Taken With You by Shannon Stacey Release Date: January 1, 2014 Publisher: Carina Press Contemporary Romance M/F Book #8 in the Kowalski Family series Number of Pages: 336 Kindle Edition Source: Borrowed from MCL Rating: NC-17 Read 2/15/17 to 2/16/17
Well we ran out of Kowalskis. So here we have a Kowalski book without a Kowalski. But if you read this series and you’re not looking at this as a standalone (which it really could be but you’d be missing a lot of depth) you’ve known Hailey for quite a while. And I’ve always liked Hailey and hoped for her to find her HEA. Of course, as I may have mentioned in my review of Love a Little Sideways, I thought there would be a Hailey/Max pairing. Obviously that is not the case.
As I said, I’ve always liked Hailey…but not so much at the beginning of this book. Did she expect that she’d find a man in a three-piece suit who was freshly showered and shaven while in the woods? I get that Matt was pretty rank when they met, but she was over the top judgmental. So it bothered me when she was instantly so taken with him just because he shaved. It just made her seem so shallow.
I love Matt, although I saw where the problem was going to come in far before it happened. For all of Hailey’s talk of not being outdoorsy and wanting a refined man who liked fancy restaurants, she was willing to try new things in order to spend some time with Matt…even thinking it wouldn’t go anywhere serious. Matt was thoughtful and patient with Hailey while they did his things and never made her feel incompetent or that she was a bother.
The way Hailey reacted on these dates and the way she was when they were just hanging out at his house, her reading him watching a game, showed me that she is not shallow. It also showed me that Hailey convinced herself that she wanted some perfect Prince Charming even though that’s not really what would make her happy. Seriously, if she loved fancy dinners and the opera and dressing up why didn’t she do it more often without a date? If Tori could convince her to go hiking, why didn’t she at least attempt to get Tori to go to the city with her so she could do the things she claimed she loves? Hailey created such a fantasy relationship in her mind she didn’t even realize it wasn’t what she wanted anymore.
Matt, on the other hand, had been burned before. The fact that he never told Hailey about his ex and the way that relationship played out didn’t help him when it came time for them to have a more traditional date. Matt spiraled and ended up being a total jerk even while in his head he knew he was doing it…he just couldn’t seem to snap out of mood he had gotten into. He expected Hailey to compromise but didn’t want to budge himself. Of course, as I mentioned, he had some baggage from an ex that was part of the problem. But it was brutal the way he didn’t even give Hailey a chance once the fancy dinner came into play.
Of course, this is a story that has a HEA so it all works out in the end. We saw various Kowalskis throughout the book, but I did miss having them all together.