Down by Contact
The Barons, Book #2
By Santino Hassell
Author’s Website: www(.)santinohassell(.)com
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.
Down by Contact takes place a few months after the events of Illegal Contact, but this time is centered around Gavin’s friend and teammate, Simeon Boudreaux. We meet Simeon during the scandal of the last book, where Gavin punched a man while trying to keep a sex-tape of Simeon from being sold to the media. Now that Simeon has come out the public and his team, things are starting to go back to normal, but there is still hostility between the Barons and their #1 adversary, the Predators. Most of this hostility is aimed at Simeon by Adrián Bravo from the Predators, who for some reason is angry with Simeon and tends to antagonize him. Before playing for the Barons, Simeon was drafted by the Predators at the same time that Adrián was, while they had some type of friendship, it all went south when Simeon decided to change teams as he didn’t see a future moving up the ranks within the Predators, and wasn’t happy with the way the team expressed about LGBT people.
During their first practice game before the season starts, the Baron play against the Predators. The day before, given that Adrián is still angry with Simeon for leaving the Predators and thinking he betrayed the team, he makes a sexist comment about Simeon during an interview, and Simeon calls him out through his social media. During the game, both Adrián and Simeon get into a fight and are suspended for two months. In a way to save face and extinguish the fires, both of their managers send them to do community work at a Youth Center.
The more time they spend together and come clean about why they are mad with each other, the friendship that they had in the past comes back, and Adrián starts to understand the real reason he has been angry with all of the sextape scandal that Simeon was part of in the past. A spark of lust and need starts to fire up, and their time together is coming to an end. As they have to go back to their respective team, both of them have to make a decision about what they truly want, and if they are willing to take the final step and face the world together.
I liked Down by Contact, it was a different type of story compared to the first book in the Barons series. In this case, one of the main characters doesn’t understand yet that what he feels for the other man is sexual attraction and has had feelings for him for some time. It was interesting to read the realization of a character when he understands the feelings and the true reason behind his actions.
In this story, we get to see Gavin and Marcus again, the best friends of Simeon and his team members. We also get a small glimpse of Noah and the future life that he has with Gavin. Marcus seems to be getting serious with his girlfriend Jasmine, Noah’s friend. It was also nice to meet Simeon’s mother and see her interact with the other characters in the series.
Adrián is a very different type of person compared to Simeon, but he does resemble a little to Gavin. He is cocky and arrogant and seems to have a handle of his life. After the incident that causes him and Simeon to be suspended, he starts to take a different approach to his normal behavior and notices that locker jokes that were once funny are not anymore. A thing that I liked about Adrián is his friendly neighborhood person that he has with every person he meets, given that he doesn’t like to live in a big mansion like other football players, but prefers his modern condo in the neighborhood.
Parents have a little more of a presence in this book. Adrián’s parents have each their own opinion regarding their son’s future and the relationship that spring to life in this story. Both of them want the best for their son and soon come to an understanding. I would love to see Adrián’s parents and Simeon’s mother meet and talk about their sons’ careers.
It seems that a specific location is the third character in the Barons series. In the case of the previous book, Illegal Contact, Gavin’s mansion was the center place where most of the things happened. For Down by Contact, the Youth Center where Simeon and Adrián spend their community service teaching and training kids to play football is the location of his story. Even the storm was a perfect element to help the story move forward.
I don’t know what the author has planned for the future of the series, but given the last events in this story, I can imagine with which new character is going to get their own story told and find love.
I liked Down by Contact.
If you are a fan of Santino Hassell or is work such as the Baron series, then I recommended you Down by Contact. In this story, the air gets clear up, and two men come to understand the pen up feelings and attraction that they have for one another while trying to figure out what to do with their lives.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*