H. Cosway and Penny Reid have added another installment to their Rugby series and it’s a winner! No scrum necessary! Eilish was just nineteen when she caught the eye of party animal/womanizer Bryan Leech and gave him her virginity. It was after the wedding reception of one of Bryan and, Eilish’s cousin, Sean’s teammates. The next morning he wasn’t the same kind and patient man; she realized he had been drunk the night before. Bryan doesn’t remember who she is let alone her name. In five years, Eilish has gone from an idealistic girl to a responsible, mature, and conscientious woman. Bryan’s a recovering alcoholic who is serious about his sobriety. In fact, he’s become comparable to a stodgy old man as opposed to his party hard-ladies’ man wild ways. “The Cad and the Co-Ed” is the story of how a five-year-old one-night stand becomes a Happily Ever After.
The morning after the most enchanted evening with star rugby player Bryan Leech is a nightmare. Eilish discovers that the kind, gentle, patient lover, who she gave her virginity to doesn’t remember a thing. Not what happened, not who she is, not even her name. Bryan’s rude, and mean in the light of day. Consequently, when Eilish learns she’s pregnant she refuses to identify the father. When Eilish refuses to give her baby up for adoption her mother disinherits her and kicks her out. Eilish decides to move, with her baby, to the US and finish her schooling. When she struggles to support herself, and her child, her cousin Sean sends her money, to help her. Sean Cassidy’s more like a brother to Eilish; they’re both down-to-earth members of a posh family. She’s in the last semester of university, and Sean gets her get an internship with his rugby team.
Back in Ireland Eilish’s lost all but one of her friends and she’s never been close to her siblings. Hence, Sean is more of a brother than a cousin. Eilish accompanies Sean to the birthday party of a teammate. The entire team is in attendance therefore Bryan is there. The moment Bryan sees Eilish she inexplicably fascinates him. He’s been sober for eighteen months and he’s never been this attracted to a woman since getting clean. Bryan attempts to speak to Eilish at the party but she seems either afraid of him or doesn’t like him. Eilish knew Bryan would be at the party she had hoped she’d feel detached distain. She’d be happy with indifference; unfortunately she feels attraction and lust. Eilish runs into Bryan again while she’s at Sean’s flat, they live in the same building on the same floor.
Eilish finds Bryan’s having a “Grumpy Old Man” moment. He’s telling the neighbors to turn down the music, wearing spectacles, a housecoat, and carrying a mug of mint tea. Bryan is attracted to Eilish but there are a couple of things holding him back. His AA sponsor says he’s not ready for a relationship until he can keep a houseplant alive for six months. Secondly, Eilish’s cousin is his teammate, Sean’s cousin, and Bryan isn’t his favorite person by a mile. Eilish begins her internship as an assistant physical therapist to the team and treats their injuries, typically with massage. Seeing Bryan everyday is a difficult enough but touching and rubbing his body will be absolute torture. Bryan is also fighting his attraction because he doesn’t think he’s good enough for anyone right now. Especially a woman as special as Eilish.
The longer Eilish works with the team the more stressed she becomes around Bryan. It’s difficult to control her attraction to Bryan and feels rejected when he’s hesitant. Not understanding he’s more than interested in her but he will working on his sobriety. Sean urges her to just tell Bryan he’s the father of her son Patrick. Eilish is afraid that Bryan will hate her and worse want custody of Patrick. The tension gets to a point in which Eilish she knows she has to tell Bryan. She meets with him in a restaurant and tells him about Patrick. Bryan doesn’t remember their night together because almost ten years of his life is a complete blank. When Eilish shows him a picture of Patrick, however, it’s like looking at his younger self.
His AA sponsor urges him to get a DNA test to be certain the child is his. Bryan’s sponsor doesn’t want a woman lying to him about fathering a child, to get to his money. He asks to meet Patrick and Eilish agrees meeting with him at a park with Patrick and Sean. The moment Bryan sees Patrick is love at first sight. Bryan wants to see more of Patrick and as a result more time getting to know Eilish. Bryan was attracted to Eilish even before he knew she was the mother of his son. Now he’s even more wants to build a romantic relationship with her. He even bought a new difficult-to-kill houseplant. However, there are people putting doubts into Bryan’s head. His sponsor about paternity and someone else suggesting maybe Eilish had been trying to “trap” him when she got pregnant.
This interference causes a chain of events to occur which destroys the trust within the relationship. It also plays into Eilish’s biggest fears. Both may lose everything they wanted.
One of the biggest reasons I loved “The Cad and the Co-Ed” is because of Sean Cassidy. Bless his dapper, match-making, little meddling heart. L.H. Cosway and Penny Reid focus on the character building and romantic storyline first then the sexy times. This makes for a lovely romance with a rich backstory. There are many other characters flitting about from Eilish’s past which are wreaking havoc with their interference. Bryan’s roommate is a newish teammate Will, an young-ish US rugby player; he’s adorable. We get to see characters from Cosway and Reid’s previous Rugby series books. Ronan and Annie from book #1 and Sean and Lucy from book #2. The pace is steady. They storyline is tight, intriguing, and well nuanced. The characters are colorful, well-fleshed out, and engaging. Above all, it’s chock-full of pop culture reference and rich with priceless shenanigans. All of the Rugby series novels are winners!
I’m giving “The Cad and the Co-Ed” 5 Lightning Bolts and a Storm Warning.
This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed