Tails of Change Book One
By J. Bridger
Genre: paranormal young adult
Number of pages: 192 (as a word doc/.PDF)
Word Count: 69, 977
Cover Artist: Rebecca Weaver
Caleb Byrne is a bright high school senior who has enough to deal with between college choices, taking care of his single dad, and dealing with his headstrong girlfriend Joanna and an eccentric set of cousins in California. He was managing to get by until the day he woke up a Cocker Spaniel. Even if it only happens monthly and is more embarrassing than painful, the so-called ability is something that he's anxious to be rid of.
He didn't realize his transformations would drag him into a hidden society of canine and lupine shape shifters as well as a family legacy he hates. To make matters worse, after moving to Los Angeles to learn more about his heritage from his Aunt Moira and his cousin Kalista, Caleb now struggles through life-and-death matters. He keeps angering the werewolves in charge of the shifter world, especially Kalista's boyfriend Peter, the Southern California alpha's son, who also happens to be grade-A sociopath. Worse, Caleb's floundering to keep his secret from Joanna.
While his family offers him some support, they may not be enough as Caleb realizes that the rules in shifter society---number one being don't kill humans---are not so ironclad. Some werewolf out there is leaving a blood-soaked trail across the Midwest and it might just be with the alpha's blessing...
Read an excerpt:
Things were good for a while.Purchase on Amazon | Smashwords
School got back to session, I exchanged a few polite emails with Kalista, and Joanna and I went back to keeping The Gazette afloat even if it was far from popular. It was also a great relief and thrill to be able to send my uncle's check to my new alma mater. Duke class of 2016 that was me.
Then, about a month after finals, maybe the sixteenth of January or so, my hearing got worse. It was so bad that when I woke up in the morning, it felt like the morning news dad was watching over coffee was going to kill me. That or someone was taking a railroad spike to my skull every time the anchor talked. Rolling over, I pulled the pillow over my head and hoped I'd die. I'd never had a migraine so severe before that I was seeing auras; I wondered if something was wrong with me like a tumor.
When dad knocked on my door, I shuddered. "I can't go to school today," I said under my nest of pillows.
"Son, look up at me."
I did as I was asked, even if it was reluctant about it. "My head is staging a revolt. I have a migraine."
My dad came to sit at the chair by my bed and frowned. "Your pupils aren't the same size and your eyes are pretty bloodshot." He reached up and put the back of his hand to my forehead. "Do you have a fever?"
"Do I feel like it?"
"A little warm. You haven't missed since a cold in September, so I think it's alright. You're not exactly pulling a Ferris Bueller. I want to give you a day to get better, but if you don’t, you’ll have to go to Dr. Seiberman."
I shuddered. “No, I’m not that bad off, just hurts. Besides, that's great. A day off from the school grind and I just want to curl into a ball and die. I...my hearing is awful. Everything's too loud, like a throbbing all over. Can you not have the TV on for a while?"
He blinked back at me, dumbfounded. "It wasn't that loud downstairs."
"It was bad enough, definitely. I just think I'm going to pass out with the curtains drawn and see how it goes from there."
I guess sometimes pillows can be good for more than comfort because after my dad left, being careful not to stomp his boots on the way out, I managed to fall to sleep, my dreams odd for me, about running through the woods by Pilot Mountain, chasing something that remained mysterious throughout the day and night.
Even now, I have no idea what it was, can only guess.
When I woke, I knew something was off. The sun was just rising over the horizon and I had no idea how I'd managed to sleep almost for twenty-four hours. My hearing didn't pound in my head, but that wasn't reassuring. Shaking my head, I shivered with the cold. I'd slept walked again and of all things come to rest on the sofa downstairs.
This was getting ridiculous but at least it didn't involve waking up tangled in drying deer hide. Thank God for small favors.
"Christ this is pathetic," I said to no one in particular. Then I froze, everything muscle in my body taught.
I hadn't heard my voice, not at all.
But I had heard a series of plaintive barks.
What in the world?
Scared, I started just trying something simple, starting into the alphabet, but it was just more barking. I gulped and braced myself. Looking down, all I saw were four modest-sized black paws.
I could only hope I was hallucinating.
J. Bridger has had an eclectic life. She’s worked in the psychiatric ward in a hospital in La Paz, Bolivia, been a veterinary intern giving all sorts of better-left-to-the-imagination exams to dogs and cats, and had her own spate in creating and running a television ad campaign. Currently, in her day job, she is getting her certification as a medical Spanish interpreter in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina.
By night, she’s a fledgling author, who has just penned her debut novel, Shifted Perspective; she is currently working on its sequel, the next installment of The Tails of Change Series. J.’s always loved things that go bump (or that howl) in the night and devoured Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Clive Barker starting in middle school. Her favorite shows are no less preternatural and include Big Wolf on Campus, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Teen Wolf. While she’s been writing fiction for eight years and been published in several academic journals for her psychological research, this is her first venture into published original fiction.
J. Bridger lives in Raleigh with two Yorkies, a beagle, and a Schnauzer-Yorkie mix (as well as far too many dust bunnies).