Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Down by Contact by Santino Hassell

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…

Add to Goodreads –

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is such a fun story. From football rivals and personal enemies to friends and lovers, Simeon and Adrián’s story is full of great banter and delicious sexual chemistry. All the characters I loved in the first book are back as Simeon and Adrián work out their NFL mandated community service running a sports camp for kids.

This series is lighter and easier reading than Hassell’s Community series or his Five Boroughs books, but it still manages to be smart and cleverly crafted. It’s sports romance that’s pretty light on actual football and heavy on the romance and relationships between teammates and rivals.

I’ve enjoyed the bromance elements of both of these books as much as I’ve enjoyed the romance. I love the friendships and the banter between the professional athletes. And while this is much fluffier than most of Hassell’s other writing, there are some perfectly observed moments that are beautifully written. I’m not a fan of kids in romance writing, but the kids in this story have a few moments that even I found charming – and they thankfully stay in the background for most of the book.

Ultimately, this is a romance and the connection between Simeon and Adrián is pretty special. The slow build chemistry between them is excruciating and they are crazy hot when they finally get together. I love that Adrián doesn’t miraculously change overnight, and I even loved his foot-in-mouth moments when he was trying to change. His circumstances go a long way towards explaining his behaviour, but there isn’t the quick ‘forgive and forget’ moment that ruins too many m/m romances. He’s a loveable rogue. Simeon is possibly a little bit too saintly at times, so they balance each other pretty perfectly.

This is the second book in the series, and follows on in time from the last book. I would recommend that you read Gavin's story as we meet Simeon there. That said, you could definitely enjoy this story in its own right too.

Simeon first met Adrián when they were on the same team. Then Simeon was traded, and Adrián has hated him ever since – the reason for which slowly becomes clear in this book. When the animosity causes an on pitch fight, they are both forced to do community service together and suspended from playing.

As the summer progresses and the two men work together with a youth project, they come to a truce and finally talk out some of their issues. It is heartwarming and eventually super hot, as Adrián comes to terms with why he might harbour such anger at Simeon leaving his team. Both men have endearing characteristics which ensure that we are hoping they find a way of resolving the time limit they impose on themselves.

I found this to be a really good addition to the series and a thought provoking read, as well as a very romantic and passionate one. Looking forward to seeing where Mr. Hassell takes us next.

This is the second book in the series and could be read as a standalone, but I think reading the first book would help with back story. Simeon and Adrián used to play for the same football team and got along. Once Simeon moved to another team, all that changed. Tension was high and things got out of hand during a game which leads the two to being suspended and doing community service. I didn't love this book, but I didn't hate it either. Something was just missing but I honestly can't pin down what. The plot line was obvious, and it didn't take long to roll out. The sex was good between Simeon and Adrián. I just didn't feel a lot of connection with Adrián, I guess. Simeon opened up a lot to Adrián, but I didn't see as much in return. There wasn't much angst in the book and we did see several characters from the first book. Maybe it was just me and my mood, but I am sure I will continue reading the series.

Also Available in The Barons Series

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

For reviews & more info, check out our Illegal Contact post.

Santino Hassell was raised in Brooklyn by a strict Catholic family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school-cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Connect with Santino

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Google+  ~  Instagram

Berkley Romance

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Down by Contact (The Barons #2) by Santino Hassell to read and review.

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