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Saturday, January 26, 2013
Wild Cat by Jennifer Ashley
Another spell-binding & oh-so-sexy novel by the mighty Jennifer Ashley! If you are into paranormal's as much as I am, then this lovely lady MUST be on your favorite authors list! Ms. Ashley knows exactly how to write her characters & their surroundings in all of her novels & they are never lacking depth or details. She makes sure nothing is ever left open-ended & provides one satisfying read from start to finish for lovers of the paranormal!
This novel introduces us to the sexy, hard bodied human cop, Diego Escobar who has a run-in with the stunningly gorgeous shifter, Cassidy Warden. Diego is mesmerized by the grace & strength in this beautiful shifter, not to mention the fact that she saved his life! Cassidy is fascinated by the human cop & even her inner sex kitty calls for him, literally:) However, there is a nightmare monster, possibly human, possibly shifter, lurking out there, and looking to take Cassidy's life before she can even start to explore her new feelings for Diego. Can these two pull together to not only save Cassidy's life but Diego's, as well?
Grab this book & find out! The twists & turns will get you instantly hooked! And the chemistry between these two?? *SNAP* Wow, it is so steamy & intense, it'll make anyone "shift" in their seat while reading! Don't delay! Run out & buy this book and fall into the world of the Shifters Unbound!
PLATINUM REVIEWS GIVE JENNIFER & "WILD CAT:
5 PLATINUM RINGS!
This is Jennifer Ashley's 4th installment in the Shifters Unbound Series.
Pride Mates (#1)
Primal Bonds (#2)
Bodyguard (Novella #2.5)
Wild Cat (#3)
When Feline Shifter Cassidy Warden saves detective Diego Escobar from plunging to his death, the naked Shifter woman takes his breath away. But she'd been breaking all kinds of human laws, and Diego, to save her from termination, has to promise his department he'll watch over her.
Diego finds the task harder than he thinks--Cassidy is trying to find out what kind of mysterious hunter killed her mate two years ago, a hunter that could bring danger to all Shifters. Plus Cassidy has scent-marked Diego--essentially telling all other Shifter females, "Hands off."
Diego risks his personal and professional life getting involved with Cassidy, but he realizes he'll do anything, even confront the deadliest of assassins and his own inner demons, to keep her safe.
Heights. Damn it, why does it have to be heights?
Diego Escobar scanned the steel beams of the unfinished skyscraper against a gray morning sky, and acid seared his stomach.
Heights had never bothered him until two years ago, when five meth-heads had hung him over the penthouse balcony of a thirty-story hotel and threatened to drop him. His partner, Jobe, a damn good cop, had put his weapon on the balcony floor and raised his hands to save Diego’s life. The men had pulled Diego to safety and then casually shot them both. Diego had survived; Jobe hadn’t.
Diego’s rage and grief had manifested into an obsessive fear of heights. Now, going up even three floors in a glass elevator could give him cold sweats.
“Way the hell up there?” he asked Rogers, the uniform cop.
“Hooper’s pretty sure it’s not human,” Rogers said. “He says it moves too fast, jumps too far. But he hasn’t got a visual yet.”
Not human meant Shifter. This was getting better and better. “Hooper’s up there alone?”
“Jemez is with him. They think they have the Shifter cornered on the fifty-first level.”
The fifty-first level? “Tell me you’re fucking kidding me.”
“No, sir. There’s an elevator. We got the electric company to turn on the power.”
Diego looked at the rusty doors Rogers indicated, then up, up, and up through the grid of beams into empty space. He could see nothing but the gray dawn sky between the crisscross of girders. His mouth went dry.
This cluster of buildings in the middle of nowhere—which was to have been an apartment complex, hotel, office tower, and shopping center—had been under construction for years. The project had started to great fanfare, designed to draw tourists and locals away from the heavily trafficked Strip. But construction slowed, and so many investors pulled out that building had ground to a halt. Now the unfinished skyscraper sat like a rusting blot on the empty desert.
Tracking Shifters wasn’t Diego’s department. Diego was a detective in vice. He’d responded to the call for help with a trespasser because he’d been heading to work and his route took him right by the construction site. Diego figured he’d help Rogers chase down the miscreant and drive on in.
Now Rogers wanted Diego to jaunt to the fifty-first level, where there weren’t any floors, for crying out loud, and chase a suspect who might be a Shifter. Shifters were dangerous—people who could become animals. Or, maybe animals who became people. The jury was still out. In any case, they’d been classified as too dangerous to live with humans, rounded up into Shiftertowns, and made to wear Collars that regulated their violent tendencies.
Diego had heard that regular guns didn’t always bring them down, Shifters having amazing metabolisms. Shifter Division used tranquilizers when they needed to shoot a Shifter, but Diego was fresh out of those. Rogers, rotund and near retirement, watched Diego with a bland expression, making it clear he had no intention of going up after the Shifter himself.
A high-pitched scream rang down from on high. It was a woman’s scream—Maria Jemez—followed by a man’s bellow of surprise and pain. Then, silence.
“Damn it.” Diego ran for the elevator. “Stay down here, call Shifter Division, and get more backup. Tell them to bring tranqs.” He got into the lift and shut the doors, blocking out Rogers’ “Yes, sir.”
The lift clanked its way up through the few completed finished floors, then onto floors that were nothing but beams and catwalks. The elevator was an open cage, so Diego got to watch the ground and Rogers recede, far too rapidly.
Fifty-first level. Damn.
Diego had been chasing criminals through towering hotels for years without thinking a thing about it. He and the sheriff’s department even had followed one idiot high up onto a cable tower two hundred feet above Hoover Dam five years ago, and Diego hadn’t flinched.
A bunch of cop-hating meth dealers hang him over a balcony, and he goes to pieces.
It stops now. This is where I get my own back.
Diego rolled back the gate on the fifty-first level. The sun was rising, the mountains west of town bathed in pink and orange splendor. The Las Vegas valley was a beautiful place, its stark white desert contrasting with the mountains that rose in a knifelike wall on the horizon. Visitors down in the city kept their eyes on the gaming tables and slot machines, uncaring of what went on outside the casinos, but the beauty of the valley always tugged at Diego.
Diego drew his Sig and stepped off the lift into eerie silence. Something flitted in his peripheral vision, something that moved too lightly to be Hooper, who was a big, muscular guy who liked big, muscular guns. Diego aimed, but the movement vanished.
He stepped softly across the board catwalk, moving into the deeper shadow of a beam. The catwalk groaned under his feet. There were no lights up here, just the faint flush of morning and the glow from the work lights down on the ground that the power company had turned on.
Diego saw the movement again to his left, and then, damned if he didn’t see a similar flit to his right.
Son of a bitch—two of them?
A sound like the cross between a pop and a kiss came from down the catwalk the instant before something pinged above Diego’s head. Diego hit the floor instinctively, trying not to panic as his feet slid over the catwalk’s edge.
His heart pounded triple-time, his throat so dry it closed up tight.
What the hell was he doing? He should have confessed his secret fear of heights, gone to psychiatric evaluation, stayed behind a desk. But no, he’d been too determined to keep his job, too determined to beat it himself, too embarrassed to admit the weakness. Now he was endangering others because of his stupid fear.
Shut up and think.
Whatever had pinged hadn’t been a bullet. Too soft. Diego got his feet back onto the catwalk and crawled to find what had fallen to the boards. A dart, he saw, the kind shot by a tranquilizer gun.
Uniforms didn’t carry tranqs, and Shifter Division hadn’t showed up yet. That meant that one of the Shifters he was chasing up here had a tranquilizer gun. Perfect. Put the nice cop to sleep, and then do anything you want with him, including pushing his body over the edge.
Diego moved in a crouch across the catwalk to the next set of shadows. The sun streaked across the valley to Mount Charleston in the west, light radiant on its snow-covered crown. More snow was predicted up there for the weekend. Diego had contemplated driving up on Saturday night to sip hot toddies in a snowbound cabin, maybe with something warm and female by his side.
On the other side of the next beam, Diego found Bud Hooper and Maria Jemez. Maria was fairly new, just out of the academy, too baby-faced to be up here chasing crazy Shifters. The two cops were slumped together in a heap, still warm, breathing slowly.
Diego heard footsteps, running fast—too fast to be human. He swung around as a shadow detached itself from the catwalk in front of him and rose in a graceful leap to the next level.
Diego stared, open-mouthed. The thing wasn’t human—it had the long limbs of a cat, but its face was half human, like a cross between human and animal. Did Shifters look like that? He’d thought they were either animal or human, but as he watched, gun ready, he realized he was seeing one in midshift.
The Shifter landed on open beams on the next floor up, then its shape flowed, as it ran, into the lithe form of a big cat. Morning sunlight caught on white fur and the flash of green eyes. Snow leopard? It sprinted along the beam, never losing its balance, and vanished back into the shadows.
Diego heard a step behind him. He whipped around in time to see the flash of a rifle barrel in the sunlight, aiming directly at him. He heard the pop as his reflexes made him dive for the floor.
He came up on his elbows to return fire, but there was nothing to aim at. Whoever had the tranq rifle had vanished back into the shadows.
All was silence. Nothing but rising wind humming through the building.
Diego reassessed his situation. He had a Shifter running around up here, plus one asshole with a tranquilizer gun. Someone hunting a Shifter? Could be. The laws about humans hunting un-Collared Shifters—those Shifters who had refused to take the Collar and live in Shiftertowns—had loosened in the last couple years.
But this Shifter hunter had pegged Jemez and Hooper with tranqs, and was trying to shoot Diego too. Why, if the guy was hunting the Shifter legally?
Another pop had him rolling out of the way just before a dart struck the catwalk where Diego’s head had been.
As he scrambled up again, the catwalk, loosened and dry-rotted from years under the desert sun, slid out from under his feet. Diego lunged at the nearest steel beam, the metal burning his skin as he tried and failed to grab it.
The catwalk’s boards splintered and came away from the bolts. Diego’s heart jammed in his throat as his body dropped. Splinters rained past him. At the last desperate moment, he got one arm hooked around a girder, and he hung there, stuck like a bug fifty-one stories up.
Son of a fucking—
He couldn’t swing his feet around to get them back on the girder. His arm shook hard. He realized he still held his Sig in his other hand, but for some reason, he could not make himself open his fingers and let it go.
His arm was aching, and he was slipping. He was going to fall. Five hundred feet to the ground. Why the hell hadn’t he asked to be put on desk duty?
Diego tried to swing his feet up again, but he missed the girder. The jolt of his feet swinging back down nearly jarred him loose. That’s it, his hold was going. Damn it, damn it, damn it . . .
Two strong hands caught Diego under his shoulders; two very strong arms dragged him up and up, stomach grating on the beam, and onto the catwalk. Diego lay there, face down, on the relative solidity of a catwalk, drawing long, shuddering breaths.
When he could, he rolled onto his back, and found himself looking up into the white green eyes and ferocious face of the Shifter, again in its half-shifted state. A female Shifter, from the hint of breasts under the fur and from the sheer, strange beauty of her. She had a wildcat’s face, and the morning light glinted on silver links of a chain around her neck.
Before Diego could find his voice, the Shifter spun away in another gravity-defying leap. She landed on all fours, flowing back into the shape of a snow leopard. Diego sat up and watched her, stunned by the beauty of the long, powerful animal running with inhuman grace fifty stories above the ground........
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