Once again his luck held. Tip was left in peace, and the dust bunnies lived to dance and shag another day under the badly-sprung mattress. When he was sure the maid had gone for good, Tip poked his head out cautiously from under the candlewick bedspread. He was in a single room, barely less cramped than his shell. The shirt on the sole, hard-backed chair and the socks left carelessly on the square inch of nondescript carpet indicated it was a man's room. Excellent -- Tip would be able to steal some clothes when he finally changed back. He lumbered forth, eager to see what else he could deduce about the man in whose shoes he would shortly be standing.
There was a paperback on the bedside table, placed so that the end of it protruded a couple of inches over the edge. Studying what he could see of the cover for a moment, Tip was almost certain he was looking at the naked man adorning the latest James Lear novel. If so, that said rather interesting things about his unwitting, absent host. Frustratingly, the paperback's spine was turned at an angle from him.
Tip had only got halfway through his copy of the book before Janey had confiscated it, telling him that even if it was his tea break, that sort of stuff was far too racy to read in front of the customers. Maybe if he could get it down somehow, perhaps by clawing his way up the bedspread, Tip could find some way of turning the pages? He was desperate to find out who Mitch would shag next. Still, better make sure it was the right book before he made all the effort.
Tip was craning his neck and had almost made out the first word of the blurb when the door opened. Which might not have been a disaster -- except that at that moment his chelonian curse ran out of juice, and he changed back to human.
The book went flying as Tip shot up to what, in his case, passed for man size. Wobbling slightly as he remembered how to balance on two feet, Tip stood, hands cupped in front of his bits in the traditional oh-my-god-I'm-naked pose, staring at the best-looking man he'd ever seen. At least if he was going to die here, he thought fatalistically, he'd have something nice to look at as he went.
The tall, dark and (in the circumstances) rather worryingly well-muscled stranger goggled. ENDEXCERPT Tip cringed, past experience having been harrowing enough to lead him to expect nothing good.