Monday, February 6, 2017

ARC Review: Hard Wired (Cyberlove #3) by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

Hard Wired (Cyberlove, #3)
My FallenCon agenda is simple: sit on a couple of panels and let people meet the real me. Jesse Garvy—mod of a famous Twitch channel and, if I ever come out of my shell, future vlogger. I definitely didn’t plan to sleep with a moody tattooed fan-artist, but he’s gorgeous and can’t keep his hands off me. There's a first time for everything, and my first time with a guy turns out to be the hottest experience of my life.

But the next day, I find out my moody fan-artist is Ian Larsen AKA Cherry—someone I've known online for years. And he'd known exactly who I was while shoving me up against that wall. Before I figure out whether to be pissed or flattered, the con ends.

Now we're back online, and he's acting like nothing happened. But despite the distance between us, and the way he clings to the safety of his online persona, we made a real connection that night. I don't plan to let him forget.

Todd's rating:

With Jesse Garvy what you see is what you get. A blond, laid-back, broke, surfing gamer with a heart of gold.

However, artist Ian Larsen is way more... complicated. Especially where his alter-egos are concerned.

When acting as chat moderator on Kai Bannon's Twitch channel, he's Cherry. Perky, upbeat, personable and very emoji-friendly.

But when he's Cerise, he's a slutty fuckboy fanartist, who could give a shit what others think. Cerise is Ian's angsty armor if he's walking into a situation where Ian himself simply can't cope.

Garvy had never 'seen' Ian, actually thinking that his co-moderator Cherry was a girl, until he met Cerise drawing in his booth at the Con, they immediately hit it off, had a bit of tryst, then Cerise was revealed to be Ian.

After Ian ran away, literally, Garvy reached out and they slowly began repairing the damage done by Ian's lies, but it was slow going.
A good 90% of the drama and angst in this story is squarely on Ian's shoulders. My reviewing friends have described Ian all along the spectrum from endearing to exhausting. For myself, I'd probably have to go with endearingly exhausting , if I'm being totally honest. ;- )

This book was by far the angstiest of the three in this series, but I still really loved most of the story, including the introduction of Beau, Jesse's cousin and likely MC in the next story, TrashyZane, another candidate for future MC, and Lyrix, a complete douche that Cerise used to screw at Cons.

Side note: I'm personally hoping that the pairing in the next book is Beau and Lyrix, which would be insanely difficult to write, but I'd love to see the redemption of Lyrix, much like Dominic's redemption in book 2. But that's just me.

The sex in this one was fairly steamy, but it felt less frequent than in past books, which is just an observation, not a shortcoming in any way.

I was very glad that there was no actual break up in this story, that they just kept working through their issues, uncomfortable as it was.

And I also loved the strong HFN, working toward an HEA, epilogue. It really showed how much Ian had grown and how playful he and Jesse were together once they'd gotten their relationship bearings.

This was a solid 4.25 “nothing-feels-like-you” star read and I can't wait to continue reading further installments in this series.

My ARC copy of the story was provided by the author in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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