I took a step toward her, but her cat chose that moment to wrap himself suddenly around my ankle. I lurched to a halt, barely avoiding stepping on him.
Make a lap. Near the fire.
The assertive little voice rang in my mind. I looked down at him and he looked up at me. For an instant, our gazes brushed, then we both looked aside in instinctive courtesy. But he had already seen the ruins of my soul.
He rubbed his cheek against my leg. Hold the cat. You'll feel better.
I don't think so.
He rubbed against my leg insistently. Hold the cat.
I don't want to hold the cat.
He reared up suddenly on his hind legs, and hooked his vicious little front claws into both flesh and leggings. Don't talk back! Pick up the cat.
Finished Fool's Errand, by Robin Hobb. It's the start of a trilogy that takes up where the Royal Assassin trilogy left off. I enjoyed it a lot, particularly this passage, which shows one of Hobb's strengths, providing voices for things that don't usually have them. This takes place very near the end, after something very bad has happened to the narrator.