Jamie Reese has delivered another gorgeous love story in her latest release, Shades. The story centers on a rigidly compartmentalized gun for hire named Killian Marks. Raised in a family whose legacy has always been mired in murder, Killian takes on only those cases where it is obvious his target is beyond redemption—so evil and corrupt that the killing he must do is somehow justified. However, as time has passed, even the knowledge that he has taken on some of the world’s most vicious criminals no longer settles easily on Killian’s shoulders. He is tired of killing, but even more, he is tired of being alone. But what is a cold blooded murderer for hire to do when he fails to see any way in which he could ever deserve something as clean and beautiful as love? So it is with much self-recrimination that Killian takes himself to the small family-owned restaurant across town after every kill to see the waiter who has captured his heart—if he truly even has one.
Nico has left behind a life as a surgeon and is on the run and hiding from one of the most notorious crime bosses in Chicago. An unhappy circumstance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time saw Nico saving said crime boss, only to then become his personal fix it man. When Nico could no longer stomach the violence he was forced to be part of, he ran and has been doing so for the last two years. He has no time for relationships—not with the target painted on his back–but the man who calls himself Ian draws him like a moth to a flame. When his past comes back with a vengeance it will be Ian who offers Nico refuge and perhaps something more.
Never has there been more beautiful angst then when it comes to Ian and Nico. Both men deserve a better life, but are so certain they should not be allowed to experience it. Both have seen and lived a darkness no one should have to and while they are so very quick to forgive it in each other, they struggle to extend that same grace to themselves. The novel Shades delves deeply into how one must accept that others see so much more within us then we could ever see ourselves. Forgiveness is so easily given when you love the other person, but hard to accept when you feel your soul is just too lost to embrace it. The slow unfurling of this relationship between Ian and Nico is done with just the right pacing and pathos. In particular, Ian’s realization that he truly can finally feel love for another is rather gorgeous to watch unfold. The chemistry here is undeniable, but lest you think it is only the romance portion of this novel that hits the mark, be aware that the intrigue and fast-paced action that is laced with just enough violence to lend it credibility is also top notch. There were many moments when my heart was in my throat as I read about Ian’s next contract or became immersed in Nico’s recollections of his time as the mob’s sawbones. There was just so much to love about this novel and every moment was carefully crafted to tug at your heartstrings and set your pulse racing.
Shades by Jaime Reese once again solidifies this author’s place as a top notch story teller. Brimming with sexual tension, suspense, and intrigue, this novel is an incredible read and I highly recommend it to you.