After years in the NHL, Mathieu Beresford finally had his chance at the Stanley Cup. Instead, he was injured during one of the final games, leaving him in the hospital while the rest of the Buffalo Surge team went on to victory. Even worse, Mat’s leg is badly broken, leaving questions about whether he will be able to play again. Angry and despondent, he returns to his home on the St. Lawrence River to recuperate.
Once home, Mathieu is aided by his long time property caretaker, as well as the caretaker’s son, Indigo Neu. Indigo is young and gorgeous, his gender bending style as much of a draw to Mat as his vibrant and sunny disposition. Mat knows he is too old for the college student (and as he slowly recuperates, he feels older by the day). But he can’t deny the attraction he feels, nor the happiness he has in Indigo’s presence. Despite his homophobic nurse’s attempts to keep them apart, Mat and Indigo begin spending time together, and soon acting on the attraction they feel to one another.
Mat finds himself so incredibly happy being with Indigo, but he knows it can never last. First, Indigo is almost 20 years his junior and has a life at college. Mat doesn’t think Indigo will want to be saddled with a 38-year-old hockey player in the twilight of his career. But even more, Mat can’t imagine a life without hockey, and is desperate to get back on the ice. He knows that with no openly gay NHL players, coming out as gay, let alone being in a relationship with a man who wears dresses on occasion, will blow up in the news and he can’t bear to subject himself or Indigo to that life.
As the end of summer approaches, Mat has to figure out if keeping hockey in his life means losing Indigo. He must be brave enough to reach for what he really wants, and give himself a chance at happiness with the man he loves.
Lost in Indigo is my first book by V.L. Locey and I must say, I was really impressed. Locey manages to take some familiar tropes — closeted athlete; an injury causing the potential end of a career — and make them feel fresh and really engaging. She nicely combines some sweet and sexy characters with a really interesting setting for a book that definitely captured my attention.
First off, I really loved Mat and Indigo. If you like super mushy and romantic, combined with hot and sexy, this story is going to be for you. I’ll be honest, I’m not always a mushy romance kind of girl, but this one totally worked for me. Mat and Indigo are just so sweet with one another as they share their feelings and I got totally swept up in their relationship. Indigo is pretty much impossible not to like, with his enthusiasm and sunny personality. I appreciated so much that this guy may be young, but he is not a pushover and he won’t settle for anything less that he deserves. I also liked that Indigo being genderflux is given proper attention, but also not made into an enormous deal either. Mathieu is totally attracted to Indigo in all his forms and I enjoyed seeing the different ways Indigo expresses himself over the course of the book.
Now, I’ll tell you that Mat doesn’t always make great choices. He is clearly in love with Indigo early on, but still reeling at the potential loss of his career. How whole life has been hockey and he can’t quite figure out how he would live without it, and that colors some of his interactions with Indigo. What I appreciate here is that we see Mat make mistakes, and we see him learn from them. He knows when he screws up and he deals with it and fixes it. I loved that Indigo isn’t a pushover, that he calls Mat on his actions. But I also liked how these guys are ultimately able to talk things through and really work on their relationship. So you may be annoyed at Mat at times, but I was happy to see his growth over the course of the book.
The story is mainly set in Mathieu’s home on the St. Lawrence River between the U.S. and Canada. He lives on an island (one of over a thousand along that stretch of the river) in a beautiful old house. I found the setting really fascinating, as I know nothing about this region. Not only does the river make a wonderful backdrop for the story, but it also gives us a chance to see how much the environment means to both men. Locey really brings the area to life and I appreciated how those little details really rounded out the story.
I’ll add here that while Mathieu is a pro hockey player and it is a big part of his life, this isn’t really a “sports” book in the sense that we don’t see a lot of hockey action. There are several scenes where we get commentary on various games that have importance to Mat and the storyline, but given his injury, there is not much live on the ice time. It was the perfect balance of elite athlete as a backdrop to the story for me, without being sports overkill.
The only place where I felt like there was a misstep here is with the character of Mathieu’s rehab nurse. Mat’s agent hires her and she is old fashioned and rigid as a nurse, and homophobic and a religious zealot as a person. She is pretty much awful, treats Indigo as sub human, and bosses Mat around in an overly controlling way. She “prays for his soul” when he seems to be interested in Indigo, refuses to let Indigo go into the house to see Mat, and just generally treats them both horribly. Yet for some reason, Mat not only tolerates her behavior, but feels bad when he expresses annoyance at her actions. Ultimately, he stands up for himself and Indigo, but it goes on way too long for me. She is humanized a bit at the end, but mostly the nurse feels somewhat contrived for the purposes of conflict and the idea that someone would tolerate this behavior from a temporary employee seems absurd.
That said, the rest of the story worked really well for me and I enjoyed this one quite a lot. Lost in Indigo is the first in a series and it looks like the next one also features a hockey player. I am definitely looking forward to continuing on and would certainly recommend this story, especially for folks who like sports romance, coming out stories, and age gap relationships.
P.S. Props to Locey for seamlessly working in the pronunciation of both “Mathieu” and “Neu” at the start of the story. Very helpful!