Because I’m in the middle of the rough draft of ALPHA (and working on half a dozen other things), I’ve found myself glancing through the SHIFT manuscript a lot lately, to double check facts and to keep my head solidly in Faythe’s world, which can be very difficult (and vital) when you’re working on more than one series at a time. I’m expecting revisions (from my editor) on Shift any day, and I noticed this morning that it was just listed on Amazon. Which, as any author will tell you, means it’s real.
Even if you can’t actually order it yet. 😉 That’ll come soon, I hope.
Anyway, since I have SHIFT on the brain this morning, I thought I’d post a short, spoiler-free excerpt of it here. And when I say spoiler free, I mean that this doesn’t excerpt doesn’t contain anything you couldn’t surmise by reading the back cover blurb (posted here yesterday). Also, there are no spoilers from Prey in this little bit, so if you haven’t read that one yet, fear not.
However, I must post a disclaimer. The Shifters series is NOT YA. This excerpt contains graphic, gory images and minor mature language, appropriate for ages 16 and up, in my best estimate. Consider yourselves warned. If you’re good with all that, please continue. 😉
Please do not paste this excerpt anywhere else, but feel free to link to it.
I made myself take that next step forward, in spite of the dread and fury pulsing inside me. And when the body came into full view, I gasped, horrified beyond words.
If the whole mess hadn’t been nearly frozen, we would have smelled it sooner.
Jake Taylor lay on his back, so covered in blood that at first I couldn’t make sense of the chaotic, violent images my eyes were sending my brain. There were too many gashes. Too much blood. Too little sense.
“Oh, hell,” Marc said, and I flinched, though he’d spoken in little more than a whisper. He flipped open his phone and autodialed my father while he squatted next to the body, careful not to step in the blood.
But I still stared.
I’d seen a good bit of carnage in my seven months as an enforcer, but nothing like this. Nothing so utterly destructive. So senselessly violent. Not even the scratch-fevered stray I’d once seen perched in a tree, consuming a human victim. Even that had made a certain mad, gruesome sense compared to Jake’s death. The stray had been hungry, and had only damaged his victim in the process of eating him.
However, Jake was damaged beyond all reason. His face was a mass of shredded flesh, both eyes ruined, his nostrils and lips almost torn from his face. His arms had fared no better; the sleeves of his jacket were ripped along with his skin, from wrist to elbow, probably in defense of his face.
But the worst was his stomach. Jake had been completely and thoroughly eviscerated from so many lacerations—any one of which would have been fatal—that it was impossible to identify individual wounds.
“East field, near the tree line.” Marc glanced up to see if anyone else was nearby, the phone still pressed to his ear. “But it’s… gruesome. Don’t let the Taylors over here. They shouldn’t have to see this.”
“Thanks. We’ll be right there,” my father said from the other end of the line.
Marc pocketed his phone, and I knelt before he could ask if I was okay. I was fine. An Alpha-in-training was always fine, right? There was no other choice.
“Damn, these bastards are brutal,” Marc said, and I nodded, plucking a brown and black chevroned feather from the grass where its tip had landed in blood, like the devil’s quill. It was easily twice the length of my hand.
“But this wasn’t either of the birds who [edited for spoilers]. Couldn’t have been. We’d have seen blood on them. Smelled it. We were only a few yards away when they landed.”
“The driver then?” Marc asked.
“That’s my guess. I didn’t get very close to him, and he was dressed. So it’s certainly possible.” I hesitated, unsure I really wanted the answer. Then I pressed on, because I needed to know. “Have you ever seen damage like this?”
“Never.” And that was saying a lot, coming from my father’s most experienced enforcer. “Cats don’t do this. Not even the crazy ones.”
Okay, that’s it for now. This is just a teaser. SHIFT comes out March 1, 2010, and will soon be available for preorder here.