Prior to the events in the novel, Leiter began her career when she was eighteen serving as a secretary in the U.S. State Department. Within a year, she was approached to work for the Central Intelligence Agency. She eventually decided to keep her job at the State Department, though she went through a comprehensive course to become a CIA operative during vacations, weekends, and certain evenings.
At a briefing, M informs Bond and Leiter of Markus Bismaquer, an obsessive collector of rare prints, who is suspected of reviving the terrorist organization SPECTRE and the suspicious murders of FBI operatives. In an attempt to garner Bismaquer's attention, Bond and Leiter pose as Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Penbrunner with valuable Hogarth prints. At the Drake Hotel in New York City, Bond and Leiter are approached by Mike Mazzard who makes a failed attempt on their lives to get the prints. After the incident unfolds, Bond and Leiter smuggle the prints and their luggage through an elevator, and drive down in Bond's Saab 900 Turbo to Rancho Bismaquer in Amarillo, Texas.
After meeting Bismaquer, Bond later meets his French wife, Nena, and shows them the Hogarth prints. When Bismaquer tries to purchase them, Bond, now using his Christian name, states the prints are not for sale. After a dinner the following evening, Bismaquer challenges Bond to a race against Walter Luxor for $1 million and the prints; Bond unhesitantly agrees. As they depart for their cabin, Bond and Leiter are almost killed in a fatal car crash, and hide the body of the deceased pickup driver. That same night, Bond and Leiter spy on Bismaquer's ice cream factory where Leiter informs Bond on the pasteurization of the ice cream. Also, Bond overhears a conservation between Bismaquer, Luxor, and two employees where they discuss a chemical added to the ice cream that eliminates reason and conscience, and makes the consumer completely submissive to another person's orders.
Back at their cabin in Sand Creek, Leiter and Bond are attacked by a colony of harvester ants. Using vaporizing gasoline and his Dunhill lighter, Bond destroys the ants, as well as their clothes in the cabin. After Bond defeats Luxor in the Grand Prix, he decides to stay in Rancho Bismaquer, and spies on a SPECTRE conference meeting. There, the British agent learns that the organization is conducting "Operation Heavenly Wolf" where they plan to gain control of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in the Cheyenne Mountains in Colorado through feeding the workers the chemical-filled ice cream. Upon learning this information, Bond alerts Leiter, and make an attempt to warn the federal authorities. However, Leiter is apprehended, and Bond is captured and hypnotized into thinking he is General James Banker.
When SPECTRE's operation is thwarted, Bond is reunited with Nena whom transports Bond to a swamp in Louisiana. There, Nena reveals herself as Nena Blofeld, and kills her husband and Luxor. She herself is killed by her pet pythons, and Bond is reunited with Cedar and Felix Leiter. Cedar later explains that when she was being captured, she made an escape through the gate of Rancho Bismaquer into the city of Amarillo where she met with her father and other agents. They later made a trace on Mrs. Bismaquer's helicopter. Felix later makes a sly remark to Bond that Cedar is in love with her, and rewards him a silver-plated .38 revolver with the barrel engraved with "To James Bond. For Special Services."
In Icebreaker, Cedar is revealed to still be working at the CIA despite her father's having found out about her career as an agent. After discovering that her colleague "Bad Brad" Tirpitz was going to work with her friend James Bond on a mission in Finland, she sends him her regards.