Celia and the Wolf<br/>

Author: Donna Maloy
Publisher: FrontrunnerPubs
Published: 2014-12-08
Language(s): English
Category: Fiction
Audience: Youth (13 to 17)
Genre(s): Fantasy, Action, Historical Fiction Read Excerpt >

March, 1806.

Although I could see several cats in the courtyard, some quite large, not one was my father, the shapeshifter known by the codename Panther. He wasn’t one of the horses or ravens, either.

In truth, I knew finding him wouldn’t make any difference. Our training sessions at Redgate weren’t scheduled to begin until the first of August, after Parliament adjourned. But I was bored, bored, bored. And lonely.

The King was fighting with his ministers again, and Papa had been in meetings with government people all week. I missed him desperately. He was the only person in London with whom I could talk about shifting. The only person like me. Even after six years, Noreen still got hysterical when I changed shape in front of her. And Mama had made me promise I wouldn’t tease Graham with things he couldn’t do.

But practicing secretly in my room wasn’t the same as closing my eyes and becoming a rabbit, running lickety-split through the brambles and briars—away from houses and rules. Or watching a falcon swoop over rooftops, and then shifting my bones to join her in the sky above the trees.

Shifting was as close to freedom as I was likely to get until I married. London society decreed that as the daughter of a wealthy baronet, I should be demure and obedient, feminine and charming. And that’s all. It’s why I longed so much for Redgate. There in the deep woods I could be anything!

Well, as a strict matter of fact I couldn’t be a fish. I still hadn’t learned how to become one. It wasn’t that I was afraid to swim. Not exactly. I simply hadn’t figured out how they did the breathing-under-water. But today, I felt perhaps it was time to try.

In fact, I’d agree to become a skunk or a slimy slug if only Papa would take me to Redgate today. Leaving suffocating, rainy London would be worth anything. I needed to be something right now.

Well. Breakfast wouldn’t be served for an hour and if I were careful, Papa need never know…

I rapidly shifted to the shape of a lark and took off out the window. In the tree outside our library, I joined a chorus of birds singing to the dawn. It was the most perfectly lovely way to start the day. But when I made to return, I found the window shut. Drat.

Changing course, I flew to the kitchen door and entered fast, above the head of the milk boy. I almost escaped to my room without notice. Almost.


When I came down the Great Stair to breakfast, I heard Papa’s voice.

“What is this?” He paused, then sighed. “Oh, Celia.”

He must have found the chandelier bits I left behind when I flew too high in the hall. I’d broken Rule Number Six again, but this time there was evidence. Quietly, I backed up the stairs and waited until I heard Mama’s voice bid Papa goodbye. Then I pasted a sunny, cheery smile on my face and entered the breakfast room.

“Good morning, everyone. Where is Papa off to today?”

“He has business in the country,” Mama said brightly.

Double blast! That was our secret code to keep nosy servants from gossiping. What she meant was the Prime Minister had sent Papa off on another mission. He might be gone for ages.

Papa, Sir Robert Ashleigh, was a secret Deputy of the Crown. In fact, for seven generations, all the Ashleigh families had trained their firstborns to become Crown Deputies. Using our special abilities, we worked all over the world.

I’ll be one, too. Eventually.

I was so tired of that horrid word.

I’d learned to shift when I was younger than any of my Ashleigh cousins, so I’d had years and years more training than any of them. But Papa still insisted I had to wait three years and be presented at court first. As if curtsying to the queen—with every other seventeen-year-old girl in London society—had anything to do with being an Ashleigh shapeshifter.

It wasn’t fair. I was ready now for my first mission.

If only I hadn’t been trying to avoid Papa this morning, perhaps he would have taken me along. But alas… Now I was trapped in London with nothing at all to do except lessons. And sewing. And stuffy, chaperoned parties with awkward, clammy-handed boys and dull girls who talked of nothing but the last party. Ugh.

Someday I might enjoy being a lady. But not now.

Celia and the Wolf   by   Donna Maloy   |   See Bio >
Book 1 of 0 in the Shapeshifter Journals Series.
Which one is the real monster?

Donna Maloy lives on the Texas Gulf Coast. CELIA AND THE WOLF is her first book for teens. She’s also written more than twenty-five plays for elementary and middle schools. She loves ethnic foods, shopping, Jeopardy, and geeky things like Google Glass. Her website, donnamaloy.com, and her blog, tangledwords.com, contain resources for new writers, with a focus on contests, workshops, publications and advice from editors and agents. You can also follow DonnaMaloy on Facebook, twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest and on Instagram(authormaloy).

BWB never takes commissions - Authors! Sign Up Now! Only $9.99
Retail: $2.99FAIR TRADE Price: $2.99

More books by

Bringing Indie Authors and Readers Together...
© Bookstore Without Borders | T 403.336.1313 | E info@bookstorewithoutborders.com | Powered by itsyndicate.ca