Cat's Lair by Christine Feehan
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: May 5th 2015
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The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Leopard’s Prey returns to the feral underworld of her astonishing Leopard novels in an arousing new romance of forbidden animal instincts…
Cat Benoit has finally escaped the past—and the man who was the source of her nightmares. She’s off the grid, underground but watchful, and creating a new life for herself in Texas, far from the torrid dangers of her native New Orleans. She’s safe. He’ll never find her this time. Cat has to believe that. It’s the only thing keeping her sane.
Yet she can’t escape the attention of Ridley Cromer, the instructor at the martial arts dojo where Cat takes lessons. She arouses the animal in Ridley—and something feral comes to life when their body heat rises. Cat is in no position to let her guard down with anyone, especially someone who could be endangered by her past. But Ridley has secrets of his own—secrets only Cat would understand. If she dares to trust him.
From the Paperback edition.
Warning! Spoilers Abound!
I think I read the first two books in this series then got burned out on paranormals and set it aside. I’d always planned to come back to it and when I saw this for review on NetGalley I decided to give it a go. I’d forgotten how over-the-top alpha the heroes in this series are.
Cat was raised as the ward of Rafe, a big-time crime lord in New Orleans. For years she was under his thumb, abused mentally, until she finally managed to escape. For months she’s been holed up in Texas, keeping her head down, training and working to save as much money as possible. She knows not to get comfortable or trust anyone, but she can’t help feeling a connection to Ridley Cromer, one of the instructors at the dojo where she trains. He’s strong, steady and so tender with her it’s confusing. She doesn’t want to rely on him, but when he stands up for her at work and begins following her home, she can’t resist him. Until Rafe is brought to her door again and she realizes everything she believed about Ridley is a lie. He isn’t just an instructor at her dojo. He’s actually a DEA agent working undercover to pin down Rafe and he used Cat do to it.
Eli has been an undercover agent with the DEA for a long time. He’s never had a problem separating his feelings from a mark in the past, but Cat gets under his defenses. It doesn’t help that he’s a Shifter and his inner Jaguar feels a connection to Cat, too. Especially since Cat is a Shifter as well but doesn’t realize it. She’s been traumatized and he doesn’t want to hurt her, but he has a job to do. Only he didn’t realize his agency was using her as bait. When Rafe comes for her, Eli does the only thing he can…he kidnaps her and takes her to his home where he can protect her.
Cat opened herself up to someone for the first time in years and was betrayed. The angry and hurt she feels from that won’t easily be soothed. Plus, she’s dealing with the fact that she turns into a monster and is going into heat. Her mind and heart want nothing to do with Eli, but her body hasn’t gotten the message. Tucked away on his land with little to no outside communication, she’s forced to face her feelings for Eli, her past and her former foster father.
I’m used to the heroes in Feehan’s Sea Haven series, who are alpha males but not alphaholes. That wasn’t really the case here. The hero was a total ass. A lot of the time his thoughts and actions contradicted each other. He’d think about how sorry he was for being rude and how he needed to take care with Cat, then he’d yell at her and boss her around. His behavior is explained away as part of his nature as a shifter, but I didn’t really buy into that. He was sweet and caring in his role as Ridley, but as soon as his true identity was revealed it was like he turned into another person. He stopped being sweet and tender, and instead just tired to dominate Cat.
For her part, Cat had a lot of inner strength. I like that she didn’t give in to Eli right away, but I wish she’d made him suffer more/longer. It didn’t take her long to go back to trusting him, which was frustrating since his betrayal was a pretty big one.
The plot featuring Rafe wasn’t much to write home about. Feehan kind of follows a formula when it comes to her villains. I don’t usually mind because I love the way she write relationships, but mostly I was just bored by this one. In the end we saw a different side to him, I think, but mostly he was a pretty one-dimensional character.
To be fair, I’m sure fans of the series will enjoy this book. It’s been so long since I read a book in this series my expectations weren’t what they should have been.
2.75 out of 5