Review and Sweepstakes: Hard Knox (Book #1: The Outsiders Series) by Nicole Williams

Release Banner_Release Hard Knox

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the Hard Knox tour hosted by AToMR PromotionsToday, I have my review and a link to the event-wide sweepstakes for you.  If you would like to check out the rest of the stops on the tour just click on the banner above.  Thanks so very much for stopping by RoloPoloBookBlog and have a fantastic day 🙂

Title: Hard Knox Series: Book #1: The Outsider Chronicles Author: Nicole Williams Age/Genre: NA/Adult Contemporary Published: August 12, 2014 Cover Design: Okay Creations
Title: Hard Knox
Series: Book #1: The Outsider Chronicles
Author: Nicole Williams
Age/Genre: NA/Adult Contemporary
Published: August 12, 2014
Cover Design: Okay Creations

Purple Goodreads

Synopsis:

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.

Source: ARC from the author

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review:

For Charlie Chase, the only thing in life that is important is the truth!  As a journalism major, Charlie is totally used to being insulted as she walks across campus.  She is used to the stares and the taunts and quite frankly, just doesn’t care.  Charlie has little to no respect for most of her peers and so, exposing the truth of their lives and their activities is not a big deal, it’s her job.  At the top of Charlie’s list of favorite topics, the hazing and partying that goes on inside campus sororities and fraternities.  Though Charlie would rather poke a needle in her eye than go to a sorority or fraternity party, she is committed to her new article on underage drinking. 

As if the party isn’t bad enough, Charlie’s night gets even crappier when she is approached by none other than Knox Jagger.  As if she doesn’t already get enough dirty looks.  Knox Jagger is every girl’s wet dream and every guy’s worst nightmare.  If there is even an ounce of truth to the rumors then Knox Jagger has slept with nearly every girl on campus and then some.  He knows how to hold his own in a fight and everyone wants a piece of him.  Except Charlie Chase.  Sure that Knox is drunk, Charlie tries to convince him that he is barking up the wrong tree but the stubborn man just won’t give up.  Thank goodness!  Despite her best efforts and near-constant diligence, later that night Charlie finds herself the victim of a drugging and if I weren’t for Knox, she surely would have been Sinclair University’s latest rape victim too.

 Though the morning after is both awkward and painful, Charlie realizes that Knox may not be quite the asshole she has always thought him to be.  After insuring her safety, Knox encourages Charlie to go to the hospital for testing and to file a police report.  Knox also strongly advises Charlie to rethink her research strategy, especially if it means she will be attending more sorority and fraternity parties on her own.  Charlie, ever the independent soul, chalks the experience up to bad luck and continues on with her research.  The situation takes a critical turn, however when Charlie is drugged a second time.  She may be independent but she isn’t stupid and though she is hesitant, Charlie moves in with Knox (the spare bedroom, you pervert!) so that the two can work on the problem together and Knox can ensure Charlie’s safety.  Safety in numbers, right? 

For months Charlie and Knox attend party after party but the drugging has seemingly stopped.  The girls of Sinclair University are safe but Charlie’s heart is not.  She has lived for months with a man she is fiercely attracted to and though she is sure he is attracted to her, Knox has always maintained his control.  Knox is not at all what the rumors say he is and his every action is taken to insure Charlie’s safety while she conducts her research.  Thanks to the growing sexual tension and the lack of progress in their investigation, Charlie and Knox have a tendency to engage in heated discussions.  Both are strong-willed and convinced of their position so the arguments generally end in a stalemate and the two stalking off to their respective rooms.  Following one such event and in an effort to draw out the drugging culprit and move their investigation forward, Charlie rashly and stupidly decides to attend a party on her own.  Before she knows it, a raging and nearly naked (YUMMY!) Knox is in front of her dragging her out of the party before she can be drugged again.  Though Charlie is wicked pissed, she knows the rage she sees in Knox is a result of his fear for her and her safety and in that moment, both finally allow their relationship to move forward. 

You know it can’t all be good from here and no HEA should ever be this easy J  True to form, shit hits the fan in spectacular fashion: Charlie discovers a treasure trove of information about Knox and his past that she just doesn’t understand, her life is truly threatened and, if it weren’t for Knox (yet again!) Charlie would be all kinds of dead.  Instead, Charlie and Knox are all kinds of something else . . . .

The Bottom Line: Hard Knox was my introduction to Nicole Williams and her writing and I am pleased to have picked up this read.  My only real complaint about this read is Charlie’s general attitude.  She is awfully young to be as jaded and cynical as she is and her general rage against man attitude gets old quickly.  Once Charlie begins to mellow a bit she becomes far more likeable; unfortunately, it takes a life-threatening situation to get Charlie to mellow L  Knox, well, he’s just Knox and unless you read the book, you just won’t get the appeal of his brand of sexy.  He is some kind of sexy and every part of that man is perfection on legs.  Though I pretty much had the big bad figured out early on, it certainly didn’t stop me from enjoying this read and I feel comfortable recommending this read to lovers of light mystery and HEAs.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

About the author and where to find her:

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.

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