Review: Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

Posted August 18, 2017 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 17 Comments

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Review: Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell
Illegal Contact

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Series: The Barons #1
Genres: M/M Romance, Sports Romance
Published by Intermix
Released on August 15, 2017
Pages: 251
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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.

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Alyssa Susanna
4 years ago

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!

Sophia Rose
4 years ago
Reply to  Alyssa Susanna

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.

Julie @ Happily Ever Chapter

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!

Sophia Rose
4 years ago

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.

Mary Kirkland
4 years ago

The enemies to lovers trope is one of my favorites.

Sophia Rose
4 years ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

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

4 years ago

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!

Sophia Rose
4 years ago
Reply to  Lola

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!

4 years ago
Reply to  Sophia Rose

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

Rachel @Waves of Fiction

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! 🙂

Sophia Rose
4 years ago

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

Nadene@Ttly addicted 2 reading

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

Sophia Rose
4 years ago

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

Angie Elle
4 years ago

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

Sophia Rose
4 years ago
Reply to  Angie Elle

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

Anna@herding cats&burning soup

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

Sophia Rose
4 years ago

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.