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Sandy M’s review of Shades of Gray (KGI, Book 6) by Maya Banks
Romantic Suspense published by Berkley 31 Dec 12

Talk about raising the bar and keeping your readers immersed in your characters’ story. Maya Bank has done that and then some. The fact that it’s more than likely 100% women reading this book will insure your emotional spectrum will swing from side to side over and over again.

We’ve met both P.J. and Cole during the missions throughout the entire series, and their attraction they’ve kept under wraps to date finally explodes. They enjoy a night of intense, knock-your-socks-off lovemaking after Cole shows up in P.J.’s hometown during their R&R. As the afterglow slowly diminishes, they get a call from Steele, their team leader, to report in, a new mission is waiting in the wings. Not wanting the rest of the team to know they’ve hooked up, they travel together but time their arrivals as though they just met up at the airport.

That planning goes to hell rather quickly when Cole objects to the role KGI is asking P.J. to take to rescue young girls being sold into an unknown, frightening future. The decision is up to P.J., of course, and she agrees to get the job done. Taking her team off guard with the way she cleans up – sexy and all woman – she attends an event with Donovan Kelly where their mark is, hoping to catch the evil bastard’s attention and eventually obtaining the information the team needs to rescue the girls.

Then the nightmare begins. The mission goes smoothly at first, but as prepared as everyone is to obtain the ultimate goal, everything goes wrong. Though P.J. tries to keep the guys updated to her whereabouts through the wire she’s wearing, the horror of her plight plays out as they rush toward her, but they arrive too late. The man the team has planned to take down wanted P.J. for himself, and he definitely took what he wanted. After she was drugged and couldn’t fight back. This scene is one of the most gut wrenching that I’ve read in a long time. P.J. has to endure rape with no chance of escape, all the while her team, her lover are forced to listen to the violence and have no way to back her up due to unexpected circumstances.

Shamed and fuming with revenge, P.J. quits the team and for the next six months she steadily gets closer and closer to the bastards who have shattered her heart and soul, and she’s determined no more children will be harmed ever again. When she’s close to her goal, her focus is shot and it’s the last-minute appearance of her team that saves the day. Being a lone wolf isn’t what she prefers, but P.J. doesn’t want to bring her team down any further, but they refuse to let her go it alone again. And Cole is the first in line to make sure she understands that. He and the team want revenge too and promise her that’s what will go down.

Though P.J. is a kick-ass heroine and she tries to hold it together, she does eventually break down, and that scene with Cole is just heartbreaking. He’s the perfect hero, holding her as she goes through the range of emotions she’s held at bay for months. He sticks by her through it all, knowing the scars she bears isn’t the P.J. he loves. He sees beyond that to the woman she truly is, and you just have to love him all the more for that. Which is exactly what P.J. does in time. She also has a moment or two of doubt that the revenges she’s exacting makes her no better than a team in her past she’s condemned for years for being dirty. Isn’t what she’s doing the same? Cold-blooded murder? P.J. is a woman who has the skills to exact that revenge, something the average rape victim would never be able to do. An issue that can be debated from here to doomsday. I find myself falling on P.J.’s side of the fence. Yes, she gets her revenge, but she also has a larger issue to solve: young girls stolen from their families to go through the same terror and violence P.J. experienced. They’re not nearly as mentally capable of bearing the lasting effects of such horror. Make a difference on how someone looks at the revenge aspect? Maybe. Maybe not. But in this case, it works 100%. I say more power to P.J.

This is Maya Banks at her best. This is what readers expect from an author of her caliber. Characters who burrow into your heart, circumstances that throw you into an emotional tizzy, action that gets your blood pumping, and a love that can heal the worst pain imaginable. This book has it all. And those Kelly boys? Yeah, they do the right thing too.

SandyMGrade: A+


P.J. and Cole were sharpshooting rivals on the same KGI team and enjoyed a spirited, uncomplicated camaraderie. Until the night they gave in to their desires and suddenly took their relationship one step further. In the aftermath of their one night stand, they’re called up on a mission that goes terribly wrong, and P.J. walks away from KGI, determined not to drag her teammates into the murky shadows she’s poised to delve into.

Six months later, Cole hasn’t given up his search for P.J., and he’s determined to bring her back home where she belongs. Bent on vengeance, P.J. is on a mission that will plunge her into a serpentine game of payback and make her question everything she’s ever believed in. Cole—and the rest of their team—refuse to let her go it alone. Even if it means sacrificing their loyalty to KGI and their very lives…

Read an excerpt.

Other books in this series:

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