Author: Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 07/11/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Romance
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.
*FAST CONNECTION is a standalone, full-length romance novel with no cliffhanger*
An excellent, compassionate, complex story, written seamlessly by two authors who clearly work well together. I suspect that Erickson is the voice of Luke Rawlings and Hassell gives life to Dominic Costigan, but that’s purely academic. It doesn’t matter. The authors have created authentic characters who reach off the page and grab you by the heart.
The novel, an “adjacent” story to that of “Strong Signal,” the first of the so-call Cyberlove series. The action is set in Staten Island, a borough of New York that I can literally see from my front yard in New Jersey, but about which I know very little. Both Luke and Dominic are veterans of America’s latest disastrous wars, and both bear psychological scars of a military service that didn’t quite live up to its promises. They are proud, but they are wounded. An important factor is that both men are bisexual, but Luke is older by a decade or so, and unlike Dominic, married very young before he understood that fact. Dominic is at loose ends, living with his dysfunctional family again, and deciding to explore his same-sex attraction after a lifetime of dating only women.
What I love about that narrative that these two author have created is that they’ve presented us with a believable world with ordinary people living in ordinary places. Luke and Dominic are not slick, trendy New Yorkers. They live in the unfashionable borough. They’re working Joes with modest education and modest ambitions. They want to be independent and self-sufficient. They want to contribute to society. They want to be content and to be loved. This kind of basic realism makes them surprisingly accessible, and gives the sexual/romantic fantasy a plausibility that resonates differently from other kinds of overtly romantic plotlines.
The authors have also created an emotional/psychological setting that is richly complex—full of flawed people who are nonetheless worthy of compassion. There are no easy solutions here. Everybody has to give, has to forgive, to move forward. I particularly loved the men’s families and how integral they were to Luke and Dominic’s happiness. Having Luke and Dominic meet through a Grindr hookup was a brilliant ploy, because it creates a clear delineation between sex and emotion, and then uses that boundary to highlight the emotional growth of both characters over the course of the story.
All that said, Erickson and Hassell have held surprisingly strictly to the rules of M/M fiction. They’ve done it without feeling trite or sappy. This was a hugely satisfying book, demonstrating the capability of the M/M world to produce contemporary LGBT fiction of which we can all be proud.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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