Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Illegal Contact: by Santino Hassell
Series: The Barons #1
Release Date: August 15th, 2017
Pages: 259 • Format: eARC
Published By: InterMix
Purchase Links:
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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…

four-half-stars

 

This was an instant winner for me. Hassell last few books didn’t really do it for me. I was hesitant to try this one, but I was so glad I did. I loved the slow burn of the relationship, and Gavin Brawley is everything. Love that he means what he says, and says what he means. Noah is everything as well. Who knew Clark Kent would be so dirty? Plus Football is sexy! About time I can get a sports romance and I know the sport forward and backward. No offence to Hockey, but Football is so much sexier.

This is definitely a realistic fiction story, but a softer side then I’m used to. Yeah, I had some issues with me feeling like every guy is a Michael, Raymond and Garrett. I have a hard time keeping different characters apart when all of their backgrounds are so similar. It doesn’t take away from my inner glee with this story though. It was gritty, honest, sexy and I never wanted it to end.

Gavin is a softer version of all 3 of those guys. I mean, he has a shitty life, and anger problems. He’s on a 6 month house arrest for physical assault. No one outside of Simeon & Marcus seems to know the real Gavin. At times, Gavin doesn’t know the real Gavin. Enter mister Noah Monroe. Freshly finished from college, and out of a job. Not caring who the client is, he decides to take a position for a PA. I really enjoyed Noah. More often then not in stories like these we have to deal with that pesky miscommunication trope, but here everyone is outspoken and sarcastic. Basically speaking my language. Right off the start they are bitchy towards each other. After countless assumptions, we finally see a different side to each guy. They start opening up to each other, and everyone around them can see the attraction clear as day. This is something Noah doesn’t want to deal with again. Falling for his boss. It didn’t lead him to a good place the first time, and he’s trying so hard for it not to happen a second time around. Gavin make me gush so hard, he understands Noah’s boundaries so well. He respects him, and that is how he knows he’s screwed. He’s never loved anyone before. I loved that its a slow burn for the romance. The buildup between these two are scorching hot. From the first kiss to the last scene, it kept me glued to my tablet. Do you know how hard it is to read in Miami? If I wasn’t drinking and partying, I was neglecting my friends to read this. **Sighs**, I really enjoyed them.

Fans of sports romance, gay romance, and Hassell in general will most likely fawn all over this. Can’t forget about the amazing Simeon & Marcus. These are the bestest friends ever! I can’t wait for Simeon’s book! I definitely recommend this book!

 

 

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About Santino Hassell

Santino was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a guy who spends his days and nights writing romance with an edge.

Santino is a dedicated gamer, a former fanfic writer, an ASoIaF mega nerd, a Grindr enthusiast, but most of all he is a writer of queer fiction that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

His Royal Favorite by Lilah Pace

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

His Royal Favorite: by Lilah Pace
Series: His Royal Secret #2 
Release Date: August 16, 2016
Pages: 245 • Format: eARC
Published By: InterMix
Purchase Links:
Amazon

The conclusion of Lilah Pace’s racy, romantic male/male duology following His Royal Secret…

James, Prince of Wales, is making history. He’s decided to come out to his subjects—and the world. However, telling the truth means exposing his relationship with lone-wolf reporter Benjamin Dahan. Although Ben never wanted commitment, the unexpected depth of his feelings leads him to join James in the media’s harsh spotlight.

When the news story explodes across the globe, Ben can endure the mockery and dirty jokes. But after his tragic past is cruelly revealed, his life begins to implode. Can even his love for James be worth this?

James has it no easier. His revelation divides the country and sparks turmoil within the royal family. He must struggle to defend not only himself and Ben, but also his younger sister, who hovers on the brink of a breakdown that could endanger her life.

Is Ben strong enough to survive the onslaught and stand by James’ side? And will James have to make a choice between Ben and the crown?

four-stars

Book two was not for the lighthearted at all!!! It was super emotional and way more angsty!!! GAH. I dislike angst and reading this is why. In my head Ben would have got over himself 20% into the story. I get it, and understand ALL his reservations but I totally was being #TeamJames over here and wanted him to sacrifice his freedom for James. It didn’t work like that, and man this book did wonders to my emotions. I feel like I need a palate cleanser and need to read a comfort read or some fluff afterwards.

This picks up immediately after book two. I almost want it to be a trilogy because I like these two characters so much. I think the author handled this wonderfully. Nothing was easy to any of the characters to me. Both guys were constantly tested, it really made them put their future in perspective. I couldn’t imagine living like that, and too see Ben trying should have been enough for me. I really like Ben alot, he’s independent, career-orientated, and self reliant. To see him part ways with the pieces that he feels makes him about did me in. I’d understood the resentment and the falling apart from one another.I think James was one of the realistic guys ever. Yeah he lived in a bubble, and doesn’t have a debit card, but he constantly gave Ben an out. He was willing to allow the love of his life, a life instead of being in the media spotlight constantly.

On top of those two, Indigo’s mental health status has reached a boiling point. I felt for James, because he’s rolling solo on this. He has no help, he has no training and he’s trying to do what he thinks is the best of her. Bravo Ben!!! Thank you for saying what I’m sure everyone reading is thinking. We can’t help Indigo without professionals, and it’s time to allow someone else to take over the reigns for a little while.

I did find myself less enamored with this then book one. It was tamer in the physical acts, it was way angstier I ever would have expected. It didn’t have the same magic as book one, but I guess you could say it was the honeymoon period for those guys and they needed a break. I’m looking forward to more from this author. This series is one I’d definitely recommend!

About Lilah Pace

Lilah Pace is a pseudonym for a New York Times bestselling author, so she can’t give away too much about herself here, but she has lived everywhere from Italy to the United Kingdom before putting down roots in the American South.

She’s addicted to Diet Coke, loves her dog, and daydreams about several British movie stars (though usually no more than two at a time).

And while it took her a long while to get up the courage to write books, now she hopes she’ll never stop.

Out of Frame (In Focus #3) by Megan Erickson

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Out of FrameOut of Frame by Megan Erickson
Series: In Focus
Release Date: March 15, 2016
Pages: 202 • Format: eARC
Published By: InterMix
Purchase Links:
iBooksAmazon Kobo

Romance trades the open road for the high seas in the latest from the author of Focus on Me and Trust the Focus

Perpetually shy, Quinn Mathers is content to remain in the shadow of his brash best friend Jess Hartman. But before their college graduation, he and Jess have planned one last hurrah: a spring break Caribbean cruise.
 
And it won’t be just any cruise. On board are members of the reality show Trip League, which follows young twenty-somethings on adventures around the world. Since the show’s beginning, Quinn has been fascinated by J. R. Butler, with his amazing body, warm eyes, and killer grin. Unfortunately, he’s straight—or so the world thinks.
 
At nineteen, J. R. signed a contract to play straight for the show, and there’s no way to get out of it now. Yet with each passing day, Quinn and J. R. find it harder to keep their hands off each other and to keep out of the camera’s frame. But when the lens finally focuses on them, J. R. must decide if he’s willing to risk his career by admitting his bisexuality, and Quinn must determine if he’s bold enough to stand in the spotlight with the man of his dreams…

four-stars

“Even though I really liked the girls, I felt like I was lying to them. They’d be like, ‘Oh damn, that Idris Elba is fine,’ and I wanted to be like, ‘Fuck yeah, I know, right? I’d hit that.'”

Dude, she totally wrote that for me. Everyone online knows who I swoon for. Gosh I love Idris Elba so much!!!! Thank you for including that.(If you didn’t write that for me, don’t tell anyone you didn’t ;D). Meeting Quinn from book two and reading about his character in this book was a bit of a refreshment for me. I loved the realistic ways Megan writes this series. I need to say this people this isn’t a GFY/OFY. J.R states the entire book that he’s bi-sexual. It isn’t a revelation that he has when he sees Quinn. I think that needs to be said, because I don’t want his sexuality to be taken from him. He was adamant about being who he is, but he couldn’t be out because of his career. It’s not so hard to see that, seeing as men don’t want their sexuality to dictate what job they can get or do. I freaking get, and loved him way much more.

Quinn’s mom giving him those sea bands were one of the most sweetest moments. Looked what the outcome was. I really liked Quinn, I didn’t see him as introverted as he stated to be most of the time, but that could be because he was on a spring break cruise with other college students drunk most of the time. Alcohol does give you liquid courage. I definitely connected with Quinn on the stifling or overprotective parents front. Not at his age maybe in my teens for sure. He couldn’t be himself, or grow to learn or make mistakes. When he opened up, I definitely saw that ginger side come out of him. I really enjoyed how understanding he was with Jay.

“It’s not even just about wanting to be with Quinn, or another guy. This is about me. It’s about being black and queer and compromising because that’s all I’ve ever done in my fucking life, you know?”

It was something about Jay as a character that grabbed at my heart. He’s not a character that I’ve read about before. He acknowledged liking both sexes. I felt so raw when he described his reasons for not coming out. I literally wanted to scream for him, because not once did he think about himself. He made a decision at 18, that unfortunately he hates 4 years later. He can’t just come out because all he thinks about is his brother’s medical bills, helping his parents out, he thinks about the fans & masses who he lied to for all these years. He has been told that his career wouldn’t be what it is, he’s afraid of having nothing. Reading his dialogue, I just got it. I liked what Quinn & Jay were able to mean to each other. Quinn had someone finally noticing him, and Jay had someone who knew the real him. Of course Megan physical scenes were hot, and while the dirty talk was severely lacking. I actually wanted filthy dirty talk, but hopefully we’ll get some in the next book. I’ll leave us with this line from Quinn that I liked.

He noticed me. And I made him feel special.

About Megan Erickson

Megan Erickson is a former journalist who switched to fiction when she decided she liked writing her own endings better. She likes to pretend she has control now, but usually her characters are the ones who hold the reins. Her romance novels have a touch of humor, a dash of nerdy, and always a happily ever after.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids, and two cats named after John Hughes characters. She’s still waiting for the party she was promised when she grew to five feet… maybe because she never got there.