Release Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Series: Rusk University #3
Review Source: Edelweiss
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
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.
All Played Out is an entertaining novel featuring a very sweet romance. Nell and Mateo don't make a lot of sense at first glance and yet they make absolute sense: they balance each other out perfectly. Nell grounds Torres, opening him up to his real self, and Torres lets Nell get outside herself, focusing on something besides school and rigid plans. I loved how the romance grew between these two characters. I liked their flirting and how they worked together on Nell's list. One of my favourite parts of a romance novel is seeing the two love interests grow together by spending time with one another, and those scenes in All Played Out were truly lovely.
This is a very easy, fun read, but an emotionally satisfying one as well. I liked that even though there were hurdles and issues it wasn't super angsty or drawn out. Basically, All Played Out is a super enjoyable, sexy read. This is a very addictive series, and I'm excited to see where things go next with Stella's book.
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Excerpt from All Played Out --
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.
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.
Where to find Cora:
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