Off the Ice

Hat Trick, Book 1
Narrated by: Kirt Graves
Series: Hat Trick Series, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 53 mins
Categories: LGBT, Romance
4.5 out of 5 stars (143 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 his heart when they can’t imagine a happily ever after. The problem is, unlike hockey, when it comes to love, there are no rules.

©2017 Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn (P)2018 Riptide Publishing

What listeners say about Off the Ice

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Quick Spicy Sports Rom Read With Some Complexity

Opposites attract, teacher-student, age gap, coming out romance ticked off many tropes I love or at least like. A new to me author and narrator just added to my curiosity. Not surprisingly, I had a good time with this one.

Off the Ice introduces two very opposite people who share the narration. Sebastian is a sociology teacher whose study focus is his own Latino LGBT community. He is persuaded to teach a summer school course to help ease the way toward tenure. He spots a laid-back young white guy in his class and the sparks start to fly in more ways than one when he forms assumptions. Tristan is a pro-hockey player, but unlike most he's decided to go back to school in the off season and finish up his business degree so he's ready whether he uses it after he retires or if his career gets cut short. He's also harboring the fact that he's gay from his family or anyone else. This doesn't stop giving him a few hot for teacher fantasies.

The story would classify as a sports romance or a college romance as it brings together both. It doesn't go into taboo territory with the teacher-student as the pair wait until after the class to explore their mutual interest. It's mostly character driven and paces out gently as a result. There wasn't anything innovative about the plot, but it never felt tired or over done. The conflicts between this pair are mostly overcoming one in the closet and one out, but both in careers that would frown upon their relationship for differing reasons.

In the meantime, they get up to some spicy hot bedroom antics and prove that appearances are not the way to determine who's dominant and whose submissive. There is some kink in this one which I don't mind though kink involving humiliation isn't a turn on for me. It was handled well and fit the romance. I enjoyed that both had flaws and vulnerabilities, they came from two different places in their thinking, and both had some wonderful qualities that made me want them together so badly.

I loved the surrounding group of family, friends, and teammates. They were developed characters and the teammates' stories mapped out with where the series is going.

Kirt Graves handled the narration work well. I had no trouble slipping right into the story and enjoying what I got from his low key way of bringing the story to the listener. He handled voices from both genders, the emotion of the scenes, and all the various characters well. I would definitely pick up other books he's narrated.

All in all, this was an easy, quick listen that gave a good heart-felt and oh so spicy romance. This was my first time with Avon Gale's writing though I've already enjoyed many of Piper Vaughn's books over the years. Their a solid writing team and I'm looking forward to more from their Hat Trick series which I recommend to m/m contemporary romance fans who enjoy a smorgasbord of elements, but particularly hockey.

5 people found this helpful

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Happy for these two

Cute story, steamy scenes, not too angsty, but just the right amount of tension. Kirt Graves really brought the characters to life. And, of course...hockey!

1 person found this helpful

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Narrator Save

Kirt Graves saved this book. If I had read it, it would have got a lot lower rating.. if I had read it, I would not have had any attachment whatsoever to these characters. Kirt’s portrayal of Sebastian made this book, plain and simple. JMHO

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Hat Trick #1

Kirt Graves narrates this with easily discernable character voices and obviously enjoyed narrating this as it comes across so clearly when you're listening. For me this was a fun, easy listen.

I loved the dual POV, though the focus is definitely more on Tristan and his progression.

I loved how Sebastian and Tristan are together. They have such obvious spark and chemistry.

There's dirty talk, some pretty hot teacher/student play, a bit of humiliation, and lots of sex...Do you love dirty talk and mild kink? Personally anything even slightly humiliating is not my kink, and listening to those scenes made me slightly uncomfortable, but that's about personal preference and not a knock on the writing. Tris and Seb are completely on the same page with what works for them and both love what happens during their sexy times.

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.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fun read

Always love a hockey romance. This one was cute. The teacher student trope was well navigated. The power and wealth imbalances between the characters worked out well for me. The hockey player with hockey-indifferent fan made for some cute scenes. The romance was sweet. Fun, well narrated, story.

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Love the book, love the audio

I'm a huge fan of hockey romances, and teacher-student is one of my favorite tropes. Off the Ice was an excellent read, and Kirt Graves does it justice in this performance.
He nails the characters and has impeccable timing. I never felt like I was being read to, more like I was listening to a radio play.
Loved it!

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Not for me

Way too much sex, and way too little Hockey. The book is mostly all sex, when they aren’t having it, they are thinking of it. There is very little hockey and the only actual story telling happens in the beginning when Sebastian thinks Tristan cheated on his paper. I admit, I should have learned more about this book before downloading it. I really like the narrator and I like hockey so I thought I would enjoy this book, but I spent most of it wishing it would either hurry up and get better or hurry up get over with.

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Brilliant Narration

Audio and Ebook reviews

Kirt Graves great narration enhances this romantic and hot , MM Sports story. He is articulate and engaging . His pacing is natural and his characters voices are distinctive.
This is my 2nd audiobook narrated by Kirt Graves and he is rapidly becoming a favorite

Off The Ice hits lots of my I LIKE boxes
Things I liked:
🎧Professional Athlete Student/College Professor
📚Age/Gap
🎧Opposites Attract
📚Light D/s Kink
🎧Hot AF
📚Romantic and light humor
🎧Relatable and likeable characters
📚Engaging and interesting second characters
🎧No crazy OTT drama and no OM/OW in sight.
📚No ridiculous and overused "misunderstanding and/or separation"
🎧Problem resolution done by talking as adults
📚A HFN/HEA

Things didn't like:
📚I felt Sebastian, the professor MC, was somewhat selfish in how much pressure he put on Tristan , the Hockey player MC, to come out ; without fully understanding and discussing the impact and fall out, personally and professionally that might happened once Tristan announce it to the HNF , the Media and the Public in general.
I mean, Sebastian knew , how his own extended family reacted to his coming out and how his relationship with his father was affected; so , I felt as he didn't have empathy to Tristan feelings.
🎧There was a lot and I mean A LOT , of Hockey talk. It slow down a bit the flow of the story .

In conclusion , I enjoyed listening/reading , Off The Ice By: Avon Gale, Piper Vaughn . I am satisfied with how the conflict was resolved. I loved how accepting and open minded Tristan's teammates and coach turned out be. Tristan and Sebastian future seem to be in solid ground and a bright future together.

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A great coming out story!

Off the Ice is the first audiobook I've listened to performed by Kirt Graves and I loved it. I read the book back in March of 2019. When Kirt Graves offered an Audible code I jumped at the chance to listen to this story and enjoy it all over again.

Kirt's voice is so smooth and easy to listen to. His pacing was great and his vocal inflections were just right. I have several more books in my library that he's performed and I'm very much looking forward to listening to them.

Below is the review I wrote at the time I read the book back in March 2019.
A copy of this audiobook was provided to me but my review was voluntary and not influenced by the narrator.

* * * * *
This is the first book I've read by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn, either as individuals or as a writing team. It sure was a great way for me to get introduced to their work. I don't follow any sports—none, nada, zip, zilch—but for some crazy reason I really like reading sports themed romances.

The blurb for this book is pretty good but it doesn't begin to convey the depth of this story. Tristan is a closeted NHL player who finds himself attracted to his harsh, demanding, and openly gay sociology professor. When they both realize the attraction is mutual, they have to fight the attraction until Tristan is no longer Sebastian's student. The depth in the story comes with how the writers detail the slowly developing relationship between the two characters and how Tristan has to decide between coming out and losing the man he loves.

Writing reviews is probably not nearly as hard as writing a book but sometimes it is really difficult for me to come up with the right words to describe how much I love a book. Off the Ice is one of those books. The story made me laugh and cry big fat ugly tears but I loved every minute of it. Stories that affect me so deeply are the best kind and Off the Ice was one of those books.

The Hat Trick series was originally published by Riptide Publishing. It has been refreshed by the authors and is now being released by Carina Press. I'm eagerly looking forward to the next book in this series.

A review copy of the ebook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley but this did not influence my opinion or rating of the book.

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Enjoyed this book!

I really liked Seb and Tristens story. Both were confident men, knew what they wanted and went for it. There was a surprising amount of kink thrown in, which I wasn't expecting but enjoyed and fit perfectly with the story. This was the first book I have read by this author and know I want to read more.
The narration was good, it was my first listen by Kirt Graves. The pacing and emotion were done well. The steamy scenes were a little flat for me, I would have liked a little more energy to them and sometimes I had trouble distinguishing between the voices, but not too much that I couldn't follow along.

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  • Thais Dematte
  • 02-09-20

Taboo with a hint of BDSM

This isn't anything new, but I'm a sucker for closeted jocks and their coming out stories. I liked even more we have a difference power balance here, were the big jock is actually submissive in bed. Of course, Sebastian was older and his teacher, the taboo aspect was also a plus for me. There is mild BDSM, no D/s (which I appreciate), just some spanking, a little power exchange but as I said it's not a D/s relationship. Also there is a little humiliation kink, which could have more, I love it Lol. The connection between them was amazing, they find one another attractive, but it didn't dictated their actions. Overall, I'm very please with the story.

Kirt graves, as usual, did an amazing job. Different voices for each character, good pacing and very emotional.

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  • ELDB
  • 10-01-19

Great Start to a Series

I love hockey stories and I enjoyed this. I think I would call it very light BDSM which is fine for me. Good chemistry and the story moved along nicely. It did take me a while to get into the story and I felt Sebastian came across as a little cold. I’ll definitely be getting the next one.