This is such a great story that is part of the Winter Heat Anthology. If you haven't had the opportunity to read A.J. Llewellyn and Serena Yates' Cat and Dog story you should. The second installment of Cat Vs. Dog will be in On Valentine's Day which will be out in January. You can purchase Winter Heat at Amazon and ARe
Cat Vs. Dog
A.J. Llewellyn and Serena Yates
Cory Tullus shifted in his seat. Dog. He could smell a dog. Every hackle in him rose as he gazed around the cabin of the United Airlines flight bound for Denver, Colorado. How could there be a dog on board? The flight was just about to take off.
Easy…easy… It has to be a small dog. People are allowed to bring those on planes. I can handle a small dog. Especially one that is under somebody's seat.
He closed his eyes, trying to relax. He opened them again, detecting the scent coming from the rows ahead of him. The woman directly in front of him, the loud, obnoxious woman who'd irritated everyone at the departure gate with her lengthy cell phone discussions had a telltale animal carrier wedged under her seat.
Cory sniffed. The scent was higher. He lifted his head, shocked to see a tiny, furry head peering over the top of the woman's seat.
What the hell was it doing out of its bag? It was illegal for a dog to be loose in a cabin!
The woman, still screaming into her cell phone about her webmaster's ineptitude, turned her head, her gaze locking with Cory's. She looked a little frightened as her dog began an unearthly growling.
Just my luck.
She grabbed the dog and he heard a plaintive yelp. Cory could see her struggling with the creature. Her blinged-out cell phone fell to the floor. A flight attendant thundered down the gangway and stopped.
"That dog needs to be in its carrier, stowed under the seat," she told the female passenger who began to argue.
"My dog has a serious health condition. I fly with him all the time--"
"It still needs to be under your seat."
"I'll put him in before takeoff." The passenger was crazy to argue in this day and age when people got yanked off flights for the smallest of infractions. "He's a tiny dog. He's not doing anybody any harm."
The small dog's frantic, vicious growling and barking belied her words.
"Ow! He just bit me!" People started to stare now. "Norman, stop that!" she roared.
"Ma'am, please put the dog away."
"He's never done that, I swear. Ow! Norman!" The dog was clawing through his owner's carefully coiffed hair. Black extensions, at least Cory hoped they were extensions, started flying left and right.
Tiny little scissor-claws lunged in his direction. Cory started to sweat. Little dogs, especially schnauzers, sensed cat shifters more than big dogs and they saw a defenseless human as juicy meat. With their little, razor-like teeth they were a menace.
He glanced down at the attendant's shapely leg. One more inch and her foot would connect with--
Her high heel stomped the screen of the passenger's fallen cell phone.
It all happened so fast then. The passenger went mad, the schnauzer sensed its freedom, its head appearing over the top of the headrest again. The dog leaped into action, its mouth opened in an anxious pant, its beady eyes fixed on Cory. Its lips pulled back into a frightening leer, the dog's teeth emerging in a growl that made the woman beside Cory flip out.
"My God," she yelped as Norman, the schnauzer who would never hurt anybody, hurled its rigid body over the top of the seat right at Cory's face.
He clasped the gnashing, chewing, spitting dog by the throat.
"The bag," he hissed at the woman in front of him.
The flight attendant looked panicked as she reached for the bag. The dog's eyes bulged as it kept trying to attack Cory. Its sharp nails ripped at Cory's hands. He turned the dog around, holding it by the slim scruff of the neck as the flight attendant and the passenger fought over the bag.
Cory could have killed the dog easily. He liked dogs, actually. Big dogs, anyway. They were too stupid to sense the leopard shifter in him. He slid the small dog into the bag. It fought like a damned tiger for its freedom. Cory felt the sting of its claws on his skin. He couldn't lick the wounds here in public.
"Are you okay?" the woman beside him asked. "It really got you."
Cory nodded. "Excuse me." He unbuckled his seat belt. The woman in front of him struggled to get the dog under her seat. Her cell phone apparently was working in spite of meeting its Waterloo with a Jimmy Choo and she was back on it, demanding the phone number to United Airlines' customer service center.
In a tiny rest room cubicle, Cory stared at himself in the mirror. Pale under his fake-bake, he took a few deep breaths and began to lick the scratches on his hands and arm. Blood trickled from one particularly savage strike. He gave it some extra attention. He could feel his cat's whiskers emerging during this small ritual.
Oh, no. Not now. He couldn't allow the leopard to materialize. That'd freak out the occupants of the cabin, though it might be fun to chase that little runt, Norman. His whiskers receded and he tongued his hand, washing his face clean. All gone. All cat. No more dog.
He only had a two hour and fifteen minute flight to Denver, then a short layover and a quick half-hour flight to Aspen for Gay Ski Week. He couldn't wait. He'd worked so hard to take off five whole work days from the office. Seven days of snow, sex and…
A flight attendant's voice boomed into the cubicle demanding all passengers to return to their seats for takeoff. He unlatched the door, sliding into his seat just as the in-flight instructional video began.
Incarcerated Norman began its crazy growling and snapping from under the seat again.
"Boy, that dog really hates you," Cory's neighbor remarked. "He was quiet until you came back."
"No idea why. I love dogs." He shrugged. He hoped the idiot in front of him wasn't going to let the dog out once she thought she was safe. Norman's incessant barking began to bother other passengers.
The flight attendant came over to her. "Ma'am, I'm going to have to move you."
"I'm not moving. Norman likes this seat."
"Your dog is upsetting everybody."
A baby started to cry somewhere. Then another one started wailing back-up. Oh, boy. Cory closed his eyes.
"I'll move you to business class. He'll have more room there." The attendant looked desperate.
"Business class? Really?" Norman's human parent reached under her seat. "I'm so there! Norman adores business class." She stood, the dog really going bonkers in his carrier now. Anyone would think she was wrestling a bobcat.
Cory relaxed once they left.
"Say…what happened to all the scratches?" the woman beside him asked. "He really got you good."
"Superficial marks," he said. "I used cover-up."
Jee-zus. Who was she? The makeup police? "Maybelline," he replied, turning his head, closing his eyes and slipping his iPod earbuds into his ears. On the monitor ahead of him, a flight attendant was looking way too excited about her emergency instructions.
Just think about Aspen and all those hot guys… No dogs. No cats… Just sex. Lots and lots of sex…