We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Review & Excerpt Tour for Cora Carmack’s ALL PLAYED OUT! ALL PLAYED OUT is a New Adult Contemporary Romance and is the 3rd book in the Rusk University Series, published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins.
First person in her family to go to college? CHECK.
Straight A’s? CHECK.
On track to graduate early? CHECK.
Social life? …..yeah, about that….
With just a few weeks until she graduates, Antonella DeLuca’s beginning to worry that maybe she hasn’t had the full college experience. (Okay… Scratch that. She knows she hasn’t had the full college experience).
So Nell does what a smart, dedicated girl like herself does best. She makes a “to do” list of normal college activities.
Item #1? Hook up with a jock.
Rusk University wide receiver Mateo Torres practically wrote the playbook for normal college living. When he’s not on the field, he excels at partying, girls, and more partying. As long as he keeps things light and easy, it’s impossible to get hurt… again. But something about the quiet, shy, sexy-as-hell Nell gets under his skin, and when he learns about her list, he makes it his mission to help her complete it.
Torres is the definition of confident (And sexy. And wild), and he opens up a side of Nell that she’s never known. But as they begin to check off each crazy, exciting, normal item, Nell finds that her frivolous list leads to something more serious than she bargained for. And while Torres is used to taking risks on the field, he has to decide if he’s willing to take the chance when it’s more than just a game.
Together they will have to decide if what they have is just part of the experiment or a chance at something real.
I groan, and flip the page in my spiral so I won’t have to look at the words anymore.
Starting small with the alcohol had been a wise decision. Perhaps I should do the same with other big items on my list. But how did one get smaller than sex and hooking up? I couldn’t just put “kiss.” I’d done that before, and a few more kisses weren’t going to make any difference in my confidence when it came to sex.
Really, it’s the unknown that bothers me. Not just on this list, but in everything. So maybe that’s what I need to get used to.
I skip to the bottom of my list and add …
17. Kiss a stranger
I tap my pen against the page, surveying the words, and decide that kissing a stranger is a good stepping-stone. Then a voice comes from over my shoulder, making me jump up and drop my spiral in shock.
“Do I count as a stranger?”
I press my hand over my thundering heart and turn to face the subject my rumination.
“You scared me.”
“My bad.” Contrary to his words, Torres doesn’t look the least bit sorry.
He bends to pick up the spiral, and I lunge forward to stop him. “Wait! Stop!”
It’s too late. He already has ahold of it, and lifts it up above his head, completely out of my reach. He’s got nearly a foot on me in height, and when I try to jump, I barely get my unathletic self a few inches off the ground.
“Give that back.”
“Hold up, sweetheart. I just want to take a little peek.”
“Don’t you dare! It’s private.”
Frantically, I try to recall what was written on that page as he holds it above his head in an attempt to read.
“‘Go skinny-dipping’?” he says, his eyes dancing suggestively. “Whatever this is … I like it.”
I step toward him, and he angles his body to the side so that the spiral is farther away, but we’re still close.
“‘Pull an all-nighter.’ ‘Sing karaoke.’ ‘Flash someone.’ Oh, sweetheart, tell me this is a list of things you want to do. Please, God.”
“It’s none of your business. That’s what it is.”
“Unlucky for you, I’m a nosy person.”
He starts to turn the page back, and my heart tumbles in fear. He cannot see the first page. Not ever. I hurl myself at him, practically climbing up his body in an attempt to retrieve my list. And all he does is laugh, and stand there as if there isn’t a whole person hanging on to him.
“Asshole!” I say, pushing at his chest.
“Come on, you can do better than that.”
He rolls his eyes. “Well, if that’s all you’ve got …” He starts to turn the page again, and there’s thunder in my ears, and my lungs feel all twisted up inside my chest.
“Fuck you,” I say once, quietly. Then I repeat it, louder, my voice raspy from fear and exertion. “Fuck you, Mateo Torres.”
And I resign myself to the fact that I’m not going to get my spiral back until he’s had his fill of humiliating me. But to my shock, he bends and picks up my pen from where I’d dropped it when he surprised me. Then he draws a line through something on the paper.
“Congratulations. You’ve officially completed number sixteen. ‘Cuss someone out and mean it.’”
He hands me the spiral, then the pen, before folding his arms over his chest and meeting my eyes with a carefully blank expression. I glance down at the item on the list that he’s crossed out, and I don’t know whether I want to laugh or stab him with my pen. Maybe both.
I SO loved this book. I think Torres is one of my favorites.
This book picks up pretty much immediately after the second ends, and Torres is well into his shenanigans with the girls. He’s also immediately intrigued by Nell when he meets her in a social gathering.
When Torres meets Nell he’s smitten. Her shyness and social awkwardness intrigues him. He is attracted and his instincts immediately go into play. Nell is pretty much clueless about dating and social skills, mostly because she’s been so focused on school, on her goals. But when her bestie, Dylan, tells her she should experiment and experience life during college, she decides to make up a list.
I. Loved. Her. List.
Torres, being cheeky, rude (in a charming way), sexy as hell and determined, finds the list and decides he’s the one to help Nell with it. And so their romance begins.
Nell is wonderful. She’s giving into her desires, her instincts and isn’t afraid to try different things. And no, dirty minded readers, no all are naughty. LOL
Torres isn’t a night in shining armor, though. Well, he is. But he’s got his issues, and he figures out how destructive those issues can be if he doesn’t start living in the now and not projecting the past into his life as they are.
And eventually, even though he screws up, because let’s face it – boys are stupid – Torres gets the girl.
The story flowed, it captured me and I loved “living” in it, and getting to peek into Nell’s experiences was absolutely wonderful.
I believe I told Cora that there were some parts that were spot on, fabulously described, and god-I-wish-I-had-them-that-exact-way in the book.
* Thank you William Morrow, InkSlingerPR and Edelweiss for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
And don’t miss the first two books in the Rusk University Series…
ALL LINED UP, Book 1
Amazon ** Barnes and Noble ** iTunes
ALL BROKE DOWN, Book 2
Amazon ** Barnes and Noble ** iTunes
Cora Carmack is a twenty-something New York Times bestselling author who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She’s done a multitude of things in her life– boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She now splits her time between Austin, TX and New York City and spends her days writing, traveling, and spending way too much time on the internet. In her books, you can expect to find humor, heart, and a whole lot of awkward. Because let’s face it . . . awkward people need love, too.