Texting the Rugby Player
by Ariya Cox
Publication Date: April 22, 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Mae Nolan is existing in Australia; that’s the only way to put it. She arrived with her ex-boyfriend, who promptly cheated on her, and ever since then she’s been too embarrassed to go home and face the family who warned her against him. Now all she does is work long hours, save her money, and avoid anything to do with the opposite sex.
She’s just not interested.
Until one night she comes across a passed-out girl, Ciara, and ends up taking a phone call from her very irate brother. Her brother, Jack, is rude, snappy, and abrupt, but when Mae and Ciara become friends and Jack continues to text her, she starts to see the real him. Somehow she ends up looking forward to their chats and starts revealing more and more of herself to him.
It’s a relief to talk to someone, and he feels safe because he’s on the other side of the world and she knows she’ll never see him.
Then he comes to Australia.
And she finds out he’s an international rugby star.
And he wants to meet up.
None of this was part of her plan, and she definitely wasn’t expecting what comes next.
“Did you see that try?” she shouts.
I nod, and she throws her arms around me as soon as I get to her.
“I thought you’d missed it. He’ll be wanting to show off.”
I pull back, confused. “What are you talking about? Who will?”
“Hey, Mae.” I look past Ciara and see Davey on the other side of her.
I grin and wave at him as a very pretty blonde girl on the other side of him casts her eyes in my direction. She looks me up and down and then looks away without bothering to greet me. I look at Ciara in surprise.
That was rude.
Ciara rolls her eyes. “That’s Phoebe,” she mutters quietly. “I didn’t know she got a ticket until I got here. She must have been pestering Jack.”
I frown. “Jack your brother?”
She hesitates for a second and then nods at me.
“What does he have to do with this? Wait…” My brain kicks in. “Is he a nutritionist with the Irish team? Is that why he’s here?” That would explain it. No one’s mentioned anything else to me about him being in Australia, not him or Ciara, even though I knew he was here. My eyes widen as I realise this would mean he’s in Melbourne right now. “Is he in Melbourne now?”
Davey snorts in amusement next to her before Ciara sends him a glare and he looks away, taking a sip of his pint.
“Umm…” She looks around almost nervously just as the referee blows his whistle for halftime.
I glance back at the field as the rest of the players start to file off. The screen in the corner is showing a closeup of the captains of both teams as well as the Irish player who scored the try again.
I look back at Ciara, suddenly sick with nerves thinking he could pop out from somewhere. “Tell me he’s not about to turn up.” I scan the people around her, but they’re all people I vaguely recognise from the night Ciara turned up at the bar with her friends from home. No new faces that could be her brother.
“Don’t be mad,” she pleads, and I have no idea what she’s talking about. “I didn’t know he didn’t tell you at first.”
My stomach lurches. This doesn’t sound good.
“What’s happened?” I ask, my heart hammering in my chest. What has Jack done?
“I think he just liked talking to someone who had no idea who he was.”
I blink at her. I genuinely have no clue what she’s talking about.
“What’s going on?” My voice is quieter than it usually would be. I don’t like this. I don’t like not knowing what’s going on. It reminds me too much of the times Rich cheated on me and everyone knew but me.
She must see the look on my face and her eyes widen. “Oh, it’s nothing bad—not really.”
“Ciara, what’s going on?” I demand. I look around at the crowd who are all filing onto the steps, heading to the bar in the break. “And what does your brother have to do with this? Where is he? What are we even doing here?”
She looks at me uneasily for a second then nods towards the large screen displayed in the stadium. I turn to watch and see that the Irish try is being replayed again. I frown in confusion as the celebration is replayed and the stats of the try scorer, Jack Connor, appear at the bottom of the screen. This is his eighth try this series.
I look back in confusion at Ciara, who is just watching me, waiting for the penny to drop.
I glance back at the screen…
My mind skips through a memory as I think about how many times I’ve seen Ciara’s social media…where her name is Ciara Connor.
My jaw drops open as I take in the guy on the screen.
I glance back at her—she’s still watching me nervously—and then back to the screen.
Oh. My. God.
She might be blonde to his brunette, but the similarities between them are obvious. They have the same straight nose and strong jawline, the same dimples, and for all I know the same sparkling blue eyes.
I turn to face her fully, my arm flying out towards the screen. “That is your brother!” I ask, my voice sounding shrieking even to my own ears.
“I did tell him he should tell you. I promise.”
I’m finding it hard to process what she’s saying.
“The guy who just scored that try and is apparently the best rugby player on the planet is your big brother?”
“The guy Josh said is a complete player and can get any girl he wants is the guy you were ringing when you were passed out that first night I met you?”
“Hey! That’s not fair. Josh doesn’t kn—”
“That guy who was just on that screen and whose name was being chanted by the whole crowd is the guy I’ve been texting for the last couple of months?”
She gives me a sheepish grin and shrugs her shoulders.
She holds her hands up in a defensive gesture. “Surprise?”
About Ariya Cox
Ariya Cox was born and raised in the UK. She loves to travel extensively and this book was written in Latin America. Scenes throughout the book were written in Chile, Argentina, Peru, Mexico and Colombia. She’d probably write a lot quicker if she wasn’t constantly exploring but she has no plans to change that any time soon.
Of course she’s also been to Australia a number of times and spent time on the East Coast in her early 20’s working in bars and cafes and basically living the backpacking dream!