Kulti Book Cover Kulti
Mariana Zapata
Mariana Zapata
April 11, 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.This was going to be the longest season of her life.

When I finished reading Kulti, I immediately wanted to read it again.

Queen of the slow-burn, Mariana Zapata, fulfills our secret fantasy of a celebrity crush recognizing us as their true love. I mean it when I say that Zapata is the queen of writing a slow-burn romance. My kindle was at about 80% before they finally physically connecting. I was so strung out on the sexual tension. I finally got some sleep around 3:00am after binge reading all night long.

In Kulti, our lead character Sal Casillas is a professional soccer player with a secret life-long crush for her new coach, Reiner Kulti. It’s pretty clear that while the whole city is excited for Reiner Kulti to coach the local team, he’s pretty reluctant to do so. He’s stand-offish and unhelpful with the team. The team’s hope that he’d bring some professional insight to their team wanes quickly. Eventually Sal takes it upon herself to shake up the moody bastard. Then almost immediately the magic happens.

Kulti is a sexy, self-assured man, and he’s determined for Sal to realize her own talent.

Obviously soccer is the theme of our story, but it isn’t so heavily involved that readers like me (not into the sport) can’t enjoy this romance. The principles of their relationship are at the forefront. Kulti recognizes Sal as his equal. He sees how talented she is in this sport, and believes in her more than she believes in herself. He’s patient, and kind of stands by in idle mode while she plays out her season. His friendship in her life is complicated enough for her career, and placement on the team. While they remain in the “friend-zone” he is so kind, loyal, and just so fiercely supportive of her. He’s just the crème de la crème. I’m not sure how else I can convey the shivery squeals I felt bubbled up inside me while reading Kulti.

Trust me, the romance journey is a slow build-up, but it’s one of the best romances you’ll ever read.
Kulti by Mariana Zapata is on my “Re-Read ASAP” shelf.