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!)

Detective London is tracks Kelli Rocha (wanted for assault) as a large German Shepherd, her partner Detective Dale catching up shortly after Kelli is cornered in an alley, and though Kelli pulls a knife, she eventually surrenders and is taken away with two other officers in a squad car, and Dale suggests London Shift back to human and dress.

I skipped nothing.



The alley wouldn’t make London’s top ten list of worst place she’d ever found herself naked and human, she thought, but woofed once in agreement, and took the backpack from her partner. With the strap held daintily in her teeth, she moved behind the dumpster, choosing a spot clear of debris, and Shifted back.

The air in the alley chilled her bare skin, so London shivered as she transferred the bag from her mouth to her hands, and quickly pulled on her clothes—underwear, slacks, and then shoes so she didn’t have to stand barefoot on the less than clean ground, and finally her bra and shirt.

Dressed, she stepped out into view, adjusting her holster and radio on her belt. “Not bad for a few minutes work, but Kelli Rocha’s a creature of habit, so I didn’t figure she’d gone far.”

“You didn’t figure?” Dale repeated, her voice icy. “Did you actually think at all?”


*      *       *        *

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 rein 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.

36 responses »

  1. Frank Fisher says:

    I like how London’s witty comment and how Dale challenges her. My bet is London is smarter than Dale suspects. Nicely done snippet!

  2. Sarah W says:

    London’s gonna get lectured! 😀

    (There’s something about that first sentence that isn’t sitting quite right . . . it’s probably just a nitpick, but if the alley isn’t in the “top ten worst place(s)” she’s been, then “but woofed once” might work better as a “so woofed once”—though this may just be me, so feel free to ignore this whole parenthetical!)

    • caitlinstern says:

      Yes, yes, she is. Just like a toddler taking off all their clothes at a dinner party.

      Hmm, yeah, I see what you’re saying–it’s a result of my contracting down sentences to make the count.

      But is the woofing is a ‘yes,’ even if London would be perfectly willing to change right where she stood. So I’m not sure how that would work.

  3. Terrific graphic eight. I saw it clearly. Her partner is jealous.

    • caitlinstern says:

      I hadn’t thought much about it, but she probably is jelaous, at least a bit. Mostly, Dale’s annoyed because she told London not to be nude in public.

      And London is pretty much ignoring that.

  4. Uh oh, unhappy partner. Can’t wait to hear what’s going to be said – excellent excerpt!

  5. Botanist says:

    Great visualization of the scene. I’ve glanced at one or two snippets before but this is the first time I’ve noticed the book blurb. It all makes more sense now. Also, I’m glad you don’t have her Shifting and miraculously appearing fully clothed like some stories that use this device 🙂

    • caitlinstern says:

      Well, if you’re going for a G or PG rated book, you can’t have naked people running around all over the place.

      But I was going for a pseudo-scientific kind of urban fantasy, so that’s not going to fly.

  6. alexissduran says:

    Nice details and I love that last line. You’re doing a great job creating the relationship between these two.

  7. Gemma Parkes says:

    Snappy partner, jealousy afoot! Good descriptions.

  8. burnsmillie says:

    Ah, lighten up Frances…er Dale : ). You got your bad girl!

    • caitlinstern says:

      All the while Dale was trying to catch up to London, she’s been stewing over her grievances–it’s not surprising she isn’t in a celebratory mood, I guess.

  9. I love the concept! So unique and creative. I like your voice, and the blurb definitely makes me want to read on 🙂

  10. Are they equal partners, or is London subordinate to Dale? and if so, is this the usual thing with a shifter-nonshifter team?

    • caitlinstern says:

      They’re equal partners, except that Dale is obviously going to take the lead in all things requiring speech, fingers, height, etc., when London is shifted.

      Dale just feels like she has to control London–she’s got reasons for thinking so, but she’s not exactly right about most of them.

  11. chellecordero says:

    Your description of her dressing behind the dumpster was very good, built tension and I was wondering if someone was peeking. There are definitely bad vibes going on here from her partner. Great 8.

    • caitlinstern says:

      She’s blocked by the dumpster, so I don’t think people walking by would be able to see anything. Now if someone had stepped out of one of the alley doors…

      Yep, Dale has been fuming the whole scene, pretty much–this is her first chance to vent.

  12. This is right up my alley and I LOVE the title. Very clever 😀

  13. Carrie-Anne says:

    I love the details of her shifting back. I also agree about the sensibility of not going barefoot. I’ve been so much more careful about being barefoot ever since stepping on a bee two years ago and having a pretty bad reaction.

    • caitlinstern says:

      I bet Shifters have some pretty tough feet, since some barefoot (and bare everything else) wandering is going to happen–but going shoe-less in the city is never a safe choice.

  14. Evelyn Jules says:

    The whole time I was reading about her shifting and changing behind the dumpster, I was quietly giggling because I imagined she’d pop out again with her bra on backwards or a few buttons undone. That’s totally something I’d do. Great snippet!

  15. I enjoyed this a lot; you make it easy to visualize what’s going on. You don’t say anything here about Dale’s expression but with the “icy voice” I’m picturing one nasty scowl!

    If I could make one suggestion, I’m not sure it’s necessary to specify that London transfers the bag from her mouth to her hands. You did mention that she carries the bag in her teeth going behind the dumpster so I think you could go right to saying she shivered as she began to pull clothes on or as she took them from the bag. Little stuff like that helps things flow a little bit smoother. I like the story premise, too.

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