Rusk University #1
Contemporary New Adult
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.
All Lined Up is another hugely entertaining romance from Ms. Carmack, her characters full of charm and wit, yet underneath their superficial appeal is emotional depth, making them well-rounded men and women who bring vibrance to the black and white of their medium. The appeal of Ms. Carmack’s romances–and what sets her books apart from so many of her contemporaries–is the lack of unnecessary drama between the characters, the angst level at an all-time low even though the relationships have their tense and emotionally heightened moments. All Lined Up features two people who have no desire to keep secrets or withhold feelings to the detriment of their relationship, instead they go so far as to make an honesty pact to ensure the lines of communication stay wide open.
Dallas is a young women easy to relate to from page one, her status as the head football coach’s daughter in a state where football is essentially a religion making it extraordinarily difficult to form meaningful connections with anyone. Everyone wants something from her the moment they learn who she is, whether that’s access to her father or bragging rights to carry back to friends like a trophy, and as a result she finds herself nearly isolated despite being surrounded by people. She’s refreshingly blunt in her dealings with Carson, establishing upfront that she’s not interested in being a notch in his bedpost, but her bluntness is always accompanied by humor to keep her from ever coming across as abrasive. She’s as honest with him at all times as he is with her, and we can’t help but read with a smile on our faces as they try and figure out a way over, under, or around the many obstacles in their path.
Carson is as keen on honesty as Dallas is and able to match her in wit, ensuring the nervous anticipation that typically accompanies a new adult romance as we wait for the moment the relationship will implode is thankfully absent. He’s respectful of Dallas but also driven in terms of what he wants to achieve as a quarterback, not giving up on his dreams in order to be with her and always encouraging her to pursue her own, the love growing between them something that becomes a part of their lives rather than the sole focus of them.
Overall, All Lined Up is a fantastic start to a new series, the game of football just present enough that we fully understand how it affects both of their lives, but not so prominent as to detract from the characters themselves. Dallas and Carson shine in this first installment, both of them beautifully without one singular fatal flaw (such as game playing), rather they are a lovely combination of minor flaws as we all are. The ending is of course predictable, but honestly would have been disappointing any other way, so we close the back cover fully satisfied and expectant, already looking forward to the characters through whom we’re going to live vicariously next.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.