Title: By Referral Only
Author: Lyla Payne
Series: Whitman University #2
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.
The sink filled with the rusty red deceased mud puppies waited where Lauren had left it. I plucked one from the top, then dug until I found a second for a little demonstration. “See how this one’s tail is curled under, but this one’s is flat?” Cole nodded. “Throw out the ones that aren’t curled. It means they were already dead before they were boiled, and that’s bad eatin.”
I blushed, the slip into my home dialect erasing the cocoon of pleasure. “They don’t taste good.”
“Your past isn’t anything to be embarrassed about, at least not as far as I’m concerned. It’s made you who you are, and that accent is fucking adorable. I say shit all the time that you can’t understand.”
His reassurance eased the tension in my shoulders and I offered him a smile. “That’s true. Anyway, once you have a good one, you twist off the tail, like this.”
Cole winced at the resulting crunch, his prissiness making me giggle.
“You want to suck out the brain?”
“Why on earth would I do that?”
“It’s a custom. Tastes pretty good, really.” When he refused the offered head, I pressed it to my lips and slurped it clean. For the first time since coming to Whitman, it felt nice to do something that reminded me of home.
“Oh my God, I am so glad I kissed you before you did that.”
“Then you squeeze the tail and just peel the shell away from the meat.” I demonstrated while Cole watched, his eyebrows furrowed like a little boy paying attention in class.
He grabbed one and I watched, correcting him a few times when he tried to toss away meat, but he was a fast study. We both focused on the mudbugs for a while, so when a slurping noise met my ears, it totally surprised me.
Cole’s face twisted as he dropped the crawfish head, looking a little horrified and a lot green. “That was disgusting.”
One winner will get a signed copy of By Referral Only and Broken at Love along with $25 giftcard (amazon or b&n)
I’ve long had a love of stories. A few years ago decided to put them down on the page, and even though I have a degree in film and television, novels were the creative outlet where I found a home. I’ve published Young Adult under a different name, but when I got the idea for Broken at Love (my first New Adult title), I couldn’t wait to try something new – and I’m hooked. In my spare time I watch a ton of tennis (no surprise, there), play a ton of tennis, and dedicate a good portion of brain power to dreaming up the next fictitious bad boy we’d all love to meet in real life.
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