Illegal Contact (The Barons #1) by Santino Hassell | Review

Illegal Contact (The Barons #1) by Santino Hassell | ReviewIllegal Contact by Santino Hassell
Series: The Barons #1
Published by InterMix on August 15th, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, MM Romance
Pages: 251
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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 book may be unsuitable for people under 18 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Mature Content

Illegal Contact was my first MM Romance and I am in love! I was already smiling a lot at the start of the story because even though these two didn’t get along at first, the chemistry was already palpable, the tension sizzling more and more each day. I was invested in this couple from the first chapter ’til the last. The pace was perfect, the banter humorous and fantastic, the characters relatable and lovable, and the romance a wonderful slow burn that brought me to my knees. 

“He was so addictive. Like candy. Or drugs. One taste of him had me fiending and my heart beating out of my chest.”

An altercation caught on camera lands Barons tight end Gavin Brawley on a six-month house arrest and suspension from the team. His manager, Joe, thinks he needs to hire a personal assistant to help him with tasks he can’t do because of his house arrest; he thinks otherwise. He doesn’t need anyone to stay over at his place and find out he’s bisexual and his best friend and Barons quarterback, Simeon Boudreaux, is gay and was the reason behind Gavin and a stranger’s altercation—Gavin was fighting for his honor. The risk is too high for their careers and reputations.

But Joe is right. He needs help with a lot of tasks, so he gives in on the condition that he has a say in choosing his assistant.

With his father in between jobs and him buried in student debt, Noah Monroe is desperate for a job, especially after he lost his old one—one he loved—left him high and dry. He’ll take anything, even working as an assistant for some big shot NFL player with a temper tantrum.

While these polar opposites clash at first, they can’t help but gravitate towards each other. Soon, they’re actually getting along, joking around, maybe even flirting? But even if they acknowledge that their attraction is mutual, a lot is on the line and their arrangement has a deadline. 

The banter, flirting, sexual tension. These two weren’t best friends at the start of the story although it was easy to tell they were attracted to each other. I loved when Gavin finally opened up to Noah, and I loved it even more when Gavin was feeling more than lust for him. When he was falling for him? Crushing on him??? I was gushing and squealing and grinning so hard!

“I channeled all of my cabin fever and frustration into a spectacular f*ing performance. Also known as me showing off for my crush like a varsity player on the high school’s field.”

I loved the other characters in the story, too, Simeon, Marcus and Jasmine especially. They were such a hoot to get to know, and I really enjoyed reading about the side romance there. I just hoped there was more to the ending than how it ended. It felt a little abrupt and I just want to know what happened next!

This book made me insanely happy. Like giddy, giggling like a schoolgirl happy. I can’t wait to read about Simeon’s story, and I hope I’ll get to see Gavin and Noah there, too! If you’re a fan of slow burn romances with a grumpy hero and a significant other who doesn’t shrink away but gives back just as much, you might just enjoy Illegal Contact as much as I did.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to read Santino Hassell’s other works.

Tropes: Hate to Love, Boss-Employee, Forbidden Romance, Sports—American Football
POV: First Person, Dual POV
Standalone: Yes

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