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Authors: Marie Ferrarella

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Cavanaugh’s Woman

BOOK: Cavanaugh’s Woman
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“Thank you for being a gentleman and walking me to my door,” Moira said.

Shaw shrugged away her words. She laughed and, one heel still acting as a doorstop, she raised herself slightly on her toes and brushed her lips against his cheek.

The light touch of skin against skin instantly aroused him, placing Shaw on automatic pilot before he quite realized what was happening.

She drew her head back and looked up at him, her eyes staring into his soul. Had he been thinking clearly, he would have taken the opportunity to leave.

But he wasn’t.

He didn’t.

Instead, he took her into his arms and lowered his mouth to hers as if it had been written somewhere that he should. As if it had been scripted….

Marie Ferrarella

CAVANAUGH’S WOMAN

To
Nancy Parodi Neubert
and
a friendship that goes back to
elementary school

Books by Marie Ferrarella in Miniseries

ChildFinders, Inc.

A Hero for All Seasons
IM #932

A Forever Kind of Hero
IM #943

Hero in the Nick of Time
IM #956

Hero for Hire
IM #1042

An Uncommon Hero
Silhouette Books

A Hero in Her Eyes
IM #1059

Heart of a Hero
IM #1105

Baby’s Choice

Caution: Baby Ahead
SR #1007

Mother on the Wing
SR #1026

Baby Times Two
SR #1037

The Baby of the Month Club

Baby’s First Christmas
SE #997

Happy New Year—Baby!
IM #686

The 7lb., 2oz. Valentine
Yours Truly

Husband: Optional
SD #988

Do You Take This Child?
SR #1145

Detective Dad
World’s Most Eligible Bachelors

The Once and Future Father
IM #1017

In the Family Way
Silhouette Books

Baby Talk
Silhouette Books

An Abundance of Babies
SE #1422

Like Mother, Like Daughter

One Plus One Makes Marriage
SR #1328

Never Too Late for Love
SR #1351

The Bachelors of Blair Memorial

In Graywolf’s Hands
IM #1155

M.D. Most Wanted
IM #1167

Mac’s Bedside Manner
SE #1492

Undercover M.D.
IM #1191

Two Halves of a Whole

The Baby Came C.O.D.
SR #1264

Desperately Seeking Twin
Yours Truly

*
The Reeds

Callaghan’s Way
IM #601

Serena McKee’s Back in Town
IM #808

Those Sinclairs

Holding Out for a Hero
IM #496

Heroes Great and Small
IM #501

Christmas Every Day
IM #538

Caitlin’s Guardian Angel
IM #661

The Cutlers of the Shady Lady Ranch

(Yours Truly titles)

Fiona and the Sexy Stranger

Cowboys Are for Loving

Will and the Headstrong Female

The Law and Ginny Marlow

A Match for Morgan

A Triple Threat to Bachelorhood
SR #1564

*
McClellans & Marinos

Man Trouble
SR #815

The Taming of the Teen
SR #839

Babies on His Mind
SR #920

The Baby Beneath the Mistletoe
SR #1408

*
The Alaskans

Wife in the Mail
SE #1217

Stand-In Mom
SE #1294

Found: His Perfect Wife
SE #1310

The M.D. Meets His Match
SE #1401

Lily and the Lawman
SE #1467

The Bride Wore Blue Jeans
SE #1565

*
The Pendletons

Baby in the Middle
SE #892

Husband: Some Assembly Required
SE #931

The Mom Squad

A Billionaire and a Baby
SE #1528

A Bachelor and a Baby
SD #1503

The Baby Mission
IM #1220

Beauty and the Baby
IM #1668

Cavanaugh Justice

Racing Against Time
IM #1249

Crime and Passion
IM #1256

Internal Affair
Silhouette Books

Dangerous Games
IM #1274

The Strong Silent Type
SE #1613

Cavanaugh’s Woman
SE #1617

MARIE FERRARELLA

This RITA
®
Award-winning author has written over one hundred and twenty books for Silhouette, some under the name Marie Nicole. Her romances are beloved by fans worldwide.

MEET THE CAVANAUGHS…

Detective
Shaw Cavanaugh
loves a good movie but when it comes to real life, there’s no room for actors. So when Moira decides to use him as research for her next film, he’s none too pleased. But then Shaw learns the hard way she’s more than a pretty face—she may just be the woman of his dreams!

Movie star
Moira McCormick
wants to shadow someone who won’t be starstruck and Shaw shows all evidence of fitting the bill. She likes his indifference to her and wonders if he’s hiding what she’s hiding—a lethal attraction.

Former police chief
Andrew Cavanaugh
loves his children and hides from them his secret quest to find his long-lost love. Fifteen years ago his wife disappeared and Andrew won’t give up hope that she’ll come home….

Rose “Claire” Cavanaugh
went out for a drive fifteen years ago and found herself with a new identity and no recollection of her past. Can a kindly, handsome man who claims to be her husband bring her back to the fold?

Let’s not forget other members of the Cavanaugh brood:
Callie (
Racing Against Time,
IM#1249),
Clay (
Crime and Passion,
IM#1256),
Patrick (
Internal Affair,
Silhouette Books),
Rayne (
Dangerous Games,
IM#1274) and Teri (
The Strong Silent Type,
IM#1613).

Chapter One

T
he sound of the back door closing resounded through the morning air. The last of his offspring had gone off to work. Rising from the table, Andrew Cavanaugh struggled against the wall of loneliness that threatened to close on him.

Last night had been a surprise. He’d come home from the movies only to have Teri tell him that she was getting married. To her partner on the force—one Detective Jack Hawkins.

Of course, he had to admit that he’d seen it coming. Seen the way the young man had gazed at his middle daughter when he thought no one else was looking.

Probably just the same way he had looked at his Rose once. Right up until the day she’d vanished from his life more than fifteen years ago.

Andrew sighed as he gathered up the last of the breakfast dishes from the table. The others had already left to begin their day on the Aurora police force. The way he once had, before he retired.

Retirement was highly overrated.

Maybe he should start thinking about taking on consulting jobs, Andrew mused. At least that would keep him busy.

That made four now, he thought, stacking the dishes on the counter beside the sink. Four out of his five children were getting married soon, not to mention that Patrick, one of his four nephews, had suddenly decided to settle down, as well. All out of the blue, just like that. One minute they were too busy to draw two breaths together, much less get serious about someone; the next, they were making plans, making commitments. Moving on with their lives to the next level.

About time. He was thrilled for them.

Andrew paused, looking around the cheery kitchen. With the silence, he thought of how empty the house was going to seem soon.

It made him miss Rose all the more.

Maybe he should go back up there, he decided, to that little diner his youngest, daughter, Rayne, had discovered while working on one of her cases. The same diner where Rose had surfaced after all these years.

Except that it wasn’t Rose, at least not in her mind. The woman he had gone to see, to reclaim, didn’t remember who she was, didn’t remember the family they’d created. She’d stared at him blankly when he’d turned up at her garden apartment, armed with a book of photographs and the knowledge that she really was his long-lost wife. He covertly got a sample of her fingerprints and had them run against the ones found on her favorite book. That had given him that final tangible proof. She could wear any name tag she wanted pinned to the front of her pink-and-white uniform, call herself anything she pleased, but she was still his Rose.

As gently as he could, he’d tried to convince her of that. It frustrated him that all he’d managed to do was make her sunny smile disappear. She’d withdrawn into herself right before his eyes and become upset. So, while everything within him had begged him to stay until he could convince her she was who he said she was, Andrew had retreated. He’d left the mother of his children with the novel, a copy of
Gone with the Wind,
and his phone number in case things began coming back to her.

He’d hoped that she would have called him by now, but she hadn’t. Maybe if he went, tried to persuade her a little, that might do the trick….

Something caught his attention. Andrew stopped and cocked his head.

Was that the doorbell?

Telling himself he was probably hearing things, he nonetheless stopped rinsing the dishes before stacking them in the dishwasher and shut off the tap water. He walked a little closer to the front of the house.

The soft peal of the doorbell again disturbed the atmosphere. He grabbed a towel and dried his hands as he made his way to the front door. Slinging the towel over his right shoulder, Andrew reached for the doorknob and swung the door open. “What did you forget?”

The words hung in the air, mocking him, as he looked into the face of the woman who called herself Claire—the woman his heart knew was Rose.

The soft-spoken blonde on his doorstep looked nervous, vulnerable and more than a little wary. It took her a moment before she responded.

“Everything, apparently.”

It took Andrew longer to recover. He’d lived the last fifteen years imagining this very scenario from every possible angle. He’d envisioned Rose tired, jubilant, even contrite, but he’d never once thought there would be a vacant, confused look in her eyes.

He heard himself whisper the words in grateful awe. “You came.”

“I had to,” she confessed. When he went to take her arm to usher her in, Claire shrank back a little, then offered him a rueful look as she walked into the house unassisted. She hadn’t meant to flinch. Reflexes were responsible for that, reflexes that had been there when she’d woken up, not knowing who or where she was. “I had to see if there was some truth to this story you told me. If I really was this Rose Gallagher Cavanaugh you said I was.”

Even as she said the name, it meant nothing to her, created no spark, shed no light. Evoked no feeling of a connection, however distant, existing between her and this woman she was supposed to have been.

But there was something about this man’s eyes, something about the way he looked at her, that stirred a faraway, vague feeling, like a breeze blowing along a feather, moving it, but letting it remain where it was.

She wanted—no,
needed
—the feather to become airborne. She was tired of not knowing. Tired of being afraid.

“Not was,” Andrew corrected gently. “Are.”

Claire nodded, though not in agreement. She nodded in acknowledgment of his words. A sigh escaped her lips before she could stop it. For just the slightest moment, her guard was down.

“I’m so tired of not knowing.”

Andrew’s mind began to race, making plans. “Can you stay the day?”

He didn’t dare hope for more. But even in that short amount of time, he could gather the clan together. Maybe seeing them in person, hearing their voices, might jar something loose for her, might make her start to remember. He knew nothing about amnesia except for what he’d read on the subject in the past few days. This was all virgin territory for him, but he meant to conquer it. Meant to have his Rose back in mind, not just in body.

“I can stay longer than that.”

Claire looked around slowly, taking in everything, searching for a memory that wasn’t there. From what she could see, it was a comfortable house, warm, inviting, so much larger than what she was accustomed to.

But there was no feeling of homecoming, no subtle suggestion to her subconscious that this was the journey’s end. That her questions were finally going to have answers she could accept.

Nothing.

She looked at him again, this man with his blue-gray, hopeful eyes. “I told Lucy I’m taking that vacation I was always putting off,” she said, referring to the woman who was both her boss and her best friend, the woman who had given her shelter when she’d wandered in off the road, frightened and lost, all those years ago. “She told me to take as long as I liked, seeing as how I had over two months coming to me.”

Two months. He had two months, Andrew thought. That should be enough time to make her remember. He’d make it be enough time.

“You can stay in Callie’s old room,” he told her, pointing out the way.

Claire merely nodded and followed him.

“You have any idea what this is about?” Detective Shaw Cavanaugh asked his partner Detective Steven Reese as they walked to the office of the chief of detectives.

A half head shorter than his partner, Reese ran a hand along the two-day-old stubble on his chin. It never ceased to amaze Shaw that Reese
always
seemed to be sporting two days’ worth of stubble—no more, no less. Reese claimed it was sexy. Shaw saw it as an excuse not to shave on a regular basis.

Reese’s broad shoulders rose and fell beneath a jacket that was a tad less than fashionable. “Hey, Chief Cavanaugh’s your uncle, not mine.”

Shaw shook his head. If this was remotely personal, Uncle Brian would have called him up at home, or even dropped by his apartment. In his family, they all enjoyed that kind of an easy relationship with one another, feeling free to pop up on each other’s doorstep whenever the need arose. This was something different, something work related.

“I don’t think his being my uncle has anything to do with this.”

At the precinct, personal family structure was forgotten. They were all brothers and sisters under the uniform. The fact that nine of them, not counting the chief, were related by blood just made them a shade closer, that was all. But at the moment, their closeness didn’t help shed any light for Shaw on what was going on.

“Maybe the chief is going to ask how come you haven’t succumbed to Cupid’s arrows like the rest of your family.” Reese smirked. “And he’s invited me along to throw your suspicions off.”

Shaw rolled his eyes even though he knew that scenario wasn’t even remotely possible. “Shut up. I get enough of that from my father.”

It was all well-meaning, Shaw knew. His father worried about him. Worried that while Callie, Teri and Rayne, not to mention Clay, had all found their soul mates, Shaw’s own love life had been on the low-key.

So low-key that at times it didn’t even register a pulse. But then, he’d always been the serious one in his family. He didn’t believe in partying, or in wasting someone’s time if he had no intentions of becoming serious with that person. And he had no intentions of ever getting serious because being a policeman meant maintaining a tenuous partnership with death. It rode in your squad car with you every day and could claim you at any time, without warning. Coming to terms with one’s mortality was hard enough; asking someone else to accept it was out of the question. He didn’t want a wife to make that sacrifice with him.

His uncle Mike had died while on the job and he’d seen his best friend killed in the line of duty. To make matters worse, his best friend had been engaged to his sister Callie at the time a bullet had cut him down. Shaw had watched, unable to help his sister work her way through the almost paralyzing heartache and grief that followed.

Shaw had sworn never to put anyone he cared about in a position to grieve over him. The only way to avoid this was by not getting involved in the first place. As far as he was concerned, he was doing fine. He just had to convince everyone else of that.

Shaw looked at his partner sharply, replaying part of the man’s last words. Reese talked as if he knew that his brother and sisters were committed to marching down the aisle and plighting their everlasting love. At last count, Teri hadn’t been among that group. That was this morning’s news.

His eyes narrowed to two bright blue slits. “How did you know?” They’d been partners for three years and in that time, Shaw felt as if Reese had learned to read him better than most husbands could read their wives. But this went beyond the norm.

“About Teri?” Reese offered him a gleaming white, toothy grin. “Haven’t you heard? Word travels fast around here.” He shook his head in wonder. “Gotta admit, though, it was one of the first times I’ve ever seen Hawk grin. Kinda scary.”

Shaw laughed shortly. “That’s because Teri hasn’t cooked for him yet.”

Reese’s laugh echoed his partner’s. “Like your father would ever let her get close to the stove. He’ll just set another place at the table,” he predicted. A small note of longing entered his voice. “You Cavanaughs don’t know how lucky you’ve got it. Only thing my old man knew how to make was TV dinners—and he usually burned them.”

The lament bore no weight with Shaw. “Hey, you know you’ve got a standing invitation to the house, day or night. Nothing my dad likes better than feeding a fellow cop.”

Before he’d retired, Andrew Cavanaugh had worked his way up through the ranks to become chief of the entire Aurora Police Department. It was a known fact that he thought of all the officers on the force as members of his extended family. His door was always open and his table was always available.

Reese paused. They were standing right in front of the chief’s door. Sobering somewhat, he glanced at his taller, handsomer partner.

“You sure you didn’t do anything that would get us called out on the carpet?”

Shaw’s eyes met his. There was barely a hint of amusement in them as he said, “Other than have you for a partner, no.”

Never one to hesitate, Shaw knocked on the door once, then opened it. He didn’t bother waiting for an invitation.

Shaw was fortunate that the man wasn’t in the middle of talking, or else he might have been in danger of swallowing his tongue.

Or, at the very least, gagging on it.

His uncle Brian was not alone.

Rather than sitting at his desk, surrounded by piles of papers, Brian Cavanaugh, considered more than passingly handsome and a great deal younger-looking than his fifty years of age, stood on the far side of his desk, talking to a striking-looking blonde, who sat opposite him.

Even as Shaw took in the scene, the blonde turned and looked directly at him with the greenest pair of eyes he’d ever seen.

The second before he collected himself, Shaw felt as if a four-hundred-pound linebacker had just jumped on his chest before grabbing the game-winning football away from him.

The woman wore a light blue, two-piece suit. Powder-blue, he thought it was called by people, such as his sisters, who had more than six colors within their mental repertoire. Whatever the color was called, it appeared that most of the material had been used up making the jacket because there was precious little left over for the skirt.

Not that he would have registered a complaint with anyone. The less skirt there was, the more leg was visible. And he had to admit that the woman had the longest, shapeliest legs he’d ever seen.

Belatedly, Shaw realized that his saliva had completely disappeared. Which made up for the fact, he supposed, that Reese stood beside him, almost visibly drooling.

A vague feeling buzzed around in his slightly disoriented brain that he recognized the woman from somewhere, although for the life of him, Shaw couldn’t have said where. He supposed if it mattered, his uncle would fill him in. If it didn’t matter, he didn’t need to be wasting time trying to remember.

BOOK: Cavanaugh’s Woman
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