Cabal St. Laurents barely survives the slaughter of his Breed family, only to find himself mated to the woman he hold responsible, Cassa Hawkins. Cassa Hawkins has known her life was forfeit for over a decade. Ever since she let herself be conned by the man she had once called her husband, Douglas Watts, Cassa has been overwhelmed by guilt. Guilt over the fact that she let him deceive her into an abusive marriage, guilt over him using her reporting skills and connections to cause harm to the Breed men and women she was trying to protect, and guilt that all those things combined had led to the slaughter of over a dozen Bengal Breeds right in front of her. As Cassa watched one of the killing devices created by the Genetics Council end the lives of so many, she knew one day she would pay for her naivety. The lone survivor of the massacre, a Bengal named Cabal St. Laurents, escapes the massacre and kills Douglas at Cassa's feet, swearing vengeance with his eyes as he growls that he owns her now.
Cabal has fought his connection to Cassa for the entirety of his freedom from the Council labs. Created to be the ultimate killer, Cabal is a combination of human and Bengal tiger DNA that produced an amazing alpha male specimen. Unlike most of his fellow Breeds, Cabal is one of the few that actually shows physically similarities to his animal counterpart with a light shadowing of tiger stripes around his hips. For the 11 years Cabal has been free he has kept close tabs on the reporter that he feels brought death to his family, but can't deny his incredible pull and attraction to her as well. He keeps a healthy distance for over a decade, but he knows he is coming close to the breaking point. During a party at the Breed compound Sanctuary, Cabal discusses what he knows of the recent vicious murders of known Council members with his boss Jonas Wyatt. As the head of the Bureau of Breed Affairs, Jonas has more information than one could hope to gather about the murders, but as of yet they have been unable to find the killer.
Worried that the deaths would be laid at the Breeds' feet, Jonas and his people have been trying to keep a lid on the killings until they can find who is responsible, but the perpetrator has found a way to mask his scent from them and leave no evidence behind. Cassa overhears the conversation between the two men as she tests the little pills sent to her anonymously from the killer, claiming they mask scent for two hours from Breeds. Realizing they work and that Cabal has been sent to check on her in the cabin they loaned her, Cassa races back to beat Cabal and attempt to shower with floral soaps to give her any kind of scent.
When he arrives, Cabal is suspicious, but he is waylaid by the intense arousal that builds between them when they are together. Something that has only continued to get worse in the recent years. He makes it clear that he knows she is his mate and that he is aware she has been seeing the Breed doctor for a while. He questions her but she redirects him and they end up fighting. He leaves to head out to Glen Ferris where the killings have been taking place, expecting Cassa to stay behind. She receives another message from the killer with photos of the newest crime scene. She resolves to find out the truth before the killer send the information to another reporter that will not be held quiet, and heads out to Glen Ferris herself. Shortly after her arrival she heads out to the valley where she thought the body may have been. On the way she finds herself chased by Coyote Breeds and figures the Council is going to kill her. Instead they corral her and wait for Cabal to arrive. After trading barbs with each other, Cabal leaves the Coyote leader, Dog, and takes Cassa back to her hotel.
He warns Cassa not to push him and go home, otherwise he will enact the “mating heat” that Breed couples are known for, which would put them both in an increased state of arousal until Cassa conceived. Eventually their hormones overtake their senses anyway and they have a passionate night. Ignoring his threats to stay put, Cassa continues to search for the missing members of what they call the Deadly Dozen, a group of 12 men that began hunting escaped Breed members for sport. She interviews the local reporter and old friend Myron James, but is interrupted by the Sheriff Danna Lacey who hurries Myron off and takes over. The Sheriff reveals that Myron was once mated to a Breed female and that she died along with dozens of others in a massacre 22 years ago. In her room later that night Cassa receives another message from the killer and vows to learn the truth. Meanwhile, Cabal is on the phone with Jonas who has been sent pictures of him and Cassa together outside of her room. At the end of the conversation Jonas reveals that Douglas is still alive and in a Breed prison, paralyzed from the waist down. Cabal knows and refuses to tell Cassa.
Cassa heads out to the diner the next day to meet up with Myron again, only he is surly and unforthcoming, warning her off the story. Confused but determined, Cassa continues to question him until she is interrupted by an old farm man Walt Jameson. After Myron leaves, Walt takes his place and discusses a bit more about the Deadly Dozen and the massacre two decades ago, but he eventually shuts down and warns Cassa off as well. As they leave they are approached by Cabal who takes Cassa back to her room, furious that she is still chasing the story. They spend the next couple of days going back and forth between steamy bedroom sessions, verbal sparring, and Cassa sneaking around to body sites in an attempt to gain information that always has Cabal taking her home pissed off.
When she realizes during one of her last interactions with the Coyote Dog that he knows more than Cabal is willing to tell her, she uses back channels to arrange a private meeting and get information. She learns that her husband is still alive and in a Breed prison, and in a rage Cabal reveals that Douglas was not actually her husband. Unable to stand the thought of her thinking she was still married to the vile man, Cabal tells her that the wedding was staged and she had never married Douglas. While Cassa is relieved, she is still guilt-ridden over the lives Douglas cost with her unwitting help. Luckily, Jonas, Cabal and the others figure out their mystery killer wants Douglas as he was part of the Deadly Dozen, and let him escape in order to trap the killer. Douglas heads to Glen Ferris to get Cassa and save his hide, but what none of the Breed enforcers were expecting was for the killer, a primal Breed known as Azrael, to kidnap Cassa for bait to gain access to information Douglas has.
Before the exchange Myron, Danna and Azrael fill in some holes for Cassa and explain that they all lost their mates at the massacre and have finally found those responsible. Unfortunately, the traitor in their midst that help orchestrate it was Azrael's pregnant mate, who was betrayed by the Council after the slaughter and killed while in labor. The child was taken and Azrael is searching for him. At the exchange Cassa makes a break for it and is tackled by Douglas, who has specialized technology allowing him to walk temporarily. When he would kill Cassa, Douglas is taken out by Cabal, fully enraged and showing tiger stripes all over his body and face. Azrael realizes that Cabal is also a primal Breed, and that it would take one to stop him, so he leaves to continue the search for his son. Cassa is shot during her attempted escape and is raced back to Sanctuary for surgery. She survives and Cabal finally reveals that he loves her.
After Douglas is recaptured and healed from the worst of his injuries, he informs Jonas of the names of the remaining Deadly Dozen that weren't killed by Azrael yet, as well as the name and last known location of the boy they kidnapped.
Best part of story, including ending:
This story was great for the quick-wit dialogue between the main characters, Cassa and Cabal, but I also like how Leigh portrays Cassa as a strong capable female throughout the story.
Best scene in story:
I am a big fan of the scene at the end when Cassa is lying in the hospital bed recovering from surgery. Cabal rushes in and he is still covered the stripes that took over his body when he thought he had lost Cassa, stripes that she loves. She tries to pet his face when he comes in, and he warns her that they will go away soon.
Opinion about the main character:
I dislike Cabal's dishonesty. He is not a liar per se, but he definitely has no qualms about keeping secrets from Cassa or others if he feels it is the right thing to do, even if it's only in his own mind that it's the right thing to do.