This 8 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

An officer asks Detective London to use a piece of cloth to track Kelli Rocha, who ran from arrest for assault.

I’ve skipped over him explaining that the scrap was ripped from Kelli’s shirt as she climbed a chain link fence, them walking to London’s squad car, from which London gets a backpack, takes off her shoes and puts them in the pack.


“On it.” She pulled her shirt, a gray button-up with enough elastic to make the buttons purely decorative, over her head, folding it quickly into the backpack as well.

“You’re doing it now?” Fowler dropped his gaze to the mirror-shine of his black dress shoes, a blush spreading across his cheekbones. But he shifted to present his back to the crowd, and block their view of her.

Statics and their nudity taboos, London thought, though she preferred someone who looked away to someone who stared too long. The difference between being comfortably nude and uncomfortably naked usually lay in how your audience reacted.

She shed her black slacks, bra, and underwear in quick succession, closing and dropping the full backpack on the seat of the car.

*      *       *        *

NOTE: I’ll be editing “Lily Wasn’t There,” and posting it on my blog for any of the curious.

Four Feet and a Badge is my NaNoWriMo story.

In 1952, an event moved two and a half million people from one version of the Earth to another, a quarter of them Shifters (able to change their shape). It’s now 2015, and those people have married and had children. The Static (non-Shifters) fit in fine, but the Shifters often have to prove their worth.

Detective Amy London works in Seattle’s Narcotics Section, Shifting to four feet to sniff out drugs and chase down suspects. But she can be a little impulsive–like when she bit her previous partner, earning her a new one, strict, by-the-book Detective Janice Dale.

Dale tries to reign in her partner’s wilder behavior, not always with much success. And a new group of cocaine suppliers is muscling in on the city, and they’re leaving bodies behind. London and Dale will have to work through their differences to bring these dealers down, before the body count rises.


About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

33 responses »

  1. Eleri Stone says:

    Love his blush and back turn even if you can practically see her roll her eyes. Really good character development:)

  2. I’m missing something, Caitlin. Why does she shed her clothes?

  3. Gemma Parkes says:

    I like that he looked away and was slightly shocked by her confidence. You painted a clear scene.

    • caitlinstern says:

      I think the majority of people like London would be comfortable at a nude beach… But there’s a lot of people who wouldn’t be.

      I couldn’t imagine doing what she just did, and neither can he.

  4. Very well described scene and raises interesting points for the reader to ponder. Great snippet!

    • caitlinstern says:

      I can never manage to put all that information in the beginning without it sounding like an info dump, no matter how I try. But the story has some scattered about coming soon.

  5. alexissduran says:

    This is so interesting. I love the interaction and can’t wait to read more.

  6. Sarah W says:

    I’m loving this story, Caitlin—especially the cultural and practical differences between the Statics and the Weres.

    (totally agree about the nudity—hypothetically, anyway 🙂 )

    • caitlinstern says:

      I figured the Shifters would have to be different, and it was a lot of fun deciding how.

      Hypothetically, London’s public nudity is practical. If it were me… o.O I’d be hiding under a blanket or something.

      • Sarah W says:

        I believe I’d change inside my clothes and struggle my way out—I’d lose less dignity that way.

        • caitlinstern says:

          Tell you what, you put your clothes–underwear and outwear– on a dog that weighs as much as you do, and see how well that works. 🙂

          • Sarah W says:

            . . . And then record it, because it would go viral in a day and a half.

            I know, but that’s still preferable, in my personal opinion, to being nude, naked, or nekkid in public. 🙂

            I’m pretty sure werewolves go commando, by the way, or that’s canon for the literature.

          • caitlinstern says:

            I completely agree. Which is why my main character has some very different standards.

            Even lady weres? Because it’s got to be hard to dress professionally–and be taken seriously–without a bra. You could maybe do without the undies, except… if you were wearing a skirt that might end badly.

            I wonder if someone’s written a paper on this–shapeshifters and clothing issues?

          • Sarah W says:

            I’ll bet ladyweres aren’t very well endowed—unless their fatty deposits are more human than animal. . .

            If no one has, I’d say you’ve found a niche . . . 🙂

  7. Is the backpack one designed for a canine (or whatever she changes into) body?

    • caitlinstern says:

      That’s a good guess! I went back and forth on what was the appropriate thing to do with the backpack, and settled on another solution. (For now. I can always change my mind… again.) 😉

  8. Carrie-Anne says:

    I agree about how there’s a difference between nudity and nakedness. Is she changing clothes to go undercover?

  9. burnsmillie says:

    I love this. She’s got canine practicality…it would be odd if she was uncomfortable with her nakedness. My crazy dog is totally comfortable with licking his thing right in front of everybody and there is no such thing as privacy or personal space with a dog…he constantly has his snoot in folk’s bums or elsewhere.

  10. historysleuth1 says:

    How could she possibly run to track something down with all those human clothes on getting in the way. 🙂 I really liked this line. “The difference between being comfortably nude and uncomfortably naked usually lay in how your audience reacted.” Now that’s a great line right there.

    I will be interested to read Lilly too when you post it.

    The Murders of Polly Frisch

    • caitlinstern says:

      That’s a funny mental image right there–but unless you have some of the magical pants the Hulk wears, not very practical indeed.

      Yeah, I have to get on those edits–so many stories to write, so little time!

  11. Evelyn Jules says:

    I’m liking this more every week! Especially enjoyed this line: ‘The difference between being comfortably nude and uncomfortably naked usually lay in how your audience reacted.’ So true! Great snippet!

    • caitlinstern says:


      There is a distinction, I think, except for some people. Those people live their life where being unclothed always falls into one category or the other.

      Which sometimes leads to an arrest for public indecency… or death from embarrassment.

  12. Gem says:

    “…comfortably nude and uncomfortably naked usually lay in how your audience reacted… Great scene.

    • caitlinstern says:

      People seem to be liking that line. It’s amazing the things your characters come up with sometimes, that aren’t things you think.

      I have a lot of respect for people who are comfortable in their own skin to that degree… but like Sarah W., I would probably manage the first case of human implosion from embarrassment. (Not combustion, or explosion, mind you. An inward collapse is the way to go.)

  13. Love this line: The difference between being comfortably nude and uncomfortably naked usually lay in how your audience reacted. Great character development!

  14. […] bunch of people commented on a scene from my NaNoWriMo story about a shape-shifting detective (not an actual werewolf, but there’s […]

  15. […] bunch of people commented on a scene from my NaNoWriMo story about a shape-shifting detective (not an actual werewolf, but there’s […]

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