Review: Down by Contact by Santino Hassell

Review: Down by Contact by Santino Hassell
Down by Contact

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Series: The Barons #2
Genres: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance, Sports Romance
Published by Intermix
Released on January 16, 2018
Pages: 220
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

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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…

The Delight

My first encounter with the author’s writing was Illegal Contact, the first book in this series.  I was very taken with the characters and the dynamics of their lives and romance.  I remember hoping Gaven’s friend, the larger than life Simeon was going to get his own book.  Wish granted, and what a roller-coaster story it was because Simeon meets his match- and they can’t stand each other…


Down by Contact is The Barons’ book two.  It flows right out of book one, but would work standalone just fine.

An enemies to lovers on the grid iron story had all sorts of appeal for me.  Though, true confessions here, it was an iffy thing for the first few chapters when I was ready to toss Simeon, Adrian, and their book into an icy lake.  Those boys had all the appeal of being locked in a car with squabbling kids who either wanted to pick a fight or one up each other.

But, then they started working past that stuff and were into the real heart of the matter.  Attraction, lust, and, in Adrian’s case, understanding his own sexual inclinations.  It was a combo of heartwarming, sweet, and spicy hot.  I thought it was a good piece of writing to take an inappropriate, thoughtless bully and in the end- well, actually the middle- of the story make me adore him as much as Simeon and make me root for them.  This pair had me smiling and laughing so much at their playfulness in and out of the bedroom.  I loved seeing them become bantering friends with the frisson of attraction and then seeing it slip into romance.

Real life issues and concerns were not set aside and had to be dealt with.  The author definitely had an agenda to get the word out about bullying, inappropriate humor, the pressures on pro athletes, and coming out.  It suited the story and challenges all of us to think before we speak- or tweet.

In the end, I was left superbly curious about Adrian’s obnoxious teammate Rocky and hope to see more of him.  Definitely something going on there.

All in all, Down by Contact was a solid sequel and this series promises to continue going strong.  It’s a fascinating peek behind the curtains at the world of pro football, those who play, and brings to life some fantastic characters and romances.  I definitely recommend the series to those who enjoy LGBTQA Contemporary Romance.

My thanks to Penguin-Random House for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.


Romance Roundabout #20 LGBT
Literary Pickers #20 Enemies to Lovers
New Release #5 




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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.