Book: Six Degrees of Lust 2nd Edition
Series: The By Degrees Series
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 350 pages
Reviewed by Erin
By Degrees is an ensemble character series with multiple points of view.
New York City FBI team leader Samuel Shaughnessy lives for his immediate family and his job. After a marriage gone wrong, he has stuck to a firm rule when it comes to relationships: he doesn't have them. Sexually active and emotionally unavailable keeps him satisfied, especially now that he is in hot pursuit of a serial killer targeting gay men.
Former firefighter Machlan O'Bannon now manages a successful sports bar in Houston, and after years of waiting, he’s ready to stand up and be the man he always wanted to be: out, proud and drama-free. His politically-aligned family wants to keep him locked in the closet, but Mac just wants to meet the man of his dreams.
One man is as high strung as the other is laid back. A chance meeting brings them together, and one night of passion ignites a fire neither can fight. Their lives are not only miles apart, but as different as day and night. They don't want to get involved, but they might not be able to keep apart.
First Edition published by MLR Press, December 2011.
I read the original release of Taylor V. Donovan's Six Degrees of Lust years ago and I'm here to tell you I enjoyed the new edition every bit as much as I did the first time. Maybe even more. The new cover is fabulous and Samuel (Sam) Shaughnessey and Maclhan (Mac) O'Bannon are just as smoking hot together as I remember. The story is as gripping, the drama just as enthralling, and the characters (and boy are there many!) just as memorable.
Sam is an FBI agent in New York City and is the head of a special team that investigates hate crimes. Right now, he and his team of specialized agents are on the manhunt for a serial killer who's been preying upon young, gay men. A chance encounter in an airport as he takes time out of the investigation to help his troubled sister, puts him in Mac's path. And boy is it some chance meeting. The sparks are flying between these two right from the get go, the sexual attraction is off the charts intense, and with an impulsive and definitely out of character move for Sam, the exchange of a business card with his cell number means that the next move is in Mac's hands.
What happens from here is a series of encounters that are full of hot and raw sex, though Sam insists they are nothing more than two guys getting off, never mind that Mac lives in Texas and their visits are anything but spontaneous. Sam is a hard driven, aloof to the point of cold to most people, stoic man. He's got very definitive views on relationships and sex and isn't willing to bend his strident rules, even for someone he connects with so completely as Mac. And Mac? Gah, that Texas drawl is something else. He's laid back, confident, and he loves to give Sam as good as he gets.
Throughout all of this, Sam is trying to balance a murder investigation that gets more intense and more complicated by the day, a sister and nephew who have been abused by Sam's brother-in-law, and his own emotions that he's had on lock down for more years than is healthy. This is a complicated plot, full of multiple story arc's with a myriad of interesting characters. Donovan teases and taunts as she leaves breadcrumbs that you can't help but follow. This isn't just a murder mystery or a book about the relationship between Sam and Mac. It's also about family and friendships and how lives can connect in ways you've never dreamed of.
It didn't surprise me that upon reading this the second time I disliked Sam's ex-wife Gabi as much as I did the first time. I think I despise her even more this go round. She's shrill and thoroughly unlikable. I'm honestly not sure she's supposed to be and I TOTALLY didn't and still don't get how Logan (who's Sam's best friend) can see anything redeemable in her. It also doesn't surprise me that my love for human behavior analyst Logan Brandenburg is even more than it was before. This guy is beyond fantastic. Sexy and charming and so utterly charismatic, he steals every scene he's in. As does Sasha who's story line I'm still dying to know more of.
Fair warning, this book DOES end on a cliffhanger. Book two is available now and I can only hope and assume with this re-release that means that the third book, Six Degrees of Agony, will FINALLY be forthcoming in the not so distant future! But really people, this book is great and I highly recommend it. It's frustrating and complicated, but it's also sexy and intriguing so don't let this one pass you by!
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