Review: Between The Pipes (Watkins Glen Gladiators #1) by V.L. Locey

Rating: 4.75🌈

If you’re a fan of contemporary romance, then this book surely needs to be on your radar. Between The Pipes, the first in author V.L. Locey’s new Watkins Glen Gladiators series, is a low on angst, high on thoughtful adult relationship dynamics romance that’s full of great humor and hot chemistry .

In other words, it’s a must read.

One of its main characters, Liam Kneller-Polkman, is someone some readers (this one included) have followed through his adolescence in the earlier series, According to Liam. We have actually watched him grow up.

Now graduated from college , he’s been drafted to play for the Ravens, and is being “seasoned” to see if he’s going anywhere by playing for their AHL affiliate team, the Watkins Glen Gladiators.

Locey, a diehard hockey fan, has always made the hockey community and element sing. Whether it’s the team dynamics or fast paced ice action, it has always felt grounded in the sport. That includes the diet and pressure about the prep work coming into camp, all of which we get from Liam’s perspective.

What’s new is the NASCAR racing team aspect of this story and other main character. Tarcy Hayward, his car Lola, his team which includes his son Lee. All that reeks of fumes, gasoline, tar, sweat, and the track. So well done. And it needed to be to match the power of the characters and ice of hockey.

They needed their own passions, careers, and personalities to be able to be just as important and powerful as the men themselves. And that’s exactly how it comes off in the story.

Yes, Tarcy is older than Liam. But their chemistry, their discipline, their lifestyles, and the realistic expectations and discussions they have about age and their jobs/futures make that fade (even as they joke about it) as other aspects become more important.

I was just so throughly entertained and overjoyed by this story and the characters romantic journey. I outright laughed at times, found myself nodding in appreciation when Liam’s thoughts turns to the dangers of their professions in terms of the future, something I don’t see often enough in other stories. A recognition that those concussions can cause traumatic brain injury, that racing has its fatalities. Something Tarcy was thinking about too.

This was a great reality check for a contemporary romance.

It also doesn’t end with an automatic HEA because that’s unrealistic. The men honestly just met. They feel grounded in each other, but they are also wise to acknowledge their professions and it’s demands going forward. The story ends in an intelligent, thoughtful, and great way.

Please give me more of this type of story.

I know we will see more of them . The Gladiators seem full of fascinating characters. And Watkins Glen a grand place to base a series.

I can’t wait for more.

Until then, I’m highly recommending Between The Pipes (Watkins Glen Gladiators #1) by V.L. Locey. And if you want to see Liam before he was all grown up, check out all four books in the amazing According to Liam series.

I’ll meet you back here!

Watkins Glen Gladiators:

✓ Between The Pipes #1

Defending The House #2 – TBD

Between the Pipes (Watkins Glen Gladiators #1)Kindle Edition$4.99


Two men who have sworn off romance are about to crash headfirst into love.

Liam Kneller-Polkman has no time for dating. None. Zero. Zip. His mind has to remain focused on hockey if he wants to secure a goaltending spot on the Watkins Glen Gladiators. He’s committed his whole summer—heck his whole life—to play in the pros someday and he’s not going to lose focus now. Eyes on the prize is his new motto. As training camp grows closer, he accompanies the Gladiators’ team captain to a race at the famed speedway in his new hometown. There he meets Tarcy Hayward, the smolderingly hot, much older driver of the famed number 66 stock car. One look, one smile, and one memorable dinner are all it takes for Liam’s good intentions to stay on track to crash and burn.

Tarcy Hayward’s been around the romance track a few times, each lap leaving him a little older and a lot more wary of giving his heart to someone again. Ever since his wife died, his life has been devoted to his two adult children, his grandson, and racing. He’s happy now that the only thrills he gets are on the racetrack. Or so he thought. When Liam Polkman enters his garage, all the safety barriers in the world aren’t enough to save his heart from the impact. It takes just one night with the stunning young goalie with light green eyes to launch Tarcy’s heart into a high-octane sprint where love always takes the checkered flag.

Between the Pipes is a low angst, age gap gay hockey romance that features an outgoing young goalie, a cautious older race car driver, two families who are not above meddling just a bit to see their loved ones happy, lots of on-ice and high-speed action, and a straightaway sprint to a happy-ever-after.

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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