Book Reviews

Lab Rat's Love by Ana J. Phoenix at Loose Id

Genre Gay / Contemporary / BDSM / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 21-July-2014

Book Blurb

When Nex blows all his money on drugs and gambling, Kane offers to pay off his debts. But his generosity comes at a price: Nex has to become his lab rat. Kane’s company has developed a sex chip, and Nex is the only eligible test candidate.

Nex doesn’t mind having kinky sex with a drop-dead gorgeous CEO for testing purposes. Even less so when Kane turns out to be all Nex ever wanted in a Dom and in a boyfriend. There’s only one problem. Kane used to live with Nex’s deceased twin, someone who Kane may still be hung up on, even if he denies it.

Still, Nex wants Kane, and he knows there’s only one way to get him: kick the drugs and stay clean — before his addiction ruins the experiment and their budding relationship.


Book Review

This is a fascinating story, but not really for the main reason I assumed when I first read the blurb. Two words: sex chip. I mean, really? Someone is going to have a chip put in their brain to increase their pleasure, except someone else (with the help of said chip) will be in control. Sounds like science fiction, and I guess that part is. But, unlike in true science fiction, the focus is not on the chip and how it works. Instead the story is really about the relationship between Nex, the guy with the chip in his head, and Kane, the CEO of the company that developed the chip. Just add some extraordinary complications in the interpersonal area, as well as issues of the individual characters and what you end up with is a psychological drama of the suspenseful/nail-biting kind.

Nex is a complicated man who is psychologically deeply scarred from age ten (when his father shot his mother in Nex’s presence), and probably not exactly living a happy childhood even before then. He uses drugs to forget the pain, and is a compulsive gambler. He was separated from Styx, his genius-level twin brother, because “the system” thought he’d open up to others if they took away the one person he was able to relate to after the trauma of losing their parents. And if that isn’t enough, Styx dies in a car accident and Nex is now the only person able to test the chip since it is genetically coded. Forced to accept Kane’s money so he can pay off his gambling debts, Nex begins a journey of self-discovery that is not easy, and not always very pretty. The things he finds out about Styx are horrendous, but what really gets to him is his growing need for Kane—a man who used to be friends with occasional benefits with Nex’s twin and, so Nex suspects, only sees Styx in him.  

Kane is just as complex a character as Nex. Yes, he is initially attracted to Nex because he looks exactly like Styx and Kane loved his business partner, even if he isn’t rally sure what type of love it was. They never crossed the line to becoming lovers, but with Nex the sub Kane has always dreamed of and looking exactly like Styx? The temptation is enormous, the ensuing mess predictable, and Kane’s way of dealing with it (denial, mostly) is bound to significantly worsen the impeding catastrophe.

With messed-up motivations and emotions all over the place as both Nex and Kane try to deal with Styx’s death while becoming involved in increasingly hot BDSM scenes in the bedroom, this story truly deserves the title “drama”. One revelation follows after another, feelings are hurt, and Nex’s condition worsens y the page. And all of that is before the real disaster even happens. What a ride!

If you like stories about wounded characters trying to deal with the messes that are their lives only to make a bigger mess of them, if you enjoy reading stories where the psychology will either totally fascinate or completely repulse you, and if you’re looking for a read about a developing relationship that is as volatile as it is hot, then you will probably like this novel. I wasn’t able to stop reading!





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Loose Id for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 230 pages/73468 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-July-2014
Price $5.99 ebook, $10.50 paperback
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