Bryan Leech is a cad.
Or, he *was* a cad.
No one is quite certain.
Once the quintessential playboy, Bryan claims he’s done with wild parties and weekend benders. No more one night stands leading to mornings he can’t remember; no more binges and blackouts; no more exploits plastered all over the tabloids and rag sheets. According to Bryan, he’s cleaning up his act.
The only problem is, no one believes him.
Eilish Cassidy never thought she’d be a mother at nineteen or still in college at twenty-four. Cut off from every member of her family except her favorite cousin, she’s finally managed put her life back together. Stronger and wiser, Eilish enters her last semester of university determined to stand on her own. Now she just needs to find an internship.
The only problem is, her best option—by far—places her directly in the path of her son’s father, and he doesn’t remember her at all.
Bryan is determined to prove he’s changed. Eager to settle down with the right woman, he’s got his sights set on the gorgeous redhead who seems terribly familiar.
Eilish is determined to hide her secret. She’ll do anything to keep her child safe, even if that means ignoring her own wishes and desires.
But what happens when Bryan starts to remember? And what will it take for Bryan to convince the girl he forgot that she’s unforgettable? (Goodreads)
By a sheer coincidence, The Cad and The Co-Ed was the second book I read recently that deals with “The One That Got Away.” The interesting thing about this book is the fact the way in which Reid and Conway have attacked this trope to the point that they turned it on its head. Regardless, I found it an engaging read that sucked me in to the point that I had to keep reading to find out how things were going to turn out.
It should be noted that this is the third book in the Rugby Series, yet I found it easy to read this as a standalone, due to the fact that it centres mainly on Bryan and Eilish. I could tell that some of the established characters in the book had a back story and this was explored in the previous books. Upon finishing this, I am going to make sure to read them, but at no point did I feel as if I was missing pieces of the jigsaw.
The most impressive thing about the book was the fact that I could see both Reid and Cosways own distinctive voices. This is evident in the fact that book has Reids trademark quirky, sweet romance with characters that have you in stitches with their antics. While Cosways knack for complicated characters that have very real and difficult demons to fight to get the happy every after they deserve. It works really well and is evidence on how these two distinct styles mesh together.
Like any romance, you have to have the characters to root for and this is no exception. In Eilish you have a thoroughly modern heroine who clearly needs a knight in shining armour to sweep in and save her. She has become very self-reliant, mainly due to how her mother reacted to her falling pregnant. You seen the emotional and psychological scars that have been inflicted on Eilish. Most of these could be placed on her family, but that one night with Bryan also left a lasting impact. Even as the two of them grow closer, this lack of confidence or deep seated fear prevents her from trusting Bryan is telling the truth.
As for Bryan, he appears to be the poster child for the reformed Bad Boy. I admit, during the first chapter I couldn’t see how he could be redeemed. Yet, when we catch up with him, he has turned his life completely around. The days of partying and seducing women into bed are in the past. The interesting part of this is the fact that the catalyst isn’t meeting Eilish again. He has cleaned up his act when their paths cross again. However, the stereotypical Sports Star lifestyle has also given Bryan some serious trust issues too.
As the story progressed, I could see that of the two Bryan was the person who had much more to overcome. With a history of making very poor choices and people reminding him of this, Bryan found it difficult to accept his own decisions. It all leads to a rather dramatic final act and I wasn’t entirely convinced that what happened was Bryan’s choice. My heart ached for Eilish as I watched what she went through, especially as it seemed as they were on track to get the Happy Ever After they so rightly deserved.
Having read Penny Reid and L H Cosway as individual authors, together they are a force to be reckoned with. It moves from fun and frothy, to deep and thought provoking. The topics of addiction and battling personal demons are dealt with compassion. Fans of complex romance should definitely check this out
RUGBY SERIES IN ORDER
1 The Hooker and The Hermit
2 The Player and the Pixie
3 The Cad and the Co-Ed