top of page

Release Blitz: An Unrivaled Off Season (Hockey Ever After #3.5) by Ashlyn Kane & Morgan James

Book Details:

Book Title: An Unrivaled Off-Season (Hockey Ever After, #3.5)

Author: Ashlyn Kane & Morgan James

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Release Date: April 2, 2024

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance, M/M sports romance

Tropes: Rivals to lovers, established relationship 

Themes: Meeting the family, starting a life together, 

Heat Rating:  3.5 flames

Length: 27 808 words/ 96 pages

It is not a standalone story. It follows directly after Unrivaled (Book 3 - same couple) and won’t make much sense without it. 

It does not end on a cliffhanger.

#AshlynKane #MorganJames @gaybookpromotions @debbiereadsbooks

#AshlynKane #MorganJames @gaybookpromotions @debbiereadsbook

@ashlynkane #MorganJames @gaybookpromo @debbiereadsbook

Any other year, hockey player Grady Armstrong would be licking his wounds after a disappointing playoffs exit. Somehow, this year, he’s in the stands as his rival-turned-boyfriend Max Lockhart competes for the Stanley Cup… and there’s nowhere he’d rather be. Well, except maybe lifting the Cup himself. So along with preparing his body for next season, Grady prepares to ask Max to stay in his life permanently.

Max figures it can’t be easy for Grady to watch Max cash in on his dreams, but if he’s struggling, he hides it well—which is great, because they don’t get much time together during the season, and it would suck if Grady spent the summer sulking. 

But while Grady may still be a competitive bastard, he doesn’t sulk. He nurses Max through hangovers. He comes home with him for the summer. He loses fishing bets. He earns so many boyfriend points Max should really level him up. The question is, how?

Available in Kindle Unlimited

The day after the parade, Grady and Max took Max’s parents to the train station. “Thank you so much for the hospitality,” Max’s mom gushed as she hugged Grady goodbye. “You’ve been a wonderful host.”

Grady, who didn’t know how to talk to parents because his had died before he became an adult, looked embarrassed. “It’s Max’s house too.”

This was an abject lie; Max’s name was nowhere near the paperwork. He just lived there.

But Max’s parents didn’t know that—at least Max didn’t think they did. Max’s dad just said, “I hope you’ll come out and visit us all this summer. It would be good to see you.”

They shook hands and Grady said, “I’ll be there.”

Max almost fell over. How many boyfriend points was that? Was Grady doing some kind of speed run?

“I’m flying, though,” Grady continued, gesturing at the train platform.

Max’s mom laughed and hugged him again. “I don’t blame you. We’ll see you in a few weeks, boys.”

When she wrapped Max up in her arms, she squeezed so tightly Max’s eyeballs almost popped. “I’m so happy for you, sweetheart. You deserve this.”

Max was less than 50 percent sure she was talking about hockey, but he squeezed back. “Love you, Mom. Couldn’t have done it without you.”

“You’re darn right.”

Then they got on the train, and Max and Grady got back in the car to go home.

“I’m supposed to do altitude training with Jess in Colorado this summer.” Grady flicked on the blinker to merge onto the highway. “Ten days in early August. You want to come?”

Max swallowed. Grady took sibling time with Jess very seriously, since they were each other’s only family. “I won’t be crashing?”

Grady glanced at him sideways, then returned his attention to the road and changed lanes. “I’m inviting you, so no.”

“Okay.” Max felt warm all the way through. He would’ve needed to do some altitude training anyway, but it meant something to have an official invite. “Thanks.”

“I mean….” Grady paused and hit the brakes as LA traffic LA trafficked. “That’s assuming you’re not sick of me by then, I guess. Or were you planning on having me stay with your parents?”

What? Max tilted his head and stared at him. “Why would you stay with my parents?”

Grady’s ears had gone pink. “’Cause you still haven’t officially invited me to your Cup party. Or, you know, your house in New Brunswick.”


“Okay, well, now that I’m not drunk, hungover, or jinxing it, hey, Grady, do you want to come spend the summer with me in New Brunswick?”

The car jolted a little as Grady braked hard to avoid an accident. When he’d navigated around it, he said, “The whole summer?”

“I mean, other than going to Colorado and maybe if you want to take a vacation somewhere.” Preferably with Max, but would that be too much? “I mean, we don’t see a lot of each other during the season, so—”


So many boyfriend points. “Are you sure? I’m related to, like, half of New Brunswick. It’s going to be a lot.”

“I can handle it,” Grady said.

Max heard, You’re worth it.

They were worth it.

Truthfully, it would be a lot for Max too. His family would give him endless shit over falling in love with a rival player—and Grady, who had a reputation as kind of a stick in the mud, would provide plenty of opportunities for his aunts and uncles and cousins to mock him. But Max had never minded that, and he didn’t think Grady would either.

At Christmas last year, Grady’d held his own with Max’s siblings and niblings, and Max’s heart had grown three sizes because he got to give Grady a full family holiday experience. And that was before they were technically even together. It was Max’s pleasure to provide Grady with family-level chirping—and to be chirped about him—forever.

Well. Now he knew what happened if someone got too many boyfriend points.

Max cleared his throat. “Okay, then. I’ll book us tickets.”

5 out of 5 (exceptional)

Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

This is book 3.5 in the Hockey Ever After series, and you MUST read book 3, Unrivaled, before you read this one. This is a continuation of Max and Grady's story. The other books are not necessary though, but they are all 4 and 5 star reads.

What this is, is an immediate pick up from Unrivaled and the summer that Max and Grady spent at Max's home in New Bruinswick. (I have no clue where that is, in relation to Florida or California, but I know it's north and colder than those two places!)

Both men are wanting to ask THE QUESTION, but neither man can figure out how best to do it and what follows is a wonderful 100-odd pages of them getting up the courage and spitting the darn question out. But things keep happening and the question comes, finally, at the most perfect time!

These guys love each other, and they make no bones about it! I loved that the smexy times is again fade to grey, maybe even to black, but hey! I don't care! Yes, I usually like the smexier times, but I'm big enough and ugly enough to admit that it's not always necessary and these guys do fade to grey perfectly!

I loved the way these two integrated into each other's lives, homes, and hearts. They are quite devious in getting what they want, and I loved that neither one really realised what the other was doing!

It's got laugh-out-loud moments (or in my case, a croak cos I have a raging sore throat!) It's got so much love. It's got guys from book 1, Gabe and Dante, playing a huge part. It's got some emotional bits, mostly when Max and Grady are having the internal conversations with themselves about asking the question, but it's not heavy. It's a lighthearted read and it was the perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday morning.

I don't usually give such short reads 5 stars, since I almost ALWAY want more, but this one??

5 full and shiny stars!

** same worded review will appear elsewhere **

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book; the comments here are my honest opinion. *

April 2 (Release Day)

Gay Book Promotions 

Annie’s reading tips - REVIEW

Ellie Thomas Romance

@kjnrose - REVIEW

@Literaly labyrinth - REVIEW

LGBT Book Promotions

Love Bytes

Never Hollowed By The Stare

Readers Roost

The Sexy Nerd Revue

April 3

Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books! - REVIEW

Eric Huffbind 

Gay Book Promotions Blog

Lily G Blunt 

April 4

A Wonderful World of Words / Joyffree

Love is Love Books and Promotion

The Faerie Review

April 5

@direadsthebooks on IG

Emotion in Motion

Lily G Blogger 

Love Shack Romance - REVIEW

April 6

Bayou Book Junkie - REVIEW

LGBT Books To Read

Lillian Francis - Author - REVIEW

Maggie Blackbird

Smokin' Hot Reads Book Blog

Ashlyn Kane likes to think she can do it all, but her follow-through often proves her undoing. Her house is as full of half-finished projects as her writing folder. With the help of her ADHD meds, she gets by. An early reader and talker, Ashlyn has always had a flair for language and storytelling. As an eight-year-old, she attended her first writers’ workshop. As a teenager, she won an amateur poetry competition. As an adult, she received a starred review in Publishers Weekly for her novel Fake Dating the Prince. There were quite a few years in the middle there, but who’s counting? Her hobbies include DIY home decor, container gardening (no pulling weeds), music, and spending time with her enormous chocolate lapdog. She is the fortunate wife of a wonderful man, the daughter of two sets of great parents, and the proud older sister/sister-in-law of the world’s biggest nerds.


Morgan James is a clueless (older) millennial who’s still trying to figure out what they’ll be when they grow up and enjoying the journey to get there. Now, with a couple of degrees, a few stints in Europe, and more than one false start to a career, they eagerly wait to see what’s next. James started writing fiction before they could spell and wrote their first (unpublished) novel in middle school. They haven’t stopped writing since. Geek, artist, archer, and fanatic, Morgan tends to pass their free hours with in imaginary worlds and people on pages and screens—it’s an addiction. As is their love of coffee and tea. They live in Canada with their massive collection of unread books, where they are the personal servant of too many four-legged creatures.


Author Links

Tour hosted by: Gay Book Promotions



Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page