Audio Review: Cracks in the Ice By: Ryan Taylor, Joshua Harwood Narrated by: Alexander Cendese

Finding love when least expected in Crack in the Ice.

From the blurb:

How can they trust love not to hurt them again?

Benny: I’ll never fall in love again.

I had my chance, and I was the happiest man you can imagine. One day, it all came to an end. The only thing left was playing hockey, but it wasn’t enough, and I became my own worst enemy.

When my old school offered me a lifeline, I took it. As a coach, I could at least be miserable in a different place.

But when I arrived, there he was—bright and warm, like sunshine. I’d lived in the dark for so long my soul was frozen, but he thawed me out. I started feeling things again, wanting things. For the first time since the dark times began, I wondered if there was a chance. I’d never thought about being with another man, but so what? Could I be lucky enough to find love twice?

Cole: I was done. No. More. Men.

I’d always made the worst possible dating choices, and one guy after another took advantage of me. Invariably, I thought I was falling in love. Once I told them, they’d show their true colors and run.

Worn out and unable to stand another heartbreak, I swore off love. I almost had my master’s degree, and playing the piano was a much safer route to happiness.

No sooner had I made up my mind than there he was—hot as a forest fire, yet very sad. When I found out why, I understood. Someday, he’d love again, but there was no reason I shouldn’t be a friend.

Then he kissed me, and everything turned on a dime. I needed to protect myself from getting pulled in again, but the harder I tried, the more I believed in him. Was I making another horrible mistake? Would this time be different, or was I setting myself up for the biggest letdown of all?

Cracks in the Ice is a gay sports romance featuring hurt/comfort, sensitive men, unexpected connections, first times, an age gap, faculty/student romance, explosive chemistry, hard-earned happiness, and a very satisfying HEA.

Laora's Review:

I was looking forward to read this book and I can say; I was not disappointed.

Benny/ Caldy had lost his only love and did not handle it well. After some much needed tough love from of his Barracuda friends and his personal hard work and still doing rehab he is in a better place. And ready to take on the job as acting hockey coach at his alma matter.

Cole is a music master student who has not been the luckiest with the men he dated in the past.

Benny and Cole meet for the first time when they live together and have an instant liking and click.. Their friendship progresses and soon they are dating and exploring what love is to them.. I liked how naturally the relationship progressed and how healing this relationship is for both men. Besides the gentleness, there is also plenty of heat between them.

I appreciate the authors did not give Benny a personal crisis after finding he was attracted to a man and might even love Cole. He just accepted that there was a 'new' person who made his heart and world brighter and did not bother to label himself.

It seems the hardest struggle and most anxiety for them is finding a way to stay together after their time seems to come to a close at the end of the college year. They do, however, find a way to get their hea.

I so enjoyed reading this low angst, forced proximity, contemporary mm romance. with a side of hockey gameplay. If you love reading about men daring to love (again) this is a book I recommend and a great start to the new Mohegan U Hockey series by one of my favorite writing duos.

I will be looking forward to other stories in this new series. I am wondering who could be next; Jamie & Kendall or even 

Audiobook review:

For this new series, the authors have chosen Alexander Cendese as narrator and in my personal opinion, they made a good choice. His voice fits with both characters and storyline. Before I knew it, I was at the end of this heartfelt story of unexpected love.

Rating: 5 overall, 5 story, 5 narration

Reedkaye's Review:

This is a fun story with a gay first time and two characters both having issues of their own. These two are so different from each other and yet it is almost an instant attraction. An injury puts Benny in a bad position. He ends up being a temporary coach and handles it well even though he doesn’t feel qualified for the job. Cole has had bad luck with any relationships and is gun shy. The way everything gets resolved is what makes this a page turner. I feel the narration by Alexander Cendese gives these characters believability

Rating: 4 Stars

Lesetiger's Review:

I was excited to see the start of a new series by Joshua Harwood and Ryan Taylor. I love the wonderful and easy-going writing style of the two authors. It didn't take long and I was right in the middle of the story.

Benny has had to deal with a lot of personal problems in the past. When Benny is offered a coaching job on a college team during his recovery, he jumps at it.

He meets Cole, a music student who has always been unlucky in his choice of partners. The two live in the same house and they are drawn to each other. Friendship turns into something more.

An absolute plus is the fact that Benny accepted it when he fell in love with Cole. There was no drama, no self-doubt, just acceptance.

I enjoyed Benny in his role as coach for the hockey team and also the short clips of the games. Of course, not everything always goes smoothly with the players and that's a good thing.

I was also very pleased to meet for brief moments, protagonists from the authors' previous books.

I recommend this heartwarming and sweet story that has everything for a good entertainment: Likeable main characters learning to find confidence in love, hockey, deep feelings, romance, a little bit of drama and fantastic secondary protagonists.

I really enjoyed this story and am already looking forward to more stories in this series!

Alexander Candese did a really awesome job. His voice was a great fit for the protagonists and I was able to perceive each character's emotional state. Alexander Candese has a pleasant voice and reads in a varied way with characteristic voices for the respective protagonists.
A fantastic audio book that I highly recommend.

🎧Audiobook Review🎧
Overall: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Performance: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Story: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐

Janet's Review:

Cracks in the Ice was my first time reading and listening to anything by these authors. This will not be my last time listening to anything by them. Fantastic! 

This was a sweet story. I loved Benny and Cole! Both men had trials and tribulations in their past and needed to get past that to heal. Benny is on the verge of losing everything when his friends and teammates intervene. He ends up coaching at his alma mater. He stays at his friend's house. 

Cole is a musician. He falls in love too easily and hasn’t always chosen the best men to fall in love with. He is also staying at the same house. They become friends slowly, that quickly morphs into more. 

The world building is great! The secondary characters are fantastic!! Alexander Cendese is phenomenal in their narration. They made the story come to life. 

Overall, a fantastic listen that kept me engaged! Highly recommend.

Rating: 5 Stars

Tatted_book_freak's Review:

Another engaging audio from Josh and Ryan, capturing my heart right away. I really enjoyed the dynamics of Cole and Benny’s relationship, and their steamy moments were definitely appreciated. 

Alexander does an impeccable job of grasping the essence of each character.  It’s always difficult when one narrator covers each character, but Alexander defeats this task with ease. 

Rating: 5 Stars

Jacqueleen the Reading Queen's Review:

I've been meaning to check out this author duet for a while now. I love a good sports romance, especially hockey, so when a chance to check out the audio for the start of this spin off series came along I jumped at the chance. I'm glad I did because I just loved this sweet hurt/comfort story.

When the story begins, Benny is still in the middle of healing from an utterly awful tragedy. I can hardly blame the man for the mess he was when this story began. I'd likely be in the same boat if I ended up in his situation. Thankfully the amazing teammates and friends Benny has come to the rescue and help him to get on the road to recovery. A change of scenery coaching his old college hockey team doesn't hurt either. Neither does meeting Cole.

Cole has officially sworn off men. We've all been there buddy and like most times that's exactly when you tend to meet someone you just can't resist. Funnily enough Cole does. He's decided to be friends with his hot new straight roommate, that is until it's Benny who decides to obliterate the friend zone Cole placed the man in.

It was sweet how vulnerable these men could be with each other. Both have baggage and Cole could really use a good dose of self esteem. Sometimes I wanted to slap him upside the head and tell the man not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Benny was perfect for him and treated him like the precious man he was. I loved that there was no huge gay freakout. Benny liked Cole and that was that for him. It took Cole more time to fully believe it wasn't all too good to be true and he was actually gay.

Overall Benny and Cole together were adorable and I loved all the great supporting side characters. It definitely made me want to go back and make my way through the previous series. The narration was on point and I liked both the voices and the pacing. I didn't need to speed up the book like I do with some narrations. 

Rating: Solid 4.5 star audiobook.

Lori C's Review:

I enjoyed the way the Barracudas came to visit and were visited at their hotel after the game. As emotional as this book was to read, I think even seeing Eckie’s part in the story was important. I hope he comes back, healed, emotionally and mentally, and ready to play hockey. I’m ready for more of Mohegan U and I’m thrilled beyond belief to have started at the beginning of this series this time.

Now to the audio portion of the book! Every time I start a new audiobook, it’s like my first audiobook experience all over again. I have to find the right speed to listen to THAT narrator at, I have to figure out how they sound at particular points, which is my favorite voice of theirs. This was my first book with Alexander Cendese narrating and it took me a hot second to get used to his voice fluctuations. He really does a good job going between Cole and Bennie and keeping his voice moving and exciting like the story. He has a great range as you’ll hear once you start listening as there are so many characters that he voices male and female, young and old. Overall, a good listening experience and I wouldn’t mind hearing him again in another book. 😊

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Story/⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Performance 

Cracks in the Ice is available to buy from Audible and is Whispersynced

Amazon BOOK Universal:


It was a cloudless, sunny afternoon, almost unheard of for March in Western New York. The temperature outside was only forty-six degrees, but indoors, it was hot. Never in ten million billion years had I imagined a man like Benny might be interested in me.

Don’t get ahead of yourself. This is how you get hurt.

I knew it was the first time he’d kissed a man, and he hadn’t proposed marriage or even seeing each other officially, but we were on a date. After that kiss, the entire day was one long, glorious, dreamy date, wasn’t it?

In the living room, we chose one of Diana’s colorful rugs and lay side-by-side on the floor, enjoying the sunrays streaming through the tall windows. We talked about little things and enjoyed long, sultry kisses that had my heart doing wild things in my chest.

After a while, he said, “I forgot I’d planned to ask if you wanted to go hiking this afternoon.”

We were on our sides, facing each other, and I traced a finger along his nose. “Do you want to go hiking?”

“Not now. I mean, I would if you wanted to, but I like lying here with you.”

“Me too. And I like this.” I kissed him again, and we reached an unspoken agreement that hiking was overrated.

Cracks in the Ice. Copyright © 2022 Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood. All rights reserved.

About the Authors:

Ryan Taylor and Joshua Harwood met in law school and were married in 2017. Currently, they divide their time between Washington, DC and a home in the country, where they live with their family and a big, cuddly German shepherd. Ryan and Josh love to travel, and hockey is practically a religion in their house. Ryan also enjoys swimming and photography, and Josh—who used to be a professional musician—likes to putter in the garden when he can. Their own romance inspired them to begin writing stories about other gay men finding their own “happily ever afters.” Cracks in the Ice is the debut novel of a new series, Mohegan U Hockey. Ryan and Josh have also published ten other books and six audiobooks. You can contact Ryan and Josh through their website at

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To celebrate the release of Cracks in the Ice in audio, Ryan and Josh are giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Click the link below to see how you can enter.