Author: V.L. Locey
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: MM Contemporary
Summary: What a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago, Victor Kalinski was one of the best and most controversial ice hockey players in the pros. This year he’s playing in the minors, has a paternity case pending, and has just been vindictively outed to the world by one of his own teammates.
But he seems to find life in the tiny town of Cayuga to his liking. A large part of that is Dan Arou, the Cougars’ alternate captain and the man who now holds Victor’s heart. Surely venomous, viper-tongued Victor hasn’t been mellowed by love!
Well, perhaps a little. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t intend to get sweet revenge on those who’ve hurt the man he loves and the friends he’s somehow made along the way.
Review: This is the final of the trilogy of Vic and Dan. While Vic has definitely mellowed, he’s still crude and obnoxious. Thank heaven, because what would we do otherwise?
In our last installment, Dan and Vic were feeling the hate from a teammate, Phil, and Vic at least has sworn revenge. Vic is hugely protective of his man and having been outed involuntarily, causing Dan pain, was not something he would forgive. Dan is so dedicated to Vic and I loved in this story how much he struggles with the whole Heather situation. He’s a great person but that struggle is real. The man you love cheated on you and now there’s a baby coming? Even a saint might have trouble with that one. But he’s Dan and he wants the best for that baby. Even when he’s eaten up with jealousy, he’s telling Vic he needs to be there for that baby and making him walk Heather to her door. Just a side note – go Mrs Arou!
Vic may have become awkwardly romantic at times here but he is still a sarcastic jerk most of the time. When Heather offers to let him feel her stomach and he responds, “Why the hell would I want to touch your belly? Your tits, sure, because they seem to be getting bigger, but your belly? Yeah, no thanks.” I wanted to smack him and thought, “yep, you are still an asshole.” It’s a wonder of Ms Locey’s writing that he can act like such a tool and you still like him. Humiliation for him? “…the memory of being made to say wingers were better than centers left a sour taste in my mouth.” Coming from a family that takes their hockey seriously, we could relate.
I was a little bummed that the Phil issue didn’t have more oomph too it. The revenge was there but it wasn’t the fireworks up his ass I wanted to see.
We get some history on Vic and there are definitely reasons for the way he acts and his attitude towards women. I loved that between his awesome counselor, Mrs Arou and labor, Vic achieves a healthy dose of better attitude toward women. His counseling sessions are heartbreaking. His new found respect for labor is awesome. “Hand to God, I will never call women the weaker sex ever again. What that woman endured makes the toughest hockey player look like a thumb-sucking little boy.” Progress!
This is a lovely end to the trilogy. The humor, the snark and the bittersweet work together and I was so happy with how it wrapped up.
And to sum it up – Lila and Mario. We need that story.