BOOK REVIEW⎜Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell


One grumpy football player and his new snarky PA makes for amazing banter and fun in this steamy sport romance by Santino Hassel!

Book Infos

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…

Author : Santino Hassell
Title : Illegal Contact
Series : Barons #1

Number of pages : 217
Publisher : Berkley ( intermix)
Release Date :  August 15th, 2017
Genre : Contemporary, M/M.

My Review

I don’t even like football—or sports for that matter, yet here I am professing my indisputable love for Illegal Contact, a story about a football player behaving badly butting heads with his new snarky PA.
The main reason behind my sudden reversal lies in the cleverness in which Santino Hassell fleshes out his characters. An author I’ve only discovered recently through his collaboration with Megan Erickson (Cyberlove series) and became instantly addicted to.

There was something reassuring about the realness of outright hostility.

Gavin Brawley , thirty something strong and opinionated football athlete oozing resentment, grumpiness and giving out strong cynical vibes didn’t leave me much choice but to take interest in him. (There is something about jerk heroes, you know?) Add to this fact he’s been forced upon a new PA with a personality in total opposition to his own, a smart mouth and a body forcing awareness. Oh was a perfect / imperfect match for Gavin! Just picture him as a nerdy Clark Kent. Yep, there you go.

I’d never been into the whole geek thing before, but his lean body, thick, dark hair, and square-rimmed glasses did it for me. I wanted to fuck him while he was wearing them and see if they fell off his face.

Their immediate mutual dislike only served to nurture and build the tension between them, and this was executed brilliantly by the author. I’m a sucker for opposites attract tropes in my romance books and here, every little jab, line or retort between Gavin and Noah was banter-licious. Delectable antagonism only adding fuel to their restrained magnetism.

Then there’s the fact that the Santino Hassell’s writing literally compels to turn the pages to reveal layers upon layers about his characters. And this clever way to weave in feelings, flirtation and humor is just fetching. The dialogues are so genuine and engaging you just want his characters to never shut up! It’s that entertaining.

Then there are the feelings between Gavin and Noah, portrayed with astute sensitivity while the intensity of their slow burning attraction is burning through the pages! An ideal balance between sweet and sexy making Illegal Contact hit the spot for this romance reader.
The power and tension in the few sex scenes in this book may have literally felt like a ball of fire. Scorching hot, raw and just damn exciting!

I’m not going to explain what goes down in the book, Gavin is under house arrest for a reason, there is more to him than just your average athlete behaving badly, and Noah may appear first as stuck up privileged kid but there’s more to him than meets the eye too. Both have some revealing and uncovering to do and that protective shell they’re hiding under is going to get shredded down in a slow burning dance which feels like a treat to read.

Once I started Illegal Contact, there was no putting it down, I felt trapped by Gavin and Noah growing chemistry, engrossed by their developing friendship, riveted by their thriving banter and just mesmerized by their lovemaking. If you enjoy a good sports romance, have a soft spot for opposite attracts tropes, and love your heroes with a smart mouth, then just go ahead and read this one already! It’s a winner!


Next book in the series, Down By Contact is scheduled for release January 16th 2018, you can already pre-order your copy here :

Blurb : Two rival football players begin a game with higher stakes than the Super Bowl in this steamy romance from the author of Illegal Contact.

Simeon Boudreaux, the New York Barons’ golden-armed quarterback, is blessed with irresistible New Orleans charm and a face to melt your mama’s heart. He’s universally adored by fans and the media. Coming out as gay in solidarity with his teammate hasn’t harmed his reputation in the least—except for some social media taunting from rival linebacker Adrián Bravo.

Though they were once teammates, Adrián views Simeon as a traitor and the number-one name on the New Jersey Predators’ shit list. When animosity between the two NFL players reaches a boiling point on the field, culminating in a dirty fist fight, they’re both benched for six games and sentenced to joint community service teaching sullen, Brooklyn teens how to play ball.

At first, they can barely stand to be in the same room, but running the camp forces them to shape up. With no choice but to work together, Simeon realizes Adrián is more than his alpha-jerk persona, and Adrián begins to question why he’s always had such strong feelings for the gorgeous QB…

Author Bio & Links

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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