Simeon Boudreaux and Adrian Bravo are former teammates and friends who now play for opposing teams in what happens to be one of the biggest rivalries in the league. The players of the NJ Predators and NY Barons frequently talk smack about each other over social media and don’t hide the fact that they don’t like each other at all, but ever since two of the Barons most beloved players came out as part of the LGBTQ community, the attacks have become more viscous and personal. When Adrian, starting linebacker for the Predators, makes an offensive comment over social media regarding Simeon’s sexuality, he lights a powder keg which ends up as a brawl between the two on the field. The ensuing PR nightmare concludes with the two of them playing coach and teacher to underprivileged children at a local community center during their six game suspension.
As you can imagine, this is very much an enemies to lovers romance. Well, let me rephrase, a friends to enemies to lovers romance as these two have history as teammates on the Predators. They were quite friendly until Simeon was traded to the Barons and most of the Predator organization started to view him as a traitor who gave away their secrets. When I started reading this Book I had already read the first book in the series, Illegal Contact, and thoroughly enjoyed. I will admit to being absolutely charmed by Simeon and his happy, easy-going personality. He is the main reason his best friend, Gavin from Illegal Contact, gets into trouble with the law and ends up being under house arrest, but all ended well for Gavin when he hired Noah as his assistant, and I couldn’t wait for Simeon to have his own HEA.
Santino Hassell is known for his gritty, realistic situations and conflicts, Down by Contact seemed like a sweeter romance. There is still some angst and anger between these two men, but once they started working at the community center together they seemed to reform their bond pretty quickly. Or maybe it just felt that way because I ate this book up like candy in a few hours. While I initially requested this book because of Simeon, once Adrian stopped being an offensive ass I came to like him. Quite a bit. He has to come to terms with his bisexuality and the fact that part of his anger at Simeon over the years is because he felt like he left him and their friendship behind. He has always been attracted to the sexy quarterback, but has stuck to his heterosexuality like glue until the two are thrown together and he has to finally admit to himself that he isn’t only interested in women. I liked that he was fully willing to come out in order to keep seeing Simeon, just as much as I liked that Simeon was so protective of Adrian that he was willing to lie to keep him from being forced out of the closet when he wasn’t ready.
There are heartfelt conversations. There is forgiveness. There are endearing secondary characters who I hope to see again. And last, but not least, there are dirty, sexy, sizzling sex scenes that left no doubt about this couple’s chemistry. Toward the end I was worried about Adrian’s parents and how they would react to his coming out, but Mr. Hassell laid all my worries to rest in the epilogue, which I am incredibly thankful for.
I think I know who the next book may be about, and if I’m correct, I have no idea how this character will be redeemed. But I have faith in this author and will most definitely be picking up the third book in the series. Final grade- B
I bit his ear, eliciting a low moan instead of a pained yelp. “I want you to move in, but not now. After the Super Bowl.”
“Duh. No one was trying to pack boxes between games every week.”
“I like how this is turning into the most unromantic chain of events ever.”
“Simeon, we started fucking as a dare. We’re not romantic.”
Down by Contact by Santino Hassell
January 16, 2018 by InterMix
GR * AMZ * BN * K * GP
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