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Shades of Desire (Special Investigations Group (SIG) #1)

3.48  ·  Rating Details  ·  260 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
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 betwe
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by HQN Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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I started this book thinking of giving it a solid three stars and hoping for the fourth. Instead of something extra, I found all the plot threads of a promising premise slipping through my fingers until only thing left was bitter disappointment.

Let's start with the characterisations. What characterisations? The characters do and react as it suits the scene and situation rather than following some internal compass that guides them through life even with the needle improperly calibrated. To this
Elena R a.k.a. Lunies R
May 08, 2012 Elena R a.k.a. Lunies R rated it really liked it
S,E,R's Awesomness!

I really enjoyed this book,especially when it came to the characters stories plots and though both the hero and heroine each had their own demons to deal with. It made the story have more meaning, besides just a mystery/suspense novel. Both characters have a past and both were very hesitant for what the future had in store for them, or, if there ever could be a future.I thoroughly liked how the book explored the emotional side of Natalie,she was made to seem like a strong in
Vanessa theJeepDiva
May 05, 2012 Vanessa theJeepDiva rated it really liked it
Mac is the leader of the Special Investigations Group “SIG.” His latest case may turn into his most frustrating yet. He is simply following up on a missing person turned murder victim. This seems simple enough. Go question the woman who was attacked by his suspect and get a description of her attacker. The problem is that the witness/victim has omitted a vital piece of information. She is blind.

Natalie seems to think that she is handling the progression of her disease well. She copes well enough
Teresa Kropp
Jul 13, 2012 Teresa Kropp rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic romantic suspense book by Virna DePaul! It was hard to put it down! The book is about Natalie Jones, a world renown photojournalist, who grew up knowing one day she would be blind because of a hereditary disease. Natalie was innocently taking pictures at her town's open market day at a park, when she suddenly goes blind. Soon after, she is courageously adjusting to being almost blind, - just being able to see shades of color and shapes - when she is attacked in her own house. Na ...more
This is the first book I have read by Virna DePaul and although I liked it I just didn't love it. For me it had a lot missing from what I like to see in a Romantic Suspense novel.

After reading the synopsis I had such high hopes for this one *sigh* but for me it just didn't work as much as it should have done. Don't get me wrong it was ok but I felt that the H/h 'danced' around each other far too long before we began to feel any great connection/heat between them. Maybe I could have forgiven this
May 07, 2012 Melinda rated it it was amazing
One word for Shades of Desire is awesome. I loved the idea of the heroine being blind and usinf her other senses. Natalie Jones is a talented photographer who because of fate and genetics is losing her career. taking pictures is her whole world and now darkness envelops her. Mackenzie is a man who is afraid of loving someone. Divorced now he fears of facing a life of ensless women yet something about Natalie intrigues him. Someone though wants to end Natalie before she gets a chance at love.

Jul 16, 2012 Shan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely love this book. I couldn't help but put myself in Natalie's position. I kept wondering if I would be as strong if I was in a similar situation. I believe my answer would be no. I love that they made mistakes along the way with dealing with each other, that made it seem more realistic.

I always love when you get experience what's going on in the minds of more than just the hero and heroine and Ms. DePaul did that effortlessly. I got to experience this journey through everyone's point
Jun 07, 2012 Carlyn rated it really liked it
Natalie has been diagnosed with a degenerative eye diesese which as a photographer is a horrifying prospect and when she inadvertatly takes pictures relating to a crime she is put into a dangerou situation on top of not dealing very well with her disability. When she meets Mac, a special agent, the sparks fly and the emotions run wild!
I really enjoyed the way the author has dealt with the characters as the despair that natalie feels about her eyes adds an extra dimension to the story and really
May 09, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it
This is the first book I've ever read by Virna DePaul. This is the first book in a series (Special Investigations Groups Series, or SIG) so it's a nice place to start with a new to me author as well. Natalie Jones is a very complicated character with a very difficult past and possibly a very difficult future as well. Abused by her mother as a child and then sent to a foster home when her mother was committed to a hospital diagnosed insane. Her mother had a degenerating eye problem that she blame ...more
Jun 17, 2012 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Shades Of Desire ~ Book 1 in the Special Investigations Groups Series
HQN - Now available on Amazon, B&N, Powell’s and Audible

Narrated by Ashley Adlon

Natalie Jones was once a famous photographer ~ but now, paralyzed by blindness that was brought on by a degenerative eye disease, Natalie is pretty much at a stand still in her life. Denying to herself that her blindness might be forever and that she's going to have change her way of living, Natalie has pretty much isolated herself ~~ until she
WOW! What an emotional roller coaster of a book! FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC! First off, Bravo Virna! This book had me on the edge of my seat the entire time and being that I listened to the audio book, that made it even better. I felt like I was in shock when I finished it because that was some ending! This book is full of everything you want when reading a suspense novel, lots of action, some very well written characters, good and bad and some super hot lovin’ that was spicy and tasteful all at the sa ...more
May 17, 2012 Danielle rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Review originally posted at Ramblings From This Chick

I will be honest, this was my first romantic suspense book I was actually able to get through. I normally don't read too many books in the suspense genre but I am a big fan of Virna's paranormal series so I figured I'd give this one a try. While it wasn't my cup of tea, I still really enjoyed it. In fact I finished the book pretty much in one sitting. I love the chemistry between Mac and Natalie. The sparks between them were electric and I fou
Cindy ~ SnS Reviews
Jul 30, 2012 Cindy ~ SnS Reviews rated it really liked it
First off this is the first book in Virna DePaul's Special Investigations Groups Series. I have to admit that the only time I've read her before was in the Anthology with Lori Foster. I defiantly will be reading the rest of this series as it comes out.

The background story here is the murder of a young woman. Through evidence they find on the victim they are pretty sure they know who the murderer is but he haa skipped out on his parole and they cannot find him.

Natalie Jones was a world famous p
Oct 01, 2015 Shari rated it really liked it

This review was originally posted on Delighted Reader

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 becomeacquaintedwith 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 insan
Jul 19, 2012 Sara rated it really liked it
In this story you meet Natalie and Liam.

Natalie was a famous photojournalist. She had been all over the world until she began loosing her sight due to an eye disease that quickly eats away at her sight. Because of this, Natalie doesn't really like to go out in public anymore, and when she is brutally attacked in her own home for an unknown reason she is terrified.

Enter Liam "Mac" McKenzie

Mac is an agent and leader of a special investigations group that works all over the state solving horrific c
Jun 19, 2012 Dottie rated it really liked it
A passionate, suspense-filled read, which I rated 4.5! Taken from my review at

Natalie Jones, famous for her photography, is finding her world narrowing down. Diagnosed with macular degeneration, she is slowly going blind. While out taking photos, she suddenly experiences pain and everything goes black. Later, her vision improves slightly and she is able to just make out gray shapes. The color in her life is gone, except in her dreams. One day, after a friend drops her off aft
Christi Snow
May 23, 2012 Christi Snow rated it really liked it
My Review:
I liked this one and am looking forward to the rest of the SIG series. SIG is a special branch of the Department of Justice investigative offices in California. Mac is a detective who works on this five (I think that's the right number) person team. The book starts with him commiserating the fact that relationships are impossible in their line of work. The job they do requires these men and women to put the job first and that leaves very little time, real or emotional, for a significan
C.J. Markusfeld
Jun 21, 2012 C.J. Markusfeld rated it it was ok
Loved the premise of this book - a photographer who is slowly losing her eyesight is targeted by a crazed killer and falls in love with the cop who catches her case. Wasn't as crazy about the execution of said premise.

Elevator pitch: Natalie Jones, photographer, is going blind and struggling with accepting the changes that come with it. When she's attacked in her own home by a nutty killer, hard-boiled cop Liam "Mac" Mackenzie gets her case. Instant chemistry. Natalie is stalked - quite creepily
Judy & Marianne from Long and Short Reviews
Originally posted at: http://www.longandshortreviews.blogsp...

Murder. Deception. Intrigue. These words fit in so perfectly within the pages of Shades of Desire. There's so many aspects of this book that called to me.

Natalie Jones is the heroine of this story, and a character I completely related to. For one, she's losing her vision, and that changes her completely. There are days she's so withdrawn. She fights feelings of anger, fear, sometimes a bit of pity, but she's a strong woman learning to
Jul 10, 2012 Pam rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. The characters were believable and the action was compelling.

A great romantic suspense that keeps you guessing until close to the end. Natalie and Mac both are unable to move on at first in their lives but eventually find comfort in each other.

Great first book in a series.
Jan 12, 2016 Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Klick – noch ein Schnappschuss von der bunten Marktplatzszene. Dann wird die Welt um Natalie Jones dunkel. Die junge Fotografin erblindet plötzlich und zieht sich völlig zurück. Bis sie wegen ihres letzten Fotos, dem Schlüssel in einem grausamen Verbrechen, ins Visier des Mörders gerät. Special Agent Liam McKenzie soll sie beschützen. In seiner Nähe spürt sie ein erotisches Knistern. Obwohl sie fühlt, dass auch er sie begehrt, geht Natalie auf Distanz. Aus Angst, dass Liam nur M
**original review by Jamie posted at Romancing Rakes For The Love of Romance**

Natalie Jones is a photographer, quite well known, however with a degenerative eye disease that is progressing rather quickly she starts to lock herself away in her home. Then she is attacked in her home, the only place that felt safe.

Special Agent Liam “Mac” McKenzie is in charge of finding an elusive killer that has been targeting young women. When he hears about the attack on Natalie, essentially the only survivor,
Jess the Romanceaholic
This is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.

I wanted to like this much more than I actually did. I loved how Natalie’s blindness both shaped her as a character and affected the story, and Mac was delicious, but while they had good chemistry, I wanted to pimp slap both of them about 45% of the time.

My biggest problem, however, was that the main “suspense” conflict had a moment about 75% in where it completely dropped into the background and no longer added any t
May 21, 2012 Brandy rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-s, net-galley

This book is considered Contemporary Romance, this is a genre I never read much of but being a fan of Virna DePaul's Paranormal series I decide to give it a chance. This book kind of hit close to home for me in the respect that I'm a photographer and could relate to the main character in that aspect.
Natalie is a Photojournalist that has been diagnosed with an eye disease that will eventually make her completely blind. She is desperately trying to hold on to her love of Photography but it is bec
Jul 18, 2012 Tracy rated it liked it
Struggled with the Main Character
Her retinal degeneration is progressive, but professional photographer Natalie Jones is coping with the limits of her decreased vision. She thought she had time before her world went completely dark. She had no idea the morning she decided to take a stroll through the park near her Plainville home, snapping pictures as she went, that the bright day full of color and light, shapes, forms, and textures, would be the last she'd ever see.

Eight weeks later, a man brea
Book Chatter-Cath
Apr 18, 2012 Book Chatter-Cath rated it liked it
Shelves: to-read-review
This isn't actually a bad story.
The writing is smooth and unhurried and the storyline is intriguing.
I especially liked the fact that the MC has lost her sight and is dealing, or in her case, not dealing with the changes that her condition is forcing her to make. Add into the mix a psycho attacker on her tail and the need for some sexy police protection and you've got yourself a winner...or have you?

The initial attraction between Natalie and Mac is very heated, but as the story progressed I didn'
Nov 13, 2014 Conchita rated it it was amazing
Another fantastic read/listen from Virna DePaul. I absolutely love her style. She really is a magnificent writer. Her experience in law oozes onto every page and fully immerses the reader until nothing else is real.

This book is fantastic. I love Mac and Natalie’s story. The reader is taken into the minds of unstable criminals who have no regard for human lives or rights. It’s scary but pulls you in so that you just can’t stop, needing to know what is going to happen next.

The sexual tension is bu
Susan Hatler
May 24, 2012 Susan Hatler rated it it was amazing
Virna DePaul never disappoints! This story is filled with emotion, danger, and passion. The bad guys are layered and complex, and the hero and heroine have realistic issues to overcome before they can be together. Fast paced but slows down in all right places.
So been a while since I read a story with a cult in it. Not sure if the author came out and said that it was a cult, but the way that it was described sure sounded like one. Natalie is a bit annoying in how she acts and responds to people and her blindness but as you learn more about her it's understandable why she would act that way. Mac and Natalie work together to sort out why she was attacked and why her attacker wanted her photos from the day that she lost her sight. The story jumps from se ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Books Not Listed as a Series 3 159 Sep 22, 2012 08:52AM  
  • Danger Next Door (Red Stone Security, #2)
  • A Little Harmless Fascination (Harmless, #7)
  • Fight to Remember (Trueblood #5)
  • His Choice (Dante's Circle, #3.5)
  • Legacy Found (Legacy, #3)
  • The Ex Files
  • Statistic (Statistic, #1)
  • First Kiss (Emma's Arabian Nights, #1)
  • Cat Scratch Fever
  • Run from Fear (Dead Wrong, #3)
  • Deadly Intent (Mindhunters, #4)
  • Guarding Jess (McCormack Security Agency, #2)
A former prosecutor, Virna DePaul writes "heat, heart, & HEA" for Harlequin and Random House. She is also a bestselling Indie author, with Bedding The Wrong Brother being a top 100 contemporary romance on Amazon with over 150 5* reviews.
More about Virna DePaul...

Other Books in the Series

Special Investigations Group (SIG) (3 books)
  • Shades of Temptation (SIG, #2)
  • Shades of Passion (SIG, #3)

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“Whoever had opened that first Starbucks in Seattle should be shot.” 2 likes
“PLAINVILLE WAS A QUAINT picturesque town. Northern California’s version of Andy Griffith’s Mayberry. Bucolic enough to provide cinematic contrast for any low-budget stalk-and-slash film. Juxtaposition played just as important a role in still photography as it did in cinematography. Maybe that’s why Natalie Jones had picked Plainville for her final descent into darkness. The climactic scene in a comedic tragedy. Cast of one. Audience of one. Curtain closed.” 1 likes
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