Review: V.L. Locey – Coach’s Challenge (Cayuga Cougars #3)

Author: V.L. Locey
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Mm Sports

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Summary: Victor Kalinski and his husband, Dan Arou, are living the dream. Married for over a year now, the couple have settled into life in Cayuga surrounded by friends, family, and a team that’s poised to make another championship run. Each man is enjoying professional success as well as personal bliss. Who knew life in the suburbs with a spouse and a child could be so darn satisfying? Not Vic. K, that’s for sure.

The happy times are about to turn rough, though. The Cougars have picked up a new player, Sander March, a brash young center whose sass, skill, and attitude can rival Victor’s. When it’s revealed that this new player and Dan have history, tensions begin to rise between the newlyweds. As Victor and Dan work on those issues, the one person Victor never thought he would meet arrives in the small New York hamlet and proceeds to flip everything in Vic’s life upside down.

Can Victor and Dan’s marriage withstand what life is about to drop on it, or will the challenges be too much for them to handle?

Review: I have to say, Vic has grown so much since we first met him in Two Man Advantage. I will admit, I didn’t love him then. I thought he was a jerk most of the time. And sure, sometimes he still is. But now we get to see the sappy, protective, awesome Victor Kalinski and he’s lovely. He and Dan are married, he’s coaching the Cougars while Dan is a player, his baby mama is a good friend and of course his son, Jack, is the apple of his daddies eyes and life is just dandy. Except of course it doesn’t stay that way.

First we have the addition of Sander Marsh, a hot shot player and someone with whom Dan has a history. One that he’s never told Victor about. Dan says, at one point, “I love him crazy bad”. I was so disappointed with him at that point and yet, in a way, it was a good thing. Because Dan has always been the perfect character and this made him human. “Nope, there was no d on the end, no hint of past tense. You said, ‘I love him crazy bad.’” And then he is shocked that Vic is upset! Especially since now Victor has to coach Marsh. But you know that Dan is Vic’s, no matter what happened in the past. They just work on it.

As if that wasn’t enough for Victor to have to deal with, his father shows up unexpectedly and how in the world is he supposed to deal with that? The father that abandoned him to an abusive and alcoholic mother? Again, we see Dan reacting badly (I was so shocked!) at a time that Victor needed him. Dan is just human, sigh, who knew? Understandable, because Victor can make anyone crazy, but still.

I love that we get to see the other players I like, Mario and Lila, Augie and Sal. There are big life changes happening for both Mario and Augie. Hopefully, long term good things. Some of the best parts for me where Victor’s conversations with his therapist. He is so raw and rude and she just handles it like a pro, slapping back comments to make him see himself.

There’s a lot going on in this story and it worked perfectly. Redemption and forgiveness can come in many forms and even the rude, brute Victor Kalinski can do it. Even as he admits, “I’m a greedy, petty asshamster, I know.” He can make me laugh as he makes me crazy. This is such a great addition to their story and I loved it.

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