The Trouble with Antlers (a.k.a. Melvin's Rampant Rack)

The Trouble with Antlers (a.k.a. Melvin's Rampant Rack)

by A.J. Culey

ASIN: B01G63Z4F0

Publisher CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Published in Science Fiction & Fantasy/Fantasy, Literature & Fiction/Contemporary, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Children & Teens (Young Adult), Literature & Fiction

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Book Description


Shifter High:

Melvin Moose has a problem. Anytime a girl gets too close, his antlers go on walkabout, popping out of his human head at the most inopportune moments. As if that weren't bad enough, a human girl just enrolled at his school, and if she catches sight of his unruly rack, it's all over for Shifterville.

Warning: This book contains typical teen language, which does include the occasional swear word. It is also full of rampant, teen hormones and the subsequent fallout.

Sample Chapter

Melvin was late for gym class. Again. Life kind of sucked lately. Ever since he hit puberty and his antlers grew in, they were a huge load to bear. Literally.

They’d already popped out twice this morning, once when Laney Queen-of-the-Universe Siamese gave him that haughty look and tossed her hair over her shoulders.

It wasn’t his fault! Her silky hair brushed his nose and he got a headful of heady girl-cat scent and out they sprang.


All the kids in the hallway laughed (except the two he knocked down with his headful of dorkiness… and the other two kids he flattened when his antlers pulled him to the ground in yet another example of gravity working against him).

The second time was when sweet, little Kelly Mole blinked up at him from her book as he walked by her in English class. She was a naked mole rat for heaven’s sake, but did his antlers care? Of course not! They were moose antlers and they sensed girl and that was all it took.

Mrs. Saber snarled at him to get his rack under control and that sent the entire room into gales of laughter.

It had taken him ten minutes in the bathroom to will those antlers into submission and now he was late for gym, where he’d be forced to dress out in fur, thus giving those antlers free reign again.

Barreling down the hall, internally ranting at the horrors of his antlerhood, Melvin never even scented the new girl, the human, coming around the corner.

Every single adult in school had taken the time to lecture him about avoiding the new girl. One glimpse of his antlers and the secret of their shifter town, a secret their town had guarded for centuries, was toast. But he wasn’t thinking about that. He was worried about being late and cursing his antlers as he barreled around the corner.

He caught a glimpse of bright blue eyes and then their bodies slammed together in a tangle of arms and legs. He reflexively caught her in his arms, her scent barreled over him and BAM! Out sprang the antlers from hell.

The only good news?

They knocked New Girl out with one blow, sending her unconscious to the floor, possibly ensuring she never knew what hit her, possibly ensuring the town’s secret was safe.

Melvin leaned forward to check on her and - yikes!

His antlers and gravity toppled him over.

He flung out his arms to catch his fall and ended up crouched over her body.

This wasn’t good.

Should he just leave her there, unconscious on the floor?

He placed two fingers against her neck, where her pulse should be. Except - she was fully human. Would that change the location of her pulse? He tried to remember what he’d learned in his human anatomy class, but her scent was so distracting.

She smelled divine.

Not because he thought she’d be tasty - he was a vegetarian, for goodness’ sake, but something else. Something amazing. He grabbed his rack to keep it from becoming fresh with the human and leaned forward to take a big whiff.

The girl’s eyes opened..

“Hi,” Melvin said.

She groaned, rolled to her side, placed a hand on the floor and wobbled as she tried to get to her knees. “What happened?”

Melvin didn’t answer. He jumped up, desperate to hide his antlers. The teachers would kill him if she –

The girl staggered to her feet, turned, caught sight of his antlers and went down again.

Melvin tried to catch her, but he was afraid of impaling her on his rack and moved too slowly as a result.

She was out cold again.

Melvin knelt, this time tilting his head back to keep from overbalancing. He slid his arms beneath the girl, lifted her and stood. Now what?

He cradled her against his chest. Her long, black hair brushed against his ear and she sighed against his neck, her breath tickling his chin.

If his antlers weren’t already unruly and out, that would have done it.

There was no hope for it. He was going to have to carry her to the nurse’s office.

He set off down the hall. He walked past the cafeteria where study hall was.

He heard whispers begin inside the room and cringed. Had they seen him? He walked past the next door and an explosion of sound came from inside.

They’d definitely seen him.

“Melvin Moose!” Mrs. Crane squawked from behind him.

Melvin faced the study hall teacher.

She stood in the cafeteria door and her students crowded behind her, trying to see.

“Yes, Mrs. Crane?”

“What are you doing with that girl?”

“She fainted, Mrs. Crane.”

“Your antlers are out. She didn’t see them, did she?”

Melvin hesitated.

“You have got to be kidding me. It’s only her first day in this school and you’ve already revealed the secret this town has spent centuries protecting. You weren’t even supposed to be near that girl.”

“I don’t think she got a good look.”

“Oh, I suppose she just fainted at the sight of your face?”

“Well, see, I came around the corner and I didn’t see her. We ran into each other and my antlers popped out and they knocked her out.” Melvin rushed through the last of his explanation, running all the words together.

“They knocked her out?” Mrs. Crane repeated incredulously.

Snickers broke out among the students.

She whirled on them. “Get back to your seats right now. Study, study, study.”

The students edged away and slowly walked back to their seats.

Mrs. Crane waited until every student was seated, then she faced him again. “Well, what are you doing with her?”

“I was taking her to the nurse.”

“And do you think that’s a good idea, young man?”


“The girl is human. You were to avoid all contact with her and now she’s seen you. And to make matters worse, you’re carrying her through the school! What if she wakes again and sees you?”


“Give her to me. Now.”

Melvin passed the girl to Mrs. Crane.

“I’ll see she gets to the nurse. You get to class, young man.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Melvin walked away.

“And control that rack!”


Excerpted from "The Trouble with Antlers (a.k.a. Melvin's Rampant Rack)" by A.J. Culey. Copyright © 2016 by A.J. Culey. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

A.J. Culey

A.J. Culey

A.J. Culey is a teacher, world traveler and writer. Her experiences in classrooms around the world have shown her that humor is a necessary ingredient to surviving life on this planet. When driving around town, standing in lines at the grocery store or doing chores around the house, her brain is often filled with images of cats in flight, antlers on a rampage and rabbits wrestling with tigers. She’s often caught giggling at nothing and when asked for an explanation simply says, “I crack myself up.” An avid animal lover, A.J. volunteers for local rescue organizations and participates in Trap-Neuter-Release programs for feral cats. If wrangling cats and bunnies were a sporting event, she’d be an Olympic gold medalist.

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