Title: Off the Ice (Hat Trick, #1)
Author: Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn
Release Date: October 30th 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary, Sports Romance
Page Count: 275 pages
Reviewed by: Lili
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 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.
Oh, boy did Off the Ice by Avon Gale, and Piper Vaughn cater to all my loves:
Age gap + opposites attract + teacher/student + kink + romance+ humor
It’s the story of an out and proud but unbending college professor, Sebastian Cruz, and a closeted professional Ice Hockey player, Tristan Holt, who’s recently gone back to school. At first glance, Sebastian comes across as uptight and by the rules, but even he can’t resist the blonde hot guy in the gray sweatpants (shout out to #gethasselled & #megsmob. Y’all and sweatpants go hand and hand). Tristan is instantly attracted to his Psychology teacher- there’s something about his take-charge personality that hits all his buttons. The attraction between is palpable but how can they ignore the fact their teacher/student relationship and the fact Tristan is in the closet?
What I loved:
-Sebastian. You know, although he could come across as a bit of a prick- he wasn’t. He was caring and loving and willing to admit when he was wrong.
-Tristan. He was just a down to earth guy. He worked hard, loved his family, and never allowed the money that came with being a professional athlete go to his head.
-Tris and Seb together. Sigh, their relationship was perfectly developed- PER. FECT. LY. I often found myself smiling without realizing that I was. It gave me butterfly flutterings.
-The sex was on fiiiire!
-The pace of the story was smooth, and the story developments were well timed.
-The narration. We have alternating POVs that worked excellently with the plot.
-Co-writing. I’ve read many co-authored stories, and this is one of the most seamless books I’ve read. I couldn’t tell this was co-written nor who wrote who.
-The end. It was a strong HFN, and my thinking is we’ll get updates as the series progresses with future couples.
One thing I wanted to bring up: kink. I didn’t know going in it would have humiliation kink. As the plot started to foreshadow it was coming, I began to get nervous. It’s not my thing, BUT I didn’t mind here. For starters, it was very mild, AND it worked for them. In the end, it wasn’t an issue. If you see it mentioned in other reviews, don’t let it put you off.
All in all, Off the Ice, is a huge winner in my eyes. I love a book that can sweep me away and make me feel all warm and fuzzy. If you’re looking for a romance book to get lost into, then look no further! 5+ Stars!