Monday, 17 October 2016

Blog Tour, Review & Excerpt ~ Tonic by Staci Hart

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Tonic by Staci Hart 
Release Date: October 13th 
Genre: Contemporary Romance

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Book Description:

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.


Buy Links:

FREE on Kindle Unlimited


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Our Review:

Reviewed by Donna ~ 4.5 stars
***ARC received for an honest review***


“Heads and hearts are connected by threads impossible to cut completely.”


Staci Hart never fails me, ever since I “found her” nearly two years ago through some kick ass covers, she has delivered time and time again and is now definitely one of my go to authors. Her characters are always relatable, her character connection always on point and she has this canny knack of pulling at every single emotion and making me cry and Tonic was no different. Yes, I cried, but what is a new relationship without a few ups and downs? But, and this is a huge but, Staci Hart delivered a hot, scorching hot, romance that had me glued to my kindle from first to last word, tattoo chairs will never EVER be looked at in the same light again and this book read like watching one of my favourite tattoo programmes and all I was waiting for was Kat Von D to make an appearance.

Tonic is a tattoo parlour owned by two brothers, Joel and Shep Anderson. Joel is the main tattooist and Shep is more the brains behind the operation and it is his latest hair brained one that has the shop in a total tizzy. Tonic has been approached to star in a new Tattoo reality TV show and while Joel does not what the intrusion or the “celebrity,” the thought of it going to his rival is the final deciding factor and begrudgingly, Joel agrees. Joel knows that this is going to turn his life upside down, but I don’t think he realised just how much…all it took was a tall, blonde producer to suddenly make this project look all the more appealing.


“God, how I wanted her. All day, every day, insatiably, selfishly — I wanted her. And more than anything, that scared me.”


Joel was adorable with a capital A. Joel had to step up to the plate early on in life and become Shep’s guardian after the death of their mother and it is because of this that these two are as tight as brothers get. Having got himself out of an abusive marriage, one that landed him in the hospital, Joel has vowed off women for years…well at least relationships anyways, but the female producer that is now bossing around his staff and his shop has made him feel something for the first time in a long time.


“I’m in deep shit.”
“How deep?”
“Bottomless.”


Annika Belousov is Russian in origin but was born and raised in the US. Annika is all about work, she works hard and is reaping the rewards and the last thing that she needs is any distractions, especially one in the form of a hot, tattooed, bearded Joel Anderson. Annika was extremely professional, an ice queen who would give you frostbite if you got too close, she kept herself to herself and her enemies closer, but underneath all that cold was a woman with an incredibly warm and tender heart, if only she would show it.


“No matter what happens, this was real.”


This was chemistry overload, seriously, Staci Hart knows how to keep that sexual tension bubbling throughout all the while guised as a good hate/love. Annika knows no good could come of exploring anything with Joel, she definitely never mixes business with pleasure, but there was something about “Hairy” that she couldn’t resist and the more tempting he became the more her resilience waned. These two could light up a room with a look alone and these two were definitely only delaying the inevitable but it made for one, fantastic, entertaining, swoony read.


“His eyes told me a thousand things I couldn’t decipher, and my heart said a thousand things he couldn’t hear. But it said them all the same.”


The banter was hilarious, the characters were totally endearing, the setting was exciting and this was definitely an added bonus to their love story. This book read like the shows I have spent hours watching but this time I was behind the scenes, getting the gossip and seeing just how these shows operate. Joel was charming, a little cocky, fiercely protective and a little damaged and it is this that totally endears him to the reader. Joel has a heart of gold and it shines, from his family, to his staff and friends, no-one is untouched by Joel Anderson and Miss Frosty has definitely met her match.


“I wondered fleetingly if we would ruin each other. If my fire would melt her ice until it evaporated. If her ice would snuff my fire out of existence.”


I loved everything about this book, it ticked all my boxes, it tugged at every single heart string and as I’ve said, it even made me bring out the Kleenex. Once again Staci Hart you have written a winner and I cannot wait to see what comes next.

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Excerpt:

“Let me see it.”
“What?” I blustered, caught off guard. 
“Stand up and turn around. I want to see it.” I was too surprised and caught up in the moment to refuse, so I stood and turned, laying my palms on the armrests as I faced the back of the chair. 
One hand rested on my hip. 
My heart stopped as I wondered what the hell I’d gotten myself into. 
I glanced over my shoulder, my gaze bouncing between his face —turned down too much to read —and his reflection in the speckled, antique mirror, which I couldn’t see much of either. His free hand moved to the waistband of my tailored pants, and his fingers hooked and tugged, pulling the band down low. 
His thumb ran over where I knew the tattoo was, and I felt his breath. Every place where we connected spoke to me of ownership. 
“You got this done here? In New York?” His voice was rough. 
Mine wasn’t much better. “Yeah. In Brooklyn.” 
“Let me cover it up for you. Give you something you’re proud of. Your skin …” He paused, and I wished I could see his face, read his mind. “This shouldn’t be here, not on you. Let me … I want to …” He had moved closer, his hand on my hip pulling me back into him slightly enough for me to not have noticed that the backs of my thighs were touching his, my back arched just enough, his breath hot. 
And then, he disappeared. I stood, finding my hands were trembling, wondering where I was and how I’d gotten there. The shop was mostly empty —no one had seen, not that it would have looked like much from the outside. But from where I stood, I felt every single deliberate move like a telegraph, telling me exactly what he wanted to do without him having to finish the sentence. 
His back was to me when I turned around, his face down —I couldn’t see it in the mirror over his cabinet of ink and needles as he dug around in the drawers, seemingly for nothing in particular. 
“Let me know if you want me to draw something up.” 
“Okay, I will.” I paused, not knowing what else to say, feeling like I should say something. But there was nothing that I could say. “Well, have a good night, Joel. I’ll see you tomorrow.” 
He nodded, glancing at me in the mirror. “See you, Annika.”
I tried not to bolt out of the shop, but once outside, I admit it —I took off. I hauled up the stairs and into the office to grab my bag, grateful that Laney was already gone, and I texted my driver, asking him to pick me up a few blocks away so I could walk, put some distance between me and Joel, get the energy out of my body, through my legs and feet, into the pavement.

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, 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.
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 reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

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