by Lyla Payne
”There should be a word for that feeling when you’re so happy that your best friend has found the goddamn unicorn of men – hot, adoring, and amazingly attentive in the sack – but you’ll be forced to kill her if she doesn’t stop talking about how happy said unicorn makes her.” Loc 66
Title: By Referral Only
Author: Lyla Payne
Book: #2 of Whitman University
Published by: CreateSpace
Genre: New Adult, Romance
Rating: 2 Voodoos
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 wasn’t as impressed with By Referral Only. Broken in Love was full of angst and sexual tension but By Referral Only seemed a little lacking in believability. I felt the angst was all put on to give the story a bit more body and some of it seemed a little unnecessary. For me, I felt Ruby was just putting obstacles in her own way and just frightened of letting Cole in. I was disappointed with the initial website idea as it seemed very snide and inappropriate – girls rating men based on how they found the relationship without any explanation or details? It was such a biased idea in the first place – come on a woman scorned wouldn’t rate a man well so another woman can sleep with him would they? So yeah, I wish there had been a little more storyline.
It’s weird, but I did really love the characters. I really liked Ruby and Cole, even though Ruby was very self-pitying, Again, Lyla Payne has created an amazingly cute guy, this time with less obvious flaws and a girl that grows on you. If there had been a better overall storyline this would have been amazing… I guess I wanted something more like what Quinn and Emilie had in Broken in Love. I would definitely recommend Broken in Love.
I think, even with its flaws, I will continue reading this series as the characters are always well written and the sexual encounters are always very intriguing