Review: Down By Contact

Down By Contact by Santino Hassell
Series: The Barons #2
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Genres: M/M romance
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

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…


Whatever Santino Hassell writes, I read. Simple as that. I’ve been dying to get my hands on this since I read Illegal Contact, and it did not disappoint.

This book follows Simeon, a black and openly-gay football player, and Adrián, a bisexual Puerto Rican. They were former teammates and now bitter rivals. There is a lot of resentment and bitterness between the two after Simeon leaves the team for a rival team. Before that they actually got along pretty great. In fact, Adrián was the only person Simeon felt safe with as their team was filled with homophobes.

When Simeon and Adrián play a pre-game match they end up in a brawl, and are suspended from their respective teams for two months. For some good publicity, their agents make them do community service in the form of coaching some kids in football.

Simeon is literal sunshine. But I already knew this from book 1. He has a heart of gold, and I want him as a friend right now, please. He’s a driven athlete, a loyal friend, a wonderful son (of course he has his flaws but whatever.)

He never considers himself homophobic because everything he says is in a “joking” way and that no one should take what he says seriously. To be honest, I was prepared to hate him, but the more you get to know him, you know it’s a losing battle. I loved how Simeon called him out every time he said something homophobic. And you could tell from his internal thoughts that he really was learning why what he said was rude and could be considered homophobic. He just experienced so much growth throughout the novel I could cry.

Simeon and Adrián make the perfect couple. Their banter is so smile-inducing, and their chemistry basically leaps off the pages.

I think I liked Illegal Contact a little bit more, but this was an amazing and worthy sequel.

five star

3 thoughts on “Review: Down By Contact

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