On Thin Ice by Van Cole

3198

Gay Hockey Romance

Men And Their Sports Book 2

My mentor taught me everything he knew about hockey, now he’s going to teach me everything he knows about love.

Trent Markham had finally made it to the big time, but it’s not all he dreamed of.
After his first season in the national league of hockey he returns to his small town, hoping that his old mentor, Eric Taylor, can teach him how to cope when the spotlight is shining on him.

Trent choked in his last game and he doesn’t want the same thing to happen again because he knows how easily he can lose his place.
But as he and Eric spend more time together tension arises.
t’s impossible for these men to pretend they’re straight, and yet they do everything they can to fight off these gay feelings.

Going from friends to lovers can be tough, especially when there’s an age gap involved, and if the truth should get out it could ruin Trent’s career before it’s truly started.

He left Eric behind once before when he turned pro, can he do it again when this time his heart is on the line?

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Excerpt from On Thin Ice © Copyright 2022 Van Cole

Chapter One

Trent

I bid farewell to the bright lights of Chicago, watching them twinkle as the plane soared into the sky, dancing among the stars. The city had been good to me, as good as anything had ever been. I sat back in the chair and ran my hand along my scratchy stubble. I had meant to shave before I left, but didn’t have the time. I saw the shadow of my reflection in the window. It looked as though there was some spectral version of me hovering outside, looking in, judging me.

I wondered what it thought.

The steward came round and asked if I wanted anything. I was about to say no, before I remembered that it was the off season so I didn’t have to be so disciplined. The nutritionists could go to hell for a while. I asked for a rum and cola, with a slice of lime. He returned within moments with my drink. I brought it to my nose, breathing in the scent, and then took a sip. The cool liquid ran against my lips and then swam over my tongue. I arched my head back and closed my eyes. There were some things in this world that were paradise. A perfect drink at the perfect time was one of them.

There was a little turbulence as the plane rumbled and shook. My stomach churned. I smirked to myself. There was a time when feeling this would have sent me into panic mode, but now it was nothing. A year of traveling all across the country, flying from place to place, had inured me to the rigors of flight. Sometimes it seemed I had spent more time in the air than I had on the ground.

To think this small town boy had made good. A smile curled as I thought about the reception I was going to receive. Mom said that there was going to be a huge party, that I was going to get a hero’s welcome. Their messages of support had kept me going throughout the season and now I would get a chance to recharge. One of the things that had surprised me the most about living in Chicago was just how lonely a big city could be. There were more people, but that somehow reminded you just how alone you were. Even being on a team… well… it was hard to make strong connections with people when you were keeping a secret from them.

But I had achieved my dream at least. I was a pro hockey player, having worked my way up from a rookie to the main roster. It had always been the driving force to my life, to step out on the ice in the national league. That first moment where the crowd roared and my skates clacked against the ice I thought I had made it. Little did I know it wasn’t the culmination of anything, but the beginning. Getting there was one thing, staying there was another. I was only 21 and had my whole career ahead of me, but already I was beginning to see how precarious it could be, and how easily I could lose everything I had worked for.

“Hey, it’s you, isn’t it?”

I looked around. There was a guy across the aisle leaning towards me. His eyes were bleary and his words were slurred. He had a drink in his hand, and I suspected that he had spent a few hours in the airport bar before our flight had left. A few hours too many. His face was pudgy, his suit ill fitting, and a gold ring on his finger gleamed as it caught the shine from the electric light.

“I’m nobody else,” I said, shrugging, angling my head away from him because the last thing I needed was to engage in some awkward conversation with a stranger.

“No, you know what I mean, you’re the kid, right? What’s your name… Troy… Trent… Trent Markham!” he said, and seemed pleased with himself as he remembered my name. I let out a small sigh. The thrill of being recognized had lost its luster for me quickly. Sure it was great that people knew who I was, but few people understood boundaries and most of them were quick to speak their minds, especially when it came to sports. With the glut of information around everyone thought they were an expert, and I had a feeling this guy was no exception.

“You know, I just want to congratulate you on your first season. I think it’s great when guys like you can make it to the big time. That’s what this sport is all about. Hell, it’s what this country is all about! It’s amazing, makes you think that anyone has a chance to make it.”

“Thanks guy, I appreciate,” I said, offering him a kind smile but then his face turned sour and his voice dropped to a mocking hiss.

“I hope you enjoyed the limelight while you could, because it ain’t going to last for long if you keep missing your shots. I don’t know why the coach didn’t haul your ass off the ice for that horror of a miss in the last game. I mean, what were you thinking? God… it makes me think I could still make it in the pros. Something must be wrong with the training nowadays. You’d better watch your place, I can think of ten players they should trade in who could finish those shots for dinner,” he said.

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