Title: The Switcher Chronicles
Entry Nickname: Switcher
Word Count: 96,000
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Cade Hightower is a professional body switcher, paid to step into a client’s body and take his place in the dentist’s chair or at the in-laws’ dinner table. There are some jobs he won’t do—no pranks, no lie detector tests, and no switching bodies without permission—but he’ll take some risks to keep a good client happy, especially if the price is right.
Cade’s sister Daphne practices the art of injectable magic. She can give a politician a shot of Charisma or soothe a perpetual worrier with a syringe-full of Nonchalance. She has a five-year plan for her career, and she hasn’t noticed that’s it’s left her without much of a life outside of work.
The Hightower siblings have drifted apart in the last ten years, but after their uncle dies, Daphne sets out to repair the estrangement. Unfortunately, Cade’s never forgiven Daphne for putting ambition ahead of family. When their mother got sick and their father ran off, she left him with his no-good uncle. Now she claims she wants to keep him safe in his dangerous job, but where was she when he was a lonely, scared teenager who needed his big sister?
When Cade is hired to find the person swindling rich old people out of their fortunes and their lives, brother and sister run smack into their worst fears. Daphne’s afraid her brother will get killed, leaving her with no family. Cade’s nightmare is losing his own body, stuck for the rest of his life in a stranger’s skin. And their fragile relationship may not survive when the investigation brings their ugly family history into the light.
I had been back in my body for twenty-four hours, and the mosquito bite between my shoulder blades itched like a rhino’s hide in a drought. The next time a client took my body camping while I did trust falls at a corporate retreat in his, I was going to add a bug-spray requirement to the contract.
But ignoring annoyances was part of my professional skill set, so I focused on getting the bus washed and ready for my next job, whatever it turned out to be. When the phone rang, I was balanced on an over-sized tire, squeegeeing the giant windshield. I jumped to the asphalt to take the call. The screen said, “Private Name Private Number.” I got that a lot.
“Cade Hightower,” I said.
Harlan Ambrose’s voice on the line was deep and quick. “Cade, bro, what’re you doing?”
“Washing the bus, sir.”
“Hey, do me a favor and go inside. Got a job for you.”
I nudged the garden hose that snaked from the bus to a faucet sticking out of the grass. A high school parking lot on a Sunday was as private as the surface of the moon, but arguing with clients was bad for business. With a shrug, I climbed the three steps into the school bus I’d converted into my home. After I settled in the swivel recliner anchored to the floor, I put the phone back to my ear.
“I’m inside, sir. What’s this job?”