Higher Learning by D.J. Manly

eXtasy Books

Contemporary M/M

ISBN: 978-1-55487-360-9

Reviewed by Shayna



“Ethical Promise”

Determined to bring up his grades this year, college sophomore Mark Carter enters his Sociology of Sex and Gender class ready to pay the utmost attention.  What he doesn’t count on is his professor being his greatest distraction.  Troy Cole is everything Mark wants, but Troy refuses to break ethics and sleep with a student.  But when the semester ends, so does Troy’s ethical obligation… 

In “Ethical Promise” Mark learns that some things are definitely worth waiting for.  D.J. Manly ratchets up the sexual tension to a fever pitch and the waiting game is every bit as erotic as the fulfillment of Troy and Mark’s desires.  Each hero is the perfect match for the other and both are wonderfully sexy.  “Ethical Promise” starts the book off on just the right note and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 


“Big Bang”

Wayne knows all about physics, and he even likes being a teaching assistant for Professor Chan’s physics class.  What he’s not so fond of is teaching study groups.  But the shy doctoral candidate is about to get the surprise of his life with his newest study group because Nathan, Quinton, and Christopher are about to teach Wayne a lesson…one that has nothing to do with physics and everything to do with a “Big Bang” of a different sort. 

“Big Bang” is a naughty pleasure that was a blast to read.  Wayne is somewhat shy and endearingly oblivious to his own good looks, so it’s understandable why Nathan, Quinton, and Christopher are drawn to him.  What’s charming about “Big Bang” is the romance in the midst of the deliciously hot sex, and I won’t spoil the fun by revealing who Wayne’s hero is.  Aptly titled, “Big Bang” is absolutely fun. 


“Upside of Fear”

It’s Simon’s first year of college and he is in the unlucky position of having the most irritating roommate.  Patrick uses all the towels, leaves the window open, and walks around completely naked.  The last wouldn’t be a problem if Patrick weren’t devastatingly sexy and arrogant to boot.  Simon has a boyfriend back home and wouldn’t have any interest in his aggravating roommate even if he didn’t.  Or so he tells himself… 

Despite all the bickering between Simon and Patrick, “Upside of Fear” is an incredibly sweet story.  For all his cocky attitude, Patrick had an understanding of love that surprised not just Simon, but myself and he grabbed my heart and didn’t let go.  Simon was understandably blind to how Patrick felt about him, but the miscommunication that stemmed from fears each man had made the story all the more compelling.  “Upside of Fear” was romantic, passionate, and simply wonderful to read. 


“Lingering Song”

When one misdeed too many lands rock star Jaxen Rayner in front of a judge, Jax can’t believe he’s ordered to serve a term of community service by teaching music at Dobson Fine Arts College.  What’s more, Jax is stuck sharing an office with a young, gorgeous, hostile music professor.  Les Monahan has something against rock stars and Jax in particular.  Tension mounts between the pair, but so does passion, and Jax soon discovers he and Les share a past connection that could ruin whatever chance Jax has at breaking down the sexy professor’s barriers. 

“Lingering Song” combines romance and heartbreak in way that practically guarantees the story will stay with you long after you finish reading it.  Jax was a perfect hero; charming, patient, and undeniably drawn to Les.  As for Les, the tragedy of his past and the events and emotions that lead up to his involvement in a scarring accident broke my heart.  It also made me understand why Les acts the way he does, which is sometimes less than ideal for a hero.  I wanted Jax to get through to Les, to see them find happiness with one another, and that desire made me unable to stop reading “Lingering Song” until the very end.  If I could wish for one thing, it would be even a few pages more to the story because I did not want “Lingering Song” to end.  A beautiful story that does indeed linger, “Lingering Song” is quite possibly my favorite story in this book.


Higher Learning was pure pleasure to read.  Each story and the characters within them have their own distinct tone and feeling, which I appreciate.  From the fun to the heartbreaking, D.J. Manly created four memorable tales that were both gripping and delightfully erotic.  I loved Higher Learning and will almost certainly be re-reading it in the near future because once was just not enough!


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