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4.4 out of 5
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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    emotional and super sexy m/m romance!

    Garrett is almost done what’s going to be his last military tour as a mechanic. Though he’s had a few hookups (with guys who aren’t gay, but play that card for a little nookie while away from home) it’s been a lonely time for him. He takes some solace in knowing he’s almost out, and in being able to escape into some internet games in his free time. It’s during an online game that he inadvertently interacts with Kai, a hugely popular online gamer who screws up a mission Garrett is on (well, okay, Kai kills Garrett’s character). A little back and forth goes on between them (quite anonymously) though Kai soon finds out who he’s dealing with ( a man willing to die for his country while Kai sits safely behind his computer!) and feels badly about what actually happened. Then Garrett does some further investigating of Kai’s gamer identity and discovers that some of Kai’s umm ‘extracurricular activities’ could have some negative consequences, contacting him privately to give him a heads up. Soon, they are finding some personal chat time and discovering a mutual attraction that leads them down some dirty paths. But of course it’s never meant to become anything – they can have cybersex, without actually meeting in person. As Garrett’s tour winds down, he’s thrilled to discover that Kai actually lives close to where Garrett’s mom and sister live. This sets the stage for something wholly unexpected and wholly terrifying for Kai – an in-person meeting with this man who is quickly stealing his heart but knows about none of his flaws. Can they make a real relationship out of an online fling? I’m no expert at video games. I think not dying in a round of Mario Kart on the Wii is about the extent of my prowess. That, and watching my child play Minecraft (and being forced by him to watch youtube videos of other gamers playing Minecraft). So 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.
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    Perfect in every way

    Just glorious. All m/m romance readers should read this one asap! I loved every second of Garett and Kai's story. Beautiful and sexy.
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    Beautiful and Real

    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.
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    Brilliant

    I love a good gay romance beats boy meets girl stories. They are so damn predictable and boring.....
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    Strong Signal

    Great contemporary male/male gamer romance. Intense and at times sweet - worth a read.
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