This blog is for those 18 and older.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Guest Author Lauren Smith

“Give her but a wavering leaf-shadow breeze combing the grasses and she was back a million years, glaring with night-lit eyes in the thickets, projecting a terrible aura of fear that still and quelled all creatures” – Paul Annixter, American Writer

Anyone who has ever been the lucky owner of a cat, or should I say, been owned by a cat, has known one of the most exquisite and puzzling joys such a sharing of one’s life with them is. I have always been a cat lover, even before I had cats and was raised in house populated by dogs and various rodents (bunnies, hamsters etc). I never cared one wit about the image of becoming a writer with a thousand cats lounging about the various odd bits of furniture in my one room apartment. True cat lovers will understand of course, because we don’t see ourselves the way the world sees us. We take after the cats we love so well. Cats are unique, relish the life they have and don’t let the opinions of others rule their thoughts. In a way, cats are a writer’s best role model.
 Even now as I write this blog article, my own cat Isis, more fondly called Tiki, is sitting on the bed, eyeing me with apparent fascination. Is it the movement of my fingers along the keyboard or the simple knowledge that I provide her food and comfort at my own expenses often times. Love with cats isn’t unconditional. I believe that’s why non cat lovers find it hard to understand the appeal. A cat demands love, demands trust, and will give it return when it believes you are capable, which sounds quite like a human thing to me.
The appeal of cats is something deep, primal in many humans. I believe we see the greatness of their pasts, buried in the luminous depths of their gazes. The Egyptians held them up as gods, and they’ve ruled the earth with their hunting instincts and a shadowy presence at all the great moments of human history. They are lovers, they are nurturing, they are powerful, and yet still manage to exude a sense of utter relaxation and complete laziness that we often envy. It’s the mysterious air of the impossible they seem to exude every moment of the day that compels us to take them, offer them a home with us, in hopes we might learn their feline secrets.
But if you’re like me, you can’t rescue every cat, you can’t save every animal that crosses your path and a part of your heart bleeds at the thought of each precious life lost due to human carelessness. I spend a majority of my spare time when not writing or doing my day job as an attorney, by helping animal causes even if I can only offer something as simple as money to shelters or rescue funds. Last year, I heard of a national call for submissions for a charity anthology to benefit the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas where big cats like tigers, cougars, leopards and jaguars are given homes and cared for. Elle James and Delilah Devlin created the anthology Wild at Heart and picked 10 or so adult romance stories involving big cats and 10 or so young adult romance stories involving big cats to make up two volumes for charity. 100% of the proceeds of the sales of the anthology go directly to the wildlife refuge, giving those cats food, shelter and support.
 I was thrilled when my story “Archer Falls” was chosen to be a part of the adult romance anthology. I decided to write about a woman who falls in love with a mysterious, handsome shapeshifter.

                  Spotted Pines Refuge worker Samantha Gray gets more than she bargains for when she is rescued by a jaguar in a national park. But there’s more to this jaguar than meets the eye, in fact, he reminds her of the mysterious and wealthy owner of the refuge, Archer Falls. Caught between danger and the pull of Archer’s seductive gaze, Samantha begins to wonder just how her boss is connected to the jaguar that went missing since the night he saved her life.

Samantha was kneeling in the glass-enclosed room of the refuge’s nursery.  She had a bottle of milk and one jaguar cub curled in her arm, feeding it.  The cub’s paws were braced around Samantha’s hand, securing the bottle to its mouth.  Archer was transfixed by the look on Samantha’s face.  She gazed in wonder and delight at the cub and made gentle cooing noises while hugging the cub closer.
Archer barely noticed Simone coming up behind him.
“She has quite a fondness for cats.  Big cats.  Would you like me to formally introduce you?”
He found himself nodding. Samantha had only worked at Spotted Pines for two weeks. Archer usually avoided meeting the workers until they’d been there at least six months. The less people he brought into his circle of trust, the better. But he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be close to her again, even if his mind shouted at him in warning. He was too interested in her and haunted by the memory of her hands stroking his fur as he drifted into unconsciousness.
“Sam!”  Simone dragged Archer by the arm toward the nursery and opened the door.  “Come meet our benefactor.  This is Mr. Archer Falls.  Archer, this is Samantha Gray.”
Samantha set the bottle on a table and walked across the room.
The cub in her arms stared drowsily at him when she approached.
“Nice to meet you Mr. Falls.”  She held out a hand.
He shook it.  Her palm was warm, her skin soft. She had gray eyes, soft and mysterious, like skies after a winter storm.  He held her hand for longer than was necessary; his desire to hold her was fierce and powerful.  He needed to protect her, ensure she was safe. 
The cub stirred and let out a little mewl at being ignored. 
Archer dropped Samantha’s hand and stroked the cub’s head.  It squirmed and fussed, its little teeth scraping playfully on his fingers.  He felt the rumblings of a purr deep in his chest, and he only just fought off the need to let Samantha hear how content he was.
Simone nudged Archer in the back.  “It seems you have a way with cats, Sam.” 
He jerked, recalling where he was, who he was with.  A woman who didn’t know him and didn’t know his secret.
“Welcome to Spotted Pines, Samantha.  Are you settling in well?” A smile crept across his lips.  “Simone tells me you’re the newest volunteer.”
“Oh yes.  This place is wonderful, Mr. Falls.” 
The cat inside him could detect lies and there were none in her words. “Call me Archer, please.”
“Archer.”  Samantha looked suddenly shy, her gray eyes darkening to near blue.  “The way you keep the cats here, with these habitats, it’s amazing.  You’ve saved so many lives.”
Archer studied Sam, her appreciation was genuine.  She cared deeply for the wounded souls he’d rescued and brought to the refuge.  Each cat here had been abandoned or abused.  Exotic pets, retired circus creatures, each and every one left in a situation that threatened their lives.  For the last five years, he and Simone had worked to build the refuge and find cats who needed homes.  The jaguar within him purred in approval of Samantha’s reactions.

I hope everyone who enjoys cats or a good shapeshifter paranormal romance will pick up their own copy of Wild At Heart. Is there any better way to help cats than to buy an ebook or paperback copy and know that the proceeds go directly help the cats? It’s a win-win.

I send out a big thank you for the authors at Happily Ever After Thoughts, who hosted for me this blog!

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GIVEAWAY: One lucky commenter will win a signed paperback copy from me or an ebook if they prefer, and a sneak peak of the first two chapters of my upcoming release Wicked Intentions, the first book in a sexy regency romance series about a notorious band of rakehells called the League of Rogues, to be released from Samhain Publishing in January 2014.


  1. You know, this is so very true! I never even thought about the fact that cats are conditional creatures. I do love them...but have always considered myself more of a dog person. Partly because of the very reasons you just mention. I applaud your crusade against animal cruelty. I can never understand how anyone is capable of hurting others; humans or non-humans. And WHAT an excerpt!!! Brilliant premise.

    1. Thanks Christi! It's a very special cause. Tiki was my only cat rescue. I have a schnauzer and chinchilla, but we can't have any other cats in the house, so the anthology was a great way to save cats, the big ones that is! :)

  2. HI Lauren! We are dog people at this house and active in Pomeranian rescue, so we 'get' you and your dedication for doing what you can to save the cats. Kudos and blessings to you!

    My son is the cat person, and he has four, all adopted or taken in as strays. One of his cats, a stray Maine Coon he named Spence, is fantastic. Until recently, the poor kit had a bullet in his leg! The vet reported that the bullet was too dangerous to remove, but as Spence aged the bullet moved and after keeping him infection free for nearly four years, it had moved enough so that when the vet did Spence's teeth cleaning, he was able to remove the bullet, too! What a relief for all of us. But is just highlighted how sick and uncaring people can be to these creatures that give us so much of themselves.

    You've shared a great excerpt, too! Congrats on being a part of the book and your new one coming out.

    1. Oh my gosh, Lyndee, what an amazing story about Spence! Cats are amazingly resilient creatures, another trait worth admiring! I'm so glad your son has adopted four cats, that's so great! I'm a dog person too haha and a chinchilla person too. I'm so glad you stopped by to check out the post! I hope you get a chance to check out the book!

  3. Lovely excerpt. I was never a cat person, but when my son and husband insisted on one, the cat decided I was hers. Probably because I was more dependable than either of them when it came to feeding her. She converted me, but I still love my dogs.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Ella! I didn't know your son and husband got you cat! Cats do definitely pick the person they want to like most haha.

  4. Nice excerpt.


    1. Thank you for stopping by to read! I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt!

  5. Nice. Yes, I've 3 cats (2 stray & one adopted), 2 rescued dogs & a rescue horse. Have a sign over my house that says "come, give this silly human a sad eye & she'll take you in, feed you"...LOL My aid goes to rescue groups. Can't stand abuse to animals.

    1. Wow Gina! That's awesome you have so many animals! How fantastic!