A lone wolf who'd prefer to work solo, Detective Kane Durant has been through six partners. His latest? A chatty, go-getter blonde he can't seem to intimidate with his killer stare-downs and deadly silence. But when they're assigned a case of home invasions in the ritzy section of town, he's impressed by Detective Kelly Cavanaugh's quick mind, her determination to catch the perp and how badly he wants her.
With one month to prove herself to her tall, tough and sexy new partner, Kelly works overtime to crack the caseand the hardened detective by her side. But when late nights on the job lead to passion, Kelly's heart is suddenly on the line, too.
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The detective was ignoring her.
Well, not so much ignoring her, Kelly Cavanaugh silently amended, as acting as if no one else was sitting in the chief of detectives' office, waiting for the man to come in, except for him.
They actually did know one anotherby sight at leastfrom the department they both worked in. Robbery, a division in the Aurora Police Department, wasn't huge, but it wasn't exactly miniscule, either. She saw Detective Kane Durant in passing almost every day. He'd even nodded at her a couple of times in response to her voiced greeting, but they had never had any sort of conversationnot even an inane oneand that was on him. Kane Durant apparently wasn't one for small talk.
He didn't seem to be one for big talk, either, Kelly thought now, even though she had tried to draw him out a time or two. His responses involved the absolute minimum of words. If something called for five words, she would offer ten if not more. Durant, however, seemed to be the type who would be hard-pressed to render more than three under the same set of circumstances.
Doing her best not to fidget, Kelly tried engaging the stoic, dark blond detective in some sort of conversation now. The reason for that was her curiosity had gotten the best of her.
"Do you know why we're here?"
Durant continued staring straight ahead, as if he was memorizing the titles of the books on the shelf behind the chief's desk.
Just when she decided he was going to continue ignoring her, the detective answered in a monotone voice, "Chief of ds called us in."
She took a breath. "Fair enough." If the man had been any stiffer he easily could have played the part of the Tin Man in a production of The Wizard of Oz. Willing to give the stoic detective the benefit of the doubt, she told herself that maybe she should have been more specific in her query. "Do you know why he called us in?"
"No." The answer was given to the bookshelf, not to her.
Kelly shook her head. She'd heard of the strong, silent type, but this was carrying things a bit too far. "You know, I had a hand puppet as a kid that talked more than you do."
This time, Kane spared her a glance before turning back around. It wasn't exactly the kind of look that warmed a person's soul, Kelly noted. It was meant to cut someone dead.
Lucky for her, she had a thick skin and didn't take offense easily.
Just then she heard the door behind them open.
Thank God! Kelly thought.
It was all she could do to keep from breathing a huge sigh of relief. The ordeal of sitting here with this exceptionally good-looking sphinx hopefully would be over with soon.
To acknowledge the chief's presence, both she and the silent detective rose from their seats.
"Sorry to keep you two waiting. I'm afraid I'm running a little behind today. But I didn't have Raleigh bring you here to listen to my excuses."
Rounding his desk, Brian Cavanaugh, Aurora PD's chief of detectives as well as Kelly's grand-uncle, greeted both detectives in his office with an easy smile.
"Sit, please," he told the duo, underscoring his words with a hand gesture that indicated they should sink back into the seats they had vacated.
Like everyone else in his family, Brian Cavanaugh had worked his way up in the ranks. He'd held down his current position for a number of years now and, by all accounts, the men and women who served under him gave him not only their undying loyalty but their admiration, as well. That, to him, was far better than any badge of honor or official recognition he would ever receive.
His intent was to always do right by the department's men and women.
"Do either of you know why I called you in?" Brian asked, looking from the solemn-faced detective to his far more cheerful grandniece.
He was looking at two completely different people. One reminded him of a sunny spring morning; the other made him think of a pending storm rolling in in the middle of the night.
Neither, however, was answering the question he had posed.
This was Brian's first official meeting with Durant and, actually, his first professional meeting with Kelly, as well. The handful of other times he had interacted with the young woman had all taken place at his older brother's house. Andrew Cavanaugh, the former police chief, was wont to use absolutely any available excuse to get their extended clan together to break bread and just unwind.
Brian regarded the two detectives for a moment before assuring them genially, "There're no points taken off for a wrong answer."
Kelly slanted a quick glance at the man to her right. His was a profile that lent itself well to one of those Greek statues she'd seen on the museum field trips her mother had insisted on years ago.
Durant probably had the warmth of one of those statues as well, she couldn't help thinking. She tried to recall if she had ever seen the man smile when their paths had crossed.
She couldn't remember a single instance.
Since the stoic detective wasn't saying anything, she decided to go first. "Well, I don't know about Detective Durant, but I'm thinking that you called me in because of Amos."
Even saying the man's name brought in a wave of sadness to her.
Detective Amos Barkley was her partner. Or rather, he had been until last week. After twenty-one years on the job, her friend and mentor had put in his papers. He'd said he'd protected and served long enough, and now he wanted to do something for himself. Informing her before he made his intentions public, Amos had told her that he wanted to go fishing "before I'm just too damn old to hold on to a fishing pole and land anything bigger than a minnow."
Those also had been his words, addressed to people in the squad room, during the retirement party she had thrown for him at the station. It had made her wonder if Amos had been trying to convince his friends or himself as to his reasons for retiring.
Kane, she'd noted at the time, had been the only one who hadn't officially attended Amos's retirement party. He'd been in squad room during the celebration, but he had employed what she could only think of as tunnel vision, managing to block out everything that had been going on except for the paperwork he'd been focusing on.
He'd even turned down a slice of the three-layer cake she'd had brought in from Amos's favorite bakery. Detectives from several other departments had turned up for the going-away party, but Durant had deliberately isolated himself from it and then promptly disappeared at the very height of the celebration.
Brian nodded at her response. "Yes, I did," he confirmed. "That's also, in part, why I called you in as well, Durant," he said, this time directing his words to the solemn detective. "Captain Collins," he went on, citing the head of the robbery division, "told me that your current partner requested to either have a new partner assigned to him or to be transferred out of Robbery and into another division entirely. According to him, he didn't care which it was, as long as it didn't involve you."
Brian paused as if he was waiting for his words to sink in.
"How many partners does that make, detective?" he asked the younger man.
"Three," Kane replied in a voice that gave no indication if it bothered him in the slightest that his partners all had sought to get away from him.
"Since you were assigned to Robbery," Brian agreed, nodding his head. "And how many partners before that?"
"Two," Kane replied, again without hesitation.
"Three," Brian corrected.
"Technically, Rawlins didn't request a transfer," Kane said, his voice devoid of emotion. "He was shot and decided he wanted to pursue a different career." It was highly likely that had that not happened, the man would have requested a transfer, but Kane assumed the chief was dealing in facts, not conjecture.
Brian inclined his head as if willing to go with the younger man's version of the circumstances.
"I'll accept that," Brian allowed. And then he got down to the heart of the meeting he had called. "You're a good, reliable detective who is outstanding at his job," he acknowledged. "At the same time, unfortunately, getting along with people doesn't exactly seem to be your strong suit, Detective Durant."
Kane didn't waste his breath by denying the chief's observation. There was no point, especially since what the chief said was essentially true.
"I do better on my own, sir," Kane replied quietly.
"You may think that," Brian allowed. "But no one does better alone." He said the words like a man who was firmly convinced in his stand. He left no room for either argument or speculation. "You need a partner to pick up on things you might have missed, to watch your back and," he continued, looking at Kane pointedly, "to keep you grounded."
The last thing he needed was someone grounding him. To Kane that was just another way of saying "interfering." He didn't like being interfered with.
"With all due respect, sir, I don't need someone yapping at my heels, telling me what they think I'm doing wrong," Kane told the chief. Cavanaugh was a fair and reasonable man. There had to be a way to get the chief to agree to let him go solo.
"Agreed," Brian replied genially. Then amusement curved the corners of his mouth. "Which is exactly why I'm not assigning you to partner with one of the department's German shepherds."
Brian leaned back in his chair and gestured first toward Kane, then toward his grandniece whose performance was at times a little bit unorthodox. But by all counts she was both professional and tenaciousand she got results, which was what he was ultimately shooting for.
He smiled at her now, just before saying, "Detective Kane Durant, meet your new partner, Detective Kelly Cavanaugh."
Durant's expression never changed, Kelly observed, but she thought she saw a flickerjust for a momentin the other man's eyes that told her the thirty-two-year-old detective was far from happy about this newest coupling that was taking place.
"I'm not an unreasonable man," Brian went on to say. "If this partnership isn't working for either one of you after, say, a couple of months, you can request a reassignment and I'll consider the matter. Nothing is written in stone," the chief went on to assure the duo.
"But before either one of you decides to make that request, I want you to give this partnership a decent try." He emphasized the words decent try. "Remember, nothing worth keeping comes easy. The rewards that are the sweetest are those that are hard-won." Deep green eyes swept over both detectives, one at a time. "Do I make myself clear?" he asked.
"Perfectly," Kelly replied with all but unbridled enthusiasm.
"Yes, sir," Kane said. His low-key voice was all but flat.
Satisfied, Brian nodded. "Good. Now good luckand goodbye," he added. Just like that the meeting was over.
Kane lost no time leaving the chief's office. Walking briskly through the outer office, he headed straight for the elevators.
Kelly found she had to lengthen her stride to keep up with her new partner. The latter gave absolutely no indication he wanted her to catch up.
He certainly wasn't willing to slow down long enough for her to accomplish that small thing.
Too bad, she thought, lengthening her stride with determination.
Kelly arrived at the elevators just after her new partner did.
The man was going to take some getting used to. Right now, he seemed to be all blustery, like a bull confined in the proverbial china shop. He couldn't seem to turn around without knocking something down and breaking it.
The worst part, she thought, was that he was aware of what he was doingand not even the most subtle display of remorse was forthcoming from the man. There was obviously a good reason for thathe was feeling no remorse. Or, if by some chance he actually was, he was exceedingly careful not to show it.
He wasn't like the other detectives. Something had made him different. It was up to her to make different synonymous with extra capable. Her grand-uncle saw qualities in this man, she could tell. She'd heard that Brian Cavanaugh had never been wrong when it came to doing what was best for his police force.
Although she was somewhat skeptical about this particular arrangement working out, Kelly decided she was just going to have to proceed on faith.
"How do you want to do this?" she asked her new partner brightly, breaking what was beginning to feel like an ironclad silence. Kane had given absolutely no indication he would say anything if she didn't prod him into it.
"'This'?" Kane echoed. The elevator arrived and he stepped inside. He noted how she seemed almost to hop in, claiming the space directly next to him.
Terrific, the chief had assigned him to partner up with a rabbit, Kane thought darkly. A chipper, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed rabbit.
The idea did not inspire him.
"Yes," she confirmed. After almost a minute went by, she realized that her new partner didn't have a clue what she was referring to. So she elaborated. "You have your desk and I have mine," she pointed out.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Oh, the banter, the ribbing, the jesting between Kane and Kelly... Everything ends up being a verbal match between these new partners, while they are solving a string of home invasions. I liked both of them, Kane is more of the strong, quiet, loner. Kelly is nosy, bubbling, and talkative. What Kane is not sharing about his personal life, Kelly goes another route to find the information. She is determined to pull him into her life, and make the partnership work, and pulls him into the big Cavanaugh family fun. The story does focus more on the developing relationship between Kane and Kelly, than the suspense and the mystery of the home invasions. The crimes committed turns out to be a great lesson in how bullying can affect people. It is entertaining to see how Kane responses to Kelly, more and more, as time goes by. It is a fun and enjoyable story, warmhearted, and sweet, with a side of gritty crime ~ Four Spoons