Review: Off the Ice (Hat Trick #1)

Author: Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Rating: 5 stars

Buy Links: Riptide & Amazon

Type: Novel

Received from Publisher


Blurb: 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.


Review: I knew within the first chapter that this was going to be a good one. I mean, how could I, the tree-hugging hippie overlook the threadbare Grateful Dead shirt reference? Is there any other way to have a Dead shirt other than threadbare and holey? I don’t think so. Yes, a reference to Jerry Garcia and the gang is what drew me into this story, but it was Sebastian and Tristan that kept me sucked in.

Tristan Holt is a 23 year old pro hockey player for the Atlanta Venom. He’s realistic and knows anything can happen and not to rely on just his pro athlete career, so he goes back to college in the off season to finish up his degree. He has a strong connection with his family back in Wisconsin, but remains in the closet for a variety of reasons. The main one being he doesn’t want to be the first out NHL player, which I can totally understand.

Sebastian Cruz is a 35? Year old sociology professor at the college Tristan attends. Sebastian is out and proud, but his Puerto Rican family either pretends he never came out or has completely shunned him from their lives. He’s okay with that since he has his best friend, RJ. I really enjoyed their relationship, too. He’s grumpy yet loving. He rocks his RBF, but once you get to know him you can see it’s all for show.

I actually really enjoyed Sebastian. He wasn’t afraid to talk about his feelings. If he was struggling he called RJ or talked to Tristan about what was going on. I think it had to do with age and he wasn’t into playing games like that. I also loved Tristan’s family. The scene with his mom had me in tears. So good.

I loved how Sebastian and Tristan’s relationship came to be naturally. It was nice to see the easy progression from student/teacher to equals. While Sebastian had his reservations, it really honestly wasn’t a big thing. Thanks to RJ for that! I also really liked the relationship between Tristan and his teammates.

I rarely ever comment on the sex in books, but I have to in this. HOLY SHEEP! I didn’t skim a single one that’s how good it was and I ALWAYS skim. I’m about to re-read this just for the kink alone. WOW!

This Hat Tricks series is off to an excellent start with a promise of more to come. I loved everything about Off the Ice from the music, to the characters, side characters, and the yummy kink. This is definitely going into the my Top Books of 2017!


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