Review: Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

Review: Illegal Contact by Santino HassellIllegal Contact by Santino Hassell
Series: The Barons #1
Published by Intermix August 15, 2017
Genres: M/M Romance
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Amazon US

The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel.

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin's timeout is over…

This was my first Hasell novel. Honestly, he wasn’t even on my radar until this year’s RT Convention when *someone* practically begged me for an ARC copy of this book that happened to be in a goody bag I received. I’m a nice girl and I gave up that copy. Only later to regret it when I started hearing such great things. But thankfully, I was still able to snag a galley and I now I don’t have to hate that *someone* for tricking me out of my book! 😉

Illegal Contact starts out with a pretty rough character, Gavin. A pro football player who’s found himself on house arrest for a season. He’s not very likeable to start. Unless, you like the cold and bossy type. I do. Noah is a complete contrast to Gavin and when he shows up to interview for Gavin’s PA position, I immediately liked the balance between the two. They both push each other’s buttons but always seem to learn something about themselves in the process.

While there is an immediate attraction between the two, the romantic relationship is slow to start. For many reasons. Noah doesn’t know Gavin is a bisexual. The public sure as Hell doesn’t know that Gavin is bisexual. Then, there is that whole boss/employee thing. When it does take a turn though…damn, man. It’s hot as fuck but also so freaking sweet. Seeing a big, strong personality completely softened by a man who just plain makes him better is something you can’t help but swoon over.

After about the first 25% (which was maybe just a tad slow for me) of this book, it became so hard to put down. I really enjoyed both of these characters and even their side kicks. I’m definitely looking for my next Hassell read, his combination of steam, emotion and life complexities hit the spot!


About Santino Hassell

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family but grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a grumpy introvert and unlikely romance author with an affinity for baseball caps. His novels are heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, and his desire to write relationships fueled by intensity and passion.

He’s been a finalist in both the Bisexual Book Awards and the EPIC Awards, and was nominated for a prestigious RITA award in 2017. His work has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Washington Post, RT Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.

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