Kulti by Mariana Zapata
3.5 Pumpernickel stars!
“You are my best friend, my love, my playmate and my teammate. You’ll have a team with me wherever we are, with whatever we’re playing.”
At the age of 7 Sal developed a crush on a 19 year old German soccer player that would forever affect her life. Coming from a soccer family, she knew she would play but the superstar Kulti is what inspired her to go pro with the sport. Fast forward 20 years later, and Kulti is no longer Sal’s idol. In fact he injured her brother in another game almost ending her brothers career and her crush ended years ago when Kulti got married, breaking her very young heart. Now Sal plays for the Pipers, a pro women’s soccer team and Kulti has just been named the new assistant coach.
Kulti as a coach is quite frankly, an extremely rude asshole who wants almost nothing to do with the team.
“He could go suck a big dick. And I hoped he gagged on it.”
Sal’s childhood idol doesn’t live up to her expectations and she’s disappointed. It isn’t until Kulti really pisses her off that she lets him have it and cracks his stone cold shell. Over time the two become friends, but hanging out with her older and way hot coach brings unwanted attention to Sal. Is their friendship worth the backlash?
“When one door closes, another one opens. I might just have to do a little breaking and entering to get the right one for me.”
First off, I loved Sal as the lead of a romance based novel. She wasn’t the typical heroine we read in books, she’s athletic, driven, and is not obsessed with fashion. In fact, her wearing jeans and a real bra and not a sports bra was her idea of dressing up. In both her jobs as a pro soccer player and a landscaper the jobs require clothing that is comfortable and easy to move in. I also loved that she came from a Hispanic background, her father from Mexico and her mother from Argentina. I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to read a romance novel that wasn’t white-washed.
Sal’s family was also pretty amazing, her dad and his actions around Kulti as a star struck fan had me giggling and smiling. I would have liked to know a bit more about the relationship between Sal and her sister. It was mentioned how things were strained, but never really fully explained or resolved, I’m a bit bummed that we didn’t get more development in that aspect.
Also the wit and dry humor was fantastic. It too had me smiling while reading.
“‘That was my first time using a lawn mower.’
I fucking knew it!! I didn’t say that of course, instead I stuck with a very grown up, ‘Oh really?'”
“Just because I’m not attracted to women old enough to remember the last Great War, doesn’t mean my list is made up.”
“Below the image was an italicized caption: ‘If one of these lesbos is his girlfriend, I’m gonna kill myself.'”
I really liked the growth from hatred to friendship, but I had a bit of trouble with the friends to love part of the plot. I may be really oblivious, but other than jealousy I couldn’t really see the attraction grow between the two of them. Sure they ended up being perfect for each other, but I felt like I didn’t see the progression from friends to lovers. By this I mean there was no specific point where I could see the change in relationship. The author still sold it in the end, but it was kind of like something was missing.
Oh and a warning, no steam until the end of the book. I was sitting here the entire book like, “when are they going to bone??” like the weirdo perve I am, and it took a while, but it happened. This book is just more plot and character development focused, romance is almost second to that.
The book was a little longer than I would have liked, honestly the first 10% or so wasn’t very interesting. But the pacing picks up and it got better, I just wish some middle had been skimmed and a little more sexy times or angst were added in instead.
“I’ve been waiting, and I will keep on waiting until the time is right. You are my equal, my partner, my teammate, my best friend. I’ve done so many stupid things that you’ve made me regret-things I hope you will forgive me fore and look beyond-but this, waiting a little longer for the love of my life, I can do.”