New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack follows up her trio of hits—Losing It, Faking It, and Finding It—with this thrilling first novel in an explosive series bursting with the Texas flavor, edge, and steamy romance of Friday Night Lights.
In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.
Dallas Cole loathes football. That’s what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.
But life doesn’t always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.
Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It’s obliterated.
Dallas doesn’t know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn’t know that Dallas is his new coach’s daughter.
And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.
*** 5 TEXAS SIZED STARS ***
There are some things I really, really LOVE…reading a good romance novel, college football, and my great state of Texas to name a few. So can you already guess that this book was absolutely, freaking perfect for me!?!?! To say that I love to read, that I love football, and that I love living in Texas is a huge understatement. All Lined Up by Cora Carmack has everything that I love rolled into one big book of awesome!
“In Texas, two things are cherished above all else — football and gossip.”
Just from reading the synopsis paired with by Cora Carmack, I knew that this was going to be oh so very, very good and I can happily say that it did not disappoint. From the moment we meet Dallas and her friend Stella I knew these two were going to be fun to get to know. They are starting college and about to hit their first party…good times for all! Or so we think. Stella is all carefree and fun while Dallas is more reserved and less willing to jump in headfirst. Dallas is the gorgeous daughter of the head football coach at Rusk University. She has her hang-ups about football and the cocky boys that play the sport. She doesn’t trust easily but with the help of her best friend Stella she cautiously starts to let loose a little. She is a serious dancer and has hopes and dreams; one being a life far away from football.
“We’re in college now. Bad ideas are the goal.”
Carson McClain wants to be the starting quarterback, unfortunately, for him the spot is taken by Levi Abrams, who just happens to be Dallas’ ex-boyfriend. In my head I got giddy with the idea that Carson was not only going to get the girl but he was also going to stick it to Levi by taking the starting job! Levi is a jerk and that is evident in the very first moment we meet him so of course my excitement wasn’t contained. Carson is that hero that you root for from day one. He is also the guy that can make you forget your own name.
“I swallow and stare and swallow again, because dear, sweet Jesus riding a unicorn, he’s perfect.”
Carson and Dallas finally meet at this party and it has got to me one of the best first encounters ever. I loved their easy banter and the instant chemistry between the two. I liked that Carson, while being a typical college boy, still showed composure and respect towards the beautiful girl who landed on his lap. He doesn’t hide the fact that he is attracted to her but he is a good guy trying really hard not to put the moves on the girl. Well I won’t spoil the rest but let me just say that, WOW, Carson stole my heart from the very beginning. He is this hot and sexy football player who is neither cocky nor a jerk. He has a goal and he knows that distractions, like that from a certain redhead, can’t be good for what he is trying to achieve.
“I can deny myself all I want, but one thing I cannot deny is just how fucking gorgeous this girl is. And exactly the kind of distraction I’m supposed to be staying away from. “
What happens when he can’t stay away and she wants to finally let go? Well, this is a new adult romance, so we think we know how things are going to go…boy meets girl, they fall in love, there is a period of bliss, there is conflict, there is angst, then all is happy again. Well let me tell you…this new adult romance is different and it offers so much more. Cora Carmack allows us to get to know these characters, to make a connection with them, to invest our hearts in the story. Dallas and Carson’s attraction is instant but what happens when she finds out he is a football player on her father’s team? How are they affected by the lives they lead? I think what made me love this book so much was that a friendship was born first and there was a sense of innocence in the developing romance. Yes, the sexual chemistry is insane, but do they jump in the sack right away? No, and it is awesome. The build up, the tender yet sexy time between them, is just magnificent and it made me feel those butterflies. These characters are very well developed and the story is so special that I couldn’t help but become immersed in it all and feel like I was at Rusk University myself. I mean come on, the coach’s daughter and one of his players? That is good stuff right there! All Lined Up has it all… there is depth, there is sweetness, there is romance, there is humor, there is definitely angst, but best of all, there is a story worth spending hours getting lost in. Dallas, Carson, Stella, Ryan, Silas, and even Coach Cole will become like family and you will root for all of them in end. So I’ll ask this again, a college romance and football??? YES, PLEASE!!!
“Toto, we’re not in high school anymore. “
INTERVIEW WITH CORA CARMACK
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? Did it just happen one day or was it something you always aspired to be?
The first time I ever said I wanted to be a writer I was five, I think? So it’s always been part of the dream. Granted, at that same time, I also said I wanted to be an actor, teacher, ballerina, archaeologist, and the President of the United States. So… there’s that. I’ve always been curious and adventurous. Being a writer allows me to live dozens of different lives, so in a way, I can be all the things I want to be.
Do you ever put some of yourself into your characters? If you do, who is the most like you of your characters?
Absolutely. I’d actually say that there’s a little piece of me in almost every character. It’s hard to say which one is the most similar. Bliss has my awkwardness, Max has my sense of humor and parts of her backstory are drawn heavily from my own life. Dallas in All Lined Up is very similar to me during my early college years. And Cade is a lot like me too. We’re both people pleasers. So really, they’re all a little bit of me and a little bit of imagination.
Losing It seemed to be an instant success, what was your inspiration behind writing that book? Were you surprised by the response it got?
Honestly, I just wanted to have fun. I was a couple years out of college, and I missed my friends. I missed the easy, fun college life. And I wanted to write about what college had been like for me… not angsty or troubled, but fun and silly and full of laughter. So, that’s what I did. And I got lucky that other people enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
You’ve come a long way since Losing It. Now that you are a published author, what gets your juices flowing creatively? Has much changed?
Gosh. Anything and everything. I’m constantly thinking about writing. Something will pop into my head at dinner or out with friends, and I’ll start writing it on my phone. That’s just how I am. My brain never really turns off.
Your love for football really comes through in All Lined Up. What is it that makes it so special to you? Or are you that good and really don’t like football? LOL!
Like Dallas, I actually have a love/hate relationship with football. I grew up in Texas, and my dad was a coach. And there were days when I loathed football and would have given anything to get away from it. And I can also remember sitting in the bleachers, freezing my but off as fall turned to winter, cheering so loud that I lost my voice. Regardless of the times that football drove me crazy, I have always and will always love the way football brings people together. It’s capable of fostering such great hope and community and camaraderie.
When you are not writing, how do you like to spend your time?
I watch a lot of television. I love binge-watching stuff on Netflix. Beyond that, I love anything creative. Going to plays, concerts, museums, etc. But I also love to just relax and hang out with friends (you know… real people. Not just the fake ones in my head).
What do you want your readers to feel when they finish one of your novels?
I want them to be entertained—whether that’s through the humor or the romance or the story in general. And I hope that people can see a little bit of themselves in one or more of my characters.
Tell us about Cora Carmack with 5 words or less…
Awkward. Loud. Sarcastic. Creative. Obsessive.
Finally, do you miss living in Texas? If so, what you miss the most?
I do, but luckily I go back to visit a lot. It’s a cop-out, but mostly I miss my family. I also miss having a car. Don’t have one of those in NYC. And I miss the sky. Everything in Texas feels so big and open and wild, so every time I go back, I like to just spend time outside looking at the stars.
*** RAPID FIRE ROUND ~ GO!
Football or Baseball: Football
Spain or London: London
Beach or Mountains: Beach
Staying in or Going Out: Staying In
Dog or Cat: Cat
Salty or Sweet: Salty
Coffee or Hot Chocolate: Hot chocolate
Movies or TV: TV
’80s or ’90s: 90’s
Ink or Jewelry: Ink
Dallas or Stella: Dallas
Carson or Silas: (This is so evil…) Carson :) :) :)
THANK YOU CORA!!!!!!
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, is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.
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