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Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell: Fast Connection

Megan Erikson & Santino Hassell--Cyberlove Book 2 - Fast ConnectionFast Connection is the second installment in Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell’s Cyberlove series. Theme aside, this book connects with the first, Strong Signal, by way of Dominic Costigan, Garrett Reid’s “tour homo”.

Dominic is all for exploring his newly realized bisexuality, so he turns to Grindr and with a quick and dirty tutorial from Garrett, he’s ready to go. He’s not looking for anything serious yet, so he’s set his profile to reflect it. First time out he takes an interest in a silver fox named Luke. Even if he’s not looking for happily ever after, Dominic’s a social guy, so, much to Luke’s annoyance, he gets chatty over messaging. Luke’s not really into getting to know his hookups but he plays along just long enough to find a smooth (enough) transition into stating his intentions: he wants to fuck.

What’s below is mostly how I completely spazzed out over this book in real time. There’s also a bit of ruminating as well, though it’s all been edited to tidy up talk-to-text weirdness, curb spoilers, and add punctuation. Even with the curbing of spoilers, this might be best read after reading the story for yourself.

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♂ Dominic is hilarious; I love that he’s looking up “What to wear on a gay hookup”.

♂ Okay, so, Dominic is definitely Santino’s character. I love it! I love it! The way he is freaking out over his first Grindr hookup… The house that he’s going to–first why are you going to somebody’s house anyway?–it doesn’t look like the guy he’s trying to hook up with would live there and he’s freaking out and wondering if people use Grindr to set up gay bashing and then he says that if the guy comes to the door wearing a mask and carrying a hammer and he’s out. I just love the way he is spazzing. God, I missed Santino’s writing!

♂ I cannot wait to see how they get past this first meeting; they are not exactly clashing, but even with the simmering chemistry, it’s not really all that smooth.

♂ Luke seemed really calm and kind of mild-mannered, maybe a bit stern when necessary and, you know, this impression is from the first chapter and I just didn’t see him as this big hulking guy. I thought he was rather trim probably about the same size as Dominic, you know, he just seemed rather quiet, kind of straightforward–not like mean or anything, but I was not expecting what happened in chapter 2.  He is a big dude and Dominic wants to be dominated by him. I am so enjoying this especially because Dominic is so cocky and it’s like one of his weapons against all that Luke is.

♂ Dominic says that he doubted his life choices and the life choices of anyone who ever did it and seemed to like it… This is regarding anyone taking it up the arse. But this part is great though; Dominic’s whole commentary on his first time–writing-wise, I mean. The sex is good too, but the way his experience is forwarded to the reader is great.

♂ So Luke and Dominic are going hard at it and they’re climaxing and then it gets to a point where Dominic’s already had his orgasm and is kind of falling off of it and Luke is in the midst of his and Dominic says, you know, he really thought there was a moment when Luke would be screaming his name, but then he quickly remembered that he didn’t know it and I’m telling you that one line was just so sad, it was really sad. I mean, it’s his first time, you know, being a bottom and he was really enjoying it, but just the way the line came out and the passage just stops right there… It was just very sad and I’m wondering if he’s thinking at that moment that maybe this sort of anonymous sex thing really isn’t what he wants.

♂ I love how Dominic senses that this guy is completely no nonsense, but he still goes along his cool, slow, lazy way through everything, just chillin’. It’s hilarious.

♂ I want to say that Luke is kind of a dick, but he definitely is Mr. No Nonsense, so for anyone to expect more from him when he’s straight-up about just wanting to, you know, get down and dirty… I don’t think it’s so much a problem. I mean, that’s just the way he is and he’s making it clear so anybody that would take offense to it should realize from the beginning that he’s not their type.

♂ I sense a lingering crush on Garrett…

♂ Dominic is kind of a sweetheart even though he is cocky, he really is kind of a sweetheart.

♂ Oh my goodness he’s so conscientious, trying to be a good bottom; it’s so sweet.

♂ I adore how Dominic takes everything in stride; it’s refreshing. Though not really in stride, because he seems to shuffle the deck in his head in the middle of everything, deciding if it would hurt too much to forge ahead, if he should deal with it quietly, or revisit it later–but on the outside, he’s taking it in stride.

♂ Small world! Their sphere of influence overlaps and I appreciate how uncheesy it is. Storytellers use coincidences to tie characters together all the time, but all the time they make it all too obvious like the camera zooming in on an envelope in Murder She Wrote or a knit sweater turned inside out. Then I end up suffering from a dearth of cleverness or the complete lack of a writer’s sense of flow.

♂ Luke is so into Dominic. It’s mutual, though. He really really really likes screwing Dominic and Dominic really really really likes being screwed by him. It’s nice that Dominic’s feeling wanted without any real expectations, well, except for sex. But that Luke desires him just as he is. Even though he doesn’t really know him, but it’s interesting how Dominic sees it that way versus the pressure from his family and from himself not knowing what he wants to do, but there’s Luke, just wanting him.

♂ Dominic is relentless in his off kilter seduction; Luke just does not know what to do with him. They’ve gone from very straightforward short sentences to sexting and Luke is totally down for it.

♂ Luke is showing signs of influence–Dominic’s of course–and Nadia, his ex-wife, calls him on it. Luke’s relationship with her is really nice. It’s a very solid co-parenting relationship, old friend relationship, got over the mess of the divorce not that it was so much of a mess kind of relationship. I really dig her new boyfriend, Anderson, who is very respectful of her, so that’s great.

♂ Luke and Dominic live only a few blocks away from each other. I was wondering when they were going to cross paths. And then it happened and… Dominic hasn’t been upfront about where he works and that it’s a few blocks away from Luke. As Luke said that he and his kids were going to walk down to the place he hadn’t been in a while–it’s his favorite Deli… I just… I just don’t know if this encounter is going to be… I don’t know, man, the fallout from this is hard to pin down. Luke is going to be angry because (he thinks) Dominic lied to him or…? Dominic is definitely going to be embarrassed, but oh my goodness, I don’t want to read this part, but I… but I have to. Because this is the part in the story where two people who really should be seeing each other because they live their lives near each other actually cross paths where their circles actually overlap and I have to hold my breath because it can just go anyway from here. They could just take it in any direction; the story can just go south or… It’s no good, but I think there’s going to be conflict especially for Luke and Dominic is going to be embarrassed because he didn’t want him to know. I’m not entirely sure why especially after all this time but…still.

♂ I am so here for Dominic and his total embrace of his bisexuality and how he fell for the first guy to bang him. And no more “kind of”, he’s a full-blown sweetheart!

♂ I’m glad the initial rift between Luke and Dominic didn’t drag on unnecessarily long and, you know, I’m not even at 50% of the book, so I know there’s going to be some other stuff, but I’m glad this first part didn’t just drag on and on and on.

♂ Hilarious how Luke tries to figure out what type of addiction Dominic is and he’s making a comparison between apples and meth.

♂ I am so on Dominic’s side about some of the lingo on Grindr. He’s like, casually offended.

♂ Here we are just passed 50% and they are a couple. So much stuff left to do. Dominic still has to get his butt in gear with his job, move out of his folks house, and make sure that Adriana, his sister, is safe and taken care of. Luke still has to really come together with all of this, let Nadia know, introduce his kids to Dominic not as Nicky as they know him, but as his boyfriend, Dominic. And Dominic’s parents… So much stuff going on and still 50% of the book remains.

♂ So I just thought of something, so Dominic wants to be an EMT and his dad put him down about that, but Luke encourages him. Now I’m really hoping that he goes ahead and starts with that because I think it would be good for him, but I also hope that something stupid like his dad getting sick or having a heart attack and having to recover and having Dominic stuck in the deli to do the work that he hates doing. I just don’t want to see that. I will be so disappointed if that is the case, I really will be so disappointed.

♂ Didn’t I say I didn’t want this kind of thing to happen?! Not exactly, but close enough! So, Dominic’s talking to Luke about the situation and Dominic mentions his dad threatened to put his lights out when they were arguing and Luke just kind of, not casually, but just like, facts laid bare, “He better think twice before he puts his hands on you.” And I’m… Luke, that’s so sweet! You’re ready to deck somebody’s father because the guy you love might be in trouble. So protective and totally out of line.

♂ Oh, I don’t like this. Dominic goes over to Luke’s on Thanksgiving and after everybody (the Twins, Nadia, and Anderson) goes to their corners of the world, but they aren’t alone in the house, he tries seduce Luke. Luke resists, but the whole scene plays out like something so reminiscent of Luke’s deal with his ex-boyfriend. And that cost him so much. Dominic knows the story… How can he do that?! I don’t like that. I don’t like that parallel. I think that’s really short-sighted of Dominic and kind of weak of Luke, but they both are aware of what happened with Jake and I don’t see how they could go through that again. No, Dominic is not Jake and eventually the kids are going to find out, but I still think that was just playing with fire. Even if the situation turns out well, I still think that that’s just coming a little too close to the past.

♂ Is Dominic ever going to tell Luke how his father found out about him not being straight? I want to read that.

♂ Um… Dominic’s Grindr profile noted that he was interested in people who knew how to spell, but he uses a lot of slang now. I’m not entirely sure where the line is drawn for his preferences and rules, but he uses tho and amirite, but complained about someone spelling better as btr. Also he wrote your instead of you’re, so I’m just wondering whether this is like left overs from a rewrite or the authors forgot that he had this thing about spelling or…I don’t know because it’s not like there was a definitive point at which he started to relax with those sorts of things.

♂ Ah! Dominic’s father coming around, trying to do better, not staying in the rut of being “the man of the house”, “the breadwinner”, or Mr. I-know-everything, trying to remember to call Dominic Dominic and not Nicky. Good stuff. Good stuff. That’s progress.

♂ I guess I haven’t said much about Luke and as I’m now at the end of the story, I suppose I should because even though I’ve been spazzing, this is still a type of review. What do I think about him? He’s grumpy and brooding and I like that. What I also like is that, even though one of the things the story’s about is how Dominic crashed through the walls he built, it didn’t become a story about a guy who hates everybody except this one person or this small group of people. Luke isn’t a people person, but he’s not dismissive or rude to people. He’s just baseline civil and distant. Which is fine. He cares deeply for those close to him and would rather not deal with anyone else, but it’s not a case of Dominic and Luke’s inner circle being the recipient of all his goodness and him actively hating everyone else. You can’t trust people or characters like that or storytellers who think that’s okay.

What else? Yeah, I love the way he takes Dominic by the chin–I melt every time. Can I also say that I’m glad that Luke is Dominic’s type? So, Dominic was crushing hard on Garrett, but that didn’t work out and then he meets Luke and he’s a lot like Garrett. Stoic, rather inflexible, grumpy, and tall and gorgeous as all get out. But stories like to play that game of maybe you need to go against type to find happiness. Fine, if they like bad boys with a penchant for knocking over geriatrics and using kids as shields in a shootout, then going for a different flavor is the only choice to make. But it doesn’t always have to be that way and I’m glad they didn’t take it there. I think saying anymore will get too spoilery, so I’ll ask some questions instead. Just a curiosity and some clarifications because…editing:

  1. What did Luke do the weekend between his first and second time with Dominic.
  2. Is Luke’s company Rawlings’ Landscapes or Rawlings’ Landscaping?
  3. Is Luke’s hair black or brown?

Okay. I’m still getting used to this format and I’m not sure how to close out, so I suppose I’ll offer this:

I think Luke and Dominic have a great dynamic; they complement each other so well. There is an age difference and Luke is kind of set in his ways, but he loves Dominic so much that he allows himself to be influenced by him and to learn from him. Dominic looks to Luke as a lover but also as a guide of sorts. He trusts his judgement, but not blindly so. It’s great that they care for each other and swoon over each other, but also call each other on their BS and hold their ground when needed…though they are still, somehow, weak for each other. There are a number of characters that I think are sexy and I’ve read a lot of hot sex scenes, but I’ve just realized that there are very few couples that I find the very idea of them sexy. Luke and Dominic are one of the few.

I can honestly say that I love these two more than I love Garrett and Kai. It’s only by a little bit, but I didn’t think that would be the case, so I’m surprised. I don’t think it’s too much to assume that the next couple in the series is going to be Garvy and Cherry, Kai’s mods. I’m looking forward to seeing what the deal is with Garvy who never defended or corrected his orientation when it was briefly debated in Kai’s Twitch chat. And Cherry who is not so cheery in person.

All things considered and considered well, this was a great story and I am all for more of whatever Erickson and Hassell get up to together.

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