Killian Marks is a third-generation hitman. After hunting monsters for over twenty years, he lives under no illusions of happily ever afters and fairy tales. Until he meets a man who threatens to disarm him, by giving him hope for a future and showing him there’s more to life than just death.
For Nick, living in shadows is second nature. He’s all too familiar with the dark side of humanity and knows how delicate life can be. Each new day is a gift, even though it means doing it alone. But he’ll risk his survival for the one man who awakens something deep within and leaves him yearning for more.
Nick wants to solve the mystery behind the dark, brooding man, while Killian craves the life and light emanating from Nick. They soon discover they have more in common than either could have anticipated. With both their lives and hearts at stake, they must confront the ghost from Nick’s past intent on tying up a loose end. Only then will they truly find peace, and discover the shades of life in between.
When Jaime Reese showed me the picture she was going to use for the cover of this book, my reaction was "he looks...dangerous." And he does, doesn't he? He looks intense and like he's seen and done stuff that you and I can only imagine. The cover definitely fits the character, Killian Marks, but don't let that intense stare fool you. Killian has layers. He's not as cold-hearted as even he believes. Killian Marks wasn't at all what I expected and I loved him. He could be ruthless, yes, but he had plenty of limits and a tangible moral standard.
Nick, a waiter who has been waiting on "Ian" for months, now, has secrets of his own, too. Nick's seen the darker sides of life and has still managed not be all that cynical. Nick just wants to live his life in peace, but there's danger in relaxing his guard, and he's reluctant to bring anyone else into his troubles.
Neither MC was just what they showed the world. Killian, though a third generation hitman, had a lot of his mother in him, and Nick, well, there was much more to him than what met the eye at first. He's a good man that ended up in a bad situation and he's trying to live his life the best he can manage.
Shades is about all the shades of gray that we encounter in life. No one is just what they do for a living and in everything there are shades of morality. Shades of good. Shades of bad. It's about balance, and it's about learning that you can find happiness even if you think you don't deserve it.
I enjoyed the story immensely. It's a bit of a departure from the author's other books, but then again, not really. It's still a story about second chances at life - it's only the particular subject that is a bit darker. The story, though, didn't feel as heavy or as angsty or as dark as it could have been. I would not have minded if it had been a touch darker, truth be told. However, Jaime Reese managed to strike a balance that didn't get mired in darkness while still telling a story about a hitman finding love.
The suspense plot really grabbed my interest and kept it. The romance was never overshadowed by the suspense and while slow-burn, still felt in focus. Nick and Killian were meant to be. Every step of the way, their dedication to one another showed, and their - hard fought - HEA was swoon-worthy!
Shades is another winner.
ARC of Shades was generously provided by the author, in exchange for an honest review.
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