Lustful Literature

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Down by Contact (The Barons #2) by Santino Hassell **Josie’s Review**



This book can be read as a standalone.

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…





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Down by Contact was a great enemies to lovers book.  I didn’t read book 1 in this series and even though it’s not needed I did stop and go back to get more history.  Once I started this book it was impossible to put it down.  It was a gripping and entertaining read not filled with unnecessary angst.


Simeon and Adrian are both charming and captivating characters.  I loved watching these two strong characters figure out life both on and off the field and their relationship.  The banter and the digs showed just how even if you don’t understand just how words and actions can deeply harm others. Also how not accepting and embracing yourself can be frustrating.


Simeon is full of love, loyalty and dedicated to his football career, family, friends and anyone who needs him.  He’s not ashamed of being gay and open about it in his profession.  He’s dealt with all the backlash, ridicule, sneers and negative comments and it doesn’t bother him because he’s not afraid of who he is.  He doesn’t believe in love but he does do the random hook up thing.  Adrian at first glance, I didn’t like him.  Rivalry is one thing but Adrian set out to publicly humiliate Simeon whenever he can.  Those very public and sublime homophobic comments lead to an altercation that causes the pair to spend time together.


Adrian grew on me and as much as I tried to fight my growing love for this character, it was a battle I lost.  There is so much more to him than his comments.  Adrian’s issues come from not understanding his feelings toward Simeon.  I enjoyed watching him come into his own and struggle through his feelings.  Things aren’t easy because both have demanding and judgemental careers but Adrian’s struggle and hesitation goes deeper.   It is because of these deeper issues I fell hard for this character.  Simeon and Adrian are strong, raw and tough so when I got to see them take down the walls I felt a connection and had a clearer  insight.   I felt the relationship aspect was great, it wasn’t instant, it was a gradual development and it fitted both the characters.  They both supported one another through out this new discovery.  I really glad I read this book and will be sure to read the next book in this series.




About The Author


Santino Hassell is a cynical New Yorker by day and a romance author with an affinity for baseball caps by night. He’s been a finalist in both the Bisexual Book Awards and the EPIC Awards, and was nominated for a prestigious RITA award in 2017. His work has been featured in Hypable, Washington Post, Book Riot, Vulture, Jezebel, RT Magazine, Publisher’s Weekly and Cosmopolitan Magazine.

You can find a full list of his novels with series order on the Books page of his website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. You can also join his reader group, Get Hasselled, which is where he hangs out the most! Merchendise is available on Zazzle.

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