(Review) Six Degrees of Lust ★★★★★

Book: Six Degrees of Lust

Author: Taylor V. Donovan

Series: By Degrees (Book #1)

Genre: Contemporary Romance; M/M; Mystery

Pub date: 12/30/2011

Pages: 389

*WARNING FROM THE AUTHOR:
Six Degrees of Lust is both an ensemble novel and the first installment in the By Degrees serial. This means there are several point of views and the story will continue. Thanks.

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 the two men 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 will they be able to stay apart?

I started reading Six Degrees of Lust before I went into the hospital 4 months ago.  I never finished it.  I’ve been trying to find a book to read and when I saw this one on my iPad I kept dismissing it thinking if I didn’t finish it I must not have liked it.  But I remembered there being a serial killer ensemble romance that I was close to finishing.  Somehow it didn’t click that they were one and the same.  I was, once again, going through my iPad and starting and discarding one unfinished book after another when I decided to take another look at this one.  I was a bit embarrassed to realize this was the book I kept thinking about.  Even more embarrassing was that it only took me less than an hour to finish it!  Luckily, all of the characters and events were very memorable and I didn’t feel confused about what was going on.

When I stopped reading it the first time, I assumed that within those last few chapters everything would just quickly wrap up.  I thought it would be like a lot of books and that the focus of the next book in the series would be one of the other couples.  I thought they would catch the serial killer and the next book would have another mystery.  Not so.  The book ended a bit abruptly.  Not really a cliffhanger but also not wrapping up any loose ends.  I’m sure it was frustrating to any readers who had to wait for the next book Six Degrees of Separation to be published.

Six Degrees of Lust is an ensemble novel.  Think of movies like Love Actually where all of the characters kind of move around each other.  At times it’s almost frustrating when you know that at any moment one character could discover that the person that one of the others is friends with is the same person with that name from their past.  Every time they’re mentioned you think surely it will come out now.  Yet it doesn’t.  I’ve started the second book and am still feeling that same edge-of-my-seat feeling waiting for everything to come to a head.  How can they all not know that they know each other in some way?  It’s mind boggling.

Although there are many characters based in New York and Houston, the main characters are Sam and Mac.  Their meeting was great.  I loved how they met and both couldn’t stop thinking of the other until finally they had to see each other again.  Both have some major issues with anything more than just a friends with benefits type of relationship.  Sam has some major skeletons in his closet and just can’t handle more.  Mac isn’t out, not because he doesn’t want to be though.  I love how they push the relationship a bit further as time goes by.  I love the struggle and the sweet moments.  I think this is one of the most believable couples in this genre.  It’s funny because I’m torn between wanting them to just get together already and loving the dance around a real relationship.

In addition to being a romance with a lot of different characters it’s also a sort of mystery.  I don’t know why but I love FBI and cop books lately.  I never used to.  It’s fun trying to figure out who the perp is.  Although in this case the fact that it’s a serial killer and that bodies keep showing up is kind of depressing.  I really expected them to figure it out in the end.  In this case the mystery continues into the second book.  I think the only books I’ve read that have done that were the Cut & Run series.  One of my all time favorite series and also FBI m/m books.  Notice a pattern?  I know what I like.  I just search for similar books when I find one that I really love.

I don’t know if I could do it justice to name all of the other characters.  This would be a huge post and I’d most likely give away too much of the story.  One of my favorites is Logan, Sam’s partner in the FBI.  I’m not sure what his deal is but I’m dying to find out.  I guess every book has to have a character you hate right?  I can’t stand Sam’s ex wife Gabi.  What annoys me the most about her is that she’s a total bi*** and yet everyone that meets her adores her.  There’s just no real reason for it.  Just “oh isn’t she the sweetest” or something like that and boom they love her and are all protective of her.  Let’s see.  Chris that works with her I like.  I look forward to seeing if anything happens between him and Remy.  Sasha is kind of a wild card and I’m dying to know what happens with the poor kid.

If you’ve never read a m/m book I’m thinking this isn’t really the best book to dip your toes in and try it out.  There’s some pretty hot sex scenes… that I’ll admit I end up skimming over after awhile.  This is why I don’t read much erotica.  I just find them boring and repetitive after the first couple of times.  I don’t read these books for that.  I read them for the love story and the struggle.  I think this book wouldn’t be as believable if it wasn’t based in New York City.  The gay community in this book is just huge and in any other place I would find it unrealistic.  But I could be wrong… who knows?

In the end, I highly recommend Six Degrees of Lust.  I think Taylor Donovan did a wonderful job with this ensemble novel.  I really love ensemble movies so this was a treat.  I couldn’t label it just one genre because it isn’t.  So if you like cop/FBI mysteries, gay romance, contemporary romance or ensembles this may be the book for you.  I’m not going to do a summary because there’s just so much happening in this book I wouldn’t do it justice.

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