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 is 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 utilise 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 that 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.
It wasn't until I got to the 33% mark that I started to realise that By Referral Only
part of a series, I say probably because I wasn't too sure. It was then at 70% that it dawned on me that I had in fact read the fist book! Safe to say I cannot remember any of it, besides the creep Sebastian. After my experience with the book, I'd definitely say don't rush out to read the first one, you don't need to, and honestly I preferred By Referral Only
to Broken At Love
Oh, I love Cole, I love Cole, I love Cole. And how could you not? He's Scottish for crying out loud! Serious kudos to Lyla Payne for actually creating a believable Scot, there was no daft or excessive dialect in sight, which is something I always find authors trip up on, especially if they are American (no offence or anything, it's just that the language is usually romanticised beyond belief). As a Brit, and one who's half Scottish at that, I can confidently say that I approve of Cole's language, special mention to some of the words that Lyla used, that I can honestly say I've heard my very Scottish Grandparents say!
"He was from Scotland - he probably liked pale."
I loved that quote too much not to mention it!
In addition to having the whole Scottish thing going on, Cole is also a proper gentleman. He's respectful and treats Ruby right. (Queue another quote)
'"I can take care of myself" [...] "I am quite convinced of that, Ruby Cotton. It doesn't mean you don't deserve to be taken care of, though. In my humble opinion."'
Ruby is from new money, a la Gatsby, and it's a very defining part of her. So much so that she avoids relationships to prevent being dumped due to not being 'good enough'. Ruby did harp on a bout this quite a lot, and I could see how it could get annoying, but it's not something that bothered me in any way. We've all got flaws and that's just hers. Aside from the whole white-trash new-money thing, Ruby is hilarious and I really liked that she was independent and didn't need to rely on anyone.
Ruby is an aspiring actress, so the book is jammed full of drama references and analogies, which I've got to say I loved. Teaching kids Shakespeare, my inner drama geek swooned.
I definitely enjoyed By Referral Only, I found it hard to not just write about Cole, he's one of my favourite New Adult men. Have you read By Referral Only? Let me know what you thought in the comments!
'By Referral Only' by Lyla Payne
Labels: 2015, 4 Stars, Book, Broken At Love, By Referral Only, Lyla Payne, New Adult, Published 2013, Review, Whitman University