Between States Book 1 – Under a Confederate Moon by JM Snyder is a novelette at 17, 197 words published by JMS Books. Told from the third-person viewpoint of Caleb, this story is a fascinating blend of historical and paranormal subgenres. Our heroes are three-dimensional, nineteenth century men with Caleb coming across as high-energy and a bit needy and Brance gruff, well educated, and honorable. Though they make an odd couple, and sometimes they grow realistically exasperated with each other, their mutual attraction is compelling. Especially noteworthy is the wonderful body language they exhibit while in bobcat form, written by an author who understands the unique interaction of cats, and it is a treat to read.
The story opens in 1863 with Confederate soldier Caleb facing a problem. He needs to slip away from his fellow soldiers and into the woods before the full moon forces him to change into a bobcat. Now he sneaks past his camp’s picket lines and undergoes the painful change in isolation.
While hunting in bobcat form, he encounters a wounded bobcat with which he can communicate telepathically. He is shocked to realize that Brance is another shape-shifter like him. Brance, in bobcat form, is surly and uncommunicative, but Caleb is so overwhelmed with excitement to meet another were-bobcat that he insists on licking Brance’s wound clean. He brings Brance fresh-caught food and tries to win him over before having to return to his camp and assume human form.
In the nights that follow, Caleb and Brance meet as bobcats in the forest to frolic and have hot sex in both human and bobcat form. However, it turns out that Brance is from the nearby Union Army encampment. When he is taken prisoner in human form by Caleb’s fellow soldiers, Caleb must help him escape before the next full moon compels Brance to change into a bobcat and reveal their secret.