Title: Off the Ice
Series: Hat Trick: Book One
Authors: Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn
Narrator: Kirt Graves
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Run Time: 7 hours and 53 minutes
At a Glance: While the story itself may have a few flaws, Kirt Graves’ narration lifted it to a whole other level and saved it from being just another sports-centric love story.
Reviewed By: Sammy
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 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.
Review: While I felt Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn didn’t break any new ground with the various tropes they presented in Off the Ice, such as coming out, etc., the story did handle Tristan’s coming out to his team really well and put a different spin on it that was refreshing to read. It was hard to like Sebastian at first and his attitude toward a student, namely Tristan, was a bit of a turn-off for me, but perhaps that’s because I’m an educator as well, and when teachers think they know their students right off the bat, they tend to be horribly wrong. In all honesty, narrator Kirt Graves saved this novel for me on many levels.
Mr. Graves has a smooth delivery, one that lulls the reader in and carries them onward despite any glitches in the pacing of the story. His ability to smooth out rough areas that needed some additional editing was really amazing. He imbues his voices with such depth of character that you really feel as though you are getting to know the men he narrates so well. Not once did he slip on the different intonation and voicings of the characters, never allowing the same timbre to drift into the prose sections but saving that particular voice just for the character to which he assigned it. I really appreciate it when a narrator stays so focused on modulating his voice so that we know exactly who is speaking just by the pitch of his voice alone.
So, while the story itself may have a few flaws, Kirt Graves’ narration lifted it to a whole other level and saved it from being just another sports-centric love story.
You can buy Off the Ice here:
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