Today I am so pleased to welcome Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell to Joyfully Jay. Megan and Santino have come to share a very sexy, exclusive excerpt with us about their joint release, Strong Signal (Cyberlove #1). They have also brought along an amazing giveaway. Please join me in giving Megan and Santino a big welcome!
Thanks for having us on the blog! We’re excited about the release of Strong Signal, the first in our Cyberlove series where love starts online. Strong Signal is about a deployed soldier who strikes up an online relationship with a video game streamer. We’re here to share an exclusive (and sexy!) deleted scene. While we loved it, we ultimately felt like it wasn’t necessary to the plot and interrupted the flow. But it was fun to write, so we’re glad we have a chance to share it! Enjoy!
I sat at the kitchen table with my knees pulled up to my chest, scanning a takeout menu. Nothing sounded good and I wasn’t really hungry, but the big guy who was my current roommate ate like a horse.
Said human-equine equivalent was now rummaging through the cabinets, peering into each one before moving on to the next. “I can cook dinner instead of ordering out again.”
I raised an eyebrow. “You can?” He’d been here or almost a week now and hadn’t mentioned it. I’d either cooked or we’d called out. Well, he’d made pancakes one morning, and I had to admit, those were pretty good.
“Yeah,” he said, all business as he hauled ingredients out of the cabinet. “Totally.”
I didn’t buy it. But then, I wasn’t going to miss the show as he stood shirtless in my kitchen, doing all kinds of things that made his muscles bulge beneath his tanned skin. I placed my chin on my hand. “Okay, babe, tell me what you’re going to make.”
Garrett stared at the pile of ingredients on the countertop with hands on his lean hips. I got distracted by his abs and then realized he was talking to me. I shook my head. “Sorry, what?”
“My sister makes her own marinara sauce. I can make it for you.”
My insides went all warm. “Aw, you’re letting me taste a family recipe?”
“It’s not a family recipe. It’s a ‘we’re poor so let’s use a lotta canned goods’ type of concoction.”
He snorted. “You’re cute when you’re trying not to look disappointed.”
“Okay, so cook. But don’t put on an apron because that would just be sad.”
Garrett glanced down at his body, clad only in a pair of mesh shorts. “Sure, Kai. That was definitely a possibility I was considering. Good thing you stopped me.”
I beamed. “Thanks.”
An hour later, he’d whipped up sauce and pasta. My kitchen didn’t… smell the greatest, but I was sure there was some other reason. Unless he’d managed to burn the sauce, which seemed almost impossible.
As soon as I took a bite, I knew there wasn’t another reason. The sauce tasted as bad as it smelled. It had a weird grittiness and a bad aftertaste. I, of course, had no couth and spit it out in my napkin
“Damn, is it that bad?”
“I’m so sorry, Garrett”—and I was—“But this is so so bad.”
He looked down at his plate, then at his fork as if it offended him, then back at me. “Seriously?”
Water washed the burnt aftertaste from my mouth. “Really. I think you left the heat up too high. The bottom probably burned.”
“Huh.” Garrett poked at the mound of pasta on his plate. “I mean, it doesn’t taste like my sister’s but I didn’t think it was inedible.”
“It’s okay. It’s, uh, the thought that counts.”
He made a face.
“Garrett.” Nudging my knee against his, I coaxed him to look up. “I don’t care, you know. I wasn’t that hungry anyway. Now I can just skip to dessert.”
I carried my plate to the sink, and on the way back to the table, Garrett snaked a hand around my waist and pulled me onto his lip. I went with it, straddling his hips with my arms on his shoulders.
“Are you mad at me?” I asked.
“Why would I be mad?”
“Because I don’t like your sauce?”
He laughed. “I don’t give a shit. I can’t really cook. I was just trying to impress you with something other than fucking.”
“Aw, you’re so romantic. But I really don’t need red sauce to impress me.”
I thought he’d laugh, but he just nodded slowly, gazing into my eyes with a more serious expression than I expected given the conversation.
“This is weird, man. I’m still getting used to being with someone who won’t change their mind about me touching them, go ‘no homo’, and punch me. And you’re not just someone. You’re… still a guy out of my fucking dreams. Every day for the past few days, I wake up expecting none of this to have happened. Like I’ll open my eyes and still be in my shitty housing unit in Afghanistan. It’s unreal that you want me let alone that you think I deserve you.”
Was this what home felt like? Sitting on the lap of a guy who said things like that? And meant it? Because if that was home, then I definitely never wanted to leave. I shoved my face into Garrett’s neck, because I wasn’t sure what expression I was making, but it was probably weird and half ugly-cry.
“Thank you,” I said, brushing a kiss to his neck. “For being my someone.”
And right now I had… plans.
I leaned back and pasted a coy smile on my face. “Actually, I have an idea on how to make this sauce taste better.”
“Yeah?” Garrett craned his neck to look into the kitchen. “Sugar or basil or something? A non-burnt batch? I could make more.”
Fuck, he was cute. I turned his head back to me, and his brows knit. “What? We’re not ordering more food so we have to make it work.”
I swiped my finger through the sauce on Garrett’s plate, then wiped it on his lips like balm. He let me, his cheeks beginning to flush. I leaned in and swiped my tongue over his lips, drawing back when he tried to lure me into a kiss. I shook my head, then swiped more sauce right along the top of his shoulder. When I cleaned it up with my tongue, Garrett sucked in a breath.
I slid to my knees and pulled down Garrett’s shorts, tucking the waistband behind his balls.
Whatever he was going to say was cut off as I smeared a small amount of sauce on his dick and promptly swallowed him to the root.
“Jesus Christ,” he said, hips bucking, his gaze never leaving my face.
I pulled off and grinned. “Delicious.”
“Holy fuck, Kai.” His breath came faster. “You’re…”
“Want me to keep going?”
The blowjob was quick and dirty, but I enjoyed giving it to him. After years of celibacy, I was finally getting back into the practice of deep throating since blowing a silicone dildo did not count. There were no veins, no sensitive head, nowhere to place my tongue at just the right place to make a man squirm.
I swirled my tongue around his tip, along the underside of the shaft, and rolled his balls in my other hand. As he stood gripping the edge of the chair with white knuckles, it didn’t take him long to come with a hoarse shout.
I swallowed him down before sitting back on my heels. “Thanks for letting me do that.”
Garrett squinted down at me, still panting. “Are you fucking serious? Why are you thanking me?”
“Because that was fun.”
He shook his head and hauled me back onto his lap. “Jesus, Kai.”
“My brain short circuited so you need to give me a minute.”
I laughed and ran my hand through his hair.
Finally, Garrett caught his breath. “I’m going to fuck up the sauce so much, you’ll be on your knees all the time.”
“I count on it.”
“Mmm.” Garrett brushed a kiss to my lips, likely tasting himself. “I like it when you get all freaky on me.”
“You better.” I let him explore my mouth for a moment before sliding off his lap. “Okay, so you want your dessert now? I got ice cream.”
“Ice cream it is.”
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.
Megan Erickson is a former journalist who switched to fiction when she decided she liked writing her own endings better. She likes to pretend she has control now, but usually her characters are the ones who hold the reins. Her romance novels have a touch of humor, a dash of nerdy, and always a happily ever after.
She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids, and two cats named after John Hughes characters. She’s still waiting for the party she was promised when she grew to five feet… maybe because she never got there.
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.
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