Review: V.L. Locey – Shutdown Pair

29091069Author: V.L. Locey
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: MM Sports

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Summary: Slinging burgers in Minnesota in the dead of winter isn’t exactly the Hemingway lifestyle aspiring writer Heath has dreamed of. About the only thing the quick-witted wordsmith has going for him is his pick-up hockey league games every Saturday. Now it looks like even that’s gone south, along with the team’s AWOL goalie.
That is until mysterious Wyatt Dickenson skates into town and announces that he can tend net. Heath isn’t the type to turn down such a generous offer from a Greek god with impressive equipment and all the right moves.
Heath offers to share his rented room with the enigmatic drifter, and soon begins to suspect that Wyatt is harboring a secret. Can Heath get Wyatt to open up about his dark past? Is there a dark past? Or is Heath’s writer’s mind just spinning sexy, shadowy scenarios about the mystery man who has him so infatuated?

Review: The story of Heath and Wyatt is told first person by Heath, who is a want to be writer, six months out of college, and wearing a despised burger hat, working for a sweaty armpit little tyrant, while he waits to become the next must-read. The only thing that is keeping him sane is his love of hockey. He’s the team captain for the Fishers and they play every Saturday. Thank heaven or heath would lose his mind. When their goalie has to flee the state, a stranger steps in to play.
Heath is the captain with a degree in writing and amazing grasp of the English language. Until he meets the beautiful goalie, when he turns into an inarticulate idiot. “Uhm” Yeah, that was back like an annoying testicle rash. Did they make unguents for the mind?” Good thing his friend, Don, is there to get things on track with maybe a Yes, Please be the goalie. Just an aside – I loved Don. He’s a strong, funny character, comfortable with everyone’s sexuality and just an all around good guy.
I am so glad this is written from Heath’s perspective because his thoughts are the best. “I’m fixated on polyester, I know. I’d sooner have my dick swinging free while on fryer duty than be in polyester.” That’s a guy who’s serious about his fashion (even as he wears the dreaded burger hat). His aversion to testicles and food in the same area and his trip to the glory hole in St Paul, which admittedly made me laugh out loud, just make him more, well, Heath.
Wyatt is just stopping by to make some money and then he’s off to Canada. Meanwhile, he has nowhere to stay. Heath, being a kind person (who also wants to “…tap him like a phone in the cold war), offers Wyatt a bit of his one-room place. Wyatt’s reactions to things are out of bounds, terrified is putting it mildly. There is a story there but Heath isn’t getting it out of him yet.
It takes patience, humor and an unexpected visit from Heath’s past to unravel the whole thing. It is a delicate balance between the terrible and the terribly funny and you want to hug Wyatt. The scene by the Frost River, when Heath comes clean about going through Wyatt’s wallet, that seemed real. These guys have baggage to deal with but Heath is the right guy to do so. I loved that he never pushed Wyatt, even when his heart was breaking. Wyatt hates Frost Lake, so what to do?
While this story is out right funny, it does deal with some super serious topics. VL Locey’s humor is right up my alley and I look forward to laughing with her characters. In this story, we get that humor with an underlying tension of Wyatt’s past. It worked for me because that’s Heath’s personality; open them up with humor. I liked these guys immensely and I loved this story. Highly recommended.

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