I’ve decided that from here on out I’m going to do reviews of all of the ARCs I receive on this here blog! After all I need to get my review on considering these publishers were kind enough to send me an advance release copy.
Below is a review for a book by an author who writes gritty stories with characters who could be real people. This is from a new series of his called “The Barons.” I received this book from Netgalley.
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…
First let me say that I’m really not a “sports person” like at all. I would rather do almost anything else but intense sport (walking around is another matter entirely) and I don’t specifically enjoy watching sports either. That being said like being a fan of a sports anime and reading fanfiction based on it, you don’t have to like sports to get into this. They are a really minor aspect of the overall plot and are easy to gloss over if that’s what you’d like to do. Unrelated, but I watched an entire anime about the board game “go” and I still don’t know how to play so you get really adept at just absorbing the information and emotions that you want to get out of it.
This is very much a character driven book, of course. Gavin is the football player who secretly kind of has a heart of gold (as you find out when you get to the reason behind his brawl), but he still has a gruff and rough exterior. He doesn’t want to make it easy on Noah at first, but the thing that’s great about Noah is he quickly becomes adept at his job, and he gives as well as he gets. Noah doesn’t take any of Gavin’s shit and clearly cares for him as a person in a way that is deeper than most personal assistants. Gavin is kind of turned on by people who will stand up to him, and the two quickly find themselves becoming more and more friendly with each other, which eventually it develops into something more.
Problems arise because Gavin is famous and not out yet, and this is becomes a major issue of tension in the story. I don’t want to get into any more details, but this is certainly worth a read. The sex scenes are steamy and the two characters feel like real people who could naturally end up in this kind of relationship. The concerns about homosexuality and fame as a professional sports player (especially in football which is seen as a hyper-masculine sport) are also incredibly legitimate and relevant.
The only reason I’m not rating this higher is because I did not personally identify with the characters and at the end of the day it’s still about football, a sport I have precisely as much interest in as Noah at the beginning of this story. Still like all Hassell, you’re going to get a good story out if it so I rated this 3 1/2 stars.