Book Review: Chaser by Staci Hart

Bad Habits, #2
Everyone knows you should never say never.

Cooper Moore never saw Maggie Williams coming. She was just his best friend’s little sister, the curly-haired, freckle-faced girl from Mississippi who was absolutely off limits. And he never thought about her any other way — not until he saw her that night, broken and brave. From that moment on, he knew he’d do whatever it took to protect her, even if it meant he had to stay away.

Maggie never expected to find her fiancé banging her maid of honor an hour before she was set to walk down the aisle, but life’s funny that way. The only option to save her sanity is to get the hell out of Jackson and move to New York where her brother lives. The only downside: Cooper is there too. And she just doesn’t know if she can stay away from him — the filthy rich, dead sexy playboy who’s allergic to commitment.

The second Maggie sees him again, she realizes he’ll be impossible to resist. Luckily, commitment is the last thing on her mind, and Cooper is the perfect escape. As long as she can keep her heart in check, everything will be just fine. Because she can never have feelings for him. Or at least that’s what she’ll keep telling herself.

Chaser is a standalone romantic comedy and book 2 of the Bad Habits series.

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Staci Hart is, without a doubt, my winner for Breakout Romance Author in 2015. With a voice and style that make me abuse the highlight feature on my Kindle and bookmark what feels like every other page, her fabulous words never fail to reel me in! I've enjoyed everything I've read from her so far, and Chaser was just the perfect cherry on top of a very fine year! In this second book of the Bad Habits series, socialite Cooper Moore and Southern girl Maggie Williams are front and center. Cooper has been living the aimless bachelor life for so long, untethered and unanchored, but his heart is finally pointing him in what feels like the right direction, and it's leading him straight to Maggie. 

From the second he appeared in With A Twist (book one), I was drawn to Cooper. To his charm, his humor. I was left begging for more more more, and this book finally gave me exactly what I wanted! Cooper is suave and oh-so-stylish...a modern day prince, really...but there's so much more to him, deep down below the surface, where prying paparazzi eyes can't see. I loved getting new, intimate details about him! Beneath the wolfish exterior, beyond the larger-than-life personality, there's a tender and thoughtful side to Cooper. Prepare to be swept off your feet, ladies! (Trust me, I was repeatedly fangirl-shrieking, "COOOOPERRRRRR!")
"All night, I've wanted you. All my life, I'll want you."
Maggie, however, is in a pretty fragile place. After being betrayed by her fiance and leaving her hometown behind for a new big city, she doesn't even trust her own judgment or her ability to be in a relationship. She's hurt and a little lost, so she's just trying to rebuild her life and find her footing again. I loved experiencing her journey from start to finish, going through the different stages with her. I really felt what she was going through, right along with her. I wanted so badly for her to overcome her pain and regain her confidence!
"But that's life, Maggie. It's sticky and ugly and complicated. If you keep running away, you'll never find your place."
So, the brokenhearted teacher from Mississippi and the New York playboy. How could their love story possibly work out? Was it good?? Was it everything I hoped for??? The answer is a resounding yes! My romance-loving heart was waving its happy-flag over and over again! Maggie and Cooper were simply amazing together. They made me laugh. They made me *dreamy-sigh*. They had this sweet and genuine side, but they were also hot hot hot. (I'll be real here. Bedroom scenes from Cooper's point of view? Gaddamn. *bites fist*) This couple was just so much fun to read! Even through the emotional turmoil, I was hooked and couldn't get enough...
She leaned toward me, calling me without speaking a word.
I stepped into her, slipping a hand into her soaking hair and searching her face.
"Tell me what you need, Maggie," I whispered.
Maggie and Cooper attempt to keep things casual at first. Maggie is, after all, Cooper's best friend's little sister and still healing from an ugly breakup. Maggie even sets rules and puts a clock on how long their fling should last. And not only are they hooking up...they have to do it secretly. It's a recipe for trouble, a little bit of drama mixed with a little bit of angst. But the beautiful thing is, along the way, we get to see true feelings take root. I liked that they opened up to each other, that Maggie sees parts of Cooper that he doesn't really reveal to the rest of the world, and that Cooper realizes maybe he doesn't want to be the cliche bachelor. Maybe he could be in a serious relationship, with her. My heart was melting for these two, with every page turn! By the time I reached The End, I really felt like I got to live out a fairytale with Maggie and Cooper. It progressed flawlessly from "just having fun", to getting tangled up in all kinds of emotions, and getting that happily ever after they both deserve. You'll be rooting for them every step of the way!
I wanted her to believe me, believe in me. I needed her to. And when I thought back over the past few weeks, I realized that she wasn't a spark. She was a wildfire.
Staci pulls you deeper into this captivating world, into this circle of friends. Her writing immerses you in each moment with her characters, immerses you in their lives, so that you *never* *want* *to* *leave*. This author's talent for dialogue is also fantastic, and it shines yet again in this book. The group scenes, the heart-to-hearts, are just utter gold. Even when things get complicated. Even when sh*t hits the fan. (Looking at you, Weston Williams, you overprotective big brother...) The friendship game is strong--so strong--in this series, and I love how Staci lets these scenes play out and lets these relationships develop.

I was so excited for another round of love and life trials with the Bad Habits crew, and Maggie and Cooper's story was so, so satisfying! I truly enjoyed living with these characters, through the good and the bad. They're some of my top favorites, ever! (I just want to be a regular at Habits! *raises shot of whiskey*) Last Call is up next and all about bartender Rose and broody artist Tricky, and I CAN'T WAIT to devour their story, too! 

Bad Habits, #1
Love is somewhere near the bottom of Lily Thomas’ list of life goals, right next to competitive eating and underwater cave diving. She’s spent six years pirouetting and pliéing her way up the ranks of the New York Ballet with her eye on the prize and love in the back seat. But now that Blane Baker -- Lily’s long time crush -- is finally single, she’ll throw her rules out the window without thinking twice.

Reality with Blane isn’t as epic as the fantasy she imagined, and the truth sends her spinning straight into the arms of the man she never knew she’d always wanted.

West Williams has been friends with Lily since the day she moved into their building and he saved her armoire from a swift, sudden death by staircase. Their friendship has always been easy, the boundaries clearly defined. With neither of them willing to risk their relationship, they’ve drifted happily through the years as companions, never considering more.

That is, until they do. And that realization changes everything.

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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.