I’ve been an animal lover all my life. I grew up on what I guess you could call a hobby farm. We had cats, dogs and a couple of donkeys, raised and bred rabbits and chickens (although the latter I never did like, and the feeling was mutual), and I was very involved with horses. Over the years, I’ve pared down until I now have one lone cat. I’m okay with that, because the farm animals are a crazy amount of work. I don’t miss getting up at seven in the morning, wading through snow and frozen mud, to shovel horse manure. Not. At. All. The real test was in college, though. I lived with my cousin while she went to school to be a vet tech. Quizzing her on diseases, helping her wrap up cats in blankets for examination, drawing blood at the kitchen table, and finding stool samples in the refrigerator—if you can survive that, you can call yourself an animal lover! (But believe me, the fridge got a very thorough disinfecting!)
So when the Heavy Petting pax came along, I had to jump in. Most of my family is animal-crazy, but my dad is definitely not. He likes some, tolerates others, and would rather avoid my cat entirely. It got me thinking. What happens when a guy who could care less about having a pet falls for someone who sits firmly on the far side of the animal-crazy spectrum? Or, in the case of Mike and Riley, how does a guy who can’t even keep his nephew’s hamster alive handle a house full of cats? It’s a disaster ready to happen, but like in all the best stories, true love finds a way! I hope you enjoy your time with Mike, Riley, and the cats as much as I did.
Mike isn’t much of an animal lover. His sister, however, insists that every little boy needs a pet, which is how he finds himself sitting in a veterinary office, trying to explain the facts of life to his six-year-old nephew while holding a dead hamster in a shoebox. It’s not one of his finer moments. So of course, it’s just his luck that in walks the cute, shy, and utterly lust-worthy Riley Laytham. But Mike has never been one to let an opportunity pass him by, no matter how awkward the situation might be.
Riley isn’t used to guys flirting with him, and he definitely didn’t expect it to happen at the local vet office. In the kennels, no less, surrounded by dogs and cats, and under the close scrutiny of one overly inquisitive little boy. Riley’s first instinct is to make his excuses and run, but Mike is persistent.
Their first date is a disaster. They have nothing in common, and Riley’s cats seem determined to end the budding relationship before it can get started. For some reason, though, Mike isn’t running. Now Riley just has to decide if he can make it work with a guy who staunchly declares that he doesn’t like cats.
Learning to Love Cats by K.M. Mahoney is now available at Amber Allure.
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