I slammed the door in his face, not giving him another chance to say something. The nerve, calling me a Crazy Cat Lady. He’s a first class asshole and I’m not wasting my time on him, or any other man, again. Some people have no vision, or compassion.
“Alright, kitties. Since my night just got ruined, I’m going to go to the store. It’s always nice and quiet on Friday nights. Unfortunately I know that well. I’ll be back in a little while.”
I draped a scarf around my neck to ward off the chill in the evening air and went out to my SUV. A few meows followed me out the door, but they would be fine. My nine cats were used to being left alone and occasionally there would be fights as a result, but it seemed Boots was showing the others who was boss.
The pet supply store was a brightly lit beacon calling to me as soon as I turned into the shopping center. Even the employees were starting to recognize me, probably thinking I must be a crazy cat lady too. Well, screw them too. I knew I wasn’t crazy.
I parked out near the cart return and headed into the store. The smell of the animals and the pet supplies wrapped around me and made me feel better already. That jerk didn’t know what he was talking about. Maybe nine cats is a bit much, but he didn’t even want to consider anything other than me being crazy. Maybe a part of me was, but I couldn’t turn my back on those cats.
I had no problem turning my back on an asshole though.
I wheeled a cart over to the cat aisle and looked at the options. Not that I needed to. I practically had the aisle memorized. I could close my eyes and still pick out exactly what I needed. Something was bothering me though. Like that jerk got to me more than I wanted to admit.
“Excuse me,” a deep voice said behind me. My eyes flashed up, and up, and up to the brightest blue eyes I’d ever seen. A smile quirked the side of his stubbled jaw and a dimple peeked at me. But it was the tiny kitten cuddled in his large hand that melted my heart.
“Mew,” whispered the kitten and I reached out to pet her.
My hand connected with her soft fur and she nuzzled her head into my hand. My fingers grazed the edge of his hand and reminded me the kitten wasn’t alone.
“I’m sorry. I should have asked. I have a weakness for cats,” I admitted sheepishly. The last thing I needed was another man telling me how crazy I was in one night.
“You’re fine. I was actually wondering if you would be willing to help me. I just got her and I’m a bit lost with what she needs.”
“Oh, uh… I don’t work here,” I stammered. I glanced down at my clothes and wondered why he would think I could help him.
His free hand dove through his hair and he scratched the back of his neck. “Uh, yeah, I know. Actually, I saw you in here a while ago buying a huge bag of cat food. I just sort of figured if you needed that much cat food you would know what a cat needed.”
Embarrassment crept over me, turning my cheeks pink and making me wish I’d just stayed home tonight.
“I’m sorry. If you’re busy, that’s fine. The employees seem nice but they’ve always come across as doing a job, not loving animals the way I figured any animal owner and lover does. I didn’t mean to bother you.”
He turned away and tucked the kitten closer. My heart melted just a bit and I knew I was taking out my anger with that jerk, Rob, on him. “Wait,” I called after him. “I’m sorry. I’ll be happy to help you.”
“Really?” he asked with an adorable grin. “Are you sure?”
“Yeah, let’s get this little one set up. I’m Karen, by the way.”
“Right, sorry. I’m Blaine and this is Skyy.”
“Nice to meet you both. So, Blaine, do you have anything yet?”
He shook his head and his dark hair drifted over his right eye. I noticed his broad shoulders and long lean form and couldn’t stop the flash of desire that rocketed through me. He looked adorable with his black and white kitten nuzzled against his chest and the look of pure confusion on his face. I wanted nothing more than to cuddle up with the two of them for the night.
Or the rest of my life.
No, I wasn’t going to go back there. I wasn’t going to imagine my life with a guy, especially one I just met.
“The first things you’ll need are food, litter, a litter box, and food and water bowls. After that, you might want to think about a carrier and some toys.”
“Let’s just get it all. Any suggestions?”
I walked Blaine and Skyy through picking out everything they would need. He had gotten her earlier from the pound so I also gave him the name of my vet and offered him some flea meds to get them started.
“You seem to know a lot about cats. How many do you have?” Blaine asked as we walked out to our cars, me with a super-sized bag of cat food and a matching box of litter, and Blaine with everything Skyy needed and more.
“Uh, well, I actually have a lot. I sort of can’t stand to see an animal put down if it’s healthy so I tend to take them in.”
He cocked his head to the side and looked at me. “You rescue rescues, don’t you?”
I blushed and nodded. He’d so easily explained what I could never seem to get others to understand. When the shelter had cats that were set to be euthanized I would adopt them. It’s added up, but I always seem to find a good home for them.
“That’s really admirable.”
I shrugged. “It’s my small part. Anyway, that’s how I know so much. I’ve had about thirty in and out of my house this year.”
“Are you sure you don’t mind us coming over?”
“No, it’s fine, as long as you don’t mind a bunch of cats and being around the Crazy Cat Lady.”
His eyes narrowed at me and he reached out to grip my shoulder. “You are not a Crazy Cat Lady. You’re amazing. And beautiful.”
His compliment hung in the air between us. Blaine stepped toward me and brushed a strand of hair from my cheek, his warm fingers feathering over my face until they tunneled through my hair. His lips came down on mine as his hand pulled me into him. Warmth spread through me, heating my body from the inside out, as Blaine kissed me thoroughly and passionately, like a man starving for everything I had.
I returned his kiss with equal fervor. His tongue tangled with mine until a sharp pain pierced my chest. “Ow,” I cried, jumping back.
“Mew,” leaked out from between us, reminding me that he was cradling Skyy the whole time. One of her claws must have got me as we crushed her between us.
“Sorry,” Blaine started. “I… You just looked so beautiful and I couldn’t stop myself.”
I cocked my head to the side and gave him a look full of confidence I didn’t really feel then asked, “Are you going to follow me home?”