Shades of Gray

Shades of Gray by Brooke McKinley

Book: Shades of Gray by Brooke McKinley Read Free Book Online
Authors: Brooke McKinley
his chair back to level with a thud, avoiding Danny’s eyes.
    “What was college like?” Danny asked.
    “It was okay, I guess. I had to study a lot to stay afloat. I’ve never had book smarts the way some people do.”
    “I always liked school.” Danny smiled at Miller’s dubious expression. “Don’t look so surprised.”
    “So why didn’t you go to college?”
    “Never crossed my mind. Nobody in my family ever has. And when I turned eighteen and graduated, the only thought in my head was getting as far away from Atwood as I could.”
    “What’s the story there?” Miller asked, idly stirring his mushy cereal with a spoon.
    Danny’s body tensed up; he fucking hated thinking about his father. “Probably nothing different than a thousand other kids. My dad and I don’t exactly get along.” Danny kept his voice bland but Miller flashed keen eyes on him, watching him for a long moment after he stopped speaking.
    “How so?”

    76 | Brooke McKinley
    Danny squirmed in his chair. “He has a wicked temper. He wasn’t afraid to use his belt on me, or whatever else he had handy. His mouth was a pretty effective weapon too. He always made it very clear exactly how he felt about me. He could never quite put his finger on how I was different. Shit, I didn’t even know myself when I was a kid. But it didn’t stop him from trying to beat the difference out of me. And then he caught me with a neighbor kid. A boy my age.”
    “Doing what?” Miller asked, eyes not quite meeting Danny’s.
    “Just messing around. Pretty innocent shit, in the scheme of things. But it confirmed everything my dad ever suspected about me.
    He kicked me out that day. Haven’t seen him since. Anyway, I thought we were talking about you getting into the FBI.” Danny tossed his empty water bottle over Miller’s head where it landed with a rattling bang in the kitchen garbage can.
    “Like I said, there’s not much to tell. I’d always thought about being a cop. When I was a senior in college they had this seminar about jobs in law enforcement and I picked up a brochure about the FBI.”
    “And….” Danny prompted when Miller failed to continue.
    “And I joined the local police force in Wichita after graduation, worked there for two years, and then applied to the FBI. I got in and went to Quantico. My first assignment was in Minneapolis and then I got transferred here.”
    “Do you like the job?”
    Miller’s slight hesitation told Danny more than any words he might choose to say. “For the most part,” Miller answered. “After 9/11
    we all got stuck on terrorism duty for a while and I didn’t like that so much. I like the drug cases a lot better.”
    “Why?”
    “The terrorism cases, I was never sure who I was working against. I prefer having a specific target.”
    “Like Hinestroza.”
    “Yeah, like your lovely boss, Hinestroza.”

    Shades of Gray | 77
    “He’s not a complete monster, you know.” Danny felt that familiar pang of loyalty rising up, that need to defend Hinestroza from outside attack, similar to the strange phenomenon that allowed a person to say something nasty about their own spouse but forbade anyone else from opening their mouth to agree.
    Miller gaped at him. “How can you sit there and say that with a straight face, Danny? Who do you think gives Madrigal his orders?
    They’re ruthless men. They sell drugs to little kids and kill people without a second thought.”
    “But he has a family who loves him,” Danny said, his eyes on the table. “That’s more than I’ve got. He must do something right.”
    “You think that makes him a good man? The fact that he’s got a wife and kids who love him? They don’t even know who he is!”
    “No, it doesn’t make him a good man. But it does mean he’s not all bad.”
    “He’s brainwashed you,” Miller said with disgust.
    Danny thought about that for a moment. “Maybe, a little. And maybe there’s more than one side to a person. You know, I’ve

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