Title: Taken With You (Kowalskis, #8)
Author: Shannon Stacey
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: March 24, 2014
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: ARC received from Publisher via NetGalley
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…
Dreamy sigh. That was my reaction after I finished reading Taken With You by Shannon Stacey. Taken With You is a page-turner full of romance, humor, a little sass, passion and a swoon-worthy happy ever after. Even though I am on book 8 of the Kowalski Series and they are set in the same town, I don’t feel as though I am reading the same story with different characters, as some series can end up.
In Taken With You, Matt moves to Whitford, Maine as the new game warden. He first meets Hailey, the town librarian when she and her friend Tori get lost in the woods. From the beginning there was no way Matt and Hailey were meant for each other. Hailey’s idea of Mr. Right is a suit-wearing, museum-going, wine-drinking, 8:00 -5:00 type ofguy. Matt’s idea of the perfect woman is a girl who isn’t afraid of dirt and sweat, likes to fish and hike and doesn’t mind that he gets called at all hours of the day. So, from the beginning you can see these two are headed in different directions. How can they possibly work?
Shannon does a fantastic job of building up the romance between Matt and Hailey. She stays true to each of their personalities and slowly introduces each of them to the other one’s world. I enjoyed the back and forth banter between these Matt and Hailey, as it was an easy relationship yet it also had adult arguments. It just felt so real. The intimacy in Taken With You was at the right times and with just the right amount of description for the story and the characters. It was very hot and passionate, so make no mistake about that. One thing that always amazes me about Shannon’s books is how simple the plot can be yet they are so engaging and I totally get lost in them.
I enjoyed that Matt and Hailey were both established in their jobs and their lives so they were able to just enjoy getting to know one another as next door neighbors. The addition of Matt’s dog, Bear was a highlight of the story. Of course it was great to see some of the characters from previous stories such as Josh, Katie and Paige, among others. Rose was not as involved in the matchmaking this time around, but we still got to witness her attempt at meddling.
I feel as though my review doesn’t give Taken With You justice. Simply put, I loved this book. The ending was absolutely perfect, too. Don’t tell Joe and Keri (Exclusively Yours), but I think Matt and Hailey might be my favorite characters of Shannon’s now. Taken With You is an enjoyable, sweet, sexy romance story that you don’t want to miss!