Shades Of Desire by Virna DePaul (Shades #1)

Available: May 22, 2012 Amazon/B&N

Type: Romantic Suspense

Publisher: Harlequin

My Copy: Netgalley

WHAT SHE CAN’T SEE COULD KILL HER. Natalie Jones is the lucky survivor of an elusive killer who preys on young women and then disappears from view. And since her harrowing ordeal, the once gutsy photojournalist has remained isolated in her home, paralyzed by fear and her failing vision. Special Agent Liam “Mac” McKenzie has scars of his own. But despite his efforts to ignore the attraction that simmers between him and Natalie, he needs her help to catch a predator. Soon, they will forge a tentative alliance-charged with desire. Through a soft-focus lens, Natalie dares to envision a future with Mac beyond the investigation…never guessing that the clues hidden within her photographs are drawing them into an explosive confrontation with a madman.


Newly blind as a result of a degenerative eye disease Natalie is trying to cope on her own…poorly. Not willing to let others help her because she constantly strives to prove her self worth. After a brutal attack that leaves her fearful of the outside world she reluctantly turns to the detective in charge to keep her safe, Mac.

Detective in charge, Mac, knows that if he does anything in this life, it will be keeping this woman safe. Unraveling the mystery behind the case will bring them closer, but it may also be what ultimately drives them apart.


Shades of Desire is Virna Depaul’s newest book and if you’ve read her Chosen series this will be a step away from that. Shades of Desire is a contemporary romantic suspense heavy on the cop factor. I have not read the Choosen series so while I do have that on my “potential reading” plate, it wasn’t something that I focused on while reading this one.

Natalie is our heroine and she is in complete denial. Her hereditary vision disease has been steadily getting worse and to a famous photographer, it seems like a death sentence. She keeps people at a distance because everyone important to her always leaves, including a fiance that simply couldn’t deal with her impending blindness. Even those friends that have proven themselves trustworthy aren’t given her trust. An attack in her own home leaves her feeling especially vulnerable but her stubborn pride won’t allow her to ask for the help she so desperately needs. Driven by proving she can do everything she could before her blindness. I felt her frustration in her now limited life and could completely understand her wanting to separate herself from the rest of the world. Especially after her attack I totally got her slight agoraphobic behavior though she seemed to get over it quickly when she HAD to go somewhere and that made it a bit unbelievable to me. I mean either she’s a agoraphobic or she isn’t. I really don’t see that as a gray area disease. I did enjoy her character though and thought that even if she was a bit hasty, her desire to achieve was admirable. I thought her past and her upbringing added to the depth of her character nicely. Having an abusive mother that lashed out because of her own eye disease and ultimately landed her in a psych ward made Natalie’s sometimes erratic behavior more believable.

Mac is the detective that has pieced together a murder that has led right to Natalie’s door. Leader of an elite task force, he is like a dog with a bone when it comes to police work. His marriage recently ended because of his job and he has been living single happily. Nothing to tie him down. The surge of emotion he feels upon seeing Natalie the first time is intense and earth shattering. It doesn’t take him long to realize that he feels something for the enigmatic woman despite her constant death-defying antics to preserve her pride. I liked Mac even if at times I wanted to bop him upside his thick skull. He could be incredibly dense and really cruel when he wanted to be. I know guys just don’t understand female emotions but there were a few times I thought…seriously?

I enjoyed the villain plot and thought it was decent though it dragged a bit. I really didn’t care about the inner workings. I wanted a plot sure but I didn’t really care about every little detail that made the villain crazy. I could have done with a bit less on that end. Give me a psycho killer and I’m pretty much good to go. The lead up to the climax ending was peppered with just enough action to keep me reading. I felt this was paced quite well and I wasn’t left feeling like I needed more action.

I think readers that enjoy a cop immersed romantic suspense will really like Shades of Desire! It combines the cop feel with a heat level that readers should be able to get behind. I will continue with this series and look forward to the next one.

I give Shades of Desire by Virna DePaul 3.75 stars!


  1. Oh, I am so far behind on books I want to read. I still haven’t read the latest books in her other series yet. Meant to do that before Lori’s.

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