KULTI by MARIANA ZAPATA
Publication Date: March 20, 2015
“Trust me, I’ve wanted to punch you in the face a time or five.”
When the man you worshipped as a kid becomes your coach, it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world. Keywords: supposed to.
It didn’t take a week for twenty-seven-year-old Sal Casillas to wonder what she’d seen in the international soccer icon—why she’d ever had his posters on her wall, or ever envisioned marrying him and having super-playing soccer babies.
Sal had long ago gotten over the worst non-break-up in the history of imaginary relationships with a man that hadn’t known she’d existed. So she isn’t prepared for this version of Reiner Kulti who shows up to her team’s season: a quiet, reclusive, shadow of the explosive, passionate man he’d once been.
Nothing could have prepared her for the man she got to know.
Or the murderous urges he brought out in her.
“Sal, please don’t make me visit you in jail. Orange isn’t your color.”
This was going to be the longest season of her life.
4.5 – 5 Stars!!!
“You know your reputation is just what everyone else thinks of you, your character is what you really are.”
Run, don’t walk, to read this fantastic sports romance!! I am officially in love with Mariana Zapata’s writing. This is my second book by this fantastic author and I am currently reading The Wall of Winnipeg and Me. I can’t get enough!!
I adore her strong heroines. Sal is a star soccer player in her Texas hometown. She’s driven, focused and yes, a little socially awkward. She is absolutely shocked when she learns that her childhood idol, the superstar Reiner Kulti, is going to be one of her team’s assistant coaches.
I just sat there with the phone still to my face, lying in my bed two hundred miles away from where I’d grown up, soaking in the idea that Reiner Kulti—the Reiner Kulti— was going to be my coach. I swallowed the nerves and anticipation down. No big deal. Right.
Oh, and she also was sure that one day, she and Kulti would be married. She worshipped him until the cold reality of the sport brought her idol down a notch or ten and her dreams of a happily ever after were destroyed. Sal tries to hold it together and play it cool when Kulti arrives but she is starstruck just like everyone else.
To my absolute horror, my inner thirteen-year-old, the one that had planned on marrying this guy and having soccer-playing super-babies with him, peeked in and reminded me she’d been around once.
Kulti makes no friends when he joins the coaching staff. He is surly, silent and downright mean to everyone, players and fans alike. But Sal keeps reminded herself that he is human, just like everyone else, no better and no worse, and gradually, they reach a truce and an understanding. They actually become friends, with Kulti confiding in Sal that he doesn’t trust anyone but he sees a real goodness and honesty in Sal.
This book is a fantastic, enjoyable, slow-burn romance that had me literally staying up all night to finish. There is just something about Mariana Zapata’s writing that is insanely addictive and completely REAL. My heart literally burst with emotion and I fell in love with Kulti. BUT do not expect instal-love here. In fact I wasn’t even sure the main characters were ever going to have a civil conversation, let alone fall in love!!
“I used to have a huge crush on you.”
The German blinked at me and I had to fight the urge to twitch — that would just make me look like I had something to hide. Which I did, but it wasn’t like I wanted him to know that once upon a time there’d been posters of him all over my wall. Or that ‘Sal loves Kulti’ had been written in marker on every single notebook and folder I owned in middle school.
“Used to. Used. To. I was a little kid back then.”
Kulti seems hostile to everyone, including Sal. She slowly realizes that having worldwide fame and fortune might not be all that it’s cracked up to be and that Kulti really can’t lead a ‘normal’ life. Slowly Sal and Kulti become friends which poses a huge problem since he is one of the coaching staff. But the lines become blurred because Sal still has a huge crush on the very intimidating German.
I’m not going to lie, not even a little bit. Besides a big butt, I had a thing for guys that spoke different languages. While Reiner Kulti was every bit as impressive of a male specimen as you could get physically, the way he spoke Spanish multiplied his attractiveness by about thirty percent. Okay, thirty percent minimum. But it wasn’t like I could or would think about that too much. He was my coach. And I was his friend. Or something like that.
This book is funny, sexy, romantic, exciting, action-packed…need I say more? Even if you are not a fan of sports romance, you will fall in love with Kulti. The author either really knows the sport of soccer (or football depending on your country) or she did some phenomenal research. The story was a pure delight from beginning to end. The last 20% of the book had me in tears!! I cannot recommend Kulti highly enough!! Mariana Zapata can do no wrong in my eyes. Kulti and Sal share a deep connection and a beautiful love story. This book is a must-read!
“This,” he pointed between us. “This is what matters. You are my gift, my second chance, and I will cherish you and your dream. I will protect both of you.