Review: V.L. Locey – Open Net (Caluga Cougars #2)

Author: V.L. Locey
Reviewer: Lucy
Genre: Mm sports

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Summary: August Miles has the world on a string professionally.

Augie, as his friends and teammates call the unassuming young goaltender, is on the fast track to the pros. The starting goalie for the Cayuga Cougars, he has a year or two in Cayuga to hone his skills and all his career dreams will have come true. Pity his personal life isn’t riding the same high. He’s the only one among his group of friends without that special someone to call his own.

Until he meets Salvatore Castenada at a lakeside party. The attraction is white-hot and more than a little wonderfully overwhelming for the romantically inexperienced goalie. August quickly discovers that Sal is everything he’s dreamed of in a man: mature, settled, sinfully handsome, and filled with gentle humor. Sal is also HIV positive.

Will Sal’s revelation about his status end this budding relationship before it can even begin? Or will the two men be able to handle the challenges life—and a championship run for the Cougars—throws at them?

Review: Augie’s story! From Mario and Lila’s book, Snap Shot, we got a little glimpse of August Miles. New goalie to the Cougars, shy, not out and so sweet. Written in first person point of view by Augie, we get an idea of how much he wants his personal life to match the shining loveliness of his hockey life. Augie is young, 22 years old. He knows who he is but so far hasn’t been able to be that person in public. Only Mario knows the true Augie and looks at him as a son (and Mario only knows because Augie was crushing on him!). He’s sort of wistful, Augie. “I liked Lila. She was so at peace with herself and her identity. I envied her. Hell, I envied all the Cougars who could be themselves in public.”

He meets Sal, a 37-year-old coworker of Heather, at a party and sparks fly. While the two of them are getting to know each other, Sal is also letting Augie know that he has HIV. Sal is so upfront and honest about it, while being so vulnerable it was heartbreaking. “I would totally get it if you walked out and didn’t come back. Most guys do, and I get it, I really do.” Sal is afraid of what Augie will face when people know he’s with a much older man, let alone one with HIV. I loved that Augie didn’t say, “no biggie, into bed we go.” No, he was responsible, researching, talking to Heather (as a medical professional) and doing a ton of research on HIV. When he makes his decision, it was an informed decision.

This installment of the Cayuga Cougars has a more serious overtone than the usual V.L. Locey hockey stories due to Sal’s HIV status. I thought the response by Mario was real (jerky, sure, but he’s so protective of his Augie). I appreciated that Sal’s HIV status was important but it wasn’t everything about him. It never felt preachy or judgmental but felt real. There was real fear when Sal gets sick and real concern about thinking about a relationship. That made sense to me, especially with it being August, who does think things through.

It’s not all serious, of course. We get the Cougars, who are down and dirty. Speaking of dirty, we get some mud sex. Augie in a kilt. In other words, life beyond the HIV.

I really enjoyed this story, Sal and August working together to find a way that is best for them. Protective friends stepping up, especially Heather for Sal – that girl is amazing. We get to see Viktor and Dan, also, which was a bonus. I admit I was worried about who Augie would end up with after Snap Shot, because he’s just so lovely. I wanted someone worthy and I’m so happy that’s who he got.



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  1. Thank you for the lovely review!

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