Please welcome the amazing Jami Davenport….
Topic: It’s a Cat’s Life
I want to be a cat. When I die, I want to come back as a cat–our cat.
We were not cat people. Honest. I mean I like cats (in fact, we’re animal lovers), but a
nice barn cat that doesn’t spread cat hair all over your house. Now, my husband is one of those
macho guys (a former Army Ranger and SF Weapons Sergeant) who didn’t like cats at all. At
least, he “claimed” he didn’t.
A few years ago in the fall, an orange tabby moved into our barn. Hey, I was fine with
that. They’re ruthless mousers and I’m all for a friendly little barn cat. He was very friendly and
he got along with the dogs–got along being a relative term since he scared the crap out of our big
dogs. I think he must have given them some tough love with one of his paws (claws extended, of
So we fed him… And we took him in to get shots and to be fixed.
Problem is that he had greater aspirations than being a lowly barn cat. He wanted to be a
That winter, my husband injured his back at work and was flat on the couch for a few
weeks. Day two on the couch–I came home from work. There was the cat on Dennis’ chest, both
of them sound asleep.
So much for the barn cat.
If you have cats, you know the rest.
He moved in, took over and relegated us to servant duties, the dogs to body guard duties,
and immediately proceeded to claim every bed, couch, chair and lap as his own private property.
He sleeps all day when he isn’t grooming or eating. He’s retired from hunting–too much work
and too cold–wet–hot–whatever–outside. This cat has it made.
In my recent release, Forward Passes, our orange tabby is a co-star of the book. He
makes an appearance as Tyler’s finicky former barn cat and he takes the arrogant jock down a
peg. After all, you can only have one prima donna per household and the cat wins. I love Cat,
and he’ll be included to future books, I’m sure, along with an entire slew of animals because I
can’t write about without at least one secondary animal character.
First Chapter: What Goes Up
A man about to make pro-football history should be a lot more excited about it.
Like a well-programmed robot, Tyler Harris zeroed in on his receiver, instinctively
calculated the distance, and lofted the ball into the air. The second the football left his hands he
knew it’d be a touchdown catch.
His cousin and the Seattle Lumberjacks top wide receiver, Derek Ramsey, blazed into the
end zone, spun around at the exact right moment, and caught the ball.
Ty waited for the smugness, the confidence, the satisfaction to surge through him. He waited
for the greatest natural high on earth to engulf him, a high better than the best sex, and that was
pretty damn, fucking good.
But nothing happened.
Two more minutes to glory. The defense took the field and held the Bruins. The clock ticked
off the last seconds until the scoreboard displayed
The stands erupted. Confetti blinded Tyler in a snowstorm of red, white, and blue. The stuff
swirled through the air and stuck to his sweat-soaked uniform. Teammates slapped his back.
Coaches hugged him. The roar of the fans deafened him. Sportscasters crammed microphones in
his face and barked questions at him. Rabid reporters yanked on his Number Eleven jersey and
fought for his attention.
He stood frozen in place, staring at the scoreboard. He felt more like a shell-shocked soldier
than a conquering field general who’d led his troops to victory in the final battle and won the
Except he wasn’t a general. He was no fucking hero. He’d never risked his life to save
others. He’d never tramped through the desert or the jungle not knowing if his next step would
be his last. He’d never sacrificed so others could have a better life or even have a life. He was
just a guy gifted with an athletic body and a no-quit attitude. He didn’t deserve this: the
adulation, the money, the fame, none of it.
But since when did he give a shit if it was deserved or not?
What the fuck was wrong with him?
Every football player lived for this moment from the first second he gripped a football in his
hands. It should’ve been the happiest time of his life, a defining moment in a career of defining
moments; two Super Bowls under his belt and a sure MVP of the game. He was a future Hall-ofFamer
with a lot of gas left in his tank, still in his prime, not yet thirty years old. The press touted
him as the hottest QB in the league.
Nowhere to go from here but—
Nothing had been the same since Ryan died. Try as he might, he couldn’t find his passion
for the game, for life, for anything. Hell, not even for sex.
Like a disembodied spirit, he observed the scene, detached and way too fucking melancholy
in the midst of the celebratory mayhem engulfing him. Jostled around by the sea of humanity, he
barely felt them. He stood in the middle of the crowd, numb, apathetic, and alone. The emptiness
smothered him, gnawed at his gut, consumed him.
Regardless of his apathy, he wouldn’t rain on his teammates’ parade.
Forcing a grin he didn’t feel and adopting his cocky façade, he faced the television cameras
and gave them what they’d come to expect from him, an arrogant, yet entertaining, recap of his
performance. Then he stood on the podium, and made one of his typical fist-pumping speeches
laced with humor. After which he did every post-game interview with his usual brash panache.
No one noticed his mechanical movements or the dead smile.
Was this all there was?
What had happened to his legendary enthusiasm for the game, his penchant for living life on
the edge? What happened to
him? He’d lost himself somewhere between college jock and
superstar athlete, yet it hadn’t mattered before. He’d lived in blissful ignorance until that fateful
night when Ryan died of cancer.
If you stripped away all the hype and his public image, he didn’t have a fucking clue who
All this deep shit rattling around in his brain was way too much introspection for a dumb
jock. He shook off this momentary lapse into deep thought, took a deep breath, and squared his
shoulders. In a week, he’d start the relentless pursuit of winning all over again because losing,
for Tyler, had never been an option.
Glancing at his watch, he followed his teammates out of the locker room via a back door,
down the long hallway leading to buses waiting to take them to the airport. A couple hours and a
few glasses of champagne later the team plane touched down in Seattle. Security hustled them
past the large crowds to waiting limos.
Waving and grinning, he acknowledged the hordes of fans crammed into every spare inch of
terminal space. He paused and breathed in the crisp Seattle air. His teammates shouted to each
other, planning parties which would last well into the morning.
Cass, his long-time fiancée and even longer-time girlfriend, would expect to attend every
one of them. She’d already texted him with her location at a teammate’s home on Lake
Washington. The Vegas line against them ever getting married had once topped out at fifty-toone
and dipped to fifteen-to-one after he’d set a date for two weeks from today.
Claustrophobia set in, smothering him. He felt trapped, trapped in a career he no longer had
a hunger for. His self-created, bad-boy image pigeonholed him in a role he wasn’t sure he
wanted to play. His upcoming wedding in two weeks weighted him down with doubt.
He needed to escape, clear his head, gain some clarity.
Tyler slid behind the wheel of his sports car and accelerated out of the underground parking
garage. His wheels spun on the rain-slickened streets as he turned a corner too quickly. Instead of
heading toward I-5 and Mercer Island for a night of celebration, he turned in the opposite
direction, dodging in and out of cars on the four-lane street. The light ahead turned yellow, Tyler
punched the gas.
And slammed right into the back of a police car.