Strong Signal

Strong Signal

by Megan Erickson, Santino Hassell


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Strong Signal by Megan Erickson, Santino Hassell

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.

*Strong Signal is a standalone, full-length novel with no cliffhanger*

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781530071258
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 02/15/2016
Pages: 228
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.52(d)

About the Author

Megan Erickson is the author of the In Focus series, including Trust the Focus, Focus on Me, and Out of Frame. She worked as a journalist covering real-life dramas before she decided that she liked writing her own endings better and switched to fiction. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids, and two cats.

Santino Hassell writes LGBTQ romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Guy Locke has been a happy nomad for most of his life, having lived throughout the United States and Canada and adventured across Europe and Asia. A lover of the beauty of language, he is also an avid fan of hockey and baked goods.

Eric London is a professional actor who has extensive audiobook experience as a director and narrator. A member of the Audio Publishers Association, Eric also lends his voice to commercial spots and other voice-over projects.

Customer Reviews

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Strong Signal (Cyberlove, #1) 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
toniFMAMTC More than 1 year ago
Garrett is really gruff. He doesn't have much use for most people. To combat the uncertainty in his life, he unwinds with a popular MMORPG. Kai is the belle of the ball in his side of the gaming universe. He has loads of fans and interaction on Twitch, but his person-to-person life is a different story. I love how realistic the characters and scenes are. The flow is seamless, and my connection with the storyline takes no effort. The flaws and difficulties make the men relatable and speak to me on a human level. They deal with real life issues like finding employment and social anxiety. I honestly was not expecting the depth Garrett and Kai gave. Without realizing I was getting to that point, I found myself totally wrapped up in their relationship and falling hard. Oh, the romantic feels, and I even shed a few tears. I don't think they could have found in another what they have together, but they still face their relationship realistically. Strong Signal is a beautiful fairytale and real world romance simultaneously. It is a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent story. The dialog is perfect and the chemistry between Kai and Garrett is so hot!
AvaJae More than 1 year ago
This was SO CUTE. Loved it! And Kai's anxiety really resonated too—RECOMMENDED. I need book two.
NyteKit More than 1 year ago
'm not a big fan of straight romance stories but I am a fan of Santino so I read them anyway. And I really enjoyed this. It was fun, funny, and sexy all throughout. It was also different reading from the perspective of characters who actually talk how people I know talk, Kai in particular. It was really a fun read and I'd love to read more about these guys if I could.
Susan65 More than 1 year ago
This was an incredible start to a new series, and one where I am so totally excited for the next book. I was initially unsure what to expect, even once it started I thought it might be beyond me because I am not a gamer. However, those fears were completely unfounded because these two guys, Garrett and Kai, are absolutely amazing together. Garrett is deployed in Afghanistan where he spends all his free time playing video games. It’s during one of his games when his archer character is killed by another player. Because he was so upset, he researched who the other player was, expecting to see some loser who got off on ruining the games for lower level players. What he finds is Kai. The most beautiful man he has ever seen and he can’t help but follow his streamer account. And his porn account…hot hot hot. Kai is a remarkable character. He suffers from a social disorder, bordering on agoraphobia. He has panic attacks when in unfamiliar places on or in social situations. His life is limited to his apartment, his chat and his videos. You feel for the guy because he has no family and his only real friend is a teenage neighbor. The arrogance, the confident and outgoing personality are in complete contrast to his real life. A life that somehow now includes an ongoing friendship/online romance with Garrett. These two connect like crazy with their Skype sessions and chats…and how that could be as hot, and it was, is incredible to me. The character development is so complete that you know when they finally meet in person that the groundwork has already been set in place. And when they do meet for the first time, it was a combination of heartbreaking, humorous, sweet, and hot as hell. What a great couple these two guys are. They are just perfect for each other. My heart was either in pain or jumping for joy. The emotional backlash from this story is immediate and heartfelt. One simply cannot read this book and not feel an emotional attachment to this guys. So, two thumbs up for this new series; I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone, especially those who love a fully fleshed out story, with complex but fully developed characters. The fact that one is damaged will appeal to many readers, especially since he is able to overcome many of his issues because of the love he receives from his partner. Loved this book, and you will too.
RockemsockemRachel More than 1 year ago
This book was everything I wanted it to be and more. I am a huge fan of Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell as separate writers. Together? They are a force to be reckoned with. The combination of their writing styles was flawless. The story flowed seamlessly no matter who was writing which part. And if I hadn't known going in, who wrote whom, I don't think I would have been able to guess. Each character maintained it's writers distinct style but at the same time felt like either person could have written them. That is a testament to how amazingly well these two work together. The story was so phenomenal. It was an homage to online relationships, be they platonic, romantic or somewhere in between. The connections people form this way are real and strong and something I relate to very deeply. I loved the basis of the connection Kai and Garrett initially form and the way it allows them to be so open and honest with one another. They formed a friendship first, which is absolutely crucial and it blossomed from there into something real and lasting. The chemistry the two characters exhibited even through a computer screen was off the charts and when they finally met in person, it exploded from there. I loved the way the two of them worked with each other to embrace the change from computer connection to face to face. The love they developed for one another was unchanged by the removal of thousands of miles between them. They are each strong characters on their own and completely easy to relate to. The story was funny, emotional, touching and of course, scorching. It was a great read and one I loved getting lost in. I am not a gamer, nor have I ever been, but I was still able to connect to this book because of the friendships I have made in other online venues. This story is important in so many ways, least of which is the fact that it shows you can make a lasting connection with a person before you ever talk to them face to face across a table. I love everything Megan and Santino did here and I am so excited for their next collaboration and all stories they write together down the line!!
LovinLosLibros More than 1 year ago
4.5/5 stars When I first saw Megan was writing this book, I was already in. I love her books, so it was a given that I needed this one. She has combined forces with Santino Hassell and holy hell did these two kill this book. This nerdy gamer girl all kinds of geeked out over the lingo and I found myself torn between wanting to read and going to game! (Kai and Garrett won by the way.) So fangirling and geeking out aside, this book was hella hot. The romance between those two was SO steamy and sexy. However, it's not without its complications. Both Kai and Garrett are navigating their new relationship and trying to fit the other into their life. Garrett has been deployed to Afghanistan and video games are an escape for him. He is ready to be done, but he also has a lot to think about in terms of his future. He doesn't have a wide array of skill sets to work with, so his scope is pretty slim. He is a mechanic in the military and a damn good one, so he hopes to continue that out in the civilian world. He certainly didn't plan on finding and falling for a Twitch gamer, named Kai. However, the two end up forming a friendship and soon Kai is the one bright spot in Garrett's life. They are definitely attracted to one another, but Kai shies away from talk of meeting for reasons that I don't want to spoil. Kai broke my heart a bit. I loved him so much and I hated that he had to deal with the issues he did. Garrett was so good for him and I am glad he was so supportive. Kai doesn't have family like Garrett does and neither have many friends they can call on either. However, Kai does have Shawn and Shawn's mom, who live down the hall, and I was infuriated when someone tried to defile that with ugliness. Garrett's mom and sister ended up being really great, especially when Garrett came clean to them about his being gay. They are not perfect and sometimes say the wrong things, but they love him no matter what and it was refreshing to see. These two were such a good balance for one another. They are quite different, but they mesh so well together and man was their chemistry explosive! I felt both Megan and Santino did such a great job teaming up together to write this series! I can't wait for the next book!
AmberatWickedGoodblog More than 1 year ago
Im at the point in my reading/reviewing life where I have a few solid favorite authors. The ones who are automatic one clicks. You know the ones im talking about. Those who could write their names repeatedly with a dull crayon and you would throw money at them. Megan Erickson is one of those authors for me. I have read a lot of her stuff and never been disappointed. When I read she was pairing up with Santino Hassell for Strong Signal I was super excited because he is a well known author also, but he is brand new to me. SIGN ME UP! Garrett Reid is a sexy, surly Staff Sergeant in the Army who is deployed for his last tour before coming home. He is a gamer (or gaymer) with a high tech laptop so he can keep his hands and mind occupied while he is away from home. Kai Bannon is a hermit who doesnt leave his apartment. He is a gaming genius who makes his living beta testing video games for companies and live streaming the results on a Twitch channel. His loyal subscribers pay to watch him play and interact with him while his watchdog moderators protect him from the gay bashers and stalkers. The story starts with Garrett’s character being killed by Kai’s character in an online game. Garrett is unhappy about the way it goes down so he goes online to research who Kai is and proceeds to do a bit of harmless cyber stalking. Im not sure what the proper word is to describe the relationship that develops between these two men so im going to go with the one I overuse the most and just say it was beautiful. Garrett.. bless his heart. He TRIED SO HARD. He was so big and manly and tough. But he wanted Kai sooooo much. Garrett was the one that, while reading the book, you would think would fight the feelings. Since even he referred to himself as “closeted”. But nope. He would have chased Kai to the end of the world and back. And im pretty sure he did. Kai, the more… ummm… out (?) of the two, was actually the one who ended up fighting the relationship at first. Until Garrett’s overwhelming cuteness and sexiness and just… perfectness got the best of him. I mean, Im a straight married woman and I fell in love with Garrett. There are several underlying themes in this book that caught my attention besides the love story. Kai’s social anxiety and how the two of them ultimately had to deal with it. Homophobia and Shawn’s mother’s crazy boyfriend. The dudes in the Army bullying Garrett for his lifestyle. There were a lot of touchy subjects brought up in the story and the authors did not shy away from them. Kudos to both of you for that! In today’s ultra PC world, its nice to see these subjects addressed head on. I basically loved everything about this book. It was a definite 5 star read all the way around. I want to thank the authors for allowing me the opportunity to be on the tour!
Mari-BayouBookJunkie More than 1 year ago
*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review. *** Garrett is counting down the days until the end of his deployment, his only entertainment is his laptop where he plays video games at night. The last thing he expected was to become fixated on a fellow gamer, a famous gamer at that, with his own stream channel. When he realized just how obsessed he was becoming with Kai, and seeing how others were even worse than him, Garrett decides to contact Kai and slowly they develop a friendship that evolves into something more. But is whatever they've built enough to survive meeting in real life once Garrett's deployment is over? I loved Garrett and Kai. They are amazing characters, both on their own and together. Garrett was so protective, patient, supportive and loving. Kai was an introvert, with deeply ingrained social anxiety issues and it was heartbreaking seeing him struggle at times with it all, and then by the end of the book, I was also so proud of him for being strong enough to work on his issues for himself and for what he wanted to achieve with Garrett. This was such a fantastic, seamless collaboration by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell. The book is amazing, full of emotion, great dialogue, sizzling chemistry and endearing characters that you can't help but love and root for. Definitely a must-read and one that will go right up on my Top Five reads for sure! Rating: 5+ Stars!!!
Mary Mulvey More than 1 year ago
Oh, how I loved Kai and Garrett's story! I couldn't put this book down. The concept of these two men finding their love connection while online is just perfectly portrayed in Strong Signal. The idea that two people can experience that instant, unexplained attraction while online that many have experienced in person had me totally in love with this story. Garrett is deployed in Afghanistan and Kai is a gamer supporting himself with a streaming video channel for gamers. Garrett is a gamer too, and when these two tangle online and Kai abuses Garrett's character, well, things start out a little rocky. As they start talking online, they realize just how much they have in common. They are both introverts, love gaming, and are socially awkward. Their friendship turns into more as they get to know each other better. I loved the way the authors took their time and portrayed the gradually deepening of their relationship. It made these characters real for me. But Kai has some real issues to deal with and he's convinced that Garrett will dump him as soon as he realizes what they are. When Garrett shows up at his door, Kai is left to face his fears if he wants this relationship to continue. After the guys spend a weekend together, it's pretty clear that their feelings for each other are very deep and something they want to build on, but Kai's social anxiety issues could make that just a pipe dream. Strong Signal will definitely be going on my Favorites of 2016 list. I adored this book. The character voices are well defined, the writing is top-notch and the story is perfection. If you like M/M, this is one to read. Highly recommended.
Maria-Rose More than 1 year ago
The life that Kai lives as an online gamer is one that I’m familiar with only on the periphery. But it sounds exactly right as a career for someone with social anxiety, as is the case with Kai. Interestingly, this anxiety only extends to actual outings outside of the home, because from the safety of his bedroom, he has no inhibitions. He’s done online porn for extra cash (solo endeavors, no partners) and he’s made a name for himself as an accomplished and popular gamer, with a huge following. Plus, he actually earns an income from people donating to him to keep his website up and running, as well as trying beta versions of games for companies that value his opinion (and his popularity). His friends are limited to online ones (who are very loyal but don’t know anything other than what Kai tells them) and a single mother and her teenage son who live in his apartment building and help him get groceries and such. Garrett is the first person that Kai has really connected with in ages, and even though it’s over the internet, they do share a lot about themselves (except for Kai’s mental illness – that he keeps to himself). Garrett comes across as a solid guy, a gruff, no-nonsense man, one who does his job and does it well. He’s glad for the skills he’s picked up in the military, and he made the choice to join out of necessity – money was tight, and still is for his mom and sister. He’s hopeful that he’ll be able to get a job fairly easily when he gets home, but first things first, he plans to surprise Kai. That meeting – well, I won’t spoil it for you, but it does not turn out at all the way Garrett expected. Their in-person relationship takes them some time to get used to but cements the feelings that began online. While they can exist in a bubble for a short time, soon reality forces its way in, along with the uncertainty of the future. There were a lot of emotional moments in this story, dealing with the reality of Kai’s anxiety disorder and Garrett’s stress over leaving the military and having to find a job. But there were lots of funny scenes too. And the sex! Whoo boy, there was some smokin’ hot sex here too! This definitely belongs in the erotic romance category, because once these two got going, there wasn’t much stopping them. Still, great sex doesn’t sustain a relationship. It requires communication and hard work to take those steps towards the future. Lucky for us, all’s well that ends well, and we get a very satisfactory conclusion to this unique and entertaining romance. I’m not sure what’s planned next in this series, but suffice it to say this duo is worth keeping in your sights. 4.5 stars.
kimberlyfaye More than 1 year ago
Gah! I can't tell you just how much I LOVED THIS BOOK. Garrett and Kai were fantastic. They drew me in separately from the start but once together? That's when the magic happened. It might sound like a bit of an odd pairing - the closeted soldier and the former dancer turned recluse Internet gaming star - but they really couldn't have been more perfect for each other. Not only were the sexy times hot AF, but I loved the softer, sweeter side of both of these guys and all the feels that came along with them. If this book's going to work for you, you have to understand or believe that you truly can make a deep and personal connection with someone, sight unseen, online. And I do. I've been there. My first serious relationship started with a guy I met on AOL. (Yes, I'm totally dating myself here.) Some of my very best friends are people I've met online first and then eventually in person. But enough about me. I really do think "online" relationships get a bad rap. Not everyone's out to catfish someone. This book proves it. Kai and Garrett's meeting was unconventional to me. I've never been an online gamer. I know nothing about the world of Twitch Chat. I was entering into a whole new world here, but it didn't matter a bit. It was obvious Megan and Santino did their homework. It felt more like I was living this book than just simply reading it. I was engrossed in the world of online gaming and everything that went along with it. I was totally geeking out... and I loved it. The romance was, of course, my favorite part. You're not surprised, are you? I loved how these seemingly dissimilar characters came together and got to know each other. They became such an integral part of each other's day – even from thousands of miles away – that it didn't take long for some real and raw feelings to develop between them. I loved Garrett's protective vibe and how it played against Kai's public persona and his private struggles. These two made me FEEL all the things. I thought I would die the first time they hooked up online and when they met in person?! Everything exploded. I loved that their in person reality was as powerful as their online connection. (Dude, and those sexy times. Get a fan. Maybe some ice cubes.) I laughed and cried with these two. They made me happy and I feared my heart would shatter at times. But in the end I was left smiling and all but hugging my iPad to my chest. LOVED. I've loved Megan's books since I first picked up Make It Count what now seems like FOREVER ago. New adult, adult, straight or gay... it doesn't matter. If she writes it, I'll read it and love it. There's just something about her writing that I adore. (Actually there are lots of things, but I won't get into all of them.) She's wonderful. Santino is a new-to-me author and I have to read more of his books ASAP. I was so impressed with this pairing. It was magical. They complemented each other absolutely perfectly. They should write books together forever. I'd read every single one of them. I'm already ridiculously excited for the next book in the Cyberlove series. I need Costigan's story ASAP! I can't wait for Fast Connection this fall. Eeep! I received a copy of this book from the authors in exchange for an honest review.