Early Review: Down by Contact by Santino Hassell

Down by Contact by Santino Hassell
Series: The Barons #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: January 16th 2018
Links: Ebook • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

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…

I had been dying to get my hands on Simeon’s book ever since he was introduced in Illegal Contact (one of my FAVORITE reads of 2017). Santino Hassell did an incredible job with the first Barons novel, so of course I needed more of these football players in my life! Down by Contact has everything you can expect in an M/M sports romance from Santino – authentic characters, incendiary chemistry, and steam that will burn up the pages as you read. But there are also deeper parts to the story, like the struggle with one’s sexuality and homophobia, that Santino handles in an honest, heartfelt way. If you loved Illegal Contact, you’ll want to get your hands on this amazing follow-up!

As the Barons’ quarterback, Simeon Boudreaux is charming, adorable, and loved by all – except one. When Simeon comes out as gay to support his teammate, there’s one person who can’t help but taunt and incite him: former teammate and now rival, Adrián Bravo. To say these two don’t like each other would be an understatement – they are constantly at each other’s throats, both on the field and on social media. When a brawl goes too far, Simeon and Adrián are forced to work together at a football camp for kids. The proximity forces them to get to know one another better, become friends and possibly more. But can Adrián accept his newfound sexuality and feelings for Simeon?

It took me a while to warm up to Adrián – he is a dick, to say the least, and the way he verbally attacks Simeon can very easily be labeled as homophobic. His confusion and frustration about his attraction towards Simeon causes him to act this way, though it doesn’t excuse it. We get to experience both his and Simeon’s struggles as an openly gay professional football player, which Santino handles flawlessly. Adrián’s personal growth is a highlight of the story, as he recognizes the mistakes he’s made and the wrongs he tries to make right.

As far as love to hate and hate to love romances go, you can’t get better than Simeon and Adrián’s relationship. Their hostility, their witty and sarcastic banter, and then their growing friendship and love, everything served to make Down by Contact an incredible read. You don’t need to read Illegal Contact in order to start Down by Contact, but I’d highly recommend it anyway, because it is an incredible book. These are top-notch M/M romances for me, and I can only hope that we can get more of this series!


lacey


Reading Order: The Barons series

 

#1 ~ Illegal Contact: My Review • EbookAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Down by Contact: Ebook • Audible • Goodreads (Jan. 16, 2018)


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12 thoughts on “Early Review: Down by Contact by Santino Hassell

  1. Gotta love Adrián & Simeon! ♥️ And I agree—Adrián really was a dick in the beginning. But his character & personality just gave the story that much more spice after. 🙌🏼

  2. Great review Lacey! You’ve touched on so many of the things that I found exceptional about DbC. And you’re right. Illegal Contact was one of my top reads last year. So freaking good!

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