And I got my cover for Catastrophe! You are the first besides me to see it. I just love it and I'm very excited for this story to come out--just a bit over a month now since PAX releases come out the middle weekend of each month. For May that should be the weekend of the 17th-18th. I want to get my hands on the rest of those tales too. Don't you want to take this pair home and make pets of them??
Normally I do not do excerpts from unedited mss but I will give you a very small sneak peek here from the opening scene. Enjoy!
San Mirabal Zoo
Carlton Donahue wiped his dripping nose yet again and shoved the wadded paper towel into the hip pocket of his jeans. He might as well start carrying a roll of them. Regular tissues were totally inadequate. So far this new allergy drug wasn’t doing squat for him, either. Although the idea was almost as palatable as a pile of steaming dung, the thought of seeking a new career sometimes crossed his mind.
No. He’d stick it out. There had to be a way to deal with these damned allergies. A new drug, some miracle no one had thought to try for him. Animals were his life, his love. From the time he’d been a small kid, he’d worked toward this very job—a vet tech in a zoo. Not that working to help and save animals in the wild wouldn’t be even better, if it were possible, but at least here he could be sure his charges got the best possible care and protect them from the worst harm and abuse. He might even help save some rare creatures from extinction.
If only he wasn’t the most allergic of all to anything in the feline family. Of course that was the section of the zoo to which he was especially drawn as well as his current assignment… Cats drew him like iron to a magnet. It didn’t matter what size, color or type. From a house cat to a giant tiger or African lion, they all had the same miserable effects on him: running nose, itchy, dripping eyes and at times mild to severe hives if his unprotected skin came into contact with their fur. They also made his heart beat faster and sent a thrill to the depths of his soul.
This new allergist had him on desensitizing treatments, plus the latest corticosteroids and antihistamines. So far he could discern no improvement, none at all. He must be crazy to put up with it but he felt a connection to the cats near to an obsession.
He paused for a moment and looked into the habitat area where the cheetahs were housed. Ye Gods, they were beautiful. Their very appearance said swift. Lean and lithe, the sheer artistry of their sleek bodies enthralled him. They were endangered now, a fact that tore his heart. How much poorer the world would be with such marvelous creatures gone. He’d wracked his brain for things he could do to help save them but so far had come up with little.
Some yards away, one of the lean, spotted cats stopped and looked at him. A shiver passed over his body. Those keen green eyes touched him with the jolt of an electric current. He’d almost say the creature was trying to tell him something, but what? In that fierce gaze, he read intent although not meaning. After a moment, the cat turned away shaking its head in a near-human motion that seemed to speak of disgust. It glided off into the thicker foliage, vanishing in an instant.
With a sigh, Carl moved on, headed for the puma area where a female was due to give birth soon. He checked his belt for the dart gun should he have a need to tranquilize the lioness for her safety or that of the unborn cubs—Dr. Moreno believed she carried twins, fairly common among the American clan of lions.
At least the puma or cougar as they were also called were not endangered—yet. Although habitat had been reduced by growing towns and suburbs, they seemed to be adapting well in the wild and mostly staying in the remote wilderness areas where they safest. However, the jaguar tribe, increasingly working north from
Mexico and Central American, were
crowding them a bit. Jaguars were larger and warier. Various experts were still
not sure how the two species would get along in closer proximity, or if the
food supply would adequately support both groups. Yet another worry Carl nursed
in private moments. There were so many needs and so little he could do.