Open Net by V.L. Locey
Open Net (Cayuga Cougars book 2) by VL Locey – 4 stars
The second book in this series is Augie’s story. Goalie for the Cayuga Cougars, Augie had confessed to his mentor Mario, that he is gay but he has not yet come out to his team mates. One day at a party he meets Sal who is an orderly at the local hospital and a lightning fast mutual attraction occurs. Sal and Augie start seeing each other and Augie is blown away that this sexy, older man wants to be with him. However, Sal has a confession to make if the relationship is to continue and it’s a big one. Sal is HIV positive. He has a virtually undetectable viral count, yet it still dictates his every waking moment. He has to eat well and live a healthy life style, and of course he can never, ever have unprotected sex. Understandably, Augie who is much younger with very little experience of men, is taken aback by Sal’s status and he needs to process. Thankfully, Augie decides it’s not something that will stop him from having a full and loving relationship with Sal and so their story moves forward.
The author has included all the characters from the previous book so the continuity flows really well and it’s nice to follow up with familiar people. Also, she handles the HIV aspects of the story with great sensitivity and has obviously done a huge amount of research to make Sal’s situation come across as entirely authentic. As a reader I truly appreciated this and thought she struck a good balance so that it didn’t read as preachy.
Augie is so cute. His young age and lack of experience provides for some slightly angsty moments but Sal is adorable. He’s patient and confident and genuinely keen to initiate Augie with all the tenderness and care he deserves. Once the deed is done their sex life really takes off adding another layer to their relationship. It’s easy to see why these two have fallen in love with each other, yet they face many challenges ahead which tests their future. Augie has to come out to his team mates and his parents. He also has to make them aware that Sal is HIV and what that means, and his mentor Mario is not ok with that at all. Sal also has challenges to face with his health and Augie’s insecurities. Do these issues break them or make them? Read the book to find out….
Overall I thought this was a very engaging read especially having read the first book in the series. The characters are well developed and the writing style easy to read without being too simplistic. I look forward to the next Cayuga Cougars book.