Down by Contact by Santino Hassell
Published by: Intermix
Genre: Contemporary Sports Romance
Reviewed by: Alex
What to Expect: Two hunky football stars go from ex-friends to truculent lovers to total spoony swoony macaroons. Prepare to hate at least one of them. Then, prepare to get over it.
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…
The dramatic reenactment of me reaching out to book pals while reading this book:
Me: Um. Has Santino just written a GFY*?
[Note: GFY = gay for you. Often contentious, especially with bi readers for ReasonsTM)
#1: OMG. No. No, no, no. Not possible.
#2: Holy… Alex, do not say that. Look at who you’re talking about. You know better.
Me: Yeah okay but I’m like at 50% already and the whole trope is here. ‘Straight’ dude can’t control himself around one guy, never had a clue, no flashbacks, just…you know, “there was an earthquake and whoopsie, my clothes fell off and… damn, you feel good.”
#1: *rolls eyes* It’s not. Really. I promise it will all become clear. Just, stick with it, k?
Me at 80%: Guys. This is a total GFY. I’m not kidding. He’s written a GFY.
#1: LOL. He’s gonna stab you.
Me: *gulps* Really?
#2: No. He’s not stabby like that.
Me: You sure?
#2: Well, maybe with words.
Then, at 85%, when Adrian self-identifies as bi…Me: The heavens open, and angels start singing
You: Uh…dramatic much?
Me: Yes. It’s a gift.
Actually, there were more discussions, several along the lines of “Wait. Is that it? It’s like…that simple?” Contemplating occurs. Then, on all accounts, we end up with something like, “Okay, yeah. Like, that’s really it. Open sesame. Say the word. Get the toaster oven and… Look, ma! No bi-erasure.” Then, depending on who I’m speaking with, jazz hands.
There is more to the story than this. Two ex-friends in an alpha-male dominated career have become something more personal than rivals, skating that thin edge between lust and hate. These two are anything but easy on each other but when community center kids enter the picture, their defenses come down and before you know it, they are all kinds of schmoopy.
Wonderfully, gloriously, unapologetically schmoopy.
What you may not like: Fistfights, especially between love interests. Wrestling? Yeah. Suspension? Maybe. Blood? Nope.
What you will love: Big guys with big personalities falling so hard for each other. Respectively, they individually find the grace to know when they’ve messed up and, even better, to fight for something amazing, which they find in each other.
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