For Karadel, being a shape-shifter has always been a reality she couldn't escape. Even though she's built a safe life as a rural veterinarian, with a close-knit network of shifter and human friends who would do anything for her, she can't help but wish for a chance at being normal.
When she's not dealing with her shifts or caring for her animal patients, she attempts to develop a drug that will help shifters control their changes - a drug that might even allow them to remain human forever.
But her comfortable life is threatened by two events: she meets an ordinary man who touches her heart, and her best friend is forced to shift publicly with deadly consequences.
Now Karadel must decide whom to trust: her old friends or her new love.
Shinn's realistic third Shifting Circle romantic fantasy (after Still Life with Shapeshifter) is set in the present day but takes place far from the gritty urban settings familiar to paranormal fans. Young Karadel Baylor, a shapeshifter who lives on a small farm and sometimes takes the form of a marmalade cat or a powerful wolf, provides amateur veterinary care to needy or injured animals as well as an invaluable haven for fellow shapeshifters. She also experiments with drugs that she hopes will help shifters control their shifts into animal form. Karadel wants more than anything to remain human, especially after she meets compassionate trucker Joe McGinty, who makes her feel safe and comes to accept her unusual predicament. When Karadel's former lover Ryan commits a vicious murder, Karadel must confront a serious ethical dilemma. Her reflections as various animals generally appear convincing, but her conversations with those she trusts most are couched in crude language and often sound simplistic. The components of Shinn's fundamental message nevertheless emerge clearly: loyalty to friends, healing human-animal relationships, and simple kindness have the power to move mountains.