Book Review: Six Degrees of Lust by Taylor V. Donovan

Six Degrees of Lust by Taylor V. DonovanTitle: Six Degrees of Lust
Series: By Degrees, Book 1
Author: Taylor V. Donovan
Genre: Romantic Suspense, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy provided by publisher
Published: December 30, 2011 by MLR Press

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?

Reviewed By: J9

In a Nutshell: Intense romance with great leads and strong mystery plot but the cliffhanger ending (on all fronts!) makes it imperative to have book two queued up.

The Set Up: Sam is the FBI leader of a task force trying to catch a serial killer targeting gay men. After his failed marriage, bisexual Sam learned to keep his emotional distance while sleeping with whomever he wants. Sam’s rules may change when he meets Mac, a Texan who is learning how to be out and proud after his family’s isolation. Mac won’t deny his emotional or sexual needs even to be with Sam and Sam doesn’t know if he can be emotionally available to Mac, especially with a serial killer on the loose.

Why I Read this Book: This book has an excellent rating on Goodreads so knew I had to try it.

What I Liked: Sam and Mac, sigh. Sam attempts an emotional distance from Mac and Mac’s honesty about his needs completely challenge Sam. Sam lashes out often and ouch is that painful to read, such as the ending when Mac gets way too close emotionally. But the beauty of the relationship for me was watching Sam’s incremental steps at emotional vulnerability to Mac. The men negotiate these rules, like Mac wants to speak on the phone so he doesn’t feel he’s sleeping with a stranger. Sam is absolutely uncomfortable with this and puts a sexual spin on the conversations but soon finds he plans his life around when he next speaks with Mac. Mac’s honesty about his needs and openness is a perfect counterbalance to Sam’s emotional distance and I love that he won’t compromise his needs for Sam’s comfort. Mac is sincerely ready to let Sam go if he can’t compromise and I love this (and deep down Sam does too!) I loved watching this romance develop as Mac and Sam send emails and plan erotic interludes.

But…the relationship ends on a cliffhanger too. There is a tiny resolution but not nearly as big as I expected after nearly 400 pages. Still, the sequel will follow Mac and Sam’s relationship so I’m okay with how they ended up here.

Mixed Results: I enjoyed the secondary characters, especially Sam’s FBI team. Sam’s best friend, Logan better get his own book, as well as Duncan, one of the team’s straight men, and Miko, their hacker. Mac’s circle of friends clearly have stories to tell, such as Remy, a confused Cajun chef who made out with a man but insists he isn’t gay. I loved these characters but hot damn are there a lot of them! Some of them I know will be in the next book but some just felt superfluous, like Logan’s friend who introduces him to Sam’s ex-wife. And therein is the other issue with all these characters: they’re all connected some way. The likelihood of people in Manhattan and Texas  just knowing people who are connected to Sam and Mac is mindboggling but in this book it happens constantly and just seemed contrived.

The serial killer plot was creepy but unresolved. There are definite hints at who the killer may be and who his victims may be but nothing is concluded at novel’s end. This was good as book two’s release is imminent but I’ll want this psycho to be caught soon, especially since men keep getting killed!

What I Didn’t Like: Kitten. Sam calls Mac kitten. I love terms of endearment but kitten? Kitten…I *detested* it. Stupid thing to bug me but there you have it.

IMO: I loved this intense romance with stand-offish Sam and loving Mac. I highly recommend it even with its unresolved cliffhangers in both the mystery and the relationship. I’m off to read book two now!

J9’s Rating:
4 Frogs


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About J9: Vegan. Avid runner. Android addict. Never without a book in hand. Currently devouring MM romance but reads historial romance and paranormal romance as well. Follow J9 on Twitter.


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