Happily Ever After Book Nerd Favorite
Off the Ice by Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn
Series: Hat Trick #1
Published: March 25, 2019 by Carina Press
Genre: LGBTQ+ Contemporary Romance
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.
I devoured this one in a few hours, staying up way too late, but it was beyond worth it. Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn are just brilliant and I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next one in this series. For the most part there’s a lack of drama and I really appreciated it. Tristan and Sebastian had so much chemistry and they easily move from just sleeping together to being in a relationship. There’s no angst over that fact, it’s easy and natural.
“This is extremely inappropriate, Mr. Holt.”
“I don’t think you really want me to be appropriate.”
Of course Sebastian wants Tristan to come out to his team so that they can be together as a couple around their friends so that causes some brief heartache for the characters but it’s written really well. I liked that they didn’t get in a fight and break up. Instead they talk and Sebastian asks Tristan to think about what he wants before they continue. Just personal preference but I wasn’t a big fan of the face slapping in the bedroom. It was written very tastefully so nothing against the book, just not my thing.
Characters can really make or break a romance and in this one, Gale and Vaughn have exceeded all expectations. Tristan was amazing and I love him from the very beginning. He’s smart, generous, confident, and beyond sexy. He’s constantly battling misconceptions about himself because he’s a jock, but I respected the dignity he displayed when handling those issues. He wasn’t afraid to call Sebastian on it when he makes the same mistake. I also loved that even though he wasn’t out he didn’t completely shut himself away with Sebastian.
Sebastian was also great in all his gruff and hard nosed ways. He takes a little bit to warm up to but I never disliked him. He’s concerned with starting something with a student but once classes are over he just can’t stay away from Tristan. I particularity enjoyed watching Sebastian become a hockey fan the more he gets invested in Tristan’s life. He’s proud, determined, and devoted and I loved him by the end of the book.
I’m really excited for more in this series, especially with the revelations at the end of the book.
5 stars – loved it!
Hat Trick reviews
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