New York City F.B.I. team leader Samuel Shaughnessy lives for his job and immediate family. Once upon a time he was a firm believer in love and happily ever after. Now he stays clear from personal entanglements and follows a very strict code of rules. Sexually active and emotionally unavailable works for him just fine.
A former Houston fireman, Machlan O’Bannon now manages a sports bar and is ready to become the man he always wanted to be: out, proud and drama free. His family wants to lock him in the closet, but he just wants to meet the man of his dreams.
One man is as high strung as the other is laid back. Mac has some decisions to make and Sam has a serial killer to catch. Their lives are not only different, but miles apart.
The timing is bad and intentions unclear. They don’t want to be involved… but can they stay apart?
Contemporary, Mystery, M/M-Bisexual, LGBT+
392 e-book pages
By Degrees, book 1
May 25-27, 2016
Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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I found this to be a thoroughly engaging read. I need to read more of Taylor’s books, seriously. She’s got a fantastic way with developing characters and weaving intricate plots.
This mainly centers around emotionally stunted Sam, who is a control freak with far too many rules who gets caught up in a non-relationship relationship with Mac, a super lush ready-to-burst-from-the-closet Texan.
There’s a serial killer on the loose in NYC and the tri-state area. And Sam and his team are up to their eyeballs trying to catch a depraved wack-job who is targeting gay men.
Meanwhile, Mr. “I only do one night stands” Sam can’t get enough of the tall, strapping Texan.
Now, I loved this. I really, really did. There’s a lot going on, and that makes it sort of soap-opera-ish as the focus shifts around the plot threads. All of it was entertaining and interesting — especially the slow-burn relationship development between Sam and Mac. Sure, they’re having sex almost immediately but Sam’s not having any relationship business and intimacy can go suck a bullet. Mac’s in it to win it though and has no problems playing the game Sam’s way…for now.
I’d read that this book, and series, is told in the points of view of an ensemble cast. That’s usually not my thing because I prefer to keep to the POVs of the characters in the central relationship, but I dove in anyway. I honestly didn’t mind most of the POVs of the secondary characters who were close to Sam and Mac, but some…didn’t always feel relevant and ended up giving me whiplash when alternating to another POV. Like the time we went from Sam’s 12-year old nephew’s brain straight into Sam reading a text from Mac about fucking. Just, whoa. We even spent some time in the serial killer’s brain, and that is a jacked-up place to be. But, I didn’t mind the other folks, like Logan and Chris and a few others, because it appears (and I fervently hope) they’ll get some time in the spotlight and their own love stories.
All of these characters are tightly interwoven in a six-degrees of separation way. Some of them know each other, most don’t. But their lives are all intersecting in mysterious ways and we the readers are the only ones privy to each of these coincidental connections.
As much as I enjoyed this, for me, there’s a big issue of over-done Southern dialect. This is a major peeve of mine. Maaaajor. I just think there’s a better way to illustrate the elongated vowels and dropped g’s of the dialect by artfully mentioning it once or twice than actually spelling out so frequently. It just doesn’t read well in my opinion. I much prefer to read phrasing and vernacular that is inherently southern and unique to the parts of the region. And, as a Southerner, I tend to get a mite bent out of shape when it’s laid on too thick. I also might be a hypocrite because this doesn’t seem to bother me too much with other accents or dialects (British ones, especially because I LOVE THEM). Maybe it’s just the negative perceptions of the intellectual capacity of anyone with a Southern accent hits way too close to home. So, the dialect thing caused me to grind my molars.
Some of the conversation threads felt a bit unnatural and immature, especially during arguments. Rather than get to the heart of the matter some dragged on for way too many pages while the characters bickered like children in the schoolyard. I love to read arguments, but…in real life, as in books, it’s a helluva lot easier to get to a resolution when people stay on point.
My little gripes aside this was a whole bunch of fun. The main characters Sam and Mac seem to be too-good-to-be-true sex on a stick H.O.T. hot. I meeaaan, it’s not good to drool on a kindle, is it? I love these guys and everything that’s brewing between them. Part of me wants Mac to stand his ground and fight a little harder to break through Sam’s walls. Part of me wishes Sam didn’t sometimes sound like a whiny bitch. But overall, these guys have such a combustible chemistry that when they finally figure it all out, it’ll be spectacular.
And on that note, dear readers, beware: This book does not end with Sam and Mac getting their HEA, nor is the killer caught. Nope. Instead, we’re left standing on the edge of a mighty cliffhanger.
The good news is, book two is available, and I’ve just finished reading it. Review coming soon.
This review also posted on GoodReads.
Update 4-20-2017: Comments turned off due to an overabundance of daily spam targeting this one little review that’s over a year old. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause legit visitors wishing to discuss this book.