Desert Isle Keeper
Fast Connection is a highly enjoyable and readable stand-alone, full-length romance novel, although Garrett and Kai from the first in this series – Strong Signal – do make a brief appearance.
Dominic ‘Nicky’ Costigan returns to his parent’s bagel deli in Staten Island, after a decade of serving in the Army. Everyone expects him to be the skirt-chasing player he was when he enlisted. They don’t know how confused he is trying to figure out post-military life, or that he is just as happy to pick up men.
Advised to try Grindr for a hook-up, Dominic meets Luke Rawlings on the app, who makes it clear it’s for one-night only. Dominic is fine with that and is looking forward to no strings sex with the ‘silver fox’. After arriving on Luke’s doorstep, it doesn’t take long before they realise there is some serious sexual chemistry between them, and Luke breaks all his rules when they arrange to meet again.
I really enjoyed the characterisations in Fast Connection especially of the two main protagonists. These men have personalities, back stories, growth and real emotion; they also react rather than just spout dialogue. When one cares about the characters, a novel doesn’t need unbelievable obstacles or dire injuries to keep the reader wanting more. I loved Dominic because he is unsure of himself and his future. He also cares deeply for his family, even though his father bordered on the abusive throughout his childhood, and that behaviour seems to be worsening. Dominic worries for his younger sister Adriana, who is now on the receiving end of much of their father’s temper.
I have no experience of a Staten Island deli and yet I was totally caught up in Dominic’s world – the smells, food, slang – and his insecurities. Dominic also lightens every conversation with his humour, which I loved. Luke seems very different – a self-made man, also bi-sexual, but older with two teenage children and a past that makes him fearful of having love in his life. Reading about the good relationship he has with his ex-wife is fantastic; it’s so refreshing to read about these two parents joking with each other and caring about each other’s lives. Too often in gay or bi romance, past relationships with females are portrayed in a very negative manner. However, Luke has main custody of their children, which means his sex life has to be planned and speedy.
The essence of this romance is how to fit love into your existing life. Luke has his life compartmentalised – he thinks that way, he can protect his children and himself, and he isn’t ready to let anyone query his parenting skills. Dominic needs to help his family, especially his young sister. He also needs to give something to society and feel better about himself. When Dominic and Luke meet neither is ready to adjust their lives for the other, despite their attraction. Love has a way of helping that happen.
Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell compliment each other’s way of writing characters and plots perfectly. I could probably guess who wrote the majority of which character but that is because I know a little about each author. The softening in Luke’s attitude and the growth of his character is really well written; although Dominic is the obvious sweetheart, I had a soft spot for Luke. Dominic’s subtle mood changes, thought processes and humour likewise deserve mention. The pace of the plot is spot on and I never lost my interest or my need to know what would happen next.
This isn’t a particularly quotable romance, although every so often a little gem caught my eye – like this one at a hard moment in their relationship:
“Not now, Luke,” he said flatly.
I clenched my fists, but it did no good.
He was still slipping through my fingers.
Written from both Luke’s and Dominic’s points of view, there is an epilogue that falls the right side of sappy and left me smiling. Fast Connection is an excellent addition to this series and I am looking forward to the next.