Blog Tour: All Played Out (Rusk University #3) by Cora Carmack - Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway

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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 don't know what it is about Cora Carmack's Rusk University series that I love quite so much. Well, wait, that is not quite true. It is that they are well written stories with amazing characters that I can't help but fall in love with. All Played Out might just be my favorite thus far. I loved Nell so much, and Torres, Mateo...he is just so amazing! Loved them both so much throughout this story and loved watching them come together and figure everything out. 

Nell is the kind of female character that I just love. She is quirky and super smart and a little socially awkward and I just loved her. She has always turned to her studies as she has never really fit in. She thinks she is happy alone with her school work and will be with her career. She doesn't think she feels things the way others do. She just doesn't think she is meant to be with someone like other people are. Then when her roommate says something about her not actually having the college experience, how she has just studied or worked all the time to graduate early. This sticks with Nell so she decides to do an experiment. She makes a list of normal collage activities to try and once she is done well then she will know that she is just not like everyone. Then there will be no second guessing herself. She will just be happy. Only she doesn't factor meeting Torres into her plan. Torres who changes everything.

Mateo is so sweet and kind and fun and I just loved him so much! He is so perfect for Nell. Sure she reminds him of some things from his past in the beginning, but it is obvious how much he cares about Nell herself even if he doesn't want to admit it right away. He just gets her and wants to help her with her list and get her to really experience life. He loves how smart and strong she is. I loved how he is just so perfect for her! There is just something there between them and it was so much fun watching them figure everything out.

Nell and Mateo might not seem like they go together at first, but they just fit together perfectly. They both help each other be better, be happier. Mateo turned into this light hearted joking all the time guy due to some things that happened in his past. He likes being that person, but you can also see the amazing guy underneath. Oh he was great. I loved seeing him grow and change and be just oh so amazing. Watching him be so incredibly sweet with Nell...just loved it. Watching him help her grow and be more outgoing, more comfortable with other people? So much fun. And hot. And just amazing. Really a great read and a great addition to this series.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★1/2


The door opens, and my stomach dips at the sight of Nell’s bleary eyes and rumpled hair. She squints at me, and then winces at the sunlight, instinctively taking a step back into the house.

I step in after her without waiting for an invitation, and shut the door firmly behind me.

“I brought coffee,” I say, lifting the tray up into her line of sight.

“Shhh!” She holds one hand up to me and the other to her forehead.

“I think,” she says, her voice raspy, “there’s a herd of elephants in my head.”

“Welcome to the world of hangovers, sweetheart.”

She blinks at me, then says matter-of-factly, “I’m going back to bed.”

She shuffles down the hallway, and I follow her, still holding the coffee carrier and resisting the urge to laugh. Then she swings her bedroom door wide, and doesn’t bother to close it before tumbling headlong into her bed. Again, I take that as permission, closing the door in case Dylan comes home unexpectedly.

Before Nell can slip back into sleep, I force the coffee into her hand.

“Drink a little of this,” I tell her. “It’ll help clear up the headache and nausea.” She doesn’t look like she believes me, but she takes a sip anyway. “Aspirin will help, too, if you have some.”

“Bathroom,” she says, and I go out to the hallway bathroom. I find a bottle in the second cabinet I open.

When I return to her room, she asks, “You find it?”

“I did. Right next to your box of tampons. The things I endure for you, woman.” She rolls her eyes and takes the aspirin, and she drinks about half the coffee before placing the cup on the nightstand and sinking back against her pillows. She must be feeling better because she finally asks the question I’d expected to hear the second she opened the door. “What are you doing here?"

I shrug, toe off my sneakers, and throw myself down on the covers on the other side of her bed. She groans when the mattress bounces, but other than that doesn’t complain.

“I knew you’d be miserable this morning ...”

“And you decided that was something you needed to see?”

“I decided I could be of some help. I’ve had more than my fair share of hangovers. When that coffee kicks in all the way, we’ll get you showered and dressed, and then we’ll go out for some greasy breakfast. You’ll be good as new in no time.”

“You’ve done this more than once? Are you crazy? I never want to drink again.”

“Everybody says that. If you don’t, you’re not doing it right.”

“I don’t feel like I did anything right.”

“You checked another thing off your list, didn’t you?”

She throws an arm over her eyes in lieu of an answer, and after a minute or so of silence, she asks, “Why are you really here?”

“I told you, I—”

“If you feel sorry for me because of what happened last night or what I said, don’t. Please. I’d really rather you just leave.”

“I can’t do that. Sorry.”


“Because last time I let you get away from me, you called some giant ginger-bearded monster to get you drunk, and look how well that turned out. Face it. You need me.”

She makes a groan that sounds vaguely laughlike. “Matt is not a monster.”

“We’ll agree to disagree.”

She sighs, and rolls on her side to face me. I suck in a breath because even hungover, she’s beautiful. And that fiery, challenging look in her eyes always goes straight to my cock.

“And if I had wanted to call you?” she asks. “I don’t have your number.”

“You could have just thought of me. I would have known and come running. I’m practically a superhero in that regard.”


“Why so disbelieving? Unless you thought of me, and it didn’t work? Were you thinking of me last night, girl genius?”

“Not even a little bit.”

“I thought about you. Even during the game last night when I should have been concentrating on not getting my ass kicked, you kept popping up. I think I might be addicted to you, Antonella De Luca.” 

“How do you know my full name?” 

“I might have done a little snooping last night while you were out of it. So you were valedictorian in high school, huh?”

“Just how much snooping did you do?”

“Relax. Your list is safe. I promised I wouldn’t read it, and I didn’t.” My eyes drop to her lips, which she keeps pressing together in what I assume is nervousness. “It was tempting, though.” 

All of her is tempting, and I should probably get out of this bed right now before I drag her beneath me and remind myself just what her skin tastes like. 

Regretfully, I pull myself up to a sitting position and say, “All right, sweetheart. Go shower so we can get breakfast. Unless you need assistance, then I’d be happy to—” 

She cuts me off. “No. No, I think I can handle that alone.”

“Pity,” I say. “Well, I’ll be here waiting in your bed in case you change your mind.” 

She stands up and faces me, still all cute and rumpled from sleep. “You are so ...” She trails off, and shakes her head, turning for the door instead. 

As she heads for the bathroom, I call out, “I’m so what? Charming? Devastatingly handsome?”

“You so better be in the living room by the time I’m done with my shower.” 

Damn. I’d been looking forward to seeing her in a towel. 

Next time.

Don't miss the other books in the series:

Available on * Barnes & Noble *  Goodreads

Available on
Amazon * * Barnes & Noble * Goodreads

About the Author:

HeadshotCora 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.      

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook ** Author Goodreads ** ALL PLAYED OUT Goodreads

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