on October 13th, 2016
Genres: Romantic Comedy
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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Joel Anderson doesnÔÇÖt take anything seriously.
Not his relationships, which have been few and far between since his brutal divorce. Not the drama of working in a tattoo parlor, which seems to be around every corner. When things get him down, he smiles and cracks a joke. But heÔÇÖs not the kind of man you cross, or youÔÇÖll find yourself at the wrong end of his fists.
Annika Belousov takes everything seriously.
Like her job as a reality television producer, given that she typically has something to prove. Or her love life, which is defined by a series of requirements ÔÇö affluent, ambitious, accomplished, to name a few. Definitely her family, who worked their whole lives to afford her every opportunity, a sacrifice she doesnÔÇÖt take lightly. When sheÔÇÖs tapped to produce a reality show at JoelÔÇÖs shop, she doesnÔÇÖt think twice, just goes in for the kill, as if there were any other way.
The second Annika walks into JoelÔÇÖs shop, he makes it his mission to crack her open, but sheÔÇÖs not having it. HeÔÇÖs all wrong ÔÇö too crass, too hairy, too un-serious. But it doesnÔÇÖt take her long to find out thereÔÇÖs more to him than smirks and tattoos. And what she finds could put her career and his heart on the line.
Not that Joel cares. Because for the first time in a long time, heÔÇÖs found his tonic.
“Ink and milk. Black and white. Her and me.”
Cyndi: With every book by Staci Hart, I find myself more and more in awe of her storytelling, her writing, and in LOVE with her characters. I LOVED this story and the premise. Now, IÔÇÖm not a big watcher of ÔÇ£reality TVÔÇØ but IÔÇÖve watched enough to be wary of the crew coming in and taking over Joel Anderson’s tattoo shop in Tonic. Joel’s reluctance is well placed. Feeling his back against the wall, his life changes, irrevocably in the beat of a moment, when he lays eyes on Annika Belousov , the show’s producer.
Loredana:┬áI have to admit that I love me some reality TV and I did some initial comparisons. ┬áStaci Hart did a bang-up job of setting the premise of the story realistically. ┬áWhat I loved even more is that Joel wasn’t typecast; yes, he looked the part but there was so much more to him. ┬áFrom his love of reading to his cat bonding, you know Joel is a special breed of man. ┬áAnd Annika the ice queen had her own set of walking contradictions. ┬áI think it made them both so much more interesting.
Cyndi: So right Loredana – they are walking contradictions! LORDY do they have palpable chemistry! ThereÔÇÖs about a dozen years age difference (which I loved) and loads of gaps between her life and Joel’s lifestyles. Both are successful, but the hold on that is always tenuous. The success if the show impacts both of them making filming alone a big obstacle.
Loredana: Yes!! ┬áSeriously, these two are a classic case of opposites attracting – fire & ice. ┬áWhile they are both incredibly┬ádriven, I think Joel brings a different clarity to Annika; she finally sees what path she wants. ┬áHowever, the same goes for Joel; she heals a part of him that he didn’t even know was broken.
Cyndi:┬áI love that gives him that and that she finds herself charmed by Joel. ┬áItÔÇÖs really the pull between them that makes this book so fantastic! ItÔÇÖs true their connection is contentious, but itÔÇÖs sexy as hell. JoelÔÇÖs passion and attraction translate well:
ÔÇ£ IÔÇÖd never wanted anyone so viscerally before. That was the perfect word. Visceral. Animal. Deep and instinctive, beyond my ability to control. It wasnÔÇÖt love. ┬á Not yet, anyway. But if I didnÔÇÖt stop it right now, thatÔÇÖs exactly where it would go. I could feel the allure of it pulling at my insides, twisting and squeezing to get my attention. As if I could ignore it.ÔÇØ
Cyndi: The premise is fraught with conflict that lets up long enough for Joel and Annika to turn that energy into something thatÔÇÿs also sweet and wonderful. They are simply one of my favorite couples this year – heck, all of StaciÔÇÖs couples are ones that have stayed with me.
Loredana: They were set up to fail, but you can’t help wanting to cheer them along and hoping they’ll beat the odds. ┬áOh, and I now have a new respect for tattoo chairs. ┬áHOLY BEARDED JOEL…that was schmexy on a stick!
I love Staci’s characters and writing. ┬áYou’re never quite sure what sort of gem you’re going to find, but you know it’s going to be worthwhile. ┬áAll you know is that she’ll flip the script on you and keep you guessing as to what makes her characters tick. ┬áI love the surprises she shares along the way (love me some Kaz) and how she humanizes her characters; they are not caricatures of personality traits.