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Illegal Contact (The Barons #1) by Santino Hassell #BookReview #SportsRomance #GayRomance
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Illegal Contact (The Barons #1) by Santino Hassell #BookReview #SportsRomance #GayRomance

by August 7, 2017
Overview
Author

Santino Hassell

Title

Illegal Contact

Series

The Barons

Book #

1

Genre(s)

Contemporary gay sports celebrity romance

Heat Level

High

*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***

Okay, that’s it! I am officially a Santino Hassell junkie. First I couldn’t get Concourse out of my mind, and now Illegal Contact has completely hijacked my concentration.

Santino Hassell’s Illegal Contact is raw and edgy and snarky. The tension between pro football player Gavin and his new personal assistant Noah walks a tightrope from the very first scene, just waiting for one of them to tip their hard won trust and peace right over into conflict-ridden insanity. As their relationship grows and strengthens, so does the danger to both their hearts and the chance that a wrong move could have devastating consequences.

I felt like a dick for being surprised that Gavin was an analytical enough creature to make those connections. I needed to stop making assumptions about the intelligence of jocks, but it seemed unfair for Gavin to be athletic, attractive, and reasonably intelligent. There had to be a deficit. Oh wait, there was. His personality.

Gavin Brawley isn’t your average cuddly hero. He’s violent, with clinical anger issues and a personality pricklier than a porcupine. He is adamant about proving himself, yet has convinced himself he doesn’t care what other people think. But beneath the rage and intensity is a vulnerability and empathy that defines him just as much. He feels deeply, and author Santino Hassell draws out that emotion with a heart-wrenching vibrance.

Oh, that reminds me— your therapist—”
“No.”
“— is coming at four o’clock . Do you want me to be here when she arrives or is there anything you need me to take care of before I go home? I need to pack.”
“I don’t want to deal with a therapist today, Noah.”
“Oh, well. It’s happening.”

Noah may be a little nerdy— Gavin’s football teammates jokingly call him Clark Kent—and uncomfortable around people with money, but he pushes right back against Gavin’s alpha asshole armor. His snarky straightforwardness tempers Gavin’s rough edges, and his thoughtfulness complements G’s need for affection.

It was no wonder that the careers of football players ended in their early thirties, if that. I couldn’t imagine how much abuse their bodies took. I didn’t want to think about how awful their daily living would be once they were too old to ignore all the damage they’d white knuckled through for their entire career.

I like how the story recognizes the sacrifices and danger inherent in a career as a professional athlete in a sport like football and emphasizes the sheer mountain of daily food intake these men require to maintain their muscle mass. And I love the way Illegal Contact ends. I need Simeon’s book like, yesterday! <3

“I’d think you of all people wouldn’t go around stereotyping people. If I went by stereotypes, I’d be shocked you’re as sharp as you are. Most people think jocks are idiots.”
Gavin gave me a dry look. “We play a sport that will likely result in our brains being covered in lesions until we get brain damage. We are idiots.”

The romance between Gavin and Noah is a long, slow, tantalizing tease with spikes of animosity and the rough, sexy edges of a deepening relationship. Once things start getting hot, these guys go supernova. Santino Hassell’s foreplay scenes are my new religion, and the sex that follows is raw, explosive. Holy baby Jesus, totally worth the wait.

One of the things I love most about Mr. Hassell’s writing is that he utilizes a dual-perspective point of view; that means we get to see inside the heads of BOTH main characters, which is my absolute favorite setup. And his dialogue is so authentic, so on point that it oozes personality and history and setting. Okay, so that’s two things. So sue me. 😃

I hate this house. It’s too big for one person, and living here makes me feel like an asshole.”
“That’s the only thing that makes you feel like an asshole?” he wondered.

Illegal Contact is a MUST FREAKING READ for fans of gay romance, sports romance, and celebrity romance!

This review copy was provided by the Publisher. No compensation was received for this review.

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Illegal Contact (The Barons #1) by Santino Hassell #BookReview #SportsRomance #GayRomanceMy star rating: five-stars
Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell
Series: The Barons #1
Published by Berkley, Penguin on August 15, 2017
Genres: Gay Romance, Contemporary Romance, Celebrity, Sports
Pages: 259
Source: Publisher
Add it to your To Read shelf: Goodreads

Also by this author: Concourse

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 post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Things I loved...

Santino Hassell's authentic, witty, snarky, on-point dialogue and sexy, sexy romantic action

Things I didn't...

I want more! Where's the next one?! ;)

Review Score Details
GraveTells Score
GraveNation Score
Writing style & finesse
10
Originality
9.0
Authenticity
9.5
World-building
9.0
Character development
9.0
Likeable/relatable characters
9.3
Plot tension
9.0
Flow & pacing
9.4
Heat &/or sexual tension
9.8
Technical style
9.5
Overall enjoyment
10
Final Thoughts

Illegal Contact is a MUST FREAKING READ for fans of gay romance, sports romance, and celebrity romance!

9.4
GraveTells Score
GraveNation Score
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About The Author
davincikittie
Sue "DaVinciKittie" Brown-Moore is a veteran romance blogger and reviewer and the primary voice for GraveTells.com. Sue has been shamelessly pimping book boyfriends since 2010 and has won several blogging awards with GraveTells. Sue is also a freelance Developmental Editor passionate about helping authors bring out the best in their stories. She loves reading romance, fantasy, and sci-fi and edits any genre she reads for pleasure. You can follow Sue's editing blog, with tips and tricks for authors, at DaVinciKittie.com.

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Writing style & finesse
Originality
Authenticity
World-building
Character development
Likeable/relatable characters
Plot tension
Flow & pacing
Heat &/or sexual tension
Technical style
Overall enjoyment