Rebecca Desjardin, a P.I. and cat shifter, doesn't normally find herself in strip clubs. But a popular male dancer has been murdered in Pennsylvania, and it looks like the work of a shifter from the local Pride. Rebecca has a duty to help protect her kindand she needs to find justice for the dead.
Her impromptu trip leaves her boyfriend, reporter Brandon Hanover, unhappy. He's only just come to terms with the fact that she's a Felis, and their relationship is still so new Rebecca is determined to deal with the murder first, then deal with their future.
As her investigation unfolds, she's met with grudging cooperation and half-truths. Does the Pride want her to find justice, or help them hide a killer? Frustrated and unable to shake the sexy local shifter who says he's on her side, Rebecca can't seem to scratch out the truthat least not on her own. But when Brandon shows up, is he there to help or to mark his territory?
About the Author
In 2011 she won two Second-Place Prism Awards from the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter of RWA. In 2013 she won a Third-Place Prism Award for the first book of her paranormal series, "Blood of the Pride"
Read an Excerpt
I hadn't ordered any airline tickets.
I looked inside the open envelope with a mixture of surprise, dismay and confusion.
The bike courier let out a loud cough, covering his mouth with a gloved hand. I paused for a second, trying to figure out what he wanted. I'd already signed his clipboard and accepted delivery, expecting to find a court subpoenaI was used to having to testify on the stand both for and against my clients. Being a private investigator meant doing almost as much court time as investigatingthe movies tend to leave that less glamorous part out.
Airline tickets weren't even on my radar.
He coughed again and wriggled his fingers. I caught on before he had to explain his chronic illness.
I dug in my pocket and found enough spare change to not embarrass myself. Handing it to the courier, I turned my attention back to the envelope.
The young man stuffed the coins into his pocket and threw me a jaunty salute before sprinting off through my small yard. He yanked his bike away from the rose bushes lining the front and jumped back out into traffic, the tires leaping in the air like some warped rearing horse.
I grimaced at the sound of screaming brakes coming from around the corner. Not hearing anyone calling for an ambulance, I closed the door and headed for my work desk. Running your business out of your home had certain advantageslike not having to worry about getting fully dressed for work. I wriggled my bare toes and sat down.
The drab brown envelope from a local travel agency held tickets from Toronto, Ontario to Pittsburgh, PA. Open return, one person in my name. Leaving that evening. I sat down at my desk and scowled at the elderly white cat sprawled over the file folders.
"This is your doing, isn't it? Revenge because I wouldn't let you be a little piglet and get sick on that tuna."
Jazz turned her steady gaze on me for another few seconds before licking her paws.
I turned my attention to the envelope. Standard brown envelope with nothing inside other than the travel agency's business card. No mention of who had sent it or who had paid for it.
I had a pretty good idea.
I lifted the envelope to my nose and inhaled. Human scent, nothing out of the ordinary. Multiple humans including my stinky messenger and a woman who wore way too much perfume.
The phone rang.
I snatched up the receiver, blowing away a wayward tuft of white cat fur. Jazz gave a short trill of approval.
"Reb." I clenched my fist at the low voice purring my name. "Glad to see you're home."
"Hi, Jess. Yes, just in time to receive this envelope." I tapped the thick folder on the varnished desktop. "I assume you've got something to do with this."
"So why shouldn't I drop this into my shredder?" I snapped, harsher than I'd intended.
I was missing Bran something awful.
Jazz dropped from the desk and trotted out of the room, picking up on my mood.
"Reb, is that any way to talk to a Board member?" The snarl in her voice sent phantom pains over my back, where the scars were. I resisted the urge to sit up straight in my chair.
"Is that any way to talk to an outcast? I do you one favor and suddenly I'm on your mailing list? I'm not part of the Pride and I don't have to answer to you." I kept my voice steady despite the butterflies in my stomach. "You declared me outcast twenty years ago and threw me into foster care, banished me from the family. I haven't forgotten that."
Or forgiven. The scars throbbed, reminders of the thrashing I'd gotten at Jess's claws in a final test of my ability to Change.
I'd failed. Spectacularly.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Rebecca Desjardin was pushed out of her pride and placed in foster care at a young age. Now that she is an adult she has made a life for herself as a PI. It seems the pride now wants to pull her back in. They’ve called on her once again to help with a murder investigation. Reb has her first boyfriend, Brandon Hanover. He’s unhappy with the fact that Felis, who have cast her out, keep calling upon her now. Brandon wants a commitment from Reb but she wants to solve this murder first. She is unsure how she feels about having someone full time in her life, since she’s never had anyone to lean on before. As the truth behind the murder is uncovered, Reb discovers that maybe the pride truly didn’t want it revealed. She hits road blocks at every turn. Brandon shows up unexpectedly and the tension in their relationship accelerates because a handsome, single, pride member also has his eye on Reb. I enjoyed Claws Beared. It was a fast paced, action adventure with a pretty good mystery that kept me invested until the end. I haven’t read the first book in this series so I was unfamiliar with past characters and their interaction with Reb, but for the most part I was able to pick up enough that it didn’t effect this storyline. This is a shifter series that I will definitely be following. 4 Stars This ARC copy of Claws Bared was given to me by Netgalley and Carina Press in exchange for an honest review. Publish Date January 21, 2013.