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review 2017-09-17 17:31
Fast Connection by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell Review
Fast Connection (Cyberlove) (Volume 2) - Megan Erickson,Santino Hassell

 

 

After a decade of serving in the Army, everyone still expects me to be Dominic 'Nicky' Costigan--the skirt-chasing player. They don't know I've been spending my days trying to figure out my post-military life. Including how to pick up guys.

When I meet Luke on a hookup app, he makes it clear it's for one-night only. That's fine with me, because I'm down to see what this silver fox can do. But after I arrive at his doorstep, it doesn't take long to realize we have serious chemistry, and we end up meeting again.

He's got more walls around his heart than a military base, but I think he's as addicted to me as I am to him. He can't resist me for long. I mean, who can? Except Luke's rules exist for a reason, and when I test his limits, things get complicated. Maybe too complicated

 

Review

 

This is a great book with an unlikely hero in Nick.

This book tackles a lot of crazy topics and it comes out on top. What is it like to be a working class guy in all the ways who discovers he is bisexual? How do you readjust to leaving the service? How do you come home when the messy family life you left behind is still there and you have grown up but no one else has? How do you balance your needs and wants against your kin's?

Nick is brash and rude and a real jerk in the first book in the series but we see that he is a heart of gold character who really risks himself in all ways and loves deeply. He is charming and silly and intense.

Lucas has been burned in relationships and is raising his teens. He doesn't see Nick coming and has to learn to love and trust again to really have joy.

Oh, and it is all hot as hell.

Wonderful!

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review 2017-08-24 03:19
Very good
Illegal Contact - Santino Hassell

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…

Review:

Dear Santino Hassell,

I enjoyed your works in the past and was curious enough to see how you will write “sports romance”. The blurb also promised some variety of “from enemies to lovers” trope and I figured that your writing is usually so strong and you will do my favorite trope justice. And I ended up being very satisfied with the Romance in this book.

The blurb gives you all the necessary information to understand the set up. Gavin is suspended from the team and is under the house arrest for six months and his manager convinces him that Gavin needs personal secretary. Gavin may be convinced but he is not happy about it and decides to sit in on the interviews.

The story is narrated in turn by Noah and Gavin and this is how Noah sees Gavin for the first time.

"That abruptly changed when my gaze fell on the long, brawny figure sprawled on the couch. I wasn’t exactly petite, but the man slouching across the room had to be a few inches taller than my own six feet. Broad shoulders stretched out the material of a gray T-shirt before leading to a muscular chest and trim waist. The man’s dark-wash jeans barely seemed to contain powerful legs and thighs. And his face was startlingly attractive. Golden hair and golden eyes—a combination so lethal that I stared, dumbfounded, even though the sun rays of that gaze weren’t directed at me. The guy didn’t even register my existence. He was staring at his phone and lazing like a big blond cat. He was also vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t immediately remember why."

Gavin’s manager was not being a particularly nice interviewer and Noah has no idea who is his potential employer. See he was not interested in football and because of that of course he did not know famous players.

"I saw all my bad decisions from the past couple of years, and all the times I’d been cowed by men more powerful or educated than me. The give-no-fucks chip activated, and I swiveled my head to pin the athlete. “Who are you?” Blond eyebrows rose, but his expression didn’t change. “Are you kidding?” His voice was deep and slightly husky. It belonged in a bedroom, not a job interview. “No, I’m not kidding.” I turned back to Joe. “I assume he’s someone important?” At this point, Joe looked impatient enough to boot me from the office. “Mr. Monroe, do you live under a rock?” From the corner of my eye, I saw the blond hunch forward with his forearms propped on his knees. He was watching me as though I was a rare breed of human he couldn’t identify. Maybe he didn’t mean to make me feel small, but between him and Joe, I did. I was vulnerable under the scrutiny. Like an insect. Something small and puny that was inspected beneath a microscope by larger-than-life individuals who would deem me unworthy. It wasn’t the first time I’d felt that way, but this was the first time I didn’t have to put up with it. There were other jobs.”

You can guess that eventually Gavin decided to hire Noah because he liked that Noah didn’t cow in his presence and because otherwise we would not have had this specific story.

I *really* liked that both Noah and Gavin had reasons to behave the way they did. Of course Gavin would be irritated with Noah for being so ignorant about football when football is the thing he loved the most. Football saved him from the miserable childhood, gave him friends, some close as brothers would be and of course gave him wealth. And it made sense to me that Noah who needed money so badly for several reasons would at first be irritated with the famous athlete who had so much of it and seemed to have trouble managing his money in addition to his temper.

As an aside I also really liked that Gavin was shown as a flawed but nevertheless likeable human being. Yes, he truly let his temper got the best of him enough to get in trouble with the law. But once again there were reasons for his behavior and I understood it very well.

And slowly but surely they begin to understand each other better and maybe make allowances and of course develop attraction for each other. I think overall it took a few months for them to fully understand what they meant to one another.

I even liked the “mandatory break – up” or “mandatory separation” – you can call it whatever you like, but you know that moment which happens in 99 percent of romance books where heroes have to spend some time apart and then come back together stronger than ever. I mean, “liked” is probably the wrong word. I wanted to say that it once again made sense to me – worries about what would happen if Gavin’s secret (his sexuality) would come out made complete sense.

The resolution was an obvious one, but I really didn’t think it could go any other way in order for the guys to have a future together.

The only thing that was missing for me was more football. I said it before, I try very hard to not go in the book with formed expectations, but sometimes blurb of the story or even cover makes it impossible to avoid forming some. When the book is being billed as sports book, I want to see games, practices, etc. We do see one and there is a lot about the football, but I still wanted to *see* more.

Grade: B+

  1. I really liked most secondary characters and very much looking forward to Simeon’s story.
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review 2017-08-15 20:13
So just add me to the list...
Illegal Contact - Santino Hassell

What list you may wonder why the list of people who loved this book of course...yeah, that list.

 

First off let me just say I'm not much of  a fan of football, sorry I am Canadian the hockey arena is more than likely where you'll find me if sports are involved, but for me, when it comes to books it's the story that matters and the subject doesn't always have to be a favorite topic of mine. Santino Hassell is one of those authors whose name on the cover takes precedence over what the story is about...in other words a good book, is a good book, is a good book and I've learned that there are certain authors who I can rely on to deliver a good book no matter what they're writing about. Santino Hassell's name is on that list for me.

 

ICoS was my first reading experience with this author and he and Ais totally blew me out of the water with that series. So much so that after reading it I was compelled to buy the Director's Cut copies for Evanfall. I own the e-book copy or I own the book I don't make it a habit to own both and if  you know me than you know that doing so speaks to how incredibly much I enjoyed them. Next I discovered the awesomeness that is his 'Five Boroughs' series and enjoyed these as audiobooks and now this author has again shown his diversity with 'Illegal Contact' the first book in his latest series 'The Barons' again...mind blown! I have yet to enjoy his paranormal story 'Stygian' and his other new series 'The Community' but trust me, I have them all waiting for me on my e-reader...it will happen.

 

Gavin Brawley has it all the successful football career, the money, the huge house that you can get lost in, fame, success...so it begs the question 'Why is someone with all this so unhappy?'

 

Noah Monroe is a college grad, he's buried in debt, lives with his dad who is jobless after being on the wrong side of his employer's latest downsizing efforts and yet, in many ways he's happier than Gavin and would be even happier if he could just find a job that allowed him to earn enough money to pay his bills. 

 

Thankfully Gavin's misfortune is about to become Noah's golden opportunity. When the successful football player ends up under house arrest and needing a Personal Assistant. 

 

This one's a slow burn to be sure. There may be a bit of lust at first sight but Gavin and Noah have more of an oil and water mix going on at the beginning. Watching these two maneuver their way around each other as they slowly work their way past the barriers each of them have built is more than a little entertaining. 

 

As Gavin and Noah spend time together Noah begins to see past the gruff and rude exterior that Gavin has put up to the man...the man that no one but Gavin's friends and teammates, Simeon and Marcus, ever see and even they don't get to see the person that Noah ultimately uncovers. 

Noah’s lips stretched into a smile, and his eyes twinkled behind his glasses. “I feel like four and a half months ago those words would never have come out of your mouth.”

 

“Heh. Maybe. Four and a half months ago I didn’t see a need to not drive people away.”

So much of Gavin and Noah's story feels real, like maybe we could have read this in the tabloids. There's a lot of unvarnished truth in the story we're being given and much of it is a sad commentary on how we...and by we, I mean society in general, view celebrities. Whether they're actors, singers or sports figures...if they're in the limelight we tend to feel that their private lives are meant for public viewing and this is the issue that drives Gavin's actions both at the beginning of the book and at the end and how Gavin deals with the circumstances during both events shows his growth as an individual and how much Noah has influenced his life, which for me was definitely in a positive way. 

 

The secondary characters in this story as always were given enough depth and dimension to make them feel real...some of them were totally likable, such as Jasmine. Noah's best friend who calls him on his BS and isn't afraid to keep it real as well as Simeon and Marcus who do the same for Gavin. There was also Gavin's agent Mel, a tough, no non-sense businesswoman but then there was Joe Carmichael, Gavin's manager who was admittedly not very likable but he truly cared about Gavin and had his best interest at heart...likable but not. But when it came to secondary characters my personal favorite was Case the guy from the autoshop who befriended Noah. I totally want a story for him...please? There must be a quarterback or a linebacker somewhere in need of an awesome, sexy and genuinely nice guy to work on his care and maybe him? Just offering that one up for the powers that be to consider.

 

As for the sexy times in this one...well all I'm going to say is 'good things come to he or she who waits and this pair are so worth the wait...Gavin and Noah are seriously hot...I'm pretty sure that some circuits got scorched in my Kobo, but hey, don't take my word for it. There are lots of other awesome reviews you can read or better yet just read the book.

 

********************

An ARC of 'Illegal Contact' was graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

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review 2017-08-14 14:37
Review: Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell
Illegal Contact (The Barons) - Santino Hassell

My review cross-posted from Wit and Sin

 

A warning to anyone about to start Illegal Contact: make sure you leave yourself time to read the entire book in one sitting. Santino Hassell has a compelling writing style that makes Gavin and Noah’s love story impossible to put down. Even if you’re not a football fan, this is one sports romance you don’t want to miss.

Gavin Brawley isn’t your typical hero. He may be gorgeous and talented both in the bedroom and on the field, but he’s also got a short temper that he lets fly. Add in an attitude and an unwillingness to be anything but straightforward and it’s easy to see why he’s a public relations nightmare. Gavin isn’t wholly the jerk the media makes him out to be, but he’s got a chip on shoulder and the forced confinement of house arrest (even if that house is a mansion) makes him even more irritable. So why did I find him so compelling? What sold me on Gavin from the start – even when he was at his most disagreeable – was that he’s utterly and completely loyal, protective, and caring when it comes to his friends. I loved peeling back the layers of his character and watching Gavin grow and change over the course of the story. He’s never going to be the smiling sports star pictured on your boxed cereal, but he does become an ever better, more well-rounded version of himself.

Noah Monroe is the catalyst for Gavin’s change, and I flat-out loved him. Noah is one of the most relatable protagonists I’ve come across in quite some time. When he applies for the job of Gavin’s personal assistant, it’s not because he’s a football fan or a celebrity-chaser. He’s simply a recent college grad drowning in student loan debt and desperately needs a job. Noah may be smart, no-nonsense, a bit of a geek, and look like a sexy Clark Kent, but he’s also an over-thinker with flaws of his own. Noah isn’t cowed by Gavin’s temper and his straightforwardness with the other man about how he comes across is part of the reason why Gavin starts to examine his own attitude.

Noah and Gavin don’t hit it off from the start; in fact, they piss each other off more often than not. The sparks fly fast and furious and I loved watching Gavin and Noah go from antagonizing one another to respecting each other to becoming more than cranky football star and overwhelmed employee. While there’s definite attraction in the beginning, the romance is a slow burn. I loved that Gavin and Noah actually got to know each other before the love story kicked things into high gear. And when the sexual tension between the two men boils over…watch out, because you’re in for some dirty, sexy fun. I loved these two together, but even after they start to fall in love, you know things aren’t going to be easy. Coming out as bisexual could destroy a career that has saved Gavin, and homophobia isn’t something you can wave a magic wand at and make disappear. I won’t say how things work out, but I will say that the ending of Illegal Contactleft me with a huge smile on my face.

Illegal Contact is the first book in Mr. Hassell’s Barons series and I can’t wait for more. Noah and Gavin are complex, interesting characters and their love story is layered, engaging, sexy, and surprisingly sweet at times. I also fell in love with Gavin’s teammates and best friends Simeon and Marcus, and I cannot wait to see what Mr. Hassell has in store for Simeon in Down by Contact. Until I find out, I’m content to keep re-reading Gavin and Noah’s story – their romance is just that addictive.


FTC Disclosure: I received the e-book edition of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/08/review-illegal-contact-by-santino.html
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review 2017-08-08 00:00
Mature Content
Mature Content - Megan Erickson,Santino Hassell 3,9stars

This was possibly the hottest of the four.
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