Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cavanaugh or Death - Marie Ferrarella (HRS #1891 - Apr 2016)

Series: Cavanaugh Justice (Book 31)

After losing two partners in the line of duty, major crimes detective Davis Gilroy isn't about to get close to his new one. Especially when that partner is an optimistic blonde beauty with killer curves. Davis will do his job, keep a close eye on detective Moira Cavanaugh and not let her get under his skin. But when someone starts disturbing old graves in local cemeteries, he and Moira work long nights to solve the macabre mystery. Suddenly Davis finds himself caring too much about the strong, sexy woman who always has his back…and is gaining on his heart.

Terrific book. I do love the Cavanaugh stories and this was no exception. It begins with Davis visiting his parents' graves at the cemetery, something he does when no one else is around. He encounters what appears to be grave robbers, and chases them from the cemetery. Moira had been running past the cemetery when one of the robbers knocked her down. Davis paused long enough to help her to her feet, then ran on. Moira, being a Cavanaugh and naturally curious, investigated the cemetery and discovered a disturbed grave. Trusting her gut when it tells her something is going on, she gains reluctant permission to investigate, and shanghais Davis for his help.

These were definitely two opposite in personality. Davis is a loner, who barely talks to anyone else. He lost his parents at a young age, was raised by a cold uncle who also stole from Davis's inheritance, then had the bad luck to lose two partners in the line of duty. He suffers from a great deal of survivor's guilt and refuses to get close to anyone else. He won't even have a partner on the police force any longer. Moira is one of seven in her family, and the youngest. She talks a lot, having learned that it's the only way to have her wishes be heard. She also has the Cavanaugh stubbornness. She is determined first that Davis will be her partner in the search for answers, and second that she will, as she puts it, bring him back to being a member of the human race.

The development of their relationship is tied up with their work on the case. They are assigned to work together, which doesn't make Davis happy and he has no trouble showing it. He is adamant in reminding Moira on a regular basis that it is a temporary condition and refuses to even refer to her as his partner. After hearing why, Moira understands, but that doesn't stop her from treating him like one. She is also determined to get to know him better. I loved their banter, as Moira does her best to wear down his resistance, and Davis fights her every step of the way. He quickly finds her getting under his skin, and even worse, noticing her as a woman also. He tries hard to bury the hints of attraction that he feels for her. 

Though she sometimes seems a bit of a steamroller, Moira is actually pretty sensitive. I loved seeing how quickly she learned to read Davis's moods and how she countered them and worked around them. Because she is a Cavanaugh and family is so important, she is determined to bring him into the family circle. As usually happens at least once in each book,  there is a Cavanugh family get together. In this case, it is a christening and after party, and Moira, having gotten to know Davis pretty well, shows up early at his place in order to keep him from escaping. He expects to be on the outside looking in, and is stunned when it doesn't happen that way.  "By the time the cake... was cut, a completely stunned and overwhelmed Davis looked at Moira in abject wonder. He had just been overrun and conquered by a small, independent country - and everyone was so nice, he couldn't find fault with them."

After the party, the attraction that has been building between them bursts into flame. Their coming together is explosive, and Davis discovers that it is becoming harder to keep his emotions in check. I loved seeing him lose himself in her and his realization that he liked it. I also enjoyed seeing the aftereffects, as their new closeness spilled over into their working relationship. Davis's feelings for her come bursting to the forefront when she is put in danger and Moira also realizes how deep hers are for him. I loved his scene at the hospital, and his big moment in the epilogue showed an unaccustomed vulnerability and sweetness that was the perfect culmination of the story.

The suspense of the story was also really good. The mystery of who was digging up graves was unusual and pretty creepy. I thought it was especially fun that it was Moira, who doesn't even do scary stories and movies, who got involved with this type of mystery. I loved her determination to follow up on her gut feeling about what was going on. Davis was skeptical at first, but eventually convinced. I thoroughly enjoyed the bits when she needed a search warrant, as it was fun to see Blake (Cavanaugh Judgment) and I loved his advice to Davis. As they continued their investigation, it was interesting to see the various pieces come together. The final confrontation was intense and not what I expected, but an excellent resolution.

Another favorite scene was after the shooting, as Moira insists on accompanying Davis in the ambulance. "I'm small. I won't breathe. I'll fit," she told him, leaving not room for argument. The paramedic, whose badge read Eric, regarded her for a moment. "Cavanugh?" he asked. Moira unconsciously squared her shoulders, bracing for a confrontation. He sighed, nodding, "It figures. They warned me about you people." Same sort of thing at the hospital, as cops, especially family members, come to give their support.

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