Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell
Published by: InterMix
Genre: Contemporary Sports Romance
Reviewed by: Alex
What to Expect: It’s Santino Hassell. What do you think you’re gonna get? You’re going to get hot, snarky, sarcastic dudes making you wish your AC went up to eleven. Or, maybe fifteen. So what’s different? This is the series that could have the tagline: Tight End Seeks Same.
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…
Y’all, this book…
Okay, when I started this book, I was sitting upright in 19A with all the lights on. By take-off, I huddled up to the window, surreptitiously angling my e-reader for extra privacy. My tray table came down immediately and when I was asked what I wanted to drink, I ordered coffee, then handed over my card and asked for a whiskey. Two hours and forty minutes later, we landed and I was looking for excuses to stay put so I could finish the last twenty percent even though it was brushing up on midnight.
And while I hesitate to say this is Santino at his best, I couldn’t say where or when he was better.
Noah is an earnest kid who desperately needs a job, doesn’t care at all about football, and ends up at a much coveted interview almost by mistake and then proceeds to lose his shit when the interviewer reminds him of his ex and the guy he’s supposed to work for is a jerk.
Gavin is the jerk, who happens to be one of the most famous football players in the galaxy. Famous? More like infamous and as much for his temper as his talent. He also seriously doesn’t need* a personal assistant.
(*Good lord, does Gavin need a personal assistant. In fact, he probably needs half-a-dozen of them. Never mind. He’s going to get Noah and all will be right with the world).
There is serious tension from the get-go. Combine this with Gavin’s inability to keep from seeking out and finding as many of Noah’s buttons as he can. Then make it so Noah gets a signing bonus to live there rather than going home each night. Toss in Noah’s total defensiveness of Gavin’s privacy and toss out the rest of Gavin’s clothes since all he seems to wear are super tight, super skimpy compression shorts. Shake it all up. Then sit back (angling ever closer to the airplane window) and enjoy the ride.
What you may not like: I have pals who do not like the power dynamic between boss/employee. It’s a bad idea. It’s messy. In theory, I agree. It’s a scenario that crosses boundaries that should really stay in place. But, from personal experience, sometimes it’s gonna happen no matter what. That’s what is happening here and the way this trope worked in Illegal Contact worked for me. No pun intended.
What you will love: The attitude comes off these two in big-ass waves. The pair of them play like they are each so tough but they are such Tootsie Pops (TM)…so hard on the outside, then soft and squishy almost as soon as the licking starts. You remember that ad, right? Yeah. It’s like that.
Alex claims to read more than any normal, healthy adult should though the rest of the Binge on Books team would beg to differ. You can read all of his reviews here.
Connect with Alex on Twitter: @Alex_deMorra