Type: Paranormal Romance
My Copy: Sent
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.
I’ve been a fan of the Leopard People series since the first book, and this one hasn’t changed my opinion much. Like the previous books in this series, Cat’s Lair focuses on an alpha shifter who becomes obsessed with the woman he knows is his mate. And by “obsessed”, I mean it in a “she is mine, I love her, and I will kill anyone who tries to take her away from me” kind of way. These leopard shifters are possessive, protective and oh, so sexy.
Ridley Cromer knows Catarina is the woman for him the minute he sets eyes on her. His leopard recognizes his mate just as quickly. Working undercover with the DEA, he poses as an instructor in a martial arts dojo to keep tabs on Cat. While both the woman and her leopard call to him on an elemental level, he has a job to do. Eli, Ridley’s real name, knows that Cat is hiding from Rafe Cordeau. He also knows that she is Rafe’s obsession, so he knows she is the key to bringing him down.
Cat Benoit thinks she’s flying under everyone’s radar. She keeps to herself, lives in an old warehouse, hides herself in baggy clothes and no makeup, and focuses solely on staying safe. Her only friends are the owner of the dojo where she trains, and the manager of the coffee shop/bookstore where she works nights. She believes her anonymous lifestyle means nobody notices her, but she doesn’t count on the one man who manages to break through her protective walls. Not only does she let Ridley/Eli into her life, accepting his friendship and the numerous ways he steps in to help protect her, but she eventually lets him into her heart. The time she spends with him are the best moments of her life, even though she knows each and every one is putting his life in danger.
Rafe Cordeau is a larger than life monster to Catarina. Sold to him as a child, Rafe kept her close, sheltered under his guardianship, knowing she was a leopard and waiting for her to emerge to he could claim her. The difference between Rafe and Eli is that Rafe is a rogue in the shifter community. He has lost the ability to control his leopard, and pursues a life of crime – drugs, hunting and killing innocent people – while Eli has chosen to live honorably. As a shifter, he hunts down rogues and eliminates them. He is every bit as dangerous as Rafe Cordeau, but Catarina only sees the goodness in him. Even though she has an odd attachment and even tenderness towards Rafe because he is all she’s ever had, she knows deep down he is pure evil. She’ll never be safe – or free – as long as he’s around.
The minute Eli claims Cat, he knows he’s bringing Rafe’s fury to his doorstep. Catarina is his mate, and shifters mate for life. He will not give her up, and he will not allow anyone to harm her, including Rafe Cordeau. Eli is as alpha as they come, with a little dominant thrown in. He wants what he wants, and he wants it his way, especially when it comes to Catarina. This is especially true in their sexual relationship. An innocent before she met Eli, Cat has no experience with men at all. Eli tends to go all caveman on her, reveling in the fact that nobody before him has touched her, and he is more than willing to teach her all the ways to please him. The sex is rough and hot and Eli makes no excuses for what he needs from her, or how often he needs it. Cat is submissive enough to give in because she cares about Eli, and she trusts him to bring her through the emergence of her leopard. She is not a doormat, though, and gives as good as she gets with him.
Cat’s Lair isn’t a warm-hearted, romantic love story. It’s a darkly sensual book with intense scenes of sex and violence. Eli is alpha to the core, and Cat is so vulnerable and alone. Their raw emotions practically jump off of the pages at times, and while it wasn’t as action-packed as some of the other Leopard People books, the bond between Eli and Cat was so solid and the climax with Rafe was done very well.
I give Cat’s Lair by Christine Feehan 3.75 stars!