Reading Assignment Challenge: Wild Cat by Christine Feehan
It was a simple request for Siena Arnotto: deliver a gift to her grandfather's friend. One look at Elijah Lospostos, hard bodied and stripped to the waist, and Siena succumbs to a feline stirring she never felt before--and to Elijah's reckless and pleasurable demands. But when that pulse-throbbing moment ends in the murder of an unexpected intruder, Elijah accuses the shaken and confused Siena of setting him up.
Then Siena discovers the truth of her leopard heritage, of the secrets in her grandfather's inner circle and the sinister plot of revenge that has put her in jeopardy. When Siena's grandfather is assassinated, she realizes the only man she can trust is Elijah. Now, as her leopard rises from within, Siena and Elijah share not only an animal instinct for survival--but a desire so raw and wild it may be the only thing that can save them.
Whew. I'm still now completely sure how I feel about this book...
Siena has spent the majority of her life at boarding schools and university since her beloved grandmother passed away when she was six. Her parents had already died and her beloved nonno feared for her safety--a concern that turned into more of an obsession after not one but two kidnapping attempts. Siena wanted nothing more than to be normal but she always felt apart from others, isolated at school and constantly surrounded by bodyguards. She became determined to learn everything she could about wine making so she could take over her grandfather's vineyards and finally prove that she was worth having around. When her father's right hand man, Paolo, starts to act strangely around her and her grandfather hints broadly that he would like nothing more than for them to share a future, she finds comfort in her university sanctuary. Finally, however she has all the degrees she needs and she heads home to take her place in her grandfather's businesses.
One of the first tasks her grandfather asks of her is to drop off a case of wine to family friend, Elijah Lospostos, for his birthday. Siena remembers Elijah from a couple of dinners she attended while home from school on break. She developed a strong crush on Elijah, whose taste in women was always clearly the opposite of her, leaving her with a compromised sense of self esteem. When she arrives at Elijah's mansion, sparks fly (along with clothes) as they share a quick, violent coupling on his foyer floor. Before Siena can get her wits about her again, Elijah has grabbed a gun, shot an intruder, spat vile, vicious accusations at her, and thrown her, naked, out of his house and his life. Siena, stunned after her first sexual experience leaves her witnessing a murder and being assured that she is the worst sexual partner in the history of sex, fumbles her way home only to be physically assaulted by Paolo, who apparently really expects to marry her and who is infuriated that she slept with another man. When Siena picks her bruised and battered self up to inform her grandfather of Paolo's assault, her grandfather calls her a whore.
In the midst of all of this, Siena is getting ready to go through the Han Vol Dan when her female leopard will emerge. AND, frosting on the cake, her grandfather is shot and she is pretty sure she knows exactly who did it and she has no plans to stick around so he can kill her as she inherits everything her grandfather was involved in and it is quickly becoming clear that much of he activities were both illegal and carefully hidden from Siena's eyes. She now has a large target on her back as many criminals wanting the Arnotto territory need only to take Siena out to gain control. When Siena seeks help from Drake Donovan, a man she has been assured is above board, she runs into Elijah and suddenly the one hope she had is gone. She runs and is promptly grabbed by Paolo putting her in danger once again.
And that is all within the first 56 pages. The action is this book was jam packed and I loved that aspect of it. What I wasn't quite so sure of was the over-the-top dominance exhibited by Elijah. I am all for Alpha males but Elijah was ALPHA-going-on-asshole and while he showed tenderness and sweetness at times, I never did feel that he groveled for the harsh (SO HARSH!!) things he spat at Siena in their first interaction. He pretty much told her that she knew he didn't mean it and she needed to get over it. NOT AN APOLOGY JACKASS! And, there was a lot of him stating that Siena needed to "get this" or "get that" (seriously, at times it seemed that every conversation involved him telling Siena to "get" something through her head). I won't lie, I had been looking forward tremendously to Elijah's story and his behavior really took a lot of enjoyment out of things for me. I am hoping that future rereadings will allow my feelings to mellow but this first read had me feeling uncomfortable and kind of hoping Siena would leave Elijah and hook up with Alonzo instead. Alonzo is very intriguing and I am hoping that his character doesn't turn out to be quite so over the top as Elijah.