Veterinarian Troy Shelton has no idea what he's letting himself in for when he rescues a friend's cat from the shelter after a dog attack. The friendly but demanding calico soon has Troy and his pregnant collie wrapped around her furry paw. But strange things begin happening in Troy's home when he was away, and he could almost think someone else was living there besides him.
Torn and hurting, Katerina appreciates Troy's gentle care. She also appreciates his strong form and handsome face as much as the way he cuddles her. She's trapped in her cat form until her wounds heal, but once she's well again she finds herself oddly reluctant to resume her human form and life away from Troy. But someone else is interested in Troy, and that someone else has already tried to kill Cat once.
A Cat For Troy by Allie McCormack
©2019 by Allie McCormack
The black stretch limousine pulled up in front of the five-star restaurant, and the chauffeur came around to open the door. A small crowd of bystanders gathered.
Katerina stepped from the car and stood regally, looking about her at the imposing front doors. Her dress was a long sheath of shimmering dark gold that reflected the color of her eyes, hugging her figure and flaring from her hips to fall in graceful folds about her ankles. A deceptively simple gold necklace with a small emerald drop was clasped about her neck, and she wore matching earrings. High strap sandals, also gold, and a bead-and-sequin purse completed her outfit. The maitre’d held the restaurant door open, and she stepped forward confidently.
“Who is it?” “Who is she?”
“I know!” One voice was sharp with excitement, rising over the buzz of speculation. “That’s Katerina Kazakis, the fashion designer who went missing a few weeks ago.”
Smart, that one. Katerina passed into the restaurant and asked for Douglas’ party. She was escorted respectfully to a quiet corner where half a dozen people lingered over hors d’oeuvres. Jacinth was the first to see her, and she jumped out of her seat and ran around the table to embrace her.
“Katerina! You made it!”
Katerina glanced around quickly, her gaze sweeping the table. She had expected Suzanne and Mac of course. To her surprise she recognized the other couple, a dark, wildly handsome young man and a tall friendly blonde, Julian and Alessandra, who’d rescued Melanthe from the Were a couple of months ago. Alessandra rose from her seat also, hurrying around the table to take her hand, then pulling her into a hug.
"Katerina! How wonderful to see you again!"
Katerina returned the embrace, a little uncomfortable at the spontaneous affection. She definitely had been spending too much time as Cat if the feline's stand-offish ways had rubbed off onto her as a human.
“I wasn’t sure you would be able to come,” Jacinth told her, with the scarcest flicker of an eyelid. “But I saved you a seat here, between Troy and me.”
Troy stood as she followed Jacinth around the table to her seat, and held his hand out.
“I’m glad to meet any friend of Douglas and Jacinth,” he said in his deep, rumbling voice. She took his hand, feeling the firm grip of his fingers, the strength in them that she knew well. She scarcely came up to his shoulder. She looked up at him, smiling, as he pulled a chair out to seat her.
“I’ve heard a lot about you,” she told him. “I'm told you have quite a way with cats.”
To her right, she heard Jacinth choke slightly.
“I like cats,” Troy admitted easily. "I take care of cats at the clinic, Suzanne's specialty is dogs. Have you met Suzanne and Mac?"
Stifling her inner amusement, Katerina smiled across the table. "I don't believe we've been introduced," she said ambiguously.
On the other side of Jacinth, Douglas seemed to be having some kind of spasm. She ignored him as Troy reached for a dish of hors d'oeuvre and offered it to her.
“Thank you.” She took it and transferred some to her plate. As she handed the dish back, their fingers touched, a warm contact. Her eyes met his, and she saw admiration there. A flush heated her cheeks and she dropped her gaze, looking away. Silly! She scolded herself. Men had looked at her admiringly before, wanted her. But somehow it was different with Troy. She wanted him to like her, to think she was as beautiful as a human as he thought she was as Cat.
She picked at the artichoke with her fork, eating daintily. The conversation her entrance had interrupted was resumed, and she learned that Julian had an exhibit of crafts made by women in third world countries, in a gallery in Washington, D.C. Hearing him speak of some of the sari materials from India, her interest was piqued, and she bent forward, asking questions. Her fingers literally itched to get her hands on some of the sari silks and the embroidery he described, possible designs forming and rearranging themselves in her mind’s eye. Her eyes narrowed, and she gazed absently across the room as she mulled over her schedule for the coming year, and when she could fit in a trip to India. Julian passed her his card, which she tucked away in her purse. She’d go visit his gallery, look at the fabrics, let them speak to her. He could tell her where to go in India, and when was the best time to travel there.
The waiter came to take Katerina’s order, and she handed him the menu with a smile of thanks. Jacinth leaned over to whisper in her ear conspiratorially.
“You’re lot more polite as Katerina.”
Katerina’s gold eyes glinted in amusement.
“One does what one must,” she admitted.
Banter began to flow back and forth between Douglas, Troy and Suzanne, the three partners in the clinic, and Katerina was content to sit quietly, very aware of Troy on her left. He had a magnetism about him of a different kind than that which attracted her cat self. Her cat self felt safe, with him, comforted, admired and cared for. As a woman she was drawn to him. When she’d first walked up to the table and he’d risen from his seat to tower over her, she’d felt a kick to her solar plexus, stealing her breath away. His scent washed over her, familiar, comforting. He didn’t know her, but she knew him, as surely as her cat form had known him instantly. Her mate.
Suzanne leaned across the table with a smile, capturing her attention. Her light brown hair was simply dressed, pulled back in a French braid, hazel eyes sparkling in the soft lighting.
“So, do people call you Cat?”
Katerina grinned back.
“Only when I grow fur and whiskers,” she stated clearly.
Two seats away, Douglas closed his eyes as if in pain, and she was aware of Jacinth struggling to hold back laughter. A giggle escaped, and Suzanne looked appreciative.
“Gotcha,” she said. “Katerina it is. And your last name is Kaz... Kazakis? What kind of name is that? I’ve never heard it before.”
Katerina smiled, lifting her glass of ice water and sipping. “Greek. My family came from the islands in the last century.”
Douglas leaned forward, quirking an eyebrow at her. “So how does that work, with your liking Italian food and all? Isn’t that like eating with the enemy or something?”
She shot him a sideways glance, promising retribution. But Julian spoke up in quick interest. “You like Italian cuisine?”
Alessandra rolled her eyes. “Oh boy, here we go.”
“Julian is from Italy,” Jacinth explained.
“A long time ago,” he interpolated.
Jacinth snickered. “A long, long, loooooong time ago.”
Alessandra broke into giggles, and Julian glared at the two women. Alessandra’s giggles ended in a brief yelp, and Katerina suspected he’d kicked her under the table.
“Oh, now, wait a minute!” Mac broke in. He stared across the table at Katerina. “Katerina Kazakis? The fashion designer?”
She beamed at him. “Guilty as charged.”
He’d apparently been watching the news, because his eyes rounded even more, looking completely amazed. He looked around, to see everyone staring at him in puzzlement.
“She’s missing!” The table broke down in laughter, and after a moment Mac realized what he’d said, and broke into a low chuckle as well. “I mean, she’s been reported as missing for weeks. The news channels run updates regularly.”
This page was created on 5/14/2019