What I’m Talking About:
3/10/2018 Edited to Add: Please note, this review was written and posted prior to the occurrences brought to light in recent days (https://goo.gl/Y7WB7F). The book was read and reviewed in good faith and as presented at the time. The posting of this review in no way condones the actions of author.
Unwilling to remain stagnant like the majority of his peers, and lacking other options, Dominic Costigan joined the Army straight out of high school, any “growing up” he had to do being done with a gun in his hands on the front lines of war. Now that he’s back, he’s quickly discovering that the home he knew, and most of those in it, is more foreign and ill-fitting than ever. Lonely and eager to explore his newfound sexual interest in men, he decides that a no-strings, internet-spawned hookup would be a fine place to start over again—especially if it means protecting his already battle-worn heart.
Luke Rawlings is done with relationships. Out of the two he’s had that mattered, one ended with two amazing kids and an incredible ex-wife, while the other resulted in his being discharged from the Army and his former boyfriend briefly kidnapping his children. All he wants, or needs, now is to make sure his landscaping business stays profitable, to take care of his teenagers, and keep his sexual engagements as impersonal as possible. Lucky for him, Grindr was made for exactly that.
After eagerly anticipating the release of Fast Connection, the second story in the Cyberlove series by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell, I was both pleased and unsurprised to find that it was as fun and thoughtfully written as I imagined it would be. Whereas Strong Signal, the first in the series, didn’t explore the mingling of the virtual world with the “real” one until later in the narrative, Fast Connection takes place amid the interchange of one with the other throughout, handily reaffirming the validity of online relationships along the way.
In a testament to the authors’ writing abilities, Dominic transformed from an abrasive, insecure bully with a serious control problem into a thoughtful, insecure survivor who wants a better future for himself and his family. In Fast Connection, that earlier façade is given a degree of substance I hadn’t expected, and appreciated all the more for it. Dominic doesn’t make excuses, which I was glad to see, instead waving his mistakes ahead of him, almost as a warning, lest anyone see too much potential in him. Rather than wallowing, he seemed to want to hope very badly, but couldn’t quite find his way there on his own.
Luke, as it happens, is the perfect person to help Dominic do that. Having been burned before, he’s arranged his life exactly the way he wants it. He has rules and “boxes” aplenty, along with an impressive determination that they’ll shield him from anyone getting under his skin. Endearingly, it’s not that Dominic refuses to accept Luke’s boundaries, it’s just that his own are so scribbly and (seemingly) amorphous that Luke’s begin to blur before he can stop them. Then, he realizes he doesn’t want to. Which I enjoyed very much.
Another facet of Fast Connection that was in opposition to its predecessor is the juxtaposition between the physical and the emotional, particularly if considering distance, when it comes to matters of the heart. Unlike Kai and Garrett, it is the sexual convenience of his and Dominic’s situation that Luke, in particular, thinks will keep Dominic from getting too close. It is their communication via the Grindr app, however, that allows them to grow more comfortable and affectionate with one another, making it possible for Dominic, with his openness and initial naïveté, to slip behind Luke’s carefully constructed walls.
Fast Connection is an excellent addition to this timely and on-point series. The Ms. Erickson and Mr. Hassell don’t let either character off easy, instead making them deal with the fact that the past is never that far behind us, and that sometimes even the most well-laid plans aren’t enough. Dominic and Luke are both intriguingly complicated in very different ways, and yet I very much wanted them both to be happy together. The reappearance of Garrett and Kai was yet another highlight of the story for me, and it was a relief to see them doing well. All in all, I like this series tremendously, and I’m extremely glad that there are more stories from these authors yet to come.
My Rating: A, Loved It
About the Book:
After a decade of serving in the Army, everyone still expects me to be Dominic ‘Nicky’ Costigan—the skirt-chasing player. They don’t know I’ve been spending my days trying to figure out my post-military life. Including how to pick up guys.
When I meet Luke on a hookup app, he makes it clear it’s for one-night only. That’s fine with me, because I’m down to see what this silver fox can do. But after I arrive at his doorstep, it doesn’t take long to realize we have serious chemistry, and we end up meeting again.
He’s got more walls around his heart than a military base, but I think he’s as addicted to me as I am to him. He can’t resist me for long. I mean, who can? Except Luke’s rules exist for a reason, and when I test his limits, things get complicated. Maybe too complicated.
Release Date: July 11, 2016
Publisher: Megtino Press
Series: Cyberlove #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ, m/m
Format(s): paperback (246 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Author
Reviews in the Series:
Strong Signal by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell (Cyberlove #1)