Shift Happens (BOO #1)

FINAL~Shift Happens~EcoverSHIFT HAPPENS: Tales of BOO #1

A Change is as Good as a Quest. 

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THREE YEARS out of grad school, anthropologist Adrian Thornapple is still stuck in that “temporary” office job. When his former mentor invites him on a rainforest expedition, he says he can’t. He has obligations. He has security. He has… a dead neighbor on his doorstep? It seems she’s fallen victim to a new and deadly designer drug shipping up from the rainforest. Accused of involvement in her death, Adrian suddenly gets that life is short, that civilized doesn’t mean safe and that he should follow his dreams.

Captain Thomas Ferrell hates the supernatural. When the Army kicked him out for weird behavior, he signed on with paranormal investigators Borderless Observers Org. Three missions in, Tom’s learned that B.O.O. does a lot more than observe. And that their paranormal investigators really are paranormal investigators. Sent to stop a drug operation in the Amazon basin, he’s unwillingly shape-shifted into a huge black jaguar. He believes he must regain his humanity before he can complete his mission. Is he wrong?

Adrian’s expedition morphs into a nightmare of illegal drugs, slave labor and a terrifying quest through the rainforest and the spirit world. Worse yet, his companion and protector is a giant man-eating jaguar with whom he might be falling in love!

Adrian just wants to go home… until he learns that saving the world is a lot more fun than returning to his corporate cubicle.

SHIFT HAPPENS: A male/male paranormal adventure (previously published by Amber Quill Press)
Full-length novel, approx. 300 pages. Available in digital and print formats.

SHIFT HAPPENS received honorable mention in the Paranormal/Horror category of The Rainbow Awards.

REVIEWS:

5 out of 5 Delightful Divas! I could not put this book down, I even skipped dinner to I finish it! Adrian and Tom are fully fleshed-out characters that are quirky… and utterly adorable. The novel seamlessly weaves between the real world and the supernatural taking the reader on a wild ride filled with funny dialog, action, adventure and true love. But the most important selling point on why I enjoyed this book so much was the author’s wit and her ability to twist words into such humorous dialog kept me laughing throughout the entire novel. A truly delightful read. Storm Grant goes on my auto-buy list from this point forward! ” Read entire review here.
~ Lasha, Dark Divas Reviewer

5 out of 5 Nymphs! Shift Happens is an action packed adventure. The plot is well written, as well as fast-paced. The characters are convincing. Shift Happens is a nail biting action thriller blended with enchantment, hilarity and sensual dreams. Storm Grant has created an excellent escapade that I thoroughly enjoyed.” Read entire review here.
~ Chocolate Minx, Literary Nymphs Reviewer

“This is a novel that masterly mixes together adventure, thriller, romance, but above all comedy: it’s not often that, while reading about drug dealers and dangerous situations, you find yourself laughing at some of the gags Adrian comes out with.” Read entire review here.
~ Elisa Rolle
, popular romance reviewer

4.75 stars out of 5 from Jessewave! This witty and at times hysterically funny story takes the reader on an adventurous journey through a mystic AU Amazonian jungle against the backdrop of a low-keyed, serious message. This story was an original approach at the old shapeshifter theme, brimming with scurrile people, quirky ideas, wickedly hilarious incidents and brilliant word games. The worldbuilding was a stroke of genius… Both Adrian and Tom were great, memorable characters, full-fleshed with their own oddities. The story led both of them through considerable character growth towards an entirely satisfying and, in the context, believable ending. I was reluctant to leave them behind. I highly recommend this funny and entertaining read. Read full review here.
~ Feliz, Jessewave Guest Reviewer

Goodreads Reviews:

Jimmy Hanson rated it 5 of 5 stars A serious/playful novel I had a LOT of fun reading… DEFINITELY a recommended read.

Meggie rated it 4 of 5 stars The plot is good and it pulls you into the jungle fever, lol. I really liked Adrian as a person, he was shy, serious, sarcastic funny and true to himself. How he acted toward Tom as a cat was funny to follow. I liked it. The dreams part of the book where fresh and intimate, lol. In general really well written story with lot funny events. Recommended read.

Clover rated it 4 of 5 stars Good story about a spiritual quest for 2 guys, a photographer and an ex soldier shifted in a jaguar. I hope we will learn more about BOO and this couple.

 

SHIFT HAPPENS: EXCERPT

Prologue: You Can’t Blame a Gal for Dying

The dying girl staggered down the endless, grimy corridor, giggling and choking as bile backed up her throat. Twice she fell, coarse carpet fibers sawing at her bare knees as she crawled toward rescue. Pain stabbed her gut. Her moan descended into sobbing as the drug sang in her brain.

Reaching her destination, her only hope, she collapsed on the filthy carpet, faux marble doorsill digging into her tear-tracked cheek. “Help,” she mumbled. “Help.” The words felt indigo, tickling the back of her eyes.

“Blue, blue. My love is…” Half-remembered lyrics replaced her too-soft calls for help.

She hauled herself to her feet by gumption and the doorknob, raising her fist to knock. Dizzy and disoriented, she missed the apartment door entirely. Wild momentum spun her round to slam her shoulder against the solid pressboard surface.

She slid down the door to puddle in a sad heap; crooning, crying, trying not to die.

Chapter 1: Stoned to Death

Inside his apartment, Adrian Thornapple rolled his eyes. The stoner neighbors were at it again. When the low off-key singing started, he blocked one ear with his finger and pressed the phone more tightly to the other.

“Sorry, Doc. You’ll have to go searching for lost temples without me.” Adrian’s voice rose. He shook his head, not that Doc Soc could see him over the thousand-plus miles that separated them.

“Plus there’s outrageous flora and fauna,” Doc Soc continued, ignoring Adrian’s negative response.

Adrian paced his living room, wincing as he freed his ponytail from its leather tie. The tuneless serenade from the hall finally stopped. “I’m saying no, Doc. Put on your listening ears.”

But Doc wasn’t listening; he was selling. He carried on trying to convince Adrian to join him on his jungle quest. “Like the carnero fish. It swims up your urine stream and into your penis. The local Indians sometimes use it to determine guilt—you live, you’re innocent. You die… Let me email you the article, ‛Bottom-feeders at Their Bestʼ. I can—”

“Whoa, Doc! Time out.” Tired of the sales pitch, no matter how flattering—and tempting—Adrian needed to end this conversation now. “Sorry, Doc. Fascinating as your dick-fish sounds, not to mention the monkey-brain salad and all the other fun jungle stuff you’ve mentioned, I can’t just take off to go tooling around the rainforest.”

“C’mon, Adrian. We’re talking Amazon jungle here. Think of the cave paintings, the ancient cures, the shamanic miracles. You can’t say no to shamanic miracles!”

Professor Socrates Kawasaki hit all Adrian Thornapples’s anthropological hot buttons. Except maybe the dick-fish. Adrian felt pretty sure he preferred his dick fish-free. Finny parasites aside, Adrian heard the siren call of all things rainforest, shamanic and miraculous.

He straightened and shook out his hair, nearly dropping the phone. “I’ve got a job—no, a career!” He yanked his tie loose, then bent over to strip off his shoes and socks, flexing his toes in the soft pile of the room’s tiny throw rug. If he closed his eyes, he could almost pretend he stood on grass. How long had it been since he had stood barefoot on real grass?

“At least say you’ll think about it, Adrian. Please. I could really use someone with your talent for languages and photography.”

“Photography, yeah. I…” Adrian ceased his pacing near the window, where his camera rested on the wide sill. He ran one finger over the case, leaving a faint streak in the dust. The extra memory chip lay beside it, equally dusty. He picked it up, fiddled with it, scratching at the label where one corner had come unglued.

On the street below, an attractive man stopped to let his dog sniff a hydrant. No, wait. Not a dog. This hot guy was walking his cat! Adrian’s index finger twitched as if he were holding his camera.

“What happened to your dreams, Adrian?” Doc’s voice crackled in his ear.

Dreams, indeed. Adrian had been having some weird ones lately. Some were hot and sexy, while others starred cats. He shuddered. He wasn’t fond of felines. He liked sex, though. Well, he was pretty sure he did. It had been a while. Maybe that was the problem. He just hoped he didn’t start dreaming about having sex with cats.

Whump!

Something heavy hit the apartment door again, a hard crack this time, like a skull banging against wood. Even Doc Soc heard it. “What was that?”

“Dunno,” Adrian answered, startled, heart thudding. “I’ll go check.”

The harsh bang came again, tapering to a soft rapping. Peering through the peephole, he saw nothing but the faded wallpaper across the way.

Another crash against his door. Adrian rocked back a step. “Hang on, Doc.”

Panting a little, he checked the peephole again. Still nothing.

He swallowed hard. “Who’s there?”

A muted “A— Adrian?” A woman’s voice, raspy and weak.

Shoving the camera’s memory chip in his pocket, he opened the door a crack. His neighbor from down the hall slumped on the carpet, her eyes red-rimmed and slitted. “Adrian?” she repeated.

Adrian pushed the door closed again with shaking hands. It took two tries to wiggle the safety chain along its rusty track. He yanked the door open.

“Violet? Are you okay?”

Her head lolled, her fine red hair sweat-matted and disheveled. Whitish foam crusted one corner of her mouth. She wore only shorts and a pink T-shirt imprinted with a faded white blob—possibly a kitten.

Adrian reached down to brush Violet’s hair from her eyes. Only then did he realize he still held his cellphone. “Call you back, Doc!” He hit the disconnect icon before tossing the handset on the grubby carpet. He squatted beside his bedraggled neighbor. Dredging up details of a first aid course he’d once taken, he asked, “Did you hit your head?”

Dumb question. The brand new bruise painting her forehead crimson told him she had. Probably against his door, he figured.

Smiling up at him, eyes closed, she sang, “Blue, blue. My love is blue,” segueing into something that may have been “Blue Suede Shoes”.

A sickly sweet scent tickled Adrian’s nose. His explosive sneeze rocked Violet back to reality. Her eyes flew open. “Oh, my God! Where’s Skip?”

She struggled to sit up, bracing herself against the doorframe. He checked her pulse, finding it thin and thready, her breathing erratic. Well, given the circumstances, his was too. He snatched his phone off the floor. It took three tries to dial 9-1-1. Why did the number have to be so complicated?

“Emergency Services. Do you need police, fire, or ambulance?”

“I need an ambulance. My neighbor…” He sketched out the situation, trying for calm. The operator assured him the ambulance was on its way, asking Adrian questions that were probably routine. How would he know? He’d never called 9-1-1 before. “Yes. My name is Adrian Thornapple. I live down the hall.” He glanced toward Violet’s apartment. The door hung open, a wispy cloud of blue smoke drifting out.

“Hello Adrian. Calling Emergency Services was the right thing to do. My name is Danielle and I will walk you through a few simple steps. Do you think you can do this?” The operator managed to convey a sense of calm urgency, something Adrian really appreciated.

“Okay. I’ll—I’ll try.”

“I need you to check her breathing.”

“She’s breathing okay. In fact, she’s singing again!”

“She wore bluuu-uue velvet,” Violet crooned, ending with a giggle.

“That’s a good sign. Now check her eyes, please.”

Calling her name and snapping his fingers, Adrian managed to get Violet’s attention. “They’re brown, but have a weird blue ring around them. I don’t think it was there before. What’s it mean?”

Continued…

NOW AVAILABLE in eBook or print formats. Click here to check out your favorite online bookseller.

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