I’m happy to have Merry Farmer here to share her precious kitties and new western romance, Heath’s Homecoming (The Langley Legacy Book 5).
Merry: When Beth asked me to do a Furbaby Friday post for her, I got really excited! Because I will never get tired of talking about the Best Cat in the Entire History of the World, my darling baby, my soulmate, the love of my life, Torpedo.
I’ve had Torpedo since the day he was born. In fact, he earned his name partially because he was born during the 2004 Athens Olympics, when I was having a blast watching the swimming rivalry between Ian Thorpe, the “Thorpedo”, and Michael Phelps, but also because he shot right out of his mom (a cat I had rescued from a coworker who was going to have her put to sleep because she wasn’t a cute kitten anymore!!!) and into my lap. I touched Torpedo before his mom did, and we’ve been bonded ever since.
Torpedo had a sister, Butterfly (who, incidentally, was actually named after Michael Phelps. But “Michael Phelps” is not a good name for a girl cat, so, since he’d won the 400m butterfly the day they were born, “Butterfly” it was). I was originally going to give Butterfly away, but the people who said they wanted her never came to get her. So I kept both baby kittens. They moved with me from Alabama back to my home in the Philadelphia area, and through three other moves in the last few years.
Sadly, in December 2016, Butterfly passed away after a battle with diabetes. And I wasn’t the only one who mourned. I didn’t know this, but cats can go into mourning too. Torpedo was VERY bonded to his sister, and for weeks the two of us moped around, feeling all sad and lost, and clinging to each other. But Torpedo isn’t a solitary kind of cat, so for Christmas that year, I got him a baby, Justine.
So now I have my grumpy old man cat and my brand new, high-energy, slightly crazy baby girl cat. Justine LOVES Torpedo. She loves Torpedo way more than she loves me! But Torpedo still loves me to bits. So much so that he HATES it when I go away…for conferences and vacations, or just leaving the house for an hour to go grocery shopping. Heck, Torpedo yells at me if I’m not sitting in the right place in the morning, doing my writing. But I love him.
I know cats are not immortal, and I’m not looking forward to the day when Torpedo crosses the Rainbow Bridge to join his sister. But he’s only 14 right now, and since the last two cats I had lived into their 20s, I’m hoping we have a few more years together. I take good care of him…and he takes good care of me.
I guess you could say that a “pet” plays a major role in my next release, Heath’s Homecoming, which comes out Friday the 23rd, but is available for pre-order now. It’s the fifth book in a series that traces the same family from when they come to America in 1850 to the present. Heath’s Homecoming takes place in 1968. The hero, Heath, is a returning Vietnam War vet. The heroine, Barbie, has a job running Heath’s father’s ranch. A lot of the conflict surrounds a horse, Daisy, who belonged to Heath and Barbie’s best friend, Davy, who was killed in the war. Here’s a little peek….
Excerpt from Heath’s Homecoming:
They’d walked their horses along the edge of the old barrel racing course that Kathleen had made their dad build years ago. It had been cleaned up a bit since he’d left for the war. The splintering barrels had been replaced by stacks of old car tires, and the course itself was well-maintained.
But that didn’t prepare him for the sudden shout from Barbie, or the way Daisy jumped into action, flying toward the course. Heath’s heart shot to his throat as Daisy headed for the first set of barrels. All he could thing about was her bones breaking and the screams that would follow. His imagination mingled them with Davy’s screams and shouts on the battlefield.
“Barbie, stop!” he shouted, but she didn’t hear him.
Daisy made it around the first barrel and shot off toward the second. Heath stood in his stirrups, heart thundering against his ribs. She would fall. She would be thrown. Daisy would trip and it would all be over. He’d lose another friend. He’d lose Davy’s horse. There’d be nothing he could do about it. Again. He’d be helpless and hopeless, and his world would fall apart. Again.
His thoughts spun out of control so hard that it seemed as though he blinked and Daisy was through the course, trotting toward him. Barbie sat, smiling and panting, in the saddle.
“See?” she said, glowing with exertion. “She loves it. She’s dying to race.”
“No.” Heath gripped his reins hard to keep his hands from shaking. “Don’t ever do that again.” His voice came out rough and hollow.
“Why? It’s what Daisy was born to do.” Barbie’s frown held more than frustration. She was studying him.
“She could have been hurt. You both could have been hurt.”
“Come on. Give me more credit than that.” Barbie’s frown disappeared, replaced by a teasing look. She rode Daisy right up to Buck’s side and reached out to grip his arm. “I know what I’m doing.”
Part of Heath wanted to lean into her, wanted to pull her onto the saddle with him and hold her until his shaking stopped. The rest of him pulsed as though he were in a combat zone.
“I said no,” he snapped, yanking Buck’s reins to get away from her. “It’s too dangerous.”
“It’s not dangerous it’s—”
“Will you just listen to me,” he shouted. “I’m trying to save your life.”
Barbie’s mouth snapped shut and her face flooded with color. She swallowed hard, then stared at him with far more emotion than he wanted to deal with. She knew. He’d slipped up, and she knew him well enough to know that his leg wasn’t the only wound he’d brought home from Vietnam.
You can pre-order your copy of Heath’s Homecoming on Amazon (and it will be part of the Kindle Unlimited program when it comes out): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079YTQ6WL
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