Joel Anderson doesn’t 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 he’s not the kind of man you cross, or you’ll 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 — affluent, ambitious, accomplished, to name a few. Definitely her family, who worked their whole lives to afford her every opportunity, a sacrifice she doesn’t take lightly. When she’s tapped to produce a reality show at Joel’s shop, she doesn’t think twice, just goes in for the kill, as if there were any other way.
The second Annika walks into Joel’s shop, he makes it his mission to crack her open, but she’s not having it. He’s all wrong — too crass, too hairy, too un-serious. But it doesn’t take her long to find out there’s 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, he’s found his tonic.
Stacy Hart came to be highly recommended by my blog partner. So I had some pretty high expectations when starting this book. So why the 3 star rating, eh? Well, on this site, 3 means I liked it. And….I did like this book, I just didn’t love it.
This story is about Joel, bearded, tatted up, tattoo parlor owner who is 38 years old. He’s had a difficult past with losing his parents, a crazy ex wife and a jealous/envious ex friend/employer. He meet’s Annika when his brother convinces him to do a reality show based on their shop. He is immediately attracted to the ice princess that is Annika, and she him, though she tries to fight it.
That being said. There is a 12 year age difference between these two and sometimes I felt that you could definitely tell this with Annika. Young, immature in some ways and inexperienced in my opinion. Of course Joel takes what he can get from her, offer’s a no strings attached fling, but he can’t shake his feelings. He just wants her to be truthful. Joel loves hard protects those he loves and will go the bat for you, until you screw him over. I liked Joel. I really really did. I mean there were times I swooned so hard with him….but I was not the biggest Annika fan. And my dislike of her is the reason for the three stars.
I absolutely fell in love with Staci Hart when she wrote Tricky and Rose’s story (Bad Habits #3). When I saw that Joel had a book coming out, I honestly couldnt wait to get my hands on it. Coming from Tricky’s side, Joel was a bit of a hero for me.. he was a no-nonsense, tough love guy. He was a sexy enigma wrapped in a brooding, bearding, hulking body that I just couldnt wait to unwrap…. and now? This Joel is someone different. He wasnt weak, per se, he just wasnt the guy that I needed him to be. The one who should have taken Annika out with the TRASH. Tonic is the second book I have read as of late with the ‘reality show’ theme and I am not liking them. The story was pretty good, it flowed along well and was easy to read. My main concern was the characters themselves. While I loved Joel and his big sappy heart, I really felt like he would have been much better suited with any other lead beside Annika. I am still a HUGE Staci Hart fan and love her work. I definitely recommend giving her a try if you havent, especially if you are into tattooed hunks with hearts of gold!
Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life: a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can’t forget that. She’s also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She’s been a wife, even though she’s certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She’s also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she’s been drinking whiskey. Her favorite word starts with f and ends with k.From roots in Houston, to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she’s not writing, she’s sleeping, cleaning, or designing graphics.