A warm welcome to T. Strange who joins us to share her touching dog adoption and her light New Adult romance, My Zombie Boyfriend.
T. Strange: Let me start by saying—I’m not a dog person. I am a happily catted cat person. That being said, here’s the story of how a dog got me.
My wife and I both struggle with depression, and three years ago she had a major mental health crisis and she’s still fighting to find her way back to having more good days than bad. For a while she was extremely agoraphobic on top of the depression and anxiety, but she really wanted to move past that and be able to go out on her own. She suggested that we try fostering dogs, because the dog would need to go out for walks every day and give her something to do. I’ll admit, I was reluctant (see above re: cat person) but I could definitely see this helping her so of course I wanted to be supportive.
We received our first dog. And then three dogs at once (we almost kept one of those, but he wasn’t quite right. But we still dog-sit for him sometimes!). And more and more dogs until they all blended together. And they did help! Just as my wife had suspected, the dogs helped her get outside, without me, and able to start being more independent again.
I was already in bed when our eventual foster fail arrived. It was after midnight, and my wife brought him home and put him in bed next to me. He immediately curled up against my side, and I’ll admit, I was touched. Most of them weren’t that cuddly right away. Sometimes ever. Ok, we thought. Friendly dog.
The next day we took Friendly Dog for a walk, and it quickly became apparent that no, he was actually Scaredy Dog. He was terrified of everything and everyone, and we were so confused—where was the cuddly, trusting dog we’d met at home? As soon as we got home, there was Friendly Dog again. Houston, we have a problem. This dog has bonded with us.
Even then, I think all three of us knew it was inevitable, but the two humans tried to be in denial. We weren’t looking for a permanent dog. We were only keeping him until he got adopted. Which became, if he’s not adopted in a month…it’s fate and we’re keeping him.
It didn’t help that he was the perfect dog for our home. Low-energy, cat-avoiding, affectionate. Pleasantly dumb. Food motivated and eager to please. He fit right in.
We were still waffling when I got a text at work from my wife.
I’m at a street festival. An old man saw the dog and said he looked just like his old dog. I told him the dog is adoptable, but he just looked me in the eye and said, No. You’re going to keep this dog.
I had goosebumps. I wasn’t foolish enough to ignore a message that clear. I guess we have a dog, I texted back.
(PS: After a long, long hunt for the right name, my wife came up with Ouija. His collar tag is a planchette)
About My Zombie Boyfriend (The Undead Canadian Series): Reverting to my true nature—and because I began the series before there were any dogs in my life—My Zombie Boyfriend is dog-free, but has two cats, Boo and Winston. Boo is, as the blurb mentioned, Edward’s cat and the first zombie he ever reanimated. He’s…pretty gross, but Edward loves him with all his heart. (Kit secretly feels the same). Edward buys Winston for Kit for Christmas. Everyone loves Winston—but not as much as Kit. Winston is a blue British Shorthair and just the sweetest little dumpling of a kitten.
Blurb for My Zombie Boyfriend
Edward Grey is a medical student by day, necromancer by night. He lives alone with the first zombie he ever raised, his childhood cat, Boo. Edward’s life is simple: studying medicine, training his necromantic powers with his mentor, Mariel, and having weekly dinners with his parents. When he finds a very attractive corpse in a park and brings it home to reanimate, he creates a sassy, free-willed zombie who believes Edward is the one who murdered him.
With no memory of his former life, Edward names the zombie Kit and tries to win his trust. Kit slowly adjusts to his new un-life with Edward’s help, though he’s still suspicious of Edward’s role in his death and is convinced that Edward is hiding his former identity. Edward is very attracted to Kit, but understands why Kit doesn’t trust him. As they become closer to one another, Kit turns to Edward for comfort and love. The fragile trust they’ve built together will be tested when Kit unexpectedly regains his memory and seeks revenge on his murderers.
I started wearing more Kit-like clothes, and recombining the clothes I usually wore in new, Kit-like ways. Our clothing wasn’t all that different, though Kit’s tended to be tighter, more colourful, and patterned. And with designer labels, of course.
I wanted him to notice me.
I wanted him to know that I cared about him, about what he thought, even if I couldn’t actually say it out loud.
“Kit? I need to shower. Like, now.” One of the ‘patients’ I had done a practice diagnosis on had been doing some very realistic coughing and I felt…germy. I had called out for Kit as I got in, but only Winston and Boo greeted me. Boo had taken up residence at the very top of the absurdly tall cat tree. His eyes would catch the light at the creepiest possible moments, and he startled everyone in the house, including me. Kit had taken to telling Winston scary bedtime stories about the fiend-cat who dwelled in the mountain cave. These stories invariably left innocent Winston purring and me frowning. I’m very protective of Boo’s feelings.
Boo was in his cave now, and he stuck his head out of the little shelter, giving one of his idiosyncratic yowls.
Winston was perched, as usual, on the lowest platform, curled into a snug little dumpling.
I felt a little guilty for only scratching the kitten and not Boo, but I told Boo I couldn’t reach him. And I didn’t trust him not to bite or scratch me. He seemed to be in one of those moods.
Winston purred at me briefly, then yawned and stretched. It’s ridiculous how cute he is.
There was still no sign of Kit, and I thought that he must be out or working or something. I could never keep track of his schedule, even on the rare occasions he remembered to give it to me.
I was heartily enjoying my decontaminating shower when I heard the bathroom door open.
“Boo, one of these days I’m going to figure out how you do that and I’m going to stop you.” I didn’t bother turning around. I hadn’t heard the massive, wall-rattling thud that signalled Boo crashing down from his lair—he eschewed using the intervening platforms, apparently deciding they were for mere mortal cats. Instead, he performed a death-defying leap straight to the floor, a nearly nine-foot drop—but then, I hadn’t been paying particular attention and might easily have missed the sound with the shower running.
It wasn’t until the shower stall door opened that I revised my theory. I’ve needed to give Boo enough rinses over the years for him to know exactly what goes on in the shower, and how little he wants to do with it. Now that he didn’t need to drink, he had achieved that perfect state of catdom: he could completely avoid water in all its forms, at all times, unless I intervened. I could think of no reason for him to want in the shower, even if he could open the door, especially with the water running.
I was still turning to see what was going on, almost afraid to look after countless horror movie shower scenes, when I felt chilly hands on my waist.
I shrieked and grabbed the nearest available weapon, which happened to be a bottle of shampoo, and, half-blinded by the steam and water, I brandished it at the intruder. Unfortunately, I had upset my shower caddy when I removed the shampoo, and a bottle of liquid soap landed on my toe, making me slightly less threatening than your ordinary wet, naked man clutching a bottle of anti-dandruff shampoo.
It was Kit, of course.
“I’m cold,” he said, and I felt a shiver run down my spine. I had already been thinking of scary movies, and that line had certainly been in enough of them.
“You are cold!” He was naked, and I forgot to ask why he’d joined my shower instead of having his own. “Do you feel it?”
He shook his head, looking a little forlorn. “No, I was out walking and I forgot my coat. The cold didn’t bother me—it’s snowing, by the way—but people started giving me strange looks. The snow wasn’t melting on me.”
Oh. That would be unsettling. Kit could feel sensation, he assured me, but he said that everything felt strangely distant, as though he’d been sitting still too long and his whole body had fallen asleep. He also tended to be around ambient temperature, though he seemed to hold heat and cold a little longer than an inanimate object of his relative size, shape and density. He had, by the way, flatly refused to experiment, but those were my observations.
About the Author: Strange didn’t want to learn how to read, but literacy prevailed and she hasn’t stopped reading—or writing—since. She’s been published since 2013, and she writes M/M romance in multiple genres, including paranormal and BDSM. T.’s other interests include cross stitching, gardening, watching terrible horror movies, playing video games, and finding injured pigeons to rescue. Originally from White Rock, BC, she lives on the Canadian prairies, where she shares her home with her wife, cats, guinea pigs and other creatures of all shapes and sizes. She’s very easy to bribe with free food and drinks—especially wine.
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