Sydney is attending University of Hawaii on Oahu where she’s majoring in Marine Biology. She loves her friends, her job, and her school. Since her ex-boyfriend cheated on her six months ago, she hasn’t moves onto anybody new yet. When Coen catches her eye, she’s immediately attracted to him in a very carnal way. She refused to let herself feel that way because he’s a heartbreaker just like her ex was. But when she’s called to her professor’s office because she’s asked to tutor someone, she doesn’t realize it’s Coen. Will he convince her that he really is boyfriend material or will he turn out just as she suspects?
CONNECTED BY THE SEA by E.L. Todd is a wonderful story about real love. Sydney, her heroine comes from a devastating background but has forged a new life for herself in Hawaii studying to be a marine biologist. Over the past two years she’s made a new family of friends who share her same interests and goals in college. Her best friend is Henry who she loves like a brother. This is unfortunate for Henry, because even though his love for Sydney is not at all brotherly, she is completely blind to it. While everyone else can easily see how Henry feels Sydney only sees it as the devotion of a beloved friend who would do anything for her.
Sydney’s attention is on Coen even though she believes he is a player who would hurt her like her ex. She denies her attraction to him to her friends, because she is convinced he is bad news despite the strong chemistry she feels towards him. When one of her professors asks her to tutor a student it turns out to be Coen. They have an opportunity to get to know each other and Sydney quickly realizes she has misjudged him. When he is assigned as her new self-defense trainer at the gym they have an opportunity to become even closer and begin dating.
Coen was my favorite character. Besides being sexy and well-built, he is mature, intelligent, loyal, patient, kind, honorable, sensitive, protective and completely devoted to Sydney. He puts up with her request to keep their dating a secret until she is ready to tell Henry about them with only the caveat he won’t go to the next level in their relationship until she is willing to go public. He needs to know she has fallen for him as hard as he has fallen for her so he does this to protect his own heart. I thought this was very romantic and sweet.
Sydney was a really multifaceted character. She was top in her classes, a natural beauty, loving and fiercely loyal to her friends, passionate about the sea and its creatures, and a highly skilled fighter. Yet there is a vulnerability about her that stems from her home life that causes others to be extremely protective of her. It was easy to see how she drew people to her. How Coen and Henry both fell in love with her. And easy to understand how she could love them both so much, but in different ways, that she would need to find a way not to hurt either of them. Even if it meant sacrificing her own heart, a testament of real love, putting others before yourself.
I enjoyed reading about this triangle of young love very much. The friendships portrayed were touching. The love scenes between Coen and Sydney were tender, very sensual and steamy. All in all situations felt realistic and relatable. The story ends at a good point but with more to be told. I’m looking forward to reading more about Coen and Sydney now that their relationship is out in the open in the next book in the series, Breaking Through the Waves.
*I received an ARC of this eBook free from the author in exchange for an honest review.