Shades of Gray by Maya Banks
ORDER A COPY: Shades of Gray: A KGI Novel
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publishing Date: December 31, 2012
Paperback: 400 pages
Rating: 5 stars
The Kelly Group International (KGI): A super-elite, top secret, family-run business. Qualifications: High intelligence, rock-hard body, military background. Mission: Hostage/kidnap victim recovery. Intelligence gathering. Handling jobs the U.S. government can’t…
P.J. and Cole were sharpshooting rivals on the same KGI team and enjoyed a spirited, uncomplicated camaraderie. Until the night they gave in to their desires and suddenly took their relationship one step further. In the aftermath of their one-night stand, they’re called out on a mission that goes terribly wrong, and P.J. walks away from KGI, resolved not to drag her teammates into the murky shadows she’s poised to delve into.
Six months later, Cole hasn’t given up his search for P.J., and he’s determined to bring her back home where she belongs. Bent on vengeance, P.J. has plunged into a serpentine game of payback that will make her question everything she’s ever believed in. But Cole—and the rest of their team—refuse to let her go it alone. Even if it means sacrificing their loyalty to KGI, and their lives…
David “Cole” Coletrane knew from the moment he first laid eyes on her, that P.J. Rutherford was something special and he wanted her desperately. Their easy camaraderie and playful competition was all part of the closeness of Steele’s team at KGI.
When KGI received a request to assist in bringing down a powerful and dangerous player in the underworld of human slave trade, specializing in children, there was no question they wanted a part in the takedown. The op was to send in P.J. into a swanky party to get information from Carter Brumley’s second in command, a man whose lips loosened up when he started drinking. Get some information where to find the children and get out. P.J. was a sniper, not an undercover operative, but she would do whatever she could to get those kids home. But when P.J. catches the eye of Brumley himself, the operation starts to go south. P.J. is separated from her team, drugged and is now terrified and alone with a monster.
Although her team reaches her before she is “disposed of,” the damage has been done and P.J. sinks into mire of helplessness and rage. She feels she is a weakness to her team and she leaves the hospital to go into hiding. She doesn’t want be the weak link, and more importantly, P.J. has a new mission–revenge! She will not take her team down that road with her. But P.J. doesn’t give her team enough credit. They don’t see her as weak. They only see her strength for surviving the horrors of that night.
When Brumley’s people start showing up dead, the team finally knows where to find P.J. and they will do whatever they can to protect P.J. from herself and from Brumley. A dangerous man like Brumley isn’t going to sit quietly waiting for P.J. to show up and kill him. No way in hell will her team leave her alone to face the danger by herself.
This was a very emotional story. My heart was racing for most of the story. Maya Banks draws you into all the emotional turmoil. I could feel the frustration and pain of the team as they could hear over the transmitter what was happening to P.J. while they desperately tried to find her. You could feel P.J.’s fear, pain and rage over being drugged and raped by this monster. Then the frustration of the team trying to find P.J. after she disappears. She doesn’t glance over the darker issues. You feel it.
Although this was a darker story than I would usually go for, the emotions were so powerful that it is certainly not a story I will forget anytime soon.
I really like her KGI series and from the title of the next story, I am guessing that Steele is up next. It will be interesting to get into the head of this very cool and controlled team leader, especially after we finally see some real emotion as he too hurts for what P.J. went through.
Received an ARC from Berkley/Penguin. Thank you.
Cole turned and rammed his fist into the wall. He couldn’t even think for imagining P.J. alone, feeling God knows what. She’d quit the fucking team. They were family. And she walked away.
He drew back to hit the wall again and was nearly tackled by Baker and Renshaw. They took him down, pinning him to the floor.
“Get off me!” Cole roared.
“Chill your ass out,” Renshaw barked. “None of this is helping.”
“Enough!” Steele bellowed.
Cole flipped Baker off his chest and then swung at Renshaw. Renshaw ducked the punch, but it was enough to unbalance him, and Cole was back on his feet and staring a hole through Steele.
“I agree with Dolphin on this one, ice man. You blew it.” He advanced on Steele until it was virtually only the two of them. The others faded into the background as Cole faced his team leader down.
“Goddamn you, Steele, you knew I was looking for her. You knew I’d been all over Denver. You knew how fucking worried I’ve been. And you just let her go and you get around to telling us two days later? What the fuck, man?”
Steele’s jaw tightened. “I hoped she’d change her mind.”
“Yeah, well, how did that work out for you? What the fuck are we supposed to do? Pretend nothing happened? Move on? Take another mission? Hell, why don’t we just replace her since she’s so goddamn expendable?”
“Enough, Cole,” Steele said, his voice as cold as ice.
“Enough is right,” Cole said, fury rising, sharper, harder with every breath.
He turned and stalked toward the door.
“Whoa, wait a minute,” Dolphin said. “Where the hell are you going?”
Cole turned and looked at his team, that was no longer the same. It never would be. It wasn’t a team without P.J.
“I’m out,” he clipped out. “I’m going after P.J. I’m not leaving her to shoulder this alone. She needs us.”
“Don’t be so damn hotheaded,” Steele growled.
Cole’s lip curled in disgust. “Yeah? Why don’t you stop being so fucking coldhearted. What you did was wrong and you damn well know it. You should have sat on her if you had to until we could hash this out as a team.”
“She came to me,” Steele snapped. “Not you. Not the team. She came to me, so I can only assume she wanted it that way.”
Steele’s words dug deep because he was right. It was obvious P.J. had no intention of facing Cole, and it gutted him.
“I don’t give a damn what she thinks she wanted,” Cole said softly. “She’s not thinking straight and we all know it. Sometimes doing the right thing is all wrong. Giving her space and time and all that other bullshit is great on paper, but you and I know that the very last thing she needs is to be alone. We’re her family. Her only family. We’re supposed to give a damn. We’re supposed to stand up for her when no one else will. And we’re damn sure supposed to call her out when she’s making stupid choices and fucking up. That’s what family does. Live and die as a team, right? Well, you hung her out to dry, Steele. And you hung the rest of us out right along with her, because now we all look like a bunch of uncaring assholes who just let her walk away without a fight.”
“Hooyah,” Dolphin said quietly.