Shades of Desire

Author: Virna de Paul

Publisher: Harlequin

Release Date: May 22, 2012

Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5


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Natalie Jones, famous for her photography, is finding her world narrowing down. Diagnosed with macular degeneration, she is slowly going blind. While out taking photos, she suddenly experiences pain and everything goes black. Later, her vision improves slightly and she is able to just make out gray shapes. The color in her life is gone, except in her dreams. One day, after a friend drops her off after a trip to the doctor’s office, Natalie is happy to be home. Since the extreme loss of vision, she is a recluse, hiding out in her home where everything is familiar. But on this day, someone is there when she arrives. It takes a few moments before she realizes that something is different in her house. Soon she is fighting off her attacker and battling for her life. Fighting him off for all she is worth, she manages to escape to the bedroom and call for help.

Liam “Mac” MacKenzie is a detective with Sig, the Special Investigations Group, who works on the tough cases. After spending a decade in homicide investigations for the city, he joined California’s Department of Justice’s elite Special Investigations Group. He was still doing basically the same job, with better perks; higher pay, a different title, broader authority and more flexible hours. He had once been married, but that had recently ended in divorce. He is content living on his own and does not want to be tied down. Now Mac is investigating the murder of a young woman named Lindsay Monroe. It is suspected that her killer is the same person who recently attacked Natalie Jones. Before going out to question Natalie, he had looked her up. Although he had been impressed with her work, it was her picture that struck him, making him feel things he liked, but did not want.

Not knowing how he would be affected by meeting Natalie in person, after the effect just her picture had on him, he took fellow detective Jase with him. When she won’t look at him, he wonders what she is hiding, but then he takes a closer look at the room and is shocked to realize that she is blind, or nearly so. He doesn’t understand the sizzle between them and does not want to get involved in a relationship again. So he handles the questioning badly, with Jase trying to pull him back whenever Mac goes too far.

Natalie doesn’t understand the feelings she is experiencing while speaking to Mac. She feels desire, something she has not felt in a long time. But mentally, she is in a scary place right now and just wants the detectives gone from her home. So she is very short with them. But, unbeknownst to her, she has taken photos that would prove beneficial to the investigation. After accidentally discovering that her work has been tampered with, she contacts Mac again. Combining forces, their close proximity soon heats things up between them. But together, can they find the villain before he strikes again? Can Mac keep her safe, especially since she has something that the killer wants?

A thrilling read, SHADES OF DESIRE, the first book in author Virna dePaul’s SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS GROUP series, is a compelling, suspense-filled Romantic Suspense that you will not want to miss. Providing just the right amount of suspense and romance to balance out the story, Ms. DePaul has penned a winner. Although Natalie is strong-willed and not used to asking others for help, she if finding it hard to be self-sufficient now. With one relationship already turned bad, Mac does not want to become involved in another. He has made peace with his single life. However, his attraction to Natalie threatens everything. They need to break down those protective walls and join forces to find out the identity of the killer before he attacks again. Ms. DePaul paints a very realistic of the killer’s actions, which heightens the suspense. But being given insight into the killer’s private thoughts takes it over the top. The chemistry between Natalie and Mac is combustible. Brimming with danger, edge-of-your-seat suspense, passion, muscular degeneration, vicious villains, complex character, believable dialogue and romance, this story is unforgettable.  I look forward to reading Jase and Carrie’s story in Ms. dePaul’s upcoming book, SHADES OF TEMPTATION, due out in September. I highly recommend SHADES OF DESIRE! A wonderful start to a promising series!

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Dottie

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