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.

Getting Inside: (Seattle Grizzlies #1) by Serena Bell

Getting Inside: (Seattle Grizzlies #1) by Serena BellSeries:
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

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.

Title: by Serena Bell
Series: Seattle Grizzlies
Release Date: January 3rd, 2017
Pages: 198 pages • Format: e-arc
Published By:Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept
Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble

They’re big. They’re hot. And they play hard.

In the kickoff to Serena Bell’s sexy new football romance series, the heat between a female coach and a cocky linebacker turns the Seattle Grizzlies locker room upside down.

Iona: There’s nothing like the rush of going head-to-head with the boys. Football is my life, and I got my new job with the Seattle Grizzlies because I know how to play rough. But as a woman in a man’s game, I can’t afford any distractions—like panty-melting tabloid darling Ty Williams, my star linebacker. I’ve stared down plenty of good-looking players without losing my cool . . . and yet something about Ty’s intense gaze burns straight to my core.

Ty : Despite what they say in the press, I save my best moves for game day. The Grizzlies aren’t just my teammates, they’re my brothers—no way am I going to let some new coach shake up our defense. But Iona Thomas isn’t just some coach. It’s so tough to keep my head in the game when I’d rather be in bed with her. She may take charge at practice, but if I had her in my arms, I’d be choosing the plays. I just need to figure out what makes her tick—and what makes her want to break the rules.
four-half-stars

I was truly surprised at how much I enjoyed this story. On the surface, it seemed like a typical football and coach romance, but the author took the time to develop each character’s narrative that I was engaged in their personal success just as much as the success of their relationship. I was drawn in almost immediately to the end. That’s what great writing does to a reader, transport the reader into the story.

Iona Thomas worked hard to establish herself as female coach and she made sure never to compromise herself by getting involved with a football player…until Ty Williams.
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Ty Williams is the starting linebacker for the Seattle Grizzlies, a fictional PFL team, and the new linebacker coach is causing all kinds of distractions for him. While she gives very sound coaching techniques, he can’t help but notice her curves or how good she smells.
Both Iona and Ty fight their mutual attraction because Ty is under the microscope for his less than inspired performances of late and Iona has made history as the first female coach in the PFL much to the chagrin of some.

Ty was working through some personal issues and Iona was working on herself esteem as a woman. Ty and Iona seemed to be just what the other needed at this point in their lives, but both were cognizant of what an affair would do to their burgeoning careers. With so much on the line, was it worth it to risk their hearts over the career they were individually building?

Serena Bell really made me believe in both character’s integrity. While there was an almost immediate attraction, the author made them work for the happily ever after. I found the road to love believable, realistic and angsty.
black love photo: Black Love blacklove1.jpg
I applaud her for not going the route of too much sex over plot because I became invested in these character’s aspirations as well as their family lives. I felt their chemistry, I also felt their anguish about what a secret affair would do to each other and the football community. As a person who loves football, I appreciated the author’s effort to being authenticity to the character and the environment that Iona and Ty were a part of. I hope this book is indicative of how this series is going to be because I really enjoyed this story.

*Special Thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept via Netgalley for the e-arc given in exchange for an honest review.

About Serena Bell

USA Today bestselling author and RT Reviewers’ Choice Award nominee Serena Bell writes richly emotional stories about big-hearted characters with real troubles and the people who are strong and generous enough to love them.

A former journalist, Serena has always believed that everyone has an amazing story to tell if you listen carefully, and she adores hiding in her tiny garret office, mainlining chocolate and bringing to life the tales in her head.

When not writing, Serena loves to spend time with her college-sweetheart husband and two hilarious kiddos—all of whom are incredibly tolerant not just of Serena’s imaginary friends but also her enormous collection of constantly changing and passionately embraced hobbies, ranging from needlepoint to paddle boarding to meditation.

Review: Rush by Nyrae Dawn

Review: Rush by Nyrae Dawnon May 6th 2014
Pages: 272 pages
Amazon
Brandon Chase has always defined himself by one thing: football. Tough and athletic, he is a great college player who enjoys the hard hits and the sweaty grind of the gridiron. But when Brandon is injured, only one person can help him get back on track-a forbidden love he's desperately tried to put behind him.

Alec Andrews has never quite forgiven Brandon for walking away when their friendship turned into something more. But he can't deny help to one of his closest friends. As the two spend the long, hot summer working together, their old attraction comes flooding back.

Now as Alec thinks about coming out to his conservative family and Brandon considers revealing he's a gay football player, the two men must be strong to fight for a love that could be the greatest rush of their lives.
three-stars

It was okay. Minimal angst for this Coming of the closet book.

Brandon Chase was a young high school football player with aspirations to play college football, and possibly the NFL. The problem though is that he has been nursing an attraction to his best friend Alec Andrews. Everyone around him, including Brandon, has made his life synonymous with football, so Brandon’s identity is wrapped up in being a football player.

Brandon was afraid that if people knew he was gay, the guys on his team wouldn’t trust him on the field and he would lose the one thing that was his life. So he broke up with Alec and went on to college. But a year and half later, they were reunited when Brandon had a near fatal car accident. During his recovery period, Brandon started questioning things in his life and who he was.
Alec wanted to be with Brandon, but he also didn’t want to be thing that kept Brandon from achieving his dream. So Alec had to decide if being a secret would be enough for him.

Both Brandon and Alec had to make tough choices and face their fears in order not to lose their connection to each other. Because they both understood the football world enough to know that their relationship would not be celebrated. Can Alec honestly make Brandon chose?

This one was a tame story, a bit cliche actually. I found Brandon’s constant declaration about football being his life to be annoying and kind of childish. It’s like he was trying to give himself a reason as to why he couldn’t hold Alec’s hand in public or make any decision in life.
He was afraid for most of the book, but I understood his fear.

Alec seemed to be passive agressive to me. He loved Brandon and didn’t want to interefere with football, but he also was angry they could be out, so he lashed out. I also didn’t like his family. It’s hard to really explain but this book didn’t hit an emotional nerve for me. I didn’t feel good or bad about their relationship and that’s sad that I couldn’t engage.

It was an okay read but I thought Dawn could have done this YA-ish m-m much better.

Special thanks to Forever (Grand Central Publishing) via Netgalley for e-ARC