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First pages

Chapter 1

Daisy at first ignored her cat’s advice on dating. The very same day her five sisters invaded her house for an old-maid intervention, Shakespeare began talking to her in British English with Downton-Abbey kitty-litter stuck between his teeth. Why ever would she listen to dating tips from a fixed kitty? In other words, Shakespeare was a virgin. The status of his, uh privates, was probably the reason the cat was an overweight, alcoholic, chain-smoker.

The first words out of Shakespeare’s mouth were not, “Now is the winter of our discontent” although it really was the winter of our discontent since Daisy, at the age of 39, was 11 months shy of an avalanche falling on her.

Nor did the cat say, “To be or not to be, that is the question.” Shakespeare knew that Daisy would never ever in a million zillion years do anything desperate over her still-single status. Unlike her sisters, her cat knew Daisy better than anyone else. After all, Shakespeare had lived with her these past 13 years. She and the cat slept and bathed together. She groomed the tangles from his fur and in return, Shakespeare licked her stinky feet. The cat vomited beer hairballs while she vomited wine spitballs. Shakespeare even ate out of her hand.

Instead, the cat’s first garbled sentence was, “I can’t believe you had me bollocks cut off, Daisy!”

She threw her wine glass in the air and yelled at the top of her lungs, “And I can’t believe you are speaking full sentences with the accent of a Masterpiece-Theater gentleman since it is ungentlemanly to speak about your private parts!”

“But for me own part, it was Greek to me,” the cat responded and burped.

Christ, Shakespeare was quoting the dead William Shakespeare!

Daisy scurried to the study with the cat swatting at her ankles.

She slammed the door shut in his furry face. Thank goodness Shakespeare was a flat-nosed cat so suffered little damage.

Daisy jumped at the sound of pounding wood. The cat must be shoving his heavy weight against the door.

She snapped the lock in place and just in time. The cat must now be standing on his hind legs jiggling the door handle with his front paws but the lock held.

There was a pounding at the door, probably by a thick tail, followed by some Shakespeare spoken like a Cockney through a mouthful of hairballs. “By the pricking of me thumbs, something wicked this way comes. Open, locks, whoever knocks!”

She grabbed a picture of Jesus which her Aunt Davina, a Sunday School Teacher, earlier gave her along with the advice, “Pray to God, Daisy, that The Man watching football from the clouds will toss you a husband as good as my John. Maybe you will catch a Matthew or a Peter.”

“I dated a Peter once and he was really a dick,” Daisy had responded.

There was a clawing at the office door followed by, “Double, double toil and trouble.”

Quick, Daisy scotch taped Jesus to the wooden door which was not the same as nailing Jesus to the gnarly wood of a tree. Adhesive was not the same thing as torturing with nails unless one uses Superglue.

The Heavenly Hippie had a mischievous look in His eyes. Mm, the Lord sent Daisy a miracle of her cat finding his voice. Unfortunately, God made Shakespeare speak like a low-class Brit instead of a Royal. Her cat had been a feral kitten born homeless by a mother who was an alley cat, a smart alley cat.

A paw slid under the study door, feeling for a hidden key. “Fire burn, and cauldron bubble,” the cat said, continuing to quote William Shakespeare.

Ha! Daisy had kicked the office key while taping Jesus to the door. Oh, Christ, the Lord had flipped upside down and Jesus now stared at the ceiling with the blood rushing to his head, the blood, that is, from the thorns around his head that must be like a painful sweatband.

Today, with her sisters and aunt laying hands on her and praying over her unmarried status, along with Jesus now turned upside down, was beginning to seem like The Exorcist Going-on-40 movie. Even her five sisters, who were not as religious as Aunt Davina, had all bowed their heads in prayer so that Daisy would be happily married by her 40th birthday. What hypocrites—three of them were single. Okay, so Doll was only 21, a baby really and she was an unwed mother which eliminated one reason women sometimes marry out of desperation. And to be fair, Diamond was engaged. Then there was Delta who was thrice divorced.

Three times divorced, not thrice you idiot! I’m beginning to sound like William Shakespeare, though not as eloquent as my cat. Not only is my cat speaking to me but he seems to be smarter than I am.

Desperate times called for desperate measures. Although not Catholic, Daisy crossed her chest in the Catholic manner, muttering a prayer. “Go away!”

Oh, how pathetic! Shakespeare began meowing in a cute kitty fashion that she could never resist, but not this time! “Go away, I said!”

Good! Finally! There was the sound of claws clicking against the hall floor.

The noise grew faint.

“La, la la! Peace and quiet at last! Hallelujah!” Daisy sat on an office chair, ratty by claws, and turned on the computer. The only sound was the clicking of the keyboard which was music to her ears.

Click, click click…

I’m sick sick sick sick of everybody telling me that I need to get married.

Her heart stopped at the sound of claws coming down the hallway sounding like high-heels.

What is that rolling sound?

The noises stopped.

There was heavy breathing at the door and Jesus once more hung upside down on the wood.

“I brought you a bottle of wine, dearie,” the cat said, cackling like an old witch.

She tiptoed over to the door. “I suppose you have a poisoned apple, too, in that filthy paw of yours.”

“I didn’t bring a wormy apple. Would you like a nice unopened bottle of Pinot Noir,” he said.

Daisy twisted a fist in her yellow Cinderella nightgown. Her big toe stuck out of one of her slippers. She normally did not drink this early in the day or was even up on a Saturday morning, but her sisters banged on the bedroom window at nine-something, waking her for an old-maid exorcism. What started out as a Daisy-we-are-worried-about-you-being-lonely intervention quickly escalated into an old-maid prayer meeting with her five sisters and aunt laying healing-through-prayer hands on her head and shoulders.

Aunt Davina started it all with the question, “When was the last time you went to church?”

Daisy had mumbled, “two years ago or before that.”

“I knew it! Right before Steve dumped you,” Delta said, as if two of her ex-husbands had not left her for other women.

“I dropped him,” Daisy insisted.

“You told us he sent you a text with a picture of him and his new girlfriend,” they all sang in an angelic chorus.

Ugh! Why did her sisters have such good memories?

Given the day she was having, a ten a.m. drink not named Bloody Mary or Sunrise Mimosa could hit the I-feel-good-about-myself spot right on.

Contrarily to her nature, Daisy really should be strong and tell the cat to go catch a mouse.

On the other hand, a stiff drink would calm the cockroaches chewing inside her stomach and the lizards jogging around her brain. The interior racing and munching was all due to her new twisty, freaky, mad-as-a-hatter relationship with her cat.

“Uh, a glass of wine would be good,” she squeaked. Or two or three or the whole frickin’ bottle!

First however, Daisy closed the web browsers that were open on her computer, not wanting the cat to stick his furry nose up her, er in her business. Not that Shakespeare could read, a totally silly thought, but then this was such a bizarre day starting with all of her sisters acting religious all of a sudden. They even yanked scarves from their purses, knotting the silk beneath their chins before praying. Of course her eldest sister Delta purchased the scarves since they all had sales tags with designer brands dangling from the knots. Daisy usually shopped for clothing at the discount stores. She should feel special that a famous designer prayed all over her, albeit a dead designer, Versace, but then it had been a spinster exorcism.

Daisy really, really, really needed some breakfast alcohol.

She slowly opened the creaking door.

Shakespeare rolled a wine bottle with the tip of his nose, stopping the bottle with her slippers.

“You’ve been in the beer again,” she noted, waving a hand in front of her nose.

The cat swayed slightly on his paws. “I had a pint, me dear. I imbibe now and then because you cut off me love buds.”

Humph! She tapped her foot. “Well, imagine carrying a litter of ten or so kitties in your womb ever three months!”

“That’s a female problem,” Shakespeare said with a typical male response. The cat blew on a paw, showing off his flexed claws. “You need a pedicure, Daisy.”

He then bounced on all four paws, sideways, over to the chair in front of the computer monitor. He jumped on the cushion, rubbing his furry buttocks against the fabric. Shakespeare liked to scratch his butt a lot, and he often had kitty litter stuck between his claws. She shuddered to think what else he found stuck up his rear.

He probably just came from the litter box, she thought, fuming.

While she opened the bottle of wine with a spare opener, the cat began pounding the keyboard with his paws.

She took a swallow, wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, and said, “I didn’t know you were literate, Shakespeare.”

“Just because I’ve always been the strong silent type don’t mean that I can’t read and write like a proper gentleman.” The cat sounded like a British butler.

“You’re a cat. Therefore, you can’t ever be a gentleman just because you know how to use a computer. You smoke like a fish but you aren’t a fish.”

“Point taken, Daisy. Enough of your insults before I report you to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.”

“I’m not being cruel to you, Shakespeare, by stating the obvious.”

“Mental cruelty,” he said, “along with the butchery of me balls.”

She had turned down her sisters’ offers of blind dates and now the phone was ringing with the word Ma ominously blinking beneath an image of her mother’s big, wide-open mouth. She wished her mother had never taken a class in using Smart phones and discovered Video calling.

Well, she would ignore the phone call.

Then Shakespeare jumped from the keyboard to the Accept button of the phone.

“You vengeful hairball,” Daisy hissed.

Shakespeare hissed back at her.

Ma didn’t talk; she screamed. “What’s this I hear, young lady, about you being so picky about what man you are going to marry? Well I married your dad, didn’t I? If I had waited for the pick of the litter, I’d be dead right now, wouldn’t I, and YOU WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN BORN!”

“Oh, gee we have a bad connection. I think my cellphone is about to drop this call.”

Buzz.

Quick, Daisy turned off her cellphone.

Shakespeare had gone back to typing at the computer.

She would need another swallow or two of cheap wine before reading what the cat was typing.

Daisy crept up behind him, reading his Shakespearean message out loud. “For you and I are past our dancing days.”

“I'm not that old!” she shrieked. “You’re like 91 or something in human years. I’m only 39!”

“You had a fearful look in your eye when your sisters crashed into the house and attempted to convince you of the need of finding someone before you become obsolete on the love market.”

“Big deal, so I’ll be turning 40 in eleven months which is less than half your age. Card companies call 40 ‘over the hill’ not obsolete!”

“Forty is a lot of candles, luv. I’ve got a vested interest if you burn the house down on your next birthday, which is why I’m offering to cut down on me nappy time to help.”

“Why should I listen to advice on relationships from someone who has never had…ever even had…or could have…”

“It’s not for lack of trying.”

It was true Shakespeare had a thing for fuzzy blankets. He was rather randy to use the British term for frisky.

He placed a paw on her hand. “Don’t mind your sisters, aunt, and mother Daisy; a little more than kin, and less than kind.”

She wiped her eyes with the backs of her hands. “A Shakespearean quote sums up my sisters alright. They’re like five wicked stepsisters only they are not steps. Poor Aunt Davina can’t seem to remember that her husband died ten years ago, probably hen-pecked to death.” Daisy had smelled the liquor on her aunt’s breath. Davina imbibed rather heavily in God’s grape juice, proclaiming that wine was divine like her name.

As for Ma, well Ma was recently widowed by her second husband being struck by lightning while golfing.

“Between the seven of them, there is a wealth of experience when it comes to men. However, I do not need their offers of blind date setups. I can find my own man, thank you very much.”

“Still waiting for a knight in shining armor to wake you from your sleep, my pretty one?”

She shrugged her shoulders.

“A prince to return your glass slipper to your chapped foot?”

She circled her head.

“A charmer to hold you up when you’re falling-down drunk?”

“So you were awake last night when I stumbled through the door, huh?”

“Who do you think it was dragged you to bed and tucked you in, chickadee?”

“No wonder I woke up with claw marks.”

“You’re welcome very much. I do deserve a snack, you know, this way.”

Shakespeare wagged his tail towards the kitchen pantry and the kitty snacks labeled Temptations.

“Blackmailer,” she mumbled and threw about five pieces on the floor.

“Mm, mm.” The cat chewed with the sides of his mouth since he was missing a couple of teeth, the result of being abandoned too young by his mother and not getting enough calcium.

She dropped to her haunches and Shakespeare opened his mouth wide. She sprayed his tonsils with No-Tuna-Smell breath freshener.

The cat gargled, stretched, and sighed contentedly, turning on his back and wiping the floor with his fur. “By the way, Daisy, you should join the twenty-first century. Give internet dating a spin.”

“I don’t want to seem thirsty,” she said.

He raised a kitty eyebrow.

“In dating lingo thirsty means that I am desperate for a boyfriend or you know, thirsty for…”

“For a one-night lay.”

“Well that but more like for a meaningful relationship. And then there’s an online profile with a picture which needs to be posted on dating websites, and you know that I am not photogenic.”

“Your butt photographs very well,” the cat said. “Display that ass on the internet and your email account will explode with offers from all kinds of blokes.”

“Nor do I care to brag about myself,” she said.

“Well, if you don’t brag then who will?”

“Nor do I want to attract men who are only interested in one thing.”

“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

“Well, if you insist…”

“I do.”

“Then I’ll get on this dating wagon by making a list, starting with…” Daisy furrowed her brow over a piece of paper while she scribbled a list. She then taped the paper to the fridge with a Band-Aid since she had used up all the scotch tape on Jesus.

Needs List

  1. Get my sisters off my back
  2. Buy Aunt Davina a case of wine
  3. Ignore Ma
  4. Buy a new dildo
  5. go to Church
  6. Look up talking cats
  7. Consider maybe
  8. Stay Positive
  9. Join a gym

The cat plopped in front of the refrigerator, his big rump sticking up, blocking the door and waiting for lunch.

She felt silly holding a newspaper over his head to smack the demon out of him. Shakespeare was sucking his paw as usual like he did when trying to relax. He was just the same old smelly cat, except for his mastering the English language and spouting forth lines from his namesake. Shakespearean quotes were to be expected given his name.

The cat was in a drunken stupor, smelling of cheese. He mumbled, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

How true!

Daisy peered out the kitchen window. What's-his-face from across the street was at the community mailboxes.

She would show Delta, Dawn, Diamond, Dove, Doll, Aunt Davina, Ma, and her cat that she could find a date all on her very own.

Me, myself, and I will decide my destiny!

Chapter 2

There wasn’t much time; what's-his-name was sticking a key in her mailbox.

Wait a minute, why is he checking my mail? And how the heck did he get a key?

Quick, Daisy shoved her legs into a pair of denim jeans, first tossing baby powder on the crotch of her bikini panties in lieu of a shower and a pair of clean underpants. There was no time for Saturday laundry and last night’s panties were soaking in a Margarita mess and an olive with a toothpick stuck in the crotch. The rest of her underpants stood at attention in the laundry basket and she wasn’t about to risk scraping the crack in her body where the sun doesn’t ever shine.

Daisy tucked the bottom of her Cinderella nightgown into her pants. Cinderella’s mouth was now twisted. She appeared to be saying, "Oh my gosh! I can’t believe I swallowed the prince's pecker!" It was a good thing Daisy had slept with her bra on, which she now untangled from around her neck.

She slipped her feet into a pair of unmatched sandals and ran out the front door with jiggling boobs to check the mail without realizing that her hair was sticking up like she just got out of bed. She had, however, not removed her makeup last night so her face was looking its best except for the eyelashes that were clumped together on her right eye with crusty woken-up-too-soon goo and on her left eye with stayed-up-too-late crud. Her 24-hour pink lipstick was still on her lips with teeth marks ground into the bubble-gum color. Her complexion was dewy from the sweat of should-I-ask-him-out, or wait-for-him-to-make-the-first-move, or confronting him with why-are-you-snooping-in-my-mailbox?

Only now, he was checking his own mailbox. Oh well, he must have gotten their mailbox numbers mixed up.

She watched for traffic and then crossed the street.

Daisy jammed the key into her mailbox, only she jabbed a finger instead because she forgot the key in her haste to stumble into her neighbor in a nonchalant, unplanned, accusing way.

“Oh, you must have found my mail key,” she said with a raised eyebrow.

“Yes, the key was stuck in the mailbox. I yanked it out for you. You never know, there might be someone lurking in the shadows.” His voice had dropped to a whisper.

She took the key and stuttered, “Do you want to…?”

He interrupted her in an alpha voice. “Well, well, well, we have never met before.”

“I’m a Daisy,” she said.

Ouch! He yanked a few strands of hair from her head. “I just wanted some of your petals.”

Ooh, flirty. Good sign, she thought even as she rubbed the sore spot on her scalp.

“I’m a David as in Day-veed like pronounced in the Bible.”

Well, how does he know how God pronounces things in the Bible? In fact, Daisy knew nothing about him since this was the first time they had ever been at the mailboxes at the same time or spoken at all. They never even waved to each other or were friendly in the past. Their meeting must be fate, however, given all the praying that took place at her house earlier.

He leaned against her mailbox, blocking Daisy from checking her mail.

“Well, how about it, flower?”

Oops, bad sign. He forgot my name already.

“How about what?” she mumbled, followed by a nervous cough. His stare was creeping her out. Day-veed from the Bible had Charlie Manson eyes.

“Have you had breakfast?”

Unless half a bottle of wine counts. “Not yet,” she said more cheerful than she felt.

He outlined her mailbox, staring at her intently as if he was the devil looking into her soul. “How about you and I go to the coffee shop for some coffee?” he said in a deep voice, as if coffee was an aphrodisiac or something.

She smiled. All he wanted was coffee and a muffin. They could walk to the coffee shop.

“Sure,” she said, “just let me get my purse.”

“Oh, I’m paying to watch you eat,” he said.

“Um, okay.” What an odd way for him to express breakfast but he did offer to pay which was rare nowadays in a man. “We should do breakfast a la continental,” she said, wishing she could really speak French. For the last 14 years, Daisy worked part-time on three PhDs and changed her majors about a dozen times but never to the French language nor had she ever minored in Sophistication.

“Yeah, wee-wee,” he said, “which reminds me, I need to take a piss while you get your purse.”

She thought he was paying.

“Oh, I am paying but you need your purse in case they need to ID you.”

At a coffee shop? Or did he mean if the police find my dead body in a dumpster? Don’t go to silly la la land. We are walking to the coffee shop. I am not riding in his trunk.

“Meet me in a few minutes,” he said and winked which was rather cute.

“Back atcha.” She aimed her index fingers cocked like pistols at his heart.

Instead of running back across the street and appearing too eager, she walked briskly back to the house singing, “I have a date! And it’s a real date since he is paying!”

Drat! The cat was sober, waiting for her at the door.

“Not stepping o'er the bounds of modesty, are you, wearing pajamas on a date?” Shakespeare said. Damn cat had such good hearing even with gobs of wax stuffed in his ears.

“Well, he already saw me dressed like this and might find me too gung ho if I change.”

“I didn’t suggest you dress like a ho,” Shakespeare said.

“We’re just running down to the coffee shop for a cup of coffee. I mean, walking in a nice getting-to-know-all-about-you manner,” she sang.

“Well, I’d like a cuppa tea.”

“Cats are not allowed in restaurants, Shakespeare, though there are some eating establishments which allow dogs.”

He spit out a wad of hairball. “The prejudice in this world is a disgrace.”

Daisy could relate. There were so many times she had been stung by married people simply because she was single.

“However, I’m not a great walker,” the cat continued, “and never meant to be a third wheel on your date. Bring me back a slice of lemon cake, and there’s a good tip in it if you hurry your little buns.”

“I’ll feed you early since who knows how long we’ll be.” It felt good using the pronoun we.

Daisy opened a can of tuna, and Shakespeare shoved his whiskers in the bowl. “Ah, a brunch fit for the gods.”

She left the cat to his tuna, grabbed her purse, locked the door, and waited by the mailboxes.

David walked up to her, drying his hands on his pants. “I didn’t do my wash,” he explained.

Yippee, they had something in common. Oh, crap, I forgot to change from my nightgown that’s still tucked into my pants.

They walked the block to the corner, talking about the weather.

Voila! He held the door open for her.

David sat her down at the table as if she might break.

He stood in line and ordered, paying as promised.

They sat, waiting for their order, her order since David didn’t buy anything for himself. “I just want to watch you eat,” he whispered. He peered at her as she sipped on a 31-ounce Big Gulp of coffee. He had ordered her the largest size so, “I can watch you drink longer. Take slow sips,” he ordered, “I like to see your lips pursed over a skinny cylinder.”

“O-kay,” she said, wondering if he was a pencil dick. She was beginning to feel awkward but there was all this food he purchased. He had bought every breakfast item on the menu. It was quite a spread.

Okay, don’t think of spread.

Wait, calm down, the man only wants to watch me eat. He has a weird fetish like a man who asks to drink from a woman’s smelly old shoe or wear her clothes even though he’s not gay. And then there’s the guy who wears his undershorts even though they have skid marks.

Daisy shuddered at the ghosts of past dates.

“I can’t eat all this food,” she finally said from a mouth full of Bacon and Gruyere.

“I want to experience your teeth chomping into every French crumb and each muffin.”

She laughed nervously.

Daisy chewed slowly and sipped while David talked, his eyes never straying from her mouth. He recited what sounded like a diary.

“You wake up on the weekdays at seven a.m. and open all the blinds. You sleep later on Saturday, until ten o’clock. On Sundays you rise at 10:15.”

She gulped.

“You close the blinds in the bathroom 15 minutes after you get up, which means you’re showering. Before this, you are probably doing your business. Your bowel habits are like clockwork.”

Her mouth hung open.

“You wash your hair in the kitchen sink.”

“Chew!” He stuffed a slice of Cheese Danish between her lips.

“During the work week, you drive out of your garage at 8:00 a.m. on the way to your job at the university.”

“How did you know…?”

“You always stop for coffee at the drive-up on Main.”

“When did you follow…”

“You arrive back home at 5:30.”

She coughed, choking on the Danish as David continued to describe her daily habits. He went into detail about every outfit she wore this past week, even the brand of shampoo and conditioner she used.

He leaned into her.

She pressed her back into the chair shoving her head towards the window so that her neck was hurting.

“You dry your hair while watching foreign films on Netflix,” he said.

Had he been peeping through her windows or just watching her through a telescope? How else could Day-veed note the subtitles she read while using a noisy hair dryer?

“Don’t you ever work?” she said between bites.

“My job is watching you,” he said in an intimate voice.

“Okay, who hired you? I swear it was only a parking ticket! I intend to pay it eventually.” She started to explain and then he interrupted her again.

 “I’m glad you agreed to have coffee with me before we sleep together.”

“What?!” She spit coffee at him.

Daisy jumped from the table, yanked some bills from her purse and threw them in his face. “Stay away from me, Day-veed from the Bible,” she hissed, “or I’ll file a restraining order.”

“Oh, come on! You, too, flower girl?” he yelled.

She swung the door wide open, and then changed her mind. She refused to show him that he scared her.

Daisy marched to the counter, grabbed a take-out bag, and filled the bag with what was left of the lemon cake that was on the table. “Yes, me, too,” she screamed and slapped his face with the paper sack.

She then waited at the ordering counter for some tea, tapping her shoe.

She felt his eyes drilling into her back.

She spun and glared at him. Daisy twisted her hands behind her back so he would not see that she was shaking.

He was the first to look away.

He dragged his seat from under his rear, stood from the table, and walked towards the bathrooms.

Quick, she grabbed her takeout and headed towards home, sobbing and spilling some of the tea.

Not that it matters if he follows me home. He knows where I live.

She grabbed an alarm sign from a yard and then ran all the way home with it. When she got to her driveway, she shoved the sign in the grass to make it seem as if her house was being monitored by an alarm company.

She yanked open the door.

Shakespeare sat with the mail key dangling from his mouth.

She shoved her hand in her pants pocket and pulled out the duplicate key which her neighbor somehow had counterfeited.

Daisy leaned a baseball bat by the front door. She ordered Shakespeare, “From now on you’re a watch cat and your job is to keep an eye on that weirdo across the street.”

“I prefer the term attack cat.” He flexed his claws.

“Here’s your cake and your tea.” She shook a paper bag. “But first, you promised a tip.”

The cat cleared his throat as if giving a stage performance. “Of all base passions, fear is the most accursed.”

How wise for one so furry even if the quote was ripped off from William Shakespeare. The cat was right; peeping David across the street was not worth letting him crawl beneath her skin. However, she would purchase portable alarms to place at each opening of the house.

The cat chewed on the crumbs left from the cake, licking some icing from his nose. “If you think this dab of cake makes up for you being a ball buster, madam, you are mistaken!”

Humph! So Shakespeare held a grudge, big time. Well, no wonder he bit her leg sometimes when it wasn’t snack time or occasionally hissed at her. The hissing was only when the cat sat with his legs spread wide, grooming his private parts, or private part, with his tongue.

Shakespeare licked his paws, washing his face with spit.

“Really? Seriously? You’re still angry about a tiny thingy which happened 13 years ago when you were four months old?” she said.

“Tiny?” The cat hiccupped a hairball, sounding as if he was choking.

She held up the nail of her little finger. “You were a kitten then and it was difficult to even tell if you were a boy or a girl kitty.”

“My aren’t we grouchy. Date didn’t go well then? Did he tell you to sod off?”

“I told him to get lost! Oh, I sang him the words since he likes musicals, especially with people eating in them.”

Shakespeare blinked his big yellow eyes, as if the baseball near the door wasn’t a sign that their neighbor was a loony tune.

Ooh, the cat and her sisters were always right! Amen.

She outlined the faces of her sisters from a picture taped to the refrigerator. Daisy was laughing in the middle of a huddle with five women who ranged from the tender age of 21 all the way up to 40. Her sisters were her best friends and always had her back.

On the other hand, her sisters were pains in her rear at times, such as the 59 texts they sent at the coffee shop asking if she reconsidered their offers. They attached resumes on potential dates. Her phone had been quacking like a duck in heat since she used a ducky sound on her Android for texts.

Alrighty then, Daisy would dive into the swamp of blind dating, feet first. She would trust her sisters to use their heads and hunt down the right man for her, men vetted by referrals, five blind dates. From the lucky candidates, she would choose which man was right for her.

Daisy leaned back against the sofa with her eyes closed. The experience would be like The Bachelorette television show, starring her, only the men would not be aware that each was one of a pack.

Yes, Daisy could see it now, she arriving in a white stretch limo wearing movie-star sunglasses.

She waves her hand at the crowds lined with encouraging posters.

WE LOVE YOU DAISY!

GO, GIRL!

DAISY NUMBER ONE!

She climbs out, wearing a white fur coat and walking as if she owns the world.

Two yummy tuxedo-dressed men swing open the double doors for her and bow.

She grants them a smile with sparkling-diamond teeth as each man kisses a hand.

“Hi, I’m Daisy Davenport, and I’m your newest Bachelorette.”

There stand five hunky handsome men, each with a rose twirling in his hand.

Daisy winks at the camera. “You’re in for some steamy hot tub moments this season so don’t change the channel. I may seem like a lunatic talking to my cat, but really I’m not crazy. Trust me.”


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

Belinda has a degree in Applied Mathematics. Before pursuing a full-time writing career, she worked as a Computer Programmer, Software Engineer, and Web Developer. She is a Zumbaholic and really does have a cat named Shakespeare. She has dreamt several times that her cat spoke to her in English. There are times that her cat really does speak words such as Ma-Ma and No. Her cat Whiskey (R.I.P.) was uber-talkative and would carry on a conversation but in cat language. He always had the last word.

Q. What is the inspiration for the story?
A.
My cat Whiskey would sit on a chair, posed like a human with a beer can balanced on his head for like 30 minutes or so. Whiskey looked exactly like Garfield and loved spaghetti. My current cat is named Shakespeare. The book is a cross between Bridget Jones, the movie Ted, and the cartoon Garfield.
Q. Tell us about the cover and the inspiration for it.
A.
Daisy is looking for her Prince Charming, hence the Coach emblem on her underwear, the mouse on her back, and glass slipper on the floor. Her Ideal Man list is taken from some of the blind dates she is set up on in the book. The picture on the fridge is her cat when a kitty and shows that he rules.
Q. Where can readers find out more about you?
A.
I have written two memoirs: Memoirs of a Bigamist's Daughter, and A House of Sticks. I write under two other names and have two other Amazon Author Pages: B. Austin -> http://amazon.com/author/baustin AND Belinda Vasquez Garcia -> http://amazon.com/author/belindagarcia