This book put me through the emotional wringer. It was provocative; it was gut-wrenching; and it was damn good.
The story follows FBI agent Miller Sutton as he forces drug-runner Danny Butler to turn state’s evidence against his boss Roberto Hinestroza. Danny doesn’t want to do it, but it’s that or he gets sent back to prison and labeled a rat… virtually a death sentence.
Miller is responsible for Danny’s protective custody and as they spend time together in close quarters, the attraction is undeniable. Danny is gay, but Miller has never allowed himself to explore feelings for another man. There is something about Danny, though, that breaks through Miller’s walls. It’s hard to describe the evolution of their relationship in a way that gives it its due. It’s definitely sexy, but there is real depth beneath it. Danny is so broken by the life he’s led, but he covers it with a facade of strength. And yet, while his self-worth is undeniably fragile, there is a beacon of light in him that calls to Miller as no one ever has.
Miller is wrestling with his own demons. He has lived his life with such rigidity, pushing down his own feelings and desires so deep, even he can’t see them. As these two begin to fall for one another, each man is forced to look deep within himself and face hard truths. But at the same time, their hidden relationship makes both men happier than they have ever been.
When it was over, Miller slid out slowly, collapsing onto Danny’s body.
“Why,” he panted into Danny’s neck, “why is it so goddamn good?”
He was surprised at how full his voice sounded, so close to overflowing its steady banks.
Danny stroked his hair, his lips warm against Miller’s cheek.
“Because it’s us, Miller,” he whispered. “Because it’s us.”
I thought the whole book was going to be about their time in the safehouse, but there is so much more beyond that. There are some great flashbacks peppered in, which give readers alot of insight and backstory. And there are major developments after the guys leave the safehouse too. Without giving it all away, I can tell you that Danny makes a huge sacrifice… and so does Miller.
Sometimes I felt crushed under the weight of their feelings for each other, their own self-loathing, and the confluence of horrible circumstances they have to face. But in their moments of happiness and acceptance, it was like a warm blanket. There was just so much happening, my emotions ran the gamut. The sex is hot, don’t get me wrong, but this book is about so much more than that. It’s about love; it’s about self-discovery; and it’s about redemption. Very good. 4 1/2 stars.
*ARC Provided by NetGalley
Shades of Grayby Brooke McKinleyRelease Date: October 19, 2009Publisher: Dreamspinner Press