|Ferrarella gives us her 200th book for Silhouette and she delivers another in the vast series about the Cavanaughs, a family filled with cops, firefighters and even some doctors. There are brothers, their kids and most recently some newly discovered cousins who were sired by a brother who died. This is one of their stories.
Ethan O’Brien was raised with his fraternal brother and sister - they are triplets - by a woman who shared with them the story of their heroic father. She had pictures and told them how he died a war hero. And on her deathbed, she told them it was all a lie. She was actually dating a man named Mike Cavanaugh, who dumped her when he discovered she was pregnant. She raised her family and was proud of all they had accomplished. But she didn’t want to die with the secret. Ethan and his siblings are still trying to figure it all out, but one thing they know is that they have been wholeheartedly taken in by the Cavanaughs. Brian and Duncan are Mike’s brothers and while disappointed once again in their deceased brother, they are thrilled to know that their family has been enlarged.
Ethan is a police detective who works under his cousin Dax and his uncle Brian. He has been assigned to a task force investigating a series of fires that are believed to have been set by the same person. He literally runs into the fire investigator when he arrives at a fire and hears kids yelling for help. Kansas Beckett is running out of the burning building with two kids in her arms and one in tow. She knocks Ethan down. Mistaking her for one of the residents, he is amazed to see her drop the kids outside and try to head back into the fire.
Kansas is a loner, having been raised in foster homes and homes for those without parents. She is hard and cynical, having worked her way up in the fire department ranks to make inspector. She had a brief marriage to a man who charmed her, made her think she was in love, and then cheated on her during their honeymoon. Kansas (who was named by her mother in a note that she dumped with her on the hospital steps), is now determined that she doesn’t need anyone and definitely not a sweet-talking, cute detective.
Their romance blooms as they search for the person who is setting the fires. Ethan is more open to the attraction and yet, he senses Kansas’s hesitation. They also recognize that they have to work together. As Kansas learns teamwork with Ethan and the other cops assigned to the taskforce, she must confront her feelings. She also has to deal with the distrust of her fellow firefighters when all evidence points to one of their own as the arsonist.
This was a fast-paced book with lots of views of the Cavanaugh family and even some new secrets revealed. Fans of the series will be more in tune with some of those secrets, but even casual fans like me who haven’t read all the previous stories can catch up on the relationships pretty quickly. The romance is a little quirky, fun and ultimately quite satisfying. The suspense is loose at times, with the romance really the emphasis, but it too meets the expectation when it is time for the ending.
Ethan is a good hero, clearly still struggling with his new-found family, but also willing to meet Kansas halfway in the relationship. The scenes where they share some of their pasts are sensitive and endeared them both to my romantic heart. Kansas is a heroine who struggled with her feelings but when she finally opened up, it felt right due to Ethan’s caring nature and the time they took in making their relationship work.
Congratulations to Marie Ferrarella on her milestone. It is nice to see that milestone was met with Cavanaugh Reunion…and here’s hoping she has many more great stories in her future.