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:
AmazonKoboiBooks

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!

 

 

signature-fonts

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.

Concourse 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.

Concourse: by Santino Hassell
Series: Five Boroughs #5
Release Date: May 1st, 2017
Pages: 366 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Ashton Townsend is the most famous celebutante of Manhattan’s glitterati. The black sheep of his wealthy family, he’s known for his club appearances, Instagram account, and sex tape. Most people can’t imagine him wanting for anything, but Ashton yearns for friendship, respect, and the love of his best friend—amateur boxer Valdrin Leka.

Val’s relationship with Ashton is complicated. As the son of Ashton’s beloved nanny, Val has always bounced between resenting Ashton and regarding him as his best friend. And then there’s the sexual attraction between them that Val tries so hard to ignore.

When Ashton flees his glitzy lifestyle, he finds refuge with Val in the Bronx. Between Val’s training for an upcoming fight and dodging paparazzi, they succumb to their need for each other. But before they can figure out what it all means—and what they want to do about it—the world drags them out of their haven, revealing a secret Val has kept for years. Now, Ashton has to decide whether to once again envelop himself in his party-boy persona, or to trust in the only man who’s ever seen the real him.

three-stars

One big circle jerk.

It took me a long time to get into the story. I was bored. It went back and forth with them being idiots. It was a circle of useless things for me. I didn’t feel anything to either character. Wait let me not lie, Chris was involved and others from Ray’s crew. Can’t wait for there stories.

I stopped using the word Thirsty in high school so for me everyone being thirsty or salty was annoying. I’m pretty sure the dialogue from all 5 books will feature some semblance of the same two words.

We know I love Raymond Rodriguez, and I think I’ll pick up any book in the series to get a glimpse of him. That being said this was not it for me. It was the same formula of the previous books. You know I like Hassell realism in his writing, but I really do get tired of the same colloquialisms, backgrounds, and recycled plot drama.

The first half of the story bored me to tears. I liked Ashton in the previous story, but in this one he was a floundering fish. What’s up with all the guys having self esteem issues, and all their family being douche bags? Seriously no one had any supporting family to deal with. I feel like this book was super convoluted mess.

Val & Ashton are friends. They’ve grown up together not by status but more so my happenstance. I’m sitting here wondering why Val could want Ashton. Val seem disinterested in life. He didn’t show not one iota of happiness doing anything to me. I really wanted to know what got his motor going. I’m not just interested in his sexuality, because its his business but outside of that he didn’t seem to have any focus or love doing anything. Jeez, I would rather read Caleb’s book again and again.

Ashton was the typical Hassell character to me. The one who has all the different facades, whose life is really terrible. When its really not. I mean, was he so bored with life that he couldn’t see the passion in certain things he did? Ashton was left out to fend for himself by his family, but instead of using that anger & neglect to be a Boss he decided to just be. I personally wouldn’t do it. He was lifeless at times, and I don’t know if the author wanted him to come off like that, but he did.

Hassell did the one things, I didn’t think he’d ever do: Miscommunication Trope. What the f***? Why? You did not need to do it. Then after you do it, it was anticlimactic as such. Oh no, I take my previous findings about Val out. He showed passion at this point. During the big reveal. **Rolls Eyes**. I think had Ashton found out from Stoic Val then everything would have been copacetic.

I know it reads like I didn’t like anything, but there were some high points for me. I would like to see a different formula for this next book. I get what the series is suppose to be about, but it can’t be the same as the previous book. If so, then the steamy scenes needed to be on Oli & Caleb point. That hot of a scorcher. Oh and Nunzio. **Dreamy Sigh**, liked seeing him.

 

signature-fonts

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.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Hard Wired by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

Hard Wired

Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

Blog Tour

 


Title: Hard Wired
Series: Cyberlove, #3
Authors: Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell
Publisher: Megtino Press
Release Date: February 13, 2017
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance / Gaymers

Blurb:

My FallenCon agenda is simple: sit on a couple of panels and let people meet the real me. Jesse Garvy—mod of a famous Twitch channel and, if I ever come out of my shell, future vlogger. I definitely didn’t plan to sleep with a moody tattooed fan-artist, but he’s gorgeous and can’t keep his hands off me. There’s a first time for everything, and my first time with a guy turns out to be the hottest experience of my life.

But the next day, I find out my moody fan-artist is Ian Larsen AKA Cherry—someone I’ve known online for years. And he’d known exactly who I was while shoving me up against that wall. Before I figure out whether to be pissed or flattered, the con ends.

Now we’re back online, and he’s acting like nothing happened. But despite the distance between us, and the way he clings to the safety of his online persona, we made a real connection that night. I don’t plan to let him forget.

Purchase Links

Universal Global Link: books2read.com/hardwired

EXCERPT

My review can be found here!! –> Mika’s review of Hard Wired!

 

“Finish your other drink. I want to show you something.”

Jesse did as commanded, tilting his head back and wincing, but he swallowed it in one gulp. I leaned in closer, pressing my body to his broader more muscular one, and tangled my fingers with his. He was so warm, and he smelled so good that I wanted to keep him close.

He dropped the glass to the table with a comical grimace. Jesse wasn’t much of a drinker, but he was still sharp. Even so, I leaned in and whispered, “Are you sober?”

“Does slightly tipsy count as sober?”

“In my world, yes. But… are you sober enough to make a decision you won’t regret about someone you know nothing about?”

Jesse sucked in another breath. I leaned back far enough to search his face and found parted lips still damp from the drink and dilating eyes. On a whim, I darted out my tongue to taste the gin and tonic on his lips. It tasted better.

“I won’t regret anything I decide,” he croaked.

“Excellent.”

My smile was slightly feral, but I couldn’t check my eagerness. This was happening. It was going to happen, anyway. And my heart was in my throat because I’d waited…dreamed…for years for this, and finally the moment was mine.

We speed-walked out of the party like a couple of over-excited kids, my hand sweaty as it gripped his. He didn’t pull away as our fingers twined together. I looked at him once to see he couldn’t take his eyes off me.

Fuck. I couldn’t believe this was happening.

FallenCon had completely taken over the convention center. There were cosplayers everywhere, people with badges, and drunk folks spilling out from the party. The entire place seemed like a party, and this was usually the moment that I loved the most. When everyone dropped their insecurities and their rivalries and online dramas, and we all had fun. Lost ourselves in a moment that would forever remain in our minds as the one time we truly enjoyed being out with others.

But my brain was a mantra of fuck other people, must have Jesse. I dragged him down a hallway, opened the first conference room door I saw, and was relieved to find the lights dimmed and no one inside.

“What’s—”

I had him up against the wall before he could ask the question. Those explosive blue eyes widened, but he didn’t shy away. And he didn’t hold up his hands in typical over-the-top adorkable Garvy fashion, a please wait sign, when I plastered myself against him. His body was harder than I’d imagined, the bumps and ridges of muscle causing my pulse to race faster.

“I hope you don’t regret this tomorrow,” I murmured.

He shook his head. “Never.”

I wasn’t so sure, but I drew him in for a kiss. That first taste had been nothing compared to his mouth slanting open for me, immediately inviting my tongue. I gave it to him with sweeping glides, fucking his mouth with it, and drinking every delightful little sound he made.

It was Jesse’s first time kissing a guy, and I knew I should be making it sweet or gentle. Probationary, even. But I couldn’t. I ravaged him until we were clutching each other in the kind of raw make-out that belonged in the back of a pickup truck after a night of drunken tailgating, not in this haven for gamers and nerds.

We were grinding on each other, and I was too dazed to know when it had happened. All I knew was that the heaviness pressing against my own erection was causing my knees to weaken.

My moans filled every corner of the room, but I didn’t care if I seemed desperate or slutty. That he didn’t understand why a kiss was causing me to tremble with need. He couldn’t know that I’d imagined this so often, that I’d drawn it, that I’d wished for it. And he couldn’t have known that sliding his hand into my hair and holding me harder against him would unleash the part of me that wanted nothing more than to drop to my knees.

Follow Cerise on Tumblr: https://artboycerise.tumblr.com/

Check out All the Books in the Cyberlove Series

Strong Signal

books2read.com/strongsignal

Fast Connection

books2read.com/fastconnection


Giveaway

The contest if for a signed set of the Cyberlove series – can only be shipped in the U.S.
And second place is a $10 Amazon Gift Card – Can be international Winner

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Authors

Megan Erickson

 

Megan Erickson is a USA Today bestselling author of romance that sizzles. Her books have a touch of nerd, a dash of humor, and always have a happily ever after. A former journalist, she switched to fiction when she decided she liked writing her own endings better.
She lives in Pennsylvania with her very own nerdy husband and two kids. Although rather fun-sized, she’s been told she has a full-sized personality. When Megan isn’t writing, she’s either lounging with her two cats named after John Hughes characters or… thinking about writing.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | FB Group

 

 

Santino Hassell

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance 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.

Social Media:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | FB Group | Patreon

 

Hard Wired by Megan Erickson & 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.

Hard Wired: by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell
Series: Cyberlove #3
Release Date: February 13th, 2017
Pages: 260 • Format: eARC
Published By: Megtino Press
Purchase Links: Amazon

My FallenCon agenda is simple: sit on a couple of panels and let people meet the real me. Jesse Garvy—mod of a famous Twitch channel and, if I ever come out of my shell, future vlogger. I definitely didn’t plan to sleep with a moody tattooed fan-artist, but he’s gorgeous and can’t keep his hands off me. There’s a first time for everything, and my first time with a guy turns out to be the hottest experience of my life.

But the next day, I find out my moody fan-artist is Ian Larsen AKA Cherry—someone I’ve known online for years. And he’d known exactly who I was while shoving me up against that wall. Before I figure out whether to be pissed or flattered, the con ends.

Now we’re back online, and he’s acting like nothing happened. But despite the distance between us, and the way he clings to the safety of his online persona, we made a real connection that night. I don’t plan to let him forget.

 

four-stars

 

This book should come with a strong warning that ANGST CENTRAL is coming straight ahead. I had no warning, and if I did I would have prepared myself big time for it. I’m not one for the angst, and can deal with it in small portions. Basically the gist of this rambling is to stay, I needed help and no one was there to hold me.

Now that it’s out of the way, whatever comparisons you are making towards the firs two in the series STOP IT. This book is way more darker, morose, sad, then the other two stories. I do feel like the formula of a broken home/childhood has been done in book one and two. I was hoping for something else. It works for the story, but I’m a little over it. I kinda wanted Ian to be somebody completely different, but I totally get Cerise is him 100%. I’m not going into a lot of detail plot wise, but Ian was a harder character for me to grasp more. I feel in love with Jesse right away. Sure he had his problems, minor that they were dealing with his parents. I guess for me, everything was out in the open with him. I didn’t have to guess or wade through his life as much as I did with Ian’s.

I truly love this duo writing team. I mean, Ilona Andrews is still my favorite, but they are #2 in my book. I always describe their writing as Hassell being the emo, hard living, hard life characters, and Erickson is always the optimism, easy going, kinda being effortless in love. They mesh well together, and it’s been like that since book 1. Not in the same way that I stated above, but its how I perceive their characters and writing style.

I will say their love story was exhausting at time. It felt very Carrie & Big-ish. Not a bad comparison, but we all know how that was. The main thing was Ian being scared to depart with his safety net. It’s something that he created at a young age, and stay with him. It’s his comfort, his first love, and something apart of him. Him letting Jesse in is a huge deal. He wants Jesse to accept him with flaws and all. It was a mental game, that Jesse didn’t even know how to participate in.  I really how Jesse dived heart first when it came to Ian. This was something extremely new to him, but he knew that Ian was someone he can be devoted to. Physically they were off the charts. I don’t think either of these character can write a bad sex scene. It’s just no way possible.

I overall enjoyed the story. Loved the new characters being introduced, and my heart was pumping when Garrett’s little dialogue was included. These authors write from such a passionate place that their work always shows the dedication and strength they put forth into writing these amazing stories. I liked that the epilogue was realistic enough to see them maintaining a relationship. Can’t wait for more in this series!

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.

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.

Release Day Blitz: Hard Wired by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

Hard Wired

Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

Release Blitz

 


Title: Hard Wired
Series: Cyberlove, #3
Authors: Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell
Publisher: Megtino Press
Release Date: February 13, 2017
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance / Gaymers

Blurb:

My FallenCon agenda is simple: sit on a couple of panels and let people meet the real me. Jesse Garvy—mod of a famous Twitch channel and, if I ever come out of my shell, future vlogger. I definitely didn’t plan to sleep with a moody tattooed fan-artist, but he’s gorgeous and can’t keep his hands off me. There’s a first time for everything, and my first time with a guy turns out to be the hottest experience of my life.

But the next day, I find out my moody fan-artist is Ian Larsen AKA Cherry—someone I’ve known online for years. And he’d known exactly who I was while shoving me up against that wall. Before I figure out whether to be pissed or flattered, the con ends.

Now we’re back online, and he’s acting like nothing happened. But despite the distance between us, and the way he clings to the safety of his online persona, we made a real connection that night. I don’t plan to let him forget.

Purchase Links

Universal Global Link: books2read.com/hardwired

 

Follow Cerise on Tumblr: https://artboycerise.tumblr.com/

Check out All the Books in the Cyberlove Series

Strong Signal

books2read.com/strongsignal

Fast Connection

books2read.com/fastconnection


About the Authors

Megan Erickson

 

Megan Erickson is a USA Today bestselling author of romance that sizzles. Her books have a touch of nerd, a dash of humor, and always have a happily ever after. A former journalist, she switched to fiction when she decided she liked writing her own endings better.
She lives in Pennsylvania with her very own nerdy husband and two kids. Although rather fun-sized, she’s been told she has a full-sized personality. When Megan isn’t writing, she’s either lounging with her two cats named after John Hughes characters or… thinking about writing.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | FB Group

 

 

 

 

Santino Hassell

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance 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.

Social Media:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | FB Group | Patreon

 

Interborough, 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.

tinoInterborough: by Santino Hassell
Series: Five Boroughs, #4
Release Date: October 24, 2016
Pages: 249 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

The Raymond Rodriguez from a few years ago wouldn’t recognize the guy he is today. He’s left his slacker ways far behind him and is now juggling two jobs and school. But the balancing act doesn’t allow much time for the man he loves.

David is doing his best to be supportive, but problems at work and his own insecurity leave him frustrated—in more ways than the obvious—whenever he goes to bed before Raymond gets home. The heat and affection between them is still there, but they barely have the time or energy to enjoy it. And it doesn’t help that Raymond is still hiding David from his colleagues.

The stress mounts so high that a vacation in paradise is filled with turmoil instead of harmony, and culminates on their return to the five boroughs with broken promises and heartache. They have to figure out how to stop allowing their differences to overshadow their love. It’s the only way they’ll make it to forever.

four-half-stars


Don’t even look Raymond’s way. I got this.

Listen up folks, when Sunset Park came out, I saw all the negative comments about the couple. I didn’t argue with anyone, everyone had a right to their own opinion. I’m okay with you not liking Rayvid together. Perfectly fine in my world. It takes alot of emotions for me to fall in love with a character. I literally will read their story a bajillion times throughout the year. My list is 5 guys. It’s never changed for the last 5 years maybe. It’s always Zsadist, Zane, Reyes, Vadim, and Cole. It’s been these 5 forever. When I read Sunset Park, Raymond literally crawled under my skin. He imprinted on my soul. That’s the only honest way to describe the feeling I get when I talk about Ray and read about him. I have to tip my hat to Santino Hassell. The man can write. It’s beautifully flawed. His story telling, his realism, and his emotions are so powerful that you can do nothing but show the man some damn respect. It’s only a handful of authors who can read series and all be high 4 and 5’s. It’s not easy and you might get bored with the same story just regurgitated. I’ve had this book for a while, and it took everything in me not to crack it open. I wanted it to be fresh for release day, and get to openly discuss with my peers all the growth we see in these characters.

It’s been almost 2 years since David and Ray got together. There’s been growth that we can see on page for both guys. I loved Ray’s transition to being “an adult”. He went from everyone providing for him to holding down two jobs and going to school. I loved seeing his passion about being his own man. David is still there, going through the motions with his career that left him feeling uncertain. I really like David. He’s someone who lives in his head, and I know plenty of people like that. David needs constant reassurance about their relationship. I actually felt David was right. He had plenty of reasons for why he felt the way he did. The biggest problem in their relationship was the lack of communication. It’s authentic. Sure having sex feels good for that moment of time, and afterwards but you problems come back big time. I feel like the stress of life got to these two.

Hassell wrote a book that everyone should be able to relate to. Hell I had these problems in the beginning of my relationship. Going to school and work, leaves your love life feeling destitute. I really enjoyed seeing all the different cast of characters. Loved seeing more of Ray’s friends, and even Michael and Nunzio. This was an appropriate representation of a relationship in the real world for me. Can I say it was perfect? No. I wanted to throttle both of them on numerous times, was I happy with the outcome? Yes!! Did I cry? Fuck yes. Was it another baby makers? Check back with me in 9 months for certain.

All in all, I truly loved this book. It’s possible my love for Raymond overlooks everything. I can see myself re-reading it that’s for damn sure. I had some good times with this crew, and how about that epilogue? Oh my goodness, I definitely cried. It was amazing. I highly recommend this series. I think you’ll find yourself enraptured by these characters from book 1 up until now.

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.

Fast Connection by Megan Erickson & 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.

fast connectionFast Connection by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell
Series: Cyberlove, Book Two
Release Date: July 11, 2016
Pages: 235 • Format: eARC
Published By: Megtino Press
Purchase Links:
Amazon KoboB&N iBooks  ARe

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.

*FAST CONNECTION is a standalone, full-length romance novel with no cliffhanger*

five-stars

Honestly, Erickson & Hassell should be around hear screaming….

This book was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I loved every second of it. I read it in one sitting. Then I waited a couple of days later to read it again! Man, look it’s super hard for me to top my love from Strong Signal. FFS, I own it in paperback and e-book form. I live for Garrett’s grumpy ass and red panda gifs highlight my day. How were they going to top it? Well for starters they were going to take the asshat from Strong Signal and make him the love interest?

Huh??? Why?? Not only do they take Costigan and make him the lead, but then they make him the filty mouth, vulnerable douche bag who you love. GAH!!!! I loved him in this book. He’s coming to terms with his sexuality, while trying to find some footing in his life. His home life sucks big time. It’s an crazy amount of tension, and after so many years in the military he’s working at a Deli. No that’s not good enough for Costigan. Hell it wasn’t good enough for me. Enters grindr, and then Silver Fox.

Good Lord, the man is so hot. Them together were scorching up the place. Yeah it’s official these two know how to write a scene and pull you under.

Luke is a total DILF!!! If I was single and he was real, we’ll be together somehow. Luke is on the cusp of 40 with two teenage kids, and an ex-wife. He doesn’t want a relationship, he just wants sex. What I loved about his character was that he was such a hard ass. Constantly keeping Costigan away but needing him so much more. I loved to see the internal struggle on realizing that Dominic is what he wants. I think the authors did a fabulous job with the plot. I loved how both guys how their own obligations to their families, but knew how to get what they want. I wish I could spoil everything for you, but I won’t. I really enjoyed this book. I can’t praise it enough. I most likely will read it again before the week is over.

Erickson & Hassell should feel like this…

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.

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.

Dual Review: First and First by Santino Hassell

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

1st &1stFirst and First by Santino Hassell
Series: Five Boroughs
Release Date: April 18, 2016
Pages: 244 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner Amazon ARe

Caleb Stone was raised on the Upper East Side, where wealth and lineage reigns, and “alternative lifestyles” are hidden. It took him years to come out to his family, but he’s still stuck in the stranglehold of their expectations. Caleb knows he has to build his confidence and shake things up, but he doesn’t know how… until Oliver Buckley enters the picture.

Oli is everything Caleb isn’t—risk-taking, provocative, and fiercely independent. Disowned by his family, Oli has made his own way in the world and is beholden to no one. After a chance encounter on New Year’s Eve, Caleb is smitten.

As Caleb sheds the insecurities that have held him back for years, he makes bold steps toward changing his career and escaping years of sexual repression. But for Caleb to take full control of his life, he has to be brave enough to confront his feelings and trust Oli with his heart.

five-stars

Mika: “Warning: Santino Hassell books have the potential to help you conceive. Read his books with caution and a side of birth control if it’s not something you want!”

Ginger: HA! Mika knows what she is talking about!

So… book three in the Five Boroughs series is finally here, we finally get to be in the head of Caleb, get to understand how he ticks and what drew David to him and kept David going  back as his friend more times than most of thought he should and we get Oli… oh hell yes do we get Oli.

When we first met Caleb in Sutphin Boulevard via David I felt bad for him knowing David was screwing dudes behind his back. Then we got more of him in in Sunset Park and I needed to know his story because I adored the hell out of David and I knew that man wouldn’t keep helping and being available to someone who wasn’t worth it.

Mika: Not once in my mind did I think Caleb was going to be as interesting or likeable as he is. I mean in Sunset Park I literally wore my RBF face whenever he was mentioned. I disliked him, he seemed so arrogant and entitled and I couldn’t see why my sweet David was interested in him. He wasn’t someone I was interested in and I didn’t know how Santino was going to make up for his douchery in S.P. Well as usual I end up eating my words! This book lived up to all the potential that I thought and more.

Ginger: I totally agree about how we met Caleb, but then we got to the First and First and we meet Caleb, we get a chance to be inside his head and we know, we know the crap he has had to deal with, his family dynamics and at the borderline self-hatred he has for what he wants sexually and of course, the utterly sexy AF reaction he has when he finds that one person to let go with.

There were millions of people in this city and sometimes it helped for me to think in terms of the hundreds of thousands of people living in the five boroughs who felt like me. Anchored to nothing, too afraid to take a chance. Lost and not quite fitting anywhere—even the places we wanted to be. I felt less alone when I considered all of those other aimless souls. Maybe one day we’d find each other.

Mika: So different from the first two books in the series, but it can definitely stand on the same merits. He was able to take two guys from similar backgrounds and make them completely opposites in nature. Oliver is such an amazing character. I love his straight forward nature; love his care free personality and also his ownership of his sexuality. That means something to him based on how he grew up and what transpired from his teenage years to his adulthood. Caleb comes from the same privileged life style; where you are put on a pedestal and expected to live in your families’ footsteps. Caleb differs from Oli in a lot of ways. His internal monologue is so angsty. ARGH!!! It pained me to see him like this. I understand why. Look at his family, and all the weight that comes with his last name has denied him a sense of self. At 36, he lacks the sexual experience that is the norm maybe. You can see on page where his insecurities lie in. Reading this story his reservations seems to be based on his family, but when you get to the bottom of it a lot of it is Caleb. I don’t think he was ever was comfortable with himself.  That’s just my take on Caleb at least.

“Just be yourself.” Oli said easily. “Even if it’s the you that you’re normally too afraid to be.”

 Ginger: I’ll admit to having a rough start with this book and I couldn’t figure out why until I got further into it. I had major preconceived notions of Caleb’s character but was firmly sat on my ass by Hassell when he played Caleb at the other end of the table and shoved everything I thought I knew out the window. Caleb may me more complex than even Michael Rodriguez and possibly more tragic in ways just minus the tragic angst and addiction Mikey had. But Caleb, the dude owns my heart now and it’s not just about his looks (though the image of Ben Hill while reading this had me visiting the model’s IG account more than once) it’s about his tenacity for life, about his desire to do something that he can call his own despite what comes with his last name and it’s about everything he is, he does and how he feels for Oli.

I had no need to lie to Oli. He’d seen me turned inside out and torn apart by nothing more than his touch.

 Now, we need to talk about one Oliver Buckley and how much the idea of cataloging his back tattoo with my tongue is high on a list of fantasies I’ve gained from books. Oli and Caleb have so much in common and it’s not just about what they want to do with their dicks. It’s not only the fact that they come from money and have questionable relationships with it but they are alike with their morals, with their loyalty and with trust so it was only fitting as we get further into the story to realize, these two would be more than amazing together. Watching Oli slowly lose his armor piece by piece as Caleb discovers himself was amazing. Caleb totally disarmed Oli without even trying and it was heartbreaking to see these two fight against the one thing that they wanted as they tried so hard to pull it all in and hold it tight. I just adored the hell out of Oli and learning his back story as he spoon fed it to us was just… yeah, it was fantastic though painful. 

Mika: And with that growth we start to see both characters grow. It isn’t nice or easy. It’s long and emotional. Which I love!!! Santino writing is so effortlessly done! I mean this book seriously flows, I like the wave of emotions and I love the pacing of the story. I get to see Caleb become Caleb. Jeez he was so freaking hot, and remember my warning at the beginning of the story it was all because of Oli. Now look anyone who knows me; knows that I live for Raymond. All day every day, but Santino and his sex scenes deserve a compilation book all amongst themselves. He is so nasty, but so so good. I live for those moments, it leave you panting, and wanting, and just torturous to yourself if you aren’t able to read through them. Another kudos for him writing these sex scenes is because are not just wanted but are needed. These are some of the most erotic scenes that he has written, and man I can’t say anything without spoiling it. It’s an important evolution of these characters.

“You’re so sexy,” Oli panted. “And you don’t even know it, and that just makes me want to destroy you. Take you apart and fuck you until you’re trembling and begging and saying my name.”

Ginger: I have a thing for the underdog, for the character that you may strongly dislike when you first meet them but they grow on you and you need to know their story. Well, that was Caleb for me and I can’t seem to put into words how much his story blew me away. But blow me away it did and I’m still pretty stunned that book three in a series has me hooked, because series traditionally aren’t my jam. But seeing Caleb go from this the two-dimensional ex-boyfriend of David to this driving force of self exploration, expression and opportunity was gorgeous. To see the way this all bled from Caleb to Oli was a bit well… real talk? It was orgasmic.

Mika:  I get to see Caleb become Caleb. Jeez he was so freaking hot, and remember my warning at the beginning of the story it was all because of Oli. Now look anyone who knows me; knows that I live for Raymond. All day every day, but Santino and his sex scenes deserve a compilation book all amongst themselves. He is so nasty, but so so good. I live for those moments, it leave you panting, and wanting, and just torturous to yourself if you aren’t able to read through them. Another kudos for him writing these sex scenes is because are not just wanted but are needed. These are some of the most erotic scenes that he has written, and man I can’t say anything without spoiling it. It’s an important evolution of these characters.

Ginger: Goodness, the sex… I love that this had what I call the classic “Do what I tell you and just let me watch” sex scene that I have come to associate with Hassell’s books. It’s so damn sensual when we get them, they are so damn hot and so damn liberating that they are bookmarked, highlighted, notes made and possibly read more than once for, research. Yup, research. But the sex, though it’s sexy AF, I mean beyond the beyond, it’s another form of communication when it comes to Oli and Caleb, the bond is formed with their first sexual encounter and through the trust they place in one another, it allows them to finally tear down the walls to be together.

Somewhere along the line, that had become a thrill. I wanted someone to see. I wanted someone to know how badly we needed each other.

First and First, sure the title has a place in the story but I think it has a deeper meaning for me. Both Caleb and Oli have a number of firsts whether it’s what they experience together or apart and it’s how they bring it back to one another. It’s a story about the lines you draw, you draw in sand so you can drag your foot through them to be erased and let someone in. It’s all about taking that first step toward figuring it all out and the rest of the first that follow.


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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.

Release Day Blitz – First & First by Santino Hassell

firstandfirst_promo3_v1

~Excerpt~


FF Graphic 6

I lay back in the mess of the bed, wanting to soak in the bath but unwilling to get up while Oli was pressed to my side and gazing down at me like it was the most natural thing in the world. When he smoothed my hair back from my forehead for the second time, I met his eyes.

“Oliver, what are we doing?”

He searched my face for a moment before smiling. “We’re just having fun.”

“Okay.” I quirked a smile and sat up with a groan. My body was aching in places that required an extended soak in hot water. “I want to clean up, but I don’t think I can move.”

“I’ll give you a sponge bath and you can chill in bed.” FF Graphic 5

I arched a brow, but Oli looked serious.

“Is that cool?” he asked. “I’ll throw in a massage for going so hard on you.”

I was starting to think Oli’s definition of “just fun” was a lot different from mine. Maybe my ideas of intimacy, beyond animalistic fucking, were his versions of casual trysts. But I didn’t let my confusion show. I didn’t do anything that would send him skittering off. I just nodded, smiled, and enjoyed the attention while I had it.

FF Graphic 7

 

~Giveaway~

Santino is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card. Enter below.

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Elegant young man in tuxedo looking down while sitting on a stool, on grey studio background.



 

 


FirstandFirstFS

First and First by Santino Hassell
Series: Five Boroughs
Release Date: April 18, 2016
Pages: 244 • Cover Artist: Ashley Kaye Hayes
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner Amazon ARe

Caleb Stone was raised on the Upper East Side, where wealth and lineage reigns, and “alternative lifestyles” are hidden. It took him years to come out to his family, but he’s still stuck in the stranglehold of their expectations. Caleb knows he has to build his confidence and shake things up, but he doesn’t know how… until Oliver Buckley enters the picture.

Oli is everything Caleb isn’t—risk-taking, provocative, and fiercely independent. Disowned by his family, Oli has made his own way in the world and is beholden to no one. After a chance encounter on New Year’s Eve, Caleb is smitten.

As Caleb sheds the insecurities that have held him back for years, he makes bold steps toward changing his career and escaping years of sexual repression. But for Caleb to take full control of his life, he has to be brave enough to confront his feelings and trust Oli with his heart.


 

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.