Review: Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

Review: Illegal Contact by Santino HassellIllegal Contact by Santino Hassell

Series: The Barons #1
Genres: M/M Romance, Sports Romance
Published by Intermix on August 15, 2017
Pages: 251
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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four-half-stars      four-flames

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…

The Delight

Sports Romance, Enemies to Lovers, and a New to Me Author I have been over the moon to read were motivation enough if I needed a kick start to pick this one up.  Illegal Contact scored with me from page one.


From the opening pages of this book, I was in the moment and stayed right with this story so that I was at the end clicking for more pages that were not there.  Gavin Brawley and Noah Monroe were antagonistic, then smoldering, and then red-hot sizzle.

Both were people with flaws, misconceptions, and hidden strengths that was fun to explore.

The pacing was spot on.  I enjoyed the movement in the romantic growth of this pair of opposites from hostile to friendly to much more.  Whew boy, yeah, they really got down and dirty when the moment arrived.

This is a sports romance, but the setting is away from the game and behind the scenes.  It gives a taste that the football lover will savor while providing a character-driven romance that will captivate a more general audience.

I was left wanting more and anticipating more stories from this series.  Thankfully, Simeon, a captivating side character in this one goes next.

In summary, its a great launch for a new series.  I was well pleased for my first outing with the author.  And, for M/M sports romance fans or for those who enjoy a character-driven opposites attract, this one’s for you.

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


Romance Roundabout #148
LGBT New Release #109


  Review Rush by Nyrae Dawn


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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.
  • Mmmm, sports romance. I love those. I have a weakness for the hockey ones though. 😀 Football is cool too. I’ve not read anything by Santino but I’ve heard a lot if great things about his books, especially this new one! I’m glad it did not disappoint you. Wonderful review, Sophia!

    Have a lovely weekend. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • I’m partial to the hockey romances, myself, but I pretty much like any sports romance. This was my first book by him and I will definitely be going back for more.

  • I’ve really been loving Santino Hassell lately. I really enjoyed this one too. Those steamy moments <3 Sports romances are some of my favorites too. I've been really into the hockey ones lately but I like the football ones too. Glad you enjoyed this one too. Great review!

    • Yes, yay, I can finally say I know why everyone is excited about his writing. This was great, Julie. I’ll definitely have to try some others.

  • The enemies to lovers trope is one of my favorites.

    • Me, too. This was a milder version of that element, but still, they were pretty antagonistic there at the beginning. 🙂

  • It’s great when you try out a new to you author and really enjoy the first book. I am not a fan of the enemies to lovers trope usually, but this one does sound good! It’s nice this book grabbed your attention like that and left you clicking till there were no pages left. I like the sound of the character driven romance! Great review!

    • It’s not always a winner with me if it isn’t written right. This time around it was more a vast difference in experience which led to misunderstanding so that the conflict took the time to resolve it. I liked that.

      Thanks, Lola!

      • Totally agree, it really depends on how the enemies parts is written. Sounds like it worked here 🙂

  • I love it when I gobble up a story wishing it were longer! This does sound hot! I love Sarina Bowen’s Hard Hitter series, too! Wonderful review, Sophia Rose! 🙂

    • Its a great feeling, Rachel. I love Bowen’s Hard Hitter series, too.

  • I love sports romance and enemies to lovers trope. Great review.

    • Yes, it really was a hit with me, too, Nadene. 🙂

  • So glad to see you enjoyed this one, too, Sophia. I LOVE this author!

    • Oh yes, I can definitely see why you love his books. 🙂

  • Glad you got a good kick off. I do enjoy those sports ones that have a good balance and a behind the scenes peek but not TOO much sports. lol

    • Yes, this one had a good balance. I felt it was more a character driven romance that just happened to have a football player as one rather than it overall sports.