DAMAGED GOODS (The Outsider Chronicles, #2) by Nicole Williams
New Adult/Adult Contemporary
Release: September 9, 2014
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 . . .
It should not be surprising that Nicole has the ability to give my heart and soul the pleasure of being emotionally invested in not just the story she’s bringing to life and not just with our lead role (Liv), but also with Will, Reese, and Paige. Hell, even Jake and Cherry, and Mrs. Goods. We get to know these characters from their wants and dreams to their fears and desires. Nicole’s characters are real and relatable as are their choices and actions. Nicole gives us the family’s back story and through their fears of repeating the past and their lack of trust in those they’ve relied on, we learn and witness quickly how their bond is tested and then confirmed with follow through. Liv’s relationship with her sisters (Reese & Paige) speaks to this directly. Their banter, ability to put jokes aside and let the real through their walls of protection is what tore at my heartstrings. This novel made me wish I had younger sisters! On to Will. . . Ahhhh in absolutely no way is he damaged!! I would’ve been right along with Liv in having no idea about “you know what”. I fell in love with two individuals who’ve shown time and again that they put others before themselves, they live (and learn to live), they don’t let “challenges” hold them back, they test their limits for love, and they live life with no regrets. Is this a love story, absolutely. But more importantly it’s a story about family and overcoming fears to reach true happiness. Nicole is a master of tasteful words that put forth the mind-blowing power equivalent to similar words in a more vulgar nature. Let me repeat, this being Nicole’s ability is not surprising! To wrap this up, I want more! I was/am completely satisfied with this story, but I’m going to be greedy with this novel (and the 1st in the series-Hard Knox) and admit that I want more of all of these characters. Maybe someday they can all get together and celebrate a holiday or meet and become fast friends!! I feel like I’m saying goodbye to friends that I don’t want to turn my back on. That is, until my re-read!! Give this a try and find your next book crush!! Rating: 5 never-to-be-damaged stars
Damaged Goods is a story about damaged characters yet who are some of the most selfless. This story was a beautiful testimony of testing one’s strength and conquering your fears.
Author Nicole Williams paints a vivid picture of “Death Valley” and the circumstances that Liv has had to overcome to make a life for herself. I felt like I was there, I could feel the desperation and isolation. I wanted to get out and find a way to live.
Will is a bit of an enigma. He doesn’t quite fit the stereotype. He is a great guy who is giving, strong, charming, sexy and generous. It is admirable that he put his life on hold to take care of his mother. Likewise, Liv is put in a position that makes her choose between continuing her path toward making a better life or taking care of her only family. Feeling alone and desperate Liv meets a few others who help her realize she’s not alone. Cherry and Jake prove to be more than meets the eye. The banter they have with Liv is perfect!
One of the many things I enjoyed about Damaged Goods was the dialogue. It was sharp, witty, funny, touching and real. Nicole Williams continues to show her talent for telling a great story, with a strong message, something unexpected, mixed with sexiness, fantastic characters. They may be Damaged Goods, but for me they were perfect! Give this a try and find your next Book Crush! 4.0 Stars
About the Author
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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Will was about to walk away, and I’d never see him again. The man I’d fallen for, despite every attempt against it, the man I’d tried to push away with my steely character, then by trying to drown my feelings for him, and finally by accusing him of some horrible things. I’d been pushing him away, and he was finally giving in. Just when I knew I didn’t want him to. I’d had to make about every single mistake I could along the way to realize Will wasn’t just another guy. He was the guy.
And there he was, saying a silent good-bye.
“Will, wait.” I shoved out of the chair and hurried toward him.
I grabbed his arm right as he reached the hall and spun him around. He didn’t look surprised by my abruptness or irritated that I’d stopped him. Instead, he looked almost sad. Like he already knew what was coming.
“Come with us. Come with me.” I hadn’t know those exact words were coming, but I didn’t regret them. In fact, I was relieved they’d finally formed.
Will’s forehead wrinkled as his eyes sealed shut. From the looks of it, my words had been painful. “I can’t, Liv.”
“But do you want to?” I moved closer to him. I wasn’t taking no for an answer, not now.
“If I want to and if I can are two opposite things right now.” Will stepped back.
I took one more step forward. “But you want to?”
Will’s eyes stayed closed, but he worked the tortured lines from his face. “That’s irrelevant. Whatever my answer, it doesn’t change the fact that I can’t come with you.”
“Why not?” When I took one more step forward, my body crushed into his, and all of that energy moved between us, further confirming my unexpected request. If life was a game where a person was expected to grab their happiness along the way, I was grabbing or stealing or whatever I had to do with mine and not looking back.
That was when Mrs. Goods let out another tirade, cursing those little monkeys with every last profanity known to man.
Will sighed. “That’s why. I can barely leave her side for a second, let alone move a couple of states away and check in with regular phone calls.”
That was as obvious to me as it was to him. “I know, but after you get her settled in this assisted living place, after you make sure she’s adjusted and safe and happy . . . then come. There’s about as much here for you as there is for me.”
“I can’t.” This time, there was a finality in his voice, and his expression matched it.
My instinct was to step away and save myself the pain, so I took the last step I possibly could toward him. “Why not?”
Will looked like he wanted to wrap his arms around me and pull me close—I could feel the muscles in his arms quivering as he held back—but instead, he stepped away from me, then took one more step back. A not-so-small piece of my heart shattered.
“Because you deserve the best, and I’m not the man who can fill that role.” Will extended his arms at his sides. “Obviously.”
After all of Will’s lectures about letting in the good and rejecting the bad, after every single thing he’d done to prove he was an exception to every rule, hearing and watching him fall on a weak excuse boiled my blood like nothing before.
“You know what, Will?” I closed in on him and shoved his chest. “Fuck the best and fuck deserving and fuck that sorry excuse. Why don’t you swallow a bit of your own advice and admit what you really want? Why don’t you stop pushing me away the moment I finally stop pushing you away, and we can see if this thing will work?”
“Why should I do that? Huh? Why should I tell you everything you’re so sure is on my mind when you are seconds from walking out that door and out of my life for good? Why admit everything I’ve been trying to tell you while you’ve been basically begging me not to? Why now?” With each word, Will’s voice went quieter and his expression looked too close to defeat.
We weren’t defeated though. Not yet. Bolstering up the very last of my courage, I looked at him. “Because, Will Goods, I’m finally ready and able to admit what I’ve known for a long time.” I studied him for a fleeting moment, unable to remember why it had taken me so long to admit it. Right now, it was so clear it would have been impossible not to admit it. “Because I know I lo—”
“Don’t say it.” Will lifted his hand and backed into the wall behind him. “Not now. Please, Liv, if you really do feel that way about me, don’t say it a minute before you leave. I can take a lot, but I don’t think I can take that.”