Sunday, February 14, 2016

Strong Signal (Cyberlove 1) by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

I was counting down the months until the end of my deployment. My days were spent working on military vehicles, and I spent my nights playing video games that would distract me until I could leave Staff Sergeant Garrett Reid behind.

That was when I met him: Kai Bannon, a fellow gamer with a famous stream channel.

I never expected to become fixated on someone who'd initially been a rival. And I'd never expected someone who oozed charm to notice me—a guy known for his brutal honesty and scowl. I hadn't planned for our online friendship to turn into something that kept me up at night—hours of chatting evolving into filthy webcam sessions.

But it did. And now I can't stop thinking about him. In my mind, our real life meeting is perfect. We kiss, we fall into bed, and it's love at first sight.

Except, like most things in my life, it doesn't go as planned.

Strong Signal is a standalone, full-length novel with no cliffhanger.

Dani's rating:

Kai is ridiculously adorable, and has a big heart, pouty lips, and a lean dancer's body. He's a talented gamer with a cult following on his Twtich channel where he demos games. (Don't be ashamed if you don't know what Twitch is. Or red pandas. I had to google them both.)

Kai also has severe social anxiety and is prone to panic attacks. He's barely left his flat for three years and lives his life online. His Twitch chat feed is his social circle, his only friend the teenager who lives next door.

Until he sees Hazzard in a video game. And kills him on sight.

(Well, shit, that's no way to start a relationship.)

Garrett, aka Hazzard, is stationed overseas in Afghanistan and just counting down the days until his last Army tour is over. He's bored, frustrated, and doesn't take kindly to being outmatched.

To believe in this book, you have to believe that people can form strong bonds in cyberspace, and that online relationships can be as meaningful, as REAL, as those we form offline.

Kai and Garratt email, chat, send selfies (and, um, other media files), and, eventually, Skype. These interactions are fun, tender, SEXY, and integral to the friendship that develops between the MCs. Both men are introverts, and neither would share so much of himself in real life.

And the Skyping, dear god, the Skyping goes WAY beyond friendship. Have I mentioned that Kai used to film himself masturbating because he gets off on people watching? He also owns a dildo with a suction cup. And Garrett is all about the intense dirty talk. Just sayin'.

There's so much heat on page even before the men meet in real life. And once they do ...

Kai slams the door in Garrett's face. Which is totally NOT the reaction Garrett expected when he decided to surprise Kai.

Kai just isn't ready for a 6-foot-something Army vet to show up on his doorstep. But he can't let Garrett go. One touch. One touch is all it takes.

I was so damn excited to read this book, I didn't think it could ever live up to my expectations. But it SURPASSED them.

I am completely in love with this story. Kai and Garrett are awesome and complex MCs. They have an incredible, palpable connection built on trust, mutual respect, and LUST.

LUST, people; it makes the world go round.

Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell are a dream writing team. This book has all of Megan's trademark sweetness mixed with a dash of Santino's grit.

YES, it's a standalone book, and YES, there's a HEA.

But before the HEA, there's insatiable sex and cuddling and bigass care packages. There's tentative grocery shopping and protective Garrett, and Kai realizing he wants to TRY for his man.

Kai's social anxiety isn't brushed aside, and Garrett has to decide between taking a promising job out of state and his love for Kai. Or maybe he doesn't.

What I loved most about Strong Signal is that the angst never overshadows the relationship. Kai and Garrett are the real deal. Garrett has a supportive mother and sister, and coming out to them results in no drama. That's right. Zero. Family. Drama.

And, hell, but I LOVE that: awesome families, scorching sex, a gruff soldier & a gaymer twink. PERFECTION!


Bring on book 2 (Costigan's story)! Trust me on this: There's more to Costigan than what Garrett sees. Go easy on him.

Get the book:


You can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.
~C.S Lewis

An ARC of this book was provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review. 

Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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