Even though Down by Contact by Santino Hassell is releasing in January, it already feels like one of the top books of 2018.

About ‘Down by Contact’ (The Barons #2) by Santino Hassell:

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’ (The Barons #2) by Santino Hassell review:

I had some mixed feelings after reading the first book in this series, Illegal Contact. I liked it, but I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. Going into Down By Contact, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Yet, it quickly become clear that this novel is steamy, angsty, and just sucks you right in!

The book plays off the enemies to lovers trope as well as forbidden romance. Simeon is out and proud now, but it wasn’t always that way. His former teammate Adrián was from a time when Simeon was still in the closet. And their former friendship turns ugly when Adrián makes some homophobic jokes which leads them to get into a fight on the field.

“I felt like an asshole for basically giving him ammo to win a round of our unnamed challenge to make each other uncomfortable. If he wasn’t inventive enough to give me the gory details about riding poles, I wasn’t supposed to go around suggesting it. Even though I’d immediately starting picturing it. Which was…different. And interesting. And different.”

Thanks to their scuffle, the two football stars have to spend their time on suspension with some good old community service. The more time the two spend together, the more it becomes obvious that they have plenty in common – including their mutual attraction. They had always been close when they played together on the same football team, but it isn’t until now that they realize why that is.

Despite Adrián’s confusion about why he’s drawn to Simeon, he can’t deny the feelings that make him want to get closer. Then things go from flirty, to sexy really quick. At first, Simeon tries to play it off as a way to get back at Adrián and confuse him. Their connection also makes him want to protect Adrián from the same issues he has to deal with being out in the league though.

“All signs pointed to Adrián Bravo being into me, and he was so caught up in a sexuality that had been predesignated for him at birth that he didn’t understand, or notice, his own damn feelings. All he knew was that he wanted me around. And that he wanted to play an immature game that would guarantee he got to say filthy things to me and vice versa.”

With more reasons to be apart than together, it’s a struggle to find a way to be together and be happy. Readers will just love Simeon and Adrián’s chemistry, and easy going banter. There are plenty of super steamy scenes, but also fun and adorable moments as well.

I think Down by Contact included some of the emotional side of things that felt lacking in the first book of the series. And it makes me SO happy that I gave this series another shot because I can’t wait to see what comes next in The Barons series!

Down by Contact (The Barons #2) by Santino Hassell will be released on January 16! Pre-order now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, or Kobo. And don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads!

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