There’s No Turning Back
SHAPESHIFTING ISN’T FOR SISSIES
Prior to being bitten, Sophie had it all. Happily married and living in Manhattan. Great job. Wonderful parents and devoted friends. Now, she’s terrified that if her shapeshifter secret gets out, she’ll lose everybody she loves. She’d kill to be average again.
Her hairy predicament is her own fault. When she entered Central Park alone at dusk, she was almost inviting the wolf to snack on her tender neck. Now, her mysterious new abilities make her feel like a lonely freak of nature. She confides in no one. She prays she can she keep her preppy husband in the dark.
Fortunately, Isabelle takes Sophie under her glamorous wing and teaches her the ABC’s of shapeshifting. At first, Sophie thinks Isabelle is crazy, but quickly changes her mind when a wolf parades around Isabelle’s penthouse. After transitioning back, Isabelle breaks the really bad news. A full moon and Sophie’s dangerous first shift are only days away. There’s no turning back.
Shifter’s always intrigue me and I enjoy reading different author’s take on them.
Sophie is a teaching at an exclusive all boy’s school in Manhattan while her husband Will is finishing his master’s degree in business. Her life is going perfectly except for some disturbing dreams. She has her routines and one of them is cutting across Central Park to get to and from work it’s a relaxing shortcut.
As this book opens, she’s shopped and prepared dinner for her husband and is waiting for him somewhat skimpily dressed. However, he is not alone.
This is a favorite scene.
After dropping the groceries in the kitchen, she races into the bathroom shedding clothes as she travels. Quick shower, lotion, a spritz of Burberry perfume, and she heads naked to the kitchen to pick out her outfit: a favorite Williams Sonoma French provincial apron. There’s enough cloth to protect her tender bits when the sauce starts spitting, but not enough to hide all her assets. After browning her meatballs, she slices and dices the vegetables and throws them in a large frying pan for sautéing in olive oil.
With the sauce on simmer and water on to boil for the pasta, she pours herself a glass of wine and heads for the living room. She plops on the sofa and begins testing alluring poses. She wants to remind Will that she’s both an excellent cook and a sex kitten. After considering several positions, she opts for stretching out seductively on her side, propped up on an elbow with her legs slightly bent, sipping her wine. Her boobs peek out from the sides of the apron, which pleases her. When Will’s key scratches at the door, she tilts her head slightly and waits for him to find her. Too bad she doesn’t have a rose to put between her teeth.
Too late, she realizes Will isn’t alone. “Smells great, honey,” he says as he and his best friend Justin enter the living room. “Whoa,” he says next.
“Oh my God,” Sophie squeals, while using her arms to mash her boobs together and looking around for something to cover her ass. “Will, give me your coat right now.” As Will retrieves his coat, she locks eyes with Justin who is smirking. “And, what are you looking at?” she asks sarcastically.
Embarrassed by her burlesque act, she over compensates by wearing sweat pants and a heavy sweater as she finishes cooking. After Will helps her move the plates of spaghetti from the kitchen to their small dining table, the conversation centers around passing the parmesan, the baguette, and the butter. “So, tell me, Sophie,” Justin says, ending the silence. “Are there any more like you at home?”
“Meaning what? She responds icily.
“Why someone who graciously welcomes unexpected guests and then dishes up a great meal. Kudos.”
Sophie relaxes, he’s trying to make amends, not prolong her discomfort. “Justin, you’ve met my sister Nina. As she’s only seventeen, her domestic skill levels are an unknown. Check back when she’s twenty-one.”
“Not when she’s eighteen,” he teases.
After Justin leaves, Will clears the table and puts things away while Sophie sticks dishes into the dishwasher. They are such a good team. Just like her parents.
“Could you please put that apron back on and wear it to bed?” Will asks. “I’ll close my eyes and pretend I’m ravishing Betty Crocker in her prime.”
“Well I don’t know,” she drawls. “I’m not sure I’ve recovered from seeing Justin’s eyes pop out of their sockets.”
Sommers, A.M.. Sophie’s First Shift (Kindle Locations 59-89).
Things take a twist the next day, when a new student is added to her class, Marco’s family had just been transferred to New York from Paris. He’s a charismatic young man and appears to be adjusting well. Little does Sophie know her world is about to change irrevocably.
It’s Marco’s friend Guillermo who is going to be responsible for the major change that will be happening to her. Marco’s family feels responsible and with the full moon coming it’s Marco’s mother who will educate and assist Sophie.
Now while I enjoyed the premise of this book, I felt it lacked emotion. After the attack Sophie’s husband’s actions seemed off to me. The book is set around the holidays but there is nothing that gives the sense of Magic that I’ve always felt in NY City from Thanksgiving through to the New Year. There’s also no celebration of any sort with her family or Will’s.
In essence I felt the book was incomplete or rushed.
3 Purrs for A.M.
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What should I tell you? I grew up the oldest of five in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. I was always a Cleveland Indians fan (still am) and was indifferent to the Browns, back before the real Browns were stolen by Baltimore.
When growing up, I was very content with Cleveland. We had a world class art museum and symphony, drew all the best rock groups, and had great FM. I bristled when people joked about the river that caught fire, and steamed when people started calling Cleveland “The Mistake by the Lake.”For years, my secret shame was that I didn’t crack the top half of my high school class. That shame was dispelled when I learned in recent years that I had ADD, which explained my inability to learn languages or pass basic geometry. My poor grades dictated that I attend a mediocre college, not to be named, where I did graduate with honors. But still, I needed to go to graduate school to compensate for the low quality of my undergraduate years. I’d always wanted to be a reporter so I headed for the Communications Department at the University of Florida and gained a MA. My Gainesville years were among the best of my life. Go Gators.
Next stop: New York. I had to cheat my way through dozens of typing tests before landing a job in publishing. While that job was a nice notch on my career ladder, I gratefully left it to work on a small weekly covering City Hall. Heaven. Even though I worked for a teeny-tiny paper with a limited circulation, I got to go to Blue Room press conferences at City Hall and sit with the big boys and girls from the New York Times and the local broadcasters. The officials I covered never made me feel second class. But after a while, I became envious of my government sources, of their ability to develop and administer programs that made a tremendous difference in the way New Yorkers, especially the poor, were able to live their lives. I became a speech writer and special assistant for the social services commissioner and was responsible for being his liaison to programs for the homeless and neglected or abused children.
One of my big regrets is that I am a much better writer now than I was then, when my work was vital. When you get the basic hang of it, speechwriting is a great job. I’d ask the commissioners I worked with what they wanted to say, they’d usually give me a few sentences, and then I got to construct the rest and plug in my own beliefs now and then.
I went from government to public relations in the non-profit and health sectors to being a consultant. Aside from the professional stuff, I managed to marry and divorce twice and — thankfully –become a mother, which I highly recommend.
I started writing Manhattan Social Work many years ago when consulting work thinned out .As the author of many government and nonprofit agency annual reports, I find fiction writing is far more fun than bureaucratese, but also more challenging.
I’m now on about the third draft of a second novel: a fictional memoir of my colorful grandmother. Alice’s Side pulls together known facts about my grandmother’s life, pure fiction, and the historical context of her small town and the nation in the twenties and thirties.
I am also boning up on early American history in order to write a fictional journal of the neglected wife of one of our most famous and accomplished founding fathers. This “woman behind the man” is virtually unknown and certainly deserves the opportunity to share her side of the marriage.