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Bookish Ames

She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.
~~Louisa May Alcott

Shades of Gray - Brooke McKinley I really enjoyed Shades of Gray. There’s something about law enforcement types that I find so hot. And Miller definitely had it going on, even if he was delusional. Danny too was a compelling character. He hooked up with his drug lord boss when he was 18 and working a low-end job. His father was abusive and so he struck on out his own and the second Danny got into Hinestroza’s vehicle, he knew he made a mistake. But one he couldn’t get out of. And so now in his early 30s, he’s Hinestroza’s trusted lackey and the target of the FBI, who force him into turning on his boss. You see, even though Danny knows he’s doing wrong, Hinestroza provided for Danny and so Danny is twistedly loyal to him because of his own daddy issues. Here’s someone who appreciates Danny’s efforts and trusts him (to a degree). Danny though is a very deep well of emotion – he feels guilt over the people he has dragged into his own screwed up life. There’s a buddy of his from the early days and there’s his ex-wife. Their lives are forever affected because of knowing and loving Danny. Danny is burdened down by guilt. But he takes the good stuff where he can but otherwise puts his head down and does his job. But Miller changes all that when he gets him turn on Hinestroza. At first, Miller has Danny go back home and act like nothing has changed – but Hinestroza tortures Danny’s ex-wife and realizes there’s something fishy going on. He sets his dirty-work man, Madrigal, after Danny but since Danny’s familiar with how Madrigal works, he manages to escape in time and Miller sets Danny up in protective housing.

And this is where things get interesting. Danny has recognized the flashes of interest he’s received from Miller – but Miller is so totally blind to the fact that he is attracted to Danny. There is a two-pronged denial going on here. First because Danny is a criminal. Second, because Danny is a man. But Miller gets to the point where he can no longer deny that he wants Danny and oh my goodness is it ever hot when he gives in to his desire. The tension here is so well done up to that point that it just catches the page on fire when they get together– for me anyway. *g*

While these gorgeous men embark on a steamy, secret affair (Miller could lose his job for getting involved with a key witness, for which he feels guilt too), all is not well. Both guys realize that once Danny is placed in the Witness Protection Program, the affair is over. And although Danny and Miller don’t acknowledge their feelings, they’re both sad to think of things having to end.

Eventually, Madrigal finds where the FBI is hiding Danny and these two lovers have to run again. And that’s where Shades of Gray really kicks it up another notch. Because now Hinestroza has a hit out on Miller.

I have to tell you, I really feared for Danny and Miller’s HEA. There were so many obstacles to these men being together, it was almost painful reading their story. I was really gunning for these guys. The set up of this story also reminded me of Jane Seville’s Zero at the Bone. That story has an assassin and a doctor on the run, but there were some similarities and I liked how it was almost a role reversal – an assassin and an FBI agent. It was good stuff.

I definitely want to read more by this author.