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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Guest Post and Excerpt: I Do...or Die by Donna Cummings

I Do... or Die
Donna Cummings
Always a bridesmaid, never a bride” is Shelby Atwood's personal credo. She’s managed to avoid commitment all her life – no pets, no plants, not even a long-term lease. Heck, she’s had colds last longer than her romantic relationships. How could she be any other way when she has a gigolo for a father?

But then gunfire erupts at the latest wedding she’s agreed to be in, and it ends up being the best thing to happen to Shelby’s love life. Detective Ryan Nichols is assigned to the case, and when the shootings don’t stop, he becomes her 24-hour bodyguard. Shelby wouldn’t mind except Ryan is too appealing, too sexy, and too happy to remind her of the raucous bachelorette party when she mistook him for a stripper.

Shelby’s plan is simple: find the shooter, have a fling with Ryan, and return to her non-committal life. Unfortunately, the shooter is very elusive. Shelby’s feelings for Ryan are way more than adrenaline-fueled lust. And returning to her normal life is now impossible since, despite her lifelong resistance, she’s managed to put her heart smack dab in the line of fire.

Today I get to welcome author Donna Cummings to the stage.  For those of you who might be interested in something historical that is indeed a bit naughty at times, she is the author of Lord Midnight, which I was lucky enough to review in September.  Today she is here with a guest post about a kitty in the book I Do...or Die.  So check it out, and also check out the excerpt!  Have a great day, everyone!

by Donna Cummings
I am SO not a cat person. But for some reason, cats always seek me out, bypassing all the outstretched hands from their devoted fans, just to jump right up onto my lap. It's like I have catnip in my DNA and they find me irresistible.

So just how did I end up with Serena, a sneaky cat who is the heroine's nemesis, in this book? It was an accident. Honestly. I wouldn't have intentionally done something like that to Shelby. She's shaken up enough as it is, after being shot at during a wedding where she's the maid of honor, and then again when the hunky detective Ryan is taking her home. She's chatting with Ryan and he casually mentions he has a cat, which surprised the heck out of me, but I thought, "Well, I'm sure that's the end of that. It's just a little conversation they're having while they get to know each other."

But I already mentioned that Serena is sneaky, right? Once she came onto the scene, she wasn't about to leave. At least, not until she was ready. And she never seemed to be ready to go anywhere, even though she's rumored to have more than one family, which is why Shelby refers to her as a "time-share cat".

Somehow, that pesky feline wormed her way into my heart. The story wouldn't have been quite the same without her. And darn her, she knows it.

Here's the first "meeting" between Shelby and Serena:

Serena at least waited until we got inside before she started marking her territory. She wound her gray furry self in and out of Ryan’s legs, looking at me the entire time with her enigmatic eyes.

 Even with my sketchy detection skills, I knew she was saying “Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine” each time she rubbed against his ankles, ensuring I could not possibly think otherwise.

 I wanted to taunt her by saying we forgot to stop for more milk, because we’d been too busy in the elevator to think about anything else, and then finish by sticking my tongue out, but I refrained. It wasn’t like she was going to hear me. Or maybe I was afraid what kind of revenge she might exact.

 “Hey girl, looks like you missed me.”

 I looked up, surprised, until I saw Ryan bend down and gather Serena in his arms. She nuzzled his face, and started purring so loud it sounded like a Boeing 747 had just lifted off from the coffee table. She turned and looked right at me. I’m pretty sure her mouth raised in a “take that, bitch” expression. 

If her face didn’t already have that pushed-in look—I think she was a Himalayan—I would have been tempted to do it myself, telling her to go away forever.

 I refused to be jealous of a cat. Especially one who had the same commitment issues I did. Good Lord. I was no more evolved than a feline when it came to relationships.

 I reached toward Serena and rubbed her head between her ears. She didn’t look happy about it. In fact, she looked pissed, especially when she closed her eyes and almost winced, like my touch was something she had to endure, and not graciously.

 I kept rubbing, and scratching, and petting. Ooops, I accidentally touched Ryan in the process. Serena opened one eye and gave me a warning look. I narrowed mine in return.

 The Battle of the Alpha Cats was a tie so far. And Ryan remained oblivious to the silent warfare between me and Serena. Which was probably a good thing.

 He gave her furry head another little ruffle before setting her on the ground. She mewed her protest, and then gifted me with a dark look.

 “I so know how you feel,” I muttered under my breath. “But that is not my fault.”

 Serena raced into the other room, as if she expected me to dash right after her. Silly little cat. I had Ryan all to myself now. I put my hand on his shirt, brushing a stray Serena hair off his chest, treasuring his appreciation. Boy did I want to do more with those gorgeous pecs, but I’d made a pact. And this time I meant to abide by it.

 Serena could be the chaperone, because God knows I wasn’t going to be asked to serve in that capacity. Not after that episode in the elevator today.

 Serena’s Ryan Radar must have alerted her that I’d overstayed my allotted time in his proximity. She peered at me around the corner. I half expected her to hiss and bare her teeth at me, like a demon rising from hell to warn me away from her beloved master. 

But Serena was more subtle than that. She turned, slowly, until her butt faced me, and then she looked at me over her shoulder.

 Okay then.

In Donna's Words...
I have worked as an attorney, winery tasting room manager, and retail business owner, but nothing beats the thrill of writing humorously-ever-after romances.

I reside in New England, although I fantasize about spending the rest of my days in a tropical locale, wearing flip flops year-round, or in Regency London, scandalizing the ton. In addition to I Do. . .or Die, I have Summer Lovin', a contemporary romantic comedy novella, and Lord Midnight, a Regency historical, currently available. My contemporary novella, Back on Track, will release from Samhain on April 2, 2013. 

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