New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster on Shades of Desire
Shades of Temptationby Virna DePaul
Carrie Ward understands dangerous men, and she's got the scars to prove it. These days, the Special Investigations Group detective saves her risk taking for the job. But when she's asked to pursue a high-profile serial killer, she'll have to join forces with the last man she wants to depend onJase Tyler, an ace senior detective who's as
Carrie Ward understands dangerous men, and she's got the scars to prove it. These days, the Special Investigations Group detective saves her risk taking for the job. But when she's asked to pursue a high-profile serial killer, she'll have to join forces with the last man she wants to depend onJase Tyler, an ace senior detective who's as reckless as she is cautious. And despite her best intentions, the sparks begin to fly.
As Carrie and Jase race to try to save the next victim, the passion that simmers between them ignites. But a cunning killer at the top of his game is challenging Carrie to play to the very end. Now all she can count on are her instinctsand Jase, the one man daring enough to keep her safe .
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Read an Excerpt
Special Agent Carrie Ward entered McGill's Bar to break a dry spell, but there was to be no alcohol involved. She'd just closed another difficult case for SIG, the California Department of Justice's Special Investigations Group, a five-member state equivalent of the FBI, and she intended to celebrate by ending five years of celibacy. It didn't matter that she probably wouldn't achieve climax. She rarely did with a man. But pleasure wasn't what she was really after. She just wanted physical contact. Intimacy. To be able to pretend for a few hours that she belongedon this earth, in this city, maybe even to a man who cared about her and saw her as more than a woman trying day in and day out to get away with doing a so-called "man's" job.
Less than thirty minutes later, Carrie exited McGill's alone. Her chest ached with loneliness far greater than any she'd ever felt before. And it wasn't because she hadn't found a man to seduce but because the one man she truly wanted to seduceno, the one man she truly wanted to make love to, if there really was such a thing as making lovewas getting ready to bed another woman.
She should never have come, she thought. It was a Friday night and she'd known Jase Tyler, a fellow SIG special agent, had a date. But she couldn't have known he'd bring his date to McGill's Bar, a favorite hangout of the San Francisco P.D. She'd seen him there with women before, of course, but they'd been women he'd picked up while he was there. She'd figured he'd take a date someplace swanky and more conducive to seduction.
She'd been wrong.
Her stomach contracted as she recalled her brief conversation with Seth Roberts, an SFPD cop. He'd said something that had made her laugh just before his friend had nudged him and said "Jase Tyler" in an admiring tone. With dread, she'd turned to look. Sure enough, she'd immediately recognized the back of Jase's elegantly dressed frame, his hand pressed against the slim bare back of the woman standing next to him. His date wore a black cocktail dress more appropriate for the opera than McGill's, but who was Carrie to judge? She hadn't even bothered dolling up for her manhunt. Instead, she was still wearing her standard office attire, which made her feel as feminine as usualwhich was to say, not at all.
Now, standing outside McGill's, Carrie prayed Seth hadn't noticed the devastation she'd felt upon seeing Jase with his date. The way he'd looked at her, howeverwith slightly softened features and a hint of pitytold her she was wasting her time. But if he dared say anything to Jase about it, she'd make him sorry. If nothing else, she'd challenge him to another racquetball match and wipe the floor with him just as she'd done the last two times they'd played. Shoving her hands into her wool peacoat, she turned to walk to her car.
"Leaving so soon, Ward?"
She froze at the sound of Jase's voice. For a half second, she wondered if she was hearing things. If she'd made him materialize from sheer desire. The true question, however, was whether he'd appeared alone or with his date.
Slowly, she faced him. He was standing a couple of feet away, hands in his pockets, his ever-present tie loose, his suit jacket left behind. His sandy-brown hair was artfully disheveled, his tall, lean body showcased to full advantage by his tailored clothes. Although Jase would bristle at any suggestion that he was a metrosexualand making him bristle used to be one of her favorite pastimes before the sexual tension between them had grown too dangerouseven Carrie wouldn't go so far as to label him as one. He cared about how he looked more than the average male. He dressed well. Looked good. Smelled good. But he was too intense and masculine to ever fit within that category.
It was no surprise, then, that Jase liked his women purely feminine. So why was he out here with her rather than inside with his date? She frowned, not because he was alone, but because of how damn relieved that fact made her feel. "What's up, Tyler? Did your date send you out here to retrieve the rest of her outfit? She getting chilly?"
He'd been watching her with a serious expression. Now, he grinned the same grin that always made women go weak-kneed and googly-eyed, her included. Thankfully, her slip with Seth aside, she was really good at hiding it.
"I'm pretty adept at keeping my dates warm," Jase drawled, his deep voice tinged with a hint of Texas twang. "I just saw you leave and wondered why you didn't stop and say hi."
She raised a mocking brow. "Didn't I? Sorry about that. Hi, Jase. How are you? Has anything interesting happened since I last saw you let's see " She glanced at her watch, a plain, simple design with a sturdy black strap. It was as fashionable and gender neutral as the rest of her. "Since I last saw you an hour and a half ago at the office?"
She looked back up at him. To her surprise, he'd moved closer and was practically looming over her. He hardly ever stood this close, as if he was trying to intimidate her with his sheer masculine presence. His body heat blasted her with the intensity of a raging fire. His scent, fresh and clean but with a hint of cologne, overpowered her. Desire rushed through her veins, making her dizzy, making her panic. Automatically, she took a step back and barely stopped herself from taking another.
She pushed a wayward strand of hair back over one ear and licked her lips. "Careful, Tyler. Your date might not like it if you stand so close to me. I mean, not that she'd view me as a threat or anything, but you know how silly most women can be."
Jase's fingers flexed. Absently, she noted he'd removed them from his pockets. He had big hands. Long, elegant fingers that belonged on some kind of artist rather than a cop. He had big feet, too. Although he had more than his fair share of height, he lacked the sheer bulk of some of their teammates, especially Liam "Mac" McKenzie and Simon Granger. And while he was handsome, Jase was more pretty boy than ruthless masculinity. It often made people underestimate him, shocking them when he transformed from dazzling charmer to dangerous badass right in front of their eyes. Sometimes even Carrie forgot how ruthless he could be. When that happened, he'd inevitably remind her by apprehending a dangerous suspect or responding to one of her snarky comments with a scathing retort. Tensing, she waited for such a retort now.
It didn't come. Instead, he lifted one of those big hands of his and lightly brushed her cheek with his fingertips. Her heart beat wildly. Immediately, she was tempted to close her eyes and lean in to him. As it was, she recalled the first and only time he'd kissed her, just a week ago, when Mac's girlfriend, Natalie Jones, had been assaulted and ended up in the hospital. Jase's kiss had been one of comfort, a light, brief touching of lips, over too soon. But its effect on her had been as forceful as a blow. Just as his touch was now. She couldn't help it. She trembled, and from the way his eyes heated and narrowed, he didn't miss her reaction.
"Regina should definitely view you as a threat," he said softly.
Her eyes widened. No. Surely she'd misheard him. She tried for a mocking laugh, but it came out breathless instead.
"I want to kiss you again, Carrie," he said before she could respond. "But this time I want to do it right."
The air completely left her lungs. She stared into his eyes, searching for signs that he was drunk but finding none.
His fingers trailed down to her jaw while his thumb lightly pressed against her bottom lip. When she gasped, he gave a shaky sigh and lowered his hand to shove it back in his pockets along with the other.
"The question is, are you going to let me? Or are we going to continue playing the same tiresome game, pretending we don't want to rip each other's clothes off and screw for days?"
His crude choice of words broke the hazy spell she'd been under. Jase was a lady's man. A bona fide charmer. He didn't use words like "screw" with women, at least not outside the bedroom. But she wasn't like the women he dated. She wasn't soft or feminine, and he obviously didn't feel the need to use his normal charm and gallantry with her. Or perhaps he was just being honest. He wanted to fuck her. Why waste his time with pretty words?
He was watching her carefully, with an almost predatory glint in his eye. Over his shoulder, through the windows of McGill's, she saw his date scanning the bar as if searching for him. She was just as beautiful from the front as she had been from the back. More so. So once again Carrie asked herselfwhat was Jase doing outside with her, pretending a desire that couldn't possibly be real? The only explanation was he was looking for some variety in his endless stream of sex partners, but she'd be damned if she was going to be the one to give it to him.
Deliberately, she softened her expression and bit her lip, hoping it made her look appropriately receptive. "Jase," she said shakily, keeping her gaze down.
Just as she hoped he would, he bent down to bring his face closer to hers.
"What is it, Carrie?" he asked, his voice deep and dark. "Tell me."
She peeked up at him through her lashes and lightly placed her hand on his chest. She could feel his heart thudding, strong and slightly erratic. She had him rattled, and while that should have made her feel triumphant, the ache between her thighs told her to tread carefully lest she be caught in her own trap. Ignoring the inner warning, she cupped the back of his neck and leaned up until her lips touched his earlobe. "Jase," she breathed again.
His hands settled lightly on either side of her waist, then tightened. He was getting ready to pull her against him. To press her body up against his hard, delectable length, and she knew if he did that, she'd be done for. She wasn't sure she'd have the strength to pull away from him. Turning her head, her gaze once more found Jase's date inside. She'd homed in on them, and her posture told Carrie she'd be coming after him any second.
At that exact moment, Jase turned his head and brushed his lips against her jaw. A sizzling tingle shot up her spine before settling in her breasts and every other erogenous zone she possessed. She wanted to rub against him like a cat in heat. Not only that, but the temptation to fight Jase's date for the right to touch himto love himblindsided her.
Fool! What was wrong with her? She was teaching the guy a lesson here, not stamping her mark on him.
She kissed his jaw the same way he'd kissed hers. Then she clamped her teeth around his ear and bit himhard.
"Shit!" Instinctively, he jerked. She immediately released him and took several steps back, this time not caring if it looked like a retreat.
Jase brought a hand up to rub his ear and glared at her. "Damn it, Carrie, what the hell was that for?"
"That," she replied breathlessly even as she continued to back away from him, "was to remind you that I'm no threat to Regina, but the same's not true for you. If you're bored with the bimbos you've been dating, then maybe there's hope for you yet. But don't waste my time by feeding me your bullshit. You don't want me. You want to beat me. Prove that you can make Special Agent Ward another notch on your bedpost. It's never going to happen."
"I don't want to beat you. At least, I didn't until you tried to take a damn chunk of my ear off, but"
The door to McGill's opened. "Jase," a soft feminine voice called out. Regina held the door open and shot a look at Carrie, her expression one of obvious concern for Jase. "Do you need any help out here?"
Carrie actually snarled. The woman was acting like Carrie had cornered Jase and trapped him; after all, why else would he be bothering to speak with someone like her?
"Give me a second, Regina," Jase said. "I need to finish"
"Oh, you're finished," Carrie said. She glanced at Regina. "Don't worry, I'm a cop. Jase and I work together. We were having a little disagreement, but he was just telling me how anxious he was to get back to you. So run along now, Jase. Have fun, you two."
"Damn it, Carrie"
Ignoring him, she whirled around and walked in the opposite direction from her car. She'd come back for it later. After she'd calmed down.
After she remembered why she'd pushed Jase Tyler away rather than done what she'd really wanted to dothrow her arms around him and never let him go.
Meet the Author
VIRNA DEPAUL was an English major in college who somehow ended up with a law degree. For ten years, she was a criminal prosecutor for the state of CA. Now, she’s thrilled to be writing stories about complex individuals who overcome incredible odds for love. A national bestselling author, Virna’s blessed to write for HQN and Harlequin’s Romantic Suspense line. Virna also writes paranormal romantic suspense. She loves to hear from readers at www.virnadepaul.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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## The "hero" Jase was such an assh*le throughout most of the book that he ruined the story for me. And to the previous reviewer who said he was perfect....come again? In what universe? He was a condescending, arrogant manwhore who was constantly insulting the heroine and questioning her abilities as a cop. Of course he comes around eventually but by then it was too late for me to connect with his character as a hero. The crime drama aspect was excellent but couldn't make up for my dislike of Jase. I just can't fathom the heroine falling for this guy.
My Review: Carrie has just come back on the job at SIG after a one-month sabbatical after she was shot in the leg and subsequently killed the 16 yo that shot her. She had a split second where she questioned shooting him because he was so young and it cost them both. Her first case back is a high-profile serial killer. It should be a dream assignment, but Carrie is having issues (PTSD) from killing the kid and doubting herself and her abilities. Added to that stress is Jase. Jase and she have been circling each other for a while, but he's gorgeous and a player. She is not that kind of girl. She's a tough cop and has worked hard to maintain that non-feminine persona so that there's no question about her abilities on the job. Carrie has a LOT of issues that she's working through in this book. The only issue Jase is having to work through is that he wants Carrie. I loved his character although there were moments when he was almost too perfect. He refuses to push Carrie into something she will regret later and there were times when I really wanted him to push her...or get frustrated with her...or something. BUT that being said, if I could make up my perfect guy, I think that Jase would definitely fit the bill. He's sexy. He's sweet. He's completely upfront with how much he wants Carrie. He's a good cop and quite honestly, he's just an all-around nice guy. I loved how much he wants Carrie and the fact that he's not afraid to show her that. Then there are the serial killers....yes, two of them...both equally evil and psychotic. OMG, the killings in this book are enough to give you nightmares. These guys are psychos and it's hard to tell you which one is worse. I continue to enjoy this series. I like the SIG...5 man investigative team, although this book rocked some of the stability of the team, with their leader on his honeymoon and a couple of the members taking some serious hits. I definitely am looking forward to reading more of their stories. This is just good romantic suspense reading! I received a complementary copy of this book in return for an honest review.
Review: Shades of Temptation by Virna DePaul 3 STARS I really like the story line. Drama was high till the end. Like the characters. This is the second book of this series that I have read. Shades of Desire was the first book that I have read. It did have a lot of swear words and sex scenes that I could have done without. Carrie Ward is a strong women with good points and faults. She really wants to make a difference with her life. Special Agent Carrie Ward worked forCalifornia Department of Justice's Special Investigations Group. In the past she worked as a swat sniper. was milatary police and before that she was an Olympic shooter in fact she won a silver medal. Carrie is attracted to a member of her team Jase. Jase is a serial dater she calls him. He is good looking and women come up to him all the time. Jase flirts with her and she thinks it is because she is hard to get not for her at all. One night when Jase follows her out of the bar leaving his date inside to flirt with her she gets mad at him and bites hard on his ear. After that she walks off to cool down and sees a teen burlger and chases after him when he runs. He comes out of the house and he is so young she hesatates and is shot in the leg. Her second shot kills him. Jase Tyler lost it when he heard Carrie was shot. He can't get her off his mind. He does not want a strong women especially a cop in his personal life. He likes easy relaxing women. He wants to be lead investigator on a serial murder his group was going to head. He heard that Carrie was going to get it . He did not think she was up to heading the investigation. He went to boss on that. Carrie heard that Jase had questioned her fitness to head the serial investigation and that he wanted to be in charge of it. Jase was not the first to think that Carrie was not ready. Both men did not know if its because she is a women, just coming back to work after being shot and killing a teen. Plus the grandmother of teen filed a lawsuit. So Carrie had to work with Jase but she was the lead. They both fought thier attraction to each other. Carrie's home was fire bombed and Jase had her stay with him and then working with him they both gave into the temptation. Carrie has to struggle to be strong but also to have a life outside of work. She is willing to give her life to protect others. Jase realizes that he can handle a strong women and is also willing to risk his life to save others. I was given this email to read in exchange of honest review by Netgalley. 09/25/2012 PUB Harlequin imprint HarlequinHQN
Grade: B- Special Agents Carrie Ward and Jase Tyler absolutely sizzled from the start! Their attraction was like an electrical current zapping me from my ereader. Usually romances with this type of attraction have me rolling my eyes… not this one! These two characters have been verbally sparring a long time. It’s evident they are ripe for romance. The countdown is evident, yet their attraction is not rushed. In my opinion, it took too long for them to become lovers. The main characters are not the stereotypical romantic suspense hero and heroine. Jase is not the irrational alpha detective nor is Carrie the strong yet breakable woman. Special Agent Carrie Ward is described as a ‘warrior woman’ and she epitomizes the description. She is not without vulnerability. (One specific trait was too often repeated, in my opinion.) Carrie works in a male dominated field. At work, she hides her femininity by wearing androgynous clothing. She feels the need to prove herself as strenth and ability to perform a job, but never tries to act like a man either. Carrie’s has a couple of hard-to-swallow melodramatic moments, and her character is not a stroke of creative genius; instead it’s her combination of traits that are played well. Then there is ace detective Jase. He is described as a player. Don’t be fooled and think you have him pegged. This man actually communicates with his heroine, plus he shares his feelings. Gasp! This hero did not grunt, pound his chest, or try to dominate the heroine. As agents, Jase and Carrie are a dream team. Typically, romantic suspense novels require a healthy dose of suspension of belief and are fairly predictable. This Special Investigations Group story successfully avoids many tropes. The serial killer is introduced at the very beginning. Dr. Bower, a.k.a the Embalmer, is a true sociopath. Virna DePaul shares his disturbing thoughts as he commits his ghoulish and horrifying acts upon his victims. His point of view adds intensity to the story. The diabolical Dr. Bowers embodies evil in an everyday face and functions successfully in society. He is formidable. Then the plot thickens! Just when I thought I had the plot points mapped something unexpected would happen. The most glaring criticism is the uneven pacing. Shades of Temptation has a sizzling beginning then almost becomes monotonous. My internal rating system started to decline at one point. Luckily, the interesting plot twists grabbed me again and again. One totally unexpected event had me on the edge of my seat until the very end. My heart was actually pounding! Overall, I would recommend this book to romantic suspense fans. Virna DePaul’s former career as a criminal prosecutor is reflected in the terminology, procedures, and characterizations. Her expertise brought to mind the author Pamela Clare, a former reporter, who uses her knowledge in her I-Team series. This book can stand-alone. The hero and heroine from the previous book only make one quick appearance. Will I read Virna dePaul again? Yes! I’m eager for the next S.I.G. novel, which is in the works. The hero will be Special Agent Simon Granger. I can’t wait!