Books by Debi Ennis Binder

Fantasy worlds. Magical inhabitants. Timeless battles between Good and Evil.

It’s the Hottest Place in Town

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Late afternoon is the best time to visit The Patio. The place starts to come to life. The customers have finished for the day and are looking for a place to relax and enjoy some exciting entertainment. Welcome to the Hottest Place in Town!

Bob is always one of the earliest to arrive. He saunters in through the front door, runs up the stairs to the top balcony, grabs himself a length of bench, and settles in for some relaxing lady-watching. Bob is husky, known to throw his weight around sometimes, but he doesn’t mean anything by it, just a young guy who hasn’t learned a lot of restraint. He has a gorgeous tattoo of a sword on his back; he’ll let you see if you ask nicely. We like him here.

Fred and Wally follow him in, though Wally opts to jump onto a stool near the door. Short and slender, he’s kind of jumpy and likes to keep an eye on the place. The two aren’t the greatest of friends, though they’ll indulge each other if it’s convenient for them. Fred’s long, white-blonde hair and blue eyes are show-stoppers, but he’s too shy to do anything about it.

PeeWee ambles in next. He’s an older gent, though he also wears his black hair a bit long. He’s a favorite, with one of the odd nicknames The Patio members sometimes hang on each other. He doesn’t go much for watching the dancers anymore—and if he caught one, he probably wouldn’t know what to do with it. No, Wally is the one to watch out for; he has natural talent. And he knows what to do with his catch!

Uh, oh. Some trouble might be stirring. Excuse me, I’ll be right back. Fred just noticed that Riker has planted himself by the door, and the elder gentleman is frowning and muttering under his breath. Fred needs new glasses; he’s cross-eyed, and it’s hard to see what Riker’s expression is. Is he looking for a fight or just a night out on The Patio with friends? Fred decides it doesn’t matter. He hurries out the backdoor just to avoid any confrontation. He’s a lover, not a fighter. He’ll get a snack somewhere else, maybe look up an old friend and try out some new digs tonight—I’ve heard The Garage is a swinging kind of place.

And Riker, well, he’s the silent, brawny type, always a bit standoffish. I thought he’d bring his brother, Dodger, with him. They look like twins, both given to formal wear, but there are a few years between them. Dodger, with another of those hilarious nicknames, is getting a bit older and doesn’t make it onto The Patio too often, usually only when Riker drags him out. You don’t argue with Riker; you just go. Riker hops onto the bottom balcony and makes it clear—he doesn’t want to share.

The door slams open and Cookie appears. Cookie is one jazzy lady. With luxurious black-and-gold-streaked hair, she carries a bit of extra weight, but somehow, she turns it into some luscious curves. But what a mouth on that woman! She’ll make some sweet goo-goo eyes at a man, then turn around and slap him into next week. If she’s really agitated, she might even sink her teeth into him.

With so many regulars here, the place is starting to come alive! Winky has finally arrived, and his brother Bob joins him. Winky is older by minutes but smaller than Bob. While Bob keeps his dark hair cut short, Winky wears his golden locks long. He’s definitely a flirt. They settle on the second balcony to enjoy the show. Bob stares at the dancers as though he’s choosing something for dinner. I can practically see him drooling. He looks like he plans to put a finger on one of those ladies and start singing her a sweet tune to get her attention. He knows better.

Just about everyone we expected has made it here— Wait, there’s Chiisei, decked out in a gorgeous cream and brown fur. Our lovely Asian lady is a lot taller than one would expect. A bit fleshier, too, not that you should let her know that. She’s fast with those blades she carries and doesn’t care who she maims. She’ll just flash those baby blues at you, and somehow, you know it’s all your fault you’re standing there bleeding.

I guess that’s it for now. We have a diverse group here on The Patio, but they know the rules. Take the fights outside. Hands off the Rainbow Dancers. And if you bring any weed, you have to share it.

How else will nine cats on their catio watching hummingbirds possibly get along?

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