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Publisher's Summary

"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 27-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 who 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.

©2015 Mariana Zapata (P)2015 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Romance

What listeners say about Kulti

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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5 HUGE stars....one of my 2015 Favorites!

I was skeptical when purchasing this book with my valued credit. I LOVED this book. I did not want to put it down. It is not an erotic, hot and steamy romance. The whole book is hard to explain other than to build you up to the HEA ... its a story of hero worship turns real life. Zapata has a talent for weaving a real life tale into something interesting and worth while. I will continue to follow her. I enjoyed LOCKE the first book I read by her, but this book surpasses that one by far. I cannot give enough accolades for this read. This was a gem of a find. The narration was perfect, the story entertaining and I would actually buy this book without hesitation. Credit worthy!

48 people found this helpful

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Now I get it

I knew about Kulti. I had read Under Locke by Mariana Zapata and really, really enjoyed it. When I heard that she had a new book coming out I was really excited. Then the whispers started. It’s a sllloooowwww burn romance and it’s about a female soccer player. Screeching to a halt…Say what??? Then, I started asking questions…so, how slow are we talking? Answer: Really, really slow. A female in sports…is she butch (don’t judge, it was my first thought)? No, definitely not butch, more determined, hard-working and extremely motivated…she also gives herself a facial each week. Hmmm, not really convinced to jump right in, think I’m going to hold off for a bit. So, I did. One thing leads to another and poor old Kulti got pushed back again and again. Then, I had an idea…why don’t I get the audio and listen to it instead?

Normally, when I listen to an audio book I’ve previously read the story. In this case, I was listening to it first. It was a very different experience. I had to really pay attention and I couldn’t stand leaving it for more than 24 hours. As this is a fairly long story, I thought it would take me a lot longer to listen than it did. I was sucked in and desperate to see how things would play out.

The narrator has an easy voice to listen to. I did at times think she sounded a bit too young, but that could have more to do with her having an American accent. I find American women, in general, have very young and sweet voices. Anyways, the narrator did a fabulous job talking with different accents and I had no problems identifying when a character changed. If I was to find fault with the narration, the only difficulty I had was when the main character switched between dialogue and inner monologue. Besides that, it was all good.

I loved Sal. Her determination and focus was easy to believe and the highs and lows of dealing with her young girl crush as a coach, on a daily basis, were interesting. Sal just wants to play soccer and when Kulti joins as an assistant coach, she must learn to treat him as normal, not as her first love and the man she was going to marry (in her head...she was very little). She also has to get past the fact that Kulti broke her brother’s leg years ago when they were playing soccer on opposing teams. Poor Sal has a lot to deal with. She is almost tongue tied and the only way she can stop herself from being a blathering fool is to remind herself over and over again that Kulti poos and wees. The first half of the story had poo mentioned quite a bit.

Kulti comes into the Piper’s world as the assistant coach. He doesn’t want to be there and makes it bloody obvious. He does nothing but stands on the sidelines and watch. It takes for Sal to finally approach him and tell him to pull his head out of his arse before he starts doing his job. Kulti has a few issues he is dealing with behind the scene and unfortunately Sal becomes the person to help him get on track. It cracked me up the way he just barges into her life and plants himself with no plans to leave at all. The sexual tension was obvious to me and I was just waiting (and waiting and waiting…) for things to start coming together.

Oh, the coming together made it so worthwhile. For such a cranky arse, Kulti sure does know how to make a lady swoon. He says all the right words and backs it all up with his actions. He is protective, caring and possessive with a desire to make things easy for Sal. Unfortunately, all of Sal’s problems stem from being friends with Kulti, so it’s not easy for him.

Yes, I probably shouldn’t have waited so long to read Kulti but it was a different experience listening instead of reading and I thoroughly enjoyed it. To top it all off, I was able to test the waters to see how I would go listening to an audio when I hadn’t read it first. Win, win all round.

I will definitely be reading more books by Mariana Zapati in the future.

31 people found this helpful

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Fantastic!!!!

I LOVE this book! LOVE IT! My favorite thing about this story is the heroine, Sal. She is remarkable and probably my favorite heroine ever. Sal is an athlete, she's strong, she's funny, she's tough, she's smart. Sal is a team player, both on and off the field. She loves her family, she loves her friends and she knows her self worth. I absolutely adore her. I loved everything about her. This book also had the best relationship build up ever. I loved Kulti, I loved Sal's family. I loved the story. I loved the fact that Sal was a female athlete. The narrator does an exceptional job with this book - she even does Kulti's voice and accent very well! This book was complete and total perfection. This is my favorite audiobook I have listened to this year and this book is in my top 3 favorites of all time! Fantastic!!!!

20 people found this helpful

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This scored huge with me!

Any additional comments?

I absolutely loved this book. If you liked another book by Zapata called "The Wall of Winnipeg" you'll like this as well.
The narrator did an excellent job with everyone's voices and did the various accents very well which made the story that much more absorbing and believable.
Yes, you do get into the world of women's soccer more than some may like but I didn't find it excessive. It felt like it was needed to make the story feel real. And lets face it, the two main characters eat and breathe soccer so it makes sense.
The side characters are wonderfully portrayed and add a real richness to the story. This is especially true of Sol's father; I loved that man! Sol herself, is a wonderful character that I felt I could like, understand and feel for. A great heroine. Basically I would love to be friends with someone like her. Kulti, well, at first you want to kick him in the nads but then you grow to love him. Some of the things he says late in the book are pretty swoon worthy.
It is good to understand from the get go that there is nothing physical going on until the end. Once you get there though, it's worth it. Personally I found the book so enjoyable, the characters interactions with each other so entertaining, that I did not miss the sex scenes that would usually be mixed throughout.
This is definitely one of those audiobooks that I will be re-listening to in times between new downloads. I also put in my vote that "The Wall of Winnipeg" will be made into an audiobook soon as well.

15 people found this helpful

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Not romantic.

Mild spoilers for Audible listening time:

This is a 16 hour Audible book. For me, that’s a huge investment of my time on one story. So I was looking forward to a sweeping romance and a passion that could not be denied. That's not what I got. I was surprised at first when many hours of listening passed (4-5 hours) and there was no hint of any of this. The main characters interacted for about 30 seconds at this stage. I persevered however, because I read (not listened to) a wonderful slow burn novel by Zapata called ‘Dear Aaron’ and I loved that one. So I know this writer can do romance. I hoped a good romance would build up here too but sadly, I didn't experience it.

The term ‘slow’ applies to the book KULTI. But not ‘slow-burn.’ I felt no heat between heroine Sal and hero Kulti that made me want them to be together. While I liked Sal, I didn’t like Kulti. He is outwardly cold, non-responsive, brooding, rude. In fact, he’s a silent, dead weight for the bulk of the story. I was surprised when he announced Sal was his best friend. I didn’t see that.

As a romance reader, I needed more.

I listened all the way to the end because I liked Sal despite her too many references to “poop”; and I lived in hope the romance would actually start at some point. There were hints of Kulti's possessiveness at the 10.5 hour mark, but not much else. Disappointingly, I didn’t feel this story was romantic at all. I usually like sex in romances, but when sexy times happened here, they felt out of context because there had been no build-up of sexual tension or build up to love. We are TOLD they love one another, but I needed to be SHOWN during the plentiful 16 hours of opportunity. If there was heat, it happened in the last 2.5 hours, and at best I’d call it luke warm.

There was a lot of attention given to the minutiae about Sal’s daily life: every thought and conversation, every moment of soccer training and competing - beyond the absolute necessary. I think some of that detail could have been sacrificed for more detail about the interesting events summarised in the 2 minute epilogue. Those events looked worth reading about.

Narrator Callie Dalton did a fine job on this very long story except that I didn’t really hear much of a German accent when Kulti spoke. It was subtle, but I didn't mind.

I know I'm in a minority, but this book was a miss for me.

11 people found this helpful

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listening for the 4th time in a row...

I love this book and yes, it's true, I'm about to start listening for the 4th time in a row. I've only read maybe 10 books more than once and never re-read back to back like this. Just love the story! Love all the tension that builds through out and the narration is great.

10 people found this helpful

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Does not belong in the Teens 13+ category

Actually, as an adult, I thought this was a decent story, well-narrated.

However, I purchased this for my 13-year-old granddaughter who is into soccer. What a mistake. Luckily, I listened to the book before her. I will definitely not be passing it onto her to read.

The book was full of a never ending stream of profanity... Completely over the top. Worse still, the final chapters included graphically-depicted sex scenes. Due to language and adult situations, this book would be rated a hard R at the minimum.

Also, for a book that had some real insights into women's soccer, it had some glaring errors that took me right out of the story. For example, in one place, one female played a particularly rough game and finished out the game with yellow cards. Any soccer fan would realize the absurdity of that story.

If this book was billed as adult fiction in the romance section, I might have given it four stars. But, definitely do not put this book into the hands of a teen.

9 people found this helpful

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One of the best books of 2015

Great book - both in audio and written. Very interesting backstory of women's soccer and the character development of Sal and Kulti was wonderful. Loved the slow build of their romance. The narrator did a great job on the German accent! I plan to listen and read this book over and over.

9 people found this helpful

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Needs an editor -FAR too much insignificant detail

... that is endlessly repeated, and not enough story.

As for the title character, he was pretty one-sided until most of the way through the book. The lead female character,on the other hand - wow what a doormat! She takes shitty behavior from our hero and then APOLOGIZES for having voiced the faintest reproof. Far from being a strong character, she's a pushover and has multiple boot prints all over her back, metaphorical and actual

8 people found this helpful

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Try, Try again.

This book stuck with me you see I tried it once before and HATED it like I couldn’t stand the female lead.
And usually, I don’t go back to a book that makes me feel something so bad.

But something about it made me want to give it another try so yesterday I thought to go in open-minded and see if I still felt that way.

What a difference a few months made because I really enjoyed it this time. I don’t know what changed my mood, my mind but whatever it was Sal and Kulti sucked me in.
I enjoyed the back and forth the relationship with Sal and her father. I just enjoyed the story. I am glad I gave it a second chance.

I really enjoyed the narration I think Callie is the perfect narrator for this book.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-16-22

pure joy

love Mariana zappata books. loved listening to this slow burn story. total pleasure to listen to

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Eduardo E. Kunisz
  • 12-06-21

Good book, not the best narrator.

I really liked the story. It's a slow burn, and the characters are well developed. But the narrator... couldn't they just find a narrator that actually knew how to pronounce Spanish? the main character of the book is of Spanish decent, so she speaks Spanish a lot with her family. It was impossible to understand what she was saying most times.

1 person found this helpful

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  • hanane
  • 06-06-22

Just wow🧡

I can’t even put to words how much I love this book Mariana Zapata does it again.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan
  • 09-15-21

Slow burn or no burn?

I liked a lot of this book but at the end it left me feeling cheated. I have a detailed physical picture of Rey, but still don’t feel like I know him, whereas I have a complete understanding of Sal, but not much of a clue what she looks like.

This was the ultimate slow-burn friends-to-lovers romance, but unfortunately, by the time they become lovers it felt a bit weird, because although I felt a deep friendship, there was no chemistry between them.

Although I loved Sal, and her family and friends, I did not really warm to Rey. Most of the time he was rude and unpleasant, insulted and humiliated people, treated them with distain, and made people uncomfortable. He took a coaching job, but made no attempt to actually become a decent coach. He just didn’t care, which made him even more unlikable. I loved that Sal called him out on this behaviour, but he seemed to think it was ok for him to treat people like rubbish, and saw no need to apologise, or change. It was not surprising he had no friends.

The factual side of the book is a puzzle. Getting yellow cards is not a sign of a tough and determined player, it’s a sign of a lack of discipline and lack of control. Two yellow cards in one game (which Sal got) will get you kicked off the field, and banned from the next match. A player of Kulti’s standard in Europe would never end up coaching a woman’s team in the USA. And if he was banned from driving, there is no way it would have been kept secret. Furthermore, if Sal was as good as Kulti said she was, the national team would never let another player’s personal grievance prevent them from asking her to play.

The epilogue was wonderful but was only two minutes long and left a lot of questions. It would have been nice to have seen the people who caused Sal so many problems get some sort of payback. We have no idea how Sal’s brother coped with her relationship. And her sister’s behaviour is still a mystery. Nor did I really understand why Rey had an alcohol problem, under what circumstances he lost his licence, and what led him to go on a bender before passing out in a bar at the beginning of the book. In fact the whole alcohol storyline did not make sense with someone so incredibly disciplined. His marriage and divorce are a total mystery, as are any past relationships. He is so unpleasant it was impossible to imagine him charming anyone, and at one part we see an ex-girlfriend who is coldly brushed off and never mentioned again. Although there was a hint that he might enjoy coaching children we have no explanation of what he did next, apart from following Sal in her new career overseas.

I do, however, have to give a very special mention to the narrator. It was a difficult job, but she was brilliant. I suspect her narration is what carried my through this book, if I was reading on Kindle, I probably would have got bored and never finished.


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  • Carrie Duff
  • 07-24-21

Loved it!

This is a worthwhile listen. A cut above the standard romance for me. Sal was a decent unspoilt person who didn't have daddy issues and has more than one friend. Doesn't worry about how she looks all the time and is actually able to have more than a one track mind. There isn't constant banging, which can get a bit boring or a contrived split. Really love it which isn't something I say often.

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  • Geoli8907
  • 06-30-21

I love it!

I’ve loved everything I have read by Mariana Zapata and this is no exception! I loved Kulti, I loved Sal and I loved her family. Nobody does slow burn better.

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  • K White.💕
  • 01-21-21

amazing

I have always loved Mariana Zapata books but having them on Audiobook is so great.
Absolutely love Sal and Ray and what they bring.
This narrator is amazing 💕

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  • L Davidson
  • 09-27-20

Keep coming back

I've listened to this book so many times.
I guess I should now write a few words to encourage others to give this story a listen.
I am a massive Zapata fan, and this is my 2nd favourite book after The Wall of Winniepeg.
The Queen of slow burn has nailed it yet again.
The characters are so good and the narration is on point!

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  • Miss Gill
  • 08-24-20

Love it!

Not much else to say other than I LOVE this book. Everything about it works for me and I have listened to it and read it multiple times and each time I love it more.

Slow burn reads by Mariana Zapata are a favourite of mine and this was one of her best. The narration of the book just made the characters so real in my mind. Love it!

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-11-20

Love

another hit from MZ for me!!! every single minuet of this book was relevant and i was sad it ended. the chemistry between the mc's was amezing and sal's family are a win for me 😂 i need to be friends with her dad. the only negative i'll say was the amount of "Jesus Christ" used in the story. that makes me uncomfortable. but i loved the story and its worth a credit and your money. this is my 5th MZ and i'm onto the next!! the narration was perfect as well!! well done to callie

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  • Lara
  • 12-14-16

Repititve and long winded

This is the second book by this author I have tried. I couldn't finish either. The writing is so repetitive with unnecessary detail and the narrator has quite an annoying voice for the main character. She does the accents and other voices well. With so many great 5 star reviews for this I'm very disappointed and clearly missing what everyone is loving about it. Can't win them all.

1 person found this helpful

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  • narda
  • 08-29-15

Wow book of the year by far

What a brilliant story so well written, Marian you are a great writer. Callie your narrations of the story was brilliant as well. Kulti will send you on a journey filled with family commitment love an passion. Two souls with the same passion that love found over a journey of time.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Beena C
  • 06-20-22

Favourite audiobook of all time!

Amazing narration and spectacular writing! Definitely my favourite book ever, to read and to listen to. MZ does slow burn like no one else, and I KULTI is a prime example of some of her best work. I don't think I'll ever get over this book! I hadn't thought it was possible to enjoy it more than I did after reading it, but the audiobook is just something else.

I can't wait to listen to everything else that MZ puts out!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-11-22

loooved it! audio gives the book new life!

mariana is the OG of slow burn in my opinion. amazing to read or listen to. it was almost like experiencing it for the first time in audio.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-31-22

Brilliant

Fantastic book. This author is an excellent story teller. The character development was natural and enjoyable.
The narrator is SUPER talented.

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  • Ashleigh Marie Fitzpatrick
  • 09-02-21

Loved it!

I really enjoyed this book! I didn’t want to stop listening! The build up of the main characters was great! And I caught myself feeling so much empathy towards Sal!

Callie Dalton did a great job of narrating this
story! I love listening to her.

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  • JDavoday
  • 08-06-21

Great book

The narrator brings Sal to life in this book , great listening. The book has some hillarious moments and banter . Loved every bit of it .

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  • Tegan Plunkett
  • 03-01-21

Slow burn heaven!

I’m definitely a fan of Mariana Zapata. Really well developed characters, great relationship building and just the best romance out there. Also Callie Dalton’s voice acting is my fave.

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  • Amanda panda
  • 05-27-20

What a book!

Really enjoyed the story and the build between the characters. Love the empowering and strong female character.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Lucy G.
  • 02-19-19

made me want to play soccer

Became addicted by the end although there is a lot of repetition reminding audience of things we already know! like yes, you literally just said this.