What It Takes
by Shannon Stacey
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Publisher: Carina Press
Book #10 in the Kowalski Family series
Number of Pages: 320
Source: Borrowed from MCL
Contemporary Romance M/F
Read 4/1/19 to 4/3/19
Revisit all of your Kowalski favorites while falling in love with a brand-new romance in this reunion novel from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey
Laney Caswell is looking for a change. A decade’s worth of less-than-happy matrimony behind her, she wants peace—movies, books and, best of all, a new job at the Northern Star Lodge in Whitford, Maine. Spending the summer living in a camper is her chance to rediscover what makes her happy, and a perfect transition to her new life.
Being a paramedic in Whitford is nothing like Ben Rivers’s city life, but when Josh Kowalski offers him the job, the lure of his hometown is too much to resist. Also too much to resist: Laney Caswell. Ben always thought he’d have a wife and kids, a happy family like the Kowalskis have all built, but he never made time in his life. Now he’s found a woman who draws him like no other and helps him dream again—and the last thing she wants is a husband.
When the annual Kowalski family camping trip is moved to the Northern Star, both Ben and Laney are surrounded by the kind of happiness they’ve always wanted but never had. It just might be theirs—if they can put aside the past and reach for it together.
It’s been a over 2 years since I’ve visited with the Kowalski family. And that’s just too darn long. The funny thing is, I thought I had read this book…kinda. I finished off what was the last book of the series at the time, Falling For Max, just weeks before this story was published. I was on a waiting list for the title through my e-library, but must have somehow gotten bumped off that list. My wait time had been several months so it slipped my mind. Then, I somehow just assumed I had read it already since it was no longer on my list. I’m so glad I realized my error and got my paws on this story.
This story had a lot going on, with the Kowalski’s all converging on the Lodge for their annual reunion trip. But it never really felt overwhelming. Now, that’s coming from someone who read all the books so take that with a grain of salt if you’re new to this series. It’s a great series so go ahead and start from the top! You can probably still enjoy this story as a standalone, but won’t get as much from it as I did.
The main characters, Laney and Ben, are neither Kowalski’s or (technically) family. That doesn’t matter. In fact, Laney finds a connection and acceptance that she never got with her own family. That connection helps her to heal from a bad marriage and nasty divorce.
Ben has a wonderful family, but has lived away from home for many years and never really found “the one” to settle down with. He’s not a playboy and isn’t a commitment-phobe. In fact, he dreams of having a family of his own someday.
There’s instant chemistry with Ben and Laney. With Ben looking for his HEA and Laney wanting to find herself after years of losing who she really is in her marriage, they have some obstacles to overcome. As much as Ben knows Laney may break his heart and Laney knows her heart will be captured by Ben, they can’t seem to stay away from each other. They ground each other in a way no other person ever has. Their bond is extremely heart warming and gave me all the feels.
I always enjoy Shannon Stacey’s stories, and this one is no exception. She is a wonder at blending chemistry, heartache, and humor.