Illegal Contact

Illegal Contact

by Santino Hassell

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Illegal Contact 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
LeighKramer More than 1 year ago
This is easily my favorite thing Santino Hassell has written. Gavin and Noah are fascinating characters in their own rights. They shouldn't go together as well as they do but as we get to know both men, it just plain works, no matter how much time they spend resisting their connection. I loved how the power dynamics were an organic part of the story, especially because of Noah's past employment issue. I also loved Gavin's backstory, that football gave him a path out of hard circumstances but it was by no means easy. I didn't realize that football scholarships only cover so much and that players who don't have support or financial backing have very lean budgets to get through the schoolyear. It was also interesting to see how a player would handle being suspended- I can't recall seeing this in other sports romances I've read. But above and beyond, I loved the romance between Gavin and Noah and how they navigated the various obstacles in their way. It was a fun, steamy read with the right amount of angst. I've been looking forward to this series, particularly because it's a sports romance series that will feature POC in subsequent books. To that end, I cannot wait for Simeon's story to come out!
Cam-Boricuanbookworms More than 1 year ago
Santino’s name has been everywhere on my twitter feed so of course I couldn’t have been more thrilled when I saw I had been approved to review one of his latest book releases. Illegal Contact not only delivered on the hype, but it exceeded all of my expectations. To start off, most of you know I don’t like the enemies turned lovers trope one bit. It's hard for me to imagine falling in love with someone you hate. However, Illegal Contact may have just changed my mind thanks to two men named Gavin Brawley and Noah Monroe. From the beginning I was hooked with these two. Gavin is mean; he’s broody; he’s a cliche just waiting to happen and I love him. Getting inside his head was exciting and it made me giddy everytime I read about his thoughts about Noah. I loved seeing his development as a person; growing from this gruff man who had lost faith in ever letting someone into this gentle, loving soul who worships the ground his lover walks on. His childhood life was enough to make my heart break for him and I wanted him to be happy with every page I read. Who knew I would be calling an eternally angry, bisexual football player my son? Noah Monroe appears to be this sweet nerdy boy next door but trust me, my boy will sass you through hell and back, no matter who you are. His chemistry with Gavin is electric and though it is kind of a slow burn, the tension made everything so much sweeter. I also loved that this story was extremely domestic; two guys stuck living together for six months. They were bound to create a beautiful bond and friendship that, luckily, helped them both grow as people and helped them learn more about themselves and their sexuality. The dialogue was gritty and crass and many times, laugh out loud funny; the sex scenes were incredible, I was blushing by the end of each one. Trust me, they’re that good. Its obvious that the main focus of the story is the budding romance between these two but the plot also incorporates important themes such as poverty, homophobia in the NFL and the world in general and the importance of healthy, consensual relationships. There’s also a great deal of sex positivity which I always enjoy. Romances tend to give you little background on the secondary characters mainly because they want there to be space for a spin-off novel one day. While Santino did do this I did have enough scenes with them to know I adore them with all my heart. Simoen and Marcus were phenomenal in each scene and I can’t wait to read more about them. The only one I did hate for most of the book was Joe; I hate homophobes, honestly. This series is officially on my radar, Santino Hassell has become one of my favorite writers and I can’t wait to dive into all of his other stories.
EverAfterBookReviews More than 1 year ago
A Beauty and the Beast-style story with sweet, hot man love! I absolutely loved ILLEGAL CONTACT! The characters are real, the story is heart-wrenching and brilliant and I just loved the hell out of it! Gavin and Noah had great chemistry right from the start. Complete opposites in character and demeanor and yet, they fit together beautifully. I totally dig Mr. Hassell’s storytelling. It’s raw, unapologetic and all-consuming. ILLEGAL CONTACT is a perfect example of love in its purest form. It’s not always sunshines and rainbows. It’s hard work, and oftentimes a battle. Fighting to love each other and to love yourself. And to be able to claim your happiness, despite society deeming it inappropriate or wrong. I highly recommend ILLEGAL CONTACT to all readers in search of that elusive happily ever after. The journey is not always pretty, but the payoff is priceless. ***I voluntarily read a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own***
BookWorm221 More than 1 year ago
I’m not afraid to say that this is my favorite sports romance book of the year. I became a fan of Santino’s last year and I haven’t stopped reading his books since, in Illegal Contact he takes us into the sports world, something that I hadn’t read from him before and was looking forward to it since he announced it and then when several authors started posting pictures of their ARCs the struggle was so real! Let me tell you a little bit about the story, Gavin is a NY Barons tight end that is suspended from the team after getting in some trouble with the law, he is now on house arrest and since he can’t go out and isn’t really up to date with his life (bills, food, house) so his agents suggest that he should get an assistant, and here comes Noah, he doesn’t know about football life, he doesn’t care that Gavin is famous for all the wrong things, he only cares about doing his job and not falling for his boss. He manages to do a brilliant job but he does end up falling for his boss! Their relationship was pretty slow burning and sweet so very sweet, I mean Gavin was just the sweetest and the way he treated Noah was so wonderful, I loved that this book is about two grown men acting like grown men, you know what I mean? Like there were no confusions about their desires because they voiced them, they talked about their problems and struggles as individuals and as a couple and they made what they thought were the correct choices. I liked that there was always communication and that they were respectful. There are many funny lighthearted sweet moments that will make you melt and many very sexy moments that will make you fan yourself, definitely a NSFW book, better to read it in the comfort of your own place. Interesting characters were introduced to us in this book and I hope we get to see them in future books and get to know them better.
sweetpotato101 More than 1 year ago
Welp…reading this book slowly went right out the window! There’s something about a Santino Hassell book that has me gorging the pages up way too quickly. Illegal Contact was no different. There was something reassuring about the realness of outright hostility. Gavin Brawley is a pro tight-end for the NY Barons, and football is everything to him. Life gets a little messy, however, when he gets suspended from the game that keeps him sane. And oh yeah, he’s under house arrest for the next six months. Solution? Hire a P.A. who can run Gavin’s errands and make sure thing get done. Gavin’s not game for this solution, and he especially doesn’t expect to meet mouthy Noah. A man who (*gasp!*) doesn’t like football. Noah needs the money that this personal assistant job offers, even though he doesn’t particularly want the job. And he really makes zero effort. I loved him! But during the interview he meets his employer, Gavin, and even though they butt heads something fierce, there’s something about the big guy that gets underneath Noah’s skin. When he does get a call back from Gavin with a job offer? Noah’s bitten off way more than he can chew. I loved these two, and the plot just thrusts these two together! Not only is Noah running around and doing a job he really has no idea of, he’s at Gavin’s beck-and-call and the dude likes to ruffle Noah’s feathers. Then there’s the little caveat that Noah may have to live with Gavin as Gavin roams around shirtless and like chocolate on a muscled stick. Their communication technique is really nothing more than grumbles and growls, but there’s also these sidelong glances and subtle eye-f&cks that are just…gah! Gavin's this big, gruff guy who plays tough, but he’s secretly a big ole softie. My favorite kind! His rep, however, has kind of sunk him, and this house arrest business isn’t helping matters. Noah's super intelligent, and though he meets Gavin’s sarcasm with sarcasm, you can just feel the explosive chemistry between them. But both don’t know how to deal with this intense attraction either. What it would mean in the outside world. Gavin may be bisexual but he has to hide his sexuality with his pro career and the limelight constantly in his direction (mostly bad with his rep, at that). Then there’s Noah who has been burned one too many times and his attraction to Gavin has him wondering if this relationship will end like Noah’s last one. What makes Illegal Contact truly shine is that this story doesn’t just bring the heat. It brings the romance, full-throttle and out-of-this-world. Also, I have to say that I have a new appreciation for the career of personal assistant to the stars. Noah is a freaking champ! I also loved the secondary characters, and I’m crossing my fingers that Simeon’s story is up next. A charming hellion, is what he is! This is Santino Hassell at his finest. Conflict and desire tangled with judgements and mixed feelings. It’s all bundled into this package that has you holding your breath at times, and at others giggling your head off. Illegal Contact is a touchdown. 5 Stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my first time reading a book by this author and I was not dissapointed! I loved this story from beginning to end! I can't wait to read more of this series. If you like m/m romance you'll love this one!!
Sandy-thereadingcafe More than 1 year ago
ILLEGAL CONTACT is the first installment in Santino Hassell’s contemporary, adult THE BARONS erotic, M/M romance series focusing on the professional football players of the New York Barons. This is Barons’ tight end Gavin Brawley, and his personal assistant Noah Monroe’s story line. NOTE: ILLEGAL CONTACT is a M/M romance story line with sexually graphic language, text and situations that may not be suitable for all readers. Told from dual first person points of view (Gavin and Noah) ILLEGAL CONTACT follows the building but forbidden relationship between the New York Barons’ tight end Gavin Brawley, and his new PA Noah Monroe. With a six month suspension and house arrest on the horizon bad boy Gavin Brawley finds himself struggling to keep up in both his personal and private life. A reputation as a jerk with a temper Gavin’s circle of friends is small, and the only people he considers family are the team members he has left behind. Enter recent college grad Noah Monroe, Gavin’s new PA, and a man who struggles to keep secret his attraction to his boss. What ensues is the building romance and relationship between Gavin and Noah, and Noah’s battle to make life easier for the man that calls to his heart. Gavin Brawley is a bisexual male who has yet to come out to the public or his team. When a recent video of our hero brawling went viral Gavin found himself facing jail time or house arrest but Gavin keeps more than his own sexuality a secret and refuses to reveal his reasons for losing his temper. Temper aside, Gavin’s reputation as a hot head both on and off the field is well known to the public but if his sexuality is revealed Gavin knows his professional career could come to a screeching halt. Gavin’s entire life revolves around the sport of professional football, and in this, Gavin’s sexuality could be a detriment to both his future and his career. Noah Monroe is in debt, and with his father’s recent lay off Noah is desperate to find any job that will put food on the table, and pay down his student debt. Working for Gavin Brawley finds Noah on the outside looking in with no concept of who or what is Gavin Brawley, and to add to the already tempestuous relationship, Noah’s history with powerful men is darkened by betrayal in the past. The relationship between Noah and Gavin is one of immediate attraction but Noah struggles with Gavin’s attitude and emotional outbursts, as well as Gavin’s inability to see beyond his current problems. Gavin tries desperately to hide his attraction to Noah but fails miserably in spite of the possibility of future betrayal and blackmail. The $ex scenes are intimate, erotic and intense. The sexual chemistry was palpable but saying that I did have an issue with the lack of condom usage in this M/M romance story line. Fiction and the possibility of no unwanted pregnancies aside, I do believe that romance authors, including those who write M/M story lines, have an obligation to present safe (safer) $ex scenarios. There was no mention of STD or AIDs testing, or clean blood work-this was very disheartening under the circumstances especially when one of the leading characters was sexually active with another partner on more than one occasion. We are introduced to several of Gavin’s teammates including quarterback Simeon Boudreaux and running back Marcus Hendricks, Gavin’s agent Mel Hawkins, publicist Joe Carmichael, and Noah’s best friend Jasmine. Simeon’s story line is next in Down by Contact-January 2018.
toniFMAMTC More than 1 year ago
I absolutely fell for this story. Noah is awesome. I adore him and the way he cares so much, but I'm in love with Gavin, the grump with a heart of gold type. If you're one of his people, he has your back. Gavin has anger issues and is on house arrest because of it. Noah is desperately scrambling for a job. He has no idea who Gavin is and doesn't know much more about football in general. Football is all that Gavin has in his life except for a couple of close friends. Noah becomes Gavin's PA. Both are pretty blunt so things are a bit antagonistic at first. The more they get to know each other, the more the mutual respect and attraction grow. Yes, there is definitely something between them, but there are also so many reasons why they can't go there. I like how the characters don't just hook up, and then everything works out perfectly. They're mature about the facts and know their actions have consequences. The storyline feels realistic. I understood and felt all the emotions with Gavin and Noah. Illegal Contact has a great storyline and plenty of sexy. I definitely recommend.
amatate More than 1 year ago
Illegal Contact marks the first book in Mr. Hassell’s new football romance series, The Barons, and it was even better than I could have hoped. I’m a fan of sports romances in general, with hockey and football being my favorite to read about; so when the author announced his plans to write a football book, I was excited and admittedly a little nervous. I love when my favorite authors branch out, but there’s always a little trepidation as to whether it will measure up to past works. In my opinion, this title is right up there with my favorite Hassell books and I’m crazy excited to see what book two will hold. Illegal Contact pairs up an intelligent college graduate who refuses to take anyone’s nonsense with a grumpy football player who doesn’t hold back from saying whatever is on his mind. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of back and forth banter, snide remarks, and of course- SPARKS! Though Gavin and Noah are very different from one another, I don’t know that that I’d consider this a case of opposites attracting. Rather, these men fit one another and I absolutely loved them together. Mr. Hassell writes the best grumpy characters who hide hearts of gold underneath their gruff exteriors, and Gavin certainly is no exception. I loved that the reader got glimpses of that goodness right from the start, and I immediately formed a soft spot for Gavin and was excited to see those moments extend as his character develops. I also like Noah quite a lot and found his backstory interesting. I appreciated how he challenges Gavin, and in turn Gavin and his teammates challenge Noah’s assumptions about professional athletes. There is a considerable amount of growth on both sides, and it the relationship naturally matures as the characters acknowledge their developing feelings. This author regularly writes romances bounding with chemistry, and while I didn’t find the pull between Gavin and Noah quite as magnetic as some of Mr. Hassell’s past pairings, these were some of my very favorite of his characters. Their personalities were dynamic and the dialogue made their vibrancy really pop. As always, this author writes with an unbelievably smooth style that has a polished feel without feeling stilted or lacking in authenticity. The pacing was perfect; and between the writing, characters, and dialogue, I found it extremely difficult to put this book down. I would have liked to see more of the football angle explored as I think that’s what sets apart sport romances, but given the circumstances surrounding the characters meeting, those details weren’t necessary to make the story work. For those readers hoping for a book showcasing Mr. Hassell’s talented writing style and complex characters but a little less angst than his Five Boroughs series, Illegal Contact won’t leave you wanting. *Received ARC via Netgalley. The publisher and author had no influence over this review for Alpha Book Club*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
His best since Sunset Park
Mari-BayouBookJunkie More than 1 year ago
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. ***
tradermare More than 1 year ago
In Illegal Contact, Santino Hassell sheds his "gritty" writing for a very thoughtful "falling in love" story between two unlikely but likeable men. Gavin is a pro football player sentenced to house arrest for punching out some guy. (What he did is integral to the story, so I'm not going to spoil.) He's got some definite anger issues. Noah is a social advocate and couldn't be more different than Gavin. He's short on cash and without a job. Applying for a job as Gavin's personal assistant is a long shot, but he manages to get the job. The early tension between Gavin and Noah made me wonder how these two were ever going to get together. But over the course of a few weeks, Gavin and Noah quietly build a friendship while their attraction for each other grows. There are some circumstances in Noah's past that keeps him from acting upon his more-than-friends feelings toward Gavin, but eventually they just can't stay away from each other. I loved the slow build to their relationship -- the making out scenes are steamy and made everything about Gavin and Noah's relationship different and interesting. The ending chapters brought tears to my eyes and the resolution was just perfect. I loved everything about this book. It left me feeling good and wanting more, and as a reader that's what I want from the first book in a series. An ARC was provided for review.