Kitty & Slick’s Two-fer Review – Illegal Contact (The Barons #1) by Santino Hassell

Just buy the damn book, trust me you will not be disappointed. ~ Slick, Guilty Pleasures 


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…

This is one of those book I wish we had more stars for because 5 doesn’t seem enough, it is one of those books that I know I will read again and again, and it is one of those books that two days later I’m still hoping I can write a review that will do it justice. Who knew Santino Hassel could write a sweet and sentimental romance that was still sexy as f*uck? I’ve read many books by Santino Hassel; some I liked more than others, but without a doubt Illegal Contact is my favorite book of his to date and one of my favorite books of 2017. I loved the animosity between this couple at the start, the signs of attraction, the way they begin to understand one another, the respect that builds between them, the slow burn, the scorching sexy times, and the love that grows with each passing day; basically I LOVED every little thing about this book.

An angry, brash, intimidating football player for the New York Barons under six months of house arrest for beating a frat boy on the side of the road after an argument, hires a quirky, smart, broke recently unemployed “college boy” as his personal assistant. Their attraction burns brightly and the more they try to deny it, it becomes evident their need for one another is greater than the backlash that can come of it.

Gavin Brawly was the epitome of an anti-hero; he came across as rude, always ready for a fight, refused to pander to the media, and anti social, but in reality he valued his privacy and only wanted to play football, the game that saved his life. Noah Monroe’s life is in a bit of turmoil and though being a P.A. for an athlete isn’t high on his list, a paycheck is. Noah has little respect for professional athletes, but the more time he spends with Gavin and his friends, the more he realizes he’s misjudged them and stereotyping them is just as bad as people stereotyping him. A born caretaker, Noah soon finds that Gavin is much different than the world sees him. I loved Noah’s loyalty and take charge attitude and the way he called Gavin out when he was being mean or a bully, but Gavin made Noah think, he made him see things in a different light and both these men changed throughout the course of this story. Gavin began to see that his brusqueness could make people feel unsafe something he never wanted to do to another human being, he learned to control his temper and realized that it was okay to let people in his life. Noah became more confident, more assertive, and began to realize he had value. While he still struggled with self doubt about his judgment, he began to understand that his trusting and giving nature sometimes allowed others to take advantage of him. I loved these characters and watching them grow was intriguing, but even more so was watching them let the other one in, watching their friendship grow, and the s-l-o-w burn of attraction whipping around them. Yes, it takes a good, long time for them to finally give in to their attraction but I’m telling you, the wait was so totally worth it.

There are many elements to this story, but the growing relationship between Gavin and Noah is never lost; everything that happens in this book leads to the decisions that are made and the very satisfying end result. I honestly can’t say enough great things about this story, so instead I will say in honor of all my Facebook followers, “Just buy the damn book, trust me you will not be disappointed.”

I adored everything about this story from beginning to end. ~ Kitty, Guilty Pleasures 

I was so taken by this story that it’s very hard to put into words how I felt about Illegal Contact. Will it make my 2017 “Best of” list – most definitely. I was awed and enthralled throughout the telling of this beautiful story.

Gavin and Noah were two of the most unlikely people to ever be together. Gavin was brash, angry and a football star. He did not have the perfect life growing up and has an epic temper on and off the field and, being a sports phenom, people exploited that. No one, except a select few, know the real him. No one knows the real reason he was convicted of assault because of his loyalty and no one ever will. He doesn’t need or want a personal assistant and plans on making life a living hell for the gorgeous Noah. Then he sees that he’s not going to take anything from him, that he really is there just for the paycheck, that not knowing anything about him or football could be a plus.

Noah is just Noah. Born in Queens, living in Queens with his dad, fired from his last job because of office politics and drowning in Student Loans. He knows he’s not qualified for this job, knows nothing about who he would be working for but, he’ll do whatever he needs to do to help his father. He’ll deal with Gavin, his surly ways, his walking around in compression shorts and his hook-ups for the paycheck. Now, he has to find a way to not fall in love with the wrong guy, again.

This unlikely cast of characters is what makes this book so amazing. We saw an infinite amount of loyalty, friendship and love between this motley crew. They knew each other, were there to support each other and, when the chips were down, stood together and faced the fallout. The only one that I didn’t like was Joe but Mel, Simeon, Marcus and Jasmine are who I would want on my side if anything ever went sideways.

Santino Hassell wrote a beautiful story. The writing was fluid and it flowed off the pages. He knows how to tell a story that will touch you in so many different ways. He had me cheering for Noah and Gavin and made Gavin’s transformation to the man that he really was beautiful. I adored everything about this story from beginning to end.

Review copy provided for a voluntary review.

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