Pride (Shifters Series #3) [NOOK Book]

Overview

I'm on trial for my life. Falsely accused of infecting my human ex-boyfriend—and killing him to cover up the crime. Infecting a human is one of three capital offenses recognized by the Pride—along with murder and disclosure of our existence to a human.

I'm two for three. A goner.

Now we've discovered a rogue stray terrorizing the mountainside, hunting a wild teenage ...

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Pride (Shifters Series #3)

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Overview

I'm on trial for my life. Falsely accused of infecting my human ex-boyfriend—and killing him to cover up the crime. Infecting a human is one of three capital offenses recognized by the Pride—along with murder and disclosure of our existence to a human.

I'm two for three. A goner.

Now we've discovered a rogue stray terrorizing the mountainside, hunting a wild teenage tabbycat. It's up to us to find and stop him before a human discovers us. With my lover Marc's help, I think I can protect the vulnerable girl from both the ambitious rogue and the scheming of the territorial council.

If I survive my own trial…

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426853968
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 4/1/2010
  • Series: Shifters Series , #3
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 58,781
  • File size: 726 KB

Meet the Author

A native of the dust bowl, Rachel Vincent is the oldest of five siblings, and arguably the most outspoken of the bunch. She loves cats, devours chocolate and lives on flavored coffee. Rachel's older than she looks--seriously--and younger than she feels, but remains convinced that for every day she spends writing, one more day will be added to her lifespan.

She maintains a Web site at rachelvincent.net and an active blog at urbanfantasy.blogspot.com.

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Read an Excerpt

"Miss Sanders, tell us why you killed your boyfriend." Fresh irritation swelled in my chest like heartburn, bringing with it the first twinges of a migraine behind my right eye. I turned away from the fall-color panorama visible through windows spanning the south wall of the dining room to stare down the long mahogany table at a much less pleasant sight: Calvin Malone, Alpha of the Appalachian territory. As I watched, the left corner of his mouth began to twitch above his thin, trim beard, a sure sign that he was having fun. The pompous bastard loved pushing my buttons. He'd just found the one labeled Use with Caution, then poked it anyway.

" Ex-boyfriend." I spoke through gritted teeth, my hands clenched on my black cotton slacks. "And it was self-defense. Which you'd know if you'd listened the last time I answered that exact same question."

Michael cleared his throat from the chair on my right. Dark brows rose over the rim of his glasses, urging me to be good. Since he was acting as my adviser, the werecat version of a defense attorney, rather than as my oldest brother, I took his advice without argument. Possibly for the first time ever.

Sighing, I forced my attention back to the tribunal—three Alphas chosen by the highly regarded "short straw" method to sit in judgment of me. Officially, the hearing was to determine my guilt or innocence on two capital charges. However, the grudge Malone held against me was old long before each of my crimes took place. Allegedly.

But that wasn't right, either. Unlike the human justice system, in the werecat world, the accused was considered guilty until proven innocent. And the burden of proof was on the defendant—me.

I was charged with infecting Andrew Wallace, my human ex-boyfriend, which I'd already confessed to doing—acci-dently. I also stood accused of murdering him to cover up my crime, which I'd vehemently denied. I'd killed Andrew in self-defense, and while I felt guiltier about that than any of my judges could possibly understand, I'd had no choice. It was either kill or be killed, and my stubborn sense of self-preservation insisted on the former.

If the tribunal found me guilty, in addition to a lengthy stay in the cage, I'd be facing some kind of corporal punishment. Possibly the loss of my claws, which was motivation enough to keep me on my best behavior.

"But you do admit to biting him?" Malone prompted, his mouth twitching again as he tapped a thin stack of papers lying on the table in front of him.

"Yes," I said through clenched jaws, gripping the lacquered arms of my chair to anchor myself to the seat. "I did bite him, but the infection was an accident. I didn't know my teeth had Shifted."

"So you still claim to have experienced this…" Malone paused, glancing at his notes for effect. "'Partial Shift?'"

His patronizing smile made my stomach churn, but in light of the circumstances, I was trying very, very hard to be good. "Yes."

Malone huffed in disbelief, glancing around the room to make sure everyone else shared his skepticism. On his right, Paul Blackwell placed one wrinkled hand on the table. He scowled, scraggly gray eyebrows drawing low over small, dark eyes. "Why is it, then, that you can't show us this 'partial Shift'?"

Because I'm not quite ready to give in to murderous rage. Fortunately I was getting pretty good at not saying the first thing that popped into my head. Mostly. "I can't do it on command. Not yet anyway. I have to be in a certain mood—excited, in one sense or another—to make it happen."

"Well, isn't that convenient?" Malone said with a conspiratorial glance at Blackwell.

"Quite the opposite, actually," I snapped, and Michael kicked my shin under the table.

Malone's fist clenched around his notes and his mouth opened. But before he could speak, the Alpha on his left cleared his throat conspicuously, drawing all eyes his way.

"Calvin, I assume you have a legitimate question for Faythe?" By some miracle, my uncle Rick Wade—my cousin Abby's father—had been selected for the tribunal, and in my father's honor, he'd made his allegiance to my family well-known. If not for him, I'd have already been convicted and sentenced.

"Of course." Malone shot an annoyed glance at my uncle, then adopted a professional pose. But when he faced me, I saw that same gleam of animosity in his eyes. "So you were in an…excited state when you bit Mr. Wallace?"

A mischievous grin lurked behind my solemn courtroom face, and it took all my self-control to stifle it. As well as a hard, self-inflicted pinch on my arm, through the white blouse my father had chosen to make me look innocent. And to cover the new belly-button ring he didn't think projected the right image during my hearing.

"You might say that. We were at school, on our lunch break. Neither of us had a class for a couple of hours, so we wound up at his apartment."

"In bed?" Paul Blackwell leaned forward from Malone's right side, gripping the curve of his cane hard enough to make his withered fingers creak.

Blackwell was the senior member of the tribunal, as well as the Territorial Council, and had been clinging tenaciously to his position as Alpha of the southwest territory for years, in spite of urgings from his family and several other Alphas to turn the reins over to his son-in-law. He was mulish, outspoken, and hopelessly old-fashioned, stubbornly adhering to outdated ideas about premarital sex and a woman's place in the world. In fact, he seemed as scandalized by my "indecent" relationship with Andrew as by the thought that I'd infected and murdered him.

But according to my father, Blackwell was both honest and honorable. He would vote based on his conscience, rather than on any political alliance or previously held grudge. So I'd just have to make sure his conscience knew I was innocent. Mostly. And that I respected myself enough not to apologize for something I hadn't deliberately done.

I met his eyes boldly, to show I wasn't ashamed. "Yes. In bed. We were having sex, and I just… nibbled his ear a little too hard."

"And your sworn testimony is that you never actually Shifted during this…occasion?" Malone asked, as if to confirm facts he'd already heard half a dozen times.

I nodded, then turned my head from side to side to ease the stiffness that had settled into my neck from sitting in the same position for hours at a time. "Only my teeth Shifted, like I told you last time. And the time before that. And the time before that—"

"Faythe…" Michael warned, and wood creaked behind him as our father moved in his seat.

In spite of his position as head of the council, my father hadn't been allowed to serve on the tribunal overseeing my trial because of his relationship to the accused—me. But he'd insisted on being present the entire time, though he wasn't permitted to actually speak during the proceedings. He sat directly behind Michael in a straight-backed chair against the wall, as he had for the last three hours, one ankle crossed over his opposite knee, hands resting on the chair arms. By all appearances he was relaxed and confident, but I knew by the firm line of his mouth that he was every bit as irritated as I was. And a lot more nervous, which made me wonder if there was something he wasn't telling me.

Frowning, I crossed my arms over my chest and leaned back in my chair, awaiting the next question. Which would no doubt be something I'd already answered.

Malone looked up from the slanted scrawl on his legal pad. "Did Mr. Wallace notice that your teeth had Shifted?"

"No. I didn't either."

Malone's head jerked up and his eyes found mine, his brows high in surprise. Evidently I'd said something new. "If you didn't know your teeth had Shifted at the time, how can you possibly be sure that's what happened?"

Shit. I sat back in my chair, going for calm confidence. "Because that's the only logical conclusion. I infected Andrew somehow—" we knew that for a fact based on his scent "—and I never intentionally Shifted in front of him. So it stands to reason that I did it by accident. And the day I bit him was the last time I saw him until the day he died. It must have happened then."

Blackwell appeared unconvinced, and Malone looked downright dubious. "Since you brought it up, let's talk about the day Mr. Wallace died," he said, shuffling though his papers again.

My head throbbed as I massaged my temples. Whatever amusement I'd felt over the proceedings drained from me, replaced by dread and a horrible, hollow ache. "I've already told you everything."

"Tell us again." Malone didn't look up from his pages.

We'd been over every single aspect of their accusations and Andrew's death in the past thirty-six hours, only taking short breaks for food and rest. There was nothing to be gained from repeating any of it, except possibly to wear me down, which had to be their goal. They were trying to trip me up. Catch me in a lie. But that wasn't going to happen; I was telling the truth, whether they believed it or not.

My eyes closed, and the memory rolled over me, rendered no less horrible by the number of times they'd made me relive it. I flinched as Andrew's face came into focus in my head. I couldn't help it. Watching him die was one of the most difficult things I'd ever endured, and knowing I'd been the cause, however unwillingly, was the biggest regret of my life.

"What do you want to know?" I couldn't keep weariness from my voice, but I made myself meet their eyes, knowing they'd see guilt rather than grief if I didn't.

Malone scanned his notes. "Where did you get the spike?"

The railroad spike. That horrid, seven-inch iron spear, which had gone right through Andrew's neck, spilling his life along with his blood. "They were all over the floor…" I trailed into blessed silence when I couldn't purge the image from my mind.

"Why did you stab him with it?"

My hands clenched into fists again, this time on top of the table, where everyone could see them. "I was trying to knock him off me. He was going to crush my head!"

Malone leaned back in his chair, narrowing his eyes at me. "Or maybe he was threatening to tell everyone what you did. That you infected him. I imagine that would seem reason enough to kill him."

I took a deep, calming breath. "Look, I didn't mean to kill him, and I certainly wasn't trying to cover anything up. There were five other people with us minutes earlier, and even if I hadn't already told them I'd infected Andrew—and I'm sure any one of them will swear I had—they could smell my scent in his blood. It wasn't a cover-up. It was self-defense."

Malone's eyes narrowed, his mouth already opening to argue, but Uncle Rick beat him to the punch. "We've heard all of this before," he said, and I glanced at him in gratitude. "Let's move on."

"Fine." Malone scowled, leafing through his papers until he found whatever he was looking for. His eyes settled on me again, and I didn't like the eager look in them. "Is it true that you've turned down multiple proposals of marriage over the past six years?"

What? My face blazed in anger. "What the f—" I paused for a quick rephrase, because cursing at a panel of Alphas was a very, very bad idea. "What does that have to do with anything? Andrew never asked me to marry him."

"Answer the question please, Miss Sanders," Blackwell ordered, clearly irritated by my near slip.

Michael didn't look any happier than I was about this new line of questioning, but he nodded for me to answer.

"Yes."

"How many proposals have you turned down, total?" Malone continued.

I closed my eyes, pretending to think, though I was actually trying to get a grip on my temper before my mouth dug a hole too big for the rest of me to crawl out of. "That's hard to quantify," I said finally, opening my eyes to meet Malone's gleeful stare.

"Why is that?" he asked.

"Because I received multiple proposals from the same person." Marc, of course.

"I see." Malone nodded, as if he understood. And he probably did. Rumor had it he'd been after his wife for years and years before she finally agreed to marry him. My private theory was that he wore away at her defenses. But I knew better than to say that to his face.

"How many toms proposed to you, then? Surely that can't be hard to quantify." Malone said as my uncle scratched something I couldn't read on the notebook in front of him.

I sighed. "Four."

"And you weren't tempted by any of these proposals?"

Sudden understanding clicked into place in my head, but instead of calming me, it made me angrier. One of the marriage offers had come several years earlier from a young man two years my junior, whom I'd barely known. Brett Malone. Calvin Malone's firstborn son. The petty son of a bitch was mad because I'd opted not to give birth to his descendants. That wasn't the reason for the hearing, of course. But it was surely the source of his malicious, twitching smile.

"Of course I was tempted." It took most of my remaining self-control not to roll my eyes over such a petty grudge. "But I had reasons for turning them down."

"What were those reas—"

"Calvin, I think you've gotten your answer." Uncle Rick cut Malone off in midword, having obviously come to the same conclusion I had.

Malone frowned. "Fine." He consulted his notes again. "I understand that you are no longer involved in a relationship of any kind. Is this also true?"

Fuming, I glanced at Michael, but he only nodded, telling me to answer.

"Yes."

"And is it also true that you have no plans to marry, or to ever have children?"

Fury singed through my veins, lighting tiny fires throughout my body. No longer satisfied by my brother's passive nodding, I whirled on Michael again, my long black hair swinging out behind me. "Why are they asking me this crap?

It's none of their business, nor is it even vaguely related to what happened to Andrew. Shouldn't you… object, or something?"

"This isn't a court of law, Faythe," Michael reminded me for at least the hundredth time. "They can ask you anything they want. The best way to help yourself right now is to answer their questions." With as little information as possible.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 390 )
Rating Distribution

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4 Star

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(30)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 395 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2011

    Ahh men!

    Love it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    Werecats

    This was a pretty interesting delve into the world of werecats. Rachel Vincent does a great job in this shape shifting tale. I love the way that she writes dialogue -- it's very authentic and doesn't seem at all "forced." A lot of other writers could take some notes from her. I also liked that the book was NOT predictable -- at all. It kept me guessing until the end. Overall a good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2012

    Excellent series

    Great series

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  • Posted February 18, 2012

    Excellent Book

    Excellent book which is packed with action. I could not put the book down. The author acquired and held my attention the whole time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    Fab!

    My absolute favorite series. Reminds me a little of the Sookie Stackhouse novels.

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  • Posted October 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The story just keeps getting better

    Pride picks up right where Rogue left off. Faythe is on trial for not only infecting but killing her ex-boyfriend. While on trial a series of events occur leading the trial a little off course while they deal with the new situation.

    I love how fast the story moved. You not only had the trial taking place with Faythe's life hanging in the balance but the falling out of Marc and Faythe, the stray attacks in the woods and the introduction of a new tabby. This installment in the series is definitely a page turner. I really liked the whole story behind the new tabby but again, the whole family aspect really shines through. There are a lot of times where Faythe points out how strong her father is and how proud she is of him. I cannot wait to read the next installment in the series.

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  • Posted September 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Posted August 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Continues Well...

    I am a fan of the characters in this series; I find them interesting and memorable. The plot in this one was a bit slow going, but I like the way the author writes well enough that a slower pace doesn't bother me much. Overall, this is a great series to keep paranormal romance readers engaged, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing what happens next! If you like this series, you might also like "Full Moon Rising" by Keri Arthur, "Dead Witch Walking" by Kim Harrison, "Grimspace" by Ann Aguirre, "Moon Called" by Keri Arthur, and "Blue Moon" by Lori Handeland.

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  • Posted July 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Hooked...

    LOVE THE ENTIRE SERIES!! WISH THERE WERE MORE!!

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  • Posted June 13, 2011

    :D

    Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. You must read this book. It will not disappoint.

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  • Posted February 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    I really liked this book. The plot was varied from the previous books in this series and there were good new character additions. Whereas in the last book I commented on how great it was because my stomach was in knots... this one may have gone a little overboard. I wasn't sure if it was good or bad that I was on the edge of seat the entire time and thought it may have had a little too much drama. Give the girl an effen break! That being said, I also wasn't a huge fan of all the political scheming, that at times got a little dull and annoying. Although it was well done and relevant (even necessary) to the story, it's just not my favorite thing in real life or in a book. So while I've lost a bit of that 'beginning of a new relationship' feel that makes me stay up till 2 a.m. reading and speeding to the next book in the series, I still love the characters and the world and will be starting #4 next (just with slightly less fervor).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2010

    Better than the first two!

    The first book was good and the second, this third got me very interested! It seems the more you read the better it gets.

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  • Posted August 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    pride!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I love this book soooo much that i cant wait to read the 6th book. I love faythe and marc and all the charaters. IF you want to read this book you have to buy it :)

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  • Posted April 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Rachel Vincent has a winning series here

    Can I just say, I am really glad I'm not a were cat! I don't think I could survive! The series is terrific though, really keeps your intrest if you like the supernatural. There is a little bit for everyone, personal conflict, romance, fights, power plays, politics, the whole ball of wax! My only real complaint is that Ms Vincent can't really write fast enough. Included is an epic struggle for dominance that effects numerous people. Love and its many struggles, including love between family members, friends and lovers. Plus the personal struggle of individuals to be better people, leaders and weres.
    Ms Vincent keeps the books interesting with its many plots and sub plots, individual and group struggles and conflicts. The books are fast paced, well written and terrific reads. This whole series is worth reading there is so much going on in them I almost feel disappointment when I'm done with the book because I don't have the next one ready to be picked up and enjoyed.

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  • Posted April 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Love it!!

    I have to say that I cried, there are some major tear jerk moments. Maybe it's just because I am overly emotional, but no matter, it is still a great read. Calvin Malone needs to be put down, for the sake of all the Prides. I cannot belive the charges that they brought against Faythe. And what they did to Mark and what Calvin is trying to do to Greg. It made for a great story, and very easy read, even through the tears. I loved Kellen, the Bruin. I like how Rachel brings in new characters, and gives them wonderful character. Kaci is a great addition, and I can't wait to see what kind of troube that she gets into and what Faythe is goign to do with her. I want to see what happens in the next book, I can't wait!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Love this book

    I have read all of Rachel Vincents books so far an this book falls in with the other two of this set I really love they have a good story line an the twist to the book are great as well i cant wait till prey comes out

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  • Posted April 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Series, but this book got a little stale

    I understand that Rachel had some loose ends to tie up such as Faythe's trial but I really felt that this book repeated to many things from the first book such as Faythe's relationship with the new tabby. (Which I am guessing is supposed to elude to her motherhood instincts because in Stray she is also very protective of her young cousin)

    The character development of Faythe is slow, this is the first book and I haven't seen alot of change in her character. She is still a little bratty and tough as nails. At least she is finally admitting her feelings for Mark.

    Faythe's relationship with Mark is the only reason I am hooked on the series. I would like to see more of Jace too.

    Overall, the series is absolutely worth reading. It is an original theme and Rachel's style of writing is interesting and catching.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    The book was well written.

    The characters are easy to get involved in. The lead character is a girl who despite disadvantages still wants to be an enforcer for her family. She gets into trouble in the earlier two books and is on trial for them in this book. However trouble seems to find her even though she is under guard while awaiting trial. Another young tabby is found and with it brings toms from outside the prides. The toms attack for the young tabby. By the end of the book there have been startling discoveries and many twists.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2009

    This book is amazing.

    I couldn't put it down. Loved the writing style.

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  • Posted March 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    One of my favorites!

    This book is one of my all time favorites along with the first.

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