The feeling to be thrown into the story starts since the first pages, when T.J. meets MacGowan at the supermarket with the most old way to meet a possible lover, colliding you cart with the other one. T.J. was chatting with his best friend Arden of the impossibility to find a lover since when T.J. gets excited he tends to shift into a tabby cat without notice, and the possible lovers don't take it very well, most of the time they run away screaming. And then here he is, the perfect man, MacGowan, handsome and gentle, and apparently the non judgmental type, since he has the look of a man who lives day per day in most possible easiest way. And MacGowan is more than interested in T.J. and fate wants that he is also his new neighbor, so it's easy for them to meet. But when they are together, T.J. tends to shift even more in uncontrollable way than usual, and MacGowan finds a strange cat in his house where he went to sleep with a man... and he decides to adopt that cat and naming him Buddy. And Buddy / T.J. finds himself to like his new life as domestic cat, maybe more than his life as man.
I like both characters, but truth be told, I like most MacGowan, that has not the chance to shine like T.J.; this is more or less T.J.'s story and MacGowan remains a bit in second line, and I have to search for bit of him, like crumbs of bread. In the blurb, it seems that T.J. is the steady man in the relationship, he is a college professor where MacGowan is a beach boy; but as I read him, T.J. is a man that has still to decide what he wants from life, that sometime let his fears drive him more than his heart. MacGowan instead is a man who was burnt in the past more time than once since he lets his feelings drive him and he firmly believes in love. T.J. with his fears can't see it and is unable to really trust MacGowan to do the right thing.
In a way, T.J. is more open to love when he is in cat form; T.J. man and T.J. cat are two different completely being, and this is the most interesting thing in the novel. T.J. cat is a cat, and his priorities are totally different: food, catnap and cuddles (when he wants) are the only things important for him. Willa Okati manages to write a very personal character with this cat, totally separating him from his human side, and avoiding in this way the "trap" of bestiality, that often drives away certain readers. T.J. Buddy is not interested in MacGowan in a sexual way, MacGowan, from his cat perspective, is a slot machine for food and scratching behind the ears, nothing else. And when T.J. is a man, he looses all the "feline" behavior, in a way, it wouldn't do it worst if he preserved some of them, since T.J. Buddy has a better predisposition toward building a relationship, even if with hidden purposes.
Anyway the story is very nice, funny, fast paced and with a familiar mood that not often I find in paranormal story, and I like it.
Amazon: Tomcat Jones
Amazon Kindle: Tomcat Jones
Cover Art by Marci Gass