Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell: New Release Review

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…

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I wasn’t sure what to expect with Illegal Contact. Generally, Santino Hassell‘s books are gritty, dark and quite unlike any other author in this genre (in my estimation). So, having him write a football series seemed-well-out of character from what I would expect of his books. However, I was more than pleasantly surprised with it.

Gavin needed Noah in ways that he couldn’t even comprehend. Meanwhile, Noah did not put up with any of Gavin’s cr@p. He would push back, and Gavin, although he didn’t like it, could appreciate that Noah didn’t care who he was, he wasn’t going to be dismissed lightly.

Gavin had a true journey here to discovering himself, not simply as a bisexual man, but as a human being capable of caring. He’d really only connected with his two best friends, having not had any real childhood to speak of, and so he only showed loyalty for those two. Yet, through his time at home, and his time with Noah, he began a journey to finding what being a part of a productive and caring society, and a part of a caring (and let’s be honest-HOT!) relationship really meant. It was interesting to see that he learned this, all while not being allowed to leave the grounds of his home.

I liked the fact that these two men didn’t just fall into bed two days after meeting. The author could have easily threw them together into the same house from day one, and taken the quick road to love. But he didn’t, he held these two apart, making Noah commute every day to Gavin’s house. It not only grew the tension, it allowed Noah a bit of the upper hand, something Gavin wasn’t used to. It also gave Noah some challenges during the weekends away when he knew Gavin was having a difficult time dealing with his house arrest.

The implosion of their relationship had me crying, simply because I could see it happening easily, especially in the situation they were in.

Very satisfying ending, and it has me dying for book 2, Down by Contact, Simon’s story. January is a long way away!

4.5 pieces of eye candy

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

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