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Shades of Leverage #1

Slater's Revenge

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After all these years, OPAQUE agent Josh Slater is finally closing in on the crime boss who bought his father for a bank account. But that entails returning to his hometown to protect his boss’s niece -- the only women he ever loved.

Sexy, gorgeous Mackenzie Baudin also happens to be at the top of the organized crime’s hit list. He knows he can never reveal the real reason why he was forced to leave her behind years ago, but he’ll do whatever it takes to gain her trust.

Each book in the Shades of Leverage series is STANDALONE:
* Slater's Revenge
* Dangerous Lies

341 pages, ebook

First published March 13, 2018

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About the author

Claudia Shelton

8 books178 followers
Award-winning author Claudia Shelton could write her name before the first day of school, but now she writes romantic suspense, contemporary romance and thrillers. In addition, she presents workshops for readers and authors. Her debut novel, Risk of a Lifetime, released to 5-star reviews, reached Amazon's Best Sellers Romance Series Top 100 and was named one of eBooks Galore top reads for 2014. She is also a two-time nominated Daphne Du Maurier (Unpublished) finalist for excellence in mystery. On a personal note, Claudia considers herself a traveler, music lover and water person. A cool drink while listening to the splash of waves is always nice—so is a mug of hot chocolate in the falling snow. Her main priority is spending time with family, friends and her two sweet, conniving rescue dogs.

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5 stars
37 (43%)
4 stars
30 (35%)
3 stars
12 (14%)
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4 (4%)
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2 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 41 reviews
Profile Image for Rellim.
1,447 reviews24 followers
September 25, 2022
9/25/2022 - This is the first book in Shelton’s Shaded of Leverage series. I’m a big fan of romantic suspense - especially when the story is just as focused on the mystery/suspense/thriller aspect as on the romance.

Shelton did a great job with world building - especially the backstory setting up Josh & Mackie’s second chance romance and the establishment of OPAQUE and their fight against Coercion Ten. All while keeping the pacing engaging.

Lots of twists, turns, and unpredictability made for an enjoyable story. I liked that it took a while to really untangle the threat against Mackie. While she made a misstep - there’s no TSTL heroine here. Mackie is a strong, intelligent, and resourceful character. Josh is definitely a protector, but recognizes her skills. They’re a good team.

Lots of questions answered, Josh & Mackie get their HEA, but there’s some new leads to follow. I’m excited for Mitch’s story and to see more of the interplay between OPAQUE agents and the nefarious Coercion Ten.

Narration:
I grabbed this because I really enjoy James Anderson Foster’s performances. He’s a great fit for Shelton’s writing and characters. Especially the fact that she had so many male characters and he was able to give them all a unique sound and personality. I enjoy his female voices too.

9/20/2022 - Audiobook is on sale via Audiobooks.com for $5 & Audible for <$7. James Anderson Foster! 🎧
Profile Image for Maria11.
1,825 reviews36 followers
March 25, 2018
Action packed with lots of twists and turns. You can’t trust anyone so it seems. Josh and Mackenzie had a past that the.y both haven’t forgotten even though they want the other to not know. MacKenzie is tough and can hold her own. Josh is the brooding hero with issues. Lots of kinda far fetched stuff and espionage, but with all the fake news and outside influence who knows,

Good action read. Lots of drama and turmoil. First book by this author may check out her other stuff

Received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley
Profile Image for Bette Hansen.
5,049 reviews37 followers
March 18, 2018
Fantastic read! An action packed romantic suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through. This is a new to me author and she definitely gained a new fan with this one. There's a nice easy flow to her writing and the characters are well developed and intriguing. There's so much going in this book making it difficult to summarize without giving anything away. I'll just say you don't want to miss Mackenzie and Josh's second chance story as they fight through the ghosts of the past while dealing with the real threats of the now. I highly recommend this one.

Profile Image for Kelsey.
1,589 reviews18 followers
July 25, 2019
I can't say I liked this book.

First, the twists are obvious. Like, stupidly obvious. And every other scene characters are like "oh this doesn't feel right!! But let's do it anyway!" Ummm. Okay.

Second, suspense/action/adventure novels definitely aren't my thing. Waaayyyy too much suspension of disbelief. And that's coming from someone who adores time travel novels.

Third, the romance sucked. Like, it almost wasn't there. All of a sudden Macki (dumb name, sorry) and Josh are in love and having sex and figuring out the rest of their lives. I just didn't buy it.
Profile Image for Ayekah.
1,104 reviews
March 12, 2018
What a fantastic read this book is and kept me flipping those pages! The suspense was over the top.
Josh Slater is a man of many talents, which you read in the blurb on the book. His boss sends him on a special assignment, one that is the last thing he would ever want in his life. Returning to his hometown. The bad guys here at known as CT, CT has found a new way to get what they want, leverage. They find something that is near and dear to the person they want to bend and go after them. In this case it's his bosses niece Macki.
Macki is a retired cop in Slater's hometown, leaving the force to do, let's say optional work. Her parents were killed in a plane crash and her Uncle is all she has. Josh is sent in to 24/7 protect Macki, which she hates with a passion. Macki owns a hotel, she lives in the penthouse and has all the resources for protection she needs, or thinks she does. What she doesn't need or want is Josh.
As soon as Josh comes into town things escalate, there is friction between the police department high ups and Josh. Macki's trying her best to keep things running smooth and after one too many close calls now takes serious the threats from CT. Again things heat up, Josh is struggling with his own demons about being back home. Doing his best to deal with threats and protect Macki. Macki is a tough nut, I really liked her. She's got moxy out her wazoo.
There are so many twists an turns in this book, it will make your head spin and you won't want to miss one single word. Nothing in the book is as it seems and there's a few "aha" moments as well.
So many "damn I didn't see that one" and when it ended, I wanted more. Not because it didn't end well, I wanted to read more. Macki and Josh were great characters. The plot was twisted sister and the book just had a great flow.
I'm waiting for the next one. This is a must read. Take a bow Miss Claudia, this one knocked my socks off.
In the interest of being purposely vague and random, yes I was. On purpose. Too much gives away too much of the story. Just walk right into it.

**advanced copy from NetGalley and Entangled for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own**
Profile Image for Kelly Marie.
491 reviews4 followers
April 2, 2018
Wow! This….I can’t form the words to explain how good this book is. It is so suspenseful and quite the page turner! Incredibly intense with tons of action and angst between Josh and Macki will keep you turning the pages. Macki is a former vice cop and Josh is part of OPAQUE. Everyone thinks OPAQUE is a security firm but little does everyone know that OPAQUE is out fighting the bad guys, Coercion Ten. Coercion Ten is a top of the line criminal organization and Macki ends up on the top of the hit list. Josh is brought in to protect her. But the past that they have didn’t end on a good note. As the past reveals itself and as the story progresses we find out how much these two are just in the middle of the chaos that Coercion Ten plans to bring. Facing facts, fears and the future with tons of emotions riding high in this story will constantly keep you turning the pages. This story fills you with the need to figure out what exactly is going on. The suspense was killing me! It’s a crazy wild ride that keeps you guessing. And the plot twists!!!! The plot twists just keep coming! And the end….the end….Boom!!!! You won’t be disappointed at all. I read this one as a stand-alone and can’t wait to get into more of this series. Claudia Shelton is a new author for me and she has obtained a new stalker….*waves*, fan! Bravo!
2,335 reviews11 followers
April 2, 2018
Rcvd an ARC at no cost to author. (netgalley) I have never read this author before and I enjoyed it I mean i kept turning the pages. I also figured somethings things out before the end but 'all on me. Macki was threatened by a sinister group who unfortunately they are law enforcement in the wrong side, so we don't know who the leader is and who all is involved. Josh Slater was sent by her uncle to protect her because she could be used as leverage for them and they are the OPAQUE group, (the good guys so to speak), Josh does not want to go on this assignment an Macki doesn't want him either. They had a love affair years ago and he broke her heart, anyhoo she needs protection and he is going to provide and maybe they can finally get closure. Lots of things happen my friends so you wont be bored.
Profile Image for  Reading In Pajamas .
1,032 reviews106 followers
May 30, 2018
✦Review: SLATER’S REVENGE (Shades of Leverage) by Claudia Shelton https://wp.me/p3d0RZ-aFF
Publication Date: March 26, 2018
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Reviewed by: Reading in Pajamas/ Donna
Rated 4 Stars

I enjoyed this book. It was full of suspenseful danger and a who-done-it mystery that kept you guessing until the end. I liked Josh and was rooting for his happily-ever-after, but sadly, I didn’t quite take to Macki until about 2/3 of the way through the story. She was a bit witchy and some of her actions were rather improbably considering her background and the clear danger around her. The romance is not graphic, so those that like their romantic suspense on the tame side – this is a good fit for you. I couldn’t put it down and look forward to the next installment.

*Review copy provided by Entangled in exchange for an honest review.

~*~*~*~

Kindle $3.99 https://amzn.to/2G2dadV
Profile Image for Ann L.
3,486 reviews15 followers
March 29, 2018
Wow, this is a new for me author and I loved this story, it's got action, danger, suspense and was so thrilling it kept me entertained throughout

I received a complimentary copy from Netgalley and I am voluntarily leaving my own honest opinion
Profile Image for Bec.
1,627 reviews39 followers
April 1, 2018

OPAQUE agent Josh Slater hasn't seen Mackenzie 'Macki' Boudin in years, but when he's sent to protect her, he knows he has to face the past. However, he knows protecting her won't be easy, especially after the way he left her at a time when she needed him most. Still, he's determined to keep Coercien Ten from doing her any harm. Will Joshua be able to find a way to get Mackenzie to forgive him for what happened in the past, or will the secret he's keeping from her tear them apart for good and lose them their second chance at happy ever after?

What a thrilling and captivating tale Ms. Shelton weaves in this first book of her Shades of Leverage series, which encompasses the sexy protector and enemy to lovers tropes; a wonderful combination of suspense and romance that had me reading quickly, determined to discover whether Josh would be able to win Macki back while keeping her safe; two main characters that are strong-willed and challenge each other, especially Macki because she knows Josh is keeping something from her; compelling dialogue that made this story a real page turner due to the main characters back stories and everything they go to on their journey to happy ever after; and secondary characters that kept me guessing as to who was a good guy and who was a bad guy. Will Josh be able to figure out who is on his side before it's too late?

Both the main characters were exceptional and I loved how what Josh is keeping from the heroine and the hero abandoning Macki in the past creates a lot of tension between them. I also loved every moment these two converse, as Macki is resilient, very independent and not one to be left behind when things happen that need to be investigated. Will Macki get her way? Furthermore, I liked how the heroine handled every new bit of information she receives about OPAQUE and how it's had a big impact on her life because of her family's association with the organisation. Can she handle the truth about OPAQUE, Coercion Ten and why she's become a target? Can she handle the news about her parents and why what happened to them did happen?

While the hero, he's very good at his job, which is proven by what he did on his last mission and how far he's willing to go in order to protect Macki. I also liked how confident he is when it comes to his skills as an agent and how protective he is of Macki, even though he knows he can't protect her forever from what he's hiding. Really, the truth must come out, even if she ends up hating him in the end. Yet, what I liked most of all about the hero is the way he opened up to the heroine because all their cards need to be put on the table and finally exposed if they're to get their happy ever after.

Overall, Ms. Shelton has delivered an incredible read in this book where the chemistry between Josh and Macki is heady and convincing; the romance shows how compatible and right these two are for each other exceptionally; and the ending had me on the edge-of-my-seat and a little in shock, as the bad guys are finally exposed and Macki and Josh finally face off against them. Will Josh be able to to keep Macki safe? Yet, what I liked most of all about the ending is how things work out for the hero and heroine, as they're meant to be together and this time they shouldn't let anything keep them apart, especially not once the real truth is exposed and absolves Josh of his guilt. I would recommend Slater's Revenge by Claudia Shelton, if you enjoy romantic suspense, the sexy protector trope, the enemy to lovers trope, or books by authors Rya Stone, Jenna Ryan, Laura Griffin and Kendra Elliott.
Profile Image for Linda Walters.
2,523 reviews14 followers
June 16, 2019
Good main characters with a painful history that still hurts them all these years after.

Mackenzie or Macki as Josh calls her is a multi-level successful, fierce woman. She is also someone who does NOT like being told what to do. Her chauffeur Ed mentioned that she got back up every time life knocked her down. Sometimes she took unusual routes to stand the pain but she kept her eye on the horizon. Always moving forward. That statement was proven time and again.
Josh is a very skilled man as well but because of his main focus of protection without feelings he also comes across as a jerk quite often.

Detective Cummings is even more of a jerk as well as his Lt. Grey. Both were pushy and overbearing. Cummings was always invading her space. Even made me want to hit him. I really didn't understand why they thought they had the right to be all up in her business. And I just wasn't sure if that was all it was it was or if one or the other was a criminal. Maybe even both. It's going to take some time to figure out which side of the law that they really fall on.

I liked that Josh was such a complex man and that Macki observed that he had two different personas. That when he strapped on his guns he switched from being the Josh she knew to going into his protection mode personality, Agent Slater. Or should that be lack of personality in order to be more accurate.

Team Shades was an interesting mention of people who no matter where they were in the world if a call went out for help, they all responded if they could.
There was plenty of interesting characters on both sides. Good guys and bad guys included. It was nice that it didn't make the story hard to follow though.

This story was full of emotion and crazy action. Crazy in a good way for the reader. The romance part was pretty good too.
Huge twists and surprises head towards a dramatic finish. A Epilogue is included which I always enjoy. I ended up totally loving this story and look forward to more in the series. This was one FULL story.

“I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”
Profile Image for Nikki Brooks.
2,772 reviews37 followers
June 9, 2019
Finally, read book 1 - I read book 2 initially and managed to confuse myself slightly lol!

Josh has been a government agent for years. He felt that he owed the man who helped him out of his hometown something. Even though he left behind something, or rather someone, very important - Macki. Now the same man who helped him needs a favour. His niece is in danger from the very people they have made it their mission to track down. One slight wrinkle in the plan - his niece is Macki and she is not going to be pleased to have a babysitter, never mind that that sitter is Josh!

Macki may have grown up in a privileged household but she is no spoiled princess. She is a former vice cop and more than able to fend for herself. But she does recognise that she is a target due to her wealth so she does have sensible precautionary measures in place, all thanks to her uncle. But he has a lot of explaining to do when he plunks down Josh as her protector. She gave that man her virginity and he blew out of town sharpish. But as the danger mounts more of the reasoning behind that departure is revealed and she finds herself melting into him once more.

Considering Macki is a former cop, I felt that the police in her town just about tolerated her, never mind were downright antagonistic towards her! Her ex's partner is also a bit kind of creepy on the personal side but nothing prepared me for all the bolts from the blue! I never saw some of these twists coming, which doesn't say much for the day job (I work on police investigations!) However, I redeemed myself by at least getting the bad guys right, just in the wrong places in the hierarchy!

Josh is the perfect mix of Alpha male and dependable partner. Macki was smart, courageous and bit of a maverick! I loved meeting the extended team (again) and picking apart the monstrosity that CT has become.

Well paced, plausible storyline, great characters with a 2nd chance at love for our leading pair. Great story.
Profile Image for Teresa.
1,196 reviews3 followers
March 19, 2018
**I received a copy of Slater's Revenge from Net Galley in exchange for a voluntary and honest review**

Slater's Revenge is the first book by Claudia Shelton that I've read but its actually a continuation of Slater's Leverage by the author. I felt that in order to understand more about Coercion Ten and their hold on Riverfall it would've been recommended to read the first book prior to this one. Because at times I felt very lost. All in all I'd give this book 4 stars for the action packed and plot line that had you guessing all the way to the end.

Josh Slater goes back home to Riverfall and the only woman he's ever loved Mackenzie at the request of his boss and leader of OPAQUE. He and Macki left after he found out what his father did to her parents and now she's been targeted by CT which will use everything they have on her to get her Uncle Drake. After several cryptic texts to Macki it will take everything to keep her safe from those high ranking officials even his own love that never stopped for her.

Mackenzie Baudin is a heiress running her hotel and even though her uncle has a bodyguard/chauffeur/protector when Drake tells her that Coercion Ten has put her on the top of their hit list, she knows that when Josh arrives they'll have to work together to find the leader of the group. But most of all Trust No one in the city not even the cops. Will Josh and Macki rekindle their love and survive the kidnapping at the end and find the ultimate head boss of CT before it's too late?
Profile Image for Elizabeth Neal.
1,642 reviews125 followers
April 2, 2018
Mackenzie, a former vice cop, is being hunted by criminals, her name on their top ten list. She knows if they catch her, she'll be the leverage they need against her uncle, director of OPAQUE, a Special Forces team. To ensure she's protected, she's given a bodyguard, the man that broke her heart ten years ago.

Josh, a member of OPAQUE, has never forgotten Macki, but he had to let her go for reasons he never shared with her. Now that he's home and watching over her, his past comes rushing back as do the feelings he's always had for her. However, he also has a personal mission he's determined to see through and that involves his father.

Can Josh keep Macki safe while maintaining a professional relationship with her? What happens when both realize their feelings for one another never went away? Will Josh confess why he broke her heart a decade ago and can Macki forgive him for it? Will Josh get the closure he needs on his dad? Will Josh and Macki explore the chance they've been given to be together again?

One-click now and follow along as two people cross paths again for professional reasons but their personal history quickly blurs the lines.

**I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book.**
Author 4 books51 followers
March 27, 2018
Claudia Shelton is one of my favorite romantic suspense authors. I was given an arc copy for an honest review.
Slater's Revenge, was a page turner that kept you guessing who the bad guys were to the very end.
OPAQUE special agent, Josh Slater is assigned to protecting a love interest from his past, Mackenzie Baudin. This is an assignment poses conflicts he'd rather avoid, but since his boss insists he's the only one that can do the mission the best, and for the security of OPAQUE and country, Josh agrees to do as ordered. Little does Josh know he's up against Coercion Ten, a secret syndicate that's threatening the very existence of OPAQUE, and the person's who've sent death threats to Mackenzie (Mackie as Josh knows her.)
The story becomes a fast paced game of chasing down clues to get to the head thug of Coercion Ten. During their time together, Josh and Mackie share their painful past and they rekindle their passion for each other.
No spoiler here. Read this great book. You'll be glad you did.
675 reviews6 followers
March 10, 2018
This is a voluntary review of an advanced copy.

What an action packed book full of intrigue and romance! When Macki's uncle finds out that her life is in danger, he sends her ex-boyfriend and OPAQUE agent, Josh to keep her safe.

Slowly throughout the book, we find out more about their breakup and other events that happened during that time that are important to figuring out who is the key player in Coercion Ten's side.

There are a few twists and turns in the story and it was hard to put the book down! I had to keep reading to find out who the villain was and I guessed right! I didn't know all the details that were revealed but I suspected things were not as they seemed.

Loved the HEA as I was not sure that they could ever stay alive or get along long enough to have a relationship! There was also some unexpected news revealed that made a difference for Josh, so I was really glad to see him change his view of his father.

Profile Image for Cathy Skendrovich.
Author 5 books129 followers
February 28, 2019
I really enjoyed Slater's Revenge. First of all, both the H/h were truly likeable and believable. I'm not a huge fan of second chance romance, but Macki and Josh's back story was realistic, and I found myself wanting them to get back together.

The action in the story was well-drawn. It was like a thriller movie, where you didn't know what to expect next. I never guessed the bad guy, which is major, since I have a 98% accuracy (at least I think so), though I did guess his second in command.

Josh and Macki are so well suited to each other, and I credit Ms. Shelton with great character development for that. In fact, I think that's the author's strong point.

I look forward to more books in this series, because I have to know who is the head of Coercion Ten! Besides, the OPAQUE agents all seem very swoon-worthy!
Profile Image for Mags.
2,501 reviews22 followers
June 9, 2019
Slater's Revenge was an enjoyable story. That had plenty of suspense and action. As well as an interesting back story between lead characters Josh and Mackenzie (Macki) And I enjoyed how their story developed. Although it lacked something in the romance department if I'm honest. Nevertheless, it was completely engaging to read and the whole idea of a group of agents from an organisation called OPAQUE fighting a group of bad guys collectively known as coercion ten was intriguing and the story certainly kept me guessing. So I would certainly read more from this series in the future, and I would also happily recommend Slater's Revenge to others.

**I was kindly provided with a free copy of Slater's Revenge by Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for Ellen Parker.
Author 7 books13 followers
June 10, 2018
Undercover Emotions
Mackenzie (Macki) Baudin, former undercover cop on the Riverfalls, IL police retired after suffering a very personal attack. Now she runs the best hotel in town and supervises charity work. Her uncle, the only family left after her parents died, insists on a high security level and justifies it by family history.
OPAQUE agent Josh Slater fears the emotional history apt to be released while he works to protect Macki. Will the past between them prove the distraction necessary for their deaths?
Ms. Shelton lays a firm foundation for an ultra-secret government agency and their nemesis. The action and secrets revealed late in the book make the groundwork worthwhile
Profile Image for Meghan.
2,223 reviews6 followers
June 8, 2019
I couldn’t put it down. The story is full of action, intrigue, betrayal and of course romance. The relationship is full of tension due to past secrets that play a role throughout the story. The town sounds quite interesting full of colorful characters. The ending was solid, though I did figure out the twists of who were the bad guys for this story. I plan on reading more of this series and hope to see more about Cunningham and of course the agency in their quest
To get to the head of CT.

Thank you NetGalley and Entangled for the chance to read this book and share my opinion!
Profile Image for Denise.
4,120 reviews13 followers
March 29, 2018
I was on a roll when I went into this one due to its promise of suspense. I soon found out to this is a second chance romance that adds to the spice. One former cop Mackenzie and agent-protector Josh give you one energizer of a ride in this one once they come together thanks to what is after her. I soon realized also a few years ago I had read one by this author after reading this one. She knows how to fill it to the brim with the suspense that keeps you on your toes.
Profile Image for poppy.
4,592 reviews25 followers
August 30, 2018
This was a good action-packed read. It had plenty of twists and turns and I found myself pulled in and hooked from the very start and while I just loved the chemistry between Mackenzie and Slater I did think he was a bit of a jerk at times but I think that had a lot to do with his issues about going back to his hometown other than that I really enjoyed it and would recommend it.
19 reviews
February 14, 2019
Keeps your interest

It started off interesting and kept my interest but I had no problem laying it down and coming back to it. Enjoy any book where the female lead is strong and carries a gun. But she needed to be more actively involved and he needed less low points or being hurt so many time.
Profile Image for T.C.Winters T.C.Winters.
Author 5 books36 followers
March 8, 2018
Josh and Macki are thrown together when Macki's life is in danger, but their past still burns between them. Slater's Revenge is a fast paced romantic suspense involving dirty cops and special op agents from OPAQUE, a private security group that has secrets of its own.
Profile Image for Tracie R.
2,077 reviews
June 13, 2019
4.5 Stars The first book in the Shades of Leverage, Slater’s Revenge, is a great start to this series. Action, suspense, an engaging storyline and well developed characters. This is one series based on this book I will be looking forward to reading more of. I would recommend this book to readers.
454 reviews
June 14, 2021
Wow

Oh my this was a wonderful story. I loved all the suspense, but I figured out early who was behind it. Not the top guy but the one under him. Still it was a great story and I really enjoyed. Thank you.
Profile Image for Sue.
1,214 reviews
March 12, 2018
Wow! My first book by Claudia Shelton but not my last! Full of suspense and romance. Loved it!
Profile Image for Tami .
1,123 reviews33 followers
March 12, 2018
4.5

I didn't bond with the heroine so much, but the action was outstanding in this romantic suspense. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
Profile Image for Karla Andrews.
509 reviews6 followers
March 30, 2018
Wow!! I was on the edge of my couch. And I totally didn’t see that coming. What a great book. Lots of action. Lots of attitude. And add in a touch of sexy scenes.
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