V.L. Locey’s low angst, contemporary hockey romance series, Watkins Glen Gladiators, continues with Defending the House. It’s a very sweet story, comprised of 30 something Carson Dries, Captain of the Gladiators, a caretaker for his grandfather and owner of a peke a poo , and a younger Criswell Dobbs, waiter and guardian of his high school genderqueer brother .
I’m trying to find a way to describe exactly how low key this story is. Because if you are going to expect a romance with some real obstacles or barriers that appear, or major problems or issues that arise that the main characters have to overcome, this isn’t that story.
Some tales are like small rivers or streams. They have eddies, pools of varying depths, currents that rush over small areas, falling rapidly, only to find a pool and calm itself before moving smartly on .
But Defending the House is more like a canal. One without locks. It’s a smooth, gentle, relaxed ride from start to finish. No obstacles, nothing to get concerned about. A fun, quick, enjoyable experience.
Carson Dries “meets cute” Criswell Dobbs over a spilled bowl of onion soup. A romantic relationship quickly ensues. Criswell has a teenage genderqueer sibling, who’s getting bullied in school. Carson has a grumpy grandfather and a quirky adorable dog.
Locey, who writes both hockey and families so well, has crafted two here in need of each other. And gently, without any drama, lets them be together.
My only quibble is that the story just sort of ends. Spoiler alert. They agreed to move in together and meld families.
And that’s it. No epilogue. No scenes afterwards.
So for me it feels a bit unfinished. A shame because I like the characters. I just needed something more. Maybe a chapter to see how the families were doing together.
But this is sweet, and romantic.
If you’re a fan of the author and the series, grab it up .
Watkins Glen Gladiators:
✓ Between the Pipes #1
✓ Defending the House #2
Defending the House (Watkins Glen Gladiators #2)44Kindle Edition$4.99
It’s far from smooth sailing into love for this pair of polar opposites.
Carson Dries is the ultimate team captain. Seasoned, amiable, humble, understanding, outgoing, and good-looking. He’s also really darn lonely, but his searches for Mr. Right have all turned into producing Mr. Wrongs. Having just turned thirty, Carson isn’t sure if dating is even worth the hassle anymore. Maybe he should just devote his time to his team, his grandfather, and his Peke-a-Poo, Penelope. Feeling a little blue, he heads to a Gladiators’ fundraiser to while away another night alone when one of the cutest guys he has ever seen runs into him—literally. Pity the adorable ginger is carrying a bowl of piping hot soup. While the mortified server is trying to dry off Carson’s ruined tux, Carson is getting rather lost in a magical combination of freckles, bright eyes, and kissable pink lips.
Criswell Dobbs is so getting fired. Or beaten up. Or maybe both. One does not dump French onion soup down the front of a behemoth of a man—a hockey player at that—and not get punched in the nose. Losing his job would be terrible. He loves being a member of the waitstaff on the Seneca Starlight paddleboat. The tips are amazing, his coworkers are fabulous, and the free dinners are keeping him fed. Knowing he and his little brother relied on this job, he’s got to do whatever it takes to stay employed, so apologizing profusely while offering to pay for dry cleaning seems the right course. When the hulking hunk of a man in the soaking wet tux unexpectedly asks him out, Criswell is flabbergasted, to say the least. Shocked yes, but not too stunned to write the Gladiator captain’s seemingly sincere request off completely. There is something about a tall, dark, handsome man in a tux. Even if that tuxedo smelled of onions…
Defending the House is a low angst, opposites attract, gay hockey twink/jock romance starring a sexy team captain, a bubbly but clumsy waiter, lots of nautical nonsense, on-ice action, off-boat shenanigans, yo-ho-ho a few bottles of rum, and one fair weather happy ending.