Kitty Rocks the House Page 6

But he was right. My ratings stopped falling when I stopped talking about vampire conspiracies. So much for getting the word out.

“Hi, Kitty. Thanks for taking my call. I have a really serious question.” He was male, soft-spoken, grim.

“They’re all serious, as far as I’m concerned.” You wouldn’t necessarily know that by listening to me.

“Yes, but, this is really serious.”

“Okay, lay it on me.”

“Do you believe in interspecies dating?”

I’d even gotten this one before, though maybe not in such blunt terms. “What, you mean dogs and cats, living together?”

“I mean do you think a relationship between, oh, like a vampire and a werewolf, or a were-lion and a normal human could ever work?”

“You call that interspecies dating, do you?”

“Well, yeah.”

I double-checked the name on the monitor. “Well, Ted, I believe we’re all human beings. A relationship between any of them has about as much chance of working out as a relationship between any other combination of people. Nothing interspecies about it.”

“You know what I mean.”

I decided to be difficult. “No, I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean. Care to explain it to me?”

“They may have started out human, but they’re nothing alike. How are they supposed to have relationships when they have nothing in common?”

“Except that they’re all human, at the core,” I said, insistent.

“I think you’re wrong.”

“Did you call in to argue with me about it?”

“No, I just wanted to ask, and I think you’re wrong. It’s been proven over and over again.”

This was where I was supposed to say, Some of my best friends are vampires … “Proven by whom?” I said instead, and didn’t give him a chance to answer. “While I do think it’s difficult for an uninfected human being or mortal lycanthrope and a vampire to carry on a relationship, because they age and the vampire doesn’t, I know it can work because I’ve seen it happen. As cliché as it sounds there really are cases where love conquers … if not all, then a lot.”

“You still believe that? After how many years of people calling you with all their problems? If you were right, you wouldn’t have a show.”

“The very fact that people call in with their problems gives me hope that those problems can be solved, and that people want to succeed. I mean, sticking two people who are human together doesn’t guarantee a successful relationship, does it?”

“Well, no…”

“Word of advice—never attribute to supernatural malice what just may be human nature. Next caller, lay it on me.” I hit the line.

“Um, hi. Yeah. Um, thanks for taking my call. I think.”

Okay, this guy was more nervous than even my more anxiety-prone callers. He sounded hushed, like he had laryngitis. Or like he was trying to disguise his voice. This ought to be good.

“You have a problem you want to talk about?”

“Yeah, um, I do.” He took a breath, gathering himself for the coming ordeal. “I’m a werewolf. And I’m okay with that, most of the time. That is, I think I’m pretty well-adjusted. But I’ve met this girl. Woman. My girlfriend. And she’s great.” A wistful tone entered his voice. “She’s more than great. I—I really want to ask her to marry me.”

“But—” I prompted. There was always a but.

“She doesn’t know I’m a werewolf. And I don’t know how to tell her. On top of that I want to introduce her to my pack, but I don’t know where to even start with that. I have a pretty good pack, they’re good people…”

“But—”

“I shouldn’t complain, my alpha pair are really laid back, as long as we don’t run around killing anything they let us do pretty much what we want. They encourage us to do what we want. But sometimes I could use, you know, a little guidance.”

“They sound like the parents who provide the beer at their teenagers’ parties.”

“Funny you should mention beer. I mean, um, what I really want is some advice about how to tell my girlfriend what I am. I shouldn’t ask her to marry me until she knows that.”

His voice had become clearer, more confident. And familiar. It was the line about the beer that did it. His alpha pair, providing the beer for the parties.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “Where are you calling from?” The monitor said “Bob from Westminster.” Westminster, the suburb of Denver. Right. I knew him.

“Um…” he said, the anxiety back in his voice.

“Listen, caller from Westminster, could you stay on the line just a second? Thanks. And now I’m going to break for station ID. I’ll be back in a couple of howls.” I made a desperate waving motion at the window, and my engineer Matt cued up station ID and PSAs, and the ON AIR sign dimmed. Then I took my caller off hold and talked through the headset.

Bob? I didn’t think so. “Trey, is that you? Tell me that’s not you.”

“It’s me.” The man sighed, his secret revealed at last.

“What are you doing calling me on the show? On the air? You can talk to me anytime you want. Why didn’t you just call my regular number?”

“You’re not exactly the easiest person to pin down. If you’re not working, you’re traveling, or you’re wrapped up in some plot. It never seems like the right time to sit down and talk, or you’re too busy, and, well. I figured this was the one time I’d get you where you’d be ready to listen.”

Hearing this from Trey didn’t quite feel like getting kicked in the gut, but it was close. I leaned my head on my hands, glad he couldn’t see me slouching, tail between my legs.

“Wow. Okay. Message received. I’m really sorry, Trey. I hadn’t realized I’d been so … so…” I couldn’t think of a word for what I’d been. I didn’t even know he had a girlfriend he was this serious about. “I’m sorry. But your girlfriend. That’s great. I’d really like to meet her.”

“If you think you can pencil me into your schedule.”

“Fine. I get it. I’m a bad den mother.”

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