ARC Review – Illegal Contact (The Barons #1) by Santino Hassell


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Meet the Author:

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family but grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a grumpy introvert and unlikely romance author with an affinity for baseball caps. His novels are heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, and his desire to write relationships fueled by intensity and passion.

He’s been a finalist in both the Bisexual Book Awards and the EPIC Awards, and was nominated for a prestigious RITA award in 2017. His work has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Washington Post, RT Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.



The Barons Series



Illegal Contact

(The Barons #1)



Expected publication: August 15th 2017

Genre: M/M


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…





OMG, omg, omg, omg, omg!!!!

I can’t believe this happened.

It’s so rare to find a book that hits me right were it counts.

There is this elusive unicorn in the book world, a book that is perfectly balanced, emotionally grabbing, funny and flirty, with genuine and likable characters, AND it makes me want to read it again, and again, and again.

Illegal Contact (The Barons #1) by Santino Hassell was just that.

Heart-meltingly beautiful, utterly satisfying and total perfection.

Illegal Contact is a football M/M novel about a mean son of a bitch tight end Gavin Brawley and his PA.

Not only did the blurb check all my boxes it also promised an unique plot. A PA that would turn his boss’s life upside-down. I love the strong willed and smart mouthed assistant that has no trouble standing up to the boss. A no-nonsense attitude, with a strong-willed personality does it for me every time.  And that’s exactly what Noah Monroe was.

And I LOVED him for it!!!

From the very first sentence I was enthralled by Gavin and Noah, and utterly invested in the plot. The back and forth, the sexual banter and flirting, the final culmination had me vibrating with excitement.

When everything works, when a balance has been struck between plot line and romantic tension, and when characters are so easy to fall in love with –

I’m in book heaven.

Gavin was deliciously bad. He was the mean one on the field and off the field. He could have cared less about what anyone thought of him. All he lived for was football. Fans and media equally feared and love-hated him. They appreciated his raw talent and his dedication to the team but were also repulsed by his explosive rage and aggression and easily condemned him for it.

But that’s exactly what I loved about Gavin’s character. He had a personality that stood out from the crowd with a fuck-you attitude that has always been kryptonite for me.

And OMG Noah. My darling!!! He was the apple of my eye. He was a nerdy and hotter version of Clark Kent. A perfectionist and unwaveringly committed to Gavin. His loyalty, tenacity and devotion endeared him to me from the very first sentence. Noah took part of my heart and didn’t give it back. I imagine that’s how Gavin must have felt. 😀

The combination of a nerdy Noah and an athletic power house like Gavin was unbelievably sexy, fascinating and riveting. I started this book and ended it without leaving my chair. It’s very seldom that a book speaks so deeply to me, but I had an  idea that it would. The first time I read an excerpt of Illegal Contact I knew I had to read this book. Because I fell hook, line and sinker.

I’m ecstatic that Illegal Contact was just the first book of a new series by Santino Hassell. And now I can’t wait to read Simeon’s story – he was a complete darling and a very naughty boy.



About corina

I’m a blogger, photographer, and unapologetic book addict. I love strong female characters, major jerks, and Happily Ever Afters.

10 thoughts on “ARC Review – Illegal Contact (The Barons #1) by Santino Hassell

  1. Oh my gosh, wasn’t it super good! I’ve been waiting for someone to read this so I could gush! I LOVED Noah! I loved Gavin too, but Man did I love Noah! I love how sassy and sarcastic he was, and I loved that it was that sass that hooked Gavin. Man, so good!

    1. Noah was the BOMB!!! He could have cared less who Gavin was.;-) and the interview – OMG 🤣 I can’t wait to read more in this series. I love how much softer and lighter this book was to his usual writing.

  2. What freaking perfect timing that you posted this! I was wondering what M/M romance I could possibly follow up after reading Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy… now I know it’ll be this one! <3

    1. Lol – you MUST!!! It was everything I like about an M/M novel. Sweet, sexy, naughty, and featured two awesome characters.

  3. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Illegal Contact! I’ve only read one book by Santino Hassell before, and it was one that he cowrote with Megan Erickson.

    Guess I’ll have to add this book to my TBR!

    1. I just read Strong Signal by Megan and Santino and loved it. You’ll love Illegal Contact – it’s very similar to their books.

  4. Well you told me to read it, and now I am going to have to based on your review! This sounds incredible! I am also really impressed with your website and how everything is set up! Everything is super easy to find and you have so many great things!

    1. OMG thank you so much Charli 😍 but now you make me feel scared that IC doesn’t live up to your expectations .;-) I really, really hope you LOVE it!!!!

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