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Shades of Desire - Virna DePaul This is the first opportunity I have had to read a Virna DePaul book. Since this is the first book in the Special Investigations Series, it was a great way to become acquainted with her work.

We meet Natalie Jones during a bad experience in her life. She has just lost her eye sight to retinal degeneration and is trying to recapture her life. Her past is riddled with heartache of an abusive mother who is later institutionalized having gone insane as well as gone blind herself. Photography was Natalie’s passion along with her career and now she feels the loss of her sight in more ways than one. Her boyfriend can’t stay for the long haul and she starts to isolate herself to heal. Determined not to lose her mind or her independence, Natalie is learning to live life without sight, but Natalie becomes a recluse.

When she is attacked and almost killed in her own home, she faces the police who have no clue she is blind. But when Special Agent Liam “Mac” McKenzie correlates her attack to a murder case he is working on, the sparks start to fly. It takes him some time to figure out she is blind, while his partner knows right away. Instantly Natalie and Mac are at odds with one another and can’t seem to find common ground to work on.

Special Agent Liam “Mac” McKenzie has a high success rate of solving cases, but this has pretty much ended his personal life. He’s divorced, but married to his job. In charge of a special unit in the FBI, SIG, he is focused and hard. No room for romance or love when there is a job to be done. While she brings up his hackles, she also stirs his passions. Drawn to her when he doesn’t want to be drawn to anyone.

The mystery of finding the killer stole the show in this book! Plot twists had you going one way, then dragging you another, only to shake you up and throw away everything you thought was going on. The killer is a real piece of work.

Natalie’s blindness really added a different element to the story. She is a witness to someone who tried to kill her but she can’t tell them what he looks like. But what was more interesting was how she learned to deal with her blindness and then how it tinted her reactions to everyone. As the story moves along, we peel back layer after layer of Natalie’s personality to realize she is afraid she will go crazy like her mother.

I really loved this book, but had a few issues with the romance. It just didn’t seem to flow right. They were constantly arguing and never really seemed to actually like each other. Both are drawn to each other, seeking each other out, but then one or the other would do something hurtful. The love scenes were delectable, but also seem stilted. I can’t find the right words other than to say the entire romance seem off.

The supporting characters from the SIG team will be interesting to watch through this series. Unfortunately one of Natalie’s friends ticked me off and I couldn’t like her much.

While the story was captivating, it did have a few speed bumps that had me wondering what was going on and why these people made a good couple. The suspense was interesting to watch grow. Sometimes it was confusing, but she wrapped it all up in the end with a great first story in the SIG series.