Guest Post + Book Spotlight & Review: Off the Ice by Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn (w/ excerpt)

Hello and good afternoon my lovely readers. ❤

Today I have two special guests here on my blog:  Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn are visiting my blog and talk about their journey re-releasing their book Off the Ice with Carina Press.

I am super excited to see their book, as well as the other two books in the Hat Trick trilogy, finding a (final) home with Carina Press. What a ride it was. XD

To celebrate this re-release, which doesn’t have any additional content, just newly refreshed by the authors, there’s a lot planned for today. :3

See this post for the guest post, read an excerpt. Also included is my review of this book. :3

Happy reading and I am really excited to have Avon and Piper as guests here today. :3
I hope you have as much fun as I have while reading their post. 🙂

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Title: Off the Ice
Series: Hat Trick # 1
Author: Avon Gale, Piper Vaughn
Genre: M/M, LGBTQIAP+, Contemporary, Sports Romance
Release Date: March 25, 2019
Publisher: Carina Press
Length: 71.000 words

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Previously published; newly refreshed by the authors

He’s hot for teacher

NHL star Tristan Holt may be at the top of his game, but he’s already thinking one play ahead. Hitting the books in the off-season means he’ll have a business degree to fall back on when it’s time to hang up his hockey skates.

But his straightforward plan is complicated by his undeniable attraction to his sexy sociology professor, Sebastian Cruz.

Impressed by Tristan’s brain as well as his brawn, Sebastian can’t help lusting after the gorgeous jock. With tenure on the line, Sebastian won’t break the rules by becoming involved with one of his students—at least, not until the end of term. Once final grades are posted, though, their naughty mutual fantasies can become reality.

Tristan’s not sure he’s up for being the poster boy for openly gay hockey players, but Sebastian’s never been the type of man to keep his sexuality—or his relationships—in the closet. For Tristan, being with Sebastian might mean risking more than just his heart.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

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Guest post


Hi! Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn here, and we’re so excited about the re-release of OFF THE ICE, our first book the Hat Trick series, which comes out on March 25th from Carina Press. Working with Carina has been amazing—everyone from our fantastic editor, Stephanie Doig, to the editing and art department, have been really excited about both the book and the series. And seeing it in mass market paperback is like a dream come true! The book doesn’t have any really significant changes (just some minor edits), but the new cover and the excitement from Carina about the series is just like publishing it for the first time! And for two long-time romance readers, seeing that Harlequin logo on the contract, the box of paperbacks and the book was just amazing. It’s like a dream come true! I think we’re both enjoying seeing the new covers and the fresh new start, and it seems so fitting that it would happen in the spring and a time of new beginnings.

Yes! For me, Piper, getting that box of mass market paperbacks with the Harlequin logo on the side with a tear-inducing event. As a wee Piper, around eleven or so, I cut my teeth on Harlequin category romances. They’re the main reason I’m both a reader and writer of romance. As Avon said, it was a dream come true. And with this book especially, the first we wrote together, it feels extra emotional. OFF THE ICE had a bit of a rough start. We took our rights back from our previous publishers only about 5-6 months after the first edition came out. It hurt to pull the book when it hadn’t even been out for a year, but not long after, maybe a month or so, we heard from our agent that Carina had inquired about what we intended to do with the book and the remainder of the series. We submitted the first book as it was as well as our synopses for books two and three and by mid-July, we’d been offered a contract! Of course, in publishing, the lead times can sometimes be long, which is why the book hasn’t come out before now. It’ll be hitting virtual shelves about a year after we originally got our rights back, and that feels appropriate somehow. The second book in the series, GOALIE INTERFERENCE, is already finished and set for release on June 17th. We just broke ground on book three, too, and we’re so eager to have our hockey boys back out in the world!

If you haven’t read OFF THE ICE before, it features a snarky Latinx sociology professor and an NHL defenseman who hails from a farm in Wisconsin and wants to finish his degree to secure his future in case of an injury (knock on wood). The attraction is strong and immediate on both sides, but with difficult power dynamics to navigate and Tristan’s position in a sport where there are no out queer players, there’s bound to be some drama along the way.

Thanks to Mikku-chan for having us today!

Many thanks from me to Avon and Piper to be my guest today. ❤ It was a pleasure. ❤

You’re now excited to lear more about Tristan and Sebastian? Then read further. I have a sexy excerpt and my review in the pipeline. :3

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For a time the music distracted him. Tristan swayed in place, caught up in the energy of the now-substantial crowd and enjoying the rare opportunity to hear his favorite songs played live. That wasn’t always easy for a classic rock fan whose favorite groups no longer performed, and who, generally speaking, wasn’t all that into cover bands.

But soon the novelty wore off. Tristan noticed the time and the distinct lack of one Sebastian Cruz. Like the flame of a candle, his excitement flickered and abruptly sputtered out, leaving nothing but wispy smoke in its wake.

Concerts were a lot more fun when you had someone else to share the experience with. Couples and groups of friends filled the venue. Tristan was one of the few who watched alone, conspicuous in the way he stood apart from the others.

He frowned, deposited his empty bottle on the tray of a passing server, and made his way to the bar for another beer. During the regular season he normally limited himself to two, preferring to get his carbs from food instead of alcohol, but fuck it. Training camp didn’t start for nearly another two months. After being stood up, he was due another drink or three.

Tristan snorted. Why was he kidding himself? Professor Cruz never had any intention of meeting him. He’d probably regaled his highbrow academic friends with the story of his student’s clumsy attempt to ask him out. No doubt they had a good laugh about it while drinking wine and eating canapés or whatever the hell else snobby professors did in their spare time. Tristan already knew what Sebastian Cruz thought of athletes.

He’d just flagged down a bartender and placed his order when he sensed a presence at his side. Tristan turned and found himself face-to-face with the man himself. Professor Cruz was dressed casually in dark jeans, boots, and a button-down shirt. He’d left the top two buttons undone, and Tristan’s gaze automatically went to the prominent collarbones covered in smooth golden-brown skin. All the moisture fled his mouth at the thought of putting his lips to the divot at the base of Professor Cruz’s throat. Tristan wanted to bite and lick there, inhale until the scent of sweat and man made him drunk with lust.

“Mr. Holt.”

Tristan swallowed hard. “Professor,” he rasped. Sebastian, Tristan really wanted to call him. The name appealed to him as much as its owner. Tristan wished he had the right to use it whenever he pleased.

The bartender delivered Tristan’s beer and grabbed the money Tristan had placed on the bar top. He jerked his head at Professor Cruz. “What can I get you?”

“Single malt, neat. Glenlivet, preferably. If not, the best you have.”

Of course he would drink Scotch and order it neat, the sexy bastard. Tristan pictured him as the leading man in some classic black-and-white film—crystal tumbler in one hand, a thick cigar between his lips, a plume of smoke curling around his sharp-jawed face. The image sent blood rushing straight to Tristan’s cock. Shit. There went all his bitter thoughts from a few minutes before, carried away by the rumbling bass of Professor Cruz’s voice and the sight of his dark-brown eyes and darker, finger-tousled hair.

Tristan almost sighed. He was weak—he knew it—but how could he be strong with Professor Cruz standing here looking like that? Tristan wanted to drop to his knees. Only awareness of his surroundings kept him upright.

After starting a tab, Professor Cruz inclined his head, silently encouraging Tristan to follow. They moved away from the bar to a small gap along the back wall.

“How’s the band?” Professor Cruz asked, his eyes fixed on the stage.

Tristan watched, wetting his mouth as Professor Cruz took a slow sip of the amber liquid in his glass. “They’re good, I think,” Tristan replied. “I stopped paying attention a little while ago.”

Professor Cruz glanced at him. “Why?”

Tristan smiled wryly. “I was waiting for you.”

Off the Ice 1

Off the Ice (Hat Trick, #1)Off the Ice by Avon Gale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*~~*ARC kindly provided by the author to me in exchange for an honest review *~~*


The re-release of Off the Ice was highly anticipated and naturally I read the first version when it was out (with Riptide) – so in a way it was “just” a re-read but it’s always a pleasure to revisit beloved characters. ❤

What I really loved about the book is the dynamics in the balance between the two “sides”; we follow Tristan’s way as a hockey player but he’s also trying to get his business degree and is dealing with going to college, having the mandatory sociology classes – where he’s confronted with his hot teacher Sebastian Cruz, someone he has a huge crush about.

I enjoyed their banter and their flirting from the first to the last page. The sparks are definitely there, they burn almost the pages down, even if Sebastian isn’t the loveliest guy in the beginning of the book. In fact he’s pretty grumpy and kind of antisocial. But that doesn’t hold Tristan off trying to get to know him. 😀

I can’t recall how many times I laughed out loud but also how emotionally I was involved with these two. *big, joyful, totally incandescently happy sigh* ❤ I repeatedly screamed: “These guys. THESE GUYS *^* ❤ ❤ <3” while reading the book and even afterwards for days. 😀

Of course the book includes characters who aren’t flawless – for some this might be a point where they can’t forgive some actions, where some readers might say it’s too much what Tristan sacrifices and how Sebastian pressures Tristan. In a way I unterstand this critics. But I also understand the character Sebastian. He is out and proud. Being in the closet isn’t an option AT ALL; somehing that Tristan doesn’t have – and in ways he is forced to decide between two sides of the coin: either be together with Sebastian, be happy on a personal level but risk his hockey career or stay in the closet, but with the result of losing Sebastian in the end. He’s definitely at a crossroads.

Some readers also will love or hate – it really depends what your tastes are – the kinky parts of the book. For me they worked and they gave the book a great dynamics, added a new layer. 🙂 There’s definitely a lot of power play, given by the relationship they both have – Sebastian as being his teacher and Tristan the student, but there’s also the small age gap between them too. So in ways Sebastian is in parts more experienced than Tristan, whereas Tristan shows lots of character strength within the book. He definitely doesn’t shy away from a challenge  – on and off the ice – and despite being a total cinnamon roll (too good for this world), he is the perfect counterpart for Sebastian. 🙂

This book totally get my recommendation. 5 out of 5 stars.
And with getting a glimpse of Ryu Mori, the hero of book # 2, Goalie Interference, finding his love interest (and learning more about his character), we can expect a thrilling continuation of this series and hopefully more (domestic) scenes with Sebastian and Tristan along the way. 😀

View all my reviews

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Author bio  – Avon Gale

Avon Gale lives in a liberal Midwestern college town, where she spends her days getting heavily invested in everything from craft projects to video games. She likes road trips by car, rock concerts, thunderstorms, IPAs, Kentucky bourbon and tattoos. As a queer author, Avon is committed to providing happy endings for all and loves to tell stories that focus on found families, strong and open communication, and friendship. She loves writing about quirky people who might not be perfect, but always find a place where they belong.

Author links / get in contact

Author bio  – Piper Vaughn

Piper Vaughn is a Latinx author and longtime romance reader. Since writing their first love story at age eleven, they’ve known writing in some form was exactly what they wanted to do. A reader to the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book.

Piper grew up in a diverse neighborhood in Chicago and loves putting faces and characters of every ethnicity in their stories, making their fictional worlds as colorful as the real one. Above all, Piper believes there’s no one way to have an HEA, and every person deserves to see themselves reflected on the page.

Author links / get in contact

Review Tour hosted by/through A Novel Take PR. Materials provided through them. Thank you.



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