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.
Not only is Tonic by far the sexiest Staci Hart book I’ve read but it is also my most favorite to date. Joel and Annika’s story comes with a heavy dose of what we book lovers call, “ THE FEELS.” I loved every single moment that I spent with these two. Through Ms. Hart’s languid writing, I fell so madly in love with this couple along with the sweetest and steamiest moments they spent with one another.
From the moment that Joel and Annika laid their eyes on one another, they both simultaneously awaken their slumbering hearts. The sparks flew even before the cameras started rolling. I loved that even though Joel and Annika looked like they belonged at different ends of the spectrum – Joel with his skin besieged by beautiful tattoos and with his hairy, burly face against Annika’s porcelain smooth appearance, one would have never thought to put them together. But the things they had in common far overshadowed the physical. I loved that. Loved how their love for their family, their passion for their careers, and their shared affinity of music brought them together enough to completely ruin one another in the most significant way. They made sense even when on the outside it didn’t look like they would.
As the pressure built for Annika as the Executive Producer of Joel’s reality show came to the forefront, you begin to see just how ugly things would begin to unravel. And it always seems like the more you love someone, the more it is that you can break them. That’s exactly what we find as things began to crumble. My stomach fell and my throat became so tight with emotion that I had to take deep breaths to keep myself at bay. I just felt so bad for everything that was being thrown at them because…. UGH, these two just deserved to be happy. That’s how scary invested I was. I just needed Annika, the ice queen that so many viewed her to be to just melt away in the arms of Joel who had been burned so badly in the past by his ex-wife. Fire and ice. You see the mention of it during many times in this book and it is so apt because that’s exactly what they were apart. But together they were this perfect balance of beauty, of what love should feel like.
If you’re looking for a great read that has it all then Tonic is exactly what you need. Sexy and sweet with a bounty of angst thrown into the mix, Staci Hart totally made a permanent mark with Joel and Annika’s story.
We Like It Big Tunes:
Awake My Soul– Mumford and Sons
About the Author:
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.