Off the Ice (Belen’s Review)

Title: Off the Ice (Hat Trick #1)
Author: Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn
Buy link: (Second Edition)
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: October 30th 2017
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Sports Romance
Page Count: 275 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 4.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5


Tristan Holt is nothing if not pragmatic. Despite a flourishing career as a defenseman for the Atlanta Venom, Tristan knows he can’t play hockey forever. One day he’ll retire—if an injury doesn’t force him to hang up his skates first. His backup plan? Finishing his business degree. But he doesn’t count on a very inappropriate attraction to his standoffish sociology professor, Sebastian Cruz.

Sebastian is on the bottom rung of the Sociology Department at Georgia State. He has his sights set on tenure, and he can’t afford to be distracted, especially not by a sexy student with a body straight out of Sebastian’s dreams. No matter how much Tristan tempts him, that’s one line Sebastian won’t cross. At least not until summer classes end. After that, everything is fair game.

But Sebastian lives loud and proud, and Tristan is terrified of being the first out player in the NHL. Neither of them can afford to risk their hearts when they can’t imagine a happily ever after. The problem is, unlike hockey, when it comes to love, there are no rules.

Practically perfect in every way.

During his summer off, professional NHL player Tristan Holt has decided to go back to school part-time in order to finish his business degree.

He ends up in a Sociology course being taught by Sebastian Cruz, one of the professors still trying to get tenure with the university.

The two have a rocky start, but once the class ends, the heat begins and the two begin a relationship. Unfortunately, Tristan isn’t out – to anyone – and Sebastian is out and proud.

There’s a delicious tension to the story knowing at some point Tristan will have to make a choice since Sebastian has made it quite clear he won’t go back into the closet for anyone.

There’s also terrific flow to the story, great characters – especially two teammates of Tristan’s who I am enormously excited to read their stories – and lots and lots of heat.

The chemistry between Tris and Seb is electric! Now, I preface this by saying anything even slightly humiliating is not my kink, but Tris and Seb are on the same page with what works for them and both love what happens during their sexy bedroom times.

There’s dirty talk, some pretty hot teacher/student play, and lots of sex…

After a couple of slow thrusts, Sebastian withdrew and held Tristan still as he smacked his wet dick against Tristan’s cheek. “You look good with my cock in your mouth,”he said idly, dragging the tip across Tristan’s lips, smearing spit and pre-come. “You’d look better choking on it.”

I loved the dual POV and how both Sebastian and Tristan are really well fleshed out and fun to read. Sure, some of the sex scenes didn’t ring my bell, but that’s about personal preference and not reflective of the writing.

I would have liked to know how Sebastian’s relationship with Tristan affected his position, if at all, with the university and what was happening with his chances for tenure. However, even though it’s a dual POV the focus is definitely more on Tristan and his progression.

If you are looking for a low angst, smoothly written, fun story with interesting characters, delicious dirty talk, some enjoyable kinky teacher/student play (without being icky) all combined with a nice, slight, age-gap you should pick this up.

All in all it was a winner for me and I’m looking forward to more in the series.

Hat Trick series

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I am an unapologetic book addict/lover. I'm happiest when reading and I spend most of my time with my Kindle, which is never far from my hand. I love to be told a good story! I mostly read fiction: Romance, Erotica, Young Adult, New Adult, Paranormal (shifters? Yes, please!), a little BDSM when I'm in the mood, and I love a good ménage story. I DEFINITELY PREFER A HFN/HEA! My biggest no-no's are cheating, miscommunication / misunderstanding plots, unnecessary angst, and cliffhangers.

A sampling of my "Favorite M/M" stories:

Carry the OceanThe Half of UsRed Dirt HeartAdulting 101Tied Up In Knots
Shelter the SeaManties in a TwistDavid, RenewedEthan who Loved CarterPerfect Imperfections
WolfsongFight the TideHow to Walk Like A ManThe Lightning-Struck HeartForging the Future