I'm a disaster as far as blogging goes, I know :) - I still haven't celebrated the fact that my short story City of Foxes, originally published as part of Storm Moon Press' Wild Passions anthology, has been released as a stand-alone! The call for submissions was about humans with animal traits - I just couldn't resist. I have a soft spot for twitchy furry ears and bushy tails moving gently or cutting the air nervously, betraying the mood of the character... so I went to town on it. Fox people, dark, gritty urban fantasy metropolis, a civil war tearing the community apart...
The last thing Jake Sullivan wanted to do upon returning to the city was get involved in the ongoing struggle between the organized militia and the fox people. After saving a fox child from bullies, however, he finds himself in the heart of the foxes' slums, where showing his face as a human can be just as dangerous as messing with the militia in the city proper. The proximity of Liam, a white fox with healing powers, certainly doesn't make things any easier. The attractive fox throws his own powers into an uncontrollable overdrive, not to mention his libido.
When several of the fox people are captured by the militia, Jake's presence is like salt on old wounds. Prejudices and politics flare, and Jake's secrets threaten to ruin his shaky alliance. If they are to save the foxes taken by the militia for experimentation, it will take all the cunning and power the clan can muster. Unfortunately, that also means they'll have to put their trust the one place they'd never imagined: in the hands of a human.
You can grab a copy on Storm Moon Press' website!
Here's an excerpt from the story ;)!
Jake woke up with a gasp, and hauled himself upright.
He was in a small, cramped room with walls a collage of metal scraps, a plastic roof. Assorted junk lay on the floor, arranged in neat piles in the corner. Jake craned his neck to the side, spotting a small old stove. The fire was reduced to dying embers.
He was lying on a rickety camp bed, his jacket folded at the bottom. He pushed himself up, shaking his head, trying to clear the—
He wiggled his shoulders, puzzled. Tentatively, he leaned back, resting his weight on his arms. Nothing. He reached to touch his left shoulder, pressing down with his fingertips, half-expecting an explosion of pain, and all he found was a neat round hole in a sleeve stiff with dried blood, and perfectly whole flesh underneath. He sure wasn't about to complain, but... what the hell?
He toed into his boots and made his way out of the shed, pushing the door closed behind him. A gray sky hung over a cluster of small buildings of scraped metal and plastic panels. Thin paths snaked between the shanties, crisscrossing apparently at random.
Jake stepped on, alert and on guard. The few people in the street stopped to stare at him, some uncertain, some plain curious, some with frightened, wide eyes. Jake swallowed as he took in their appearance. Broad triangular ears poked out of their hair, covered in a fine fur, red-rust colored. The same shade was matched by the long tails Jake could see poking out behind them, some held stiff, some twitching nervously. A large man caught his gaze and slowly drew his lips back, uncovering sharp fangs.
Jake swallowed. Fox people. All over the fucking place.
That did not bode well for him.
"Hey. Glad to see you woke up, man," a warm voice said.
Jake whipped around, his arms instantly raised in a guard, fists clenched.
"Whoa. Calm down, big guy." A lean fox was standing a few feet from him in worn grey jeans and a t-shirt, hands raised in mock surrender and a smug grin on his lips. His eyes were a pale gold, observing him with a cross of arrogance and amusement.
Jake lowered his hands, feeling vaguely idiotic. "And you would be?" he asked, trying to look menacing. The fox just smirked.
"Name's Liam. I also happen to be the guy who saved your ass, so you can relax. You're in no danger here."
Read the rest of the excerpt - here be rat people, mutant pigeons and bickering!