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Killian Marks is a third-generation hitman. After hunting monsters for over twenty years, he lives under no illusions of happily ever afters and fairy tales. Until he meets a man who threatens to disarm him, by giving him hope for a future and showing him there’s more to life than just death.

For Nick, living in shadows is second nature. He’s all too familiar with the dark side of humanity and knows how delicate life can be. Each new day is a gift, even though it means doing it alone. But he’ll risk his survival for the one man who awakens something deep within and leaves him yearning for more.

Nick wants to solve the mystery behind the dark, brooding man, while Killian craves the life and light emanating from Nick. They soon discover they have more in common than either could have anticipated. With both their lives and hearts at stake, they must confront the ghost from Nick’s past intent on tying up a loose end. Only then will they truly find peace, and discover the shades of life in between.

344 pages, Paperback

First published May 20, 2018

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About the author

Jaime Reese

10 books720 followers
I get this huge dorky grin on my face when I receive a message from someone who has taken the time to read my book. I know readers have a choice in a sea of many options. I'm humbled when someone chooses one of mine. Thank you. ~JR

About me...
Jaime Reese is the alter ego of an artist who loves the creative process of writing, just not about herself. Fiction is far more interesting. She has a weakness for broken, misunderstood heroes and feels everyone deserves a chance at love and life. An avid fan of a happy ending, she believes those endings acquired with a little difficulty are more cherished.

...and yes, it was totally weird reading something about myself in 3rd person :)

Where am I?
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 236 reviews
May 22, 2018
I survived. Barely.

Shades is an edge-of-your-seat kind of book that, despite the suspense and violence, never loses sight of the romance.

(It's also Jaime Reese's first standalone novel, and I hope not her last! I read an ARC of this book, and it was publication ready; no editing errors in sight.)

This is a story about a hitman with a conscience who sets his own rules and the one man who makes him want more.

When Nick, who works as a server at an Italian restaurant, asks Killian his name, Killian tells Nick to call him Ian. It's a half-truth, but, as Nick points out to Ian: You unknowingly revealed your biggest truth.

And the truth is Ian is tired of killing, tired of lying, tired of living half a life.

But Nick has something he's hiding too, something that could put Ian, and their relationship, at risk.

The first half of the book is slower paced but by no means boring. The men get to know one another and form an immediate connection. Despite the age difference (thirteen years), they have much in common: neither lived an ordinary life, and both are willing to sacrifice everything to keep what they found.

This is what life is about. Living, not survival. Connections. Not just breathing and getting through each day.

As Ian learns the full extent of Nick's secret, he's determined to put an end to Nick's nightmares. Nick doesn't need saving, but he can't bear to leave the man he loves.

The main secondary character in the story, Nick's "cleaner" and friend, Dex, provides much needed comic relief. Dex is a smartass who loves to get under Ian's skin. He can't fight worth shit, but he's loyal and smart.

Most authors can't balance action and romance; either the former is an afterthought or the latter fades into the background. But Jaime Reese nailed it.

This book is as much about running TO as it is about running from. The UST was like a live wire and absolutely delicious. Ian was just waiting for that one little word from Nick: YES (it's Ian's favorite word).

The steam is not abundant and somewhat muted (sensual rather than graphic). All the scenes but two fade to black, much to my eternal frustration. Nick and Ian are just so incredibly hot together, I wanted to see them give in to pure, unbridled lust. And they do. Just not on page.

Despite this, I never doubted the men's passion and love. I could see it in every touch, ever kiss, every whisper.

Ian and Nick are connected through the eternal dance of fate. I actually saw the reveal coming as soon as Nick had a flashback to his childhood and hiding in his abusive uncle's closet. I think most readers will figure it out before Ian and Nick do, but I don't think that in any way takes away from the suspense of the story. It's just a slice of the plot.

Nick, ever calm and collected, is the light to Ian's darkness. Ian has been alone for so long, he's lost hope that anyone could ever really understand him and accept him as he is, not just bits and pieces, but his soul.

Nick accepted him, as is. With all this darkness and shades in between.

The last few chapters were terrifying. I couldn't read quickly enough, because WOW. The anticipation of danger, the waiting for something or someone to strike, about killed me.

The ending wasn't entirely what I expected, and that's a good thing.

Never fear, though, because Ian and Nick find their paradise, and Nick says YES again and again.

Profile Image for Wendys Wycked Words.
1,560 reviews3,842 followers
May 21, 2018
4.5-star-rating.png (938×189)

When I found out Jaime Reese was gonna release a new story, I was over the moon happy. I am a huge HUGE fan of her writing and The Men of Halfway House is one of my favorite MM series. So to say I was excited to read this one would be an understatement.

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The first thing I loved about this book, was the cover. Just looking at it, I knew it was gonna be my kind of book, because we all know how much I love them bad boys. This dark, dangerous, rugged, yet handsome man looking at me...hell yeah ...sign me up :P


And I was right !!

Killian pushed all my buttons. Once I got to know him, I really fell in love with this dangerous hitman. Just like Nick ;)  Nick is a waiter and he has some heavy secrets of his own. He has been Killian's waiter for a while now, and something about Nick gets to him. suffice to say, this works both ways..

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Both men are not really who they seem to be.

I loved how we slowly got to know more and more. It really kept me on the edge of my seat wanting more. I couldn't put it down, once I started I had to finish it... Which is the reason I am now a walking zombie...

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I already knew this was gonna be a different kind of story, than the The Halfway House series, because Jaime said so.... It has a lot more mystery/ suspense, but it definitely wasn't any less good ...it was pretty awesome !!

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Profile Image for Jewel.
1,818 reviews251 followers
December 15, 2018
4.5 Stars

When Jaime Reese showed me the picture she was going to use for the cover of this book, my reaction was "he looks...dangerous." And he does, doesn't he? He looks intense and like he's seen and done stuff that you and I can only imagine. The cover definitely fits the character, Killian Marks, but don't let that intense stare fool you. Killian has layers. He's not as cold-hearted as even he believes. Killian Marks wasn't at all what I expected and I loved him. He could be ruthless, yes, but he had plenty of limits and a tangible moral standard.

Nick, a waiter who has been waiting on "Ian" for months, now, has secrets of his own, too. Nick's seen the darker sides of life and has still managed not be all that cynical. Nick just wants to live his life in peace, but there's danger in relaxing his guard, and he's reluctant to bring anyone else into his troubles.

Neither MC was just what they showed the world. Killian, though a third generation hitman, had a lot of his mother in him, and Nick, well, there was much more to him than what met the eye at first. He's a good man that ended up in a bad situation and he's trying to live his life the best he can manage.

Shades is about all the shades of gray that we encounter in life. No one is just what they do for a living and in everything there are shades of morality. Shades of good. Shades of bad. It's about balance, and it's about learning that you can find happiness even if you think you don't deserve it.

I enjoyed the story immensely. It's a bit of a departure from the author's other books, but then again, not really. It's still a story about second chances at life - it's only the particular subject that is a bit darker. The story, though, didn't feel as heavy or as angsty or as dark as it could have been. I would not have minded if it had been a touch darker, truth be told. However, Jaime Reese managed to strike a balance that didn't get mired in darkness while still telling a story about a hitman finding love.

The suspense plot really grabbed my interest and kept it. The romance was never overshadowed by the suspense and while slow-burn, still felt in focus. Nick and Killian were meant to be. Every step of the way, their dedication to one another showed, and their - hard fought - HEA was swoon-worthy!

Shades is another winner.

ARC of Shades was generously provided by the author, in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Nazanin.
1,103 reviews637 followers
June 4, 2018
3.75 Dark-Angel Stars

Killian is a hitman and he has quite a reputation in the underworld. But still, he is a man with wants, needs, and desires. He knows Nick for almost six months but not really knows him and yet, Nick consumed all of Killian’s mind and body. They both like each other but something stood between them. Killian doesn’t want to bring Nick into his life and put him in danger, unaware that Nick has his own demons. He lives in shadows and lives day to day. All his thought is to survive another day.

Both characters were likable, even the secondary one. Killian was the one who played the bad boy character but Nick was the one who was in charge/in control, most of the time. I, like Killian, was in awe of Nick’s control and strength. I liked his resilience too. These two were perfect for each other. It was slow-paced and that was my only problem. Told in dual POV, 3rd person. It’s a standalone novel and well-written with a good plot. All in all, I liked it and hope you enjoy it as well!
Profile Image for Meags.
2,178 reviews415 followers
July 14, 2020
4.5 Stars

For me, Jaime Reese is six for six. I actually think she may be the only author, of whom I’ve read everything readily available, that I’ve consistently enjoyed so much and rated so damn high. That makes her an indisputable favourite author of mine and I’m endlessly eager to see what she’ll deliver up next.

Her stories and her fantastic characters just do it for me. I easily fall into these worlds and feel at a loss when the final pages are turned. My experience here was no different.

I’d compare Shades to the likes of M/M classics such as Warrior's Cross and Zero at the Bone, so if either of those did it for you, you should be right as rain here.

Honestly, there’s not much I can add to the many great reviews out there, so I’ll call it a day and simply say I loved it.
Profile Image for Deborah.
3,409 reviews450 followers
May 28, 2018

The first thing that caught my attention was the cover. It’s striking.
I’m fussy when it comes to covers and I’ll often either read or avoid a book based on the cover alone. As a rule I’m not a huge fan of covers like this since the face on the front is the one I picture while reading and it’s not often I either like it or it works with the book.
But this one is spot on. The cover is intriguing and it’s Killian.

The beginning of this book has a Warrior’s Cross feel to it which I liked since I loved that book. But here instead of Julian we have Killian and Cameron is replaced by Nick.

Killian is the hitman who finds himself attracted and intrigued by Nick, a waiter. He finds himself returning to the restaurant time and time again just to see Nick. Before Nick Killian had never really considered a happy future for himself but now he wonders...could he possibly have it all?

Nick is more than he appears and it turns out Killian isn’t the only one keeping secrets.

I enjoyed this book and both the main characters plus Dex and Ramon. Killian in particular is a complex and interesting man.

Profile Image for Sabrina.
477 reviews252 followers
November 24, 2018


I adore every character from this book.
I absolutely loved the story. And how there was a lot of action and fights scene. It surprised me because I honestly wasn’t expecting to be reading that. I thought it would be a back story. AND I REALLY LIKED THAT IT WASN’T.
Profile Image for Shin Mon Thway.
663 reviews1,503 followers
August 20, 2018
I guess I’m in the minority here because I thought I’m going to be head over heels with this book but turned out it was only an ok read for me. 🙂 First, it took me 10 days to finish this book because I really got bored in the middle. Too damn slow-paced, that chase and run which would have been amazing if it were way shorter got boring and winded still after 60% and nothing is happening. 😒 Also, the big issue of these two, Petrov is chasing Nick’s arse then why didn’t Ian kill the man? The problem solved! Ian is the world’s deadliest assassin who can kill and hunt down anyone but not Petrov? Please!!! 🙄🙄🙄 And then everything got settled after they had a talk like adults and did a negotiation? Again, why didn’t they do it in the first place? 🙄 I guess I was just not in the mood for this book. It was well-written, the characters were strong and interesting but the storyline isn’t just there for me. Something was just missing. The epilogue was sweet though.

3 assassins always retire in private tropical islands stars

Profile Image for Alisa.
1,801 reviews182 followers
April 16, 2022
DNF @ 66%

I can't take another minute of this fuckery. I've been hate reading since at least 40% and I promised no more pushing myself to finish a book I'm not enjoying so this one is getting tossed.

First off we're just dropped into the middle of an ongoing story. We're supposed to take for granted that these two have this connection. Since we don't see it develop I need to feel some chemistry, some emotions. I didn't. Not even a little.

The plot is so over the top that you have to suspend giant amounts of reality and I was really struggling with that anyways but when they got to the island and Nico's Sanctuary (or whatever it was called, I'm too lazy to look it up) that was when I knew i had to tap out. That was a giant step too far for me.

I couldn't understand Killian's thought process. He wants to retire. He's bought a house and everything but he keeps doing hits cuz he and Nick aren't together. But then he says he can't ask Nick out because he doesn't want to bring him into his lifestyle. This is discussed more than once and every time I had to do my Scooby Doo head tilt and "Ruhh??" You can't retire until you have the guy but you can't have the guy until you retire? So stupid. Just fucking retire and be done with it all.

The whole "angel" thing you could see coming a mile away. (more w/the OTT & needing to suspend reality) I thought this whole part was unnecessary. Nick already had a dramatic current story he didn't need a dramatic back story too.

The author spent the entire book trying to show us that Killian is killer (ha, see what she did there?) with a heart of gold. Bleh. He is a murderer. Don't try to pretty that up. I love a good anti-hero or vigilante or even a morally ambiguous character. If you're going to write about a bad guy, own it. Own his badness. If it's written well the reader will embrace that character despite his flaws. As this was, I couldn't take anymore of the "Killian is such a great guy" rhetoric.

I didn't care for the writing style. So cheesy. Here are some examples:

"I think you've ruined me for all other men"
"You ruined me the day we met."

"I'll name your dick," Killian said.
"What are you going to call it?"
I have the perfect name."
"What's that?" Nick whispered, breathless, digging his teeth into his bottom lip.

*eye roll*

Since I am literally (at the time of this writing) the only bad review of this book, there's a good chance you should ignore me and try this.
Profile Image for Ariana  (mostly offline).
1,391 reviews45 followers
May 30, 2018
DNF @ 70%

I just virtually lost the will power to carry on.
The writing style of this author and me simply don't gel. Everything is too much, too perfect, too over the top. And that includes the plot which took a somewhat ridiculous turn at 59%. I skimmed through to 70% but nothing (not even the sex) really helped to redeem the book. Not talking about overdone feelings and all that cloying sweetness which feels totally unreal.
Also not keen on frequent repetition of certain phrases and expressions. ("He didn't like that word. He didn't want to push him." etc.)
Nope, this is not for me, sorry. This felt too Mills and Boon.
Profile Image for * A Reader Obsessed *.
2,220 reviews454 followers
July 23, 2018
4 Stars

I know there’s a bit of divisiveness when it comes to this story but if you’ve read and liked Reese’s The Men of Halfway House series, I would hedge my bets that you’ll like this too. It doesn’t hurt at all that this is basically the love child of Warrior's Cross and Zero at the Bone, which will either clinch your decision to read this book or avoid it all together.

I think with any assassin trope with a heart of gold, it is always a bit of a stretch for realistic progression. Killian has been doing this for years, basically bred and trained to take after his father, and he does it with utmost precision and skill. Killian doesn’t sugarcoat what he’s done to make a living, but he does have a conscience and a set of rules that he follows when accepting contracts. The only kink in Killian’s impenetrable armor is when he falls for equally mysterious waiter Nick, who doesn’t shy away from his intimidating nature and suspicious shady circumstances. Killian doesn't think anything will come of it because…. well, he’s a murderer. However, when Nick’s past catches up to him, Killian can’t not help him and thus, both quickly become embroiled in more danger than they bargained for.

Why this was a win for me is because Reese consistently writes her stories with plenty of swoon and emotions. All her protagonists have a moral compass despite their situation. They certainly have an endearing vulnerability and always plenty of baggage and turmoil. When they find that person who’s their soulmate it just clicks, and of course they’d do anything for the other to see them happy and safe.

So yes, this was a bit far fetched. However, Reese never shorts the reader on the writing nor does she fail on delivering the smex and the sweeping romance that always comes with a very satisfying happily ever after. Again, consistency is key and this is signature Reese!
Profile Image for Ele.
1,297 reviews40 followers
June 1, 2018
Oh man. I need a box of shame for this one.

I went into it knowing that I had to suspend disbelief and I was actually enjoying myself up until 50%. But then things took a completely ridiculous turn, soap opera material (for real, it's Days of Our Lives), and the resolution was even more eye-rolling. Add ALL the cheese and the never ending internal monologues (which has always been a problem for me with this author) and yeah, you can say it didn't work. Dunno, maybe I have read a lot of kick-ass assassin/mafia stories lately and this one paled in comparison.

2.75 stars rounded up because I liked the first half.
Profile Image for Kindle Alexander.
Author 26 books3,589 followers
May 23, 2018
This is a well-written, exciting read that is different in a great way. I loved this book. It totally got me out of my book funk. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Sheri.
1,373 reviews153 followers
May 26, 2018
A new Reese book!!! This was definitely my most anticipated book of the year and I was (unsurprisingly) blown away. Shades is dangerous, dramatic, and downright romantic. First things first, I love the title. One of the many definitions of shades is: “when there is a gradual change from one color to another”. Or my favorite, “when darkness is slowly illuminated”. I can’t think of anything that fits Killian’s transformation better. He leads a dark life. He never imagined he would have anything bright to gravitate towards until a pair of intoxicating green eyes startle him. He was born into a family of…exterminators. It was only natural for him to join his father and eventually continue on with the business after his father was gone. He is a fierce assassin and prides himself on his flawless track record. Come hell or high water, he gets the job done. He is well aware his profession has an expiration date and has accepted the fact that he needs to get out while he still can. But then Nick swoops in and throws off his game and tosses his plans out the window. He is determined to save the man who lights up his heart and soul, but he can’t guarantee he will survive as well. He’s fully prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice if necessary. But Killian is a master planner, is it possible for him to create a plan to save them both? We shall see……

What's to love: The tone is miles away from Jaime’s previous books and yet her signature style comes through clearly; compelling characters on an emotional journey fall madly in love. And of course it’s always meticulously penned. I adored both Ian and Nick. Ian is a highly skilled hunter. He pulsates danger. Quite frankly, he is badass. And I know he wouldn’t appreciate it, but I can’t help but want to hug him. He is a lone wolf. Rather than having a pack family he has taken on mankind. He wants to protect the innocent and rid the world of as much poison as he can. Admirable as this is, he is slowly destroying himself in the process. You see, our defenders must invoke blackness to perform their duties. This darkness is the evil that surrounds us and threatens us. Our warriors need a light-keeper. They need someone to pull them back from the shadows. Ian is forced to embrace the evil to fight against it and when he meets Nick, he finds himself leaning towards the light that was becoming a flicker. *sigh* Their connection is exquisite. Then they share a revelation that forges an indestructible bond. So. Good!

Jaime did a remarkable job showcasing how even angels can lose their way, particularly when they’re missing an anchor. Thankfully Ian isn’t lost anymore. He knows what he wants and where he wants to be…and that’s with a young man with an easy smile that makes his heart soar. I am going to be deliberately vague when it comes to Nick. He is a mystery that I can’t wait for you to unravel. I adore him and his bossy streak. I was delighted that he didn’t fear Ian and instead wanted to comfort him. He wants to take care of Ian but he’s afraid that his precarious situation won’t allow it. He can’t say yes until he knows with one hundred percent certainty that he can stay. But how can he stay and put Ian at risk? He won’t. He will deny himself a chance with Ian if it endangers him. Luckily Ian is just as stubborn. And patient. Well….kinda.

By far what I loved most about this exhilarating story is the pure love Ian and Nick share. They strengthen and enhance one another. It’s not as if Nick makes Ian a better or brighter person, but he allows those parts of Ian to emerge when he’s with him. No one has ever looked far enough into Ian to see the beauty and light within, but Nick sees Ian. And he would be honored to be his man. Wanna know a secret? They are unbelievably sexy together!

The cloak and dagger suspense filled me with anxiety. The secondary characters brought a smile to my face. The flashbacks tugged on my heartstrings. The passion had me bouncing in my seat. This story will grab you and refuses to let go. I was so entranced I immediately went back for another dose. I had to ensure I didn’t miss a single thing in my high-strung first read. I can’t say that I enjoyed this more than The Men of Halfway House because they are impossible to compare. But I certainly loved it just as much and I am going to wager you will feel the same.

Beware of: A byproduct of a hitman includes dead bodies and Killian leaves them piled in his wake. Especially when they dare to touch his beloved. Killian’s best friend and ‘cleaner’ Dex is hilarious and will win you over. Slow but fierce burn. Their spark is early but the flames don’t engulf the pages until midstory. And let me tell you, I was desperate for their first kiss. It was worth the wait.

This book is for: If you are a fan of Jaime’s sensational stories, I probably don’t have to tell you to read this. If you haven’t found the addiction yet, this is a glorious place to start.

Bonus! Don’t forget to zip over to Jaime’s blog to meet the cast!

Book UNfunk
Profile Image for Susan.
2,222 reviews408 followers
May 28, 2018
I reaaaaaaally wanted to like this. I’m a big fan of Jaime Reese, but unfortunately this didn’t quite work for me.

This is really a case of ‘it’s not the book, it’s me’, because I wasn’t all that interested to begin with when I first read the blurb. Hitmen and underground characters used to be my thing, but they’re not anymore. I thought I’d try it anyway. But I guess I got exactly what I expected, and it just wasn’t the book for me.

Killian is a contract killer. But of course he only kills bad guys, not the good guys. Killian is 45 and getting ready to retire from the business. He has a retirement plan ready, so when he’s done, he can just walk away. But something is holding him back. It could be the handsome waiter of the restaurant Killian has been frequenting for the last 6 months.

Nick is a waiter now, but he used to be someone else. Since he has to be able to run at a moment’s notice, he can’t get involved with anyone. Not even the dangerous looking man who is becoming his friend. No matter how big his attraction is.

But when Nick needs to run again, it’s Killian who is there to help….

There’s nothing really wrong with this book. I know almost all of my friends will love it. But for me it felt like I’d read it all before. The hitman who only kills bad guys, who is standoffish and aloof, but not around his one true love. No, he thaws at the sight of the pretty man. Then we get some action scenes, some romance scenes and then some action scenes sprinkled with some hurt/comfort. It ‘s just that I’ve read it all before.

I think I’m getting jaded.

So, don’t pay attention to this review, it just wasn’t my kind of book.
Profile Image for Literatures Movies.
483 reviews331 followers
July 31, 2018

I have finished reading the damn book.


Please note that this is going to be a lazy review cause it's one of those days where I'm fucking lazy.

This book wasn't exactly remarkable in it's plotting, but what made me enjoy this one so much is the writing. Most of the time, the writer came up with amazing writing skill like this :

Everything about this evening was far beyond what he could have imagined. This was a grand gesture, but it was based on the tiniest of comments. A wistful dream he had voiced during a dark and rainy night, assuming it would never happen. But Ian had made it possible. All because it had been Nick’s wish.

Which quite literally soothes my soul cause duh. Beautiful phrases.

But then, there are also times where the writing doesn't work. All these sentences below are used when they were literally fighting for their life. I mean sure, if you are both just sitting around and fondling balls and kissing, then I don't mind such descriptive and flowery words. But I mean, when you were literally fighting bad guys left and right, who got the time to be mellowy and romantic?

Maybe they do, but I sure as hell don't cause as much as I like to complain about life, I still kinda really fucking love being alive.

Anyways, so here are the examples :

"The rush of blood and thump of his heart throbbed in his ears, muting everything but the sound of his name spoken from the voice his soul immediately recognized and craved with enough passion to invoke a tidal wave of emotions to flood his system."

"Ian neared, leaving nothing but bodies in his wake, like an angel of death, dispensing judgment and fury, with whispers of smoke and sparks of fire escaping from his weapons of choice.
His dark angel. Dressed in black, walking through plumes of smoke in the room filled with the stink of gunpowder."


Not to mention, the actions scenes need more work I think. Cause I have a hard time paying attention to what is going on while trying to waddle through all that flowery words and sentences. I guess here is a good example to know when to cut down on the beautiful and lovely dovey descriptive sentences and when to amplify on that.

Plus, for some reason, this book just cannot fully suck me into the story. Which is odd, seeing that the writing is more than average.


But it is what it is.

Oh, and the ending though. Lmao. After all that build up for almost the entire book, somehow you can end the conflict with just a conversation. Sounds very bizarre to me. But I mean, oh well.

Overall, a good read. I enjoyed it.

Blog : Bloggity bloggity blog

Youtube : Apparently, I have a youtube channel... TAADAAH!
Profile Image for Sawyer  ❤ LoveSawyer.com.
225 reviews31 followers
May 23, 2018
I think this is a great example of when bad covers happen to good books. To be honest, I have no idea how I ended up with this book. Cover aside, the synopsis isn't something I would typically be interested in. Hitmen are violent and I rarely enjoy reading about violence. But one day the book showed up on my Kindle then I got an email with a blog tour schedule and I was on it. Silly me, I must have signed up for the wrong book!

Anyway, all that aside the book was awesome!

We start off getting to know Killian. He's cold and stand-offish and intimidating. But, the author did a good job on humanizing him quickly. There's a big heart hiding behind his mask.

Then we meet Nick. Nick was awesome, we could be best friends. We see things the same way why would you ask someone to roll their sleeve up when they can take off their whole shirt? I love meeting characters who are similar to me!

The book had a lot of action, drama, and suspense.  I don't read this stuff enough to say whether it was good, but I enjoyed it and I think that's the important part. I needed to know what would happen next. Even though there was a lot of suspense and violence, the author never lost sight of the romance.

Now for the good parts...

The sex, Oh. My. Goodness. Actually, lets back up. Their first kiss was flippin' hot. Maybe even my favorite first kiss. I want to get that tangled up over a kiss again. It was sweet and desperate, and passionate. That one kiss conveyed so many emotions the characters didn't know how to express.

Ok, now the sex! *fans* A while ago I talked about the perils of trying to slam my kindle vs. a physical book. This book brought light to the matter of fanning yourself with a paperback vs. fanning yourself with a kindle. It was that hot and Kindles do not make good fans.

It was tastefully written, there was nothing explicitly graphic. But, oh my goodness the author conveyed all the important parts. The grunts and growls, the sound of slapping flesh that tells you everything you need to know about what they're doing.
Thanks to this book, I've also added sex on a boat to my sexy bucket list.

Overall, Shades was a well written and engaging romantic suspense title. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a lengthy read that will have you captivated from the first page.
Profile Image for  ⚣ Marco ⚣.
96 reviews49 followers
February 23, 2019
It took me FOREVER to finish this book. With 344 pages, it was at least 150 pages too long. It was a struggle to finish.

The story was 30% plot and 70% internal monologues (pining ones in the first, schmaltzy love declarations ones in the second half).

This book also had some of the most far-fetched and ridiculous plot twists that I’ve read in a long time.

For example, the island? The hell? Am I really supposed to take this seriously?

This was my first book by this author and even though I’m not totally put off by her storytelling, I probably won’t read another book from her in the foreseeable future.

I’m giving this book a really weak 3 stars-rating, because even though I wasn’t really enjoying it, the writing wasn’t that awful or offensive to justify a lower rating. But this author is in serious need to improve her storytelling.

Profile Image for Sanaa .
1,218 reviews171 followers
May 22, 2018
4.25 stars.

As soon as I saw that Jaime was releasing a new book I knew I had to get my hands on it. Even if I had to beg for it. I will say that SHADES had me on the edge of my seat. I had no idea what I was going to expect and that was one of the things I loved most about this book.

I was never once bored and I just wanted Killian and Nick to have their happily ever after. I'm not going to go into it's plot but I will say that you all need to read this book. It's safe to say that I'm a huge fan of Jaime and I need more books please!

An arc was provided in exchange for an honest review.
386 reviews22 followers
June 3, 2018
Jaime Reese does it again. This book was exactly what I expected from one of my fave authors! I loved the story and the characters so much! Their backstories were fully formed and full of surprises. Nick's mysterious past was a surprise and a pleasantly added twist. He was not a meek character in comparison to his Whitman counterpart. He was confident and strong in the face of his fears, and they were a big mess. I loved that he wasn't afraid of Killian, and they didn't jump into bed right away. We got to know them and their stories before they cemented their relationship. Jaime Reese has once again proven why she's an autobuy for me!😍
Profile Image for BevS.
2,750 reviews2 followers
June 12, 2021
4.5 stars from me for this assassin with a conscience meets his soul mate story. Loved the shout out to Gus - Cole's brother from A Restored Man, and the pendant?? Well, that part was more than a little predictable [fiction remember??], but didn't detract from the rest of the story at all. YES, I loved it. 🥰🥰🥰
Profile Image for Gerbera_Reads.
1,448 reviews133 followers
May 30, 2018
This is one of those stories you will keep thinking about long after you are done reading it. It certainly is heart pounding, thought provoking book that leaves a lasting impression in your mind. How do people from different walks of life get their happy ever after? What makes them tick? How does Fate work?

The story of assassins and their soulmates because that is what Nick was to Ian has been told before but this time what made it different was Ian's ability to feel deeply and embrace love with arms wide open. Ian is a tough nut to crack. He is always in control and aware. He feels that he does not deserve love or happiness even though he is an honorable man. His life is lonely and monochrome. But there is a small spot of color that is Nick that brings peace to his being.

Nick is a man that sees beyond the scary facade deep inside the person. He is calm and steady like a lighthouse on the rocky shore for Ian's ship battling the storm of life. But with all that he is a keeper of secrets not only his own. He is a survivor and a fighter.

Their love grows over time and they are both scared to admit to it, to trust and to open up because they are on borrowed time. It's so beautiful to watch them find the courage to reach out to each other and take the chance for happiness. And the fact is that their connection is so visceral that even time and space could not break it. I loved the intensity of everything they did together. I can't even put the word S*E*X to them because it was so much more. Real life soulmates reaching and finding each other after so many years and not even knowing that that was what they were searching for. Too many things left to providence but fate still bringing them together in a rather convoluted and spectacular way.

Ian makes Nick feel safe. He makes his dreams come true in one way or another and becomes Nick's home. And there is a nod to the Cole Renzo family albeit very small. I liked that it had a small connection to the men of Halfway house world. Also Dex added a bit of humor and good natured sarcasm to the novel showing me Ian from a perspective of a friend and as a mentor. Those moments were fun and highly appreciated because they lightened the sometimes somber mood of the book.

The way things are resolved in the end seem a bit anticlimactic but so NICK. I know that many plans have been made but Nick did things his way and it worked wonderfully. Still it was nerve-wracking to experience and not know the outcome. The relief is overwhelming when the danger is over and you feel it in your heart that everything will be alright. Of course all was not so simple and Ian needed to let the beast out to save the day and his family but that was what I expected and I really liked how it was presented in the book. Even then it was heart felt and wicked cool. One of the best books I've read this year hands down! I highly recommend it!
Profile Image for haletostilinski.
1,228 reviews407 followers
May 30, 2018
This. was. beautiful!

I was so excited to read it from other reviews and it did not disappoint! We get to go on such a journey with Nick and Ian throughout this novel and how they get to their happily ever after.

Ian is a third generation hitman, a killer - and in his eyes, a monster. Nick is a seemingly ordinary but attractive and adorable, sweet guy who is Ian's regular waiter at a restaurant Ian frequents because he can't let himself not have this one indulgence of seeing Nick - but there is more to his story than meets the eye.

Nick and Ian are tied together in ways neither thought they could or ever would be, and when Nick's past comes to haunt him, Ian is his only hope for survival (even though, yes, of course Nick is perfectly capable of taking care of himself...but even he can't fight alone against those who would try to hurt him.)

Nick and Ian dance around each other 6 months prior to the start of this book, but then when truths are revealed they start to fall for each other even more, and seeing them fall was awesome and fun and wonderful to read.

Nick is such a good man, such a gentle soul, and his caring for others is wonderful, amazing and adorable. His kindness is something that Ian can't look away from, can't stay away from.

And Ian has his own kindness, his own goodness. He only ever takes contracts for monsters, for evil men who might slip through the justice system otherwise. There is one thing that slightly bothered me - Killian saying he didn't take contracts on women. Okay, not that I want him to kill women but also...there might be less evil women in the world but there are evil women, like...women are human too and they can be evil as well. I mean it's such a small thing but that 'no women' thing is just...like...sexist. Not that I want women to be evil, just that the reality is that there are evil women and they shouldn't be treated as too weak or incapable of bad things...because they are. Idk, little niggle that isn't a big deal but I was like "Killian, my dude, women aren't always good too" but anyway!

Ian does things for those who don't deserve to die, and Nick shows him there is a way to have a life, to be happy, and to not drown in darkness all the time.

I loved Ian's fierce protectiveness of Nick, his devotion and love to Nick, and Nick earned it all just by being himself, never asking for anything from Ian and wanting Ian to be safe and happy as well.

I'm always a sucker for one of the MC's who's a badass (not that Nick isn't, jut that Killian is his own brand of badass) and their love who they'll do anything for, even if that means killing those who would hurt them. No one touches Nick and gets away with it, no sir. That kind of dynamic i am HERE for and this had it in spades ;)

Loved the side characters, mainly Dex. He's Killian's wisecracking cleaner, there to help Killian not leave a trace after he kills - and Killian's only friend before Nick comes a long. Killian keeps himself in almost full isolation because of his job, but he learns to let people in and love and be happy with Nick in his life and I love it.

Also they're so cute and sweet together - and hOT ;) - and so gentle, too. When Ian runs his fingers gently through Nick's hair on the couch while Nick lays his head in his lap *heart eyes* it is the sweetest thing.

I just...loved this. Great MC's, amazing romance, some steamy hot sex (even though it takes over half the book to happen, it's TOTALLy worth the wait), great side characters and a well thought out plot that turns the trope a little on its head, introducing a new element into in the form of the contract killer, Killian.

Loved this, two massive thumbs up from me. This one I definitely recommend!
Profile Image for Myriam.
360 reviews50 followers
May 28, 2018
2,5 stars because I feel generous

The summary promised darkness, the cover is all dangerous hot guy smoulder and I was in!

But within the first few pages it is clear that the author is more in love with the idea of 'darkness' than actually committing to it. We have barely gotten to know Killian before he is already making sure that we know that his targets are usually bad guys. You know the human trafficking, drug dealing, raping, snuff film producing and possibly pedophile kind. And while he's not conflicted about killing he does feel a constant darkness pressing in, feels like he loses a piece of his soul with every kill. Also he's totally been planning to retire for a while already - it's as if he's just waiting for the right man to come along to finally 'pull the trigger' on his retirement plan...

He's the kind of assassin you can feel ok sympathizing with should you have a problem with his profession. Don't get me wrong - there is room in the genre for that kind of watered-down darkness light, it's just not the story that was promised in the summary and I kind of wanted that one more.

The character with the attributes the author gives him should not have a soft gooey center that pines after his favorite waiter from afar except that the author decided it to be so.

Then again, I can't really fault Killian for falling for Nick. I mean he's SO perfect. Of course he's pretty. But he's also super diligent about his work, observant of his surroundings to a fault, empathetic and skilled in first-aid. With an added aura of vulnerability wrapped around a steel core he's basically catnip for a guy like Killian. Add in all the delicious secrets buried in his past and it is no wonder that Killian is willing to put it all on the line for him.

The plot takes a while to get going and there are a few surprises I did not see coming. There are also a few things telegraphed so hard the lights were blinding me. Once more, dear authors, please trust your readers more.

What really took this reading experience from entertaining 3 stars down to two was the writing. There was a lot of skimming because the prose is SO purple.

At some points it just got plain awkward to read. Too much passive voice, too many epiteths. There is a lot of telling while showing and then *more* telling on top of it. Everything gets spelled out to make sure even the most dense reader gets it and I almost felt talked down to at times. Let me make up my own mind about the actions of your characters, please? I don't want and need my hand held on moral judgements.

I see others have really liked this but I'm not going to read this author again without a significant change in editor.
Profile Image for Amanda.
1,387 reviews319 followers
May 22, 2018
Absolute perfection (for me)!! I always have a hard-on for anti-heroes, characters such as hitmen and mafioso. Shades is right up my alley and I love every bit of it and more. Killian 'Ian' Marks is in his 40s, a hitman with a heart of gold. I know this is not something new, but it pushes all the right buttons for me. Ian is contemplating retirement and leaving everything behind, but feel tied down due to his attraction to a certain restaurant waiter.

Nick had been working in the restaurant for 2 years now after fleeing the normal life he used to have. He is always looking over his shoulder, being afraid. Meeting Ian at the restaurant for the past six months serve as a reminder of a future he couldn't have. But he should know Ian isn't just a normal guy, Ian might just be the person who can save him.

Let's get on with what I love about this book. First, this is a slow burn romance. Ian and Nick have their initial encounter at the restaurant whereby everything is very platonic, but I can feel the simmering tension underneath the surface. On one hand, I want them to just get on with it already, but on the other hand, the wait is so delicious and so worth it. It built up the anticipation and make everything much more meaningful.

Secondly, the suspense and the funny sidekick, Dex and also the other side character, Ramon. These two might be the only friends Ian have and they are both so precious. Okay, Dex is straight and all coupled up, but I seriously hope Ramon will be having his own book. Nick's past is coming back to haunt him and although Ian is the hero that will save the day, I wouldn't label Nick as a damsel in distress. Nick is level-headed, his calm and reasonable demeanour serves as a balm among all the chaos. Often time amidst the suspense, someone will do something stupid, and I will be like 'No' and 'I told you so', thankfully none of these cliches happen here.

Shades is a great romantic suspense that has a perfect balance of swoon-worthy romance and the nail-biting suspense. I was instantly connected to Ian and Nick right from the start. They are both endearing and so lovable together and also as an individual. All their interactions are so sensual and touching. When it was revealed about their past, let just say I'm in tears. Jaime Reese really did outdo herself with this one.
Profile Image for Dimitri.
47 reviews13 followers
May 25, 2018

Wow why have I just discovered this author! Shades was the perfect book for me (if not a retelling of a previous book I’ve read) Here’s why:

1. THE INTIMACY: This may be just my opinion but WTF authors rarely write about the INTIMATE MOMENTS BETWEEN CHARACTERS OUTSIDE OF SEX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like Ian and Nick touched each other in non sexual ways *GASPS* !!!!!!! The cheek cupping, head leaning, hair combing was just soooooooooo sweeeettt. I WANT THAT! I’d give up all of the sexy times ( and believe there were plenty) for the simple acts of adoration. Why is it that in a lot of MM Romances the men are always SEX SEX SEX, as if the sexiest moments about men in REAL life isn’t when they open themselves up and are affectionate. Like ladies I KNOW you sometimes love it when your guy simply touches you because he wants to touch you or leans in because he just can’t escape your gravity. I love it when I see and read about guys who simply just find themselves leaning in or being close because they NEED THAT CLOSENESS! We always hear and see women doing it and i just find that there is such a beauty when a guy does it, like just be there, hold them, and be vulnerable. Sex is intimate but sometimes it feels like a cloak that authors use and men in real life use to hide true vulnerability, as a way to maybe keep their “masculinity” intact. Like the type in where you just touch somebody because you just want to feel close and need the assurance they are there. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE GUYS WRITE MORE ABOUT THE MALE LOVE INTEREST SIMPLY HOLDING OR BEING AFFECTIONATE WITH SOMEBODY! I FIND THAT A MILLION TIMES MORE SEXY!

2. EMOTIONALLY AVAILABLE CHARACTERS: This is a pet peeve of mine that I’ve noticed many romance authors in general do to add unnecessary angst to a story. It takes a great author to realize that you can still have plot without having the main characters being blocks of fucking ice who never show their interest ONCE in the love interest. Nick and Ian really fucking loved each other! Like there was barriers between them, but they were TANGIBLE barriers that had nothing to do with either party being dicks and making the other feel unwanted. (And a side note: if the character being emotionally unavailable is part of the plot, that’s fine! Just don’t have them do a complete 180 in the last 2 chapters of the book to resolve the angst! It should be gradual so the reader can get really invested in the book!)

3. SUSPENSE: OH FUCK I was at the edge of my seat while reading this book! Are they going to make it, are they not? I NEED ANSWERS!!! I loved the action and suspense!

The only reason why this wasn’t five stars was because it resembled Zero at the Bone by Jane Seville tooooo much. Like a little too been there done that, but Zero at the Bone to date is one of my favorite mm’s ever! Like the assassin with a heart and gentle but strong surgeon that the assassin must protect against criminal forces is the thing Jane Seville did YEARS AGO! I still loved Shades but this book literally read like a retelling of Jack and D’s story. Like come on Nick literally was pulled into the crime world unwillingly in the same sense that Jack was years ago! And no shade but in Zero at the Bone we got a little more relationship development which made their coupling all the more sweeter and better in my opinion.

Still a great read though!!!

Profile Image for Antisocial Recluse.
2,712 reviews
May 24, 2018
So good!

Love, loved. It’s the killer with a conscience trope and Jaime Reese nailed it giving the story her own touches. Killian/Ian is a terrific character and his longing for Nick was so sweet. He’s convinced he’s unworthy and Nick thinks he can’t possibly have a future with anyone. It’s slow burn for quite a while as trust and understanding grow. Some of the twists are surprising, some sort of preposterous for real life but perfect for the story. Events occasionally take on a sort of fairytale-esque flavor but it worked when blended with the dichotomy of the cold-blooded killer. It’s suspense and tension and UST and steam and a totally delicious epilogue. Pure fun and escapism.
Profile Image for Jennifer☠Pher☠.
2,793 reviews233 followers
June 7, 2018
So, that was different.

I am unsure where I fall with this one. Maybe I’ll just stick in the middle. I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it. It was a tad better than ok so yeah, the middle. Of course, I am sure my review will read as negative but thems the breaks. Believe me when I tell you I wanted to love this one.


I think my biggest struggle was that it seemed so slow. It took forever for anything to happen. FOREVER! I became impatient and that isn’t my norm. I was frustrated. I wanted to keep reading and reading quick but I think for the wrong reason.

I dunno. Part of me I guess expected Killian to be more. More assertive or something. More my way NOW! He read just so blah most of the time. I wanted him to be bossy. I needed him to take what he wanted and understand he wasn’t taking something that would not be given willingly because come on guys, it would have been given willingly. Instead we danced and danced and then Nick teased and teased and well, that wasn’t all that nice was it? Not cool. He was a bit growly alpha but then not so much.

I couldn’t figure out Nick. He went from a scared rabbit to bossy bear in seconds. He didn’t mesh. I couldn’t get a read on him. I don’t know if I ever truly liked him. I just didn’t get what he was doing and I didn’t get why he was so important. He also maybe wasn’t the best kind of man. I don’t know. Plus, that teasing I mentioned. Not fair.

I think I was supposed to suspend belief; which I can do. Sometimes I even enjoy it. This book confused me! I didn’t realize I was supposed to do that until it was too late!

So yeah, words pretty much make my world go round but there were just so many! So many words that didn’t lead anywhere and again, nothing much was happening. I was close to skimming to find exciting key words. So many thoughts and very little conversation.

And then when stuff started happening I didn’t understand a lot of it and then the resolution was just so easy. Ugh.

And the island? Ugh again. Come on.

It might be more of a 2 ★'s = it was ok read actually but I don’t know. This is not an easy book to review.

But seriously, ignore me, everyone else LOVED it!
Profile Image for Chris.
2,069 reviews
June 2, 2018
Killian was a hitman who was looking to slowly retire. He was the best at what he did and lived a life insulated by death and destruction. He had one indulgence- Nick. Nick was a waiter who served Killian every week, he was the only one to deal with Killian and people were wary of the vibe he put out. Nick took a risk one day and helped Killian with an injury and this set the ball rolling. Rather than admire Nick from afar, Killian decided it was time to claim him. Both men had secrets and both living in the shadows. This was their story in making things right so that they could live in peace.
Profile Image for Jess.
404 reviews31 followers
August 3, 2023
“Hitmen need love too”

This is MY type of romance. There’s nothing realistic about this it’s just pure goodness. Sure, sometimes it felt a little repetitive and a little too wordy but I wouldn’t change anything.

•A magical connection. Fate. Destiny.
•MCs over 30
•Badass men
•Great cast of characters
•NO RELATIONSHIP ANGST ( As in there’s no doubt these two are smitten with each other,want to be together)
•Great dialogue
•Slow burn
•Touch him and die
•Heat ( not all scenes are on-page)
•Lots of physical intimacy outside of sex ( nuzzling, embracing, soft kisses, running fingers through hair ) 🥺
•Neither has been with anyone in over a year. They’ve been equally obsessed with each other for the past 6 months when the story starts.
These guys only have eyes for each other (just how I like my romance 🥰)

I’m a big fan of characters having an emotional connection before falling into bed together because I’m a big softie. I love how this author is able to write such deep emotions into their characters without making the writing too flowery. ☺️

Honorable mention: Dex. Ian’s best friend/cleaner
I swear I was laughing every time he was on page.

My ratings always reflect my enjoyment of the story.
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