Author: Nicole Williams
Series: The Outsider Chronicles #1
Release Date: August 12, 2014
Genre: New Adult
More Info: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon US
Purchase: Barnes & Noble
Purchase: Amazon UK
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 . . .
Happy Release to Hard Knox by NYT Bestselling Author Nicole Williams! This is the first book in a new standalone series. Fans of Nicole’s Crash Series will be interested in this new series.
Knox smiled. Actually, Knox smiled at me. “You’re sure?” He was already moving toward the remaining boxes.
“See this? It’s my sure face.” Circling my finger around my face, I frowned.
“Well, good. Because you being unsure about moving in wouldn’t have changed anything, but it eases my conscience knowing you’re okay with it.” The wink he flashed me didn’t keep me from grabbing the can of Silly String Harlow kept on her desk. Up until now, I hadn’t been able to comprehend what kind of situation could ever arise that would require Silly String, but this one kind of did.
Ripping the cap off, I aimed it in his direction. “You’re a pain in my ass.”
Knox lifted an unimpressed brow when he saw the can. “Right back at ya, sweetheart.”
My finger moved to the depressor. “Being forced to move in with you is one thing. Being chained to you all night and morning when you knew how to free us is another. But calling me sweetheart?” With a shake of the can, I aimed it at his head. “Yeah, not even close to okay.” I pressed the button, and a line of bright purple string burst from the can, splatting on his forehead.
For a moment, Knox didn’t seem to realize his face was being assaulted by a purple string of foam, but as soon as that cleared, a challenging smirk went into place right before he charged me. I didn’t stop spraying, covering even more of his face, but it didn’t slow him any.
“Haven’t you heard? I’m Knox Jagger. If brass knuckles and steel-toed boots can’t keep me down, the girl spraying a can of Silly String at me’s in trouble.”
“Yeah, but haven’t you heard?” When his hand wrapped around my wrist, I pulled away, but his grip was about as breakable as when I’d tried to bust through the handcuffs. “I’m Charlie Chase. The girl who name calling and general loathing can’t shut up, so too bad for the guy trying to intimidate me with words.”
Right before he yanked the can out of my hand, I got in one last squirt. It gushed right into his eyes, immediately followed by a huff and, “You’re going to regret that.”
The harder I tried to stay serious, the more I felt the laughter ready to rip through me. When his fingers gripped my side and squeezed, I let lose.
“Stop it, Knox!” I shouted between spurts of laughter. “Not fair! The rules of Silly String war clearly state tickling is off limits!”
All that did was make him squeeze my sides harder, and now having possession of the Silly String can, he paired the tickling up with spraying Silly String into my hair.
“I’m going to kill you!” I squealed, trying to wrench out of his grasp. To no avail.
“Nah, you won’t. You like me too much.” Now he was laughing—probably because the Silly String was so thick on top of my head it was spilling over onto my forehead. “Your world would be colorless and void without me in it.”
“Yeah, sell your lies some place else.” I leapt up, trying to snatch the can away. “We’re all stocked up here.”
Knox’s reply was pinching my waist faster, making me laugh even harder.
“Who’s the funny girl now?” he said, laughing right along with me.
“You!” I screeched, trying to wrench out of his grasp. “You’re the funny girl now!”
Then, in a moment of sheer genius or stupidity, I twisted my leg behind Knox’s, curled it back sharply, and yanked with all of my might. I had the element of surprise, but the thing about taking down a guy the size of Hulk’s half-brother was that he took down whoever was still attached to him. In a heap of limbs and surprised huffs, we tumbled to the floor, him falling an instant before me, which was handy since he broke my fall. Although since his body wasn’t much softer than the floor, he only cushioned my fall marginally.
Knox groaned. “You might not weigh much, but you come down like a ton of bricks, Charlie.”
Kicking the can of Silly String out of his hand, I pinned his shoulders. “Though I be but little, I am fierce.”
Knox inspected my hands on his shoulders and me above him, then something in his eyes gleamed. We were both covered in ribbons of neon purple string and had just been engaged in a sibling-like war, but I could still feel heat bursting to the surface and traveling through my body until the entirety of it seemed to be consumed.
“I didn’t know you knew Shakespeare,” he said, his voice a note lower. “I took you more as a Plath kind of girl.”
“I didn’t know you knew Shakespeare. Or Plath.” I suppose knowing of them didn’t mean he’d read them, but as time had continued to reveal, there was more to Knox than anyone would have guessed. “I took you more as a Maxim kind of guy.”
He shifted below me. The movement did nothing to calm the heat pooling in my stomach. “It is my Bible. Everything a guy needs to know about women and love is contained in the pages of one of those babies.”
I lightly slugged his chest. “I think you’re mistaking love for lust. I see how you could get them confused, no doubt they’re six-and-one-half dozen to you, but there is one teeny-tiny difference between the two.”
When Knox pivoted below me so his back was flat across the floor, my body went to slide off of his out of instinct. My legs spread across his lap, our hips connected, our eyes locked and mouths parted . . . that was a recipe for a repeat of last night. Right now, a repeat sounded like exactly what I wanted, but I wasn’t sure if I’d feel the same in an hour. Plus, after Knox’s vow to keep me at arm’s length, I supposed heat or not, it was destined to fizzle out.
“What’s that difference?” His hands gripped my hips, keeping them where they were.
I had to clear my throat before I could answer. Something about having his hands on me, holding me to him, was messing with me. My mind, my senses, my voice. “With lust, the attraction is all based on what can you do for me? But with love, it’s about what can I do for you? Selfish versus selfless.”
The skin between his brows lined. After a couple of moments, it erased as a wide smile crawled into place. “Yeah, that’s not what I’ve read.”
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