“In Touch” is the first book in C.D. Brennan’s Play On series, and it was my first sports romance book. Since rugby has always been a slight fascination of mine because of the large Scotsmen that play, this rugby-focused book was a great choice.
Padraig is a professional rugby player, but after getting addicted to oxy, his career has taken a bit of a detour from the Irish National League to a podunk team in Michigan. Gillian is a holistic physical therapist who is volunteering her time at the local rugby club to get some professional experience. She knows that working with this particular club will be challenging because she must convert the boys to her methods while facing old demons.
This is one of the hardest reviews I’ve written, and it’s not because I didn’t like the book. About halfway through the book, I was thinking “wow, I LOVE sports-themed books! This is hot!” I identified with the main character, and I love that the hero is a sexy, Irish rugby player. The writing is top-notch; the sex is great. So, why the difficulty? I think it lies in that I really wasn’t sure if Padraig convinced me that he was a good guy. The other issue is that stuff with the addiction was very real and very serious. As it should be. But, am I prepared to read about it when I pick up a romance? Not sure.
The rugby backdrop is so well done and really set this book apart from other sports-themed romance. The characters are very complex and fully formed; I loved Gillian and felt like she was part me, part many of my friends. Padraig is so hot and, were he a real person, would certainly be worth a tumble. (Is he real? Can I have a picture?) The plot is character driven in the very best way, and the writing is excellent.
The Bottom Line-
This is not a breezy read; it is more serious, but satisfying. I felt like I was reading about real people with real problems, not a Hallmark movie couple. I will be reading other books by this author in the future, and hope that they will check in on this couple to ease my curiosity. 4 stars