Reviewed by Tori
“Sometimes life punches you right in the face, And sometimes you end up liking it.”
“So… that’s what you’re into? Interesting.”
Bryan Leech is a cad…and he’d be the first to tell you that. This star rugby player spent a large portion of his life addicted to alcohol; drifting through life and women with little respect for either. Now two years sober, he’s managed to put his life and career back on track. His sponsor feels he’s ready to start dating again but when he tries to chat up the sexy new team physiotherapist, he’s shocked by her indifference and scorn. When he learns she is a teammate’s cousin, he approaches him and attempts to get some insider information.
“Did he just tell me to seduce his cousin?”
Eilish Cassidy never expected to be a mother at nineteen but a one night stand with a longtime crush ends up with her humiliated and pregnant. When she refuses to give the baby up for adoption, her mother kicks her out and Eilish heads to America looking for a better life. There she finds herself broke, homeless, and sick. She breaks down and calls her cousin Sean for help. He brings her back to Ireland and becomes a rock of support for her and the baby. Encouraging her to attend college, Eilish graduates with a degree in physiotherapy and applies for a job with the Irish National Rugby team. The same team her baby daddy plays for. Now, she just has to decide how and when she will tell Bryan he is a father.
“Bryan? Bryan who?”
Bryan is shocked but thrilled to learn he is a father. He is determined to be a much better father than his was and spends all his spare time getting to know his child and Eilish. As he struggles with his guilt over his inability to remember their night together, Bryan goes out of his way to prove to this beautiful woman who regardless of their rocky beginning..he wants her and his son to be his end.
The Cad and The Co-ed is the third installment in Reid and Cosway’s humorous and swoon-worthy Rugby series. Easily read as standalones, there is some character and world bleed over. Also be forewarned that the sports aspect doesn’t hold a strong place in the story. This one is probably my favorite of the three. Lighthearted second chance/secret baby romance are my crack and this particular one excels. It’s a witty, smart, steamy, and utterly adorable story that revolves around a young woman who is struggling to be both mom and dad to her young child and a professional rugby player who’s trying to recover from his alcohol-fueled playboy ways. While the overall atmosphere isn’t too serious, Reid and Conway touch upon the weight of being a single parent and the struggles behind substance abuse.
Eilish and Bryan are so well written, you easily step into their lives. These two have encountered great adversity in their lives and emerged the stronger for it. Neither are saints but they try to do the right thing when it matters most. They tug at your heartstrings as Reid and Cosway tell their story. Both are the products of dismissive parents and struggle with guilt over their past deeds. Eilish is so strong and independent. I admired the strength she shows dealing with her mother and her best friend over her son, Patrick. She hates that she had to rely so much on her cousin Sean for help. She also feels guilt over keeping her son from his father. However her reasons behind that were solid. She knew he was in no position to be a father then.
“If guilt were an Olympic sport, I would have all the gold medals. All of them.”
Bryan is a good guy who got in deep with his addiction. He has an eye-opening moment and fought his way to sobriety. Now two years sober, he regrets all the people he hurt and the loss of memory he suffered while drinking all those years. He also feels guilt for the things he did that he can’t remember. With his mother’s own addiction problems added to the mix, Bryan walks a very careful, regimented line these days.
“Karma is a wanker.”
The fast flowing conversational style narrative and well-developed scenes keep you riveted as you watch this couple not only deal with their intense attraction to one another but also the possible ramifications if they choose to act on them. Patrick is their main concern and everything they do is based on how it might affect him.
“What do you think of Bryan spends the night more often?”
“How often?” Patrick asked between a yawn.
“A few times a week, maybe.”
“Why doesn’t he just move in? We could get bunk beds, and he can share my room.”
The chemistry between Bryan and Eilish is a hot twisting ball of lust and old feelings- making for some wild and steamy times as these two tentatively flirt their way into bed and each others hearts. Though their relationship starts out rocky it progresses at a reasonable pace which is helped out by their attitudes. It was nice that the usual over the top misconceptions weren’t made a main focus in this installment. I enjoyed watching Eilish and Bryan get to know one another again as adults.
“My God, you’re adorable.”
“I am not adorable. I’m brooding and sexy and masculine…”
Personable and dynamic secondary characters round out the storyline; add depthing, advice, delightful snarkiness, and more humor to the story. I enjoyed seeing my favorite rugby players again and getting a look into their present lives; especially Sean. His support of Eilish and unconditional love for Patrick is heart melting. I loved watching Patrick and Bryan get to know one another. Sarah, Bryan’s sponsor, is a hoot and like Sean, her support of Bryan is 100%. The main conflict is resolved in a predictable but fun fashion as Eilish and Bryan learn to accept and let go of the past and move towards the future.
The Cad and the Co-ed is a delightful journey that hits all the right spots for those looking for a lightweight and engaging romance brimming with laughter, love, redemption, and family looking look forward to reading about the next rugby player to fall victim to lurrrvvveee.
**I have a signed paperback copy of this book to give away to one random commenter. Open to everyone (international). I’ll pick a winner Thursday morning.
****** Winner is Erica H. An email has been sent. Thanks!