Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Release Review: Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell


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…

4.5 Stars

When Noah applies for a PA position he has to travel to the Hamptons for the interview. He shows up at the home of tight end, Gavin Brawley, who is temporarily suspended from the league and on house arrest for getting into, well, a brawl. It's hate at first sight. Noah thinks Gavin is just a rich privileged athlete with no worries, while Gavin assumes that Noah is a privileged college student. They both couldn't be more wrong and neither realizes just how much they have in common.

This was an excellent enemies to lovers story. I absolutely loved both Noah and Gavin, not from the start, of course. Gavin was an asshat in the beginning and it took time for me to warm up to him. He's rather rough around the edges and frankly, a little, well, okay, a lot mean. I loved that Noah wouldn't take his crap and wasn't scared to call him out and stand up to him. These two disliked each other so much, but they were also attracted to one another and I sat on the edge of my seat waiting for hate sex at any moment!

But alas this is a slow burn. The progression from enemies to friends and eventually to lovers takes time. Noah and Gavin really get to know one another, you know, once they get over wanting to scratch each other's eyes out. They had amazing chemistry both in and out of the bed.

The story is well-written and paced well. While the story contains some anger, heartbreaking and angst, it also has lots of love, friendship and laughter and some amazing secondary characters. This was an absolutely enjoyable read and I can't wait to see what Santino has in store for us next! Highly recommendable!!

**copy provided by author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

4.5 Stars!!!

Gavin Brawley is on house arrest for the next six months after hitting a guy, which doesn't help his reputation for having a bad temper both on and off the field. Since he can only leave his house to go to his manager's office, his manager suggests hiring a PA to help him run all the errands that he isn't able to right now.

Enter Noah Monroe, who recently lost his job after having an affair with one of the directors of the LGBT center he worked at. He's behind on his student loan's payments and now he has to help his dad, too, since he has also lost his job. While he's not much of a football fan, a job is a job, so he applies to be Gavin's PA, however, they clash from the get-go. Proximity changes both of their perceptions of the other, but Gavin can't come out of the closet and even if he did, no one can tell if everything will change once Gavin can leave the house again.

Okay, so while Gavin was difficult, to say the least, I had a soft spot for him. The guy had a hard life and his anger issues really don't help his image at all. However, I did feel he had a tender heart hiding behind it all and I wanted to make it better for him. *cuddles Gavin* Yes, he didn't go about some things in the best way, but he kept trying and I liked that. Now, I wanted to slap Noah sometimes. He was all hot and cold and I was very annoyed with how he let his relationship with Gavin be colored by his issues after having an affair with his previous employer. Don't get me wrong, I liked him, but he grated on my nerves. He was nice to Gavin, though, I liked that he put so much thought into making Gavin's life inside his house more bearable.

This is a slow burn romance, emphasis on the slow, as it takes forever for Gavin and Noah to finally get together. They did have great chemistry, though and I thought they were hot together.

I really liked Simeon, Jasmine, Max and Case, they were great secondary characters, that I hope we'll read more of in the next book in the series.

Overall, it was an entertaining read, I won't say it was my favorite book by Mr. Hassell, but it was pretty good. Well written, sexy, angsty and intense, and while I had my doubts at one point, the author gave us a very satisfying conclusion to Gavin and Noah's story. Very recommendable! 

***Copy provided to the reviewer via NetGalley for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

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