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…
Small town librarian, Hailey, regrets her decision to go for an 'adventure' walk with her friend Tori very quickly. She's got blisters, they are lost, and she's pretty convinced they're going to be eaten by an imaginary bear. That is, until Matt Barnett turns up to rescue them. He's not exactly the rescuer she was hoping for though. He's scruffy and dirty and loves to push her buttons. She's a little surprised then, when he turns up at her library the next day as the new game warden - all sexy and caring and clad in a uniform. She's even more surprised when he moves in next door.
I devoured Taken with You in a day, laughing at Hailey and Matt's antics all the way. Hailey was very relatable, with her nose stuck in a book all the time and not at all comfortable with the outdoors, so I think a lot of book worms will understand her perspective. Her attraction to Matt is pretty instantaneous, at least once he's cleaned himself up a bit! As much as she is relatively desperate to find a husband, though, she can't see a future between the two of them, given their interests are so different.
I quite liked that this was the issue between Matt and Hailey. Instead of the ever common misunderstandings storyline (etc), it seemed totally rational to me that these two characters would be attracted to each other, but not want anything serious given their very different lives. Quite reasonably, they have to learn that love is about compromise, instead of some kind of magic that makes everything work.
Hailey is the first to compromise, despite her doubts about their future, while Matt finds this a little harder. Having been rejected in the past by a princess-type girl who didn't like his dirty side (literally, as in muddy!), he's particularly sensitive to certain slights and pushes Hailey away. I admit, I wanted to slap him a little for this, but given his past, I also understood. Plus, there's no denying he's a sexy hero, even if he does enjoy the outdoors more than a good book.
I'm always a bit of a sucker for the small town romances, with all the town gossiping about our hero and heroine, and Taken with You is a really sweet small town romance, with the added bonus of some exceptional, laugh-out-loud banter between the hero and heroine. I was instantly swept off my feet by this romance and I'm definitely going to have to read more from the The Kowalskis line by Shannon Stacey.
Taken with You by Shannon Stacey is a contemporary romance published by Carina Press on March 2, 2014, and available from Amazon and Book Depository.
This book was given to Love Reading Romance in exchange for an honest review.