“In courtship, you and your partner take the time to get to know and care for each other and develop trust. You're both more vested in your relationship because of the time and effort you've put into each other. You're physically intimate when it's right for both of you and when you do, it is magical.” ~ Janet Ong Zimmerman
It seems like a paradox to say that someone could be unlucky in love if his name is Lucky and he lives in a town called Loveland. Lucky, in K-Lee Klein's new series entitled Welcome to Loveland', is a wonderful guy who got off the track for a while, before he was forced to retire from professional hockey. Lucky comes back to Loveland to take a good look at his life and decide what's important and what's not. Lucky has sworn off casual sex and the inevitable pain it brings. He is not looking for someone special at this point; but when he volunteers for the kindergarten class at the local elementary school, Fate steps in and his someone finds him in the form of Jack Canon, the new good-looking and, fortunately for Lucky, gay kindergarten teacher.
As soon as Jack opens his classroom door, Lucky gets tongue-tied. He is stunned by the attractiveness of the man before him. Lucky is embarrassed at his reaction, but finally recovers enough to introduce himself: Jack takes it in stride. Lucky is there to entertain the children with stories about hockey. He brings hand-outs, things related to the subject, i.e., miniature foam hockey sticks and pucks, and takes a position as goalie while the kids have a ball pretending to play while Lucky tries to keep them from scoring. Before Lucky leaves, he stutters through an invitation for Jack to have coffee with that he accepts.
Although Jack isn't into sports, he and Lucky find they have a lot of other things in common. Lucky shows Jack the “real” Loveland. He wants him to see behind the scenes of the things the town has to offer, while proving to Jack that Loveland is a place he can be himself without worrying about other people’s reactions. Lucky introduces him to people like Bettie, the first trans woman Jack has ever met. Jack adores her openness and acceptance right away. Her diner becomes one of their places where a lot of happy memories are made. Jack is happy to have Lucky as a friend, but as they become closer, Jack wants more. He is puzzled by Lucky's restraint as far as the physical side of their relationship goes and wonders if he's misreading the signals. Finally, Lucky explains why he wants to take it slow, especially with Jack, because his feelings for him are so special and Jack is relieved. They decide to wait until it feels right. Lucky continues to court Jack, while involving him in the things he loves like ice skating. Jack isn't at all sure about skating, but he quickly gets the hang of it. Lucky also introduces Jack to his old friends at the Loveland Valentine Re-mailing Program, where he endures endless teasing. Jack is his usual charming and diplomatic self and everyone immediately adores him. They know bringing Jack is an important step and are ecstatic that Lucky has finally found someone he's so fond of.
There's not a lot of angst in this story, but there's a lot of old-fashioned, heart-felt emotion. I felt like I was watching a Hallmark commercial and cried, just like I do for one of those. After reading so many stories with struggles and complicated circumstances in them, it was refreshing to read something warm and delightful, yet not cliché or trite by any means. Loveland is a magical, tight-knit town with awesome, down-to- earth people. Learning about Loveland and becoming involved with its people is an absolute delight and I can't wait to visit the community again. Thank you, K-Lee, for introducing me to Lucky and Jack and the marvelous place called Loveland.