Shades of Gray - Maya Banks

Maya Banks - KGI #6 - Shades of Gray

Shades of Gray (KGI #6)
Maya Banks

CHAPTER 1

P.J. Rutherford cocked back her chair and flung her boot on top of the table in front of her. She adjusted her straw cowboy hat so her eyes were barely visible and stared over the smoke-filled room to the band setting up along the far wall.

The waitress thumped a bottle of beer on the table next to P.J.’s boot and then sashayed away, her attention reserved for the male customers she flirted with and chatted up.

P.J. wasn’t a chatter. She’d never spoken to anyone in all the time she’d been coming here. She couldn’t be called a regular, but yet, in all her irregularity, she was.

This was her place to unwind between missions. It wasn’t what most would consider a place of rest and relaxation, but for P.J. it worked to throw back a few beers, inhale some secondhand smoke, go deaf from listening to bad cover songs and watch a few bar fights.

She winced when the guitarist riffed a particularly bad chord and then ground her teeth together when the mike squealed. These guys were amateurs. Hell, it was probably their first live gig, which meant she was going home tone-deaf and popping ibuprofen for the headache she’d be sure to have.

But it beat spending the evening alone in her apartment with jet lag. Although she wasn’t even sure it could be considered jet lag. She’d been three days without sleep, so truly she could sleep at any time, but she was wired and still buzzed from adrenaline the last mission had wrought.

She was wound tighter than a rusted spring and there was no give in her muscles tonight.

The big, happy mush fest that had gone on at the Kelly compound, complete with double weddings and enough true love and babies and bullshit to make her green around the gills, hadn’t helped.

Not that she was a cynic when it came to romance. She had her romance novels and she was fiercely protective of them and against anyone giving her shit over reading them.

But sometimes the Kelly clan was a little overbearing in the sheer sugary sweetness of all that unconditional love and support. Did no one ever get pissed off and start a fight?

The truth was, she just felt out of place, which was why she’d rather stick to her own team, let Steele take the orders from Sam or Garrett Kelly and she’d follow her team leader. The day Steele became embroiled in all that happy, bubbly shit was the day she hung up her rifle and called it quits.

She liked Steele. She knew where she stood with Steele. Always. He didn’t sugarcoat shit. If you fucked up, he called you on it. If you did your job, you didn’t get any special accolades. Not for doing your fucking job, as he put it.

And she liked her team, even if Coletrane was one giant pain in her ass. But he was a cute pain in the ass and he was harmless. Plus he was a perfect target for cutting jokes and egging on. Easy. Too easy. He rose to the bait on too many occasions for her to count.

She was the better marksman. She knew that without false modesty. But it didn’t stop a healthy rivalry between her and Cole when it came to sniper duty.

It pushed them both, made them better at their jobs and made the relationship between them easygoing and casual. Just the way she liked it.

The current song ended, and she sighed in relief. The band looked to be taking a