I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Taken With You by Shannon Stacey
Series: Kowalski Family #8
Published by Carina Press on March 25, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Hailey Genest has seen most of her friends marry and have babies, and she's happy for them, but it was a lot easier before she hit forty. She's spent her entire life in Whitford, Maine, and if she hasn't found her Prince Charming by now, she has to accept she's probably not going to. When a new friend suggests they go on an adventure and embrace being single, Hailey agrees.
Surviving in the woods is game warden Matt Barnett's idea of a relaxing vacation. But when he meets two women in need of help, he leads them back to safety—a task that proves more fun than expected, thanks to a certain hot blonde. He can't resist pushing her buttons, even though she's made it clear that the rugged, outdoorsy type just isn't for her.
Hailey is glad to see the back of her tempting-tour-guide-slash-pain-in-the-ass. When he shows up in her life again, she's determined to avoid him, no matter how good he looks in his uniform. But that's easier said than done in Whitford, especially when he's renting the house right next door .
Hailey Genest, the town librarian, is lamenting that all of her girlfriends are now married or in serious relationships. She agrees to shake things up by going on an adventure hike in the woods with new friend Tori Burns, which ends in disaster. They’re assisted by vacationing Game Warden Matt Barnett who looks like a mountain man serial killer. Though he cleans up nicely, there are huge differences between these two in spite of their chemistry.
Hailey’s a girlie-girl with a “neat as a pin” home designed in white and pastels. Matt’s got an outdoors, “roughing it” job, a dog named Bear and everything else that goes along with these images. She’s got expectations of her “ideal” mate (it’s not Matt) and he’s not interested in being with someone who thinks less of his lifestyle. But, their attraction is really, really strong…too strong to not at least enjoy a physical relationship in the meantime.
What I liked about this story
Hailey and Matt were a great couple one-on-one and sexually and I liked how they enjoyed each other, even while they kept each other at arm’s length emotionally. They were honest about their expectations and differences, even when it was hurtful. Theirs was a messy romance (pun very much intended) that helped them grow individually and create a new respect for one another. I liked how they had to work at seeing what was right in front of them and it wasn’t a tedious experience for me as a reader.
The bottom line
Hailey’s not the stereotypical librarian that we used to read about. She’s a modern, pretty woman and Matt’s a rugged guy who deserved her attention. He’s got his baggage, too, keeping things interesting. Now that we’ve run out of Kowalskis to be center stage, it’s a bit fun to explore the other characters close to them. There are a LOT of fun moments to balance the tough ones, which made this a really good story.
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