Nothing is more romantic than a man hardened by life, an agent who deals in lies with the underbelly of society’s criminal element, who finally finds the one woman who makes him realize that living can be more than just duty and violence. He discovers that there is innocence and beauty and love still to be found. It’s real and worth fighting for. That is the journey and the reality that Eli comes to grips with during the course of this very intense and exciting novel.
Cat’s Lair is a standalone read within Ms. Feehan’s Leopard series. This story is about a man determined to catch a criminal and will do anything to get the job done. What he doesn’t count on is losing his heart along the way. Catarina is the heroine who must overcome her early conditioning of fear and terror by the man who would own her, and embrace all the freedom, love and safety found within Eli’s embrace. It’s not an easy task to get Cat to trust Eli, especially when he messes up big time in the beginning. The romance comes from his willing to do anything and everything to make it up to the heroine and then some. Eli has to open up himself to hurt and betrayal if he’s going to have any hope of reaching Cat’s heart and nurturing her love. What makes his pursuit of her difficult is his own personality – Eli is an alpha in every sense of the word – in and out of bed. That extreme alpha-ness is one of Ms. Feehan’s trademarks when she crafts her heroes. They are towers of strength and seem invincible, until the right woman comes along and the man turns to mush. That’s my favorite part.
The one aspect of Eli’s personality that readers might find rough to read about is his unabashed, unapologetic and dominating personality. He’s about as un-P.C. as a man can get. Even though no fetish paraphernalia was used, the dominant/submissive relationship was very much evident, from Eli’s commands and demands, and Cat’s acquiescence and submission. He expected her to do has he commanded because she loved him and she cared for him and yes, she submitted to his demands 100%, once he had gained her trust, because she loved him and he loved her. Quite a few times I thought Eli was way over the top and it made me grit my teeth. The hero was right though – Cat was the only woman for him because she ‘got’ him, and her nurturing personality fed a need in him that he jealously guarded and wanted to horde. He was driven to protect her at all costs, and as such, he came across as an overbearing brute. Yes, Cat eventually gave it back to him, and yes, it turns out that he was justified in pushing her as hard as he did. But after a while I got tired of Eli’s demands. It just went on too long. I guess I could only take so much ‘alpha-ness’.
Rafe, the bad guy, was a product of a bad youth. Many people have bad starts in life but manage to come out on top. Rafe, on the other hand, found it easier to go with the drives of his leopard and justified everything he chose to do on his animal. He really didn’t know how to be anything other than what he was, which was sad. That’s as far as I go for empathy for the villain. He was vicious, cruel, and had no concept of mercy. Cat’s opinion of him smacked more of Stockholm Syndrome than anything else, and I’m glad she eventually came to her senses.
As for the physical side of things, wow, did that cover a lot of pages. If Ms. Feehan’s fans are looking for hot and heavy action between the sheets, kitchen or wherever, they’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the passion and sex because it’s sprinkled liberally throughout the novel and the details are as descriptive and well written as anyone could wish. Again, I think I OD’d on the love scenes. I like some of the loving action because I could see the bond being forged between Eli and Cat, however, I can only read so many of them before my eyes glaze over. They’re all well done and sexy, don’t get me wrong, I just have a limit and by the end of the book I was saturated.
I liked Cat’s Lair because it delivered what I’ve come to expect from a romance by Ms. Feehan. The plots are always meaty, with a darkness and seriousness that grips a reader while exploring a romance that is satisfying and sexy. There’s always an over the top villain to overcome and the action that accompanies that usually has me biting my nails; Cat’s Lair was no exception. Whether you’re a fan or a reader who likes shifter romances with suspense and drama, this is one good read not to miss.
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