Published by Carina Press on 25 March 2014
Genres: Adult, Chick-lit, Contemporary, Romance
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….
*I received a free ARC of Taken with You from Carina Press via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
Taken with You is set in Whitford, like other Kowalski books, but this time, those hunky and hard-bodied Kowalski boys aren’t among the main characters. Matt is an awesome male lead, though, even if he does jump to conclusions a little quickly sometimes, and Hailey really needed some hot romance in her life. She’s lived in Whitfield for most of her life, and she would love to stay, but there are no interesting men there. Also, she really wants to have a family, and she can practically hear her own biological clock ticking away.
There is a lot of humor in Taken with You, and I was both laughing out loud and possible snorting in several places. At the very start, Hailey and Tori get lost in the woods, and Matt, on vacation, finds them and helps them find their car again. It is so funny because Matt hasn’t shaved in a few weeks, is wearing scruffy out-door clothes and looks a little scary even if both of the women find him very handsome – at least from the neck down. And this is the very first place I laugh-snorted, because it was so obvious that their thoughts were going to come right back and bite them in the butt!
Shortly after the debacle in the woods, Haily is hosting an ATV safety class at the library, and that’s when she finds out that Matt – now freshly shaved and extremely handsome – is the new game warden, and he’s definitely there to stay. To add insult to injury, after using her sad story of traipsing in the woods to see how much the kids in attendance know about being safe, she soon finds out that Matt will be her next-door neighbor. Even as they are both telling themselves that the other is really not their type, there is no mistaking the very strong attraction they feel towards each other. Taken with You shows that what we think we want and need might not at all be what we actually want and need after all.
I also really enjoyed that Taken with You easily tackled the age difference – because Hailey is five years older than Matt, she feels a little self conscious about it at first, but it doesn’t last very long. And of course, the whole village is more interested in knowing whether or not they will get together than who is older. The nosy villagers will stop at nothing to find out the personal lives of the younger generation – who will be pregnant next, when will Katie and Josh get married, is Matt and Hailey seeing each other… it makes for some fun situations when Fran even offers Matt money if she can figure out things for her before Rosie finds out.
As Taken with You continues, both Matt and Hailey start to realize that the only way to get over this stupid attraction might be to just get physical for a while, so they can get back to better prospects and find their actual future partner elsewhere. And they are so good together it’s impossible to not fall in love with both of them – both together and apart. When they are apart, they are both rationalizing their attraction, and when they are together, they are scorching hot and extremely sexy. They have to go through a lot before they finally fess up to their real feelings and dare to put their heart on the line… but is there still time for them?
The writing in Taken with You is captivating! Written in third person past tense point of view from both Matt and Hailey’s POV, it’s easy to see how she is falling for Matt and why he is reluctant to try anything with her due to a former girlfriend wanting to shape him into someone he would never want to be. And I could totally see myself in Whitford with all the characters and their awesome interactions.
But it had been so long since a man tickled her fancy, she was starting to wonder if her fancy simply wasn’t ticklish anymore.
For a few wonderful minutes, there was hope. There was a man right her e in Whitford she might have gotten naked for. and where there was dinner and kisses and mutual nudity, there was a chance at more.
And he had no shirt on again. The man seemed to have a serious problem with clothing and she wasn’t sure how that would go once it was the middle of summer. Then would come shorts, if he bothered. Worse, she wasn’t sure if she was dreading it or looking forward to it.
“You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.” She smiled, moving almost close enough to touch. “Enjoy this look because there’s a good chance you’ll never see me in plaid flannel again. “I’ll see it every time I close my eyes for a good long time.”
Two days Matt Barnett had been gone and Hailey wanted to strangle him. Or hug him. Maybe she’d just hug him really, really tightly and fulfill both urges at the same time.