They were devoted partners--until a bullet separated them. Now Lila McIntyre worked a desk job and Brian Cavanaugh was chief of detectives. Suddenly, they were worlds apart. And yet, when she started getting disturbing phone calls in the middle of the night, newly widowed Lila turned to Brian for help.
He'd kept his feelings for her carefully guarded until now. But as their growing relationship infuriated a stalker, Brian had to hold back once more. That fury made him wonder if Lila was chosen at random...or if their tormentor was someone who knew--and hated--them both.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
January 31, 2008
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Cavanaugh Heat by Marie Ferrarella
The abrupt ring of the telephone didn't wake her.
Despite the fact that she'd gone to bed more than an hour ago, she was still awake. Tense.
Waiting to have the last fragments of serenity wrenched from her. Again. It had been happening more and more frequently. The middle-of-the-night phone calls shattering her peace of mind.
She supposed that she could have closed off the landline, muting the ringer so that when the call came, it wouldn't register, wouldn't cause her heart to race.
But she couldn't shut the phone. She didn't have that luxury because if one of her children called, if she shut off the phone, she wouldn't be able to take the call. She didn't want to worry them, making them wonder why she wasn't home at this hour or wasn't answering her phone.
Or they could need her. All four of them, Zack, Taylor, Riley and even Frank, were on the force as she had been.
As their late father had been.
She would never be able to forgive herself if she missed a life-and-death call just because some phantom nutcase seemed bent on spooking her.
Sitting up, Lila McIntyre turned on the lamp and squinted at the light's harsh intrusion. Over in the corner, Duchess, her ten-year-old German shepherd, picked up her head as if to ask, "What's wrong?"
"Go back to sleep," she told the dog, but Duchess kept on eyeing the ringing phone. And wouldn't stop until she answered it.
Edgy, Lila felt like throwing the phone across the room instead of picking up the receiver. With effort, she made herself calm down. Whoever was on the other end of the line wanted her to lose control. If she gave in to a fit of temper, she'd be playing into his hands, doing exactly what he wanted her to do.
Lila looked at the phone's LCD screen. All it told her was that the incoming call was "out-of-area." No number, no hint.
Whoever it was was playing mind games, she thought. But why? Nothing came to her.
Maybe it was just a nut job, pure and simple. It was the most plausible explanation, but her intuition told her no.
Drawing in a long breath, Lila snatched up the receiver and pressed it to her ear. The very act made her shiver.
"Hello?" she snapped. It wasn't a greeting, but a demand. A demand for a reply.
There was no answer on the other end of the line. Only the faint sound of someone breathing. Someone listening to the sound of her voice while keeping his own a secret.
What do you want from me? she asked silently. Out loud, she did her best to sound bored. "You know, this isn't funny anymore. I can have this traced and when I find out who you are, there are going to be consequences. Consequences you're not going to like." Lila looked down and saw that she had dug her nails into the comforter, gathering it into a wad. She released it--but wasn't able to do the same with the tension that rode roughshod over her. "So why don't you do yourself a favor and stop acting like an eight-year-old?"
There was no response, just another soft breath drawn in and exhaled. And then came a "click" in her ear. The caller was gone.
Lila sat there, holding the receiver, annoyed with herself. Annoyed because she was allowing this jerk to get to her.
"If you'd like to place a call..."
Lila jumped as the metallic female voice instructed her to dial again. With a muffled curse, she threw the receiver into the cradle. The recording was abruptly silenced.
Her hand shook as she dragged it through tousled honey-blond hair.
It was the twenty-first call.
By definition, a peace officer should like peace. Despite the fact that he had risen up through the ranks and was now the chief of detectives, a position he had held for quite some time, Brian Cavanaugh still considered himself a peace officer.
A peace officer who hated peace and quiet.
Oh, he didn't hate it on the streets of Aurora, a city that he and rather a large portion of his family patrolled and thought of as their own. The peace on the streets was something he took exceptional pride in. Maintaining it was what he was all about--professionally. The peace and quiet he hated was the type that assaulted him when he first opened his eyes in the morning. The kind that slapped him across the face when he walked through the front door of his house every evening.
Not all that long ago, that same house rang with the sounds of voices, as likely as not raised either in laughter or in frustrated fits of temper that dissolved as quickly as they materialized. The voices of his wife and his children, three boys and a girl.
An amused smile curved his mouth. He could just hear their response to that. They wouldn't have taken kindly to being referred to as children. They saw themselves as--and were--adults. Three men and a woman--all of whom would always be his children long after they traded in their service revolvers and law books for canes.
Troy, Jared, Dax and Janelle were all married now and Susan, his wife, had died by her own hand several years ago. Leaving him with a whole lot of empty space. What had once been a home had become a house where he laundered his clothes, slept and, on occasion, ate.