Down by Contact (The Barons #2) by Santino Hassell | Review & Giveaway


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…

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.

Review & Giveaway | Down by Contact

by Santino Hassell

SERIES: The Barons #2 

Down by Contact is a beautiful slow burn, enemies to lovers romance between two incredibly sexy football players from rival teams. I've been waiting for this book since Illegal Contact came out last year because Simeon is my sunshine and I want to read more about him, and this 👏 story👏 delivered! I'm in love with this couple, y'all. 

New York Barons quarterback Simeon Boudreaux continues to stay a fan and media darling even after coming out as gay, but it doesn't mean everyone loves him. Adrián Bravo, the linebacker of his team's main rival, the New Jersey Predators, hates him and isn't afraid to say it. He saw it as a huge betrayal when Simeon jumped ship from the Predators to the Barons and someone said Simeon spilled his old team's playbook to his new one.

When their bad blood ends up in almost a riot at a practice game, they're suspended from playing six games and and sentenced to community service. It's good publicity and gives them the chance to learn how to work together.
Once upon a time, Simeon and Adrián got along really well, and if they can just let go of their grudges, they might have that again.

I wanted to kick Adrián for talking smack about Simeon, but I softened to him when he became aware of his mistakes and his own sexuality. Adrián at the start of the book represents not just heterosexuals, but society in general. While he never meant to be homophobic (or at least not as homophobic as his other teammates), he made jokes about SImeon's sexuality like it was nothing. Like he could say those things without being labeled a homophobe because he only meant it as a joke

His confusion, hesitation, and struggle were depicted wonderfully. This is why his character growth made me so happy. Not only did he have a lesson to deal with, he also had to come to terms with his own sexuality. And then he fell in love. This man. ugh I adore him. He's not just intense on the field; he's like that in every aspect of his life. Go big or go home, am I right? 

I loved Simeon in Illegal Contact, and loved him even more in Down by Contact. He's charming, lovable, and  proud of who he is and rarely lets the negativity get to him. He was so patient with Adrián without coming to a point of being a doormat—he doesn't hesitate to call him out when he's wrong. He has friends who supports him and is there for him 24/7, a community who has fully embraced him, and a mother who will always be there for him. 

I loved seeing their backgrounds, the contrasts of how they were raised. It really showed the effect of their relationship with their families and friends on how they became who they are and how they handled things. 

This book fully cemented my love for Santino Hassell's words. This isn't just a book about sexy footballers with explosive chemistry and fantastic banter. It talks about how religion, society, and peer pressure can affect one's perception and understanding of LGBTQIA. But it's also a book about sexy footballers with explosive chemistry and fantastic banter. Did I say explosive chemistry? Because they have it in spades. 

Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, Sports—American Football
POV: First Person, Dual POV
Standalone: Yes


#DownByContactRelease Instagram Tour
Presented by: Santino Hassell and A Novel Take PR

For seven days, stop by each of the hosts to see their photos of Down by Contact and take part in the tour challenge. 

Click the photo to join the giveaway!

Comment on any tour photo, be sure to use the hashtag #DownByContactRelease, tag the daily host, the author Santino Hassell (@santinohassell), and A Novel Take PR (@anoveltakepr) and you’ll be entered in the giveaway.

***Giveaway details: 3 chances to win! Up for grabs are 2 copies of any back catalog ebook by Santino Hassell and an Amazon gift card for $10 (to buy even more books!) Open internationally. Winner will be chosen randomly from among all entries on 2/1 and contacted with their prize via the Instagram account they used to enter.***


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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