Series: Hat Trick #1
Publisher : Riptide Publishing
Genre : Adult | Romance
Page Count: 283
Synopsis : 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. (From Goodreads)
CW: Age-gap, soft dom/sub, mentions of homomisia.
I heard about this one because one of my dearest friends, Mariam @ Mariam’s Yummy Books was (and still is) screaming about it on Twitter so I was REALLY intrigued, and I love their recs so I couldn’t just stand by and not read it, right? So I got it and FINALLY read it and I gotta say that I wasn’t disappointed. It delivered on all fronts. Cute, fluffy, hot, heartwrenching, heartwarming, etc… It’s just GOOD.
The writing is simple and easy to follow but can hit you right in the feels when necessary, may it be heartbreaking feels or swoony feels. You get it all with Off The Ice. It’s written from both Tristan and Sebastian’s POVs and to be honest, I used to mix up the two at the first but then as I got used to their voices and spotted the difference between the two, my reading experience flowed at lot smoother. The only issue I had with the writing is how much it relied on ableist language especially “crazy”. I wish it didn’t, it would’ve been a lot more pleasant to read.
One thing I loved about Off the Ice is that it took the student/professor trope and all the harmfulness and toxicity it can have and flipped it upside down. Instead we got, two consenting adults, no power imbalance and a healthy romance. WHAT ELSE CAN I ASK FOR? I really appreciated how both waited until class ended and grades were in to even try anything with each other. I just like responsible characters who have their priorities straight, okay?
Another thing I loved (there are a lot of things, please stay with me) is how even while being a romance book, the authors still manage to address issues in very subtle and less subtle ways but I loved every bit of it. Especially the bits done through Sebastian’s Sociology lectures. I FELL IN LOVE with those bits and I wish I could take a sociology class. More specifically his, he’s so passionate and seems like such a great professor to have *gets carried away flailing about a fictional professor*. Outside the classes, the two MCs also have important conversations around identity and coming out among other things and those were just as amazing. Off the Ice also manages to tackle stereotypes and false perceptions we have of people from first look, especially athletes. Especially blonde athletes *coughs* Tristan.
Tristan is such a soft humongous bear (the dude is 6’5 or something) and he’s such a dork and just wants to be loved. He’s so kind, loving and passionate and I couldn’t help but want to protect him because he’s a literal ray of sunshine. I also loved how level-headed he was and that he was realistic about his hockey career at some point and he wanted a back up plan. Hence him going back to college for a business degree. Can we also talk about his coming out real quick? It was all so real with his hesitations and fears and doubts but I loved how it was a happy story both with his family and his teammates. I LOVE HAPPY QUEER STORIES.
Sebastian on the other hand is grumpy and all too serious which made the moments he turned soft and loosened up around Tristan all the more precious. He’s a loud and proud Puerto Rican gay man who refuses to be in the closet no matter how hard it is for him to be out and I admired that about him. He’s honest, direct and realistic about things, his feelings for Tristan and their relationship included and I couldn’t help but love him. He’s passionate,, hard working and so very supportive.
Their relationship and the way it progressed were endearing and felt so natural because that’s just how much chemistry the couple has. They genuinely care about each other and have each other’s best interest at heart. Their love is so cozy and comfortable and it just warmed my heart to read about it and see it bloom and then develop. I also liked how through their intimate scenes the authors were able to show various ways of asking for consent as well as the importance of communication and aftercare.
I also loved the side characters, especially Tristan’s family and their interactions. But also, special mention to Ryu and R.J for being the bestest of friends to Tristan and Sebastian respectively and just supporting them in whatever they need and laying the truths when they are much needed.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read Off The Ice? If so, what did you think?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.