I when I first heard Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell wrote a book together I was ridiculously excited. Why? Well, Ms. Erickson has this way of wringing every last emotion out of me until I’m a mess. If you need proof I’ll direct you back to my review of Focus on Me. Then there is Santino Hassell, whose writing is angsty and raw, but so very, very sexy. Just look at my review of Sutphin Boulevard. It was hard for me to imagine all that emotion and dirtiness smushed together in one book. So yeah, I was pretty stoked.
But enough about the authors and my romance wants and needs. Let’s talk about Garrett and Kai.
FYI: I had to have several conversations with my gamer husband and son in order to understand what some of the gamer lingo meant. I’m still scratching my head over some of the explanations.
Garrett is an army mechanic with just a few more months left on his deployment. In order to avoid the monotony of base life and counting down the days until he’s back stateside, he spends his downtime playing online MMO games. One evening he goes online and immediately gets killed by a much stronger, more experienced player. Which pisses him right the fuck off. He’s determined to find out the player’s identity and let him know he didn’t appreciate the dick move. Which is how he meets Kai.
Kai makes his living playing games in real-time on his Twitch channel to thousands of viewers. His large following enables him to make enough money to live comfortably in his safe, secure bubble while still being able to have some contact with the outside world. He has always been an introvert, but over the years, his anxiety has ratcheted up to the point where he very rarely leaves his apartment. So when a big, burly army dude calls him out in front of his fans and then instigates contact through a direct message he is initially standoffish. But one thing leads to another and before he knows it they are emailing back and forth, which leads to care packages and intense getting to know you conversations and some seriously filthy Skype sessions. (Seriously filthy, but completely awesome Skype sessions.)
Not gonna lie, I kind of connected with both Kai and Garrett right off the bat. So much about their relationship and personalities got to me. From Garrett’s being in a war zone and away from home, to Kai’s anxiety, to their shared loved of gaming and connecting online in a real, true, honest way. I loved that they got to know each other through chats and email, but worried about how they would connect when face to face. There’s this hallway/talking through the door scene when they first meet that is just… heartwarming and heart-wrenching at the same time. Garrett is a big, overprotective alpha hero while Kai is fragile and afraid of letting anyone into his safe space. The worry and anxiety they both felt left me a bit raw and emotional. So thank goodness it was immediately followed by a deliciously dirty sex scene.
True to my past reading experiences with each of these authors, there are some serious topics explored. Garrett’s problems finding a job after getting out of the military and Kai’s having to work through his panic attacks and agoraphobia being the main deterrents to them settling down and having a beautiful life together. Thankfully no magical plot devices appear out of thin air to fix these problems for this couple. They must talk it out and work hard to decide what is important to them and how their relationship will go forward. Which made their HEA all the more realistic, and satisfying, to me.
I loved this writing duo. Their writing styles and voices melded beautifully to create two very unique and well drawn out characters with sizzling chemistry. I was a little worried that this would be a one-shot deal but am happy to report that there will be at least one more book in this world. I’m not even going to say who will be the main protagonist in book two, I’ll let you discover that for yourselves, but suffice it to say I’ve already put Fast Connection on my TBR list. Final Grade- B+
I could keep life status quo, and I’d stay alone in my apartment in my own little world. I’d be as happy as I’d been before I’d met Garrett. Except I knew I wouldn’t, not now that I knew how it felt to want someone and have him want me.
In the last couple of years, nothing had made me want to change my lifestyle. Not until now. Not until Garrett.