Title: On the Ice (Stick Side #1)
Author: Amy Aislin
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: May 8th 2018
Genre(s): Sports Romance
Page Count: 348
Reviewed by: Jia
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.80 stars out of 5
For college sophomore Mitch Greyson, determination and persistence are the name of the game if he wants to make it as a professional hockey player. A busy schedule of practices, games, classes, homework, two part-time jobs—and now, working with a tutor to help him pass the class he’s failing so that he can keep his scholarship—shouldn’t leave him with enough time to flirt with the NHL player in town. But that doesn’t stop him.
Placed on the injured reserve list until his broken arm heals, NHL defenseman Alex Dean is using the time off to be with his ailing grandfather and get a head start on the book he’s been commissioned to write. He doesn’t expect to get roped into a tutoring gig, especially not for cocky, smart-ass Mitch.
But Alex soon discovers that there’s more to Mitch than meets the eye…and he really likes what he sees. Only Alex doesn’t dare risk his NHL career by coming out, and a relationship between them would jeopardize Mitch’s chances with the organization too.
It looks impossible. Then again, the best things usually do…
On the Ice is an m/m contemporary romance with a guaranteed HEA featuring a flirty college hockey player who meets his match in a demisexual NHL player.
Normally I’m not that big on long relationship stories unless something more happens but On the Ice was so well written that I fell for the characters from the start, then couldn’t let go. I’ve read it twice now and still I teared up at the ending, make no mistake though this has definitely a happy ever after ending. This was really a great book about two men who had to overcome their obstacles and work hard to get what they wanted and make their relationship fit into their lives.
Alex Dean was Mitch’s hockey crush, a stranger who after a rocky start became his friend and then finally something more. These two characters were amazingly well portrayed, as well as the environment around them, that I could feel it. I loved how vulnerable Mitch was behind his walls, how insecurities and doubts but also strength, hard work and a good heart won Alex over. How Mitch didn’t give up even though he had no guarantee that Alex would ever feel anything beyond friendship. The support he got from his father and his best friend Cody, so nice to read. I’m a sucker for strong, loyal friendships like theirs.
Alex gradually realized how important Mitch started becoming to him. He had his own doubts to work through not only the fact he’s demisexual -since he had been busy playing hockey he’d never found the time to find and develop the kind of emotional connection needed for him to have a boyfriend. Then the consequences to their careers if they were found out… Alex’s caring and supportive, but also show moments of doubts and vulnerability, they complement each other so well and became a source of strength to one another.
This book focuses on the relationship between Mitch and Alex with sex more like the icing on the cake. As Alex is demisexual it’s the little things that starts to mean a lot to Mitch and every touch becomes precious as they get closer and closer. I just really like how the author has handled the chemistry and dynamics between the characters. The story is written in third person perspective from both Mitch’s and Alex’s point of view. Switching effortlessly between and the story flows well. It felt very realistic to read and I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.
If you like sports romance with a focus on the relationship and slow burn this is definitely a must-read (and it’s probably the first time I’ve ever said that). The hockey theme is present enough to give a satisfying taste of it, in a way that you don’t really need to know anything about hockey or be a fan to read the book. However the big focus is really their relationship.