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've had (the first edition of) Six Degrees of Lust on my Kindle for about a year and a half, and I always intended to read it, but I just never seemed to get to it. Well, it's being republished by Dreamspinner, so when the second edition came up on the ARC list, I decided that now is the time to finally give it a shot! I'm so glad I did. I really loved it.
Before I get into the meat of my review, do be aware that Six Degrees of Lust is the beginning of a serial and it ends on a cliffhanger. Book 2 (Six Degrees of Separation) is available, now, but we are still waiting on book 3 (and I do not know if that will be the last book or not). Hopefully we won't have to wait much longer for Six Degrees of Agony (please!!!!!).
There's a suspense plot, that I'm finding to be pretty obvious (well, I assume, because it isn't anywhere near done, yet, so no reveals have been made) but it doesn't take over the romance. It's definitely a major happening and a catalyst, for the story, but I didn't find it too overpowering. And the characters' lives intersect not only socially, but through the suspense part of the plot. I found the way that was done was interesting without seeming too contrived. And I did have to take some notes, though, I do admit. There are a lot of characters to keep up with and how their lives intersect with each other and also with the path of the killer.
The suspense plot revolves around a serial killer who is killing young gay men, who fit a particular description. They're all slightly built and blond and maybe a bit femme. The killings are brutal and have a religious theme. *shudder*
The romance plot revolves around Mac and Sam and their chemistry is scorching. So hot! And I loved how the number 515 was significant, not only to each of them, individually, but how that number became significant to them as a couple (oh, stop it, Sam, you're definitely a couple!).