Sunday, August 13, 2017

REVIEW: Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

I am absolutely in love with every single thing Santino Hassell produces. EVERY.SINGLE.THING. When the book gods smiled down on me and I had a chance to read Illegal Contact I had this urge to rush into reading it because I knew I was in for a great night of reading; I also wanted to put it off for as long as possible because I knew I'd finish it and be incredibly sad that it was over. As expected, the second I dove into Illegal Contact I was hooked. I loved the wonderfully grumpy Gavin and the confident and nerdy Noah and every single tense interaction they had. Their chemistry practically sparked off the page and their snarling, sarcastic, banter made me smirk while the tender, sweeter parts had me swooning and hoping against hope that somehow, someway they could make their relationship work.

In Illegal Contact, Santino Hassell not only wrote an opposites attract romance that is so easy to sink into and so hard to put down, he continues to give us diverse characters and explores what it must be like to be bisexual in a career where heteronormtivity seems to be the only way.  Hassell also gives us a character like Noah--a character who has been scapegoated in the past because of his sexuality, in my opinion, and has to come to grips with what happened with his past employer and has a struggle about whether it's a pattern of behavior, or something different when it comes to Gavin. Basically, what I'm discovering as I'm thinking about these characters is that they're more complicated than I initially made them out to be. There are layers to their both of their situations and personalities that makes forging a relationship a little complex, which in turn makes it that much sweeter when they work it all out.

And that, my dears, is one of many reasons why I like reading Santino Hassell novels so much; they can be as light and entertaining or as deep and revealing as you want them to be. His characters come off as authentic and raw and his plots are fresh and entertaining. And every single time I pick up a new novel of his, I can't help feeling compelled to speed to the finish as I'm simultaneously putting the brakes on to slow down and savor every chapter. Everything I read of his solidifies that something I've known since the first novel I read of his and that's this: I will buy, read, and rave about anything he writes, no matter the genre or the topic.



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…

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