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Cat's Lair
Cover of Cat's Lair
Cat's Lair
Leopard People Series, Book 6
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.
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.
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    For My Readers

    Acknowledgments

    1

    CATARINA Benoit woke to screams. Terrible, frightening screams that echoed through her bedroom. Her heart pounded and sweat beaded on her body. Her long hair hung around her face in damp strands. She clapped a hand over her mouth to still the cries, her throat raw even as her eyes darted around the room. Searching. Always searching.

    She searched the high places first—anywhere he could be crouched. Watching. Waiting to strike. She searched the windows. The glass was covered with bars, but she knew that wouldn't stop him if he found her. Nothing ever stopped him. He could get inside any house, any building. Anywhere. Rafe Cordeau, the thing of nightmares.

    She was safe. She had to be. She lived completely off the grid. Underground. She only came out at night. Her one exception to her night rule was her hour of running just before sunset. She worked in a quiet part of town, in a store no one would ever consider she would work in. Rafe would never figure it out, not in a million years. He couldn't find her this time. She'd planned too carefully. She'd even stolen enough money to get herself a start. Right out of his safe. The one no one could crack. She'd done that. He wasn't going to get his hands on her again. Never again.

    She fell back against the pillows, drawing her knees into her chest, making herself into a small, protected ball, rocking gently to try to calm herself, to push the terror of the nightmare away. She could taste bile in her mouth.

    Drawing in great, deep breaths to try to control her wild heart, she felt something else, something inside unfurl and stretch. It terrified her too. There was something in her, biding its time, waiting for a chance to get out, and she feared it was a monster. She feared he'd put it there, he'd somehow made her like him.

    She knew she wouldn't go back to sleep. Every window was covered with heavy drapes to block out the sun, but still, she would never be able to go back to sleep. She forced her legs to straighten. That hurt. Every muscle was sore from the terrible coiling in her body. She knew from experience it would be like that all day, her body feeling as if someone had beat her up with a baseball bat.

    She sat up and scooted to the side of the bed, first, as she always did, feeling for the gun hidden beneath her pillow. The solid weight of it always made her feel better. She worked out, trained hard, even when she knew she still wouldn't have a chance against him if he found her. Even so, she lived her life. Held herself still. Kept to herself. Reduced his odds.

    She took a shower in the small cubicle. It was a rigged hose with a spray nozzle over the top of a tiny booth with a drain. It didn't matter. She was safe. She lived in a warehouse, not her car. Mostly the warehouse was empty, but her martial arts instructor owned the property and he'd allowed her to rent the space when he realized she was living out of her car. He had barred the windows for her. She had put in the double locks herself.

    She had done everything necessary to make herself safe, but then she'd made a vow. She would be happy every single second she was living free and alive. She wouldn't hide in the warehouse, shut away from the world, she would live. She'd be smart and careful about it, but this time, she wouldn't be a mouse hiding. It hadn't done her much good the last time, and she wasted that little bit of freedom she'd had. The price definitely hadn't been worth it then. She was going to make certain it was this time.

    Catarina pressed her fingers hard against her temples, unwilling to revisit the moment when he'd last...

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Cat's Lair
Cat's Lair
Leopard People Series, Book 6
Christine Feehan
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