By Referral Only by Lyla Payne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Ruby Cotton is considered ‘new money’. Something she learned very quickly is frowned upon by those with ‘old money’! After being dumped her Freshman year by a boyfriend because of it, she decided never to put her heart on the line again with a Whitman boy. But she also doesn’t want to waste her time with guys who aren’t worth the effort. After running into a sorority sister who had a ‘bad’ evening with Cole ‘fucking’ Stuart she comes up with the idea of a referral website. A website where the female population of Whitman University can rate and refer the guys they date or have dated. This should make it easier to pick the right guy to have flings with right? It’s okay though, Ruby, a theatre major, has her eyes set on Liam, an actor she is working in a production with… which saves her from having to come up with an excuse as to why she can’t go out with Cole Stuart!
Cole Stuart has the lowest ranking on the website though, so she wouldn’t consider him either way! But Cole isn’t going to take ‘no’ for an answer. He’s bound and determined to explore the chemistry he has with Ruby but he’s got to break through her defenses first and get her to realize he’s not a typical Whitman guy.
I really loved Broken at Love, even though Quinn wasn’t your typical hero … so when I got my hands on this one I was incredibly excited. And I wasn’t disappointed – in fact, I loved this more than the first. I’m going to blame that on a certain Scottish, kilt wearing, swoony guy.
First let’s talk about Ruby. Ruby’s hang-ups with her new money status are just that. Her hang-ups. But they’re realistic. Who wants to put their heart on the line when they feel like ultimately they won’t stand up to family scrutiny. She has been burned before, and she’s not going to let it happen again. I loved that Payne turned the tables on us readers by making Ruby the one who comes up with this idea of rating guys. I mean… who wouldn’t use that website if it was really out there… Exactly. I think I actually laughed the loudest when the girls were telling their hook-up horror stories. In fact I believe I read that whole passage out loud to my sister.
Now… Cole Stuart. If you’re looking for a swoony, sweet, guy who is actual royalty – look no further. Oh… he’s also a swimmer. So go ahead and picture that in your mind… now add a kilt. I swear that I may have been fascinated by kilt wearing men previously, but after this book I’m definitely intrigued! You guys, he may have the lowest rating on Ruby’s site, but it’s not for any reason you might be expecting. He’s determined to make Ruby see him for who he is instead of who she thinks he is. But that’s the catch. Cole has a few secrets and when Ruby finds out, well… I’ll let you find out all the details by reading! But holy crap the swoon this guy gives…
“ What if I said I wanted to date you – and yes, Ruby, go to bed with you – but not for a few weeks or a month. I want to talk about Christmas, and showing you Elgin, and maybe a spring holiday on the Mediterranean. I don’t want to see you with the expectation that it won’t last.”
Payne does an amazing job creating the world of Whitman University and the characters that go there. While this one is a bit lighter in drama than the first, it’s still a perfect read and I really loved the twist and finally finding out more about Cole. This is a book 2 in a series, but if you haven’t read Broken At Love, it’s not necessary (even though I recommend that one too). These can be read as stand-alones if you want, they are more companion books than series books. Both Quinn & Emilie from Broken at Love are in this one a bit, and it’s nice to see where they are in their lives as well.
Lyla Payne is one of the reasons I still go back to the New Adult genre. She is an excellent writer and the stories she crafts, while on the surface they may sound like so many others, they are written with a fresh voice and I can’t wait for even more from her!
Thank you to the author for an advance copy for an honest review!
By Referral Only by Lyla Payne