Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell
Series: Cyberlove, #3
Publisher: Megtino Press
Release Date: February 13, 2017
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance / Gaymers
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.
Universal Global Link: books2read.com/hardwired
I kept staring at Jesse as he hesitantly hung out by my booth. After another few seconds, I stood and drew myself to my full height. I was nothing like how people pictured Cherry—I was tall and lanky, and the contrast of inky black tats and hair against pale skin were the things that usually attracted people to me. Jesse was…maybe not an exception? He kept checking me out, those ocean-blue eyes tracing the lines of the wispy dragon floating down my upper arm and even going as far as the spiked tail curling around my elbow to dip onto my forearm.
And that was why the Hi, I’m actually your co-mod confession wouldn’t come out. Would his gaze stop roving over my body? Would he be irritated at having been misled in Chat? I could see both happening.
The confession died before managing to crawl up my throat.
“I should buy something,” he said.
“If you want to.”
“It probably makes more sense than me just standing here. Um, do you have any Fallen World—” He broke off when I jerked my head at the wall behind me.
It was literally filled with FWO art. There was even one of Kai with his big headset on. I counted the seconds until he saw it, and my stomach curdled when his eyes lit up.
“It was a request online,” I said curtly. “But I know who he is.”
“Oh.” Jesse wilted a bit, but he kept sneaking glances at me. “I’m a moderator on his Twitch channel. Everyone here, well the people who watch it, know me as Garvy. My, uh, my real name is Jesse.”
Did it count as not lying if I never actually said I didn’t know who he was? If I avoided talking about the channel and Kai and how, ever since Kai had reached out to tap us both for the mod jobs, I’d noticed and appreciated how protective Jesse had always been?
I was a fucking liar, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that he wouldn’t be staring at me quite this hard if he knew who I was. He’d be too focused on me not being what he’d assumed. The girl in the messed-up Lara Croft drawing. Someone sweet and endearing. Someone likable. Someone without a ton of baggage and a healthy fear of the real world.
“There’s a Twitch party tonight,” I said after a while. “Are you going?”
“Yeah, maybe. Kai doesn’t come to cons, so it will be a lot of other famous streamers I haven’t ever met in person.” Jesse looked at one of my leather-bound notebooks and flipped one open. Inside, was my own hand-drawn FWO comic. His eyes got huge, but he tamped down on his geeked-out response. “I’ll probably hang out for a while.”
“We could hang out if you go.”
It was out of my mouth before I could take it back. I had no plan in place for us hanging out at a party, but…I definitely needed to find a time to tell him who the hell I was. A time that was before our Gaymer Kai panel and not in the middle of Artist Alley with his friend eavesdropping nearby. And when I was more prepared to explain why the fuck I was so odd. I didn’t even know how to explain. Maybe alcohol would help since my initial plan of action had been to curtly out myself at the panel without giving anyone a chance to talk shit. This flirtation beforehand hadn’t been in the cards even though I’d fantasized about it.
“Seriously?” Jesse tightened his hand around the comic. “You want to hang out?”
“Sure. You’re cute. I’m here alone. We both like FWO.” I jerked my chin at the comic. “That’s five hundred bucks, by the way. Try not to bend it.”
“Oh shit.” Jesse dropped it like his hands were on fire. “Sorry. Your art is just really beautiful. I follow a lot of fan artists, but yours is amazing.”
“Thanks.” I looked down at the comic again. “Meet by the ballroom around ten?”
“Yes. That sounds great.” Jesse started backing away, inch by inch. “What’s your name?”
“Cerise. But…” Why was I saying more? I never told people at cons my real name. Even if I hooked up with them. “My real name is Ian. I’m, uh, Ian.”
He grinned, not noticing how I’d stumbled over my own name. The only time I introduced myself that way was to business clients. It was too much reality for this place. This fantasyland where I was so much more.
“See you later, Ian!”
I was doomed.
Follow Cerise on Tumblr: https://artboycerise.tumblr.com/
Check out All the Books in the Cyberlove Series
About the Authors
Santino HassellSantino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author. Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences. Social Media: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | FB Group | Patreon