Kim McDougall

Life goals: hedge witch or crazy cat lady?

So I did a thing. Really, it's no surprise. I adopted a 4-week old kitten. Meet Kokomo. Here we are bonding over our love of literature.

My life goals include becoming a hedge witch and wearing pinecones in my hair or surrounding myself with 100 cats. Maybe becoming a crazy cat-lady hedge witch. I'm well on my way to both. So far, I've limited myself to 2-3 cats at a time, mostly because of the expense. But I've wanted a new kitten for a while. I resisted because I thought it would be kind to let poor old Griffin live out his last year in peace without the trauma of a new kitten terrorizing him. When he passed away in the spring, I put the word out that I would be accepting a new baby into our home.

I don't go looking for cats. They inevitably find me. And those that do are the ones that need a home. So when my stepson sent me a photo of this wee thing, asking if I had a home for her, I couldn't say no. I mean, look at that face and those licorice toe beans!

They found her under their shed, crying her eyes out and half starved. She had a rough start to life, but she's a happy little beast now. This photo above is how she spends her morning over my shoulder while I write.

Here's a picture of her settling in with Whisky Joe. Kokomo wasn't sure about him at first, but now she thinks it might not be so bad having a wookie as a big brother.

This is the third time I've adopted a very young kitten, so I'm an old hand at caring for them. The other two were feral kittens though (we still have Tobie). I don't think Kokomo was feral. She's much more affectionate and has a very loud voice that she uses to get what she wants. Feral kitten often don't meow. That is a behavior that domestic cats developed to manipulate their human servants ;)

I had trouble finding a name for this fur ball. I tried on a few, including Grim, Feistykins, Willow and Puma, but Kokomo seems to suit her. "Coco" for her color, and "Mo" as a tribute to my sweet black cat, Moe, who passed away over 20 years ago.

If you've been following Kyra's journey in the Valkyrie Bestiary Series, I'm sure you're familiar with her love of critters. You'll probably be seeing some kitten antics in the books to come.

Work-in-Progress Snippet

I often get readers asking me online if the series is finished or if there will be more books in the Valkyrie Bestiary. Definitely more books are coming! I am currently working on Book 6, and I hope to have it out this fall. I'm not posting a definitive publication date just yet. I jumped the gun on that last time and it nearly killed me to get book 5 ready in time. But as soon as I know the date, you'll know. In all, I'm planning 9 books in the series and maybe a couple more novellas. Until that happens, here's a snippet from the so-far-unamed book 6:

It was a perfect day. One of those warm October days that make you believe winter will never come. I sipped my daily allowance of coffee from my favorite snail mug on the patio overlooking the barn and the new garden. The gleeful squeals of children playing floated up from the car park. Tums and Tad were teaching Raven how to play soccer. Our two feline roommates, Willow and Grim, were taking a morning nap on the warm paving stones, not exactly cuddled up together, but not disdaining each other either. Willow was finally coming around to having another cat in the house. 

I sipped my coffee. Such a perfect day. 

My belly was full with a warm breakfast, and my womb was full of a growing life. He or she was no bigger than a kidney bean, but I felt brimming with life. 

Mason caught me patting my stomach.

“How’s the little bean this morning?” He swept my hair aside to kiss my neck just below my ear.

“Busy making arms and legs.”

“Sounds exhausting.” He sat at the table and poured himself coffee from the carafe. Every Sunday, Dutch baked for the week, so we had fresh muffins and scones this morning. Mason would choose for a cheese scone and slather it with strawberry jam. 

“How’s the morning sickness today?” 

“Better. I think I might actually keep my breakfast down.”

“Good.” He reached for a scone and I passed him the jam with a smile. He paused as he sliced the scone and grinned at me, one eyebrow quirked up. “What’s so funny?”

“Not funny. Just happy. I like this.” I waved to the patio, the table, the house. “I like having breakfast with you and knowing that you’ll bypass the muffins and go right for the scones.”

“Hmmm.” He frowned over a mouthful of scone. “I don’t want to be predictable. Maybe I should change my diet.” 

He pulled me onto his lap. It was so fast, I didn’t have time to squeal. One minute, I was sitting in my chair, the next I was wrapped in the essence of Mason. He roared and pretended to bite my neck. Now I did squeal. His hands found my butt and gave it a good squeeze as he nipped and kissed his way down my throat to my chest. I was laughing to hard to protest. I squirmed on his lap and suddenly felt real desire harden in his pants. His kisses slowed and became more serious. I turned my head, meeting his lips with mine. And I opened to him. 

Kissing Mason was like nothing I’d ever experienced. Every time. It didn’t matter that we were now comfortable enough to share a bathroom or that I knew exactly what he wanted for breakfast. The feel of his lips on mine was like coming home and being shot to the moon at the same time. 

His tongue teased mine, hands let go of my butt to tangle in the loose hair around my shoulders as he cupped my head, drawing me closer. My fingers fumbled with his freshly buttoned shirt…

A wheezing noise stopped us. It escalated to a masterful gag-retch-cough. Mason, and I side-eyed the night sun jaguar masquerading as a Maine Coon who was trying to bring up a hairball not ten paces away. The retching crescendoed to a truly glorious hack. Grim’s ribs shuddered and he produced a trichobezoar the size of a golf ball. His green eyes gazed at us over his prize, then he flicked his tail and sauntered off.

Mason leaned his forehead against my chest. His shoulders shook with silent laughs.

“I think that was the cat equivalent of ‘Get a room!’” I slid off Mason’s lap and found my own seat again.

“He’s probably right. The patio is no place for what I what to do to you.”


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