Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
The past few years have been a bit chaotic for Cougars new associate coach, Lancaster Hart. After an amiable divorce he began living his life as the gay man he’d kept closeted for far too long. With the recent move to Cayuga, he’s away from his support system and properly made sweet tea. Despite a roster filled with new friends and associates, he’s spending his nights alone.
As his team gears up to make a run at the Calder Cup, Lancaster discovers that not everything in upstate New York is wine, woodlands, and chilly conservative ideals. At a summer music festival, he first lays eyes on Townsend Harris, folksy/blues singer by night and mayoral office assistant by day. Lancaster is enraptured with the man’s powerful sultry voice. Also, Town just might be the most beautiful man he has seen in all his forty-one years.
The two hit it off at an informal meet and greet after the show, where they spend the night talking and sipping wine. One evening of conversation and an incendiary goodbye kiss leads them into a scorching love affair that might be exactly what Lancaster has been searching for his whole life. Can his team pull off professionally what he’s hoping to do privately as well? Or will capturing their dream evade both the Cougars and Lancaster?
Let me state right away that I loved this story. The couple (Townsend Harris and Lancaster Hart) filled me with warmth, laughter, and more love than I expected. I easily could have used several books dedicated to these two men, their now extended family, and their new journey together. That’s how much I came to adore them. They were funny, relatable, and that dialog often had me giggling madly away! Then came Lancaster’s kids and grandmother Marigold, and my love affair was complete and seriously, I need more books with this troop! This is a story that I felt was just beginning with readers, not ending.
Call it the Harris/Hart Family Saga….
And the Cayuga Cougars….
Well, yes, I think that’s probably my issue with a book I loved. It’s a story full of beginnings and its supposed to be a series finale. A story about endings. Instead there’s a huge element with a pair that’s absolutely a cliffhanger.
For me, a series finale wraps things up. Gives its characters and its readers a sense of closure, hopefully happy ones, but closure nevertheless. Storylines are ended, arcs come to a close, and couples/their relationships head out the door in a manner that make all those stories we read mean something. For us and them.
And while we end up with a team that accomplished one thing, it’s also in a state fraught with uncertainty. Realistic? Yes. A series finale? Hmmmm, perhaps not.
Now there are three more books coming to be written about one couple. But it’s not a team book. So a sense of incompletion lingers. At least for me.
So, did I love One-On-One (Cayuga Cougars #5) by V.L. Locey? Yes. I took Townsend and Lancaster completely into my heart. I adored their romance and the town of Cayuga. I got to see it in a way I’ve never seen it before. It was an intimate portrait of a small village and its people. Scenic, layered, and so connectable. Had it not been a series finale, the rating would have been considerably higher.
Only that aspect of the story brought the rating down because it just doesn’t feel like a series finale to me. I’m left thinking there’s more to come, more for each team member to play a role in another story and that’s not how a series finale should leave me.
I do recommend this story and the series. It’s a terrific ride, especially if you love hockey and romance.
Cover Design: Rêverie Design & Formatting. I like the cover, goes with the series and the models ages could be older enough to be the characters.
Published January 16th 2019