Exclusive Excerpt from Trusting Him
by L.M. Somerton
They found Rayne, Benjy, Frank, Fergus and Henry gathered around the table in the staff room. A large cardboard box sat in the middle of it and there were strange squeaks coming from inside.
“Will someone tell me what’s going on?” Luke demanded
Skye peered into the box. “Oh! Oh, look, Sir.”
Frustrated that no one was giving him a clear explanation for the chaos, Luke stepped forward. For a moment he couldn’t work out what he was looking at, but gradually he realized that the pile of wriggling fur in the box was a collection of kittens and their mother, an ample tabby with a purr like a traction engine.
“Perhaps someone could explain why there is a box of cats on the table?”
Skye pulled one of the kittens from the box and held it against his chest where it promptly fell asleep. “Where did they come from?” he asked.
“They were left outside the main gate,” Rayne said. “I drove into the village because I had to get my mum’s birthday card into the post and when I got back the box was there. Right in the middle of the road. How could somebody just dump them?”
By this time, all the boys had picked out a kitten to cuddle. The mother cat didn’t seem bothered at all. Probably relieved to get a moment’s peace, Luke thought. I know how she feels.
Skye turned to Luke with pleading eyes. “Can we keep them, Sir?”
Luke found himself the subject of six intense stares. He had the sense to recognize he’d already lost the battle. Thoughts of the sub mafia flashed through his head. “They can stay for the weekend, then we will have to see about finding them new homes. They also need to visit a vet. They can’t be anywhere near the kitchen though. Tor would have me hung like an aging ham.” He surveyed his staff. “You’ll all have to take turns looking after them, and that includes the night shift. I suggest the old chauffeur’s room over the garage would be suitable. It’s well insulated and dry.”
“We can set up a pen so they have some space to play,” Benjy suggested. “And find something cozy for them to sleep in.”
“They’ll need food, a litter tray… I grew up with cats,” Henry said. “If you drive, Rayne, we could get to the nearest pet superstore. The place will be open until eight tonight and there’s a vet on site. I’ll call them and see if we can get an emergency appointment.”
“The kittens aren’t weaned yet,” Rayne said. “They’ve been feeding from their mum, so we won’t need kitten food. I think someone else should come with us. I don’t want any of them getting loose in the car and we don’t have a proper pet carrier.
Luke listened as the planning continued around him. With the decision made that the cats could stay, he had become superfluous to the proceedings. “Frank, for those who are staying in tonight, please order a takeaway from the Happy Garden. You can use The Retreat’s account. I’ll leave you all to it. I have a date with a glass of wine and a few episodes of Luther on the iPlayer. I’ll be in my quarters if you need me.” He directed the last comment to Skye who seemed torn between joining him and staying to play with the kittens. He gave the one he was holding a kiss before putting it back in the box.
“Include me in the cat-sitting rota,” Skye said. “That’s okay, isn’t it, Sir?”
“It is.” He was pleased Skye had volunteered. “They’ll be back from the vet’s soon enough,” he said, taking Skye’s hand and leading him from the staff room. “In the meantime, you can pet me instead.”
Skye licked his lips. “Yes please, Sir!”
Luke guessed he retained around ninety-nine percent of Skye’s love. The other percent had gone to a box of wriggling fluff balls.