Virna de Paul
Published by: HQN Books
Available on Amazon.com
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview.
If I didn't know better, I'd swear that Virna de Paul likes it nice and slow. Girlfriend keeps us waiting a long, LONG time for some headboard rocking.
Shades of Desire is more of a mystery than the title (and cover) would indicate. Only even then, the mystery is solved for the reader before it is for the characters, so I'm not sure you can say this is an edge-of-your-seat mystery, either. It's more of a how-long-can-I-keep-you-from-the-sex-scenes type of book.
Globetrotting photographer Natalie Jones has macular degeneration, and one day, the last vestiges of sight leave her. Unfortunately, she has a camera with her at the time, and she might have taken a picture that implicates someone in a crime. So she is attacked. Liam "Mac" McKenzie is the detective called to help her, and he takes n instant interest in her. And she in him.
It wasn't a darkness that scared her. Instead, it was erotic. Heavy. Heavenly. In her mind, it pressed her against him. Prompted him to put his arms around her. Made her nipples harden and her breath hitch and the spot between her legs ache. Heat fluttered its fingers across her entire body, not just warm but hot, banishing the coldness that had continued to cling to her over the past month. In the intimate space of the enclosure, she greedily reached for more, pressing harder against him, wanting to get inside him, wanting him inside her, big and thick and hard and ruthless, refusing to let her turn away or hide for one second longer -
Whoa. That's during their FIRST MEETING. Yet I do not want to tell you how long you have to wait until these two rip their clothes off and tear each other apart.
And that is my problem with Shades of Desire: it can't figure out what it is. A Hot Romance Novel? A mystery? A murder mystery? Erotica? It's frustrating. One minute, Mac and Natalie nuzzle each other, and the next he's trying to help her make peace with her blindness. They want to heal each other, but first they need to get naked. Well, first they need to figure out who's trying to kill Natalie and why.
Virna de Paul takes us into the heads (no pun intended ...) of a lot of characters: in addition to Natalie and Mac, we get to know Mac's partner, Jase, and the people (there is more than one) chasing Natalie. It's too many. We don't need to know that Jase is hot for a woman on the squad, and we don't need to know as much as de Paul tells us about the bad guys. In fact, this book would have been better served by letting us guess more.
Now, the sex scenes. They are pretty hot, thank goodness, and not in a subtle, hazy way. We get details, and after waiting so long, details are nice. Details are good. Mac is HOT, people. And, um, proficient. His stamina gives Christian Grey a run for his money, let's just say. On his BEST day, Christian can't last as long as Mac on his worst.
It all comes back to Christian Grey, doesn't it? I need to let go of that, don't I.