28 August 2014

Lab Rat's Love by Ana J. Phoenix

 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.

I was taken by surprise with this book.  I am not into sci fi but when I read the description of this book I was drawn in.  I am glad I took the chance on it because there is so much more to this story than a chip to be placed in the brain and a scientific experiment.  This is a story of love, loss, grief and destroying your own life with drugs.  The author did a wonderful job at giving us shattered characters who carry baggage from their past into their future.  I was drawn in by the men looking for love, acceptance and healing after the death of a person who holds a piece of their hearts. 
Kane is a successful business man whose partner in both life and business was Styx.  They had come up with a chip to be placed in the brain that is supposed to enhance the sexual experience for the person.  The primary goal is to be used during a BDSM scene and was created using the DNA of Styx.  When Styx was killed the plan for the chip appeared to be over, until Kane finds out about Nex, the twin brother. 
Styx and Nex had endured a horrible childhood and while one became focused on business the other tried to numb the pain with drugs. After their mother’s death when they were 10, events separated the twins and they never grew up to be as close as they were meant to be.  When Nex was confronted with a solution to his financial and personal issues, he jumps at the chance to become the recipient of the chip.  As we continue to read we find that Nex begins to doubt the feelings that Kane is having and wonders if he is just a replacement for Styx in more ways than having the chip implanted. 
While we don’t hear a lot about how the chip works, I appreciated that because I was more interested in the dynamics between Nex, Styx and Kane.  Even though Styx was deceased the author kept him present in the story through letters and memories which I found to be a great bonus from the author.  You must read the story to see how Nex and Kane develop into a relationship that is independent from Styx memory and follow along with the secondary characters that appear to create more twists to an already twisted story. 
The author gave us some hot scenes between characters with a BDSM theme and some kink which I would expect since the chip was created for this.  I found over all that the author did a wonderful job at creating a story that brings the reader many emotions and intense drama.  I had times I wondered about characters motivations and agendas and was surprised at how some secondary characters played a bigger part in the story than I expected. 
As with most stories the path for Nex and Kane was not a smooth ride, the author created scenes that made me sit on the edge of my seat and couldn’t put the book down.  It is really a book that you need to read and experience to fully enjoy.  The author surprised me and I will be looking into more of her work because she was able to not only entertain me but give my mind a great work out along with my emotions.  When I am kept in suspense and not able to stop reading then I know it is a great book.  

I was really looking forward to this book and it started off great. But I will admit that for a just a bit of it (probably less than 10%), I thought it had lost its way. Thankfully the story came together so well that I can no longer remember what put me off for a bit and ultimately what matters is that I enjoyed the book. Lab Rat’s Love has a just a touch of sci-fi in it as Nex agrees to help Kane finish the experiment Kane and Styx (Nex’s twin brother) started – specifically, implanting a microchip in Nex’s brain that is voice-activated by Kane and designed for use during sexual activities, especially those of a BDSM-nature. The concept is really intriguing and product-testing between Nex and Kane was HOT! It was so freaking hot I’m surprised the chip didn’t short circuit during the first round of tests.

The emotional aspects of the book rounded out the story very well. Although it was never stated explicitly, Nex suffers from PTSD from an event that occurred during childhood that was exacerbated by being separated from his twin within a year’s time of the event. Unfortunately, his decision to self-medicate caused further estrangement from his twin, so he never met Kane until Styx was hospitalized due to a car accident. Although drawn to Kane, Nex cannot act on it because he doesn’t want to serve as a replacement for his brother. But, when Kane approaches him about completing testing on the chip Nex sees it as an opportunity to have a taste of what he wants. Nex learns quickly that Styx and Kane were both Doms, so their relationship was friends with an occasional benefit as two Doms don’t make for a lasting D/s relationship. I enjoyed watching the relationship develop between Nex and Kane, especially when Kane was forced to admit to himself that Nex was coming to mean more to him than he anticipated.

This was a really good read for me. I enjoyed the romance between Nex and Kane and the author included just enough BDSM and sci-fi into the storyline to spice it up a bit. I connected for the characters and my heart nearly broke for both men when they had to deal with the chip’s malfunctioning issue. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Phoenix’s work in the future.


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