My Books!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Purrfect Voyage

I have a treat for you today, readers. Author Ruth Hartman agreed to stop by and share an excerpt with you. Ruth is a published author and licensed dental hygienist. She lives in rural Indiana with her husband of twenty-eight years and their two extremely spoiled cats.

She holds an associate degree from Indiana University School of Dentistry. She also completed a course on Writing for Children and Teenagers from The Institute of Children's Literature.

Ruth's published works include a memoir, romance novels, and short stories. In keeping with "write what you know" she finds her books and stories often gravitate toward the themes of dentistry and cats. You can learn more about her at

Here's a link for Purrfect Voyage. (digital) and (print)

And now for that excerpt!

Chapter One

Oh no. Not again. “Come back here you little rascal!”

Kitty Carter trotted down the warped wooden dock of the marina chasing Arthur. She was always chasing Arthur. And Arthur was always running.

Away. From her.

“Slow down, will ya? I’ve only got two legs.”

Why does he always do this to me?

Arthur, her black cat, scurried on, stalking a minuscule brown mouse.

Her cat’s claws dug into the pine boards of the dock, leaving gouges the size of three-penny nails. As Kitty looked up in time to see the tip of Arthur’s tail disappear over the shiny metal railing of the small yacht, her foot slipped in a spare tire-sized puddle.


While her feet flew over her head, her left shoe flew off her foot and splashed into the water. Perfect. The back of her head smacked the dock. Hard. After a moment of staring into the blue Alaska sky, she smiled as hippos in yellow mini-skirts pranced among the clouds.

Wait, that couldn’t be right, could it?

She sat up and shook her head. The dancing hippos vanished. Kitty sighed. It wasn’t the first time she’d witnessed cavorting animals in the sky after hitting her head.

Graceful, she was not. At the rate she was going, next time she’d see an entire kick-line of bowtie-wearing giraffes.

Taking inventory of her person, she surmised most everything was still intact. Still had feeling in her arms and legs? Check. Too much blood loss from the scrape on her forehead? She could probably live with what she had left. And drat! One of her shoes was missing. Now she had a naked foot to deal with. She’d loved those sandals, too.

Kitty let out a heavy sigh and pushed up to her feet. Wind-milling her arms while hopping on one foot wasn’t highly effective. Better to have one dingy, bare foot than to lose her balance off the dock and end up with a bath she hadn’t counted on. Especially since she couldn’t swim.

She ran the rest of the way toward the yacht where her wayward cat had last been spotted. Gripping the rail so she wouldn’t follow her left shoe into the water, she climbed over the rail onto the deck. The shiny white deck and teak wooden cabin sparkled in the mid-morning sunshine. The yacht’s name, “MT Pockets” was painted in the side.

“Anyone here?”

No response.

“I’m just here to rescue my cat.”


“Or, I guess I should say, to rescue a mouse from my cat…my cat from a mouse?”

Still nothing.

She shrugged and looked around the small, tidy deck. Not finding Arthur there, she headed for a set of stairs descending below deck. Kitty peered down into the darkness.

“Arthur, are you down there?”

Her cat didn’t answer. Neither did the mouse. She wondered if that meant the mouse was already in Arthur’s tummy.

Okay, here goes. Taking it slow, Kitty inched her way down the stairs. She tried a switch, but nothing happened. Deciding the small lever must have been for a purpose other than turning on a light, she continued on in the semi-darkness. Third step from the bottom, her naked foot hit the edge of the slick metal step. Her feet flew up, her head swan-dived down. Pain lanced across the back of her head as she thwacked it on the last step. Kitty groaned and rolled into a cat-like ball. As her world faded to black, she whispered, “Arthur, are you even down here?”
Art Katz carried two large cardboard boxes and a red duffel bag slung over his shoulder on board the yacht. Two weeks sailing and fishing. Unbelievable. He’d waited all year. Hoped to have formed gills by the time he reached his destination. He chuckled, remembering his dream from the previous night. He, of course, had been a fish. Salmon or halibut? He couldn’t remember. Not that it mattered. But no doubt about it; he’d been a fish.

Deciding to unpack later, he set to prepare the yacht, checking gauges and levels. After a short time, he headed out to sea. He’d spent enough time on this particular yacht to know its quirks. No doubt he could make the journey safely. But not everything in his life was so predictable. Like his business. He worked like a dog. Every weekend. Most evenings. But he still wasn’t making the money he wanted. His employees often called him a slave driver. But hey, you didn’t make money just sitting around.

He flipped open his cell phone.

“Hey, it’s me.”

“Hi,” said John. “Thanks again for delivering my yacht. I still can’t believe your vacation coincided with my move. I owe ya, man.”

“You’d do the same for me. If I had a yacht. Or a place to put a yacht. Or money to buy a yacht.”

“Yeah, yeah. I hear ya.”

“I expect to be treated like a rock star when I get there.”

“You got it. See you when you get here, then.”

“Later.” Art closed his phone and put it in his jeans pocket.

John seemed to have it all. The lucrative medical practice. The beautiful wife and kids. Not that Art had time for the family part. He wasn’t like John. He didn’t have money stashed everywhere. He had to work. All the time. That’s why this trip was so special. He hardly ever left the office.

For the next several hours he sailed, admiring the whipping green waves and diving birds. Eagles and puffins splashed about, more often than not emerging with fishy treasures in their beaks. He envied them. He couldn’t wait to start fishing himself. Although, he’d be using a pole. He wasn’t crazy about biting into raw fish.

A soft sound floated up from below deck. He turned his head.


A meow?

Perfect. All he needed was a stowaway cat for the next two weeks. He’d never been a fan of felines. Far from it. With their tiny, impaling claws and creepy purring sound, he’d been able to avoid most of them.

So far.

Ever since the incident. Putting the yacht on autopilot, he walked to the stairs. His hand reached to the light switch. Nothing. And of course, the light bulbs were in a cabinet downstairs. He sighed and made his way back to his duffel bag. Flashlight in hand, he cautiously made his way down the dimly lit stairway.

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