(U.S. link: SHADES OF SHAME )
Published: May 2013, Sea Island Press
Leila is not the nice person she portrays to be. In fact, she is focused on one thing, and one thing only: How to get to the top of her game.......and how to do it fast. She meticulously studies people around her, strategizing what, and in particular who she should do, to get where she wants to go, with little or no consideration of what is left in her wake. In her mind, she is simply taking the steps needed to ensure her ultimate goal.
She had the perfect training ground, her mother is Senator McNarry's Chief of Staff, Patricia Johnson, a woman who herself had nothing less than a singular focus on her political career, to the exclusion of her own daughter. Leila has never known her father and has never known family life of any kind, instead she had been sent off at a young age to mold her, harden her, and prepare her for a life in politics. Ready for her first big move onto the political scene, Leila garners an intern position through her mother's influence, in the offices of Senator McNarry.
Logan has grown up a privileged child, somewhat spoiled and entitled. And even though his relationship with his father in particular, hasn't always been as it should be, Logan is a warm and genuine person. When Leila sees him again after ten years, she is surprised to find the annoying bratty boy has been replaced with a gorgeous giant of a man, who makes her laugh and feel things she is quite unfamiliar with. There is an inherent sweetness to Logan, one that is definitely not present in his father, who has more of a predatorial gleam.
Leila's focus has to remain on the Senator however, since that is with whom her future advancement lies. Everything else must come second. Leila has figured out that the Senator enjoys playing with his interns and plans to use that information to her advantage. He is a handsome older man and has been quite obviously interested in her, and although this is a liaison he would prefer to keep not only from his wife, but from his Chief of Staff as well, he cannot resist the challenge of the new conquest Leila represents.
But the purity of the feelings Logan brings out in Leila, contrasts starkly with the depravity of the scene she immerses herself in for the sake of her career. She is learning what it feels like to be loved, and finds that standing in that glow, she no longer feels a need to be on the shadow side.
This is a cutthroat, depraved story of the inner workings of a political family, and at the same time.........it is a very delicate and tragically beautiful love story.
The authors have done a wonderful job trying to describe the tentative transformation of a political manipulative man-eating bitch in-training, back to the open-eyed, wonder-filled and simply happy young woman, she should have been all along. It is almost as if Leila, who grew up over-exposed to the underbelly of her mother's world, rediscovered her innocence. While at the same time, Logan, who had managed to cling on to as much innocence as possible, ended up exposed to the full extent of his father's immorality.
The sex in this book was imperative to the story, but however well described, most of the scenes did not engage me much, too manipulative or soulless. With the exception of the interplay between Leila and Logan, the chemistry was there......
Other than a few grammatical mistakes here and there, this was a well written story, a good prequel to SEMPER FI . But it left me feeling a bit........dirty, soiled, icky. As if I had touched something slimy, and I almost wished I had read this one first and SEMPER FI second, because I know that book left me feeling a little more positive.
I didn't put the book down once, it was morbid fascination. Almost like watching a house fire .........where at the end, they just manage to save the cat.