Taken with You: Book Eight of The Kowalskis by Shannon Stacey
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: April 1st 2014
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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 is a girly-girl who wants a sophisticated, business professional type as a mate. She’s been dating men from the city who like to go to the symphony and wear suits to work. When she and a friend decide to do an “outdoor singles” thing and end up lost, she has to ask herself “what in the world was I thinking?”. When a scruffy, kind of smelly guy comes to their rescue when they get lost, it’s just another reminder that Hailey is looking for love in the wrong place. Until she sees Mr. Scruffy all cleaned up. Turns out her erstwhile rescuer isn’t too bad all cleaned up. Matt is the new game warden in town and her new neighbor. If only he wasn’t so into the outdoors..and dirt.
Matt was burned once already by a woman who was more embarrassed by him than anything else. Which is too bad, since Hailey is every sexy-librarian fantasy he’s ever had. But he went down that road once already and he has no desire to go there again. Except she really seems to love his dog, and she’s easy to talk to. And they have chemistry. Like, off the charts chemistry. Matt wants to believe Hailey is different than his ex, but he can’t see how a girly-girl is the woman for him.
Matt and Hailey were opposites who learned to compromise to be together. In the beginning both had their doubts about a relationship. Matt figured Hailey was too rigid for him and Hailey figured Matt was too much the mountain man. Hailey was the first to give in and realize there was more to Matt than a scruffy face and muddy boots. It took Matt a big longer – and boy was that fun – but he couldn’t deny how wonderful Hailey turned out to be. Their friendship was well developed and made the segue into lovers easier to believe.
The town and its inhabitants made a nice backdrop for the story. It was good to see both Mike and Hailey with friends and interests outside each other.
This is the type of fun, fresh, flirty story I’ve come to expect from this series. Stacey has made the Kowalski’s and all their friends feel like family. I can’t wait for the next installment.
4.25 out of 5