Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Merge of Truth and Fiction

There are times when the phrase ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ comes in handy.

There’s something true in each of my books. Not historical fact. I’m talking something that’s either happened to myself or to a friend. I always changed the names to protect the guilty. Plus throwing in things that interest me and I always hope they'll pique my readers' interest too.

Naturally, some stand out in my mind more than others, so I thought I’d mention the ones that do along with books that had my critters in them.

My first book, Silhouette Romance, Dancer in the Shadows came about due to the ballet class a friend and I were taking at the time. Naturally, I used Diane as the template for my heroine. Seemed only fair since we’d been friends since high school.

Diane’s and my adventures showed up again in another Silhouette Romance, Bright Tomorrow, where I used our trip to a psychic. Let me tell you that was one crazy night in a tiny Laguna Beach house with its red door.

My Silhouette Special Edition, Island Rogue came about after a trip to Hawaii and taking a cocktail cruise off Diamond Head. Ironic part was that the hostess on the yawl was in the Coast Guard and her husband stationed on the cutter my husband had been stationed on. With that it was easy to imagine a single mom heroine with the same kind of job and a cockatoo named Syd who fell in love with the hero.

Another Silhouette Special Edition, Business As Usual, featured a lively cockatiel named Shadow in it. The hero (Fabio was the hero on the cover even if it didn’t look like him) and heroine had a custody battle over the feathered critter. I named him Shadow after Dancer in the Shadows and he was a total sweetie. He whistled the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme and loved chattering away. He was my first bird but not my last.

I pulled a scene from my dating years in my Silhouette Special Edition, A World of Their Own. My husband and I met while working in a Sears catalog store. One night, we were saying good night in the parking lot when a police helicopter hovered overhead and ‘suggested’ we move along. Embarrassing! And worked pretty well in the book, although I made it a lot sexier than the true episode.

I created some twists in my Dell Candlelight Supreme, Caution – Man at Work. My husband and I taught pre-school church then and one of our students was a fun loving little girl who may have dressed in ruffles and had curls, but she gave her brothers a run for their money. Her mother provided stories of her escapades that could have fueled a lot of books. There was so much I created twin boys getting into mega trouble. Nowadays, I would have kept it as the girl. Who knows, perhaps I still will. I still have a lot of her stories.

My Dell Candlelight Ecstasy Romance, All A Man Could Want, came from meeting a celebrity lookalike, who unfortunately was a total jerk, but still gave me some good ideas for my hero. Namely what he wouldn’t act like!

Another Dell Candlelight Ecstasy, Birds of a Feather, featured a parrot behaviorist based on my good friend Chris Davis aka The Bird Lady. Chris came into my life to teach my Panama Nape Syd manners. That was in 1983 and Syd still hasn’t forgiven his Auntie Chris. Syd was in the book along with some of Chris’s birds.

I used a friend’s injury in my Harlequin American Romance, He’s A Rebel. A friend of mine’s husband suffered a dislocated shoulder from inline skating, and well, the wacky results of drugs were just too good to pass up. Except instead of using it for the hero, I decided it was the heroine who would end up loopy from pain meds. My terri-poo, Cocoa, and Chihuahua/Yorkie, Bogie, also ‘starred’ in the book. I even used some of their quirks.

One of my favorite books is O'Malley's Quest. It would be tagged 'if Indiana Jones had a granddaughter'. It came about after a trip to Arizona. I'd always been intrigued by the story of the Lost Dutchman mine in the Superstition Mountains. I decided it was more fun to make the heroine the archeologist looking for adventure, but that doesn't mean there's not a sexy hero in there too.

Naughty ‘N Nice, another Harlequin American Romance, featured same friend’s husband. What can I say? He gives me such good fodder! This time was due to a demented treadmill. To this day no one knows what he did to cause the treadmill to literally throw him off. My husband couldn’t believe I did that and asked how I could use them. I told him it was easy. Susan said I could.

My Bantam Loveswept, O’Hara Vs Wilder, uses a friend’s speeding ticket. Funny thing is, she’s another author and when she related this tale to me I begged to use it. Luckily, she shared. Even the dialogue during heroine writing out the ticket and sexy hero is very similar to what the CHP said to her, but without the sexy parts. :}

I used my love for Warner Brothers cartoons in my Harlequin American Romance, Mommy Heiress, when a little girl describes a cartoon titled Corny Concerto. If you haven’t seen it, you really need to. What can I say? I’m still a kid at heart.

Harlequin American Romance, Sometimes A Lady, was easy to use critters since the heroine was a veterinarian. Florence, our tortoise, was in there, her habit of snoring during hibernation and all. Along with birds and dogs.

Harlequin American Romances, Two Little Secrets and Single Kid Seeks Dad, had a big time scary cat named Luther in the book. Luther was actually Elvis, an evil cat that lived next door. Trust me, the cat was scary. He hung out in the garage, activated the garage door opener when he shouldn’t and even the kids wouldn’t go out in the garage alone because “Elvis is out there!” He loved stalking people and some of us probably bear the scars. Insane kitty but we all miss him.

I used Bogie again in 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover and Wicked By Any Other Name. My little guy had a habit of gliding across the floors. I called him a tiny thoroughbred, so it was easy to give him the gift of floating.

There are scenes that come to mind, but I don’t remember what books they were in. Such as a date where movie theater seats broke and heroine’s legs ended up in the air. Single friends provide the best date stories!

I’ve used my love for chocolate, coffee, and even provided recipes in some of my books. Shared some of my interests and found new ones along the way.

What’s been fun along the way is when readers try to guess the real scene in the books. Sometimes they’re way off and a few are correct.

That’s what I’ve always wanted to do all along. Have fun with my books and I hope my readers have fun too.

And what’s more fun than slipping something true into a fiction book?

Many of these books are available as ebooks now through Amazon, B&N and Smashwords along with More of them will be coming out soon.

I’ve also had readers ask about print copies. If you’ll contact me privately, I do have copies of many of the books still available.


Monday, February 13, 2012

That Romantic First Date

Who remembers their first date?

Was it good? Funny? Sweet? Romantic? Or so horrific you’ve pushed it to the back of your mind intent on never thinking of it, or him, ever again?

With Valentine’s Day I wondered what to write about for this day of romance.

Then I thought about first dates.

When I was in college I worked as a teletype operator in a Sears catalog satellite store in my home town. I was what you’d call a junior supervisor while the guy I later married worked in the stock room. That’s right, I was his boss. :}

We started out having Cokes on our breaks and then he asked me to a dance at his fraternity house. Sounded good to me. Except a week before he backed out because his ex-girlfriend insisted she was still going with him. As in he asked her and even though they broke up she wasn’t giving up the date. Hmmm.

And to think I gave him a second chance! But I didn’t make it easy for him. Still, when you see that hangdog face every day you tend to give in.

No dance. Nothing fancy. We went to the movies, a drive in theater where we saw Airport and The Andromeda Strain. And we had my new puppy with us. Schroeder was new to the family and I didn’t want to leave him home. A fun relaxed evening with a puppy who thought our popcorn was his.

We were married a year and a half later. Maybe he still felt guilty about that missed dance. But I was the one attending the other fraternity parties and did I learn interesting stories that almost bordered Animal House. Nothing like putting the house president's bed, while he was lying drunk in it, on the house roof or have the police fly overhead.

I can think of a lot of first dates that were interesting, but I guess this is the most interesting. Well, except for the train robber from Knotts Berry Farm who serenaded me on his guitar.

What about you? Any fun or horrifying first date stories?


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cupid Gets Even

A Note from Linda: This flash fiction was written before Wicked by Any Other Name was published. I thought it would be nice to bring it back.

“Welcome to Romantic Spirits. We’re here to show you all the romantic places to visit,” the perky blonde with dark gold eyes and a feline cast to her features held a heart-shaped microphone stood in front of an old-fashioned wood building. “Last week we interviewed Havelock Tennart, the troll with romance so deep in his heart, he actually spirited the love of his life off to the Midnight Dreams realm for a proposal she will never forget.” She heaved a deep sigh. “And today we’re visiting the witch who offers up more than just romance. She offers hope for the supernatural and mortal alike with sexy lingerie, romance novels and bespelled sachets guaranteed to bring love into your heart. Stasi Romanov is known all over the country and realms for what she can give a hopeful female in search of her soul mate.” She held up a bright pink heart-shaped silk sachet with embroidered roses around the edge. She held it to her nose and inhaled. Her face took on a dreamy expression. “Now if it can do to my mate what it does to me. Ooh la la! I feel ready for romance already!” she laughed. “Now let’s go inside.
“Let’s not!” The corpulent creature that resembled Sidney Greenstreet more than the cherub humans knew as Cupid, glared at his heart-shaped flat panel television that sat on the white cabinet with its gold leaf edges. He blindly reached into the vivid red satin-lined box and picked up a chocolate truffle, popping into his mouth and chewing furiously. “Insipid creature,” he muttered, choosing another fudge truffle. “She is a witch. I am the god of Eros! The god who invented romance.” He heaved himself out of his scarlet silk easy chair and paced a red carpet that belonged at a Hollywood film premiere. He waved his pudgy arms about as he stalked and talked, casting curses (not the literal kind since at heart he still delivered romance, not disease or even a stomach ache) on the sweet-faced witch who was presently being interviewed.
“And you believe in love and romance for everyone?” The reporter asked Stasi.
The witch smiled and nodded. “Of course. There’s a mate out there for all of us.”
“Yet you don’t have one.”
Stasi ignored the reporter’s sly look. “Maybe some day. For now, I like seeing others happy.”
“Happy? That’s my job, witch!” Cupid thrust out his arm, forefinger pointing at the screen. “You should be standing over a cauldron and casting your silly little spells. Not venturing into my territory.” He suddenly smiled as the idea of the millennium came to mind.His jowls danced as he snarled and snapped, not missing a beat as he continued to feast on his favorite truffles. He sighed with regret when he realized the box was empty.
He rubbed his oversize belly as he levered himself off the lipstick red velvet heart-shaped chair and waddled out of the room. His destination was a large sunlit room at the end of the hallway.
Cupid inhaled the rich scent of Belgian chocolate and cinnamon heart-shaped candies as he entered the room that soothed him best.
He activated the stereo and headed straight to a black lacquered cabinet.
“Love and marriage go together,” he murmured the words that released the lock. The doors swung open and revealed a hand-size heart that shimmered red, silver and gold. He smiled as he picked it up and gently caressed the metallic surface.
“One particular witch will soon learn her place.” He carried the heart over to a nearby table and began his work.
Do you want to know what Cupid did to Stasi? All you have to do is read Wicked By Any Other Name!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Love and Bunny Slippers

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Fluff looked over Barney’s shoulder as the whie mini Schnauzer tapped away on the laptop keyboard.

“Easy peasy. I watch Mom do this every day,” the dog insisted, waving him off with a paw.

“This won’t work,” Puff groused, rummaging in a drawer.

“You better get out of Linda’s chocolate stash,” Barney warned. “If she finds that See’s box empty of her Bordeauxs she’ll be having Jazz lock you up for the next thousand years.” He groaned as he watched an empty white box fly into the air and fall over. “I shouldn’t even do this for you!”

“Sure you will. Or we’ll tell Linda YOU were the one in her chocolate.” Puff wiped chocolate off his face.

Barney uttered doggy curses as he returned to the computer. “Here we go, Freaklist. See anyone you like?” He sat back on his haunches so his fuzzy buddies could get a peek.

“Eh, you could do better.” Fluff scrunched up his nose.

“He doesn’t understand our world,” Puff reminded his cohort.

“Wait ‘til I’m in a book,” Barney muttered.

The bunny slippers hooted. “You’ll never be in one of Linda’s books!"

“Ha! She’s already got plans for me.” The small dog smirked.

“As what? A miniature Yeti?” The two slippers rolled around the floor in laughter, pleased with their retort.

“Oh, you’ll see.” Barney already saw himself as a true star. He continued scrolling down. “I’m going to make you guys total toast when it’s my turn.”

Fluff rolled over as a flash of pink caught his eye. “Yes!” He shot over to the laptop and used his ear to tap the keys. “Puff!” His fuzzy partner in crime was soon beside him.

“So pretty,” he breathed. Puff practically crawled over his friend to stare lovingly at the pink bunny high-heeled slippers named Val N Tine. “I’m in love,” he cooed.

“Email them! Now!” Barney clicked away then reared back, almost falling back on his butt. “Whoa! You guys better be prepared to grovel big time.”

“Why?” Fluff demanded.

"They live with Cupid.” The bunny slippers thought back to all the damage they’d done to Cupid’s digs.

“How many chocolate truffles do you think it will take to make him like us again?” Fluff asked. “Get Krebs’ black AmEx,” Puff told him. “And any other credit card you can find! We’re going to need to do some major shopping.”

Barney looked at the smears of chocolate on the carpet, the custom made blinds, the ceiling, and the furniture.

“You better get a boatload of See’s Bordeaux for Linda too, cuz no way I’m taking the blame for this.”

"There’s a way out,” Puff said, heading for a cabinet and pulling out a stack of spell books. “We are so going to meet those babes!”

Friday, February 10, 2012

Twas the Night Before Valentine's by Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb has graciously allowed this to be reposted, so I had to share.

Twas the Night Before Valentinesby Author Kristen Lamb

Twas the night before Valentines, and all through the land
The poor single people were wringing their hands
Handcuffs were hung by the nighties with care
Near the lotions and chocolates and mint underwear.
A day made by Hallmark to sell lots of stuff
Pushing candies and kittens and kisses and fluff
A day that makes “Single” a social disease
Like bubonic or typhoid or chiggers or fleas
And that fat baby Cupid must be on the take
Paid in buckets of cash and red velvet cake.
Love songs are played on every damn station
As “mush” takes over our entire nation.
Now not that we’re jaded, us single-type folk
We’ve tried Facebook and Match, and Equally-Yoked
We’ve tried parks and clubs and churches and bars
And a handful resorted to wishing on stars.
Like most other people, we want company
Without drama or fighting or disharmony.
No Jerry Springer or Kardashian drama
We have no time for all of that trauma.
Maybe we’re picky, world-weary, or fussy
Because we won’t date any Joe Schmo or hussy.
We want someone good-looking, gentle and sweet.
Hey, just cuz we’re single doesn’t make us minced meat.
We don’t begrudge the romance of others
The passion of courtship, the heat between lovers.
Before you judge my singular state
Think back to the days when you had to date.
Tomorrow we’ll stand in the grocery store line
Behind the husband with a bottle of wine
And a “Get-Well” bouquet cuz he waited too late
To find the red roses to give to his mate.
Hallmark has trained you to scurry and dash
Into its stores with fistfuls of cash.
For stuffed little critters with a lap full of love
And boxes of chocolate morsels from Dove.
Singles won’t stand hours waiting to dine
On elf food with garnish and overpriced wine.
No chocolates with abnormal tropical middles
Or angst about thighs that may wiggle and jiggle.
No staying in bars desperately late
Trying to connect with a last-minute date.
So embrace your status and shout it out loud.
Yes, I am single! Single and Proud!

A Tour of Crying Souls Hospital

I see the hospital inside my head as a 3-D building. Too bad I can’t just download it to my computer. :} So I’ll do the best I can to show you what the hospital is like.

“You’re all going to die!” The un-named vulture that perched over the hospital entrance flapped his wings and craned his head, snapping his beak at all who approached the gothic-style building.

Hm, A hospital designed to keep you alive and a vulture designed to want you dead and rotting.

I vote for the hospital.

All Souls has actually been in existence since the 1500s, first based outside of olde London then moving to the California coast a couple hundred years ago.

Just remember that not everyone here likes mundanes. Muggles to Harry Potter fans. Namely those who don’t have magick in their blood.

As you can tell by looking at the sanatorium you are seeing a four-story sprawling building that looks as if it popped out of a Boris Karloff horror movie. While All Souls is in San Francisco, the exterior looks as if it would be more comfortable in scary and merry olde England. Stone exterior with a strange black moss creeping up the sides and the vulture waiting for his next meal. Just remember one thing. Looks can be deceiving.

Or are they?

Don’t continue to think you’re the star in a B horror movie where a deranged medical professional might pounce out of the shadows. Although you still might want to be aware of your surroundings. Anything can happen.

The hospital interior is very modern. It is well lit, the nurses wear colorful scrubs, doctors with their lab coats even if a few might tend to be furry or sport scales. And if you catch a hint of sulfur it’s due to Director of Nursing Arementha Garrish who’s a dragon shifter. She rules over her nurses with an iron tail. As one who worked under her, I should know. Our head of the hospital is Dr. Mortimer. A wizard of undeterminable age who some think is more like a mad scientist.

Don’t expect to see an ER like the one at your hospital. One wall reveals portals that deliver emergencies faster than any ambulance. Even a pharmacy manned by a cranky gnome who dispenses potions or tisanes that always includes a spell as accompaniment can be an eye opener for the uninitiated.

Here you will see creatures you thought only existed in fairy tales or those odd books you might find in a musty old bookshop. There might be a troll waiting to be treated for injuries after a bridge mishap. A gnome with a bad sunburn that looks more like pus pockets. Then there’s the Fooz who looks like a gelatinous mass that oozes over the gurney and drips down. The doctors play wand, scroll, and scalpel to see who gets that patient. We won’t even talk what the place is like on a Full Moon. Some Weres tend to party way too much. It’s the variety that pleases Lili since she never knows what will show up next. Many patients that show up aren’t what you’d see in your everyday ER. But then, neither are the nurses and doctors. No wonder the gurneys and beds here can turn into iron-barred cages with the mention of a word. A word of warning. Whatever you do, don’t call Deisphe, the WereLeopard nurse a pretty kitty. Not if you want to keep your head.

Since even pretenatural creatures can also require medical treatment we’ll find the floors divided for those with dangerous illnesses, namely anything where the patient might explode, contagious diseases, a pediatric ward where you’ll find Lil’s cat Cleo entertaining the younglings with tales from her youth. Luckily, she keeps them G-rated. My advice is you stay away from the maternity ward. If you think hormonal mundane woman are scary, think about a female bloater that pops out (literally) a hundred or so baby bloaters and part of the birthing process involves singing at a key that can shatter eardrums.

And yes, that is not an illusion floating through the halls but a ghost. Many of the nurses didn’t want to leave the hospital and enjoy hanging around to view modern medicine and sometimes manage to make their opinions known. The interesting part is seeing the different in nursing uniforms through the centuries.

Oh wait, don’t go near those stairs! You really don’t want to go below. Actually, you wouldn’t be able to get too far. There’s a very large and heavy door that seals off the asylum from the hospital. The reason given is to protect the innocent from the dangerous patients locked down in the asylum.

This part of the hospital is only open to Dr. Mortimer, the head of the hospital, two nasty ogres named Turtifo and Coing who believe their job is to keep the patients in line by any means possible, and Lili, who’s new to the ward.

It’s something you’d only think you’d see a horror movie. While magick powers modern conveniences for the staff, the patients live in stone cells with iron doors. No real beds, food, well, don’t even think what it might be, and treatment is out of the Dark Ages. Rumors are that the patients’ families pay large sums to keep them there. But one cell houses a patient that intrigues Lili and she intends to find out just what goes on with Patient 1172, AKA Jared.

Now, who would like to go up to Pediatrics and eavesdrop on Cleo? Sometimes she forget she’s speaking to younglings and you just might get some useful advice for your love life along with dirt on her past lovers.

Do yourself a favor and ignore the vulture on your way out.

Just because he says we’re all going to die doesn’t mean it’s happening today. Or even tomorrow.

What would you like to know about the hospital?


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How Paranormal Chose Me

I’ve often been asked why I chose to write paranormal and I have to say that it was more that paranormal chose me.

My favorite books growing up were fairy tales and my comic books were Casper the Ghost and Wendy the Little Witch. Yes, it dates me. Hm, I wonder what they’d be worth now if I’d kept them.

We have a house ghost named Frank, so yes, paranormal is all around me. I think he’s a secret cook since utensils tend to disappear at odd times then reappear in the same spot later on. We missed a potato masher for a year until it showed up without warning.

I tend to put a magickal spin on my life. Can be scary at times, but it’s also fun. I don’t have dogs. I have hellhounds. Our parrot has some wild tendencies and even our tortoise has her own methods.

I loved reading the gothic romances back in the 70s and 80s. Some even had ghosts in the attic. But paranormal romances weren’t out there. Then ideas for several paranormals came to mind and I worked them up. When I mentioned them to my then agent I heard “you’re killing me here! I can’t sell those!” I offered to send her the ideas along with wine. :}

But let’s talk timing. My agent sent them on to my editor and the day they landed on her desk was the day she came up with a calendar of books. She said my romance set in Salem, MA was perfect for Halloween and Under His Spell was out there. Not a true paranormal but I loved the elements. Along with that was A Man for Maggie, a murder suspense involving a psychic, No Room at the Inn, which was my Christmas version of Brigadoon, Twist of Fate, what I called another type of Quantum Leap, and Bells Rings and Angel’s Wings, my spin on It’s A Wonderful Life. But readers weren’t totally ready for paranormal romances. The best thing about these books are that they’re back out there as ebooks.

Even if the books weren’t selling back then the idea of paranormal was still there in the back of my mind. There was an idea lingering that would whisper you really need to listen to me.

So I did. Witches who’d been around since the 1300s formed in living color and I knew I had to write the stories.

I talked to pagan friends, researched historical facts to add as background information, and the magickal world I already lived in had become even richer to my senses.

I have snarky bunny slippers that roam the house and harass the dogs. A gargoyle that I sometimes find in my lingerie drawers. A witch who thinks my coffee is hers. Another witch who reminds me romance is a good thing. A hexster who whispers in my ear when I feel the need to get even with someone. One who lets me know I may be short but to stand up for myself as in ‘hey, I’m supposed to be waited on next” and a healer who’s sorry her power won’t cure my cold. One who loves it when I go shopping and so on.

And this is why paranormal chose me.

What about you? What does paranormal do for you?


Monday, February 6, 2012

Why Cleo Makes Me Laugh

There are always scenes in a book that I either laugh or cry over the most.

I always knew one of the witches would have a cat. I just didn't know it would be someone like Cleo.

I probably look more than a little strange as I type away and laugh or sniffle. With A Demon Does it Better it has to be Cleo who had me laughing. A cat who overindulges in catnip wine can only turn out hilarious. She may have started out life as the queen of the Nile and known for her lovers, Cleo is now a plump Persian cat with mega attitude and believing Lili can’t have a decent love life if she doesn’t listen to Cleo.

I hope you enjoy this scene with Cleo. If you have any questions for her, feel free to ask.

Cleo lay in the middle of the floor sprawled on her back, staring intently at her frothy plume of a tail that waved back and forth. She hummed a snake charmer’s tune as the tail danced in circles before her twitching nose.
The feline twisted her head around and stared at the witch and demon with glazed eyes.
“What do you do with a drunken kitty? What do you do with a drunken kitty? What do you do with a drunken kitty early in the morning!” Cleo howled loud enough to shatter glass.
“If I didn’t know better I’d think she was drunk,” Jared choked back a laugh. He hastily erased his grin when the witch turned to spear him with a look fit to hex.
“She is,” Lili said grimly. “That furry twit wasn’t happy she couldn’t go to Asmeth’s, so she managed to get hold of catnip wine. How did you get all those bottles?” she demanded of the cat. “I never keep more than one bottle in the house. Do you know what each bottle costs?” Her shriek rang through the house rattling the paintings on the wall and a vase on the mantel started to teeter back and forth before settling back in its original spot.
Cleo laughed boisterously as she waved a paw in a wide circle. “Did you know they deliver and all you have to do is give them your credit card number and for an extra fee they’ll even magick express it?” She purred. “So that’s what I did. I gave them your Visa.” She started waving both paws in the air. “They’re even willing to set up an auto delivery, so I said yes.” The cat cackled with glee.
Jared looked down at the clattering sound on the floor. He watched in amazement as the many bottles rolled into the kitchen and tossed themselves into the recycling container.
“You’re the one that will have to suffer the hangover in the morning,” Lili snarled, standing over the intoxicated cat. “And it won’t be pretty. Remember 1936? You were sick for days.” She threw up her hands. “I should make you sleep outside.”
Jared turned away to hide the grin that was stretching his mouth to the limit.
“And here I thought I’d seen it all,” he muttered, struggling not to laugh and quickly losing the battle.
“Don’t even think about it,” she warned him. “You’ll only encourage her.”
“I’m only a puss in a gilded cage,” Cleo warbled, rolling from one side to the other.
Jared shook his head and walked into the kitchen. He dropped onto one of the chairs and buried his face in his hands, his shoulders shaking with the laughter he could no longer hold back. The sound sounded foreign and rusty to his ears. When was the last time he’d truly laughed in true amusement?
“It’s not funny!” Lili stormed in, her magick flying around her in erratic flutters. “Cleo can be out of control when she’s sober, but you have no idea how bad she is when she’s drunk on catnip wine. One time she even snuck into a zoo and tried to seduce a lion!”
He shook his head, unable to form any coherent words. His mouth worked. “My stomach hurts,” he finally gasped.

The following is from the next morning

Cleo wearing extra dark sunglasses was spread out on the hood.
“You better not have left any claw marks on my baby.” Lili reached inside her SUV and pulled out her coffee tumbler. The liquid was still hot and bracing on her tongue.
“Talk to the paw.” She held up an appendage, offering the witch a wicked smile as long razor-sharp claws shot out. She lowered it to the metal and etched her name with that painful nails- on- a- chalkboard screech. Lili snarled and covered her ears with her hands. The witch shot an array of ent sparks toward Cleo that had her jumping up in the air as the scratches disappeared.
“I hate you,” the cat sneered when she landed all feet down. “There was no reason to drag me out here just because you needed to get in touch with your inner witch. I could have stayed home deliberately shedding all over your bed.”
“Not when you’d probably projectile vomit all over my silk comforter. Besides, I wasn’t the one who overindulged on catnip wine last night and maxed out my Visa.” She waited until Cleo crawled her way into the passenger seat.
“Just kill me now or give me a hangover remedy,” the feline moaned, curling up on the seat with her nose tucked into her tail.
“The potion doesn’t y don’t work on catnip wine and you know it. You’ll just have to suck it up and suffer the consequences of your wild night.” She glanced at the clock on the dashboard. She gauged she had just enough time to make it home and get dressed for work.
“I smell the demon on you.” Cleo wrinkled her nose. Her lush fur ruffled. “How come he gets around so much and can’t leave the hospital for good? If I had to smell that musty wizard doc all the time I’d be outta there like a puss on a mouse.”