The second book in a series I just recently started.
Author: Lyla Payne
Title: By Referral Only
Release date: 27th of June 2013
Series: Whitman University #2
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Romance, New Adult
Pages: 291 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle
After being unceremoniously dumped freshman year because of her family’s “new money” status, Ruby Cotton has taken care not to put her heart on the line. No matter how enticing Emilie and Quinn make it look, relationships are scary and hard—while a string of flings is easy and fun. That’s what Ruby wants. Easy and fun. The only problem is, when it comes to satisfaction in the sack, most of the boys at Whitman are nothing but pretty window dressing and false advertising.
Ruby takes it upon herself to make campus life more fulfilling, creating a referral database that allows female students to rate their sexual experiences, thereby informing girls of what they’re getting into before agreeing to a date.
When her acting partner, Liam Greene, finally shows some interest, Ruby figures she won’t need to utilize the helpful gossip. He’s handsome, fun, and most importantly, not a guy she’d ever fall for hard enough to let him break her heart.
Not only that, but dating Liam gives Ruby the perfect excuse to say no to Cole Stuart.
As a star swimmer and heir to honest-to-God Scottish royalty, Cole sits at the top of Whitman’s A-list—but he’s also the lowest rated referral on Ruby’s website. The ratings make rejecting his repeated requests for a date a no-brainer, but her real reason for avoiding Cole runs deeper than a string of unsatisfied exes.
He’s gorgeous, he oozes sweetness and charm, and the electricity between them could power half of Whitman, but Ruby knows it will only last until his family or friends convince him she’s not good enough.
Before she knows it she’s falling anyway, waiting for the other shoe to drop but clinging to a tentative hope that Cole might be as different as he seems. When the secret behind his low ratings comes to light, that hope is torn apart, and Ruby wonders if she was right to give him her heart…and whether she has the strength to let him keep it.
I finished the first book in the series only a couple of weeks ago and since I was still feeling it, I decided to go on with the second quite fast, so here it.
Based on reviews I had read I was expecting to be annoyed with Ruby because of her mentality that just because she’s "new money" and, thus, not worthwhile for any guy from "old money," she didn’t even bother at anything else but sex or less with guys from that daunting category. But, luckily, she was much more reasonable, realistic and logical with that issue and overall. Her fear came from disappointment and betrayal of trust, so of course, why wouldn’t she be wary of such a situation reoccurring. With that out of the way, I kind of liked Ruby and rooter for her. She acted and thought like a young, free and from rags-to-riches privileged girl (who had some insecurity issues) and I appreciated her attitude, especially regarding sex and guys. She didn’t hide the fact that she enjoyed sex and a good time in bed was important for a relationship or sometimes just for fun or even casual. It was also interesting to see Emilie (the heroine from the first book) and Ruby clash because of their different relationships and how their thought process regarding that worked. It was fun to observe how the advice Emilie gave goes against how she herself acted when she was having trouble with Quinn in the first book and how Ruby called her out on that. Overall, it was nice to catch up on what Emilie and Quinn were doing and, as expected, they were going strong.
I was quite excited for the explanation on why Cole had such a low score on Ruby’s site, but it was somewhat anticlimactic, I was hoping for something embarrassing or not so against his persona and character that as a reader I’d come to know till that point. Also, it was kept secret for far too long, I was already impatient. Despite this, Cole was a sweetheart, being gorgeous, Scottish and a star swimmer didn’t work against him as well. I loved how he stood up for her, respected her and took her as she was.
I was fond of the scenes where they were both cleaning the fish, a nice bonding experience while being in the role of "the help." I really liked the idea for the sexual expertise comparing and grading site, it was an interesting and fresh premise. Girls also want to have a great time between the sheets so why not help out your sisters and provide info on where to place your bets and where to steer clear.
While I find the thought of the site exciting, it was also somewhat frustrating, because Cole started to pursue Ruby and one of the main reasons she didn’t give him the time of the day was because of his too low score. Her realizing the potential and the fact that he was an extremely great guy who deserved the benefit of the doubt was too slow and it dragged. Then again, it did bring about a decent amount of sexual tension, so I can’t fully complain about the slow progress.
A decent continuation and a sweet couple with somewhat unusual issues holding them back. The third book of the series doesn’t really sound to be my thing, because of the plot and characters, so I think I will skip that, but I genuinely like the series, so you can count on me taking on the fourth book sometime soon!