I’ve joined the Rainbow Snippets group on Facebook. From their description: “Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).” Pretty cool, eh? Don’t forget to “Like” my Facebook page and/or my Facebook profile while you’re over there checking out this fantastic group!
This week I’m once again snipping from Of Rats and Cats, a comedic short story that’ll be coming out at JMS Books on November 10.
Blurb & Links
All he wanted to do was retrieve his newspaper, but Raymond is panic-stricken when a rat dashes through his open apartment door. No worries, though. Pandy is on the job! Except Kevin doesn’t want Raymond’s cat to eat his beloved pet…mouse.
Can Kevin rescue Corky before Pandy gets to her? Will Raymond’s upturned box of…um… personal toys and videos drive Kevin away, or will the pile of filigree undies Corky has burrowed into turn Kevin on?
This thread is the opening scene. For an easy refresher of previous posts in this thread, toggle open the spoiler tags, below.
Told from Raymond’s 3rd-person POV:
Of Rats and Cats – 15-September-2018
“Okay, already.” Raymond Gardner yawned, opened his eyes, and gave the short-haired tortoiseshell cat a scratch behind her ears to take the edge off the grumble in the tone he’d directed at her. Clearly, he wasn’t going to be able to ignore the wet nose determinedly nudging him, let alone the piteous caterwauling. He rubbed his neck where she’d been kneading and gave himself a mental kick in the ass for not trimming her claws when he’d thought of it yesterday.
He rolled to check the time on his phone, then flopped onto his pillow with a groan and what his ex-boyfriend, Leon, would have called a drama-queen maneuver—although frankly, Raymond didn’t consider throwing a forearm across his eyes to be all that theatrical.
“Daylight Savings Time has been over for a month, Pandy. Get with the program.”
But Raymond sat up and stuffed his feet into his slippers anyway, because once Pandemonium decided it was feeding time, she wasn’t going to let up until the deed was done.
Of Rats and Cats – 22-September-2018
She could wait until he’d shuffled into the bathroom to take care of business first, though. That was part of their routine, and Pandy apparently knew she’d already won, so she quit yowling and didn’t try to trip him while he peed and brushed his teeth.
After washing his hands, he filled the tea kettle and placed it on the stove to heat before putting a fresh scoop of cat food into Pandy’s bowl and replacing the water in the other. That was also customary procedure, so the cat tolerated the delay, although she seemed to glare from where she sat impatiently waiting. It was hard to tell if it was truly a glower, since it was the same expression she wore while purring whenever he scratched behind her ears.
Of Rats and Cats – 29-September-2018
Raymond dropped a couple biscuit slabs of Shredded Wheat into a bowl and scattered a handful of blueberries atop them. He’d wait until his green tea was ready before he poured the milk.
Even this early, his copy of the Sunday edition of the Kansas City Star should be waiting in the hallway, so he opened his studio apartment door. Another door down the hall, the same from which movers had shuffled in and out the previous day, creaked open.
As he lifted the newspaper, a white blur ran across—across!—his slippers. Before he could stop himself, Raymond produced a high-pitched yelp that would have sent Leon’s eyes rolling all the way back in his head.
Of Rats and Cats – 6-October-2018
He hopped from foot to foot and shrieked, “Rat!” as the pale streak detoured into his apartment.
The new neighbor down the hall muttered, “Shit,” no doubt regretting his choice of apartment building since it was apparently infested with “rodents of unusual size” as if escaped from The Princess Bride’s fire swamp.
Raymond’s one sentient thought was to get to higher ground, so he ran into his apartment despite the imminent threat of rabies, or plague, or whatever the hell rats carried, because…furniture. He left his door open because he wasn’t about to be trapped inside the apartment with the gruesome creature.
“Get it, Pandy!” he shrieked. “Get it!”
Of Rats and Cats – 13-October-2018
The instruction proved superfluous since the cat hadn’t missed the flash of premium breakfast streaking by. Pandemonium was on it like stink on poo. Particularly her own nasty poo, which eating a sewer rat wasn’t likely to improve.
His new neighbor shouted, “No!” and rushed into Raymond’s apartment. The man put up a hand and said, “Sorry, sorry. I’ll take care of it,” while Raymond channeled Jennifer Beals frenetically dancing to “She’s a Maniac” in Flashdance on his loveseat.
Of Rats and Cats – 20-October-2018
Pandemonium lived up to her name as she squalled and dove under Raymond’s bed, where the unfortunately-not-drowned-rat had dashed. It had better not be burrowing into his box springs. So help him, if that rodent ravaged his bed, the landlord would be paying for the damages.
Despite the horror of the rat invasion, Raymond couldn’t help but appreciate the vignette unfolding before him. His new neighbor, wearing only a ratty (no pun intended) pair of blue jeans and an unbuttoned shirt, lunged after the animals, coming to the rescue like a knight in shining flannel, far sexier than armor from Raymond’s perspective.
Of Rats and Cats – 27-October-2018
The sheer bravery of the man feeling around under the bed with his bare hands with a river rat on the loose was swoon-worthy, until a shoebox Raymond had under there came tumbling out, and his dildo collection and vintage gay porn DVDs—Teamplay, How the West Was Hung, and Kansas City Trucking Company—skittered across the concrete floor. He was still likely to faint, but now it would be from mortification rather than manly-man overload.
Did he dare to make a mad dash to scoop up the incriminating evidence before his likely-to-be-a-straight-guy-but-hopefully-not-a-homophobe hero pulled his head out from under the bed?
Raymond shuddered and shook his head. He couldn’t even think straight with the tea kettle’s piercing whistle reverberating through his skull.
(Last week ended with Raymond wondering if he should dash in to scoop up his porn & toy stash that had been sent skittering across the floor.)
This week’s snippet:
Of Rats and Cats – 3-November-2018
It was too late, anyway. Raymond gasped as a blur of rodent tore across the floor and leapt over his “Thrusting Fucking Stick”—Raymond’s personal favorite from among his dildo collection—which had activated during its cartwheel across the floor, and was preposterously, and raucously, prancing along the concrete, advertising its gyrating artistry to all lookers.
Pandy tore out from under the bed, but the no-longer-helpful neighbor grabbed the cat mid-pounce, allowing the rat to escape into Raymond’s closet. The guy closed the door and collapsed against it. Even that heaving torso with just the perfect array of chest hair on display between the unbuttoned panels of the worn flannel shirt couldn’t appease Raymond.
Of Rats and Cats is a short story, meet-cute, detailing the humorous get-together of two otherwise regular guys, leading average lives. The story ends with a solid happy-for-now where we are left to imagine them continuing their relationship as they traipse, without further issue, toward their eventual HEA.
Attention reviewers and bloggers…
If any reviewers are interested in receiving an ARC, please email me (addison DOT albright AT gmail DOT com), or message me on FB or Twitter, or simply fill out this Google form and I’ll get an ARC to you as soon as I receive them (should be soon).
Also, if any bloggers are willing to help me out with promo (on or sometime in the first week after release day, November 10), I’ve put together some files on Google Drive that mirror the stuff typically received from the promo companies (including a Rafflecopter Giveaway), so hopefully that’ll make it fairly easy to throw together a post (of course feel free to modify).
A gazillion thanks in advance for any help you can provide! 😍