**This week, my challenger set forth a meeting in a pet store…of one man who hates cats, and one who hates dogs. Enjoy!**
He was fucking adorable. Blond hair, bright blue eyes, a lean, toned body, and an absentminded smile that stirred my blood. I caught sight of him wandering down the cat litter aisle, and found myself trailing after him at a discrete distance. I feigned interest in a display of food dishes when he stopped to look at something, and by the time I looked up again, he’d disappeared. Cursing silently at my bad luck, I abandoned the display and reminded myself of my real purpose for being in the mega sized pet store.
Christmas was only three weeks away and my baby boy needed presents.
I’d adopted Nicodemus when he was just a puppy. Barely bigger than a basketball and nearly as round, he was a playful mass of black fur and boundless energy. I had no idea, at the time, that he was a Newfoundland, and that in a year’s time, he’d be fucking huge. Since then, I’d become an expert on Newfies and Nicodemus reaped the benefits. He was my boy, my most precious friend, and there was nothing I wouldn’t do for him. Thus, my mission for the best presents a dog could possibly have.
I wandered back toward the other side of the store. Red and green caught my eye, and as I walked closer, I saw that the massive display of gifts, toys, and treats for every pet imaginable. Since I already had Nico’s favorite treats and a rawhide in my basket, I headed that way to see what was on offer. My gaze was fixed on the rack of toys when I turned the corner and ran smack into another person.
“I’m sorry, excuse me,” was already out of my mouth before I realized who it was. The hottie I’d spotted earlier blushed and shook his head even as his gaze blatantly took me in. I grinned, making sure my dimples popped out. I practically saw him shiver.
“It’s okay,” he said, his voice a little breathy. He cleared his throat. “You didn’t do it on purpose.”
“I would have if I’d known it was you,” I said honestly. He was hot, and I was nothing if not forward. He looked surprised, but I just kept smiling. “I saw you earlier. You’re sexy as hell.”
I held my breath. Either I was going to get punched in the face, or he would be receptive to my advances. I was certainly hoping for the latter, but I was ready for the former. But the man in front of me just blushed deeper, and a pleased sort of smile cross his lips.
His voice was husky when he said, “I’m Shane.”
There we go. I took a step into his space. “Nice to meet you, Shane. I’m Luis. And I’m very glad you came here to shop.”
Shane leaned in, swaying toward me. “Had to get presents for my boy,” he responded absently.
“Your boy?” I asked, just to keep him talking. He had a great voice, low and sexy. I could listen to it for hours.
“Mmm, yeah.” One hand disappeared, and then a moment later he was tilting his phone toward me. “This is my Angel.”
I looked at the screen and nearly recoiled. The ball of grey fur had a smushed in face, bulging, eerie amber colored eyes, and practically no ears. It was the ugliest thing I had ever seen and I just couldn’t understand how Shane was staring at that picture with such loving adoration on his face. It was just my luck he was a cat person. I hated cats.
Suddenly, Shane glanced up. He must have caught the expression on my face because he took a step back. A scowl marred his pretty face.
“Let me guess,” he said, just a hint of disdain in his voice. He looked me up and down, like he was sizing me up. “You’re a dog person?”
He said the word like it was filthy and tasted bad. It got my back up. Not to be outdone, I whipped out my phone, unlocked the screen, and clicked hastily to my favorite picture of Nico. Tall, big, and proud, Nico stood before my fireplace looking like the perfect Newfie specimen. Sean looked for only a couple of seconds.
“At least he’s a good looking dog,” Shane sniffed. Then he looked me in the eye. “It’s a shame though. You’re hot, Luis. And you’ve got a fucking gorgeous smile. I would have loved to get to know you better. But you like dogs, and I don’t. I’m a cat person, and you clearly aren’t. It would never work.”
Even though I’d been thinking something similar, to hear Shane say it was like a slap in the face. I was stunned for a moment, and Shane took the opportunity to walk to the other side of the display. I shook my head and scrambled after him.
“You know,” I said low and conspiratorially as I caught up to him. I stood right behind him, and bent down a little to speak right in his ear. “We do have something very important in common.”
He shivered deliciously, and it made me grin. He had to clear his throat before he asked, “What’s that?”
“We’re both very dedicated animal lovers. That right there means we have common ground.”
Shane seemed to think that over. Then he slowly turned his head so that his lips were almost touching my cheek. “You may have a point there, Luis. How about you finish your shopping, and I’ll finish mine. And then, when we’re done, we meet next door for coffee?”
I grinned and agreed. Sounded perfect to me. I might hate cats, and Shane might hate dogs, but neither animal would be in the bedroom with us. I figured that we could find a way to work around it.