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…
*Blurb from Goodreads*
I absolutely adore the Kowalski series, so everytime Stacey has a new release, I’m so anxious to get my hands on the newest book.
Hailey loves the little life she’s cut out for herself in Whitford, but she is lonely. With all her friends settling down, she is anxious to find that special someone to come home to everyday, someone to start a family with. She even has an ideal man in mind, but it’s too bad he doesn’t exist, and probably wouldn’t even live in Whitford if he did. Having Matt move in next door is easy on the eyes, but he is the polar opposite of everything Hailey thought she wanted.
The first time Matt met Hailey he was grungy and dirty and she was a total primadonna. It wasn’t the best start to their friendship. But the more time they spend together, the stronger their sexual chemistry becomes. But Matt is of the same mind set as Hailey, they aren’t good together as a couple, they both have an idea of who would be their ideal spouse, and neither one lives up to the expectation. Too bad fate has other plans.
I think that the romance in this book is probably the best that Stacey has ever written! I loved the enemies to friends to lovers and more storyline. It was so fun and perfect for Matt and Hailey. I’ve always enjoyed books where couples go from being very antagonistic with each other to finding some kind of common ground and building their romance from that. I loved the way Matt and Hailey kept telling each other they were wrong as a couple, and yet we as the reader could see just how right they were.
There were a few times I thought that Hailey came across as a bit desperate, but it really did add to the depth of her character. I was sad to see that at times Hailey seemed to feel as if she wasn’t whole without a man, and while that bugs me, I was glad to see that she didn’t come across as completely incapable or pathetic despite her desire to be matched up.
I thought Matt was a wonderful hero. He was so caring and sweet, and although he thought Hailey was all wrong for him, I loved the way he was so drawn to her he couldn’t help himself. One aspect of Matt’s history I wish would have been explored a bit more was his past relationships and why they had such a big impact on him. While it was explained a few times, I would have liked to see how it affected Matt in his everyday life.
I love getting to see all the Kowalski family members happy and living their ever afters. Stacey is one of the best when it comes to creating secondary characters that steal the show and beg for their own books, and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for readers next!
All in all, I thought the 8th book in the Kowalski series was so well done. I loved the romance and think that the relationship between Matt and Hailey is the best I’ve seen in the series to date. I can only hope that Matt and Hailey will pop up again in future Kowalski books, because I absolutely adore them together.
I give Taken With You a B+