The Department of Homeworld Security, Book 11
A sick cat turns into an out of this world adventure for a vet who thought she was on a simple house call.
It was supposed to be a simple house call for a sick cat, so how’d she end up on a spaceship?
Caitlin’s had some pretty weird house calls in her work as a veterinarian outside a small desert town. Feral burros, mischievous coyotes, dogs getting a little too close to cacti… The tall, gorgeous guy who shows up on her doorstep in the middle of the night begging her to help his cat seems mundane by comparison—aside from the atomic attraction she feels toward him. Then he starts talking about aliens.
To help restore the emotions stolen from him by the Coalition of Planets, Marq was supposed to care for Meredith—the Earth cat his brother smuggled aboard his ship. Now, she’s developed some kind of sickness he fears will endanger her life. He’ll do anything to assist his pet, even make unauthorized contact with an Earthling. The trouble is, he isn’t sure how to handle the rising desire in him to make…additional contact with her.
To get Caitlin’s assistance, he must first convince her to trust him—though with soldiers on his ship who are still loyal to the Coalition, he’s not sure who he himself can trust. Meredith’s illness is not the only threat they will face. Can Marq save his cat, control his unruly emotions, and keep Caitlin safe?
Author’s note: This novella was originally published in the Pets in Space® 4 anthology.
Main Content: Approximately 23,677 words, 122 (5.5 x 8.5) pages
“Tell me more about Meredith,” Caitlin said. “What makes you think she’s sick?”
“I know she’s sick.”
“Okay.” She walked back to her doctor’s bag and started rummaging around in it, making sure her standard examination tools were there. She didn’t have to make house calls often and wanted to be prepared. “But more information will help.”
She crossed to her medicine cabinet and unlocked it while they spoke, then pulled out a few vials that could be helpful in a variety of circumstances, along with some syringes.
She hesitated a moment before adding a potent tranquilizer.
Just in case Brigid is wrong about this guy.
After putting everything in her doctor’s bag and relocking the cabinet, she said, “Have you noticed changes in her behavior lately? Sleep patterns? How much she eats?”
“Yes, I have.” He sat up straighter. “She eats as much as always, and I’m careful to only give her as much as Dane instructed, though she often begs for more.”
Caitlin snorted. “Don’t they always?”
Marq plowed on. “She’s been sleeping even more than usual. And she isn’t as interested in her toys. But the strangest thing is how she’s been dragging my clothing to the pallet where I sleep and making nests out of them.”
Pallet? Why would he be sleeping on a pallet?
“She seems to prefer clothing that I’ve already worn,” he said. “And when I went to check on her today, her breaths were heavy and rapid. I tried to remove her from her nest and she let out a sound of great unease.”
“Oh boy…” Caitlin turned around. “I don’t suppose she has a nice, round tummy, does she?”
“I… I suppose so,” he said.
Caitlin let out a laugh. “It sounds to me like your cat is about to have kittens.”
Marq swallowed hard, nodding.
“Kittens,” he repeated. “Is it serious? Can you do anything about it?”
She burst out laughing. “I can find them good homes, once they’re weaned.”
“What does ‘weaned’ mean?”
“Okay, enough.” She closed up her bag. “Did my sister put you up to this?”
Why had she even asked that? There was no way Brigid would ever do anything like this. Caitlin was the jokester of the pair. But this was too weird.
Maybe it was some stupid idea from the person Brigid was working for. Marq could be part of one of those reality shows where people played tricks on others. But Brigid wouldn’t do that to anyone, least of all her sister.
Something else was going on.
“Are you ready to leave?” Marq rose to his full height. His very impressive full height, especially when he was standing so close to Caitlin’s own five-foot-one inches.
She should be intimidated, but instead, her body lit up like it was having its very own fireworks show and Marq was the guest of honor. Her skin pebbled in goosebumps and tingling heat pooled between her legs.
“I’m… I’m not going anywhere,” she said.
“But I need your help.”
“No, you don’t. There is no emergency. Your cat is going to have kittens. It happens all the time.”
“I don’t know what kittens are,” he ground out. “I don’t know what to do.”