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The Vet Upstairs

The Vet Upstairs

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Experience the magic of Istanbul in 'The Vet Upstairs.' Join Celia, an ambitious young woman, as she discovers love and laughter with the help of an unexpected matchmaker—a charming street cat. This heartwarming novella is a delightful blend of romance and comedy set against the backdrop of a captivating city.

Main Tropes

  • Fish out of water
  • Feline matchmaker
  • Multicultural romance


In the enchanting city of Istanbul, where ancient history blends seamlessly with modern life, a chance encounter with a furry friend sets the stage for an unforgettable romantic comedy. When Celia, an ambitious young woman on a short-term work assignment, moves into her cozy apartment, she quickly befriends a charming street cat. Little does she know that this feline fluffball is about to become her unlikely matchmaker.

As Celia navigates the challenges of her new life in a foreign city, the cat's comical antics and endearing ways lead her to a neighbor like no other—a handsome veterinarian named Enes. With each visit to Enes’s clinic, Celia finds herself drawn not only to his expertise with animals but also to his warm smile and kind heart. But can the mischievous cat's clever interventions truly bring these two lonely hearts together, or are there more surprises in store than they ever imagined?

"The Vet Upstairs" is a heartwarming tale of love, laughter, and the unexpected connections that can change our lives. Join Celia and Enes, as they discover that love can bloom in the most unexpected places...especially when there's a feline matchmaker on the prowl.

Start reading Chapter One...

On Celia Long’s first full day in Turkey, she was adopted by a cat, though she wouldn’t know it until later.

It was the last thing she had expected to happen; it wasn’t as if it fit with the nature of her short-term contracts and the set of rules she lived by. And that set of rules had been serving her just fine for nearly a decade.

Celia had always loved animals, from the rabbits and dogs that had played such a big role in her childhood to her friends’ cats that often chose to sit on her lap when they watched movies together. No, she would have loved to have a pet—a dog, a cat, a hamster…if only she would have known that she was going to be in one place long enough to give the animal the commitment it deserved.

And that was why Celia had never bent her rules. It was also why Istanbul, from the first moment she had arrived, had seemed like paradise. Everywhere she walked, there were friendly cats on the street. They were sleeping on vacant chairs at restaurants, enjoying the sunshine next to the Blue Mosque, befriending the fishermen on the Bosphorus in hopes of sharing a fresh catch.

Celia had accepted the contract at Aslanbey Holding in part because the salary was so good—a requirement for every contract she took—but also for the opportunity to spend some time in Istanbul. She had built the city up in her mind to such expectations that the real thing couldn’t possibly compete.

But compete it did. From the moment she spotted the first tiny buildings down below as her airplane neared the airport, the excitement and the romance of it all had been palpable. The blue water of the Bosphorus Strait and the Sea of Marmara, all the minarets popping up on the horizon…and was that the Hagia Sophia? Celia had first read about the historic building that had been a church, a mosque, and a museum in turns back in high school, in a World History course. There was so much to explore here, and she had six glorious months to soak up as much of the city as she could.

The apartment that Aslanbey Holding had rented for her—because that was always a requirement of her contracts these days, too—was located in Beşiktaş, walking distance from the company. Celia’s days of taking taxis across town and staying in a hotel for six months were ancient history, traded in for the comfort of having her own kitchen and the peace of not having to navigate traffic in a new city. That meant the opportunities available to her were fewer, but it also meant she could keep up with her routines, could preserve the mental health that was ready to fly out the window with a lifestyle like hers.

Ten years ago, Celia had been the opposite. Every opportunity that had come her way, she’d said yes. Red eye flights, twenty-hour layovers, a bunk bed in a hostel…all of it had been an adventure. All of it had seemed fun and exciting and like she was living the dream.

Until that was no longer the case.

Until the day she had woken up in a crowded dorm  room of a Paris hostel, her alarm rousing her when it was still dark out to head across town for an early meeting, at the same time that many of her fellow dorm occupants were just coming in, that she realized she’d had enough.

She wanted to sleep in a comfortable bed in a dark room with the perfect blend of silence and white noise. She wanted to wake up feeling well-rested, to drink a delicious cup of coffee, and to get dressed for the day in clothes that had hung neatly the night before inside a closet, rather than digging them from her over-packed duffel bag and giving them the sniff test before heading out. She wanted a relaxed, leisurely journey to work and a sleep schedule that worked with her body rather than against it.

And so, like that, she had traded in her short-term contracts and travel-centric lifestyle for longer commitments. No longer was she adjusting to a new time zone every few days; now, she was staying put long enough to recognize faces at the coffee shop and sometimes, even, to have her coffee order remembered before she could place it.

This lifestyle had suited Celia so well that it was rare that she entertained a fantasy of staying put. Of putting down roots altogether and trading in her suitcase for a bookcase or some other piece of furniture. Sure, there were moments when she missed her family and friends back in St. Louis, but those usually abated with a visit back for a holiday—or at least for her quarterly check-in.

No, this is the dream. She reminded herself of that truth as she unpacked her suitcase, hanging her business casual attire in a new wardrobe for the umpteenth time. It’s not like it’s the third time I’ve unpacked this month. It’s only the second time this year. And it’s exciting! Who doesn’t like a fresh start?

Once the suitcase was tucked away under Celia’s bed—it was better if it was out of sight, not reminding her of her eventual departure but giving her at least the illusion that she lived somewhere—she took off in search of food. If experience had taught her anything, it was that spending her first night in a new city at home on the couch was a recipe for longing. Whether it was longing for home, longing for something—anything—familiar, or simply questioning all her life choices that had led her to that moment, it wasn’t the way she wanted to spend her first night in Istanbul.

Instead, she walked. She walked to see the sights, she walked to find the most delicious food her nose could sniff out, and she walked away from any feelings that were not welcome on this most exciting night of her new adventure. As a last stop before returning to her apartment, she walked up and down the aisles of a grocery store, filling her cart with everything that caught her eye. While debating between two different varieties of yogurt, she ended up with both of them in her cart. After all, what could be worse than making the wrong choice?

“No, that’s ridiculous,” she muttered to herself, as she shoved one pot of yogurt back onto the refrigerated shelf. “At least in the world of yogurt, making the wrong choice isn’t that big a deal. Maybe just this once it’s okay not to try to have it all.” She rolled her eyes at her own ridiculousness, before venturing in search of fruit to put in her yogurt, and a similar debate over which one was the “right” choice, if her past behavior was an accurate predictor of her future actions. It wasn’t as if she couldn’t make a different choice on her next trip to the grocery store, either.

She sat on her couch when she returned to the new apartment that didn’t yet feel like “home,” with a small bowl of yogurt that she had cut a peach into. Staring at the wall—the remote for the TV was out of reach, and the exhaustion of the day had caught up to her—she nodded a few times. “Not bad,” she said, as she scooped another slice of peach and a dollop of rich, creamy yogurt onto her spoon. “Not bad at all.” She might be feeling the tiniest bit homesick, might even be doubting her decision to continue starting over again in new cities…but at least she could put together a damn fine snack.

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