Illegal Contact (The Barons)

Illegal Contact (The Barons) - Santino Hassell Review originally posted at Sinfully.

This is definitely on the lighter angst side and heavier romance side than the other books I’ve read by Santino Hassel. If you’re not into football don’t worry, neither is Gavin at the moment so you don’t need to know anything about the game to enjoy it. He’s been suspended for the season and is on house arrest in his mansion after punching out a frat boy. He definitely has anger and aggression issues, but there’s more to what happened than the media and fans want to believe, but Gavin’s not talking.

Noah needs a job, even if it is a six month temporary PA position with the sexy but cranky football player, but that doesn’t mean Noah is going to sit back and take crap from the incredibly hot but unlikeable man. Noah is mouthy, but he gets things done and yes, I’ve mentioned it several times because man does Noah think Gavin is hottest thing he’s ever seen even though he doesn’t like football or really care who Gavin is. That attitude is one of the things Gavin first likes about the sexy but nerdy Noah.

So it begins as Noah spends his days taking care of Gavin’s day to day life, his house, his fan mail, his online presence, eventually moving into the house on weekdays. As they begin to actually get along the tension heats up. Gavin knows Noah is gay, but Noah believes Gavin to be straight. When Noah goes out on a date Gavin gets jealous and then tries to make Noah jealous, dropping the bomb that he’s bisexual and completely short-circuiting Noah’s brain, but Noah’s not going to fall into that trap again. Hooking up with Gavin would only be trouble.

After a while the antagonistic banter becomes less so. They still have a great back and forth but now Gavin’s friends and fans have noticed what comes to be known as #DatBrawleySmile – the smile no one expected Gavin was capable of and only Noah can bring out. If you think cranky Gavin is sexy, he doesn’t hold a candle to love struck Gavin. Noah finds out that there is so much more to Gavin than what the media reports. Gavin had a tough hand dealt as a child, but he is smart, loyal and has a huge heart.

As the two get close, the potential pitfalls are many, but they are in their own little world in the big house in the Hamptons having great sex, so it’s easy to push it aside, but the outside world is still there just beyond the door. Noah has a past that included getting involved with someone at his last job which resulted in his firing, something that eats at him even as he’s falling for Gavin. Gavin risks everything if his bisexuality becomes public knowledge. His image is just starting to recover and he’s still in the middle of his suspension and lock down. He’s got an agent and manager that are looking out for him, even if it comes down to Noah being a casualty of the cutthroat business of being a celebrity ball player. When one of the potential pitfalls becomes reality, Gavin and Noah completely broke my heart. Seriously, the last 15% or so of the story left me an emotional wreck, but no fears, there is a happy ending.

“Who’s gonna put that smile on your face when you’re not with me anymore…”

“Nobody … You ruined me for anyone else.”

This is a fantastic slow burn romance with soooo much sexual tension as two complete opposites learn to live with each other, slowly falling in love. There’s not so much as a peck on the lips until more than halfway through the book, but when these two finally hook up it’s no holds barred. I loved the dual POV and the secondary characters were all very well written. Aside from Gavin’s management team, we are also introduced to Noah’s best friend and his father, as well as Gavin’s two friends and teammates, Simeon (who I adored and is up next) and Marcus. Two very different characters whose stories I can’t wait to dive into. Hopefully we’ll also get a peek at just how Noah and Gavin worked out their future living arrangements as well.