll take it into the kitchen and give it some milk.”
“May I sit?” Cole asked when Rosa left.
“Suit yourself,” Analisa said.
He sat on the sofa, while she perched on the edge of one of the chairs that flanked it. Hands clasped on her lap, she stared, unblinking, at him. “What do you want?”
“Hear me out. Please. I talked to Appleton but I couldn’t change his mind about your job. I’ve come up with something that might help us both.”
Silent, she studied him with cool, gold-brown eyes.
Rubbing a hand over his hair, he swallowed. “I like you a lot. We get along well, or we did before all this happened.”
At her continued silence, he said, “I think we should get married.”
Purchase Wedded in Vegas in Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Wedded-Vegas-Gambling-Love-Book-ebook/dp/B075FXKNRC/
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An award-winning and eclectic author, Cara Marsi is published in romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. She loves a good love story, and believes that everyone deserves a second chance at love. Sexy, sweet, thrilling, or magical, Cara’s stories are first and foremost about the love. Treat yourself today, with a taste of romance.
When not traveling or dreaming of traveling, Cara and her husband live on the East Coast of the United States in a house ruled by two spoiled cats who compete for attention.
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Thank you to Beth for featuring me today. (My pleasure, Cara. I love hearing about your kitties. Wonderful cats).
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