I read Cat’s Lair, by Christine Feehan a couple of weeks ago and can’t believe that I didn’t write a review yet. I actually thought I had but when I was going through the blog, it wasn’t there. Maybe I had started a draft? I *could* go look, but that might require effort and I think it would just be easier to start over with a new post right here. So here is my review of Cat’s Lair.
This is the 7th installment in the Leopard People series by Christine Feehan. Christine writes four amazingly deep series, but I must confess, the Leopards have always been my least favourite. I still read them though, because Feehan used to release a book every three months from her series on rotation, and to go six months without a new book from my then-fave author because I didn’t like the Leopards just didn’t work. I had to read it anyway. And I’m glad that I stuck with it because she finally found her stride and the last three have been great.
Here is the teaser from the cover, courtesy of Goodreads…
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.
I loved Cat’s Lair. It’s in serious competition with #5 Savage Nature as the best in the series, but I can’t quite bring myself to declare a winner when I haven’t read Savage Nature in over a year.
There are a ton of things that I loved in this book, but I’ll limit myself to a few big points. Cat’s Lair takes a complete left-turn about 20% of the way through, and this was a plot twist I did not see coming. You can tell me I’m naive if you called it, that’s alright, but I always see these things way ahead and this one caught me by surprise! That was actually really exciting.
I also loved how it led to two very intense scenes between Ridley and Catriona, the ones that occur before they arrive at his ranch. Can’t say more than that without posting spoilers, but what happened between the characters rarely occurs in a CF book – to that serious of a degree at least – and to my recollection, has never occurred in the Leopard series before. Grr, I wish I could say more but I don’t want spoilers to scare readers off the rest of this post. Suffice it to say, I’m highly encouraging you to read this book.
One of the great things about Feehan’s series is that each book can really be read as a stand-alone, so if you have not read the entire series but this review has piqued your interest, go ahead and read it. There aren’t any over-arching plot twists in this series that would ruin previous books, and you will still be able to understand everything that happens. It’s actually the safest of her series in that regard.
The cover blurb doesn’t name him, but the terrible past Cat is running from is Rafe, a rogue leopard, who ‘acquires’ her shortly after her eleventh birthday. Rafe is definitely a bad guy and he isn’t going to pop up with a happily ever after five books down the line, but I still felt sympathy for him. More so for him than for Ridley to be honest. Even though his character has made the wrong choice at every fork, he isn’t wholly evil as Christine’s antagonists usually are. Throughout the story, I was sad and couldn’t help but feel that if he had had a better start in life, a role model like Drake or Ridley to teach him to control his leopard or if he could have opened up and been brave enough to accept the love Catriona offered him, both as a child and as an adult, he had the potential to become a good man. I wanted him to be better and my heart broke for Cat that she wasn’t enough. You could tell that Rafe did fight for her though. Maybe he didn’t end up winning against his lessor character traits, but you can’t say he didn’t care. There was one soft moment between them after he reined in his leopard, that tugged at my tender heart strings.
This book marks a huge step up in the author’s writing in my opinion; dramatic and compelling without being trite or unbelievable (apart from the whole shapeshifters living among us thing, but I’ll give her that one), complex characters, secondary characters who can stand on their own without cluttering the story, a plot-twist early on that I didn’t foresee and an antagonist I actually cheered for – at least so far as to champion his turnaround and hope he would get his life together. Christine also kicked up the heat in this book. There were some eyebrow-raising, kinda sorta dominant-submissiveness happening between Ridley and Cat. All the male heroes are Alphas with a capital A in her novels, but this one was the first that made me think “hey, that’s a bdsm relationship”, even though she doesn’t come out and say it. I like the evolution.
As fans of her website know, Feehan has joined a new writer’s group in the last couple of years and started churning out books. At last update, I think she was something crazy like three books ahead of her publisher’s schedule, so they announced they are moving a book up. The next Leopard installment will be at the end of November 2015 instead of next year. The cover photo and blurb have already been released so I am throwing them in here. I hate the cover photo btw, but I am very excited to finally get Elijah’s book! We see him in a couple of previous books, including Cat’s Lair, and he has me more interested than other secondary characters at the mo’.
In the new Leopard novel by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Cat’s Lair and Leopard’s Prey, passions explode like wildfire when a young woman’s feral instincts are ignited by a man who’s too dangerous not to desire…
A simple request for Siena Arnotto: deliver a gift to her grandfather’s friend. One look at Elijah Lospostos, hard-bodied and stripped to the waist, and Siena succumbs to a feline stirring she never felt before, and to Elijah’s reckless and pleasurable demands. But when that pulse-throbbing moment ends in the murder of an unexpected intruder, Elijah accuses the shaken and confused Siena of setting him up.
Then Siena discovers the truth of her Leopard heritage, of the secrets in her grandfather’s inner circle, and the sinister plot of revenge that has put her in jeopardy. When Siena’s grandfather is assassinated, she realizes the only man she can trust is Elijah. Now as her Leopard rises from within, Siena and Elijah share not only an animal instinct for survival—but a desire so raw and wild it may be the only thing that can save them.
P.S. * * * * * to Cat’s Lair