Title: Hard Wired
Series: Cyberlove, #3
Authors: Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell
Publisher: Megtino Press
Release Date: February 13, 2017
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance / Gaymers
My FallenCon agenda is simple: sit on a couple of panels and let people meet the real me. Jesse Garvy—mod of a famous Twitch channel and, if I ever come out of my shell, future vlogger. I definitely didn’t plan to sleep with a moody tattooed fan-artist, but he’s gorgeous and can’t keep his hands off me. There’s a first time for everything, and my first time with a guy turns out to be the hottest experience of my life.
But the next day, I find out my moody fan-artist is Ian Larsen AKA Cherry—someone I’ve known online for years. And he’d known exactly who I was while shoving me up against that wall. Before I figure out whether to be pissed or flattered, the con ends.
Now we’re back online, and he’s acting like nothing happened. But despite the distance between us, and the way he clings to the safety of his online persona, we made a real connection that night. I don’t plan to let him forget.
Hard Wired (Cyberlove #3)
by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell
Amazing.. Adorable.. Angsty..
It might be the fact that this story was a bit angstier than the previous books.
I just love angst in my books!!!… But I can safely say that Hard Wired replaced Fast Connection as my favorite in this series, at least regarding storyline and characters. There was one thing that niggled me a bit, but I will come back to it later.
The beginning of Hard Wired takes us back to the games convention in Boston.We already visited in the previous book, from where Dom retrieved his little runaway sister and her boyfriend. We also know Jesse Garvy and Ian Larsen, the two mods of Kai Bannon’s Twitch channel – better known as Garvy and Cherrycakes- being at the convention to represent Kai who cannot go himself due to his social anxiety.
So far, everybody deemed Cherrycakes to be a girl and not a man with a secret crush on Jesse for a long time. The convention is their first meeting in person which is already doomed to go awry because of said secret. When they finally meet, sparks fly, although Ian struggles with the right time to tell Jesse the truth. When his fear of being too late apparently proves to be true, Jesse’s initial reaction sends Ian into a spin and results in him taking flight. What follows is a fight for a connection to deepen into a relationship, which proves to be anything but easy.
“ There weren‘t many things in my life I fought for. Ever. Something told me this was a risk worth taking.“ ~Jesse~
Both, Ian and Jesse, are some damaged characters due to their past.
Ian, with his tattoos and piercings, feels rejected all his life. Literally. His own parents dumped him as a baby, followed by an abusive childhood in foster care and Ian comes to the conclusion that he is simply not likable.He tries to hide his insecurities, his vulnerability, and his issues in dealing with other people behind his two alter-egos.
Cerise, the cynical, seemingly confident fan-artist whose dream is to visit an art school in order to improve his drawing skills to make something of himself and Cherrycakes, the sweet and endearing mod of Kai’s channel, everybody loves for his/her witty comments.
“ My personas were all I had. My online friends... my only friends. My art was my world. And Kai‘s chat had become a second home. Without it? Who was I?“ ~Ian~
I would not call it a split personality because of him choosing these “personas” deliberately and not due to an illness, but rather a way to build up a facade, to feel strong and loved at the same time. To find his place in the world. He has a long way to go to accept himself, to accept the fact that each and every persona is a part of himself.
Jesse seems to be the only adult in his family.
He is just too good to be true, which does not contribute to his own good.He has an abusive past of a different kind, with his parents taking advantage of his left and right, guilt-tripping him into supporting them financially, what might cost him his own dream of becoming a vlogger like his cousin and best friend, Beau. Believe me, his parents made me throw a tantrum more than once and you can be glad that you are not my neighbors, otherwise you would have probably heard me ranting and raving at them through the walls. Loud.
I loved Jesse for not giving up on Ian, for pursuing his attraction and love for this man, even though he is always the one to call and does not really get something back at the beginning. Ian was the one I wanted to hug constantly. My heart went out to him and his story made me even choke sometimes.
They were just perfect for each other, in giving each other strength and reinforcing their self-confidence. In convincing each other not only to chase their dreams but to make them come true. In giving each other hope not only for their personal but also for their professional future.
As for the one thing that niggled me and what is the reason for me to give this book 4.5 instead of 5 stars: I don’t mind the insight into the background of a convention. On the contrary, I found it rather interesting, since I will presumably visit a convention myself this year, not a games convention, but a convention nonetheless.What bugged me, though, was that this book was a bit heavy on – I don’t even know how to call it – gamer speech? Slang? Pin it on me being too old or maybe on the fact that I don’t have children at this age or that I live in Germany, but there were quite a few words I had to google, what somewhat disturbed my reading flow sometimes.
Overall, though, this story feels as real as the first two and that is still what I love the most about this series.
An ARC of Hard Wired was kindly provided by the Authors to DirtyBooksObsession in exchange for an honest review.
Megan Erickson is a USA Today bestselling author of romance that sizzles. Her books have a touch of nerd, a dash of humor, and always have a happily ever after. A former journalist, she switched to fiction when she decided she likes writing her own endings better.
She lives in Pennsylvania with her very own nerdy husband and two kids. Although rather fun-sized, she’s been told she has a full-sized personality. When Megan isn’t writing, she’s either lounging with her two cats named after John Hughes characters or… thinking about writing.
Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.
Santino writes queer 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.