Night Life

Mass Market Paperback | March 4, 2008

byCaitlin Kittredge

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The first book in a thrilling, addictive new series by a talented new voice in dark fantasy. Welcome to Nocturne City, where werewolves, black magicians, and witches prowl the streets at night.

Among them is Luna Wilder, a tough-as-nails police officer whose job is to keep the peace. As an Insoli werewolf, Luna travels without a pack and must rely on instinct alone. And she's just been assigned to find the ruthless killer behind a string of ritualistic murders-a killer with ties to an escaped demon found only in legend.until now.

But when she investigates prime suspect Dmitri Sandovsky, she can't resist his wolfish charms. Pack leader of a dangerous clan of Redbacks, Dimitri sends her animal instincts into overdrive and threatens her fiercely-guarded independence. But Luna and Dimiri will need to rely on each other as they're plunged into an ancient demon underworld and pitted against an expert black magician with the power to enslave them for eternity.

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From the Publisher

The first book in a thrilling, addictive new series by a talented new voice in dark fantasy. Welcome to Nocturne City, where werewolves, black magicians, and witches prowl the streets at night.Among them is Luna Wilder, a tough-as-nails police officer whose job is to keep the peace. As an Insoli werewolf, Luna travels without a pack an...

From the Jacket

The first book a thrilling, addictive new series by a talented new voice in dark fantasy. Welcome to Nocturne City, where werewolves, black magicians, and witches prowl the streets at night.Among them is Luna Wilder, a tough-as-nails police officer whose job is to keep the peace. As an Insoli werewolf, Luna travels without a pack and m...

Caitlin Kittredge is the author of the Nocturne City and Black London series, as well as several short stories. She started writing novels at age 13, and after a few years writing screenplays, comic books and fan-fiction, she wrote Night Life, her debut novel. She is the proud owner of an English degree, two cats, a morbid imagination...

other books by Caitlin Kittredge

The Iron Thorn The Iron Codex Book One
The Iron Thorn The Iron Codex Book One

Paperback|Feb 14 2012


The Nightmare Garden: The Iron Codex Book Two
The Nightmare Garden: The Iron Codex Book Two

Paperback|Feb 12 2013

$11.98 online$11.99list price
Throwaways Volume 1
Throwaways Volume 1

Paperback|Dec 27 2016


see all books by Caitlin Kittredge
Format:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 6.76 × 4.18 × 0.9 inPublished:March 4, 2008Publisher:St. Martin's PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0312948298

ISBN - 13:9780312948290


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Enjoyable but had some flaws Generally I enjoyed this one, although it did have some flaws. Good points: The main character was admittedly another example in a long line of sarcastic female lead characters in urban fantasy yet was still quite likeable despite the use of this trope. The plot was gripping and flowed quite well. The world building was interesting (I enjoyed the descriptions of the city and its problems, as well as the conflict between the supernatural and non supernatural, for instance.) The other characters were also well drawn. Bad points: One aspect which seemed to me to be particularly problematic in this novel (and which did eventually result in my reducing the rating I assigned this book from 4 to 3 stars) was the way in which various elements were left unresolved at the end of the novel, presumably to be deal with in future novels. I can accept an underlying arc in a series of novels. It does seem to me however that this needs to be done in such a way that certain fundamental and more immediate story elements are resolved within each installment -otherwise this tends to leave the reader with the feeling that things have been intentionally left hanging so as to rope them into reading the next book. I speak of the difference between having an underlying continuing story and having the end of the story essentially truncated. Unfortunately, the end of this novel fell into the latter category, IMHO. One example of this is a character named Regan Lockhart. For part of the novel, he seemed to me to be the most frightening character in the book and was presented as the most likely suspect in the murders being investigated. Yet by the end of the novel, nothing much is learned about him Why the murders occured is never dealt with, meaning that what the reader knows by the end of the book can be summarized as follows. A blood witch wanted power ('cause that's what blood witches tend to want, apparently?) and killed a bunch of women to raise a demon. The end. Nothing much is explained about Lockhart. Nothing much is said about any potential consequences of the attack on the main character by another group of blood witches earlier in the novel (the main character is a cop, which makes this somewhat unbelievable, IMHO). Nothing much is explained about the apparently special nature of the demon raised by the aforementioned evil blood witch, nothing much (one line at the end the novel!) is said about how all the policemen who cooperated with the blood witch are to be dealt with (something is mentioned about Internal Affairs and it seems the main character is suddenly back on the force), nothing is put forth to explain why or how so many veteran police officers were working for this blood witch (other than the fact that this witch was also a lawyer and DA, which does not seem to me to be much of an explanation). Do you begin to see my point? The second unsuccessful aspect involved the love interest of the main character (i.e. Dmitri). I can accept the idea of the main character's love interest having been involved in crime. What I had more difficulty with was the first 'love' (insert full irony here) scene between the main character and Dmitri. While it was evident that the author was going for a scene that was edgy and which fit the characters who are both rather cynical, this did not work for me. In particular, the scene is quite rough with more than one mention of her feeling pain, as well as the fact that they both shifted partially during the act such that his organ became larger and hurt her (I believe the phrase was something along the lines of 'feeling as if she was a virgin'). And yet she has an orgasm. Eeep. And ouch. What doesn't work here is that it simply is not clear enough that the main character felt *pleasure*. So while I would not say that there were issues with dubious consent on her part, it was certainly not clear that she enjoyed this, except for the orgasm which almost felt 'tacked on' to the end of the scene. (This is just my 0.02$, since I think that if one writes a sex scene, one should aim to write it well.) The third and final aspect which was somewhat problematic to my mind was the fact that the main character did not seem to realize or care that her sarcasm and lack of tact could and probably did hurt the people around her: I can accept a character having had a hard life and being hardened by this. I can also heartily accept her being ready and willing to tell off those people around her who deserve it. What I have more difficulty with however is the fact that she generally seemed relatively oblivious to the fact that her words and her attitude could hurt and were wrong. (She did occasionally apologize to her cousin, for instance, but did not seem to have that much respect for her, despite the fact that her cousin truly tried to be there for her.) She was still a likeable character, but this was a little incongruous with the rest of the story and character.
Date published: 2012-03-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A good realistic take on urban fantasy I have to say that I did enjoy this book, and thought that the story seems like what would actually happen in the world if weres/witches/etc did exist (riots, slums, etc..). I found that to be quite refreshing in a book of this nature. This book also read very much like a police/crime thriller, so if you like those, and you like fantasy, you probably will enjoy this book.
Date published: 2010-05-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I love me some Insoli I am all about the kick ass characters so I really enjoyed this one. I thought the whole Insoli thing was a new twist on the lone wolf premis. The romance was also good...not too steamy for those of us who enjoy more foreplay than down right dirty :)
Date published: 2010-01-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Start to this Series! Night Life takes place in Nocturne City, a dark and gritty place where magic and the supernatural co-exist with the mundane. Luna Wilder works as a police detective but she’s also a werewolf. Made into one against her will when she was just fifteen, Luna fled the man who changed her and now lives as an Insoli: a werewolf with no pack, no rank, and no respect. Luna’s latest case involves investigating a string of ritualistic murders where the victims are prostitutes. Two things distinguish this case, however. First of all, the latest victim was a werewolf. And secondly, the manner in which the murders are executed eerily resemble a string of murders that took place several decades before. Matters become even more complicated when Luna is recruited to find the District Attorney’s missing son. Luna is a well written, and multifaceted character. The relationship that builds between her and Dmitri (who starts out as her prime suspect) is very quick, but Kittredge manages to make it not feel like an excuse to write multiple sex scenes (there’s only one), or one of those totally contrived “I hate you. Take me now.” relationships. While there’s nothing terribly surprising about it, it’s relatively realistic, layered, and well done. Just like all the other denizens of Luna’s life, which leaves Kittredge with a great foundation for future books to build on. Fans of Ilona Andrews or Kim Harrison will more than likely enjoy this book. I'm already planning to read the next in the series.
Date published: 2009-10-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Luna Wilder...Were...Detective So meet Luna Wilder, were and detective. She is currently having a hard time keeping her temper from lashing out, and the case she lands does not help. Luna has to find out who is killing people all over town. Her first suspect is an alpha were by the name of Dmitri, and his temper is actually worse than hers! Luna calls in her roommate and cousin, Sunny, who is a witch herself for some advice. Turns out that Luna is also part of a witch line, but did not get any of the magic. Not that she would need it since she was turned into a were from an ex-boyfriend. Luna and Dmitri have to try and play nice to find out who is the witch is that is killing everyone before he kills his seventh victim. If he gets to seven, then the witch can bring forth a daemen. It was a good start to a new series. It was a little darker than the books I usually read, but I did enjoy it. I did find that every time I thought Luna could not longer be beaten up or called nasty names, it happened again. It was a little repetitive in that sense.
Date published: 2009-10-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Gritty Heroine Luna Wilder, isn't just any werewolf, she is Insoli, unclaimed when turned. She is a cop as well, a detective with a very high closure rate on her cases. This does not make her many friends in her department. Luna is not only a loner in the Were community and with her colleagues, but her family as well. Luna comes from a line of Witches, but she did not inherit the gift. This is much to the dismay of her grandmother who raised her after her mother died. The only ones that seem to be in Luna's corner are her cousin Sunflower, a gifted caster witch, who helps Luna try to control her urges when she phases. Even though the largely human police department tolerates her, that would all change if she were killing people when she phased. Things start to go terribly wrong when girls start turning up dead, and Luna being like a dog on a bone, will not rest until she get to the bottom of all the strange things that a starting to happen around Nocturne City. This was a gritty, fast paced story. There was great action, and it wasn't over done. Terribly flawed, with a mouth that longs for all sorts of trouble, you still can't help pulling for Luna. This is Caitlin Kittredge's first book, and it does show the story does jump around quite a bit in the beginning, but she soon gains her stride ( or maybe I just got used to her style ). There were a few inconsistencies in the story, but not enough to ruin the book for what it is, a pretty good little escape. I do look forward to more from Kittredge as I do think she will improve as she writes more.
Date published: 2009-05-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Unleash Your Inner Wolf There are a couple things about Nocturne City everyone should know. 1. If you aren’t of the blood or don’t have a pack then stay out of Ghosttown. 2. If you are a serial killer then stay out of the way of Detective Luna Wilder. Being a packless Insoli werewolf in a city full of prejudice doesn’t make Detective Wilder’s job any easier. And when Luna has to go into Ghosttown, to question a suspect, she knows there will be trouble, but she has no idea her entire life is about to change. Dmitri Sandovsky is her prime suspect in the string of murders of young women. But he is also the very handsome Alpha of a local pack. And he knows how to push all of Luna’s buttons – good and bad. Can Luna fight through her turbulent emotions and ever stronger call of the phase in time to stop the killer? Night Life, by Caitlin Kittredge, is the fast paced debut novel in the Nocturne City series. It’s dark and seductive atmosphere captures the reader almost as much as the strong and provocative characters. This distinctive new world provides a refreshing twist on current urban fantasy mythology. And readers will discover that when the action really heats up they’ll find it hard to put this book down.
Date published: 2008-11-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good first book Hey everyone =) So I took a break from the vampire romance and tried out another book I bought yesterday by Caitlin Kittredge its the first book in a series of two so far with the third coming out some time next year. The book was a little confusing as I never really figured out what time period it was set it. It kept making reference to the '60s but the attitude of some of the characters had me scratching my head. The book is about a werewolf name Luna who is a police detective. It kind of reminded me of the Anita blake series by Laurell K Hamilton. You know the not so good girl falls for the not so bad boy and they join forces to save the world from evil. Aside from the time period thing it was a good story the plot is a little predictable but the characters were great and I think it was a great first attempt by this author. I'll be starting the second book in the series called Pure blood in the next couple of days and I'll let ya know bout that one too :) All in all I give this book 6 angry werewolfs out of 10 =)
Date published: 2008-09-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Kind of a disapointment. I found that I like my books with wtih strong leading woman. But I've found that I'm kind of sick of them having no feelings and being cut throat bitches. Feelings are allowed and a lot of these authors-I think-don't find that. Although the main character annoyed me with her bitchyness and lack of any human feelings, I found myself intigued at certain parts and kind of took a liking to Dmitri. I'm going to be picking up the next book, but I won't be holding my breath until I head to the store.
Date published: 2008-09-17
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointing I was quite disappointed by this story. Luna is a werewolf who is a police officer. Dmitri is also a werewolf but he has a record for pimping and possession. Right off the bat, its hard to like a man who sells or sold drugs and who pimps out the woman he calls his mate. Its hard to understand how an intelligent woman--a cop no less- can be attracted to such an individual. For that reason I found it hard to enjoy this book.
Date published: 2008-06-12

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Read from the Book

Chapter 1I smelled the girl’s blood and saw her body in a pool of neon light. Signs from a bar facing the alley painted the scene dreamlike, the pavement slick and bottomless and the body’s skin pink and hard.I could smell her blood because I’m a werewolf.I had gotten the call because she was dead.A uniform stopped me with an upraised hand. “Ma’am?”I drew my jacket aside and showed him the Nocturne City Police Department detective badge clipped to my waist. He squinted at it in the ineffectual light and then nodded. “Sorry, Detective . . . Wilder. Go ahead.”He even lifted the tape for me. I rewarded him with a smile. “Call me Luna, Officer . . . ?”“Thorpe, ma’am.” He smiled back, tired blue eyes lighting up. I tend to have that effect on men, even when it’s 3 am and I’m wearing raggedy blue jeans and a T-shirt stained with fingerprinting ink. Not my off-duty attire to be sure, but you try cleaning blood out of a silk halter.Thorpe called after me, “Hope you didn’t eat dinner. She’s juicy!”Fantastic.I walked into the red light from the beer signs, moving between CSU techs and a photographer snapping a digital Nikon. I stopped, the pointy toe of one boot just shy of the body, and looked down at the girl. Her throat was opened in a wide gash, obscured by dried blood. What hadn’t been left inside her—and that wasn’t much—was coating the blacktop, giving oily life to the ground below her. Her left index finger was severed neatly at the knuckle, a raw red-white disk with the blood coagulated.Someone spoke from below my line of vision. “Another night, another dead girl. Nice to have a routine, isn’t it?”Bart Kronen, one of the city’s three medical examiners, crouched next to the body, his bald head as red as everything else. I mimicked his posture and bent over the girl’s corpse.“Nice wouldn’t be my word for this.” Closer, the blood wasn’t the only smell rolling off the girl. A sharp, musky odor lay under it, and that only meant one thing. I slid a glance to Bart to see if he’d figured it out yet, but he was busy with a thermometer and a stopwatch.“Killer took time to get a souvenir, so make sure you print her skin before the autopsy. Any idea what made that gash in her throat?” Other than the obvious, of course—the musky scent was the panic of a trapped were, panicked because she had wandered down the wrong street and been jumped by a rival pack.Kronen chuckled, plump cheeks crinkling. “If this happened before the Hex Riots I’d say you’ve got an outlaw were that needs to be put down, but as it is . . .” He shrugged and began packing away small evidence bags filled with cotton swabs taken from the body. He didn’t pick up my instinctive flinch at the phrase put down.Weres don’t kill people, and never did, except the few who can’t take the phase and go insane. Were attacks were the fuse that lit the bomb of the Hex Riots over Nocturne City in the 1960s. If you got the bite, you pretty much resigned yourself to living with the constant, twitchy fear that someone would discover your secret and take matters into their own hands. Witches and weres don’t enjoy many civil rights in this day and age. On paper, sure, but when a self-righteous plain human with an aluminum bat is after you, it’s another story.“Detective.”I put my attention back on Dr. Kronen. “Hmm?” Great, could I manage to seem like more of an airhead? Maybe if I showed up for work tomorrow in a pink sweater set.Kronen gestured to the dead girl’s hands. “You may want to take a look. She’s got some nasty defensive wounds.”I slipped on the proffered glove and took her right hand in mine. Her fingers dangled limply, flesh stripped off the tips, nails torn and broken. Good girl. You fought like hell. You scratched him and kicked him, and made it hard for him to hide what happened.“I’m also guessing we’ll find evidence of sexual assault.”“Why do you say that, Doc?”He rolled his eyes at me and stood up, brushing nonexistent dirt from his khakis. “Cause of death appears to be peri- and postmortem mutilation, and coupled with the ritual of severing the left digit, I’m guessing this is a sex crime.”“Isn’t mutilation usually a secondary trait in sex crimes?”Kronen nodded. “Usually, but I can’t find another obvious cause. I’ll know more when I can screen her blood for drugs and cut her open to have a peek at her internals. Your skin may lie but your guts never do.”“Kronen, your reverence for victims never fails to amaze me.”“In this line of work, Detective, if we didn’t laugh we’d all be prey to the wolves of insanity before the night was out.”Wolves again. What was it with this guy? Well, as long as he was harping on it I might as well put my talents to good use and see if I could find anything he’d missed.I took a second look at the girl, inhaling deeply as I let my eyes focus in on her skin, her hair, the creases and crevices where trace evidence could hide. The telltale sting told me that my eyes were starting to turn from their normal gray to deep were gold, and I blinked fast to clear them.Grease, urine, blood, garbage, and the smell of wet brick from the recent rain all mingled. It wasn’t what I’d ever describe as pleasant, but there was nothing out of the ordinary, either.The girl herself looked about twenty, with porcelain skin and black hair, a lighter color showing at the roots. Leather skirt, black platform sandals, and a shocking lime-green halter top made out of stretchy material that showcased her chest. No bag, wallet, hidden money roll, or anything else that would help me ID her. And it wasn’t exactly like I could go knocking on her pack’s door for information. An Insoli like me would get a boot in the ass at best, a torn throat to match the dead girl’s at worst.I walked with Kronen back to the ME’s van. “So, any theories?” he asked me, tossing his gear into the back.“Based on the neighborhood and the outfit . . . pro. John gone bad. Always tragic, but it happens a lot around here.” Kronen was a good medical examiner and a decent guy, but he shared the human attitude that Were=Bad & Scary & Okay to Hurt. Best to feed him the party line for anonymous dead hookers.Kronen got into the driver’s seat and shut the door. “Prostitute murder in a downtown alley? How rare. Shocking, in fact.”“Absolutely shocking,” I agreed, glad that he let it go at sarcasm.“I’ll page you when the autopsy is scheduled.”“Thanks. Night.”“Morning,” he corrected me. And it was, nearly four thirty.I walked back through the tape and sat in my 1969 Ford Fairlane. Black, shiny, fast, and a hell of a lot better than an unmarked vehicle from the motor pool.I was a liar. Even as I voiced my theory to Kronen, I knew it was a bad excuse. The torn throat, the fierce defensive wounds, and the missing finger joint all spoke to something far more violent than a business transaction gone sour or a were pack warning a pro off their turf. Lots of packs did street-level dealing and sent their mates out to work the streets, but run across one of those puritanical pack leaders and you were in deep crap. Usually the offending were got away with some nasty bruises and a humiliation bite. Killing just made it bad for all of us.It could have been a human who killed her, a savage one, but I dismissed that as quickly as it popped into my head. Even without phasing, a were could fight off a human three times their size. We’re strong. Not Spider-Man strong, but we manage.Attempts to rationalize failed, which meant I was right. She had been killed for a reason. A heightened five senses comes standard with being a were, but I firmly believe it gives you heightened instincts, too. Now I would use them to find out why the girl in the alley was dead.  I looked at the dashboard clock as I pulled away from the scene and turned onto Magnolia Boulevard, once the heart of downtown Nocturne City. If it was a heart now, it was one in dire need of a quadruple bypass and a pacemaker. Boarded-up storefronts glared at me like empty eye sockets, illuminated by broken streetlamps and holding enough shadows to hide a multitude of sins.The clock read 4:42 am. With no means to ID the girl with until she was fingerprinted and x-rayed at the morgue, I had nothing to do for the rest of my shift except go back to the Twenty-fourth Precinct, file my report, and see if any progress had been made on my seven other open cases. That, I doubted. Working the midnight-to-eight shift in homicide does not lead to a high clearance rate, or a lack of bags under my eyes. Some nights I swore I should invest in the company that made my concealer and retire.Magnolia intersected Highland and I made the right turn, crossing over into the old Victorian district. Highland Park was one of the few neighborhoods where the residents had been able to stop the city from widening the street and chopping down the hundred-year-old oak trees. It also housed the Twenty-fourth, tucked neatly into a skinny brick two-story that had once been a firehouse, back when fire trucks were horse-drawn and the Hex Riots weren’t even a puff of smoke on the horizon.The grazing lot for horses had been transformed into a parking lot for cops, and I pulled my Fairlane into the only free space—if the tiny margin between two patrol cars deserved the title. As a detective, I had an assigned spot, but someone was already in it. The Fairlane scraped against concrete, and I winced. That didn’t sound like it could be repaired with a fine brush and a dab of Black Magick nail polish.I got out and looked at the license plate of the car that had taken my hard-earned spot. The small rising-moon crest told me city vehicle, a black Lexus with tinted windows and no other identifying marks. What it was doing at the Twenty-fourth, in my parking space, was a mystery I wasn’t up to solving at the moment.I satisfied my frustration with a kick to the Lexus’s bumper, and went into the precinct.   At some point in history, the department had decided that fluorescent lights were not only cheap but also flattering to the complexion, and installed them on practically every inch of ceiling. Other than that small addition, the fire brigade had their way. There was still a brass fireman’s pole in the corner of the squad room. Sometimes, at Christmas, we wrapped tinsel around it.My single desk, tucked into a corner, held just enough space for my computer, a hanging file, and a picture of me, my cousin Sunny, and our grandmother from when Sunny and I were kids. Sunny and Grandma Rhoda were smiling. I was not.I went for coffee before I settled in to type up the report on the dead girl. She’d be Jane Doe number three this year among my cases.The squad room was deserted, but the desk clerk waved at me as I walked by.“Long night, Wilder?”“The longest, Rick.”He clucked in sympathy.“Heard you caught a mutilation homicide down on Magnolia.”I’ve given up trying to figure out how the police gossip network disperses information. It could give you a headache.“That’s right” is all I said.“So, how’s Sunny doing?” he asked me, smiling shyly. Rick has been in love with my cousin ever since she moved here. Whether he’s figured out that she’s a witch or not, I don’t know.“She’s fine. Teaching meditation over at Cedar Hill Community College. How’s your little one?” Rick’s wife had left him three years ago, leaving him saddled with a five-year-old son and a job that kept him working nights. As far as I could tell, though, he did okay. He was attractive, in that quiet dark-haired way, and stable as a cement pylon. He would be good for Sunny. But he was also a plain human, and I wasn’t going to encourage them.“Great. He’s growing like a—”A bang from the frosted-glass door down the hall opening interrupted us. Wilbur Roenberg, captain in charge of the Twenty-fourth, stepped out. Seeing him working at this very early hour made my gut clench. Roenberg and I didn’t get along even when I’d had a full night of sleep and wasn’t on the tail end of a bad shift.“We’ll talk, Wilbur,” said a shortish man in a dark suit, with hair and eyes to match. He shut the captain’s door and took clipped steps down the hallway toward Rick and me. He carried a black briefcase, and his shoes were highly polished. I realized the dark suit was a tuxedo. He wore a red silk tie, the only hint of color on his monochrome frame.Roenberg wiped his face with the back of his hand before disappearing down the hall toward the men’s room.“You have a nice night, sir!” Rick called as the visitor passed. The guy turned and gave Rick an evil eye. I heard Rick gulp. Tuxedo kept staring, his hand on the door to the outside. His posture had the reptile quality of someone who knew how to fight, and probably fought dirty.“Shouldn’t you be doing your job instead of flirting?” he finally asked, pure dark eyes flicking to me.It was my turn to provide a hostile stare. Tuxedo didn’t flinch, but his full lips curled up slightly.“Is there anything else I can help you with, sir?” I asked, adjusting my loose tee so that my badge and my  service weapon showed clearly.After a long two ticks of the clock, he looked away. Point, Luna.“The name is Lockhart. And I doubt very much that you can, Officer,” he said, before turning on his heel and striding out like he had a badger nipping at his ass.“What a butthead,” muttered Rick, punching a few keys on his computer.I walked over to the door and watched Tuxedo leave. I wasn’t surprised when I saw the black Lexus screech out of my space and speed away down Highland. A city bigwig named Lockhart. I’d remember the name. See if he got a warm welcome next time he needed someone to fix a parking ticket.Walking back to my desk, I almost ran head-on into Captain Roenberg. He jumped aside, face flushed and stale coffee on his breath. “So sorry, Detective Wilder.”“That’s fine, sir,” I told him. He wasn’t sorry. Roenberg was a throwback, and it was apparent every time he deigned to make eye contact that he was really seeing me in pumps and a frilly little apron. Fair’s fair. Every time I was unfortunate enough to see him, I wanted to plant a solid left in his smug little mouth.“Yes . . . ,” he said absently, hurrying past me toward his office.“Don’t get any cooties on you,” I muttered, glad I was going the other way. At least not all cops in the Twenty-fourth felt the same way as Roenberg. Most of them could deal with my being female. It was the were part I kept under my hat. Not that I wore a lot of hats. They make my head look like a dinosaur egg.I decided to type up Jane Doe’s report and clock out early. Those other seven cases weren’t getting any colder.Name? the computer prompted me. I typed Jane Doe. Age? Unknown. I filled in all the boxes for physical description and forwarded the file to Missing Persons for a cross-check. In three weeks, if I was lucky, they’d tell me they found nothing.Cause of Death?My fingers stopped. I saw the girl lying on the wet pavement, dried blood on her tattered throat. Wet blood under her, matting the long black hair. The tight clothes that left no room for any ID. Torn, bloody hands reaching out to fend off . . . what?I blinked. The night had been too long and too full of death. Under the COD field I typed exsanguination and checked the box to indicate that the autopsy was still pending. The printer spit out a hard copy of the report, and I attached the appropriate forms and tucked it into my open-case file, which was really just a tattered accordion folder sitting on top of my desk.Jane Doe: filed and processed and tucked away where she needed to be.    I got up, stretched, and slid into my scuffed motorcycle jacket. The telltale point in my lower back twinged. Definitely time to go home. I had made it to the squad room door when I heard a voice bellow, “And where does that sweet ass think it’s going?”Turning brought me face-to-leering-face with David Bryson, a fellow detective—if fellow could be classified as the occasional lewd comment and a burning desire on my part to kick him. The only thing keeping me from phasing out on him was the hope that he’d be fired for sexual harassment and I’d get to watch.“Hey, Wilder,” he panted. A younger Hispanic man was attached to Bryson’s arm via handcuffs. The kid had gang tats and a bloody gash on the side of his head. “Be a good girl and help me get this piece of crap to interrogation,” Bryson said, detaching himself from the kid and recuffing him.“What the hell happened to his head?” The gangbanger smelled like sweat, cheap weed, and fear. Bryson gave off adrenaline and coppery, impotent rage.He grinned at me. “Vato resisted. I showed him he couldn’t resist the hood of my car.”I sucked in a breath. “That’s great, Bryson. Really great. What’s on the menu for the rest of the night? Toilet bowls and telephone books?”“Aw, who’s he gonna tell? Dumbshit doesn’t even speak English.” He shoved the banger into a chair by his desk. “Am I right, Pedro?”“Su madre aspira martillos en infierno,” Pedro muttered. I turned away quickly so Bryson wouldn’t catch my snort and grin. Red-faced, he didn’t even notice me.Instead, he grabbed Pedro by the neck and slammed him face-first into the brick wall of the squad room.Pedro moaned once before he slid down and curled into a ball on the linoleum at our feet. “You think that’s some funny shit, don’t you?” Bryson shouted, drawing back his foot for a kick.I stepped over Pedro and put out my hand, palm up. “Enough, Bryson.”He glared at me, foot still poised, big shoulders hunched. I’d spent enough time in my kickboxing dojo to handle an opponent bigger than myself, but Bryson was not only big, but also armed and a cop with training of his own. This standoff definitely called for sugar rather than round kicks.“He had it coming,” Bryson snarled at me when he realized I wasn’t going to move.“Leave it alone, or I’ll help this poor kid file a complaint against you right now,” I told Bryson. “And you can bet I’ll be calling Lieutenant McAllister at home to make sure he sees it.”After another long second, Bryson stepped back and fixed his tie. Pedro got up and ran like hell.Bryson heaved a dramatic sigh. “Shit, Wilder. You can be a class-A bitch sometimes.” His eyes traveled down to my chest, lower, and back up. “If you weren’t so cute I might pop you one.” He reached around and patted me on the bottom. “Thank that sweet ass.”Bryson squealed as I grabbed his index finger and bent it backward, applying pressure on the knuckle and creating a vise that could snap bone with a few milligrams more pressure.“David, I know that the time for this conversation is long overdue, and that’s my fault, because up until now I couldn’t believe that you could really be such a gigantic dickhead. But apparently you can, so listen up.”“That’s my trigger finger you got!” he yelped.“Then you shouldn’t have put it on my ass.” I pinched harder. “I couldn’t care less what you think of me. But for the record, I think you are a violent, incompetent psychopath who has no business being a police officer.” Somewhere between the dead girl and the Lockhart jerk from the city, my annoyance had boiled over into rage, and I was feeling it deep down in my gut. Bryson just happened to be the closest target. Not that he didn’t deserve it.“Now that we understand each other, David . . .” I squeezed and relished the cry of real pain I elicited. “Take your opinion of me and stick it up your ass. If there’s room next to your head, of course.” I twisted his hand to the snapping point, realizing how easy it would be to hurt him. How easy it would be to lean in and feel his hot breath as I tore his throat. My hand clamped down and the joint let out a popping sound.I let go, jumping a step back.Bryson stared at me with wide eyes, holding his hand. Then he turned without a word and practically ran out of the squad room. The big baby.As soon as he was gone, I bolted for my car.Shit. It had never hit me so early before a full moon, and so hard. A full seven days still. I stroked the chain under my shirt and felt the cool kiss of the silver star pendant against my skin. The rage I’d felt in the squad room still demanded satisfaction, a hunt brought to a bloody close.Weres are all instinct and nerves, loosely held together by the thin veil of humanity that covers us when the moon is new. When we get angry, control is a memory. You can hurt people, and probably will at least once. Wearing silver when you’re human is a good deterrent, or a little wolfsbane next to the skin if you don’t mind smelling like an old lady’s medicine cabinet. But when were rage really grips you, nothing on this earth can stop it.I breathed in, out, and turned on the car, forcing my hands to stop shaking. Bryson was an idiot and a terrible cop, but what I had done was unforgivable. I had lost it. Something had awakened the were and I didn’t know what. That scared the hell out of me.I kept my pentacle outside my shirt, touching it every few seconds with my free hand. It did little to calm me as I drove home while the sun came up.  Copyright © 2008 by Caitlin Kittredge. All rights reserved.

Editorial Reviews

"Dark and cutting edge" -Romantic Times"I loved the mystery and the smart, gutsy heroine." -Karen Chance, New York Times bestselling author of Claimed by Shadow"Don't go to bed with this book--it will keep you up all night. It's that good." -Lilith Saintcrow, national bestselling author of Working for the Devil"Luna is tough, smart, and fierce, hiding a conflicted and insecure nature behind her drive for justice and independence, without falling into cliché. It's also just a lot of fun to read." -Kat Richardson"Fast-paced, sexy and witty with many more interesting characters than I have time to mention. I'm looking forward to reading more stories in the exciting Nocturne City series." -Fresh Fiction"Wow, I am still thinking about this book. The last time I reacted to a book this way, it was the first Mercy Thompson book by Patricia Briggs. If you are looking for a book that seamlessly blends a police procedural with a paranormal, go out and get this book" -Night Owl Reviews"A tense, gritty urban fantasy that grips the audience from the onset." -The Mystery Gazette"Night Life dives right into the action, and carried me along for the ride.If the following books are written with the same care and interest as Night Life, they will be a welcome addition to this fantasy genre." -Arm Chair Interviews