The Barons, Book #1
By Santino Hassell
Author’s Website: http://www.santinohassell.com/
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…
Illegal Contact starts in the aftermath of Gavin Brawley’s, New York Barons starting tight end, trial and he been placed in house arrest for six months. Giving that his mansion is located in Westhampton, Gavin will need somebody to help him for the next six months with all his personal affairs and keep an eye on him because he doesn’t know how to run his house for himself. His manager decides to get him a personal assistant and during the interviews he meets Noah Monroe. After getting fired from his previous job that damage his reputation, Noah finds himself without any money and savings, so after a friend’s friend gets him an interview for a personal assistant, he decides it to take it. Their first meeting goes as bad as it could go and ends with Noah storming out, but after going over the pros and cons, Gavin decides to hire Noah.
Their first week doesn’t go so well, but as time moves on they get to know each other better, and a friendship starts to form. During all the time they spend together, each one openly checks the other out, and one small surprise leads to a passionate kiss.
I really like Illegal Contact, while it’s fun to read about love at first sight, I find it more romantic and fun when the two main characters can’t stand one another, but one of them hardboards a secret crush, or they get to know each other better, and romance starts. In this case, Gavin and Noah couldn’t stand each other and it was fun to watch them grow accustom to their presences.
I had seen an increase in the trend of sport in M/M romance stories and it was great to read a story that used that idea, but took it in a different approach. In Illegal Contact, the sport, football, plays a great part of the life of Gavin and given that he is out for a whole season, he needs to still keep in shape and to learn to be more productive with aspect of his life that he didn’t have time before the incident. At the same time, it was fun and cute how Noah learns about football because of all the time he spends with Gavin and understood how much it can matter to some people.
While author Santino Hassell hasn’t decided how many books in the series there will be, I liked how the story presented characters that might have their own book later on. I really liked Simeon and Marcus and their friendship they had with Gavin. I hope that mechanic guy Luke will find his way to the stories in the future, I think there is somewhere a story for him with the Barons.
Before reading half of the story, you get an idea of what the main problem will be, but still the author wrote it in a way that it’s still interesting to read, and the reader continues on wanting to know how it’s going to resolve. I liked the writing style of Hassell and I’m going to see what else he has written.
If you’re fan of Santino Hassell, his work, and football, then I recommend you Illegal Contact. In this story, two men who are part of different jobs and social life, but with similar backgrounds come together to help each other for six months. Financial and legal needs put them together, but a growing friendship and love unites them again.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*