A Nix Review – Taken With You by Shannon Stacey (5 Stars)

Posted April 2, 2014 by Nix in review / 1 Comment

Taken with You by Shannon Stacey
Series: Kowalski #8
Published by Carina Press on 2014-04-01
Genres: Chick-Lit, Contemporary
Pages: 185
Format: eBook

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….

74,000 words

FTC : I requested this book from NetGalley as I am a long time fan of the series. I have no relationship with the author.

Yay, the librarian got a book!! I’ve loved Hailey from the second that we met her. I wanted her to find her HEA but I will hasten to add that it is NOT a Kowalski that she finds love with … it’s a hot as hell Park Ranger 🙂

The moral of this story is definitely “never judge a book by it’s cover”. From their initial meeting, Hailey and Matt make assumptions about each other. Hurt by past experiences, and fully armed with ideas of what they should want from a partner, they initially dismiss ideas of a relationship with each other, even though the chemistry between them is combustible. When it becomes clear that avoiding acting upon said chemistry is unavoidable (small town? next door neighbors? yeah, that one was never going to happen) they resolve themselves to being nothing more than a fling with an expiration date. Even the rest of the town is dubious about their suitability. Of course, as a reader, I never had any doubts that they would end up together 🙂

I enjoyed reading their story. Hailey was an older heroine and I thought that Ms Stacey showed her character well. She wants to settle down but, with the ideas of what she should look for in the ideal man, she doesn’t approach the relationship with Matt with arms wide open as he doesn’t fit her world view. They had a friends with benefits type relationship and that made me adore them as a couple; both of them were completely supportive and honest with each other throughout, showing that they truly cared about each others feelings. I thought they were wonderful together and I routed for them. Matt was a harder character for me to get on-board with as his world view polluted their relationship. How he perceived Hailey would treat him in the future stopped him from embracing their time together and it annoyed me. Whenever he put up a barrier she did something to unwittingly rip it down but it was clear that there would eventually be one barrier too many. I was right and I wanted to smack him round the head at that point … I could see that situation coming from a mile away!

This didn’t feel as sweet as the other Kowalski books. The writing was a little less chick-lit and a lot more contemp. The chemistry was a lot more potent, the sex scenes that little hotter … I love the series but I feel this may be number two for me in the entire series (I’m sorry, Kevin will always win … secret baby tropes are my thing!). You don’t need to read the rest of the series to enjoy this one but the rest of the couples do appear at various stages of the plot.

Overall, this is a sexy contemp that kept me smiling. With an unlikely couple finding love, you know that the ending will be all the more satisfying. The more they protest in a romance, the harder they eventually fall 🙂


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