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.
We meet Joel as he’s being given the final paperwork to start a reality tv show about his tattoo business. He’s tall, built, bearded, and covered in tattoos and Annika is instantly attracted to and affronted by him. He finds her utterly fascinating. Together they come to some sort of agreement that turns to quick friendship and romance, but in all reality tv, there’s drama and that’s not exempt here.
I’ve never read a book by Staci Hart before, and I really liked how there was the right amount of drama and comedy and snark. Though the story was very driven by the couple it was about, the side characters are a wee bit interesting. Rox and Shep and Patrick are the ones I’m most interested in. I’m not sure if there is any other books about those three, but they’re definitely something I’d read if there were. I got emotional over a cat, y’all. Just sayin’. A FREAKING CAT! The only issue I had with the whole book was how exaggerated Joel’s temper was involving Liz and Hal. Maybe it’s just me, because I’m not an overly emotional person, or maybe it just felt over-the-top. I don’t know. Most likely it’s all me, because I’m not an emotional outburst, kind of gal. Otherwise, I really dug this book and am putting more of her books on my TBR.
Ms. Hart is a dynamo at writing characters. I also like that at one point, the hero is going off the rails and his younger brother threatens to kick his tail and in his internal dialogue, he said that he could do it. So the fact that the hero is NOT the strongest, baddest, mofo around is refreshing. Really, read the book if you like hateful cats and tattoos and beards. Oh and if you like a little bit of drama in your comedy and snark.