Review: Down by Contact (The Barons #2) by Santino Hassell

January 15, 2018 Adult, Book Review 5 ★★★★

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Down by ContactDown by Contact by Santino Hassell
Published by Intermix on January 16th 2018
Genres: Adult, LGBTQ, Romance
Format: ARC
Source: Netgalley
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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…

Santino Hassell has once again written a hot and spicy M/M romance! Last summer I read the first book in this series, Illegal Contact, and loved the romance that developed on the pages. This time around we follow quarterback Simeon as he deals with the aftermath of life in the NFL after coming out.

First of, I would highly recommend reading Illegal Contact first. Occasionally you can get away with reading these sort of companion books out of order but in this case there is a situation that plays out in book one involving Simeon that heavily influences his character in the aftermath that brings us to this story, and I think it is worth getting that background before heading in. Simeon is now out as a gay man and though he has found some great support from some of his friends and fans, there is some hostility that develops with his team’s archrival and some of their players. After a brawl takes place in a preseason game with said team, Simeon and nemisis Adrián Bravo are briefly suspended from their respective teams and ordered to work together with community service and helping teens learn team building skills in the hopes they learn some as well.

Simeon and Adrián have a bit of a past. They used to be friends but when Simeon left their team to join the Barons it caused some tension and for Adrián to start openly making hostile remarks about Simeon which were amplified in the wake of his coming out. Having to work together with all this tension wasn’t ideal for them but it steadily grew more sexual in nature. Adrián liked trying to get a reaction from Simeon. A game sort of developed of how far they could push each other and when it did turn physical, holy hell! It starts off sort of dirty hot and develops into something incredibly passionate as feelings start to blur. I wasn’t always a fan of the actions and words coming from both of these characters, if I’m being honest. It took me a bit to warm up to them but by the end I was happy with how they evolved as individuals and the romance they built. Even though I didn’t love the characters and story quite as much as the first book, it was a great addition to the series and a quick read.

If you are in the mood to read something sexy, you can’t go wrong with hot football players! This is a series worth checking out. I’m not sure if more books are in the works for this series but if so, count me in!



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.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

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