Blog Tour and Giveaway: Hard Knox: Nicole Williams

Nicole Williams
The Outsider Chronicles, #1
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Knox Jagger. The name inspires resent in every male at Sinclair University, want in every female, and contempt in Charlie Chase.

Charlie can be summed up in three words: independent, independent, and independent. To Charlie, Knox epitomizes everything that’s wrong with college males: prolific one-night stands, drunken senseless fights, and a body that hints at prioritizing gym time over study time.

As an up-and-coming writer for Sinclair University’s newspaper, Charlie’s tasked with getting to the bottom of who’s been dropping little white pills into girls’ drinks at parties. In an ocean of All-American boys sporting polo shirts and innocent smiles, Knox is the obvious suspect. As evidence piles up against the bad boy of Sinclair, Charlie becomes more and more certain it isn’t Knox. But when her drink is dosed at a party and she wakes up on Knox’s couch the next morning, Charlie’s left with more questions than answers when it comes to Knox Jagger.

How can Charlie ever hope to uncover the truth behind a guy so closed off he’s become . . .

Hard Knox.

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I'm half as good as you think I am, and you're half as bad as you've convinced yourself you are. 

Charlie Chase is a cynical, sarcastic, realistic journalism major and university reporter. Knox Jagger has a rep as an over-sexed womanizer, bad boy, fighter, and big man on Campus. All the women want him and the men either want to fight him or be him.

...that bad boy: the groupies, the swagger, the bedroom eyes. they crooked smile, the giant Diesel truck, the giggles that followed him down the halls, the way I'd rarely seen his lap without a girl occupying it...Knox Jagger was bad boy through and through...

When at a party, Charlie and Knox go head to head. They rile each other up, spark, and hurl insults. When she gets drugged, Knox is a likely suspect. But something about the bad boy seems to actually make her feel safe and makes her think he is not the danger. As circumstances bring them together again, they form an unlikely alliance. 

Charlie and Knox have witty rapport and push each other's buttons. They are both so strong willed and have put up  barriers up to keep people out. But they also fall into an easy going balance when together. But they both have secrets and are telling half truths. And someone is drugging unsuspecting girls on campus and it seems that same someone wants to get to Charlie. There is mystery, danger, and a lot of tension...sexual and otherwise.  But with Charlie in danger and Knox under suspicion, it soon becomes difficult to decide who is really saving who.

He didn't trust that anyone had enough courage to deal with the ghosts of his past. That made me that much more determined to prove I could handle it. 

When it all comes out in the open will the secrets be something that bring them together or rip them apart? 
Is the bad boy really bad or just misunderstood?

I thought I had it all figured out then the author would throw in another twist and make rethink. It was a book that kept me guessing and wondering about his past, about who the bad guy was, and if there were even more hidden agendas that I did not know about. It was told in Charlies's Point of view so we were not privy to Knox's inner mind. So he was an enigma and was surrounded by mystery. But I fell for the tortured, broken man who acted like a hero, but not think he deserved to be one. He was damaged, self hating, and had demons, fears, and insecurities. But he could not stop himself from trying to be there for Charlie. And she was stubborn, independent, and challenging.  But she also took the time to really look under Knox's hard veneer to see the vulnerable man lurking underneath. Neither wanted to hurt the other, but they both had the ability to do so easily.  I was anxiously awaiting to see how it was all going to come out.

"Maybe it's time you let go of those secrets for once. Maybe it's time you stop being the Hard Knox who won't open up to anyone, himself most of all."

But is Charlie giving Knox too much credit or will she find out she was all wrong about him?

This is a great start to Nicole Williams new Outsider Chronicles. I am looking forward to the second book will be titled Damaged Goods.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 


Knox Jagger has a reputation at Sinclair University. He is the quintessential bad boy. Player, criminal, hot head -- if you can think of a label that falls under the category of “bad boy” he’s been called it, and worse. The guys on campus hate him, the women want the chance to be with him.

Charlie Chase is the sophomore journalism student everyone loves to hate. Her articles pull no punches, and are often inflammatory and controversial.

When Charlie is drugged at a party, not once but twice, all signs point to Knox being the perpetrator. But if he drugged her, why was he the one to come to her rescue? When her journalism professor assigns Charlie with the task of uncovering Knox’s involvement with selling date-rape drugs on campus, Charlie can’t avoid keeping him on her list of suspects, even as she hopes he wasn’t responsible.

As the story is narrated by Charlie, her voice is the clearest. When I was picturing her in my head, I couldn’t shake the image of Julia Styles’ Kat from 10 Things I Hate About You. She is the most driven, skeptical, closed off female character I had read in a long time.

Knox was one of those bad boys you can’t help but love. As Charlie gets to know him, she realizes there really is more to him than the reputation he has developed. And as she questions his reputation, truths about him come out that are as shocking as they are expected. I loved the way he steps in to keep Charlie safe time after time, and when we find out why and everything behind his reputation, I was crushed (and loved him even more).

I loved that the only one who looked beyond the image Knox projected was the person who should have the most to fear from him. As Charlie dug beyond his surface, she uncovered a whole other side to Knox that no one else had seen, but even as she learns more about him, she can’t prove his innocence or find another more likely suspect.

This was a story that kept me immersed all day. When I wasn’t reading, I was wondering what Charlie would uncover next, when more truths would be revealed, and debating myself whether Knox was the one behind the druggings or not. As more evidence comes out, I just kept wondering how the whole thing would shake down, and what it would take to find the truth.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Outsider Chronicles, #2
Releasing September 9, 2014
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When Liv Bennett said good-bye to her sinkhole of a hometown, she planned to leave that chapter of her life behind forever. But forever turned out to only be three years.

After her addict of a mother up and disappears, Liv returns to what she considers her own personal hell smack in the middle of nowhere Nevada to take care of her two younger sisters, and she promptly reinstitutes the golden rule that got her through her first nineteen years of life without getting knocked up, roughed up, or messed up: don’t date the local boys and, god forbid, don’t fall in love with one of them.

It isn’t long before that golden rule is put to the test.

Will Goods grew up in the next trailer over, but the wild, careless boy who used to tear up the town with his three brothers has morphed into someone else so completely, he’s almost unrecognizable. The quiet, contemplative man who works on cars every night and takes care of his mentally ill mother every day is nothing like the local boys Liv grew up avoiding.

But when Liv considers suspending her golden rule just this once, she finds out something about Will that will change everything.

Will Goods isn’t who he used to be—he’s not even the man Liv thinks she’s gotten to know over the summer. He’s become someone else entirely.

He’s become . . .

Damaged Goods.
Nicole Williams Blog | Twitter | Facebook
I’m the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the CRASH series (HarperTeen, S&S UK), LOST & FOUND series, UP IN FLAMES (S&S UK), The EDEN TRILOGY, and a handful of others. I write stories about everyday kinds of people who find themselves in extraordinary kinds of situations. I tell love stories with happy endings because I believe in making the world a better place, and that’s one tiny way I can make it so. I’m one of those people who still believe in true love and soul mates, and would rather keep my head in the clouds any day over having my feet firmly on the ground.

The author is offering (1) print copy of HARD KNOX! 


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