Published by Berkley Romance
DOWN BY CONTACT by Santino Hassell
Series: The Baron, #2
Release Date: 16th January 2018
Genre: Sports romance, M/M
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…
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I swear I hated Simeon and the effect he had on my traitorous asshole of a body.
“Yeah, however you want to say it. I freaked out. Shouldn’t have pushed you and sent you home with, uh-” I licked my lips again, glancing down at his crotch. The heavy curve of his dick was clearly visible through his track pants. “With-“
I exhaled with a whoosh of air. “Yeah.”
“It’s okay. There’s still time to redeem yourself.”
“Redeem myself,” I repeated slowly. “I dunno about all that.”
“I thought you were inviting me over for wings and football and all that bro shit?”
Simeon’s evil smile went up several notches. “What’d you think I meant, boo?”
“Okay, Bravo. I’ll think about it.”
He was backing me into corner after corner, and I kept following and slamming into walls that had apparently encircled my common sense. The last thing I needed was to keep stretching this out after the gay rumors had just started to fade. Instead of pairing us up, they were implying we were sitting on a pressure cooker due to our teams playing not even a month after the brawl.
But even knowing all that, I couldn’t stop myself. He was talking to me again, giving me a shot, and agreeing to once again spend time with me even after I’d flipped out on him. I needed to nurture that willingness before I lost it again. Considering how precarious our moments of getting along were, I was gonna have to make a comeback in a big way.
Mark me down as thirsty because I’ve been salivating over this follow up in The Barons series since its incredible debut, Illegal Contact.
It is safe to say there is no love lost between Simeon Boudreaux and Adrián Bravo. Rivals on and off the field, there is a well-documented history of animosity between them. Given the intensity of their dislike of one another it came as shock to discover that this had not always been the case. The one-time team mates had been friends until their relationship soured by what Bravo considered a betrayal when Simeon left The Predators to sign with their rivals, The Barons.
Since the move Simeon has been living his best life. He’s out and proud, playing the best football of his career, and considers his team mates to be family as well as friends. Anyone else would have been left jaded by recent blackmail attempt made against them, but Simeon refuses to let he incident saddle him with trust issues. He oozes confidence and charisma, but not everyone is so taken with the Boudreaux charm.
Adrián Bravo is intimidating in every sense of the word. Ass-holish in his demeanour and bullish on the field, admittedly there isn’t too much to like about him at first glance. His grudge against Simeon seems far too deep rooted for the flimsy reasons he gives, and it’s after the latest (and most nasty) on field altercation that he is finally forced to face his acrimony.
As well as a six game ban their punishment includes working together to coach teens about the game of football. In order to teach teamwork and discipline they have to lead by example. It takes some time but they eventually find their footing and come to an understanding in order to navigate a respectful relationship. They tell themselves it’s a means to an end, but what neither one wants to admit is how much they are enjoying the others company.
It’s an enemies to lovers romance in every sense of the word. The culmination of their sexual tension is explosive to say the least, but it’s the personal growth, especially that of Adrián which was the greatest source of enjoyment for me. Down by Contact is a hard hitting addition to a series that is fast becoming one of my favourites.
About Santino Hassell
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.
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