#WIPWednesday — Untitled Shifter Novel

Today’s snippet comes from a WIP I started earlier this month, and if I’m being honest, in my mind it’s fan fiction. Hopefully you can’t tell, as I almost immediately changed the names of the characters and, in doing so, they began to take on lives of their own.

I knew from the start that this wouldn’t be a short story, but I originally thought it might be novella length, around 20k or so. But I’m now 10k into it and story’s love interest hasn’t yet made an appearance. I know I write slower paced stories than some, but still! Chances are this is now shaping up to be a novel instead.

I don’t really have a title for it yet. I’m thinking something with omega in it (why lie — omegas are hot right now) but I don’t know for sure if my POV character really is an omega or not. I won’t be able to know that until the alpha makes his appearance onscreen. Until then, I’m just calling it my “untitled shifter novel.”

And here’s a sneak peek at it, if you’re interested. Jeremy is late for work after waking up hungover on Monday morning (he got drunk Sunday but doesn’t remember why), and Darla is his boss.

Untitled Shifter Novel, excerpt

Copyright © 2016 J.M. Snyder

The elevator slowed as the numbers above the door increased. Eight to nine to ten. As it neared fourteen, the lift began to crawl, the hydraulics whining with the effort of pulling the cab up the shaft. For the millionth time, Jeremy swore to himself he’d start taking the stairs. This thing was a death trap, and he didn’t have to be superstitious to think that one day it’d break down before it reached the fourteenth — that was really the thirteenth — floor. He held his breath while the aging elevator wheezed to a stop and prayed silently for the doors to open one more time. Please please please.

When they did, he sighed in relief. Thank you.

The first thing he saw, though, made his stomach clench. Darla stood in front of the elevator doors like a security guard, arms crossed in front of her narrow chest, long blonde hair flowing in a sheet past her padded shoulders. Her porcelain face was inscrutable, her ice-chip blue eyes daring him to explain himself. “Jeremy Lovell,” she purred. “You’re late.”

She was a petite woman, a full head and shoulders shorter than he was, which always made him wonder how she could terrify him so completely. “Ms. Tatham, I’m sorry,” he stuttered, stepping out of the elevator. He didn’t dare look her in the eye — that would be inviting trouble — so instead he glanced somewhere over her head to avoid meeting her piercing gaze. “Traffic, you know …”

Without turning, she asked, “What does that glass say behind me?”

Jeremy winced. She did this from time to time, whenever she wanted to make a point of his tardiness. Like today, apparently. “Department of Lycanthrope Control.”

Stepping out of his path, she added, “Beneath that. The hours.”

“Eight to five.” I’m here until seven most evenings, Jeremy thought. So I’m a little late. Cut me some slack.

But she didn’t. Instead she made a show of looking at her wrist, where she wore a fashionable watch on a fine gold chain. “Eight was fifteen minutes ago. Just because you’re salaried doesn’t mean I can’t dock your pay.”

Oh, but it does mean you can’t pay overtime, eh? Jeremy bit back the words before they could escape. Instead of letting them loose, he simply murmured, “I’m sorry.”

“I don’t want to hear you’re sorry,” Darla snapped. “I want to hear it won’t happen again.”

“It won’t,” Jeremy told her, though they both knew it was a lie.

She stared at him and, for a breathless moment, he thought she might call him out on it after all. But she finally shook her head and pressed her lips together in a distasteful grimace. “Hmm. Well, don’t just stand there, get to work. Lots to do today. I assume you heard about the breakout at Belle Isle.”

Jeremy stopped in mid-step; his blood ran cold. “The … the what?”

“It’s been all over the news.” Darla smirked, as if she enjoyed being the bearer of bad news. “Several inmates escaped Saturday night, and quite a number of guards were killed. We don’t know yet if it was a full pack or only a few rogue werewolves, but I’ve assigned you to the case.”

“Me?” Jeremy’s heart seized with fear. “Why me? I have all the court filings to digitize –”

“That’s busy work,” Darla admitted. “I’ll reassign it to an intern. I think you’ll really like this. It’ll finally give you something to sink your teeth into.”

Dread curled through the pit of his stomach. “What do you mean?”

Darla’s eyes narrowed as she watched him closely. “The alpha who led the escape was one Marius Connor. Didn’t you two know each other back in college?”

Jeremy hoped his face didn’t betray the swirl of emotions raging through him, but his voice cracked when he asked “Mar-Marius?”

Oh fuck.