Series: Cyberlove #1
Author: Megan Erickson, Santino Hassell
Pages: 229 (Kindle)
Publisher: Megtino Press
Release Date: February 15, 2016
Purchase: Amazon•TBD (affiliate link)
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.
What happens when a professional gamer kills the character of a deployed servicemen in an MMO? They fall in love, of course! Strong Signal was so geeky, sexy, and sweet! Garrett has been in the Army for nearly eight years and is on his second tour. He’s mainly on base working as a mechanic, and spends his free time playing FWO. At least until Kai disrupts that when he kills Garrett’s character despite being many levels over him, which is a no-no. Garrett asks about his character and traces that back to his livestream channel. He’s not expecting a hottie or to find a connection with him.
Strong Signal just made me all kinds of happy. Garrett goes from irritated by Kai to protective. Garrett has some experience with internet creeps, and seeing all of Kai’s adoring fans and some trolls brings back those memories. He reaches out to Kai to let him know what’s going on in internetland revolving him, and that soon turns into flirtation, then friendship, then something more. A lot of the first half of the book is written in their e-mails and Gchat transcripts. There’s a mix of jokes, soul-baring, and sexytimes. Mostly sexytimes since Garrett has only been hooking up with straight jerks on base, and Kai hasn’t left his apartment in three years.
There’s a lot of focus on loneliness and isolation in Strong Signal. Kai not leaving his home goes beyond that, but his only source of human contact is through his livestream and with his teenage neighbor. Meanwhile, Garrett is surrounded by people but withdraws and keeps to himself. He’s also not out to his family despite not being ashamed or afraid to. He just hasn’t, which of course does come up when he returns home. Then when Garrett and Kai meet, it’s like the rest of the world doesn’t exist. They stay holed up with each other for days. Yes, they’re in love, but that’s not healthy. This is something that they do work on together, and it makes Kai realize that he does need help.
Strong Signal was just really sweet and super steamy. I loved Garrett and Kai. They’re very different from each other in terms of personality, but they’re both going through similar things although in very different ways. If that makes any kind of sense at all. I loved seeing them come together, offer support, and eventually tackle their issues together. I know it kind of sounds like a save by the power of love story, but it’s not. They just make each other realize what needs to be done in order to live a full life, and that’s a wonderful thing.