Laila Karlton is a classroom-trained Federal Marshal of the Preternatural Branch. We meet her in Hit List. After she contracts lycanthropy in the line of duty she becomes the first person to keep her badge after shifting. She is not allowed back to the field right away, though, but is assigned desk duty pending review.
Laila is 5'6" tall African American woman with round face, dark brown eyes, and hair that falls around her face in tight waves. She has a solid build made of bulging muscles and curves. In too baggy clothes this might give her the mistaken appearance of being overweight.
Laila's laughter is described as dark and sensual.
Laila's father and both brothers are college football coaches, all six feet and up. Her only sister is the girl of the family. Laila's mother has despaired over Laila since she learned to walk, since Laila always wanted to be like the men in the family. Laila gets her short stature from her mother, although she's never been short enough to be the shortest kid in the class -- just not as tall as she'd like to be. Her father is strongly prejudiced against were-animals.
Before the beginning of the novel Laila has killed four vampires, all of them morgue stakings with the vampires dead to the world. She believes vampires are monsters that would always attack if conscious
When the novel begins Laila is the holder of one of the three warrants that got assigned before the cases got connected. It's her first hunt. As the only female marshals at the scene Laila and Anita get to share a hotel room, and when they first meet Anita shares some tips for how to stay alive in the field and tries to talk Laila into signing over the warrant. Laila refuses, claiming that the other marshals will never trust her again if she backs down from the challenge.
Laila doesn't get a chance to prove her worth, though, as their hotel room is invaded by the Harlequin during the night. Anita has time to warn Laila enough to wake her up, but she doesn't grab a weapon, and the attacker takes her hostage in seconds. He tries to use Laila as a leverage to get Anita to go quietly, but Laila tells her not to even after being hurt, prompting the attacker to hurt Laila worse. She screams, alerting the other rooms, and then falls unconscious. The attacker flees, leaving her with a broken wrist, a potential other break higher up her arm, and at least three bleeding wounds in her back where he stuck claws in it.