Catwoman

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Overview

There's a new Catwoman in town--a feline adventuress unlike any you've seen before. Discover all her sizzling secrets as she cracks her whip and sinks her claws into her most petrifying, death-defying adventure yet.

Patience Philips is a shrinking violet, not exactly a career booster at competitive Hedare Beauty, the huge cosmetics corporation where she's a graphic designer. Self-conscious and easily unnerved, she hasn't a chance of escaping detection after she uncovers a dirty ...

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Overview

There's a new Catwoman in town--a feline adventuress unlike any you've seen before. Discover all her sizzling secrets as she cracks her whip and sinks her claws into her most petrifying, death-defying adventure yet.

Patience Philips is a shrinking violet, not exactly a career booster at competitive Hedare Beauty, the huge cosmetics corporation where she's a graphic designer. Self-conscious and easily unnerved, she hasn't a chance of escaping detection after she uncovers a dirty little secret in Hedare's top-secret research laboratory. Discovery means death, but the real shocker is what happens afterward.

In the blink of a cat's eye, the meek designer is gone, replaced--through an ancient twist of fate--by a sleek, self-assured woman with dark, dazzling powers: Catwoman. She has scores to settle, rooftops to roam, and a sinister underworld to prowl, as she stalks her destiny like a feral feline. She also has a good-looking detective on her trail, someone who has fallen for Patience, but is drawn to Catwoman.

As two mighty forces gear up for the ultimate showdown, the fur will fly. . . .

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345476524
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/1/2004
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 275
  • Product dimensions: 4.16 (w) x 6.94 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Read an Excerpt

ONE

"Oh, please . . ."

Patience Phillips groaned and yanked the pillow from her head--not for the first time that night, either. She blinked, bleary eyed, and reached for the clock radio at her bedside.

Four a.m.

"It can't be," she moaned softly, and sat up. "It was four a.m. the last time I looked. . . ."

Outside, night was giving way to the faintest gray-blue glimmer of dawn, glinting at Patience's window.

Inside, though, it might as well have been midday, certainly by the sound of things. From the apartment next door, the throb of electronic music rose and fell, barely muffled by the brick walls that separated Patience from her neighbor's duplex. Raucous laughter echoed through Patience's spartan studio, followed by the sound of breaking glass and a gleeful whoop.

"That's it," Patience muttered. She swung her feet over the edge of the bed, freeing her nightgown from the mound of blankets, then stood. "Ouch!"

Her foot caught in the sheets and she stumbled, catching herself on the nightstand, then crossed to the window. She drew aside the gauzy curtain and gazed out at her neighbor's window. Garish light streamed from it, so that she could clearly see the writhing figures of people dancing, heads thrown back as they shrieked in time with the throbbing music. Patience watched them for a moment, her expression annoyed, mostly; but also slightly wistful, even envious.

Finally, she sighed and turned. She made her way past her drafting table, where portfolios holding her most recent work were stacked neatly alongside brushes, Rapidograph pens, carefully aligned bot- tles of ink. Beside the drafting table, an easel held sketches for Hedare Beauty's most recent advertisingcampaign. Patience ignored all of these and made a beeline for her closet, its contents as neat and spare as the rest of her apartment. She pulled on her coat, opened the front door, and stepped into the hall.

Here the music was even louder. Patience winced. Clutching her coat tightly, she stepped across the hall to her neighbor's door, hand raised, then knocked gently. The music blared on.

The door swung open to reveal a hulking young man her own age, thirty or so. Long hair hung lank to his shoulders, and his sleeveless shirt exposed heavily muscled arms covered with elaborate tattoos: a serpent devouring its own tail, a grinning skull. He looked at her blankly, squinting as though trying to see through heavy mist.

"Um, hi." Patience smiled timidly. "I'm sorry to bother you. Patience . . ."

The young man blinked at the figure in front of him. A shy, slender young woman, long dark curls mussed from her sleepless night. Her almond-shaped eyes gazed at him imploringly from a piquant face: high cheekbones, full-lipped mouth, small pointed chin. "Excuse me?"

"I mean I'm Patience," she went on, and shifted uneasily beneath his stare. "Patience Phillips?"

He continued to stare at her, his gaze cold and empty. Behind him, music roiled and drunken laughter echoed loudly through his apartment. Patience swallowed. She hated imposing on people, especially people she didn't know; especially people like this guy. . . .

"Um," she said. She smiled ingratiatingly, as her words came out in a rush. "See, I live across the way and I have a really big day at work tomorrow, so I was already having trouble sleeping since I'm turning in an important project and, well, I'm kinda nervous about it, you know?"

Her voice trailed off. In front of her, the tattooed young man was looking her up and down. His blank gaze grew openly lascivious.

"Patience, huh?" His mouth widened in a leer. "Hey, I'm pretty impatient myself. . . ."

Patience froze. For a moment her eyes locked with his. Then she quickly looked away, pulling her coat more tightly about her.

"I just . . . it's just that it's kind of late, and I do have to get up early. I mean, I always do," she went on, her voice cracking. "But tomorrow especially, because of the, the . . ."

She hesitated, then looked up at him desperately. "I was just hoping, um, that you could--well, maybe you could just turn the music down a little?"

The young man stared down at her. Abruptly his expression grew sympathetic. "Yeah? Oh, man--that's all you're hoping? For real?"

"Yes!"

He smiled, then held up a finger, signaling her to wait. He turned and ducked back into the apartment. Patience let her breath out in a grateful sigh, just as the music suddenly roared out, twice as loud as before.

Her neighbor's head loomed above her as he shouted, "Hey--how's THAT?"

Hoarse laughter rang out counterpoint to the deafening music. Patience stood, motionless and defeated, as the door slammed in her face. She shoved her hands into her pockets and turned toward her own apartment. A small movement caught her eye, and she looked sadly at the leopard-spotted cat watching her from the hallway.

"Guess I told him, huh, kitty?" she said, chagrined, and went back inside.

And found comfort where she always did: in her painting. A few yards away, the music from the adjoining apartment continued to pound and throb.

But Patience no longer heard it. She'd dressed, for the most part, thrown an oversized, paint-spattered shirt atop her work clothes, then settled in front of her easel. The canvas in front of her was like a psychic reflection, all violent slashes of purple and black and crimson, sparked here and there with jots of gold or brilliant white. Patience lost herself in her art, so intent upon her paints that it was a full minute before she registered that the music, at last, had stopped.

"Thank God," she murmured, sighing with relief. She wiped a blob of deep violet from her brush, turned to dip it into a paler lavender when a sound halted her.

"Mrrroooorroowwww. . . ."

Patience frowned. The sound grew into a louder, mournful yowl. She set down her brush and hurried to the window, yanked it open, and stuck her head outside.

Cool morning air washed across her face and she blinked gratefully, then turned as another meow sounded--quieter, sad even, but insistent.

"What? Where did you come from?"

Patience craned her neck and saw a cat with a dark-spotted coat and luminous green-gold eyes staring beseechingly at her from atop a cornice where it stood, frozen, afraid to move.

"Are you stuck?" Patience shook her head, marveling. "How'd you get there, anyway? Come on down, cat."

She stretched her hand out tentatively, mindful of keeping her own balance, but the cat only yowled piteously and retreated farther on its precarious perch.

"Hey, it's okay, don't be scared."

Patience drew a breath and tried again, but it was no good. She couldn't reach it. As if sensing the danger it was in, the cat gave a single, faint, pitiful mew, gazing at Patience with wide frightened eyes. The young woman sighed, then glanced several stories down to the street. She took a deeper breath, then scrambled out onto the window sill on her knees, clutching at the sill.

VRAAAARRGGGGGHHHHH!

"Oh!" Patience cried out, startled. She looked down to see a late-model Harley roaring out into the street. A long-haired, leather-clad figure crouched over the controls as it zoomed out of sight--her neighbor.

"I thought 'party all night' was a figure of speech," Patience said, exasperated; then shouted after the bike, "Have a nice day!"

She turned her attention back to the cat. "Come on," she said soothingly, reaching for it. "I'm sleep-deprived. Work with me . . ."

It didn't budge.

Patience's exasperation grew. She stuck her head out farther, until she could peer at the window next to hers. It held an air conditioner--a very big air conditioner. For a moment, Patience sat there, brooding. The cat gave another pathetic cry.

"Oh, all right, I'm coming. Keep your shirt--er, your fur--on."

Very carefully, she crawled out onto the ledge. It was wide enough for her to stand on, but just barely. Gingerly she sidestepped toward the adjoining window, then, bracing herself against the wall, stepped onto the air conditioner.

From here she could reach the cat--she hoped. Tentatively, she began to extend her hand, when suddenly beneath her the air conditioner wobbled. Patience screamed, grabbing the cornice and trying desperately to steady herself. The air conditioner straightened, seeming to catch more firmly in the window; Patience let her breath out in a gasp, eyeing the cat just inches away.

"Okay, you," she muttered as she reached for it. "On the count of three--one, two--"

"HEY! Hold on! Don't you move!"

Patience started, nearly falling as the voice shouted up at her. She grabbed the cornice and looked down to see a tall figure in the street below, shading his eyes as he stared up at her.

"Whatever you're thinking, whatever you're feeling--it's not worth it," he called, his voice at once calm and commanding. He took a step forward; Patience saw his car parked haphazardly on the sidewalk behind him. "Understand? I'm a cop. Maybe I can help."

Patience looked at him in puzzled disbelief. She shook her head. "No, thank you. I'm fine. It's just--"

"What's your name?"

"What?"

The man's kindly voice wafted up to her. "Your name."

"Patience. Patience Phillips."

The man nodded. He took another step closer to her building, his gaze still fixed on her. "We're going to get through this together, Patience. You and me."

Patience's bewilderment grew more pronounced. She looked at him, then turned back to the cornice.

The cat had vanished.

"He--he's gone!" she gasped. "The cat . . ."

She looked down, a little desperately, and saw the tall man looking back at her. He smiled and gave her a reassuring nod.

"Sure, lady," he said in the patient tone one would use with a feverish child. "It's a beauty, real cute--"

"No." Patience shook her head. "The cat's not here anymore."

"I know." The man nodded again, his smile replaced by a look of solemn sympathy. "And I know that makes you very sad."

Patience glared at him. "Right," she muttered through gritted teeth. "Enough of this . . ."

She turned back to her open window, once more hugging the wall as she carefully stepped from the air conditioner to the ledge below. Her hand grasped at the window frame as she stepped toward it; then abruptly, she stumbled.

"Oh!"

The cuff of her loose trousers had snagged on a corner of the air conditioner. With a sickening lurch, Patience fell, crying out in terror. She flailed and grabbed at the wall, righting herself just in time to keep from plummeting to the street.

From below, the man's urgent voice shouted, "What's your apartment number?"

"Twenty-three!"

Panting, she leaned against the wall, trying in vain to yank her leg free. There was a harsh grating sound as the air conditioner shifted again, its bolts pulling loose from the wall. Desperately, Patience strained against it, but it was no use--the air conditioner's weight was too much. It was starting to fall, and with her leg pinned to it, it would pull her down too.

"Oh God, please . . ." she whispered.

From inside her apartment echoed a crash. Seconds later a man's head was thrust out of the window at her side.

"Give me your hand!"

He leaned out the window, reaching for her. Her hand reached back, fingers barely touching. Suddenly, with the ear-splitting shriek of metal against metal, the air conditioner came loose. Patience screamed as it plummeted to the street, landing with a crash. The torn cuff of her pants flapped in its wake; then she, too, began to fall.

"Help . . ."

Her voice was almost inaudible. She could scarcely feel the grasp of the man's hand around her own as she stared up at him, her body hanging limply in midair.

"I got you," he cried, straining to pull her back toward the sill. "I got you . . ."

Her bare feet kicked at the wall, trying to find purchase. The man's hold on her hand grew tighter, firmer. Slowly, he began to pull her back up toward the sill. With one last heave, he dragged her onto the ledge, then through the open window and into her apartment.

With a cry, Patience tumbled onto the floor, the man landing with a thud on top of her. She gasped, struggling to catch her breath; then looked up to see him gazing at her, his face creased with concern.

"Close call," he said.

She nodded, still too shaken to speak. At last she said, "Thank you."

For a moment the two of them lay there, silent and relieved. Then Patience blinked, taking in the whole picture: herself in her dishevelled clothes with a strange man lying atop her. She sat up, brusquely pushing him aside, and hurried to her feet. The man continued to gaze at her, concern now tinged with a faint regret.

"You okay?"

"Fine!" Patience replied, too quickly. "Never better! You?"

The man stood, rubbing a hand across his dark hair. He was tall and broad shouldered, with a gymnast's wiry frame and a thin, ascetic face saved from prettiness by chiseled features and deep-set, hazel eyes. "I'm fine," he said at last. "But . . ."

He hesitated, looking first at Patience and then, awkwardly, at the floor.

That was when the Mau chose to return. It stood on the sill, regarding the two humans coolly, then gave a casual leap through the open window onto the floor. It stretched, yawning; looked up at Patience and meowed loudly before darting out the open door into the corridor.

Patience waited until it was out of sight. Then she turned to the man and deadpanned, "That was the cat."

His hazel eyes widened. "You weren't kidding."

"No."

"You went out there"--he gestured at the window, shaking his head--"to get your cat?"

"No. I mean, yes, I did--but it's not my cat."

"You climbed out there to rescue somebody else's problem?" The man stared at her, then shook his head, impressed. "Huh. That's . . . something else."

"Why? You came out to rescue me."

"Thing is, I thought--"

"I know what you thought," Patience broke in, gently teasing. "You thought, 'We're going to get through this together. You and me.'"

The man shrugged. "They train us to do that."

"Well, it worked. You saved me."

For a long moment they stared at each other. The man's lips parted, as though he were trying to frame a question--Who are you? Can I get to know you better?--but the woman before him wasn't used to this kind of attention. Flustered, she looked down; her gaze caught her watch and she let out a small cry.

"Oh, my God. I'm going to be late! I've got to go."

"But--"

Patience began to run about the room, frantically gathering her things. Portfolio, briefcase, a cylinder holding more artwork, her purse.

"I've got this big presentation," she gasped, grabbing a stack of memos on her desk. "I'm sorry."

"Oh." The man watched her, intrigued, then added, "Well. Good luck with that."

"Thank you!" Patience shot him a smile, then headed for the door.

And stopped, staring in dismay. The door hung slightly askew on its hinges. The man's gaze followed hers.

"Don't worry about the door," he said reassuringly. "I think it will hold."

"Really?" Patience gave him a grateful smile. "Thanks again--"

"Go."

Patience nodded. She turned and ran out into the hallway, stumbling and dropping her purse. She grabbed it, then raced off.

The man stared after her, then tugged the door again to make sure it stayed locked. He was turning to go, when he saw something on the floor. . . .

Patience's wallet.

"Huh," he said. "Must've fallen from her purse. . . ."

He picked it up and shook his head, smiling, then went on his way.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2004

    A new twist on Catwoman

    *Watch Catwoman when it comes out July 23rd* If you are a reader/movie go-er and are not interested in comic books please read: There has been much negative buzz around this book and movie due to the fact that it is not based on the original character from DC Comics. Fans will rate this poorly no matter if the book or movie really is good or not. Thought I should clear that up. Catwoman is a story based on a shy and sensitive artist Patience Philips. She uncovers a dark secret about the company she works for: Hedare Beauty. Patience is then murdered and transformed into the sleek and stealthy creature Catwoman. I really do enjoy this book. I understand the fans outrage against this film (I'm a Selina Kyle fan as well) but I found this an interesting take on the Catwoman character. I really connected with Patience. The character feels real, exerting emotions that we've all felt. A big plus for the book. The love interest, Detective Tom Lone, is a great supporting character. Sally, Patience's best friend, provides a lot of comedic relief. The story has great underlying messages, such as: Beauty comes from the soul. If you are a fan of Catwoman from the Batman comics I would suggest to stay away from the book and movie. But if you're into action/adventure, a little bit of romance, and just love a fun, exciting read then this book is for you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2004

    Awful

    This book was stupid. Its so over-the-top, and has nothing to do with the comic book character. I mean nothing. Its a waste of time

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2004

    a good work of action...

    even though some may say it's not like the comic, it's good in the sense that the characters all cover the human nature. so it's not believable on two parts but it's still a good book. anyone who likes action and a growing climax, will enjoy this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2004

    The Cat has a New Lady to Wear the Fur!

    Excellent read for any comic fans or anyone who loves a good story of turning into the real you. The novel is almost the exact storyline as the movie. So bascially, what you read you will see come to life on the big screen film, 'Catwoman.' Like the movie, it's a tale of a mousy-shy girl named Patience Phillips who finds out about a corporate conspiracy, and is murdered for knowing to much.*Hint* The schemeing 'villians' in the story don't know yet that the woman they killed would become their ultimate rival, the Catwoman! Thats all the summary I'll give you so go to Barnes and pick up a copy today! You'll have a Purrrrfect! time reading this feline action adventure!

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