Day 4 of #CatWeek

Read part four of an exclusive extract from Molly and the Cat Café.

Read an exclusive extract from Molly and the Cat Café.

This is the fourth of five extracts from Molly and the Cat Café. Read parts one, two and three here. 

‘Guess what, Soph. We have a new member of the family!’

Debbie swung the café door open triumphantly, brandishing the cat carrier in front of her. Sophie was sitting on a stool behind the serving counter, frowning as she swiped her thumb across her phone. A slight rolling of her eyes was the only indication that she had heard Debbie’s words. Her apathy did nothing to dent my euphoria, however, as Debbie released me from the carrier into the empty café.

She gave me a quick rub behind the ears, before pulling an apron over her head and disappearing into the kitchen. Without acknowledging either of us, Sophie wordlessly grabbed her coat and vanished out onto the street. Realizing that I was free to explore, I headed upstairs, keen to see Debbie’s home, and the rooms I had fantasized about for so long.

The flat was low-ceilinged and felt cramped, as if more rooms had been fitted inside than there was space to accommodate. A narrow hallway opened into a tiny kitchen and bathroom on one side, and a square room that overlooked the alley on the other. The room was fairly large, but was dominated by the dining table and chairs immediately in front of the door, and by a deep three-seater sofa along the wall. A modest television set stood in the alcove next to the open fireplace, which, I was disappointed to note, showed no signs of recent use. There was yellowing woodchip paper on the walls and a threadbare carpet underfoot, but Debbie had gone to great lengths to make it homely, with flowers on the dining table, soft rugs placed over the carpet and pictures on the walls.

A short flight of stairs led from the hallway to Debbie and Sophie’s compact bedrooms, tucked under the building’s eaves. I poked my head around the door on my right, peering into what I deduced must be Sophie’s room. I picked a fastidious route between the dirty clothes, balled-up tissues and damp towels that littered the floor. As I brushed past a chair I dislodged a messy heap of clothes, which had been thrown onto the seat-back. The pile toppled over, startling me as they hit the floor behind me. I dashed out of the room, hoping that, given the state of the rest of the bedroom, Sophie wouldn’t notice the additional mess.

Debbie’s room was no larger than Sophie’s, but was much more welcoming. The bed was covered by a pretty patchwork quilt in shades of blue and silver. I padded across the floor to the dressing table, on which bottles and jars stood in neat rows. A heart-shaped wreath of dried lavender hung from the window above. I breathed deeply, detecting the faintest trace of a scent that would forever make me think of Margery.

Heading back down to the living room, I heard the radiators tick unevenly as the central heating slowed, and I took a moment to savour the fact that, since entering the café the previous day, I had not once felt cold. In the living room I jumped onto the sofa and washed thoroughly, in preparation for a nap, which I knew would be more comfortable than any I had had for months.

Molly and the Cat Café

by Melissa Daley

Book cover for Molly and the Cat Café

When two-year-old tabby, Molly, loses her beloved owner, her world falls apart. Re-homed with three cat-hating dogs, she decides to take matters into her own paws and embarks on a gruelling journey to the nearest town. As Molly walks the cobbled streets of Stourton, she begins to lose all hope of finding a home . . .

Until one day she is welcomed into the warmth by caring café owner, Debbie. Like Molly, Debbie is also an outsider and, with a daughter to care for, she is desperate to turn around the struggling café.

But a local battleaxe is on the warpath and she is determined to keep out newcomers, especially four-legged ones. It looks as if Debbie will have to choose between the café and Molly. Yet maybe the solution to their problems may not be as far away as they think.

Will Debbie and Molly be able to turn their fortunes around to launch the Cotswolds' first Cat Café?