We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Release Week Blitz 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.
And don’t miss the first two books in the Rusk University Series…
“We’re going to a Halloween party. Trust me, you’ll feel more awkward if you’re not dressed up. When we get there, you’ll see. This is no big deal.”
I don’t look down at the white button-up shirt that’s gaping open over my boobs. I’ve looked at the awful naughty-schoolgirl costume enough times to imprint the thing on my memory.
“If this costume weren’t so … so …”
“Sexy?” she prompts.
“Well, that’s what you get for buying a costume the day before Halloween. Everything is picked over by then. You didn’t want to go as Jasmine and have your stomach showing, so this is what you got. Besides, it kind of fits you.”
I gesture to the button over my chest that’s threatening to pop with any sudden movement. “It does not kind of fit me.”
“I mean, the schoolgirl vibe. It’s like the amplified version of you. That’s perfect for Halloween.”
“There is absolutely no universe where the amplified version of me would not be wearing yoga pants and glasses.”
“Fine. It’s the bold and wild version of you. Nothing wrong with trying bold and wild for a change.”
I groan and throw myself down on the toilet seat beside her. “I’ve changed my mind. I don’t think I should go to this party after all. All those people, and costumes, and decorations. I think Halloween is way too overwhelming for my first foray into the college party scene.”
Dylan tosses her mascara into her makeup bag and faces me, her look now complete. She manages to appear both classy and sexy in a homemade Statue of Liberty costume. Only Dylan could make Lady Liberty look hot.
“Just take a deep breath, Nell. This isn’t nearly as scary as you’re making it out to be in your head. I promise.”
“Maybe not for you. But the idea of being in some frat house with a bunch of people I don’t know—”
She cuts me off. “We’re not going to one of the frat parties. Everyone has been avoiding that scene since … well, it doesn’t matter. The group decided it would be better to have something smaller, more manageable. It’s at Silas’s house. And it’s only people they know and trust. You’ll be fine. I know it.”
Apparently “people they know and trust” translates into about thirty people on the lawn, fifteen on the porch, and more people than I can count on the inside. Dylan’s hand is wrapped tight around my elbow as we step through the entryway to Silas’s house. She’s on her tiptoes, searching for him, and all I can think about is making a break for it and getting out of there as soon as possible.
I’m so concentrated on keeping my short skirt down and the too-tight white shirt buttoned up that I don’t even realize she’s found her boyfriend until she lets go of my arm. At the loss of her touch, I look up, panicked. Silas is dressed as a fireman, and he drops his helmet to circle his arms around Dylan. His fist clutches at the material on the back of her dress, just above her bottom, and I immediately look away, only to lock eyes with the one person I want to see even less than a very public display of affection.
He has a beer lifted halfway to his mouth, but his jaw is slack, and he’s staring at me. No, “stare”does not quite do justice to the look he’s giving me. His eyes raze me, and when I lift my hand to touch my neck, subconsciously covering my all-too-visible cleavage, I’m surprised my skin doesn’t flake away into ashes from the fire in his gaze.
Adrenaline surges through me, and for a moment it feels like a fight-or-flight impulse, and I wonder why my brain still reads his presence as dangerous. But then I stop and think. It’s not quite the same sensation. Fight or flight generally makes me either panic or freeze up. It’s about fear. This is different. When seconds pass and he still hasn’t taken his eyes off of me, I recognize the extra sensation riding on the adrenaline’s heels.
He makes me feel powerful.
I drop my eyes, overwhelmed by the rush of pleasure I feel at that idea, and am faced instead with his costume that I hadn’t noticed before. Or more correctly, his near lack of a costume. His chest is bare, and I can’t help but measure him with my eyes. His chest is broad, hewn in muscles that couldn’t be more defined if an artist sculpted them. His skin is a warm bronze, and it looks so smooth to the touch. Everywhere. Except for the small line of dark hair disappearing beneath a strange, leatherlike cloth.
God. A loincloth. He’s wearing nothing but a loincloth.
Then he’s moving toward me, and I don’t know where to look. His dangerous gaze. His naked chest. That cloth that hides only … oh, mercy.
“Girl genius,” he says, and I can hear the smirk in his voice without even looking away from the suddenly interesting spot on the floor. Then he shifts, and something changes in his voice when he says, “Nell.”
A part of me likes hearing him say my name entirely too much. And that part … is a fool.
“Still ignoring my request that you stay away?” I ask stiffly.
“If you wanted me to stay away, you definitely shouldn’t have worn that.”
A furious blush steals across my cheeks and down my neck. “Dylan insisted I wear a costume, and this was all that was left at the store.”
“Thank God for Dylan, then. And for procrastination. Can you do me a favor and say, ‘Hit me, baby, one more time?’ Pretty please?”
Rather than answering, I actually hit him. But when my palm makes contact with the hard muscle of his shoulder, I wish I hadn’t. Because now that I know what his bare skin feels like, I’m not sure I’ll be able to forget the sensation. My brain is already cataloging the feel, comparing it to all the other people I’ve touched, and coming up empty for comparison. Is it normal for him to feel so warm?
It’s the alcohol, I decide. It must be. I read something once about it dilating blood vessels and bringing warmer blood closer to the surface of the skin.
Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer 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 enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.