All Lined Up (Rusk University #1) by Cora Carmack
Publication Date: May 13th 2014 by Harper Collins Publishers
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Sports – American Football
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
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.
The Rusk University is a series that’s been continuously popping up on my social media channels and now I know why. This series is all about romance, American Football and navigating college life. The first installment in this series, All Lined Up, shines the spotlight on Dallas, an aspiring dancer and coach’s daughter, and Carson, the hard working quarterback with something to prove.
Dallas wants nothing more than to distance herself from anything and everything relating to football. She’s spent the majority of her life living in the shadow of the sport and college was meant to be her chance to be free of that shadow. That is, until her dad take the role as head coach for her college football team. Once again she is forced to compete with the sport that has defined her life since childhood. No matter what she does, she can’t seem to get away from it. It’s easy to sympathise with Dallas. Being the coach’s daughter is not an enviable position. With people trying to use her to get close to her dad and her father not acknowledging her own dreams, it’s easy to see why she resents the sport so much. The last thing she want is to be pulled back into his world but when Carson come crashing into her life that outcome was inevitable.
Carson is the definition of a sweetheart. He’s the backup quarterback for the team and is determined to prove to the coaches and the fans that he deserves a shot at being the star. He can’t afford a distraction but he just can’t get Dallas Cole out of his mind. Again Carson was an easy guy to root for. Trying to balance school and sports is no easy feat but he’s nothing but determined to get what he needs to provide a future for himself. Having said that, we don’t really learn much about Carson beyond football and Dallas. We know his family runs a ranch but we don’t see any further mentions of his relationship with his family. He is one of those characters that could have used a little bit more depth. We got an introduction to him and the kind of guy he aspires to be but that’s about it.
The romance in this book was sweet. Their first meeting was a perfect blend of comedy and steamy. There’s an obvious attraction between them and the chemistry is palpable. However, as soon as Dallas realises that Carson is part of the Football team, things come to abrupt halt. Following that we get to see Carson and Dallas trying navigate a platonic friendship. They fail and giving in to their intense desire for one another was inevitable. New Adult books have garnered a bit of a reputation for being overly angsty in their romances and the lack of drama between Carson and Dallas was refreshing. These two are a solid pairing and the relationship is an example of how you don’t need angsty drama to root for a relationship. Focusing on a simple attraction and exploring it’s possibility of more is just as effective.
Dallas’ relationship with her father was also a focus in this book and seeing the hurt between them was very realistic. Dallas wants nothing more than for him to support her dancing career. Dancing to her is what football is to him and the frustration of not having him support her passion was easy to relate to. Throughout the course of the book we see Dallas and her dad come to an understanding. They may not be close but they’ve made a start in building a supportive relationship with one another.
This book was enjoyable but not remarkable. It did it’s job in providing a light and fluffy read but that’s about it. Yes, the characters were easy to relate to and a lot of fun to read about but it felt like we only scratched the surface of their characters. This is not a book you will be shouting to the world about, it reads more like a filler. Perfect if you’re in a book slump or just fancy and easy read. It was enjoyable and that’s enough for me.