Nine Lives

Nine Lives

by Sharon Sala

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They say cats have nine lives. Lucky for Cat Dupree, she's got seven left.

Bounty hunter Cat Dupree first cheated death when she was thirteen. The second time left her orphaned and scarred. And the only thing that will diminish her lust for revenge is finding the man who left her for dead as she watched him murder her father. She hopes to hunt him down on her current mission into the rugged deserts of Mexico–where there is no law to watch her back.

Without her knowledge, bondsman Wilson McKay is on the same job, and trailing Cat is the fastest way to find his man. He's willing to share resources–and the reward–especially if that means getting to know the lonely woman beneath her tough, take–no–prisoners exterior. Life's taught Cat that the surest way to land on her feet is to work alone, but Wilson might be the man to change her mind!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781488097485
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 02/12/2018
Series: A Cat Dupree Novel , #1
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 126,796
File size: 544 KB

About the Author

Sharon Sala is a member of RWA and OKRWA with 115 books in Young Adult, Western, Fiction, Women's Fiction, and non-fiction. RITA finalist 8 times, won Janet Dailey Award, Career Achievement winner from RT Magazine 5 times, Winner of the National Reader's Choice Award 5 times, winner of the Colorado Romance Writer's Award 5 times, Heart of Excellence award, Booksellers Best Award. Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. Centennial Award for 100th published novel.

Read an Excerpt

It was December in Dallas, Texas.

Cat Dupree hated winter and all that came with it. The weather made for miserable stakeouts, although stakeouts were a part of a bounty hunter's life. The time of year only added to the chip she carried on her shoulder and reminded her of all she'd lost.

When she was six, she and her mother had been shopping for groceries when they'd been hit by a drunk driver. It had killed her mother instantly and put Cat in the hospital for days. When she was finally dismissed, her mother's funeral was over, and she and her father were on their own.

Over the years, she learned to adjust, and she and her father grew closer. Then, just before her thirteenth birthday, and only days before she and her father were planning to leave on vacation, a man with a tattooed face broke into their house, stabbed her father and cut her throat, leaving her unable to scream as she watched him die.

After that, the Texas Social Services system finished the raising of Catherine Dupree, during which time she'd acquired the nickname Cat.

Being a bounty hunter had been a job she'd thought about during those long years. What better way to find her father's killer than to work in his world? At eighteen, she'd aged out of the system, then, two months later, gone to work for a bail-bondsman named Art Ball.

Art had been taken with the dark-haired, leggy teenager, and hired her to file and deliver papers to the courthouse, even though he hadn't needed the extra help. But, he would say later, it was the smartest thing he'd ever done. By the time she turned twenty-one, she had a black belt in Karate, was licensed to carry a firearm and had gone through several kinds of schooling to learn private investigation techniques, as well as the ins and outs of bringing home bail jumpers.

Also during that time, she began accumulating mug shots of perps with tattoos on their faces in hopes of finding her father's killer. She'd been looking for him ever since, and often thought it strange that a man with such markings was so difficult to find. Logically, one would have assumed that a man with the equivalent of a road map on his face should stand out in any crowd.

Every time she left to go after someone who'd jumped bail, Art would tell her to be careful. He would add to that by reminding her that she didn't have nine lives left like the cats who hung out in the alley behind the bail bond office, because she'd already used up two.

The ensuing years and her cold-blooded determination had given her a hard-nosed and enviable reputation. The fact that she was tall and, in many men's eyes, very beautiful didn't matter to her. She'd grown up fast, with a whiskey-rough voice and a bad attitude. She had a fine set of boobs, which she didn't consider an asset. They were, however, nicely distracting to the men she went after. Most of the time they were looking elsewhere when she threw the first punch.

Such, she was certain, was going to be the case today for bail jumper Nelson Brownlee. Following up on a tip, Cat had located Brownlee at an old apartment building in Fort Worth. Now all she had to do was take him down and bring him in.

Nelson Brownlee was a four-time loser with a penchant for armed robbery. He'd promised himself the last time he'd been released that he was going to move back to Michigan, but Nelson had never been good at keeping promises, even to himself. All the way to the Quick Stop, he'd been thinking something didn't feel right. Still, he'd ignored his instincts, robbed the store and then gotten himself caught on his way out the door by an off-duty cop. He figured it had served him right and never dreamed he would be able to bond out. But he had. He'd taken it as a sign from God to change his ways.

However, he and God had never been on very good speaking terms, and instead of making an appearance in court on his due date, he'd jumped bail. For the past week he'd been in hiding without money, hanging out at an old girlfriend's apartment in Fort Worth.

He'd been here six days, and was sick and tired of the scent of boiled cabbage and bratwurst. Even the free sex from the old girlfriend was losing appeal. So when the knock sounded on the door, he ignored his better judgment and went to answer it.

Cat's fingertips were numb from the cold, but persistence had paid off. Frostbite was a minor hazard of the job compared to the satisfaction of having a healthy bank account. Her badge was in plain sight, so there would be no mistaking her purpose when she confronted her perp. She checked for the set of handcuffs she tucked under the waistband in the back of her jeans, felt to make sure her handgun was in the holster beneath her coat, then ran her fingers along the taser in her coat pocket as she started up the stairs. Brownlee's woman had an apartment on the sixth floor, and in a building this old, an elevator did not come with the deal.

Cat's nose wrinkled as she moved from floor to floor. The compilation of scents coming from beneath the doors was staggering. She could smell everything from a backed-up toilet to boiled cabbage—a disgusting combination. It didn't, however, deter her from her goal, which was bringing Art's bail jumper back.

She wasn't even breathing hard when she reached the sixth floor. Her steps were sure as she strode down the hall, pausing only briefly before doubling her fist and pounding on the door of apartment 609. She re-checked the location of her gun and taser, then braced herself.

Nelson Brownlee opened the door. "Well hell," he muttered, and tried to slam it shut. The door caught on Cat's boot as she shoved her foot in the doorway, then swung inward as she pushed her way in.

"Now, Nelson," Cat drawled, as she grabbed him by the collar and slammed him belly first up against the wall. "That's no way to say hello. It's cold outside. The least you could do was offer me a hot cup of coffee."

"Like hell!" Nelson yelled, and bowed himself backward, then spun and took a swing at her.

She took a quick step sideways, dodging his fist. As she did, she came off one foot and kicked upward, landing a neat but lethal blow to his chin. He went down like a felled ox. She quickly handcuffed him, then grabbed him under the arms and was about to drag him out the door when she heard someone scream.

She dropped Nelson's arms and ran out of the apartment. Smoke was filling the stairwell from above, drifting downward in thick deadly fingers.

"Oh, Lord," she muttered, and glanced back inside the apartment. Brownlee was still out.

She couldn't leave without him, but he weighed a good hundred pounds more than she did. This wasn't good. She glanced down the hall again, grabbed her cell phone and quickly dialed 911. After giving the dispatcher the address of the building, she ran back to Brownlee. Already the smoke was so thick on the sixth floor that it was becoming difficult to breathe. Cat raced into the kitchen, grabbed a dish towel from the cabinet, doused it with water, then tied it around her face. The scent clinging to the towel was not enhanced by getting it wet, and sucking it up her nostrils came close to making her gag. Still, it was better to gag than burn.

Smoke was filling the apartment as Cat ran back to the living room and pulled Nelson into the hall. His head bumped hard as she dragged him over the threshold, but it couldn't be helped. Better a headache than dying.

"Come on, Brownlee, wake up!" Cat cried, but Brownlee wasn't talking.

Cursing beneath her breath, she got him as far as the landing, then bent over, and with what she would later consider a burst of adrenaline spurred by an overwhelming fear, pulled him up and over her shoulder in a fireman's carry and started down the stairs, staggering slightly under the weight.

Cat hadn't counted on the difficulty of balancing dead weight on a decline. Every time she took a step down, Brownlee's head bumped against her back, keeping her slightly off balance. But the heat behind them and the smoke swirling around their heads was all the reminder she needed to keep moving. They'd cleared the fifth floor and were just past the fourth floor landing when Cat sensed someone on the stairs in front of her. Her instincts proved right as she stepped down onto the heel of a boot.

Staggering to keep from losing her load, she grabbed the railing with one hand and the back pocket of Brownlee's jeans with the other.

"Move faster or get over! I'm coming through!" she yelled.

Wilson McKay was, what the waitress at his favorite diner called, "a looker." He was four inches over six feet, with a linebacker's build. His hair style wasn't a style at all, but a buzz-cut that was always in the process of growing out. He wore one small gold hoop in his ear, and denim or leather with equal distinction. His nose had been broken twice, and there was a small scar beneath his right eye. Every scar, bump and line on his face was a testament to the hard knocks of his life.

He had turned forty yesterday, and a bunch of his friends had thrown a big party for him down at the bar across the street from his bail bond office. The beer had been flowing freely. They'd even sprung for a day-old cake from the deli section of one of the big grocery stores across town. Their gift to Wilson had been Wanelle, the prettiest hooker on their side of the city, which was a title Wanelle held proudly, even if her claim to fame came from a real long stretch of the truth.

Still, Wanelle had all her own teeth and clear skin, and she was almost pretty when she laughed. Wilson knew her slightly. He'd seen her around Ft. Worth from time to time, but buying a woman had never been his style. He'd felt trapped when Wanelle had been presented to him, especially since his buddies had tied a big red bow around her neck. Turning her down would have been a serious social faux pas to his friends and to Wanelle. So, rather than hurt everyone's feelings, Wilson had graciously accepted, and they'd spent the night in her fifth floor apartment, only to be awakened by the scent of smoke.

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Nine Lives (Cat Dupree Series #1) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Won't be disappointed
Anonymous 5 months ago
I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read more by this author. I recommend this book and this author. mjw
chrissywest on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was surfing around some websites about a month ago and was happy to learn that Sharon Sala had a new book coming out in November. I thought Cut Throat sounded right down my alley, so I pre-ordered it and started reading it as soon as it arrived in the mail. I got to about chapter 3 and happen to find out that it was the sequal to Nine Lives. I stopped reading it right away. I thought I better read Nine Lives first. I finished it yesterday and I must say, I loved it.I thought the characters were awesome. Cat was a character all her own. Talk about guts. However she was not the character I enjoyed most. That was Wilson McKay. He was charming. I chuckled every time he called Cat on the phone. He¿d say, ¿Hey, it¿s Wilson McKay calling.¿I usually enjoy most Sharon Sala books - whether she writes as Sharon Sala or her pen name Dinah McCall, but I think this is her best, so far! I can¿t wait to see where Cat and Wilson head in Cut Throat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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You will be quickly drawn into the lives and stories of the characters. Plenty of action, good plot, and romance
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Guest More than 1 year ago
As someone else pointed out, the plot summary on the back was completely inaccurate: 1. Cat first 'cheated death' at age 6 not 13. 2. Wilson and Cat were not competing for the same jobs. 3. Cat was after the man who murdered her friend, not the man who killed her father. The end left things very unresolved, not sure if this is because there is a sequel or not. I would have given it a five if it hadn't been for those two problems.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was one of those books that slowly realed me in but after i started getting into it i refused to put it down which is weird because its a far cry from my western romances but its still an amazing story
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the reasons I am only giving this book two stars is because there is a lot of mistakes in this book! At one point the book says the man had just turned forty, and at another point he told Cat that he was thirty-eight. A lot of the sentences are infragments, and there are some sentences that seem to be mixed with a different one. This was deffinately not Sala's best book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A fantastic read -- quick, exciting and fun. When will the next book be out?!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan of sharon sala/dinah mccall for a few years now and i thought this was a good one not my favorite but up there with them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was great pages turner. Your heart goes out to Cat. I enjoyed so much I live in Texas area. My sister lives in Tyler where story took place. must read....
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan of Sharon Sala's for a long time now. This book was very disappointing. I had a hard time liking the characters and the romantic aspect of the book was definitely a let down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After I finished reading Nine Lives by Sharon Sala, I remembered thinking how gutsy it was for this author to write about a flawed character and have the guts to stick with it, keeping true to this woman's scarred past. To do anything else would have been a cop out...kind of like watching a 60 min program and expect all the loose ends to be wrapped up tidy. Nine Lives is a sensitive portrayal of a woman with a tragic past--a tough choice for an author to make. Some readers may be partial to read about a sugar coated life. And that's okay. But it was refreshing to see such an interesting realistic view of the heroine/bounty hunter Cat Dupree. I also liked the close relationship Cat had with Marcia Benton, her childhood friend and the murder victim in this case. Cat's pain is written with such feeling, it reminded me of all the close gal pals I've had. Thankfully, they're all still breathing. And it made for an interesting read to have a tough guy like Wilson be the one with family ties and the depth of emotion. A nice foil to Cat who's built walls to keep people out. Brava, Sharon! I can't think of anyone more capable of portraying a character who walks the line between vulnerability and toughness. Can't wait for the next book in this series. And Wilson's gold earring is very sexy!! Cyn
harstan More than 1 year ago
When Cat Dupree was thirteen, a tattooed assailant slashed her throat and murdered her father. She recovered, but the culprit escaped and the case became cold. As a result of the assault, Cat lets no one get close to her and she became a bounty hunter to bring some miscreants to justice. The lone exception for the Dallas based Cat is her only real friend private secretary Marsha Benton.----------------- When a pregnant Marsha suddenly vanishes without a word, Cat believes her friend¿s influential boss, a CEO, wanted to end their affair without any baggage and had her killed. Cat plans to uncover the truth as she feels she owes it to Marsha. Bounty Hunter Wilson McKay is attracted to Cat and decides he will help her on her quest though she objects. She hates the feelings of desire she has for him so hides behind a work only attitude that he seems to be able to penetrate. As they work together on the Marsha disappearance with clues leading to Mexico, they fall in love, but Cat fears caring because people die.------------------- NINE LIVES is an exciting romantic suspense thriller that focuses more on the investigation and related escapades than the romance, but the feelings of love between the lead couple is always a heartbeat away. Readers of both genres will appreciate this fine tale. Cat is terrific as the center of the tense story line while Wilson shows patience and impatience with her efforts to shut him off. Though the final spin seems off for this superb bounty hunter saga, fans will enjoy Sharon Sala¿s solid suspenseful story.------------------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Better be nothing