Well, okay, so this dude doesn’t really have anything to do with my book, exactly, but when I saw him on Facebook the other day I just roared. I think it’s as much about the contrast between his facial expression and his sleeve tattoos as anything else.
But I digress.
It’s me, Noony, aka A. Catherine Noon, and I’m here today with your Teaser Tuesday! I thought a lot about what I might write for you today, and I think I’ll bring us back to the beginning of the Chicagoland Shifters and one of my favorite characters in the book. If you’re not already familiar with the series, it’s by yours truly and my partner in crime, Rachel Wilder; together we are Noon & Wilder. We conceived the series right here in the Windy City, where I live, because the idea of giant Siberian tigers wandering around the neighborhood appealed to me. Maybe because I want to love them, and squeeze them, and call them George.
(Watch out, I might name a shifter George one of these days.)
But I digress. Again. This is becoming a habit.
My favorite character in the first book of Chicagoland Shifters, Burning Bright, is none other than Faust. He’s a large parrot owned by a professor at Northwestern University, with whom our intrepid main character has a job interview. I adore Faust. In reality, birds scare me, particularly large ones – they have this meat hook right on their face, after all. But book birds are cuddly. Take a look:
Sasha Soskoff followed Dr. Salisbury into his sunny yellow office, overflowing with rhododendrons, pothos plants, spider plants and several species of fern. A huge fish tank took up one whole bookcase on the right, and a bird cage with an enormous Scarlet Macaw stood behind his desk with an open roost nearby.
The parrot squawked loudly when they walked in and said, “Hello, Doctor. Hello, Doctor.” Sasha grinned. “Hello.”
“Grape,” the bird responded.
Dr. Salisbury handed him a sprig of fat green fruit. “He calls everybody Doctor. Feed him, or he’ll never leave you alone. His name’s Faust.”
“All right, all right, you big baby,” Sasha soothed. He held a grape poised through the bars and Faust took it with a delicate movement. Sasha fed him the rest, one by one, lost in the experience. He loved birds, but no one he knew could afford such a magnificent specimen. “He’s a Macaw? Scarlet Macaw?” he asked over his shoulder.
“Raised him from the shell myself,” Dr. Salisbury answered. “Devilish little blighter too. Crushed my best pocket watch, so mind your fingers.”
“Scratch,” Faust demanded.
“May I?” Sasha asked.
Dr. Salisbury helped him open the cage after double-checking that the door to the hall was closed.
Faust hopped onto Sasha’s proffered wrist and let him move him out of the cage, ducking his head to the side to keep him from bumping it on the edge of the metal. Sasha laughed at the sight. Faust’s upper beak looked like smooth ivory, while his lower one darkened to almost ebony. It reminded him of a piano.
Faust cocked his head, eyeing him, and then hopped onto his shoulder. He stepped around and hunkered down with his head under Sasha’s ear, bunched up into a compact ball of feathers.
Dr. Salisbury laughed. “I’m sorry. The old boy is rather fond of you, it appears. He never does that with strangers. Would you like to sit down?”
The entire interview passed with Faust curled up on his shoulder, every once in a while pausing to comb his hair. Extraordinarily well-behaved, the bird didn’t nip at his fingers or ear once the entire time, and got a special treat from Dr. Salisbury at the end.
What about you? What’s your favorite animal, if you didn’t have to worry about, you know, having it eat you or something?
– E.E. Cummings
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